Tracking People’s Daily — Dec. 14, 2020

Manoj Kewalramani
7 min readDec 14, 2020


Page 1: Let’s begin with a story about the Chengdu-Kunming Railway, which is being upgraded. It’s fascinating to me how the story blended Xi Jinping’s folksy appeal into the narrative. The story begins with Li Heng, a post-90s generation citizen, who along with 19 others had written a letter to Xi. The letter apparently talked about how their fathers had helped build parts of the rail line and how these fellows today felt this sense of history in doing their job in the upgrade. Xi apparently had mentioned the letter while visiting Sichuan during the 2018 Spring Festival. Here’s what PD says: “When talking about the joint efforts of the whole society in poverty alleviation, the general secretary mentioned the letter from Li Heng and others. After describing the main content of the letter, he said: ‘Their letter made me feel the responsibility and loyalty of the young generation to the motherland and the people. I am very pleased’.”

Next, a book of Xi Jinping’s speeches on epidemic control and economic and social development is being published in English. The Chinese version apparently came out in October. Next, China’s automobile production and sales reached 2.847 million and 2.77 million respectively, an increase of 11.5% and 7.6% respectively from the previous month and an increase from the previous year. 9.6% and 12.6%. For the year, automobile production and sales reached 22.372 million and 22.47 million.

Page 2: Wang Chen, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Yan’an Spiritual Research Association of China, attended the seminar on the theory of promoting Yan’an spirit in Shaoshan, Hunan Province. Before the meeting, Wang and his entourage felicitated a bronze statue of Mao Zedong. In his speech, he called the Yan’an Spirit “the precious spiritual wealth of the Communist Party of China” and an “heirloom.”

“Under the background of profound and complex changes in my country’s development environment, and facing a series of unprecedented risks and challenges, we need to carry forward the Yan’an spirit, conscientiously unify our thinking and understanding with the party’s central leadership’s major judgments on the situation, maintain strategic determination, and be firm.”

Just a reminder of what all this means. The Yan’an Spirit refers to the time that the CCP members spent at their base in Yan’an through the 1930s and 40s. It was also the place where Mao Zedong emerged as the core of the Party, following a brutal, lengthy purge called the Yan’an Rectification Movement. I highly recommend Gao Hua’s book, How the Red Sun Rose, on this.

Page 3: A commentary following Xi Jinping’s speech at the climate summit. The piece emphasises the importance of the Paris accord and highlights praise for Beijing. Next, a piece on the China-funded Tunisian General Hospital in Sfax, which was inaugurated recently. Pandemic diplomacy still continues. Here’s what the story says:

“‘Thank you for China’s help and support. This is not only a hospital, but also a life boat facing the challenge of the epidemic. We will always remember this friendship,’ reported mainstream media, such as Tunisian Nasma TV. According to the report, through the joint efforts of the two countries, the delivery of the hospital reflects the friendship between the Tunisian and Chinese people. Tunisia’s Minister of Health Mehdi said that Tunisia is currently experiencing the second wave of the epidemic, and medical resources are tight. The completion and operation of the general hospital is a timely help and strong support for the fight against the epidemic.”

Page 4: The lead story here is about Nanjing Massacre memorials. It says that: “the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council solemnly held the National Commemorative Ceremony of the 2020 Nanjing Massacre in Nanjing on the morning of the 13th. Chen Xi, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Organization Department of the Central Committee, attended and delivered a speech.”

“Chen Xi pointed out that the suffering of history cannot be forgotten, and the pace of progress will never stop. Under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, China today is closer than any period in history to the grand goal of achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The absolute poverty problem that has plagued the Chinese nation for thousands of years has been resolved historically, and the building of a well-off society in an all-round way is in sight. , The new journey of comprehensively building a modern socialist country is about to begin. This is our best consolation to all sacrificed martyrs and compatriots who have died. Standing at the historical intersection of the “two centenary” goals, we will unite more closely around the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, and actively implement new developments with an unstoppable attitude of struggle and an unimpeded spirit.”

Page 9: Two interesting pieces on the theory page today. First, here’s one about telling the story of China’s fight against the pandmeic. Wu Ling, from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, writes that external propaganda needs to firstly focus on storytelling.

  • “In many cases, profound truths need to be conveyed visually and in a way of telling stories to move and persuade people. To tell the story of China’s fight against the epidemic, we first need to solve the problem of what we want to tell, clarify how we can combine what we want to say with what the audience wants to hear, and integrate what the audience wants to hear into what we want to tell.”
  • “Tell the story of leaving home and returning home,” i.e., the tales of heroism of medical professionals, security personnel and so on leaving their loved ones behind the fight the pandemic.
  • “To tell the story of solidarity and cooperation, it is necessary to tell the story of the Chinese people thinking in one heart and moving toward each other, and also tell the story of the joint fight against the epidemic between China and foreign countries, and show the moving of China and other countries to help each other and overcome the difficulties.”
  • Wu ends with talking about how “We must tell the story of disaster relief in the fight against the epidemic, and convey the truth, goodness and beauty through vivid stories and examples, and spread positive energy.”

Next, we have Wang Zhigang, Minister of Science and Technology, emphasising that:

  • “Technological innovation is the foundation for a country to become prosperous and strong, and it is the way to win in international competition. Self-reliance in science and technology is our strategic choice…”
  • He adds: “To provide more high-level scientific and technological innovation supplies, break through key core technology bottlenecks, and promote rapid and large-scale application of new technologies and iterative upgrades. There is an urgent need to establish a scientific and technological innovation system and mechanism suitable for this, and to combine China’s accumulated strong scientific and technological strength with the institutional advantages of concentrating efforts on major events have been transformed into the “muscles and bones” that support national development and the “internal forces” of international competition.”
  • “The world’s major innovative countries are accelerating the adjustment and reconstruction of scientific research organization systems, establishing a management structure that adapts to the development of emerging science and technology, and striving to gain an advantage in the new round of technological competition.”

One of the many measures that he talks about, which caught my attention:

“Build a policy system that promotes cooperation among technology, industry, and finance: The first is to improve the rational distribution mechanism for the transformation of scientific and technological achievements, grant scientific research personnel the ownership or long-term use rights of scientific and technological achievements, and promote the socialization, marketization and standardization of scientific and technological achievements evaluation. The second is to build an open and linked technology factor market, give full play to the market’s guiding role in the direction of technology research and development and the allocation of innovative factors, and greatly improve the transfer and transformation of scientific and technological achievements. Establish a quick access mechanism for new technologies and products, implement supporting policies such as government procurement of independent innovative products, and promote the industrialization and large-scale application of scientific and technological achievements. The third is to increase the financial market and financial tools to support technological innovation. Establish and improve the credit product system covering the entire life cycle of technology-based enterprises, give play to the direct financing role of multi-level capital markets for technology-based enterprises, play the leading role of government entrepreneurship guidance funds and achievement transformation funds, and improve the construction of the entire chain of entrepreneurial incubation carriers. Promote diversified technological innovation and entrepreneurship. The fourth is to strengthen the creation, application and protection of intellectual property rights, guide various innovation entities to strengthen patent layout in key frontier areas, strengthen intellectual property transactions and operational services, and stimulate the innovation potential of the entire society with a complete intellectual property protection system.”

He ends with this: “Scientific and technological innovation shoulders a major historical mission in the overall strategy of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and plays a key role in responding to the world’s unprecedented changes in a century. We must unite more closely around the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, unswervingly follow the path of independent innovation with Chinese characteristics…”

Here’s what was covered on the international page: