Tracking People’s Daily — Dec. 15, 2020

Manoj Kewalramani
7 min readDec 15, 2020


Page 1: If you thought that China is not going to market its success in poverty alleviation as part of external propaganda, then you were wrong. The lead story today is about Xi sending a letter of congratulations (English story) to the International Forum on Sharing Poverty Reduction Experience, which opened in Beijing. Here’s what the letter said:

“China is willing to work with all countries to promote international poverty reduction and build a community with a shared future for humanity, he said. Xi said he hoped that participants of the forum could conduct in-depth communications on poverty reduction experiences, reach broad consensus, and build up more confidence to accelerate the process of international poverty reduction…Xi’s letter expounded the historical process, great achievements and international contribution of the efforts made by the CPC and the Chinese government in poverty alleviation. It demonstrated China’s unswerving determination in responding to challenges brought by the pandemic with the world, in jointly promoting poverty alleviation and building a community with a shared future for humanity…”

Next, Li Keqiang spoke at the OECD anniversary. He told them that “the epidemic has been effectively controlled, employment and economic fundamentals have been stabilized, and China’s economy is sure to achieve positive growth throughout the year…China is still the largest developing country in the world, and development is the foundation and key to solving all problems in China. We will comprehensively improve the level of opening up, build a new development pattern, and promote high-quality development. We are willing to deepen cooperation with countries in the world, including developed countries, to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, so that China and the world can share development opportunities and better achieve mutual benefit and win-win results.”

Finally, some data about electricity consumption across China. The story says that “electricity consumption of the whole society was 646.7 billion kWh, a year-on-year increase of 9.4%.” In terms of the regions, “in November, the growth rate of electricity consumption in the East, Central, West and Northeast regions was 8.5%, 10.8%, 11% and 4.2%, respectively, up 2.8, 3, 3.1 and 0.4 percentage points from the previous month.”

Page 3: A few stories to note. First, a story that contains foreign praise for Xi Jinping’s recent speech on climate change. Much of the rest of the page contains pieces that talk about China’s engagement in Central and Eastern Europe. The China-CEEC Cooperation Progress and Evaluation Report (2012–2020) was recently released in Beijing.

A story on this says “in 2019, the bilateral trade volume between China and Central and Eastern European countries reached 95.42 billion US dollars…As of the end of June, China has cumulatively invested $3.05 billion in direct investment and over 12 billion in indirect investment in Central and Eastern European countries.”

Next, a piece by Stjepan Mesić, former president of Croatia. He praises China’s fight against COVID-19. He says: “The time is right for China to advocate and actively promote the construction of the Digital Silk Road and the Health Silk Road. This will be an important part of global public health cooperation in 2021 and in the future, and an important way to build a human health community…In my opinion, the important goal of foreign policy is to improve human life in a positive way. Both the “17+1 cooperation” and the “Belt and Road” initiative uphold this concept and purpose. I appreciate this kind of cooperation initiative and always give active support. I hope that the “17+1 cooperation” and the joint construction of the “Belt and Road” will inject impetus into the economic recovery of Europe and China in the post-epidemic era.”

Next, a conversation between the defense ministers of China and Japan. PD reports that Wei Fenghe spoke to Minister Nobuo Kishi, the first conversation between the two men since Kishi took office. This is the People’s Daily story:

Wei said that “the defense departments of both sides must maintain high-level exchanges and pragmatic cooperation, accelerate the establishment of maritime and air liaison mechanisms, and actively build constructive bilateral security relations. With regard to the East China Sea and the Diaoyu Islands, China is determined to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. The two sides should focus on the overall situation, strengthen consultations, and properly handle differences. Nobuo Kishi said that Japan is willing to maintain communication with China on issues of mutual concern, strengthen defense exchanges and cooperation, and promote the establishment of direct telephone communication mechanisms for maritime and air communication.”

Now compare this to Kyodo’s report on the call. Nobuo Kishi said that he had agreed with Wei on the establishment of the hotline. There’s yet no date for this. But he added: “I strongly requested that no actions be taken that might escalate the situation.” He urged China to refrain from any “attempts to unilaterally change the status quo on the back of its might.”

Finally, China’s MoFA responded to a new US State Department-funded project that will use satellites to monitor water levels in Chinese dams. Here’s what Wang Wenbin said: “China welcomes constructive suggestions from countries outside the region on the development and utilization of water resources by Lancang-Mekong countries, but we firmly oppose malicious moves to drive a wedge between us.”

Page 7: First, the General Office of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress held a press conference on the results of the 30th Chinese People’s Congress News Awards in Beijing. Some 271 media works got awarded. I need to find this list, so if anyone has suggestions, please do share. Next, a new Annual Report on China’s Legal Construction (2019) has been released. The PD report on this is very limited. So one would have to have access to the actual document to say anything meaningful.

Page 9: A couple of pieces to highlight here. First, Hu Ming writes about rule of law. Hu says: “What kind of rule of law road we follow is directly related to the success or failure of the socialist rule of law. There is no universal rule of law model in the world. If it deviates from the country’s reality and copy other countries’ rule of law, it will have a negative effect on economic and social development. In practice, some countries simply copied other countries’ rule of law models, which not only failed to achieve good governance, but increased social instability.”

He adds: Xi’s thought on rule of law “has continued to innovate and develop in the process of adhering to and improving the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, advancing the modernization of the national governance system and governance capabilities, and becoming increasingly mature.”

Here’s more: “To realize the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, a comprehensive rule of law is an important guarantee. In the new era, the tasks of reform, development and stability are unprecedented, contradictions, risks and challenges are unprecedented, and the people’s expectations and requirements for the rule of law are unprecedented. Only by using scientific theories to guide the practice of governing the country according to law in an all-round way can we better play the role of the rule of law in the new journey of comprehensively building a modern socialist country.”

On Xi’s rule of law, he says: “Fully governing the country according to law is a systematic project, which requires overall planning and pay more attention to systemicity, integrity, and coordination. Xi Jinping’s thought on the rule of law proposes to strengthen the rule of law thinking, use the rule of law to effectively respond to challenges, prevent risks, and comprehensively use legislation, law enforcement, judicial and other means to fight; emphasize the continuous improvement of the use of rule of law and the rule of law to deepen reform, promote development, resolve contradictions, and maintain The ability to stabilize and respond to risks; clearly promote the comprehensive rule of law, the fundamental purpose is to protect the rights and interests of the people in accordance with the law.”

The Eleven Insistences: “Xi Jinping’s thought on the rule of law has systematically elaborated the important ideas and strategic plans for promoting the comprehensive rule of law in the new era with eleven insistences, namely,”

  • insisting on the leadership of the Party in the comprehensive rule of law;
  • insisting on the people as the center;
  • insisting on the road of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics;
  • insisting on ruling the country according to the constitution and governing according to the constitution;
  • insisting on advancing the national adherence to the modernization of the system of governance and governance capacity;
  • adhering to the construction of socialist rule of law system of Chinese characteristics;
  • adhering to the rule of law, rule according to law, administration according to law, jointly promote the rule of law state, rule of law government, rule of law society as a whole;
  • adhering to the comprehensive promotion of scientific legislation, strict law enforcement, impartial justice, universal compliance with the law;
  • adhering to the overall promotion of the rule of law at home and foreign rule of law;
  • adhering to the construction of high-quality rule of law workforce with both moral and talent
  • Adhere to the “key minority” of leading cadres.

Next, a piece by Qiao Maolin on the Party’s organisational strengths. Qiao writes that “the power of the party comes from the organization. A strict organizational system is where the strengths and strengths of Marxist parties lie.” The piece quotes Mao as having said: “A political party must rely on the correctness of its political line and organizational consolidation to lead the revolution to victory.”

Qiao adds: “The Party Central Committee is the brain and center. It is responsible for formulating the party’s major policies. It has the authority to set a certain and final decision; the fundamental task of the party’s local organizations is to ensure the implementation of the party’s central decision-making and deployment. Grassroots organizations are responsible for implementing the decisions and deployments of the Party Central Committee and higher-level Party committees to the grassroots. It is precisely because of the strict and powerful organizational system that our party has a strong combat effectiveness. In implementing the Party Central Committee’s decision and deployment, whether it is the “first mile” of the central and state agencies, the “middle section” of local party committees, or the “last mile” of grassroots party organizations, the “four consciousnesses” must be enhanced.