Tracking People’s Daily — July 24, 2020

Manoj Kewalramani
5 min readJul 24, 2020


Page 1: A lot of Xi Jinping on the front page today. First, Xi visited the Air Force Aviation University on Thursday (Xinhua English story), as part of his tour of Jilin Province. The visit comes ahead of China’s Army Day on August 1.

He told trainers and teachers there: “the more accurately the academy and the military are connected, the closer the connection between the classroom and the battlefield, and the better the way the talents are trained. We must focus on actual combat and focus on winning, teaching and educating talents, so that teaching is fighting and training is fighting.”

And also: “It is necessary to strengthen party building and ideological and political construction, implement the requirements for strict party governance in an all-round way, and ensure that all school tasks adhere to a firm and correct political direction.”

There was a specific focus on UAVs: “Xi Jinping said that with the emergence of various types of unmanned aerial vehicles in large numbers, unmanned operations are profoundly changing the face of warfare. It is necessary to strengthen the research of unmanned operations, strengthen the professional construction of unmanned aerial vehicles, strengthen actual combat education and training, and accelerate the cultivation of unmanned aerial vehicle use and command talents.”

Second, Xi’s letter to the meeting of Chinese Young Pioneers (Xinhua English story). He called on them to “hold high the flag and follow the party, inherit the red gene, cultivate new people of the era, unite, educate, and lead the young pioneers as successors to the cause of communism, in order to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics and realize the Chinese nation.” He added: “The Communist Youth League must lead the Young Pioneers to perform their duties, work hard, and add a new era of glory to the red scarf.” Xi’s letter was read out by Sun Chunlan (her message was covered later in the paper), while Wang Huning was the senior-most Party official to attend the meeting. I am not entirely certain about the significance of this group, but it seems that the CYL leads them.

Third, Xi and Putin exchanged congratulatory letters at the eighth meeting of the dialogue mechanism between the ruling parties of China and Russia. Xi said that since the outbreak of the pandemic, “China and Russia have been helping each other, overcoming difficulties together, opposing external interference, giving new strategic connotations to the cooperation between the two countries, fully demonstrating the profound friendship between the Chinese and Russian people and reflecting the Sino-Russian relations in the new era.”

He added: “As responsible world powers and permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and Russia should continue to strengthen strategic communication and coordination to jointly respond to various risks and challenges, oppose hegemonism and unilateral actions, maintain world peace and stability, and defend international fairness and justice.”

Fourth, the State Council held the third conference on clean government work on Thursday. Basically, this was about sending a message warning against corruption, misuse of public money, ensuring that money allocated reaches the last mile, and of course, cutting down formalism to ease the burden for grassroots level officials. Fifth, the launch of China’s first Mars mission is named Tianwen-1. The aim is to complete orbiting, landing and roving in one mission.

Page 2: Two things to note, a commentary based on Xi’s speech to the entrepreneurs forum and then a piece about business heads responding positively to Xi’s speech. It’s interesting to note who all have been quoted.

Page 3: A few stories to note:

First, this is the China-Russia Year of Science and Technology Innovation. This story talks about the progress in terms of cooperation in the fields of physics, mathematics, and life sciences. What’s mentioned is:

  • The CR929 long-range wide-body passenger aircraft project.
  • The Russian Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Sciences signed a road map for cooperation in various fields last year. According to this roadmap, Chinese and Russian scientists are conducting joint research and joint experiments in deep sea resources, geographic information systems, neuroscience and other fields. For example, the laser joint laboratory opened in Shanghai is one of the results of the cooperation.
  • There’s a Sino-Russian Mathematical Center set up between Moscow University and Peking University.
  • Changchun University of Technology and St. Petersburg State University of Information Technology, Mechanics and Optics jointly launched a master’s degree education program in optical engineering.
  • There’s a new Sino-Russian joint campus jointly built by Harbin Institute of Technology and St. Petersburg State University in June.
  • Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology is cooperating with genetic experts from the Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health of the Chinese Academy of Sciences to explore new technologies that combine cell therapy and genome editing.

Second, a commentary by Russian analyst Sergey Sanakoev, basically backing Beijing’s policies in HK and accusing the US. “What they verbally preach is international law and international rules, but in fact they pursue hegemonism and power politics,” he writes. Third, a piece by Wan Li, China’s ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire.

Finally, coverage of the China-Latin America Foreign Ministers’ conference. PD’s report says that Latin American “foreign ministers expressed that they oppose the politicization and stigmatization of the epidemic and are willing to deepen cooperation in various fields with China to push the comprehensive cooperative partnership between Latin America and China to a new level.” They all issued a joint statement too, which was carried in the paper. It says:

  • “China thanks the Latin American and Caribbean countries for their active support, and appreciates the open attitude of Latin America in developing international cooperation in the fight against the epidemic. The Latin American side affirmed China’s decisive anti-epidemic measures and achieved remarkable results, and thanked China for its cooperation and strong support.”
  • “We call for maintaining the stability and smoothness of the global industrial chain and supply chain, and support the construction of a universal, open, non-discriminatory, equal, inclusive, and rule-based multilateral trading system.”

Page 11: A commentary by Zhang Hongsen, member of the Standing Committee of the Hunan Provincial Party Committee and Minister of the Propaganda Department. He talks about the significance of patriotic education particularly following the Covid pandemic. And then discusses what they’ve done in Hunan. He focuses on Xi’s earlier comment about making “good use of red resources, carry forward the red tradition, and carry on the red genes.” The objective is to be innovative and “tell the red story well and inspire patriotism.” So there’s bits in there about preserving and popularising historical red sites, using new tech to make displays interesting, and hosting specific events.

Page 16: This is the international page. I didn’t find anything particularly interesting. But it is noteworthy that People’s Daily uses numbers of deaths to lead a story about flooding in South Asia, but it won’t do the same about flooding in China.