It’s the Dragon Boat Festival holidays in China. So the edition’s a shorter one. But there are still a few interesting pieces to note. Do check out how a segment from an Economist piece was picked to paint a positive picture. Classic propaganda.
Page 1: The lead story for today is Xi Jinping and Peng Liyuan exchanging congratulatory messages (English version) with Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima on the birth of a giant panda cub in the Netherlands. I kid you not.
From the absurd to something really substantive, here’s a story which outlines data on medical insurance in China. It says that China’s national basic medical insurance now covers some 1.35 billion people, around 95% of the population, as of 2019. It adds that the reimbursement level for medical insurance for employees and hospitalization expenses for urban and rural residents has increased to more than 60%. This is significant progress.
Finally, a piece on the “employment first” policy of the administration at this point of time. The story carriers details of what different provinces have been doing to support employment.
Page 2: Two stories to note:
- A report on the changes to the negative list for foreign investment in China. Caixin’s English coverage offers all the details. Investors will be given greater access to services, manufacturing and agricultural sectors. The total of restricted areas has been reduced from 40 to 33 in 2019. The negative list for free-trade zones was reduced from 37 to 30 categories. This will be effective July 23.
- Second, the State Council’s group on epidemic control issued a new notice on travel. It says that “people with a history of staying in areas with medium to high risk levels must have a negative nucleic acid test certificate or be able to present a health passcode ‘green code’ containing negative nucleic acid test information within 7 days before arriving at their destination.” If they do not have this, then there will be a 14-day quarantine for them. In contrast, “people in low-risk areas holding the health pass code ‘green code’ can flow freely and orderly under the premise of normal temperature measurement and personal protection.”
Page 3: A few reports to note:
First, a report on the significance of the China-EU summit, which was held on Monday. This is pretty standard fare; you get foreign commentators backing Beijing’s views and share those. But what’s interesting is that the piece picks not just European commentators but people from different parts of the world. So the dateline is: Beijing, Brussels, Warsaw, Bangkok, Seoul, Rio de Janeiro and Moscow. This was an attempt to show that the China-EU relationship has global significance.
Second, a report on Wang Yi-Stef Blok conversation. The Xinhua English report is more substantive. Third, Wang Yi’s speech at the UNSC video conference. He basically reiterated the Chinese 4-point proposal of 2017. Here’s the salient bit from Xinhua English:
“Based on the proposal, China would like to emphasize the following four points…Deviation from international consensus should be avoided. The ‘two-state solution’ is the bottom line of international fairness and justice and history can not be reversed, he said. China supports Palestine in establishing an independent state with full sovereignty based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, Wang said, adding that the national rights of the Palestinian people should not be traded. Meanwhile, Israel’s right to exist and its legitimate security concerns should also be fully respected, Wang added. He emphasized that relevant UN resolutions, the principle of “land for peace” as well as the general direction of the ‘two-state solution’ should be observed and reaffirmed. Peaceful dialogue should not be abandoned, Wang said, calling for an early resumption of equal dialogue between Palestine and Israel to rebuild mutual trust, defuse conflicts and find a way to coexist peacefully. In accordance with relevant UN resolutions, the issue of the occupied West Bank should be resolved as soon as possible, said Wang, stressing that the final boundary between Palestine and Israel should be delimited through peaceful negotiations. International support should not be relaxed, Wang said, adding that the Palestine issue should remain at a core position of international agenda.”
“The article points out that China has two major advantages in terms of manufacturing capabilities, which have been particularly evident in recent months. First of all, China has a complete range of industries, and its products span low-end and mid-to-high end. Despite the rise in labor costs in recent years, China’s manufacturing infrastructure is complete, the industry’s supporting advantages are obvious, and its manufacturing capabilities are constantly upgrading. More and more parts are being produced locally in China.”
Alas, the People’s Daily does a selective job on The Economist article, which further states that China’s manufacturing export dominance may have hit a “high-water mark.” It adds:
“Other countries are only too well aware of China’s manufacturing prowess — and that it leaves them vulnerable to critical shortages. That point hit home earlier this year, as they scrambled to buy ventilators and masks from China. From India to Taiwan, governments are offering loans, land and other perks to lure investors. Such inducements have rarely worked in the past, but they stand a better chance now, for three reasons. First, China’s climb up the value chain is squeezing out low-end firms. Many garment-makers have already shifted, in part, to South-East Asia. Second, tensions with America have left companies twitchy. Apple still makes most of its iPhones in China, but has encouraged its suppliers to expand elsewhere. Third, the rolling shutdowns of factories during the pandemic have underscored the danger of being over-exposed to any one country. Evidence of the shifting tide can be found in surveys of big companies conducted by UBS, a bank. Among its 1,000-plus respondents, 76% of firms from America, 85% from north Asia (eg, Japan and South Korea) and even 60% from China say they have already moved or plan to move some production away from China.”