Tracking People’s Daily — Oct. 13, 2020

Page 1: A fair amount to note on the front page today. First, there’s a new set of regulations for the work of the Central Committee. This is significant, in that these rules will govern Central Committee functioning and bestow certain powers on the General Secretary. I’ll highlight a couple of these powers below, but I am not sure if these are any different from how things were already functioning. Broadly what matters is the impulse of centralisation of power and upholding Xi’s position, which as you will say below is basically explicitly stated.

So, the front page has a Xinhua report (English version), which says that the “formulation and promulgation of the Regulations is a major event in the political life of the party and the country, and it is related to the party’s long-term governance and the country’s long-term stability.”

It adds: “To uphold and strengthen the party’s overall leadership, the most important thing is to firmly maintain the authority of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core and centralized and unified leadership; to uphold and improve the party’s leadership system, the most important thing is to strengthen the guarantee of the ‘two maintenance’ system.”

The entire regulation is on Page 2. So what does it say? Well they outline the guiding principles, the leadership structure and powers of the leadership. Now how does Xi continue to enjoy great power? The regulations say that:

  • “Meetings of the Politburo of the Central Committee are generally held regularly, and can be held at any time in important situations. The topics of the meeting are determined by the General Secretary of the Central Committee.” “A meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee shall be convened only when more than half of the members of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee are present.”
  • Article 26: The meetings of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee are generally held regularly, and can be held at any time in important situations. The topics of the meeting are determined by the General Secretary of the Central Committee.

Following that, there’s a commentary on the front page of PD. It says: “History has shown that ensuring the unity and centralization of the party is of utmost importance, and maintaining the authority of the Party Central Committee is of utmost importance. It was under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee that the Chinese revolution was able to advance to victory step by step, and the great cause of China’s socialist construction and reform continued to advance.” It then basically says that China’s success in containing COVID-19 is due to the system’s centralised nature. And adds that this calls for a reaffirmation of support for the system, given the challenges ahead.

Next, here’s an example of party-to-party diplomacy, and how China is leveraging its poverty alleviation success to expand global reach. This week, the International Theoretical Symposium on Eliminating Poverty and the Responsibilities of Political Parties was jointly organized by the International Department of the CPC Central Committee and the Fujian Provincial Committee of the CPC. PD says that about 400 political party representatives and envoys in China from more than 100 countries participated. A number of attendees were from political parties in Africa, South America and East Asia, it seems. There’s a longish piece about this on the third page. It says that the participants were very positive about Xi’s letter to them. Xi said:

“We have the confidence and ability to resolutely win the battle against poverty, achieve the poverty reduction goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule, and complete this project for the Chinese nation and human society All are of great significance.” The piece offers a glimpse at the attendees; it’s also interesting how PD keeps carrying praise from foreigners.

Page 3: Two other stories on the page to note. First, Yang Jiechi’s meeting with Serbian president Vucic. PD reports that the Serbian leader “asked Yang Jiechi to convey his best wishes to President Xi Jinping. He said that the development of Serbia-China relations is a firm and independent decision of Serbia, and Serbia will always be a sincere and reliable friend of China. All-round cooperation between Serbia and China is vigorously developing, bringing tangible benefits to the Serbian people. The Serbian side is making every effort to promote the joint construction of the Belt and Road, welcomes Chinese investment, and will continue to expand bilateral cooperation in infrastructure construction, medical and health, digital economy, tourism and other fields, and is willing to continue to play an active role in promoting cooperation between Central and Eastern Europe and China.”

Next, you have Wang Yi meeting with Cambodia’s Hun Sen. Also during the trip, China and Cambodia signed an FTA, Cambodia’s first such bilateral deal. The deal was completed after just three rounds of talks that started in January and finished in July. It is yet to be made public. It also comes on the heels of EU trade sanctions. Brussels has partially suspended Cambodia’s duty-free access to the bloc over human rights violations.

Page 6: A few stories to note. First, the China Broadcasting Network Co., Ltd. held its inaugural meeting in Beijing. PD calls it “an important step in advancing the integration of national cable TV networks and the integrated development of radio, television and 5G construction.” Next, there’s a new legislation in the works to curb food waste. Along with this, there’s an interview with Han Changfu, Director of the Central Agriculture Office and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

Page 9: A piece by Liu Hanjun, from the Central Propaganda Department, on China’s COVID-19 containment success. It hits all the key points of the propaganda, essentially projecting it as China’s national governance capacity’s success and expansion of national power.

Page 11: The Veterans Affairs Ministry has announced 60 newly identified veterans employment cooperation enterprises. Up to now, there have been contracts with 66 companies, providing a total of about 205,000 priority jobs for veterans.

Page 17: PD highlights Lancet’s positive assessment of China’s Covid-19 containment. Here’s what else was covered on the international page.

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