Tracking People’s Daily — Oct. 15, 2020

Manoj Kewalramani
6 min readOct 15, 2020


Page 1: The big story on the front page is about the 40th anniversary of the Shenzhen SEZ, with Xi’s speech being the highlight. Along with the speech, do note that Xi and other leaders honoured Deng Xiaoping, laying flowers at his statue. In PD, there’s a picture of Xi laying flowers. And here’s what the story says: “In the afternoon, Xi Jinping came to Lianhuashan Park and presented a flower basket to the bronze statue of Comrade Deng Xiaoping. Xi Jinping walked slowly onto the base of the bronze statue, carefully arranged the red ribbons on the flower baskets, and bowed to the bronze statue three times with everyone, expressing his high respect and deep memory of Comrade Deng Xiaoping.”

Here are excerpts from Xi’s speech (Xinhua English coverage):

  • “In April 1979, the person in charge of the Guangdong Provincial Party Committee proposed to the central leaders to establish an export processing zone and promote reform and opening up. Comrade Deng Xiaoping clearly pointed out that it is better to call the Special Economic Zone. The central government can give some policies, and you can do it yourself…” That person in charge of Guangdong, of course, was Xi’s father.
  • “Shenzhen is a brand-new city created by the party and the people after the reform and opening up. It is a brilliant interpretation of socialism with Chinese characteristics on a blank sheet of paper.”
  • The achievements in the reform and development of Shenzhen and other special economic zones are the result of the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee, the pioneering efforts of the broad cadres and the masses, and the broad support of the people of the whole country and all sides. Here, on behalf of the Party Central Committee, the State Council and the Central Military Commission, I extend my sincere greetings to all the builders of the special economic zone and all comrades who have contributed to the construction of the special economic zone!

Xi then outlined the 10 learnings from the construction of Shenzhen SEZ. These basically are about upholding the central leadership, pursuing opening, development, people-centered approach, and focussing on innovation. And then he came to the present, talking about “turbulent” geopolitical and geoeconomic changes, along with changes in domestic socio-economic structure, i.e., the principal contradiction and nearing of national rejuvenation.

Consequently, he wants a new structure for SEZs. He called for sticking with reforms, and said

  • First, he called for “unswervingly implementing the new development concept.” This means focusing on supply-side structural reform and meeting domestic demand with high-quality supply; along with this, there’s a call to focus on innovation. “It is necessary to deploy the innovation chain around the industrial chain, forward-looking layout of strategic emerging industries, cultivate and develop future industries, and develop the digital economy. It is necessary to increase investment in basic research and applied basic research, take advantage of Shenzhen’s in-depth integration of industry, university and research, and actively integrate into the global innovation network…It is necessary to implement a more open talent policy, introduce and cultivate a group of international-level strategic scientific and technological talents, scientific and technological leaders, young scientific and technological talents and high-level innovative teams, and gather talents from all over the world to use them.”
  • Second, he backed up the reform and opening process. “We must use greater political courage and wisdom to persevere in the process.”
  • “Third, we must be determined to open up and expand in an all-round way. At present, the world economy is facing many complex challenges. We must not be hindered by headwinds and turning back waves. We must stand on the right side of history, unswervingly expand opening up in an all-round way, promote the construction of an open world economy, and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.”
  • He then talked about innovative urban governance, focusing on people and then the building of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. “The construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area is a major national development strategy, and Shenzhen is an important engine for the construction of the Greater Bay Area,” he said.

“The central and relevant state departments must accurately grasp the strategic intentions of the Party Central Committee, fully support the reform and development of Shenzhen and other special economic zones, and support the deepening of the special economic zones in accordance with the requirements of promoting the ‘five-in-one’ overall layout and coordinated promotion of the ‘four comprehensive’ strategic layouts.”

Next, there’s a story about the NPCSC meeting to deliberate on draft laws. What they talked about was the National Flag Law and the National Emblem Law, the Electoral Law, and the Yangtze River Protection Law.

Page 2: One key thing to note on the page is a piece on Xi’s inspection of the marine corps in Chaozhou. Xinhua reports that Xi told them that “the PLA Navy Marine Corps is an elite combat force for amphibious operations, and it shoulders the important duties of safeguarding the country’s sovereignty, security, territorial integrity, maritime interests, and overseas interests. He called for enhanced efforts to advance the force’s transformation and improve its combat capabilities to forge a powerful troop, with battlewise soldiers, which is integrated and versatile in operation, swift in response, and capable of fighting under multi-dimensional conditions.” The PD piece says that Xi’s speech helped “set clear requirements for preparing for war and set up a clear direction for preparing for war. We must keep in mind the command of the commander, and comprehensively improve our ability to prepare for war. The elite troops who will win the battle will resolutely fulfill the mission and tasks assigned by the party and the people in the new era.” And then it covers people’s responses to Xi’s speech.

Page 3: Foreign Minister Wang Yi has a piece on the page, marking the 20th anniversary of FOCAC. He writes:

  • In 2019, China’s stock of direct investment in Africa was US$49.1 billion, an increase of nearly a hundred times over 2000; China-Africa trade volume was US$208.7 billion, 20 times that of 2000. China has become Africa’s largest trading partner for 11 consecutive years and has contributed more than 20% to Africa’s economic growth for many years.
  • Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Chairman Xi Jinping has attached great importance to Africa’s work, personally put forward the policy concept of true sincerity towards Africa and the correct concept of justice and interests, personally promoted the construction of a closer China-Africa community with a shared future, personally carried out diplomacy with African heads of state…
  • China and Africa jointly formulated and implemented the “Ten Major Cooperation Plans” and the “Eight Major Actions”, pushing practical cooperation to a record high. The momentum of China-Africa’s joint construction of the “Belt and Road” is unstoppable. 44 African countries and the AU Commission have signed the “Belt and Road” cooperation documents with China. A large number of projects including railways, highways, airports, ports, and power stations have been successfully implemented. Development brings significant changes.
  • China has provided a total of about 120,000 government scholarships to African countries, built 61 Confucius Institutes and 44 Confucius Classrooms in 46 African countries, dispatched 21,000 medical team members to 48 African countries, and treated approximately 220 million African patients. , The two sides established 150 pairs of sister city relations. The public opinion foundation of China-Africa friendship has been consolidated.
  • We have always firmly grasped South-South cooperation as the fundamental positioning of China-Africa relations, and promoted the development of the forum in the spirit of solidarity and cooperation. The forum is not 1 to 54, but 54 plus 1…China does not interfere with African countries in exploring development paths that suit their national conditions, does not impose its will on others, does not attach any political conditions to aid, and does not seek private political gains in investment and financing.
  • On the pandemic, he said: “We must accelerate the implementation of Chairman Xi Jinping’s important announcement at the China-Africa Unity Anti-epidemic Summit, and make China’s contribution to the early realization of vaccine accessibility and affordability in African countries. We will continue to provide assistance to the African side with anti-epidemic materials, dispatch expert teams, and assist the African side to purchase anti-epidemic materials in China. We will strive to break ground at the end of this year for the headquarters of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and demonstrate China-Africa’s determination and strength to fight the epidemic with practical actions.”

Also on the page, a story about China being re-elected to the UN Human Rights Council. And then a story about Wang Yi’s visit to Laos.

Page 13: Here’s what was covered on the international page.