Tracking People’s Daily — September 30, 2020

Page 1: A couple of stories to note. First, the September 28 Politburo session, which saw Xi stress on the importance of archeology (English version) to better understand the long-standing and profound Chinese civilization. Xi said that “archeological work is not only an important cultural undertaking but also has great social and political significance.” He added “archaeological findings reveal the origin and evolution of the Chinese civilization, its glorious achievements and great contributions to world civilization.” This essentially ties into the cultural confidence node of Xi’s four confidences.

Next, two conversations with world leaders. First, Xi spoke to Argentine President Alberto Fernandez. Xinhua’s report on this essentially refers to cooperation under BRI, on import of “good-quality farm products and high value-added commodities,” and vaccines. Xi also talked about implementing existing major projects. The piece has Fernandez saying that Argentina hopes to deepen cooperation with China in a wide range of fields such as trade, investment, infrastructure and finance, and within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. This is interesting since Argentina is not a formal BRI partner state. Could we see them sign on? And what would that mean for Beijing given Argentina’s financial troubles?

The other conversation (English version) that Xi had was with Vietnam’s Nguyen Phu Trong. Xi said: “China attaches importance to exploring cooperation with Vietnam in vaccine production and other fields, and is ready to offer vaccines first to developing countries after they have been developed and put into use.” He added: “With the profound changes unseen in a century gathering pace, China and Vietnam should adhere more steadfastly to the leadership of Communist parties and the socialist system, uphold the two parties’ high-level political guidance, and maintain inter-party exchanges of theoretical and practical experience, so as to deepen understanding of the basic rules in the socialist cause.”

Finally, there’s a piece talking about an event to commemorate the 100th birthday of Wang Fang. The PD piece says “Comrade Wang Fang was an outstanding leader on the political and legal front of my country’s public security. He was a member of the 12th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, a member of the Central Advisory Committee, a state councilor, and secretary and minister of the Party Leadership Group of the Ministry of Public Security.” Guo Shengkun and Zhao Kezhi were at the meeting, with Guo praising Wang Fang and talking about arming the mind with Xi Thought. What the piece doesn’t mention, and perhaps is useful to note amid the ongoing rectification campaign, Wang was one of the prosecutors in the infamous Gang of Four trial.

Page 3 & 4: First, a commentary taking shots at the US on the issue of Covid-19 vaccines. “Governments, international organizations, non-profit organizations, and companies are actively cooperating to accelerate vaccine research and development. However, on the one hand, some people in individual countries tried to buy out the ownership of the novel coronavirus vaccine developed by companies in other countries and snatch patents for vaccine production. As mankind is jointly responding to severe challenges, those extremely selfish parties who wantonly politicized the epidemic and forced unilateralism have caused serious interference and damage to global unity in fighting the epidemic and maintaining public health security.”

The piece then talks about China’s vaccine diplomacy to say: “This is the responsibility of a major country, and it is a vivid interpretation and active practice of the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind.”

Next, Zheng Shanjie has been elected governor of east China’s Zhejiang Province. This comes as Yuan Jiajun, who was the governor resigned earlier this month and is now appointed as Party Secretary of Zhejiang. Yuan’s an aerospace engineer, he was once the chief of the Shenzhou program.

Pages 15: There’s a piece in which China is attempting to cast human rights issues in the context of the developing vs the developed world. The piece says developing countries criticized the United States, the European Union, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Australia about their human rights records. The piece mentions Iran, Venezuela, Syria, Cuba and Egypt, talking about pandemic failures, colour revolutions, racial discrimination, discrimination against Muslims, and so on.

A little extra: Wang Yi delivered a speech at the Lanting Forum themed “International order and global governance in the post-covid-19 era.” He said a few key things:

  • “Major countries shoulder a unique responsibility to safeguard peace and development, and should not seek their own security at the expense of others’ security or deny other countries’ right to development with bullying practices. China will stay firmly on the path of peaceful development, and work with other countries to oppose the narrow-minded approach that puts one country’s interest first and the dangerous practice of zero-sum game.”
  • “all countries must jointly defend the universal values of fairness and justice. Any attempt to resurrect hegemonism and return the world back to a jungle is doomed to fail. All countries, big or small, strong or weak, are equal members of the international community. All peoples, wherever they are, are entitled to a good life.”
  • “Spreading the political virus of hatred and confrontation is as much a threat to the world as coronavirus to mankind.”
  • “China will continue to pursue a higher level of opening-up across the board, share more benefits with the world, and contribute to global recovery through its own development.”