China Newsletter (Issue 94 – September 15, 2021)

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China Newsletter
What China Is Reading
Issue 94 – September 15, 2021
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In This Issue

The articles shared here do not necessarily reflect the views of China Newsletter or Dialogue China.

All articles sourced from WeChat public accounts unless otherwise noted.

I. Editorial
1. Is the “Afghanistan Crisis” a Strategic Opportunity for China?

II. Policy
2. Behind the Rare Reform of the Ministry of Education: Who is the Real Enemy of Chinese Education?
3. Where is the Possibility of Narrowing the Gap between the Rich and the Poor in China?
4. Control and Legitimization – Analysis of Mechanisms for Establishing Communist Party Organizations in Private Enterprises in China
5. Before and After the Introduction of the Three Child Policy: Thirty Years of Data Disputes, the End of the Seventh National Census

III. Politics
6. Russia and China-Russia Cooperation in the World System
7. The “New Washington Consensus” in the Eyes of China

IV. Society
8. Why Does the Young Generation Not Want to be Industrial Workers?
9. A Potential Dramatic Change that Will Sweep Chinese Society into Two Major Shocks

V. Finance and Business

10. What is the Investment Strategy of China’s Sovereign Wealth Fund?
11. Why Did Pan Shiyi Sell SOHO China?


1. Is the “Afghanistan Crisis” a Strategic Opportunity for China?Wang Dan – Radio Free Asia Commentary – August 16, 2021

After the United States’ military began to withdraw, a dramatic change began in Afghanistan. The Taliban organization began sweeping the country, regaining ruling power. Such a geopolitical change’s impact on the global political landscape is all encompassing. We cannot make too many judgments yet. But one thing is clear, and that is China’s role in the Afghanistan crisis.

What we can say for sure is that the Taliban were able to launch a full-scale military offensive earlier than expected. This is inextricably linked to the support of the Chinese government. The most obvious example was that it was Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi who met with the Taliban’s No. 2 man – head of the Afghan Taliban Political Commission Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar – in Tianjin on July 28, 2021. During the meeting, Wang Yi called the Taliban a pivotal military and political force in Afghanistan, and looks forward to it playing an important role in the process of peace, reconciliation and reconstruction in Afghanistan. Baradar promised that he would not allow any external force to use Afghan territory to do anything harmful to China. The meeting was a shot in the arm for the Taliban. For a world power like China to meet with senior Taliban leaders in such a public manner is tantamount to announcing to the outside world that China recognizes the political legitimacy of the Taliban, which is unanimously seen as a diplomatic victory for the Taliban. We do not care about the other content of the negotiations after the two sides closed the door, just such a statement is support and encouragement to the Taliban. We would also like to draw special attention to the fact that the number two Taliban figure, Baradar, whom Wang Yi met with this time, is said to be likely to become the future president of the Taliban government. If such a rumor is true, then the significance of the Tianjin meeting is even more worthy of speculation.

If you are not forgetful, then you should still remember that before the bloody military coup in Burma, present Foreign Minister Wang Yi made a special trip to Burma to meet with senior military generals. What was said was almost identical to what he told the Taliban above. Just after Wang Yi – on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party – expressed his public support for the Burmese military, there was a military coup and regime change in Burma. Shortly after Wang Yi publicly supported the Taliban on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party, there was a military coup and regime change in Afghanistan. Seeing the two things together, is this really just a coincidence? I am afraid the Chinese Communist Party itself would feel guilty if it said that China had nothing to do with the political changes in Burma and Afghanistan.

Of course, great power politics is supposed to support the enemy of one’s enemy. The United States and China are now in a semi-Cold War situation. China supports anti-American regimes in Burma and Afghanistan. It is politically logical. Stabilizing Afghanistan in the age of the Taliban is in China’s national interest. Politically, it combats so-called Xinjiang separatism and the “East-Turkestan Movement” terrorist organization.* There are also economic benefits to be gained from exploiting the mineral resources of Afghanistan. The withdrawal of United States military forces from Afghanistan appears to be a new strategic opportunity for Beijing.
* East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM).

But is such an opportunity really reliable? Afghanistan is a tribal-dominated political system. The Taliban’s ability to stabilize control of the situation in Afghanistan is unpredictable. And the two more important points of doubt are: 1. Can China really force the Taliban to keep their promises? The Taliban are a religious extremist group, and if they ignore the persecution of Muslims in China, there is a risk that they will split internally. Are they really willing to sabotage themselves for the support of China? 2. Once Taliban-controlled Afghanistan becomes a new hotbed of terrorism, how will China navigate between the anti-terrorist West and the pro-terrorist Taliban? Imagine if there is a repeat of the September 11, 2001 incident that led to the entry of United States troops into Afghanistan 20 years ago. Can China, which provided political and economic support to the Taliban, escape responsibility?

In conclusion, Afghanistan has always been known as the “Graveyard of Empires.” Any power that has attempted to conquer it throughout history, including the Macedonian Empire, British Empire, the former Soviet Union, and the United States all paid a terrible price. Will China be an exception? Let us wait and see. Let us see if the Chinese Communist Party will lift a stone only to drop it on its own feet.【Back to Top

Policy2. Behind the Rare Reform of the Ministry of Education: Who is the Real Enemy of Chinese Education?Liu Yunshan – Beijing Cultural Review – June 9, 2021

Why Read This?
On June 15, 2021, the Ministry of Education issued a news release announcing the establishment of a new Department of Out-of-School Education and Training Supervision. It undertakes the management of out-of-school education and training for middle and primary school students (including nursery school children). This news reveals the high level of concern and intent of the top leadership of the Chinese Communist Party toward the disorderliness of out-of-school education and training. It also reflects the difficult reality of the expanding education market: Education as a core mechanism for shaping social stratification is increasingly changing from “hope” to “anxiety.”(Read the full text

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Policy3. Where is the Possibility of Narrowing the Gap between the Rich and the Poor in China?Wen Chang – Beijing Cultural Review – June 20, 2021

Why Read This?
From the financial crisis in 2008 to today, the consequences of the global economy turning from real to virtual have fully emerged. How to promote social equity on the basis of returning to sound economic development? This is the main problem facing all countries. This article argues: Only with the existence of public property rights can public sharing of property income occur. The author’s opinion is that it is necessary for the country to give full play to the advantages of public ownership, and further solve the problem of balance between supply and demand.(Read the full text

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Policy4. Control and Legitimization – Analysis of Mechanisms for Establishing Communist Party Organizations in Private Enterprises in ChinaZhu Bin – Political Scientist – June 23, 2021

Why Read This?
To better develop a non-public economy, the Communist Party and the government have vigorously promoted party building in private enterprises in recent years. Operator owned and family businesses emphasize internal control, therefore there is a lower probability of establishing a Communist Party organization within them. Enterprises that rely more heavily on government resources are more likely to set up Communist Party organizations. Under the logic of legitimization, the increasing presence of Communist Party organizations in private enterprises will make the difference between different enterprises gradually narrow. This convergence is the result of both a strong national push, and also because the cognitive framework of private entrepreneurs has been shaped by active changes and imitation.(Read the full text

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Policy5. Before and After the Introduction of the Three Child Policy: Thirty Years of Data Disputes, the End of the Seventh National CensusLi Yulou – Southern Weekend – June 12, 2021

Why Read This?
The “single two child” policy in 2013 and the “full two child” policy in 2015* were both decided at the central plenary session of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China near the end of the year. The “universal three child” policy was announced after a Communist Party Politburo meeting held in the first half of this year. At a meeting chaired by Chinese President Xi Jinping, it was announced that married couples are now allowed to have up to three children. The move comes on the heels of China’s once-in-a-decade census, which found that the country’s population grew at its slowest rate since the 1950s. This is the reason the data of the Seventh Census is so important to the introduction of the “three-child policy.” It also clears up the long standing mystery of total fertility data. The authors note that Yang Wenzhuang, Director of the Department of Population and Family of the National Health Commission since 2019, attends almost monthly investigation and research meetings on 0-3 year old childcare.
* The Two-Single Two-Child policy says that if the couple are both the only child in their families, the couple can have two children. The Single Two-child policy says that if one of the couple are the only child in his/her family, the couple are able to have a second child.(Read the full text

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Politics6. Russia and China-Russia Cooperation in the World SystemXue Fuqi – Great Statecraft Think Tank – June 21, 2021

Why Read This?
The Treaty on Good Neighborliness and Friendship between Russia and China is the result of a profound summing up of the historical experience of relations between the two countries by the heads of state and people of Russia and China. Looking at the world landscape, an important historical document signed based on the long-term development interests of each party. The basic principles for the development of bilateral relations, such as “nonaligned, nonconfrontational, and no targeting of third countries,” have shown great vitality in diplomatic practice. It is an important political foundation for the past 20 years of Russian-Chinese relations to reach a new level.(Read the full text

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Politics7. The “New Washington Consensus” in the Eyes of ChinaWang Jisi – Great Statecraft Think Tank – June 29, 2021

Why Read This?
China and the United States need to accept two basic realities: 1. The Chinese Communist Party enjoys great prestige among the Chinese people, and the foundation of power cannot be shaken. 2. In shaping the global order, the United States will remain the most powerful actor. China should comply with [or adapt to] those measures that will benefit its economic development in the long run, international rules for social progress and environmental protection. The United States should reflect on the possible consequences of defending the existing order, and take into account the values of non-Western societies and the interests of countries other than partner countries that share Washington’s values.(Read the full text

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Why Does the Young Generation Not Want to be Industrial Workers?Zhang Congzhi – Sanlian Life Weekly – June 26, 2021

Why Read This?
Low cost labor has for more than 30 years been a manufacturing advantage for China. This advantage is presently disappearing at an accelerated rate. Young people do not want to work in factories, and if they go to work in factories they do not want to stay long. The factories keep recruiting, attracting workers with high short-term wages, but it further increases the mobility of young blue-collar workers. Such a cycle, rising factory labor costs, workers also lose the opportunity to achieve career advancement.(Read the full text

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Society9. A Potential Dramatic Change that Will Sweep Chinese Society into Two Major ShocksFang Ning, Feng Jungong – Beijing Cultural Review – June 12, 2021

Why Read This?
China to build a moderately prosperous society by 2020. This means the arrival of post prosperous, post modern society. Facing such a new social situation, what will happen to the values of Chinese people? What challenges will be faced?(Read the full text

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Finance and Business10. What is the Investment Strategy of China’s Sovereign Wealth Fund?GCCS – Great Statecraft Think Tank – May 29, 2021
Why Read This?
As China’s national sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corporation has two different investment strategies, domestic and international. To achieve the goal of preserving and enhancing the value of state-owned financial assets within the country, therefore, a single significant financial asset investment is implemented. Offshore, a market-based and decentralized systematic portfolio investment management of assets is carried out. In the realization of the company’s organizational purpose, China Investment Corporation has basically achieved the goal of diversifying the country’s foreign exchange funds. Both domestic and international investments help maximize shareholders’ equity, but the contribution of domestic investment is more prominent.(Read the full text

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Finance and Business11. Why Did Pan Shiyi Sell SOHO China?Xie Jiu – Sanlian Life Weekly – June 23, 2021

Why Read This?
With Blackstone becoming the majority shareholder of SOHO China, SOHO China founder Pan Shiyi basically said goodbye to the domestic real estate market for the time being. Compared with the glory days of ten years ago, today’s exit is slightly gloomy. However, as long as you can successfully get your cash in and out, you have in any case been a big winner of the times.(Read the full text

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