|To support us with a donation? Click here!Dialogue China BriefingWhat China Is ReadingIssue 103 – March 1, 2022In This IssueThe 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. Dialogue China Opinions1. Xi Jinping Lowers His Posture and Reduces His Profile Across the Board?II. Policy2. Xi’an “Lockdown Management” 24 hours: Stocking up, Studying for Exams, Drug Delivery, Scanning Codes3. 800 Million Peasants? No Children from Poor Families? Hollowing Out? Three Misconceptions about Chinese FarmersIII. Politics4. The Hidden Logic of Trade and Human RightsIV. Finance and Business5. The Country’s First Prefecture Level City to Stop Recruiting Civil Servants, the Deeper Risks Behind it are Alarming6. Why Does China’s Birth Rate Continue to Decline?Dialogue China Opinions1. Xi Jinping Lowers His Posture and Reduces His Profile Across the Board?Wang Dan – Dialogue China – March 1, 2022On January 17, 2022 Xi Jinping delivered a video speech at the annual Davos Economic Forum. It is worth noting that – compared to a year ago – his speech did not repeat the lofty term “global governance.” Instead, he expressed hope that major developed countries would “adopt responsible economic policies.” We believe that the significant changes in the global situation and Chinese landscape over the past year have compelled Chinese Communist Party leaders to abandon their stance of striving for supremacy, and instead attempt to retain foreign investment by recommitting to “reform and opening up.” Specific analysis is as follows:|
A year ago, on January 25, 2021, Xi Jinping also made a video speech at the Davos Economic Forum, which China’s official Xinhua News Service reported was entitled: “Let the Torch of Multilateralism Light the Way for Humanity.” Xinhua added the sub headline: “Stressing that to solve the issues of the times, we must safeguard and practice multilateralism and promote the construction of a community of common destiny for mankind.” At that time, Xi Jinping’s remarks were mainly a high profile public shout out to President Biden that he was ready to fully participate in and even lead “global governance” on an equal footing. A year later, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Xi Jinping’s speech entitled: “Firmly confident, boldly moving forward to create a better world in the post-epidemic era,” and also placed it in the top headline, but with much reduced content, saying only “Let the sunshine of hope shine on humanity, China is confident in offering the world an efficient, secure and brilliant Winter Olympic Games. Taking the pulse of the changes of the times and charting the right path for the people.” Obviously, Xi dares not continue to claim in a lofty tone to “solve the problems of the times” and “build a community of common destiny for mankind.” With the failed hope of “the East is rising and the West is declining,” it seems that the desire of the Chinese Communist Party leaders to try to direct the thinking of the rest of the world has disappeared as well.
In his speech a year ago, Xi said that “the essence of multilateralism is that international affairs should be handled by all of us, and the fate of the world’s future should be in the hands of all countries,” that “there should be no global power monopoly,” that “no one or a few countries should give orders,” that “whoever has the biggest arms and fists should not be in charge,” and that “the global governance system should be reformed and improved.” The speech a year later only said, “abandon Cold War mentality to achieve peaceful coexistence, mutual benefit and win-win,” “there are inevitably contradictions and differences between countries, but engaging in a zero-sum game of ‘you lose, I win’ is not helpful,” and “We must insist on dialogue, not confrontation.”
In our view, the Chinese Communist Party has been provoking the United States and the West for years, and finally saw the difference in actual strength. Although the Chinese Communist Party leader’s speech contained a reference to opposing “hegemonism and power politics,” he clearly began to lower his profile, and the lofty, high-sounding words “global governance” of a year ago are completely gone. Xi Jinping’s speech also included references to: “All sorts of efforts to encircle and contain, suppress and even confront us,” and “one hundred harms and no benefits.” These words point out the essence of China’s continuous international isolation over the past year, and the reluctant reversion to a lower profile.
In his speech a year ago, Xi Jinping declared that China had completely “escaped poverty.” But this year the subject of poverty was not raised again. The speech a year ago also stated that China has “a huge market advantage and latent domestic demand capacity” and “injects additional momentum into the world’s economic recovery and growth.”
The speech a year later only said, “Although under great pressure from changes in the domestic and external economic environment, the fundamentals of China’s economy, which is strong and full of long-term positive potential, remain unchanged. The speech a year ago also said that “China will continue to promote science and technology innovation, increase investment in science and technology, and construct a new development pattern and realize high-quality development.” A year later, he stopped talking about science and technology innovation and only said that he would “steadfastly promote reform and opening up” and “welcome all kinds of capital investment to operate legally and in accordance with regulations in China.”
Conclusion: In our opinion, Xi Jinping’s low profile speech may be a last minute campaign for the Beijing Winter Olympics. But it may also indicate that the internal power struggle in the leadup to this autumn’s 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is indeed treacherous, and reflects the reluctant reality of the Communist Party being beset with difficulties at home and abroad.【Back to Top】Policy2. Xi’an “Lockdown Management” 24 hours: Stocking up, Studying for Exams, Drug Delivery, Scanning CodesHuang Sizhuo, Song Bingchen – Southern Weekend – December 2, 2021Why Read This?
After the city-wide lockdown of Xi’an, a dialysis patient got a certificate from his work unit and hospital in advance in order to get in and out of the area smoothly. “It is better to have all the certificates than none at all.” However, when communicating with patients, he realized that the biggest problem was that public transportation was halted and he did not have a private car, so how could he get to the hospital? In the era of the epidemic, health code has become one of the most important proofs of passage.（Read the full text）
【Back to top】Policy3. 800 Million Peasants? No Children from Poor Families? Hollowing Out? Three Misconceptions about Chinese FarmersZhu Guanglei, Pei Xinwei – Beijing Teacher’s University Journal – December 22, 2021Why Read This?
At present, there are three kinds of over interpretation or misunderstanding about the situation of “peasants” in China: First, it is believed that “it is no longer possible to produce noble children from a cold family,” which is actually due to the rapid decline of the proportion of the rural household registration population in the total population. Second, it is believed that “class consolidation” – which actually means that most of the rural youths have gone to the rural worker class and the individual laborer class, and there is still high mobility in Chinese society. Third, it is believed that “the rural population is hollowing out,” which is actually an objective law and inevitable result of economic and social development.（Read the full text）
【Back to top】Politics4. The Hidden Logic of Trade and Human RightsQiang Shigong – Beijing Cultural Review – January 8, 2022Why Read This?
After the Biden administration took office in early 2021, the United States’ strategy of encircling China took a subtle turn: with the speculation over the “Xinjiang cotton” incident as the starting point, the conflict between American and Chinese values became increasingly intense. Despite the hopes of many enlightened people that the Biden administration would change the negative impact of populism during the Trump presidency, the Biden administration’s stirring up of Chinese affairs in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Xinjiang, and its intentional exclusion of China and other countries from the “Global Summit for Democracy,” have exacerbated the value rift between the two countries.（Read the full text）
【Back to top】Finance and Business5. The Country’s First Prefecture Level City to Stop Recruiting Civil Servants, the Deeper Risks Behind it are AlarmingZhang Ming, Kong Dapeng – Liaoning University Journal – December 26, 2021Why Read This?
Recently, from Bazhou, Hebei Province to generate revenue arbitrary charges and fines and apportionment of more than 60 million, to many places within the system staff pay cuts, and then Heilongjiang Hegang announced financial restructuring to suspend recruitment of civil servants, “the local government has no money.” So, what is the current financial situation of local governments? How should the local government debt crisis be solved?（Read the full text）
【Back to top】Finance and Business6. Why Does China’s Birth Rate Continue to Decline?Cui Huiying – Southern Weekend – January 22, 2022Why Read This?
The declining number of women of reproductive age in China is an important factor contributing to the declining number of births. 2016-2020 will see an average annual decline of 3.4 million women aged 20-34 in their prime reproductive years, and 4.73 million fewer in 2021 compared to 2020. Most current overseas studies suggest that the impact of the Novel Coronavirus pandemic on fertility is negative. Population regeneration is different from material regeneration in that it has a long cycle and many influences, and the factors involved in fertility decisions are complex and multifaceted.（Read the full text）
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