|To support us with a donation? Click here!Dialogue China BriefingWhat China Is ReadingIssue 106 – April 15, 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. Will the Chinese Communist Party Learn from Russia’s Failure? Don’t Indulge in Wishful ThinkingII. Policy2. The Logic and Governance Path of “Follow the Rules” in Grassroots GovernanceIII. Politics3. Why “China’s Public Opinion Arena” Has Become the Fiercest Cyber Battleground in the Russia – Ukraine Conflict4. Opportunities, Challenges and Options for China in the Russia – Ukraine WarIV. Finance and Business5. China Income Distribution Report: Root Causes, Implications and Recommendations6. What Does This Year’s Economic Growth Target Mean for Ordinary People?Dialogue China Opinions1. Will the Chinese Communist Party Learn from Russia’s Failure? Don’t Indulge in Wishful ThinkingWang Dan – UP Media – March 25, 2022Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I am afraid that the most important question for Taiwanese is not the progress of that distant war, but whether it will affect the development of the situation in the Taiwan Strait. Or in other words, whether it will cause the Chinese Communist Party and Xi Jinping to rethink the issue of unifying Taiwan by military force. In the United States the same debate is going on, with many experts suggesting that China will be forced to postpone or even cancel its plan of a military solution to the Taiwan issue. At the annual “Two Sessions” of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference held in Beijing recently, speeches on Taiwan also appeared more restrained than in the past. It appears that Beijing has really learned a lesson from the Russian failure. I have a contrary view on this.|
First, if one makes a rational judgment, the Russian defeat in Ukraine is indeed reason enough for the Chinese Communist Party to rethink the option of attacking Taiwan by military force. If the Russian attack on Ukraine was so unsuccessful, then from several perspectives – including the difficulty of fighting across the 100 mile wide Taiwan Strait, the greater cost of Western economic sanctions, and the impact on Xi Jinping’s ruling position if the war is lost – the Chinese side should give up the self aggrandizing idea of reunifying Taiwan by force. However, the outside world should not judge others with their own hearts, and assume that the Chinese Communist Party and Xi Jinping will use normal rational thinking to make decisions. We should not expect rational decision making from dictators and totalitarian regimes. If rational decisions were made, Putin would not have started a war against Ukraine. If rational decisions were made, the Chinese Communist Party would not have had to mobilize its regular army to slaughter unarmed protesting students in its own capital in 1989. It is wishful thinking to hope that a totalitarian regime will think and act rationally.
Second, it is almost impossible for Xi Jinping to abandon resolving the Taiwan issue. As we all know, after taking control in 2012, Xi Jinping’s absolute power has inflated his ambition to match Chairman Mao’s, as evidenced by his attempt to renew his term of office as Communist Party leader by amending the People’s Republic of China’s Constitution. In order to be compared with Chairman Mao, and to prove to the Communist Party the necessity of renewing his term of office, he must deal with and resolve the Taiwan issue while he is in power. This is not only his personal “historical imperative,” but also the necessary basis for maintaining his rule. If he does not deal with and resolve the Taiwan issue, even if his term of office is renewed, the necessity and legitimacy of his re-selection will be challenged more fiercely within the Communist Party. In other words, if he does not address and resolve the Taiwan issue, Xi’s renewal of his term of office will not be that significant. Some say that if Xi Jinping successfully renews his term of office, there will be no need to take unnecessary risk on the Taiwan issue. Others say that he renewed his term of office because he fears political retaliation if he steps down. This is not true. On the contrary, if he violates the Communist Party’s conventions by renewing his term of office, but takes no big action in his third term, he will be more likely to be politically retaliated against. It is precisely to avoid being politically retaliated against that Xi Jinping would take a desperate risk on the Taiwan issue as a means of protecting himself.
Finally, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will have disastrous economic costs, and turn the clock back on the country’s development. It is impossible for the Chinese Communist Party not to see this, and not reassess its capabilities, and the result of this reassessment may to a great extent be unfavorable to China. But to think that the Chinese Communist Party will give up its intention to reunify Taiwan by force simply by predicting that a war will lead to China’s economic collapse is a misunderstanding of the Chinese Communist Party. This Communist Party does not care about starving 30-40 million people to death for the sake of its utopian ideals, why would it care about economic sanctions that would bring about the destruction of people’s livelihoods at home? It is true that the Western sanctions against Russia are very powerful, but if the Chinese Communist Party has to choose between “completing the great task of reunification” and “ensuring that people’s living standards do not fall,” it will 100 percent choose the former. In other words, the Chinese Communist Party does not care about economic sanctions from the West as long as it achieves its political goals.
In short, dealing with and resolving the Taiwan issue was, is, and always will be an aspiration that the Chinese Communist Party cannot abandon. Taiwan should not have any illusions. The fundamental way to ensure Taiwan’s security is to increase military strength, psychologically prepare the entire population, and raise the collective will of the people to resist aggression.【Back to Top】Policy2. The Logic and Governance Path of “Follow the Rules” in Grassroots GovernanceChen Peng – Public Governance Studies – March 12, 2022Why Read This?
In the current practice of grassroots governance in China, there is a problem that the higher-level government requires the grassroots government to “follow the rules” in the absence of specific regulations. This paper further reveals the deep seated reasons behind the phenomenon of “following the regulations” caused by superficial factors such as higher level governments not knowing how to handle, not daring to handle, and not willing to handle, and puts forward useful suggestions for cracking the problem of “following the regulations” in grassroots governance, and provides inspiration for dealing with related problems. It provides inspiration for tackling related problems.（Read the full text）
【Back to top】Politics3. Why “China’s Public Opinion Arena” Has Become the Fiercest Cyber Battleground in the Russia – Ukraine ConflictLei Xiying – Political Science and International Relations Forum – March 5, 2022Why Read This?
The Russia – Ukrainian cyber conflict is a rehearsal for China, which shows the increasing international significance and value of China’s public opinion field, as well as its own deficiencies, shortcomings and practical difficulties in dealing with the real ideological international game. In the future, such cyber battles will only become more and more normalized and intense, and it is worthwhile for every Chinese person in the cyber forum to ponder and explore how to effectively enhance China’s ability to play the game on the cyber battlefield.（Read the full text）
【Back to top】Politics4. Opportunities, Challenges and Options for China in the Russia – Ukraine WarHuang Jing – Analysis of Current Affairs – March 18, 2022Why Read This?
Currently, the war between Russia and Ukraine is in a stalemate. Although the situation is not yet clear, the Russian-Ukrainian war has already brought about a major change in the world landscape. How will this change affect China? There are two opposing views on this. One is that this is another major strategic opportunity for China since 9/11 in the United States. Second, it poses a serious challenge to China. The author argues that the Russian-Ukrainian war presents a far greater opportunity than a challenge to China, but how to deal with it is the key.（Read the full text）
【Back to top】Finance and Business5. China Income Distribution Report: Root Causes, Implications and RecommendationsRen Zeping – Zeping Macroview – January 6, 2022Why Read This?
In recent years, China has placed a high priority on income distribution, with precise poverty alleviation included in the three major battles and common prosperity included in the 14th Five-Year Plan, and Zhejiang Province selected as a model zone for common prosperity. Why is there a shift from efficiency to equity? What is the problem of income distribution in China? Where are the root causes? How to deal with it?（Read the full text）
【Back to top】Finance and Business6. What Does This Year’s Economic Growth Target Mean for Ordinary People?Li Ke – Sanlian Life Weekly – March 11, 2022Why Read This?
The Government Work Report of this year’s National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference set China’s economic growth target at 5.5%, which is not an easy task in the current situation. So, when stabilizing growth becomes the main task of this year’s economic work, what will be the impact on ordinary people?（Read the full text）
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