DCB #110: Looking at China from the “Putin’s Lesson”

To support us with a donation? Click here!Dialogue China BriefingWhat China Is ReadingIssue 110 – June 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. Looking at China from the Vantage Point of “Putin’s Lesson”II. Policy2. Turn in Your Key and Unlock Your Door, This Hard Isolation Clearly Violates the Law!3. The Constitution Clearly Stipulates “Distribution According to Labor,” Why Do So Many People Not Understand It?III. Politics4. “The End of the Road” or “The Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Revisiting United States-China Relations5. Some Implications of the Russia-Ukraine Crisis and China’s ResponsesIV. Finance and Business6. India Seizes Xiaomi’s $4.8 Billion in Funds, What Signal Does It Send?Dialogue China Opinions1. Looking at China from the “Putin’s Lesson”Wang Dan – Radio Free Asia – May 11, 2022According to the latest news, Russia has been officially expelled from the United Nations Human Rights Council. This is one of the most powerful countermeasures by the international community against Putin’s flagrant war of aggression in Ukraine, and has once again dealt a heavy blow to Putin’s personal reputation both internationally and within Russia. Putin of course has only himself to blame, but a brief review of Putin’s rise and fall as a political leader has lessons for China to learn from.
In the short span of a decade, Putin – who ascended to the leadership of Russia in 2000 – reached a breathtaking peak of personal popularity. This is despite signs of his political regression that have gradually been exposed, thanks to the iron fisted crackdown on Chechnya, the steady macro economic development driven by higher oil prices, as well as the tough guy image created by his Kremlin handlers through television politics. As Russia became one of the BRIC [Brazil, Russia, India and China] emerging economies, the so-called Putin Doctrine became a model for great power politics, and Russia was once filled with hopes of “rebuilding the glory of the empire.” Such a trajectory is in fact quite similar to the Chinese model since Xi Jinping came to power in 2012.
The earliest cause of Putin’s decline from the peak was a series of large forest fires in 2010.* In the face of that huge natural disaster, the poor and incompetent governance of the Russian regime – which was masked by economic growth – was fully exposed and people’s confidence in Putin began to crumble. Everyone suddenly realized that the government seemed to be big and powerful, but whenever there was a serious crisis, it was not able to provide the basic services that the people needed. All the prosperity is Moscow’s, and it belongs to the rich and powerful. This is only a country with a polished exterior, shiny without and corrupt within. I think Shanghai – which is currently experiencing a humanitarian disaster – serves as a similar example.
* In summer 2010 several hundred wildfires broke out across Russia, primarily in the west. They started burning in late July and lasted until early September 2010. The fires were associated with record high temperatures, which were attributed to climate change – the summer had been the hottest recorded in Russian history – and drought. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev declared a state of emergency in seven regions, and 28 other regions were under a state of emergency due to crop failures caused by the drought. The fires cost roughly U$15 billion in damages. A combination of the smoke from the fires – producing heavy smog blanketing large urban regions – and the record breaking heat wave put stress on the Russian health care system. Munich Re [Munich Reinsurance Company] estimated that 56,000 people died from the effects of the smog and heat wave. The 2010 wildfires were the worst on record to that time.
Another key factor that has completely disillusioned the Russian middle class – which once firmly supported Putin – is that Putin, after becoming president and prime minister, did not hand over power to the younger Medvedev as expected, but chose to return to power. This incident has made many people – including many in the system who expected Russia to continue its Westernized reforms – feel that there is no hope for the future. The rise of opposition on the streets – represented by Navalny, who is now in prison – has made Putin’s golden era a thing of the past, and the crisis of his rule has gradually emerged. This is also the reason why he finally took the risk of starting a foreign war in a last ditch attempt to consolidate his rule.
Looking back at Putin’s fall from peak to valley, we can see: Putin really did forge a glorious period for Russia, but that glory was based on excessive debt and over dependence on an expanding economy. The serious problem it brought to Russia was the excessive cost of governance, and the chronic fiscal deficit that resulted. Affording the excessive cost of governance can only be achieved if the economy continues to grow at a high rate, and once the economy slows and the bureaucracy is unwilling to make sacrifices, discontent from within and outside the system immediately erupts. In Russia, the issues of employment and social security, as well as the security of property have become the focus of protests. In short, the contradiction between limited financial resources and the high cost of governance is the dead end of Putin’s model, and the failure to resolve this contradiction is the costly lesson Putin is learning today.
At the same time, we can also see that whether it is the attack against monopolistic interest groups in his early years of ruling, or the call to “rebuild the glory of the empire”; whether it is the killing of the goose that lays the golden eggs strategy of economic development, or the over dependence of the regime on economic stability, or the crisis caused by the incompetence of political governance in the face of sudden natural disasters, all of this happened not only in Russia, but also in China. Such an overlap of trajectories is not a historical coincidence, but a logical consistency between so-called “Putinism” and the so-called “Chinese model,” an inevitable path of development resulting from a mixture of authoritarian repression and personal ambition. In other words, the lessons of Putin today will certainly be repeated in China in the future.【Back to TopPolicy2. Turn in Your Key and Unlock Your Door, This Hard Isolation Clearly Violates the Law!Zhao Hong – Sound of Wind OPINION – April 28, 2022Why Read This?
The fight against the pandemic should be carried out on the track of rule of law, and the adherence to the law in combatting the pandemic is not only to protect the rights and dignity of individuals, but also to use the civil rights system under the rule of law to provide basic restraint and control to the public authorities in emergency situations, so that their implementation can be more proper and reasonable, and gain the real support of the public. It is important to know that the disorder resulting from the loss of the rule of law is a social plague far more frightening than the biological pandemic.(Read the full text

Back to topPolicy3. The Constitution Clearly Stipulates “Distribution According to Labor,” Why Do So Many People Not Understand It?Yan Tian – Law Review – May 16, 2022Why Read This?
The author points out that the laws of China have never regarded the standard of “distribution according to labor” as unchanging dogma. Instead, they start from the origin of classical theories, and constantly reflect on and reconstruct the actual meaning of distribution according to labor in response to the actual situation. The Constitution does not let the distribution of labor fall into the blindness of lacking goals, nor does it “distribute according to labor for the sake of distributing according to labor,” but rather explores the path of efficient, innovative and shared development through distributing according to labor.(Read the full text

Back to topPolitics4. “The End of the Road” or “The Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Revisiting United States-China RelationsGu Qingguo – International Observer – April 26, 2022Why Read This?
The relationship between China and the United States has deteriorated dramatically in recent years, and many people are worried that the two countries will move toward confrontation or even war. In the short term, due to concerns about an accidental outbreak of war and the urgent need for cooperation in specific areas, the United States and China may reach a consensus on issues such as crisis management and climate cooperation. In the medium to long term, given that China and the United States. have many common and important interests in many bilateral and multilateral issues, and that the cost of confrontation between China and the United States is so huge, stability in United States – China relations and enhanced cooperation on certain issues can still be expected.(Read the full text

Back to topPolitics5. Some Implications of the Russia-Ukraine Crisis and China’s ResponsesWu Baiyi – China Commentary – May 16, 2022Why Read This?
In the author’s view, the outbreak of military conflict between Russia and Ukraine has shocked the world. The international community’s reaction to this incident has far exceeded the attention given to all international and regional crises since the end of the Cold War. This incident will have a huge and far reaching impact on the security and development of Europe and the world. This paper aims to go beyond the commentary on specific events, and focus on clarifying the basic logic behind the crisis and summarizing its main insights, which are of practical significance for China to uphold and develop independent and autonomous great power diplomacy and safeguard the fundamental and crucial interests of the Chinese nation.(Read the full text

Back to topFinance and Business6. India Seizes Xiaomi’s $4.8 Billion in Funds, What Signal Does It Send?Stinking Old Ninth Discusses Finance and Business – San Lian Life Weekly – May 12, 2022Why Read This?
Why Read This: In recent years, these Chinese companies which have built up their brand influence overseas, have started to face a worsening external business environment. Since the start of the United States – China trade conflict, Huawei, Hikvision, DJI, etc. have been included in the United States’ entities list* and suffered different degrees of economic sanctions. Some companies that have gained a leading edge in the middle and low end markets, such as Xiaomi etc., have also begun to face suppression from India and other parties. This pandemic, which has lasted for more than two years, has actually meant a reshuffle for the global economy, especially for countries with strong growth potential such as India and Vietnam, which see the pandemic as an opportunity to catch up with China.
* The Entities List is a trade restriction list published by the United States Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), consisting of certain foreign persons, entities or governments. Entities on the Entity List are subject to U.S. license requirements for the export or transfer of specified items, such as some U.S. technologies. However, U.S. persons or companies are not prohibited from purchasing items from a company on the Entity List. Being included on the Entities List is less severe than being designated a “Denied Person” and more severe than being placed on the Unverified List (UVL). First published in 1997 to inform the public on entities involved in disseminating weapons of mass destruction, the list has since expanded to include entities that engaged in “activities sanctioned by the State Department and activities contrary to U.S. national security and/or foreign policy interests.” It is published by the BIS at Supplement No. 4 to Part 744 of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).(Read the full text

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