|To support us with a donation? Click here!Dialogue China BriefingTalking About China NowIssue 112 – July 15, 2022In This IssueThe articles shared here do not necessarily reflect the views of the briefing or Dialogue China. All articles sourced from WeChat public accounts unless otherwise noted.I. Dialogue China Opinions1. Is Li Keqiang Really Going to Succeed Xi Jinping?II. Policy2. Tangshan Beating Incident is Shocking. Building a Civilized Society Requires Protecting the Public’s Sense of Security3. Illegal Abuse of COVID-19 “Red Health Code” Incident is a Serious Erosion of the Trust of Hundreds of Millions of PeopleIII. Politics4. How to View China’s Participation in African Affairs5. The Peace Dividend Has Ended, and China is Now Forced to Prepare for Full DecouplingIV. Finance and Business6. The US – China Technology War Has Helped Us See Many Problems at OnceDialogue China Opinions1. Is Li Keqiang Really Going to Succeed Xi Jinping?Wang Dan – RFA Commentary – May 18, 2022For some time now, the Internet has been abuzz with rumors of a serious power struggle within the top echelons of the Chinese Communist Party, with Xi Jinping being forced out of power and Li Keqiang replacing him as the new top leader, and so on. In the midst of China’s economic slowdown, even the mainstream Western media outlet The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Li Keqiang – the once marginalized Premier of the State Council –is strongly urging President Xi Jinping to roll back the policies that partially led to this situation, saying that Li has “stepped out of Xi Jinping’s shadow.”|
This speculation of the outside world and international media is not without foundation, and some unusual signs can indeed be seen in China’s official media. For example, on May 14, 2022, Xinhua News Agency published the full text of Li Keqiang’s more than 8,000 word speech at the State Council’s fifth work conference on honest and clean government on April 25. The theme was theoretically honest and clean government, but Li Keqiang strongly emphasized China’s economic problems in the meeting. He stressed that keeping the economy running smoothly is not only an economic issue, but also a matter of social stability.
At the same time, it is worth noting that he largely steered clear of the subject of political problems. He said: The government should be the guardian of fair and just competition, which is also an important basis for honest and clean governance. There is a lot of power in the allocation of public funds and resources, and if there is a lack of fairness, it will breed corruption. He also said that political power is a “double-edged sword.” If used well, it benefits the nation and the people. If not used well, it harms others and one’s self.
Obviously, Li Keqiang is deliberately highlighting the seriousness of the economic problems, which of course implies criticism of Xi Jinping’s economic decisions. It is easy to associate Xi Jinping’s “common prosperity” and the effects of industrial restructuring, which have threatened China’s economic development and employment situation. Li Keqiang’s aim is to take back leadership on economic issues. Now, it seems that he has achieved his goal. That is why The Wall Street Journal reported that Li Keqiang had stepped out of Xi Jinping’s shadow. But I think it only means that Li Keqiang has gained a louder voice in economic policy making. If this is interpreted as the Communist Party deciding to replace Xi Jinping with Li Keqiang, the evidence to the contrary cannot be ignored.
One example of counter evidence is that the recently published document “Opinions on Promoting the Construction of Urbanization with County Cities as Important Vehicles” was jointly issued by the General Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the General Office of the State Council. Obviously, the Central Committee of the Communist Party has not been deprived of the right to speak on economic decisions.
The second example of counter evidence is: In his speech on April 25, Li Keqiang stressed the need to strengthen political leadership and political responsibility. The government system should explicate political goals clearly, have a deep understanding of the decisive significance of the “two establishes,” strengthen the “four consciousnesses,” steadfastly support the “four self-confidences,” achieve the “two safeguards,” and always in ideology, politics, and action maintain a high degree of consistency with the Communist Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core. From this long-standing political rhetoric, we see no sign that Xi Jinping has lost power.
The third example of counter evidence is that the official Communist Party mouthpiece magazine Seeking Truth has just published an article by Xi Jinping entitled “Correctly Understanding and Grasping the Major Theoretical and Practical Issues of China’s Development.” This is a speech he made at the Central Economic Work Conference in late 2021, and it is now published in Seeking Truth, which has a strong political connotation of maintaining stability and proving to the outside world that Xi Jinping’s position has not suffered a major blow.
There is a lot of speculation about Li Keqiang’s recent increased activity, but if you know the past history, you will not be too surprised. When Wen Jiabao was about to step down as prime minister, he was even more extreme than Li Keqiang, speaking openly about the need to prevent a recurrence of the Cultural Revolution, but he still stepped down in the end. I believe that the recent increased activity of Li Keqiang is an indication that he is about to step down. His “when people are about to die, they seek to speak good words” performance is an attempt by Li Keqiang to burnish his reputation. There is also a possibility that Li Keqiang is raising his voice to fight for his own approved successor as prime minister to continue his policy line.
One of my friends on Twitter said: “Li Keqiang will be retiring soon, and his activities are being done with Xi Jinping’s permission, in hope that he can improve the current economic predicament. As for other interpretations, it is really making a mountain out of a molehill.” I strongly agree with this view.【Back to Top】Policy2. Tangshan Beating Incident is Shocking; Building a Civilized Society Requires Protecting the Public’s Sense of SecurityXin Shengzhi – Southern Weekend – June 11, 2022Why Read This?
Such extreme incidents are not simply picking quarrels and provoking trouble. They not only challenge the rule of law, but also undermine the public’s sense of security as society continues to advance in civility. We cannot help but worry that such a thing will befall any of us personally. In the future, will people still dare to go out to eat late or even just go out walking? Each part of the country needs to function in an orderly manner to safeguard a civilized society, and every part of society that desires civility needs to do its part and work together to build it.（Read the full text）
【Back to top】Policy3. Illegal Abuse of COVID-19 “Red Health Code” Incident is a Serious Erosion of the Trust of Hundreds of Millions of PeopleXu Ke – Jinan Academic Journal – June 15, 2022Why Read This?
Recently, a news story about depositors in a bank in Henan Province having “difficulty withdrawing money” because they were issued red health codes has aroused strong concern. As a digital infrastructure for pandemic prevention and control, health codes play an important role, but they are also raising concerns. The red health code incident has caused many people to worry about the illegal abuse of health codes. So, how should we understand the controversy over the practice of digital pandemic prevention? Confronting the health code abuse that has already occurred, how should the misuse of health codes be regulated to avoid more serious consequences?（Read the full text）
【Back to top】Politics4. How to View China’s Participation in African AffairsDing Jin – National Politics Scholar – May 25, 2022Why Read This?
Since China’s “Go Global Strategy” was introduced in 1999, the policy has become increasingly influential in Africa. The image of China’s involvement in African affairs has been contrasted with the “Africa – West” relationship. Many tend to view China’s involvement in Africa from a Western perspective, especially when it is labeled as so-called “neo-colonialism” and development cooperation. The author highlights the shortcomings, limitations, and risks of this Eurocentric approach and outlines better alternatives for understanding China’s engagement in Africa.（Read the full text）
【Back to top】Politics5. The Peace Dividend Has Ended, and China is Now Forced to Prepare for Full DecouplingCheng Yawen – Beijing Cultural Review – June 2, 2022Why Read This?
Since the dramatic 2018 change in circumstances between China and the United States, the world situation has been in turmoil, and all kinds of “decoupling theories” have come into fashion at home and abroad. In particular, since the outbreak of conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the international community has separated into different interest groups, and the United States is targeting China from all angles of internal affairs and foreign relations. Although many people think that globalization is irreversible, and do not believe that there will come a day of full decoupling, what should we do if a full decoupling does occur in the future?（Read the full text）
【Back to top】Finance and Business6. The US – China Technology War Has Helped Us See Many Problems at OnceZhou Luming – Tide of Thought – June 19, 2022Why Read This?
After a round of technology war between China and the United States, we find that China’s scientific research institutions – in meeting government needs (security, public services) – has accomplished some good things. But its support of industry is not as good as it could be. Our mission of innovation is stuck at the level of “innovation that changes lives,” and this pattern limits our thinking. This time the Americans have “helped” us define a number of “bottle neck” technical problems, and the scientific problems that arise from them.（Read the full text）
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