Asia Communique

Xi's speech hints at continuity — Missile silos in Gansu province — China's crackdown on Didi — leaked letter exchanged by Imran Khan and Li Keqiang (exclusive) — CCTV military report

Tiananmen celebration of centenary

The top leadership of the Communist Party of China gathered in Tiananmen Square on July 1 to mark the centenary. The party was actually founded in Shanghai on July 23, 1921.

Internationl media pointed out that Xi was playing the victim card by invoking the century of humiliation and other tropes. But most non-China watchers don’t realise that this narrative is the foundation story of the Chinese Communist Party. It’s a very natural sentiment held and believed by the CCP. The party isn’t going to give up on its attempt to rewrite the history books.

Beijing even has a new history museum of the party to solidify a certain narrative of modern Chinese history — especially the “War of Resistance”.

Full text of Xi’s speech in Chinese: Link.

Full text of Xi’s speech in English (Xinhua): Link

A sentence in Xi Jinping’s speech started a controversy.

“during a nationalistic speech marking the centenary of the Communist Party in which he also pledged that foreign powers would ‘get their heads bashed’ if they attempted to bully China” reported South China Morning Post. Similar headlines which read as “heads smashed at the Great Wall” were published by international media.

Here is the original sentence from Xi’s speech:


“At the same time, the Chinese people will never allow any foreign forces to bully, oppress or enslave us. The ‘heads’ of those who want to do so will be crushed in front of the great wall of steel built by the flesh and blood of more than 1.4 billion Chinese people!”

But translation by Xinhua downplayed the severity of the language used by Xi Jinping. Nikkei Asian Review also published this translation by Xinhua.

“Anyone who would attempt to do so will find themselves on a collision course with a great wall of steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people” — Xinhua

The most controversial bit was the phrase 头破血流 used by Xi Jinping.

头 = tóu (head; a suffix which is used with nouns and noun phrases)

破 = pò (to wreack or to break)

血 = xuè (blood)

流 = liú (to flow or to go astray)

A literal translation would mean that heads of foreign forces will be smashed on the Great Wall — rather violent imagery. But some suggested that 头破血流 is a metaphor that harkens back to the revolutionary era and shouldn’t be read literally.

Xi’s use of 头破血流 was a well-received tough talk by PLA and the rest of the audience. Metaphor or not the use by Xi clarifies that he will continue to pursue the policy that he has pursued — coercion and Wolf Warrior diplomacy. The audience knew what Xi meant and they cheered on.

Xi Jinping said in his speech that China has achieved the first centenary goal of becoming a “moderately prosperous society”. And, now China will strive towards achieving the second centenary goal which will be marked at the 100th anniversary of the PRC in 2049.

All members of the Politburo Standing Committee were present. Former General Secretary Hu Jintao was present and sat prominently next to Xi Jinping. Former Premier Wen Jiabao was present in the crowd. Former General Secretary Jiang Zemin was missing which fueled speculation about his health.

Xi Jinping mentioned Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and Hu Jintao in his speech.

“The leading Party members group of the State Council met on Friday to study an important speech delivered by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, at the ceremony marking the centenary of the CPC” reported Xinhua.

“Xi's speech is a Marxist guiding document that charts the course for the Party and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups toward the second centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects, according to the meeting” reported Xinhua.

Han Zheng, Sun Chunlan, Hu Chunhua, Liu He, Wang Yong, Wang Yi, Xiao Jie and Zhao Kezhi were present at the meeting.

China Media Project reported about the comments by Li Hongzhong CCP secretary of Tianjin municipality. Li Hongzhon showered praises on Xi Jinping and hinted that Xi may stay in power until 2049.

“But on Tuesday this week, Secretary Li outdid himself in his praise of Xi Jinping. At a special CCP history learning session held in Tianjin to commemorate the Party’s centennial, Li began with more run-of-the-mill loyalty signaling. He urged those present to uphold the “Four Consciousnesses” (四个意识), “Four Confidences” (四个自信) and “Two Protections” (两个维护). These three phrases, known collectively as the “442” formula, are critical to the consolidation of Xi Jinping’s personal power at the leader of the CCP” wrote Bandurski.

A new Pew Research survey suggests that negative views of China’s treatment of personal freedoms are at an all-time high.

“Across advanced economies in Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region, few people think the Chinese government respects the personal freedoms of its people. In 15 of the 17 publics surveyed by Pew Research Center, eight-in-ten or more hold this view. This sense is also at or near historic highs in nearly every place surveyed, having risen significantly in countries like Italy, South Korea, Greece, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom since 2018” said the Pew report.

But the survey also highlighted that views about China’s handling of the pandemic have improved.

“Although negative views of China remain widespread, in many advanced economies, assessments of China’s handling of COVID-19 have improved precipitously. Today, a median of 49% say China has done a good job dealing with the global pandemic, compared with a median of 43% who say it has done poorly” added Pew report.

Best reads on CCP Centenary

The Chinese Communist Party Has Always Been Nationalist — Rush Doshi (Book Excerpt)

The Chinese Communist Party Has Followed Sun Yat-sen’s Road Map — Peter Zarrow

The CCP’s Greatest Strength Is “Self-Reinvention” — Eric Li

China’s Communist Party turns 100: how each generation justifies its rule — Jun Mai

The Chinese Communist Party Is 100. It’s Not Going Anywhere — Yi-Zheng Lian

Life of the Party: How Secure Is the CCP? — Orville Schell

The CCP at 100: How to think about China's ruling party — Rana Mitter

‘“Today’s China is no longer the same country of 100 years ago,” Wang said in Beijing on Saturday. “No individual or force should underestimate the determination and capacity of the Chinese people to uphold the country’s sovereignty, security, and development interests”’ reported Bloomberg.

“The move by Kuaishou, which raised $5.4bn in a public listing earlier this year, comes as China’s tech sector grapples with employees’ complaints of overwork and mistreatment. In January, the news of two deaths at e-commerce giant Pinduoduo further stirred nationwide debate over the notorious “996” schedule of working 9 am - 9 pm six days a week” reported FT.

“Ms. Cai, a former communist and part of the class of offspring of senior CCP leaders known as “princelings,” said more than 40 years of U.S. trade and economic engagement with China had failed to produce a more benign system or a responsible global power” reported Washington Times.

“It isn’t clear how many people have gone so far as to quit their jobs or move out of major cities. Judging by packed rush-hour subways in Beijing and Shanghai, most young Chinese slog away at the best jobs they can get.

Still, the ruling party is trying to discourage the trend. Beijing needs skilled professionals to develop technology and other industries. China’s population is getting older and the pool of working-age people has shrunk by about 5% from its 2011 peak” reported Associated Press.

“Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend the opening ceremony of the ninth World Peace Forum and deliver a keynote speech on July 3.

The forum will be held at Tsinghua University in Beijing from July 3 to 4, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Friday” reported Xinhua.

Wang Yi Delivers Keynote Speech at the Opening Ceremony of the 9th World Peace Forum — MFA China

China’s crackdown on Didi

“Chinese regulators ordered app store operators in the country to remove the mobile app of Didi Global Inc.’s China service on Sunday, dealing a second blow to the ride-hailing giant less than a week after its U.S. stock market debut” reported WSJ.

The crackdown on Chinese companies over data privacy and cybersecurity concerns has been in the making for the last few months.

“The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) ordered app stores to remove the Didi app from their list of offerings, citing data breaches. “Verified complaints showed that Didi has seriously violated laws and regulations in its collection and use of personal information,” the regulator said in a brief statement” reported Caixin.

‘In April, China’s market regulator and cyberspace and tax agencies summoned 34 of the biggest internet platform operators and told them to stop abusing market dominance and cease all illegal activities within one month or face “severe punishment.”’ reported Caixin.
China is also investigating two other companies recently listed on the US stock market.

“The latest action targets two truck-hailing apps operated by Full Truck Alliance Co. and an online recruiting app owned by Kanzhun Ltd. Both companies went public in the U.S. in June. Like Didi, they were ordered to stop adding new users while the probe is being conducted” rerpoted WSJ.

“More than two-thirds of Chinese groups that have listed in the US this year have sunk below their initial public offering price, despite record levels of fundraising, as growing regulatory scrutiny hits investor sentiment”

There are several rumours swirling about what will now happen to the US stock market listing by Didi.

Missile silos in Gansu province

“Commercial satellite images obtained by researchers at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, Calif., show work underway at scores of sites across a grid covering hundreds of square miles of arid terrain in China’s Gansu province. The 119 nearly identical construction sites contain features that mirror those seen at existing launch facilities for China’s arsenal of nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles” reported Washington Post.

“These reports and other developments suggest that the PRC's nuclear arsenal will grow more quickly, and to a higher level than perhaps previously anticipated,”
US State Department Spokesperson, Price said.

“No individual or force should underestimate the determination and capacity of the Chinese people to uphold the country’s sovereignty, security, and development interests.” said Chinese FM Wang Yi.

Wang was speaking at the World Peace Forum organized by Tsinghua University and the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs, a government-run policy group.

India deploys additional troops

Last week, Bloomberg reported India’s deployment of additional 50,000 troops in Esatern Ladakh. WSJ later also confirmed the deployment by citing sources.

“China’s People’s Liberation Army has gradually increased its troop presence, mostly over the past few months, to at least 50,000, up from about 15,000 at this time last year, according to Indian intelligence and military officials. Those moves have been matched by India, which has sent tens of thousands of its own troops and advanced artillery to the region, the officials said” reported WSJ.

How China grew from buyer to major arms trade player — SCMP (Explainer)

“The dates of the agreed 12th round of the India-China senior commanders’ dialogue will be fixed through military channels, but the discussion will be restricted to disengagement and de-escalation of armies of the two countries from general areas Gogra and Hot Springs. The issue of Depsang Bulge will be dealt with by local commanders as it was a 2013 legacy issue, HT learns” reported Hindustan Times.

CCTV military report

[Gansu News] Chen Hongjun: Faith Leaps in Karakorum, Love and Mission Guard the Future — 2 July 2021

Leaked letter exchanged by Imran Khan and Li Keqiang

An anonymous source has shared a letter with me written by Pakistan’s Imran Khan to China’s Li Keqiang about adjusting the payment schedule for a balance of payment related support — essentially a loan by China.

My initial research hasn’t returned any copies of this letter on Google search or social media platforms. If you happen to note any inconsistencies do let me know. I am sharing it with you for research purposes.

Don’t Miss Out

“Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Global Inc. has raised about $4.4 billion after pricing its U.S. initial public offering at the top of a marketed range and selling more shares, according to people familiar with the matter” reported Bloomberg.

“China sent five satellites into planned orbits from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in northern Shanxi province on Saturday.

The satellite Jilin-1 01B, Xingshidai-10 and three Jilin-1 Gaofen 03D satellites were launched by a Long March-2D rocket at 10:51 am (Beijing Time)” reported China Daily.

The mission also carried and launched three Jilin-1 high-definition 03D satellites and Star Times-10 satellites.

“Significantly, the updated National Security Strategy document includes the expansion of strategic cooperation with China and India in the list of Russian foreign policy priorities, with a view to creating mechanisms to ensuring regional security and stability on a non-aligned basis in the Asia-Pacific region” reported Sputnik.

“At least 17 people were killed when a Philippines Air Force plane carrying troops crashed on landing in the south of the country and broke up in flames on Sunday” reported Nikkei Asia Review.

“Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, on Tuesday called for efforts to formulate international rules for cyberspace that are generally accepted by all countries” reported Xinhua.

China’s Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law: Concerns and uncertainty abound — Sup China

“The University of Cambridge estimated that about 65% of the Bitcoin network’s hash rate came from China as of April 2020. Now for the miners still up and running, there’s an opportunity to reap a higher percentage of transaction fees and less competition for the lucrative block reward of 6.25 Bitcoin. At Thursday’s Bitcoin price of $33,455.10, the block reward would total $209,094” reported Caixin.

“The last US troops have left Bagram Air Base, according to a US defense official, marking the end of the American presence at the sprawling compound that became the center of military power in Afghanistan” reported CNN.

Interview: Nobel laureate confident in China's scientific advancements — Xinhua

Social Talk

“The letter from the martyr Chen Xiangrong to his mother is only 5 words” was a hashtag that briefly trends on the top 10 list on July 4. Chen Xiangrong was one of the soldiers who died in Galwan clash.

Lying flat or tang ping (躺平) is once again in discussion after Beijing expressed its unease with this movement. The party wants the young people to be more active rather than taking the 躺平 approach.

Movers and Shakers

The CCP’s Shifting Priorities: An Analysis of Politburo Group Study Sessions — Brian Hart

Off Track Reads

What I discovered on my quest to meet China’s most influential female chef — Financial Times

Shatra Peljor Dorje (bio) — The Treasuries of Lives

Some Chinese shun grueling careers for ‘low-desire life’ — AP News

These Chinese Millennials Are ‘Chilling,’ and Beijing Isn’t Happy — NYT


China Expert John Culver on Beijing's Military Prowess — Intelligence Matters

Visible Development First — Pekinology (CSIS)

Jack be nimble: the Party-State Vs. the Tech Titans — Little Red Podcast

Upcoming Watch

“The Communist Party of China (CPC) and World Political Parties Summit will be held Tuesday via video link. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and Chinese president, will attend the summit in Beijing and deliver a keynote speech” reported CGTN.