Asia Communique

Chinese Communist Party's centenary celebrations — Tibet military developments

Beijing began preparing to kick off centenary celebrations on June 23.

“Chinese authorities have closed Beijing’s central Tiananmen Square to the public, eight days ahead of a major celebration being planned to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Communist Party”, reported Associated Press.

But unlike celebrations in the previous years, there will be no military parade, and the public events have been scaled back due to the pandemic.

On June 29, the July 1 medal ceremony was held in Beijing. The July 1 medal is awarded to mark the anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. This year 29 individuals were awarded the medal for their contribution to the party. Those given the award are ordinary party members, and no leaders or military generals were given the July 1 award this year. Interestingly, one of the soldiers who died in the Galwan clash was given the award posthumously. Chen Hongjun, who was a battalion commander, died while trying to rescue another officer Qi Fabao.

Xi Jinping described those awarded with the medal as “ordinary heroes”. Others, such as Zhang Guimei, were awarded the medal for setting up a school offering free education to girls from impoverished families. One diplomat and one individual from the “civil war” era received the medal as well.

Besides the medal ceremony, Xi Jinping also met a select group of party secretaries from various counties.

A large gathering was at the Bird’s Nest was also organised to mark the centenary. The event seems to have been organised instead of the other cancelled events because of the pandemic.

The audience included members of the Communist Youth League and other members of the Communist Party.

“China's system, incorporating Marxist political party theory with the country's realities, can trace its roots back to China's cultural heritage and democratic revolution since modern times”, reported Xinhua.

China also issued a white paper on June 25 titled “China's Political Party System: Cooperation and Consultation”.

The Chinese technology platforms changed their layout to mark the centenary of the party.

Weibo, WeChat, and other platforms changed their layout to mark the centenary.

“29 people including Chen Hongjun won the July 1st medal” was a search term trended on Baidu. The search trend was viewed over 4.76 million times.

“China positive energy” began trending on Baidu on June 25 and continued to trend on June 30.

“July 1st Medal Awarding Ceremony” was the second top trend on Baidu. The trend was viewed 4.8 million times.

“China’s top spy agency has honoured some of its veteran intelligence officers for their contributions to the Communist Party cause on “hidden front lines”, in some cases dating back to the war against Japan.

In a rare public statement, the Ministry of State Security said it awarded medals on Thursday to party members who had served for over 50 years,” reported SCMP.

‘Shen revealed little, however, about China’s push to expand its international “discourse power” (话语权), the strategy that was the focus at the May 31 collective study session of the Politburo. On this issue, the media chief offered only a bland statement of purpose: the CCP must “build a new type of first-class international mainstream media with a strong capacity to lead, communicate and influence”’ wrote China Media Group’s David Bandurski. The article explains Shen Haixiong’s (慎海雄) latest article in Qiushi (求是) about improving China’s discursive power

“One crucial point of breakthrough in reaching this objective, said Shen, was to create “a studio for influencers in multiple languages” (多语种网红工作室)” writes Bandurski.

“A former Chinese Communist Party academic, now a critic of the regime, is urging the U.S. to abandon “naive” hopes to engage with Beijing, while warning that the country’s leadership is more fragile than it appears”, reported WSJ.

‘“Wishful thinking about ‘engagement’ must be replaced by hardheaded defensive measures to protect the United States from the CCP’s aggression—while bringing offensive pressures to bear on it, as the Chinese Communist Party is much more fragile than Americans assume,” Ms Cai wrote. Her 28-page paper is slated for publication this week by the Hoover Institution, a conservative-leaning think tank at Stanford University’ added WSJ.

“Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a joint statement Monday, officially deciding to extend the China-Russia Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation.

The announcement came during talks between the two heads of state via video link,” reported Xinhua.

“China’s leadership is straining to dial back its country’s chest-thumping “Wolf Warrior” approach to foreign policy, afraid it has begun to undermine the country’s interests, according to people familiar with the matter.

High-level meetings about moderating China’s aggressive diplomacy date to April, motivated by concern that the strategy has alienated the U.S. and other countries in ways that risk isolating the Chinese economy,” reported WSJ.

But I have said before that Xi Jinping couldn’t simply ask the foreign ministry to dial down the “wolf warrior” diplomacy. Such an action would make Xi Jinping look weak especially at a time when the Communist Party is celebrating its centenary and the world is watching what Xi and his diplomats will do next. The Chinese hyper nationalists would not be happy if the style of diplomacy dialled down. Therefore, I think we wouldn’t see any drastic change. China will do diplomacy and propaganda work in other languages — besides English.

Tibet military developments

‘Tibet Military District carried out "Top of the snow 2021" "雪域之巅·2021" exercise. More than 1000 top trainers from more than 20 units participated. The primary focus was "actual combat training”’.The details were announced by PLA spokesperson Ren Guoqiang.

“The 22nd meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) was held on 25 June 2021. The Indian delegation was led by Additional Secretary (East Asia) from the Ministry of External Affairs. The Director General of the Boundary & Oceanic Department of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs led the Chinese delegation,” said the Ministry of External Affairs.

“China's military deployment along the western section of the China-India border is a normal defence arrangement aiming at preventing and responding to encroachment and threats on China's territory,Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday”

“China is committed to making greater contributions to world prosperity and development, making greater efforts for international fairness and justice, and playing a bigger role in promoting world common security, State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe said Wednesday”

“Yet the Pentagon continues to rely on backup military strategies while championing the cause of complete withdrawal from Afghanistan, which is then coupled with keeping an eye out on Taliban's advances. All this hints at a complete lack of clarity,” wrote Hamzah Rifaat Hussain for CGTN. PLA’s English language website republished the article.

Don’t Miss Out

“Chengdu Tianfu International Airport in southwest China's Sichuan Province has opened for operations, with a Sichuan Airlines flight bound for Beijing taking off on Sunday morning.

Located some 50 km from downtown Chengdu, the Tianfu airport is the largest civil transport airport built during China's 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020) and the second international airport in the provincial capital, Chengdu”

Foreign Affairs has dedicated its latest edition to China and its contemporary politics. Read the edition here: Can China keep rising?

“China’s strengths as a cyber power are being undermined by poor security and weak intelligence analysis, according to new research that predicts Beijing will be unable to match US cyber capabilities for at least a decade. The study, published on Monday by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, comes as a series of hacking campaigns have highlighted the growing threat of online espionage by hostile states,” reported Financial Times.

“An expert in bat-borne viruses, Anderson is the only foreign scientist to have undertaken research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s BSL-4 lab, the first in mainland China equipped to handle the planet’s deadliest pathogens. Her most recent stint ended in November 2019, giving Anderson an insider’s perspective on a place that’s become a flashpoint in the search for what caused the worst pandemic in a century,” reported Bloomberg.

“There is no meeting planned between U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a G20 gathering in Italy next week, a State Department official said on Wednesday after the Financial Times reported that Beijing and Washington were discussing such a meeting” reported Reuters.

Movers and Shakers

Xi’s Gamble — Jude Blanchette

The Robber Barons of Beijing — Yuen Yuen Ang

How China broke the Asian model — Gideon Rachman

What India can learn from China’s evolving foreign policy — C Raja Mohan

The West Can’t Call the Shots on China’s Agenda — Michael Schuman

Upcoming Watch

Communist Party of China will celebrate its centenary anniversary on 1 July.

“Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, will attend a grand gathering celebrating the centenary of the CPC's founding at Tian'anmen Square in Beijing on Thursday”, reported Xinhua.

Foreign Ministers and Development Ministers of G20 countries are currently gathered in the Italian city of Matera.