Observers are keeping an eye on this year's "Singles' Day" or "Double 11" (双十一 shuāng shíyī), the massive online shopping festival that takes place every year around November 11th. Singles' Day was originally created by Jack Ma's Alibaba in 2009, which, along with Ant Group, were among the companies targeted by the Chinese government's Big Tech regulations this year. Wu Xiaolin and Ding Anhua believe that as criticisms of fintech firms have been increasing since 2020, it is important for China to remain rational and objective, cultivating a better understanding of the sector's innovation and development. Wu presents three key advantages of fintech firms. Firstly, they serve micro and small enterprises (小微企业 xiǎo wēi qǐyè), which are neglected by traditional financial institutions, at a lower cost. This inclusive service model contributes greatly to the development of China's real economy. Secondly, fintech companies have played a leadership role in meeting clients' needs and enhancing customer experience. They serve people who are "unbanked" (白户 bái hù) – those without accounts with banks or mobile money providers – which expands financial inclusion in the country. Thirdly, fintech companies are driving the digital transformation of the financial system. China is now leading the fintech sector globally, especially in mobile payment, consumer loans and credit, and digital wealth management. Fintech firms, however, have brought new challenges for policymakers, from platform monopolies, personal data mishandling, debt-fueled lifestyles to algorithmic bias. Furthermore, fintech firms could also pose new systemic risks to the financial system. Therefore, in order to mitigate these risks while still encouraging innovation, the authors recommend that China should implement "macroprudential regulation."
As of 13th November 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic has claimed over five million lives with over 252 million recorded cases worldwide. How China handled the pandemic remains an important issue domestically and internationally. Liu Wei and Liu Yuanwen focus on how China's grassroots governance played a big role in the fight against the epidemic in Wuhan in 2020. Even under normal conditions, grassroots neighborhood (社区 shèqū) and subdistrict (街道 jiēdào) communities have long faced the realities of heavy tasks, few resources, and little power. In the pandemic's aftermath, Wuhan demonstrated its ability to improve the efficiency of its administrative system, authority and responsibility structure, and grassroots mobilization, which allowed the city to accomplish extraordinary and difficult tasks. Regarding the first point, Wuhan continuously adjusted its administrative system as the epidemic developed: On January 20, 2020, the Wuhan Municipal Headquarters for COVID-19 Epidemic Prevention and Control (武汉疫情防控指挥部 wǔhàn yìqíng fáng kòng zhǐhuī bù) set up eight working groups, including emergency security, public communication, transportation, and medical treatment; on February 16, four new groups were established in Wuhan, including those responsible for hospital beds and the coordination with medical assistance teams from other regions; and on February 21, a new medical treatment group for non-new COVID-19 cases was set up. Secondly, Wuhan gradually improved its authority and responsibility structure. For example, a large number of Party cadres were sent down (下沉 xià chén) to the frontlines to fight the epidemic. However, due to the hierarchical administrative structure, grassroots staff were constrained in managing the more senior dispatched cadres, resulting in the confusion of having multiple leaders. In response, Wuhan decided to set up temporary Party branches and placed dispatched cadres under the command of community Party organizations. This reshaped organizational structure ensured that the tasks were efficiently executed. Finally, the Wuhan Municipal Party Committee and municipal government published an open letter to CPC members encouraging cadres to play a leadership role in the process. Also, cadres at all levels from the discipline inspection and supervision organs were sent to oversee the work being done on the ground. The mobilization of the Party and its internal discipline made it possible for CPC members and cadres to be dispatched to the ground and fight the epidemic, considered the most important political mission. According to the authors, these factors led to the successful control and overcoming of the pandemic in Wuhan.
At the Glasgow climate summit, China has been the target of criticism, scapegoated for climate change. Wen Jiajun points out that a major reason behind the dramatic increase in China's carbon emissions is because it serves as the "world's factory." Developed countries relocate their manufacturing industries to developing countries, like China, and thereby externalize their carbon emissions and associated pollution. For example, 7 to 14 percent of China's carbon emissions come from producing goods for the US consumer market. With China producing goods for the world, the question of "who really owns China's carbon emissions" needs to be considered. At the same time, there is a huge geographic disparity between high-polluting countries and those affected by climate change. Wen points to the fact that in 2000, 28 percent of global carbon emissions came from North America, but only 0.09 percent from Central Africa, which has been experiencing severe climate-related disasters. Developed countries are home to only 20 percent of the world's population but account for 75 percent of the world's cumulative carbon emissions. The US is the largest cumulative and per-capita carbon emitter, yet it withdrew from all climate change agreements including Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement, until February of this year. Despite being a victim of climate change like other developing countries, China has been fulfilling its emissions reduction commitments in recent years. It introduced the "New Development Concept" (新发展理念 xīn fāzhǎn lǐniàn) that proposes harmony between the natural enviroment and economic development, set the "dual carbon" peak and neutrality targets (双碳 shuāng tàn), and is developing new energy technologies and public transportation. According to Wen, although environmental NGOs have grown in recent years in China and improved public awareness, some of China's middle class still holds the US high-consumption lifestyle as a standard, while neglecting the climate catastrophes impacting vulnerable regions and populations in China. For example, the number of private car owners in China reached 244 million by the end of 2020, with an average annual increase of 13.6 percent over the past five years. Exploring the real possibilities of a low-carbon economy requires breaking away from the "American dream" aspiration and rethinking the type of development that China needs.
On November 6, Chinese e-sports team Edward Gaming (EDG) won the League of Legends (LoL) World Championship, which became an online sensation among millennials. Ma Zhonghong points out that although e-sports (电子竞技 diànzǐ jìngjì) – multiplayer video game competitions – was classified by the government as an official sport in 2003, it still carries the stigma of being a "spiritual opium" or an "internet addiction" targeting the country's young people. The classification has also been subject to great debate, with some arguing that e-sports is just "competition" or "entertainment," while others believing that it is an "intellectual" sporting activity of the information age. Nevertheless, the e-sports industry has been developing rapidly. By 2020, the number of users reached 520 million and the market value exceeded US $15.6 billion. Ma found that e-sports players are mostly young men with middle-level education. For example, the average age of the 130 e-sports players in the LoL World Championship last year was 20.8 years old, and 82.3 percent were under 23 years old. Meanwhile, nearly half of the players have high school or technical secondary school (中专 zhōng zhuān) diplomas. The young age and relatively low level of education of these players, who are attracted by the industry's high salaries, have also raised public criticism. The average salary of China's 440,000 e-sports professional gamers exceeded US $1,720 per month in the first half of 2019, higher than the local average salary. Some well-known players can earn up to US $156,000 per year. In 2017, the Ministry of Education added "electronic sports and management" to the list of university majors, and 131 Chinese universities have offered degree programs so far. The author states that e-sports – as a new profession that appeals to youth and receives government recognition – still needs to be understood and accepted by Chinese society at large.
The sixth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), held from November 8 to 11, adopted the third significant "historical resolution" (历史决议 lìshǐ juéyì). These official assessments of the Party's history address past achievements and future policies. Since its founding in 1921, the CPC has adopted two other important historical resolutions. Mao Zedong's "Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party” (1945) was the theoretical outcome of the Yan'an Rectification Movement (延安整风运动 yán'ān zhěngfēng yùndòng) (1942-1945), criticizing the three "leftist" political lines and affirming Mao's position in the Party's history. The resolution was drafted and revised by Mao personally over a 15-month period. It was the first time that Mao Zedong Thought, as a theory of the sinicization of Marxism (马克思主义中国化 mǎkèsī zhǔyì zhōngguó huà), was clearly presented in the form of a Party document to guide the Chinese Revolution. In this resolution, the CPC carried out it's first "inward self revolution" (自我革命 zìwǒ gémìng) – describing the spirit and practice of the Party in renewing and improving itself. Adhering to the objective of "clarity in ideology and unity among comrades", the Resolution also laid the political, ideological, and organizational foundation for uniting the Party in the victorious war against Japanese aggression. Deng Xiaoping's "Resolution on Certain Historical Issues of the Party since the Founding of the People's Republic of China" (1981) provided a scientific summary of the major historical issues after the founding of New China. This included giving a very positive evaluation on the period of basic completion of socialist transformation (1949-1956) and highlighting the major mistakes of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). The Resolution factually evaluated the historical status of Mao and affirmed the significance of Mao Zedong Thought as the guiding ideology of the Party, emphasizing that his theory should be distinguished from his mistakes during the later years. The Resolution also put forward, for the first time, the idea of the "primary stage of socialism" (社会主义初级阶段 shèhuì zhǔyì chūjí jiēduàn), raised questions about the form of and means to build socialism, and was foundational to later defining the path to socialism with Chinese characteristics. To this day, the two historical resolutions remain an important basis for the CPC – the world's largest political party with over 90 million members – to help build consensus regarding its own historical issues.
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