No. 12 | 12.09.2021
Why the Taiwan question is essential to China’s national rejuvenation
Wang Yingjin (王英津) is a professor in the Department of Political Science, School of International Studies, and director of the Research Center for Cross-Strait Relations, Renmin University of China.
In his analysis of Xi Jinping’s speech at the CPC’s centenary ceremony, Wang Yingjin points out that the Chinese government will further focus on resolving the Taiwan question to achieve cross-strait reunification. Different from the previous strategies which prioritized opposing “Taiwan’s independence”, the current one turns to promoting reunification while opposing the island’s independence and interference by external forces. According to Xi’s remarks, “The Taiwan question originated during a time of national weakness and disorder, and will inevitably end with national rejuvenation.” Wang argues that complete reunification is crucial to the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, which cannot be achieved by 2050 as long as the territory continues to be subjected to foreign interference. Wang also asserts that the central point of “profound changes unseen in a century” (百年变局 bǎinián biànjú) lies in the fight over the strategic position between China and the US with the Taiwan question at the core. As China becomes increasingly stronger, it will no longer allow the US and Taiwan authorities to take advantage of the so-called “unsinkable aircraft carrier” to jeopardize China’s sovereignty, security, and the development interests. In fact, US interference will only make China more determined to fulfill the mission of national reunification.
Why is China establishing the Beijing Stock Exchange?
Li Jinhua (李金华) is a researcher at Institute of Quantitative and Technological Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
On September 2nd, China announced the establishment of the Beijing Stock Exchange to create a main venue serving innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Xi Jinping’s declaration of the news reflects the importance the country is placing on innovative SMEs. Professor Li calls the SMEs with core technological capabilities “the little giants”, which he predicts will become an important influence on China’s manufacturing power strategy. Chinese governments at different levels have implemented a variety of policies to bolster the competitiveness of innovative SMEs since 2013. For example, through building innovative demonstration centers, nearly 2000 innovative SMEs have been incubated and added to “the little giant list” from 2019 to 2020. However, predominated by private companies, innovative SMEs have been facing difficulties since 2016, including declining profitability and higher financing costs. Global protectionism and COVID-19 have particularly made it more difficult for export-oriented SMEs. Also, at the low end of the industrial chain, the little giants are encountering the risk of being overtaken by the competitors. Li suggests that the little giants should enhance core technologies and focus on their core business, and that Chinese governments should help them become leaders in their field by facilitating collaboration between the little giants domestically and internationally. Meanwhile, financial institutions should create a multi-dimensional financial service system tailored for the little giants. This is the reason behind the creation of the new bourse.
The role of public housing in achieving common prosperity
Zhao Yanjing (赵燕菁) is a professor at Xiamen University and vice chairman of Urban Planning Society of China.
In a recent interview, Zhao Yanjing points out the cause of growing wealth gap is rooted in the difference in people’s ability to earn capital income. In China, whether one owns a residential property or not is a decisive factor. Housing serves as “an easy access to social wealth” since it accounts for an overwhelming share of personal wealth, with the net value of properties for urban residents accounting for 70% of the household wealth. For homeowners, it is much easier to achieve wealth growth through property appreciation than that through wage income increase in the primary distribution. Housing, as a capital asset, therefore, should be accessible to more people to narrow the gap. For this reason, it is urgent to increase the supply of public housing and allow the beneficiaries to monetize them when necessary. When it comes to China’s policies of regulating real estate speculation and the tightening of lending to real estate developers, Zhao stresses that the real estate market is a driving force of China’s economic growth. Therefore, there could be serious consequences if inappropriate policies are put in place. Specifically, if China’s real estate market collapses, it would put the country on the losing side in Sino-U.S. tension. According to Zhao, the correct path is to adopt a two-track plan where governments and markets can play their own roles, that is, to provide more public housing while stablilizing commercial housing price through policy.
Five ways that China can improve the education quality and make access more equitable
Lu Yi (陆一）is an associate research fellow and deputy director of the Higher Education Policy Institute at Fudan University.
The booming tutoring industry has been exacerbating education inequity and increasing the burden on school students. The Chinese government issued regulations last month to address the problem. Lu Yi suggests five ways that China can improve quality and equity in education. Firstly, public schools should become quality education providers that offer high quality curricula and host top competitions, which currently favor private tutorial school students. Secondly, since teachers are central to ensuring quality education, local governments should improve their working conditions and salaries to motivate their enthusiasm to work. Thirdly, objective examinations should play a pivotal role in selecting top students so that a level-based teaching approach can be implemented according to student aptitude and ability (因材施教 yīn cái shī jiào). The author emphasizes that education is not a private matter but is also linked to the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. According to Lu, China should learn from the failure of Japan’s” Yutori education”, which reduces class hours and the content of the curriculum in primary education, resulting in drops in scholastic ability, and recommends that China’s education system should keep a balance between education equity and the selection of outstanding talents.
Remembering Mao Zedong on the 45th anniversary of his death through the books that he read
Chen Jin (陈晋) is former member of Central Institute for CPC Party History and Literature Research, Vice President of Party Literature Research Association of China and president of Life and Thought of Mao Zedong Research Association of China.
September 9th marks 45 years since Mao Zedong’s death. As China’s greatest Marxist revolutionary and statesman, Mao was obsessed with books and read extensively. Among three categories of what he read most, the first was Marxism and Leninism, partly because he thought the theoretical knowledge in CPC was lagging behind the revolutionary practices. The second category was philosophy, ranging from those written by Plato and Hegel, to China’s classics of Confucius and Mencius, and books of Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao in modern Chinese history. As Mao believed philosophy was the thinking tool to change the world, he required all Party members to study dialectics (辩证法 Biàn zhèng fǎ). The third category was history, which includes the history of China and Western countries. The author infers that Mao specifically read books about the French Revolution as it was close to that of China’s in terms of complexity, intensity, and thoroughness. Mao also enjoyed reading for pleasure. For example, Mao quoted from H.G. Wells’ novel The Star when he met the U.S. journalist Edgar Snow in 1936. In addition, Mao stressed the importance of linking reading with solving real problems and “fighting against bookishness”(反对本本主义 Fǎnduì běnběn zhǔyì). Between 1920 and 1930, for instance, he wrote extensive research reports based on dozens of field visits in rural China, which helped him understand deeply the uniqueness of China’s revolution. The author concludes that Mao’s reading experiences and methods can inspire the building of a Marxist “learning party” (学习型政党 Xuéxí xíng zhèngdǎng).
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