No. 03 | 11.07.2021
This Zhou Enlai-led institution is the key to understanding the “new nationwide system”
Lu Feng
Dr. Lu Feng (路风) is a professor and doctoral supervisor at the Department of Political Economy, School of Government, Peking University. He is also director of Leo Ko-Guan Institute for Business and Government
China’s political leadership has proposed adopting a “new type of nationwide system” to “make major breakthroughs and achieve major development,” such as significant technological innovation. In his article, Dr. Lu reveals how the Special Central Committee of the Communist Party of China was the decision-making body behind the historically significant “Two Bombs, One Submarine, One Satellite” project of the 1960s, which is recognized as an example of a nationwide system. This institution, authorized by the top leadership with Premier Zhou Enlai as its director, was responsible for the implementation and results of the project. The Committee reflected China’s nationwide system in its planned economy era. This article examines similar institutions in the United States, like the War Production Board and the Manhattan Project from World War II, as well as the US’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is still active today. Based on the historical experience of China and the US, the author argues that the nationwide system is a unique and effective task-driven system, suitable for both planned and market economy systems.
China’s diplomacy: A new balancing act
Yama Xuetong
Yan Xuetong is a leading expert on China’s foreign policy, national security, and China-US relations. He is dean of the Institute of International Studies, Tsinghua University, and secretary general of the World Peace Forum.
In a July 3 interview, Professor Yan notes an obvious paradigm shift in China’s diplomacy: that China wants to see the world – especially the US – “on equal footing.” In other words, “We will treat you the same way you treat us.” Yan states that China needs to balance its dual identities as an international power and developing country. As an international power, China needs to take more responsibility and protect the interests of other developing countries. As a developing country, China’s foreign aid should not exceed the standard of developed countries (0.7 percent of the GDP). When it comes to “multilateralism,” Yan suggests China should not give up on seeking support from the US’s allies, but at the same time it should base its diplomatic policies on solidarity with developing countries. Yan also encourages the government to reopen the country to foreign talent to cope with the US’s strategy of decoupling its supply chain from China.
From idealism to scientific socialism: Young Mao Zedong’s path to ideological transformation
Qiushi Society at Tsinghua University
The Qiushi Society at Tsinghua University is a theoretical study group organized by students under the guidance of the university’s committee. The society carries out theoretical studies and social practices and makes in-depth analysis of economic and geopolitics with a Marxist perspective.
As a young man, Mao Zedong began developing his practice and beliefs and accumulating the experience and knowledge required to become a great Marxist. Mao’s ideological views were idealistic in his early twenties; he believed social transformation mainly depended on philosophy and ethics. As part of the intellectual community, he was far removed from the realities of material production. Around the time of the October Revolution in Russia, when Marxism and other socialist ideas were introduced into China, Mao initially believed in anarchism and utopian socialism and did not support the violent revolutions advocated by Marxism. He lived in an experimental “new village” in Hunan province (like Robert Owen’s utopian socialist communities of the 1820s) and proposed building the “Republic of Hunan.” But when this “bloodless revolution” of the 1920s failed due to suppression by warlords, Mao realized the reality that Marxism’s violent revolution was “the only alternative when all the other ways didn’t work.” From then on, Mao Zedong established his faith in scientific socialism and remained a believer for the rest of his life.
The Defender of the Revolution: The history and origin of China’s public security system
Liu Zhong
Dr. Liu Zhong, JD, is a professor at the Institute of Legislative Studies, School of Law, Sun Yat-sen University. His field of research is jurisprudence.
Premier Zhou Enlai once said public security is an important component of national security. In this article, Dr. Liu examines the historical origins of China’s public security (police) system. He points out that, unlike the British police system, which formed the basis for the modern Western police system and serves to protect people’s private property rights, China’s modern public security system carries forward the institutional features of the revolutionary army’s defense forces. Equipped with fighting capacities and acute friend-or-foe judgment, the revolutionary defense forces served to protect the revolutionary achievements and defend national security. After the founding of the PRC, the public security system was given high priority. It gradually developed into the current system of “greater public security,” characterized by: (1) high personnel and political standards, giving the public security system the highest rank among China’s political and legal institutions; (2) broader power and fewer procedural restrictions because of a high degree of trust; and (3) a strong voice because of the participation of the head of the public security system in central and local Party Committee decision-making.
China’s Didi probe raises concerns about cross-border data security issues
Beijing Cultural Review (Wénhuà Zònghéng)
The Beijing Cultural Review ( Wénhuà Zònghéng) is a Chinese bimonthly magazine offering high-quality commentary. The magazine is devoted to recasting China’s history and culture, re-evaluating mainstream Western values, and explaining China’s views on global issues.
Didi’s app has been removed from all app stores in China due to “national security concerns,” sparking discussions about cross-border data protection. Given the US’s dominance over the internet landscape, which spans social media, search engines, e-commerce, and cloud computing, the author points out that the free flow of cross-border data enhances the US’s data hegemony while harming the national interests of developing countries. Nevertheless, the US continues its unilateral approach to cross-border data flow, banning foreign internet companies such as TikTok from transferring data from the US to other countries. In contrast, China – as the author says with some apprehension – has not yet created a comprehensive cross-border data regulation strategy. Although China has enacted laws to prevent citizens’ personal information and data about physical and digital infrastructure from being transferred out of the country, the author calls for policymakers to further refine the regulation of cross-border data flows.

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