No. 05 | 25.07.2021
Li Jianxin: I was researching population issues in the southern border and found a phenomenon
Li Jianxin
Li Jianxin is a Professor in the Department of Sociology at Peking University. His areas of interest are demography, social demography, population policy, aging, and health.
According to data from the latest national census, between 2010 and 2020, the growth rate of Xinjiang’s population (18.5 percent) was higher than the national average (5.28 percent). Xinjiang’s Uyghur population, which makes up almost 45 percent of the region’s total, grew faster than many other ethnic groups. Li’s field research reveals how Xinjiang’s demographics started to shift in 2017, trending towards a “low fertility rate, low mortality rate, and low growth rate,” although Xinjiang’s transition lags behind other parts of the country by around 20 years. The high fertility rate in the southern region before 2017 can be attributed to a lack of social and economic development, incomplete implementation of the marriage law and family planning policy, and the impact of religious extremism. After Xinjiang began promoting compulsory high-school education in 2013, the fertility rate among teenagers dropped significantly. In addition, Xinjiang has implemented a uniform family planning policy since 2017, allowing people from different ethnic groups to have the same number of children. Lastly, Li suggests that arguing with ideology-driven western accusations of “Xinjiang genocide” is like “playing piano for a cow” (对牛弹琴 duì niú tán qín): a waste of effort.
How should China balance opening up and achieving technological self-reliance?
Jiang Xiaojuan
Jiang Xiaojuan is a member of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, Deputy Director of the Social Construction Committee, and Dean of the School of Public Administration at Tsinghua University. Previously she was Deputy Secretary-General of the State Council and Deputy Director of the Research Office of the State Council.
As China prioritizes its dual circulation strategy and drive for technological self-reliance, there are some concerns that China’s inward-looking approach deviates from the 1978 opening-up policy. In his July 3 speech, Professor Jiang explains that China needs to stick to a neutral, higher-level opening-up policy: it should favor neither exports over imports nor foreign direct investment (FDI) into China over China’s overseas investments. China has become a key player in digital globalization, where joint efforts by multiple countries have expanded to cover the entire supply chain, including innovation, design, and services. For example, DingTalk’s International Medical Expert Communication Platform (under Alibaba Group) played a big part in the fight against COVID-19 in developing countries. Moreover, China is home to two of the world’s top ten metropolitan innovation hotspots in the field of information and communications technology (ICT). In response to US sanctions against Chinese companies, Jiang urges China to balance opening up with technological self-reliance by continuing to integrate into the digital global supply chain, increasing its technical capacities through joint collaboration, and boosting domestic innovation.
Agrarian land reform: How the CPC has served peasants over the last 100 years
Sun Leqiang
Sun Leqiang is a Professor at the Center for Studies of Marxist Social Theory and the Department of Philosophy of Nanjing University. His key interests are the history of Marxist philosophy and Marxism in other countries.
In 1936, Mao Zedong declared: “Whoever solves the land issue wins the peasants, and whoever wins the peasants wins China.” Professor Sun argues that the CPC’s land policies over the last hundred years have been crucial for the CPC in gaining peasant support, winning the revolution, and laying the foundations for industrialization. To serve the peasants, the CPC established the Household Contract Responsibility System in 1978 to develop productivity and satisfy the growing material and cultural needs of the people. This reform protected peasant interests and raised their enthusiasm for production, creating a market-oriented approach under socialist public ownership. Since Xi Jinping came into power in 2012, the CPC has advanced land system reform and separated the ownership, tenancy, and operation of the land, further increasing peasant income. Sun believes the CPC should continue to coordinate the economic and political functions of land and safeguard peasant land rights and interests in deepening rural reform and revitalization.
Top scientist explains what China must do to reach carbon neutrality by 2060
Ding Zhongli
Ding Zhongli is a geologist and Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. For the past two decades, Professor Ding’s research has focused on climate change.
In September 2020, China pledged to achieve carbon neutrality in 40 years by 2060, with the goal of reaching peak emissions by 2030. Professor Ding points out the common misconception that the US and European countries will take 60 years to go from peak emissions to carbon neutrality, when, in fact, it will take 70 or 80 years. Ding and his team lay out a nine-topic carbon neutrality framework with key questions and challenges for China’s carbon-neutrality goals. Among these concerns, the country must forecast energy demand in key areas like residential life, industry, construction, and transportation, as well as the population’s total energy consumption over time. China must also find ways to increase its share of low-carbon energy, especially wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, and nuclear power. Ding and his team propose developing the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau into a demonstration area for achieving carbon neutrality. Finally, although many in the west claim that China is the world’s largest polluter, its 2019 per capita emissions (7.28 tons per year) were far below the US (16.10 tons per year). Therefore, the author urges China to establish a standardized system for monitoring, calculating, reporting, and verifying its carbon balance as soon as possible to debunk western myths and enhance China’s global discourse power in the realm of climate change.
Mao Zedong’s thoughts on dealing with the US are still relevant today
Qi Yiming
Qi Yiming is a researcher at the Institute of Party History and Literature of the CPC Central Committee. He graduated from Wuhan University. His research areas are Party history and theory and leaders such as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping
How should today’s China address US hegemony and provocations from US politicians? Mao Zedong’s experience and wisdom remain a powerful weapon even today. Qi Yiming explores key comments made by Mao during major events from China’s history, including the Chinese People’s Liberation War, the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea, the restoration of China’s legal seat in the UN, and the normalization of China-US relations in 1972. One of Mao’s most celebrated assertions – “US imperialism is a paper tiger” – inspires us to confront unilateralism and hegemony with confidence and patience, maintain our fighting spirit, and improve our strategy. Mao also sees US military bases throughout the world as “nothing but a noose around the neck of imperialism itself.” US imperialism creates tension, which in turn has “educated and strengthened” people around the world. In the struggle against the US, we must “shatter idolatry of the West” and counter the impact of “the sycophancy, worship, or fear to the US.” Finally, “only through and during the struggle can we build our faith in victory.”

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