The rising cross-strait tension has sparked global speculation and concern about a potential military conflict. In a recent media interview, Hung Hsiu-chu – former chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT) – outlined two risks. Firstly, cross-strait relations are very tense and the US' military intervention in the Taiwan Strait has increased the likelihood of military conflict. Secondly, as “Taiwan independence” forces grow, if the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) takes the opportunity to cross this “red line,” military conflict is inevitable. Regarding the Xi-Biden online meeting where they discussed the Taiwan issue, Hung says that successive US presidents have had different views on "Taiwan’s independence." Since Biden came to power, he has supported the "one China" policy, but this stance has shifted from “not supporting Taiwan’s independence” to “secretly undermining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.” Opposing the revision of Taiwan’s textbooks, Hung strongly criticizes the DPP’s promotion of "de-Sinicization"(去中国化 qù zhōngguó huà) and “Taiwanese cultural independence” (文化台独 wénhuà táidú) as akin to "forgetting one's ancestors" (数典忘祖 shǔ diǎn wàng zǔ) . This has resulted in Taiwan’s youth being instilled with an “anti-China” mindset and becoming a “lost generation” in relation to Chinese culture. Instead, Taiwanese young people should be allowed to go to the mainland to learn about the real situation. Furthermore, Hung warns against the island becoming a US tool or pawn in the encirclement of mainland China. The “Taiwan Relations Act” pushed by the US to purportedly increase Taiwan’s self-defense capability is actually about selling arms to Taiwan, not helping them fight a war. Therefore, Hung concludes, Taiwan should not have false expectations.
The slowdown in China's economic growth has caused much concern among economists. At a recent financial summit, Yu Yongding proposed that fiscal policy should play a greater role in stimulating China's economic growth. The epidemic is not over yet, but China’s fiscal policy expansion has slowed down: in the first half of 2021, fiscal revenues grew 21.8 percent – 13.7 percentage points over budget – while fiscal expenditure grew 4.5 percent – only 2.7 percentage points over the planned increase. Yu considers that this fiscal tightening policy has rarely been seen in the past, prompting warnings of the premature withdrawal of fiscal support in 2010, which contributed to China's decade-long decline in economic growth. Some economists worry that expansionary fiscal policy would accelerate inflation and elevate debt levels. Yu argues, however, that China's consumer price index (CPI) – a measure of the changing cost of living used to assess inflation – remains low, which is not necessarily a good sign. The country’s CPI rose by 1.5 percent year-on-year in October 2021, compared with a normal inflation rate of 3 percent or higher in developing countries. Furthermore, due to China’s special conditions – high savings, dominance of state-owned financial institutions, high capacity to cope with crises – its debt tolerance should be significantly higher than Western countries. If China focuses on reducing macro leverage ratio – including debt-to-GDP ratios in the financial, household, non-financial enterprise, and government sectors – at a time when growth momentum has weakened, it may aggravate macro-financial risks instead. Given that the economy is experiencing deflation with low consumption and private investment expenditure, Yu suggests that China should increase government spending in infrastructure, which has always been the "stabilizing force" (定海神针 dìng hǎi shén zhēn) for the economy. In response to the criticisms of China's inefficient and excessive spending on infrastructure, Yu countered that this investment provides public goods and therefore should not be measured by commercial returns; moreover, the flooding that occurred in several cities this summer exposed deficiencies in the country's infrastructure.
On November 16, Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden met for the first time via video. Shen Yi believes that the two countries and their leaders value the summit's significance completely differently. China just concluded the Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee, and the government has demonstrated excellent political leadership in dealing with Covid-19, climate change, and economic development. On the other hand, the US government has been ineffective in controlling the pandemic – with the current death toll sitting at 800,000 people – and the country is facing an economic downturn. According to Shen, the US has taken the initiative for the first time to sit down with China, try to resolve Sino-US relations through dialogue, and send a positive signal to the outside world. In addition to providing a frank account of China’s development path, national interests, red lines, and expectations, Shen believes that Xi made some unprecedented statements in the meeting. Among them was the fact that the rights and wrongs of political leadership are judged by history. On this Xi said, “History is impartial, and anything done by a politician, whether merits or demerits, will be recorded by history. I hope President Biden will exercise political leadership and push US policy towards a rational and pragmatic track.” Then, Xi systematically outlined the three principals for the new era of Sino-US relations: mutual respect (相互尊重 xiānghù zūnzhòng), peaceful coexistence (和平共处 hépíng gòngchǔ), and win-win cooperation (合作共赢 hézuò gòng yíng). Referring to some people in the US who are deliberately “using Taiwan to control China,” Xi sternly warned that these actions are “just like playing with fire, and whoever plays with fire will get burned.” According to the author, if the US is willing to cooperate, relations between the two countries could enter a new and more constructive stage that is mutually beneficial.
In the early 1960s, during a time of natural disasters and famine, families in Inner Mongolia adopted nearly 3,000 orphans coming from Shanghai and neighboring provinces. According to Mei Xinyu, this historic tale of multi-ethnic solidarity is not only touching, but also reflects the progress in China’s social governance. The years between 1959 and 1961 were one of the most difficult periods in New China. The government decided to send these orphaned children to the less-affected region of Inner Mongolia to avoid starvation and death. Mei points out that this was the first time that the practice of relocating famine victims, which had existed in the Central Plains (中原 Zhōng yuán) for nearly two thousand years, was implemented in an organized manner in the border regions, which includes Inner Mongolia. It was then that the social governance measures that were first developed in the central region began to be adopted in the formerly nomadic and underdeveloped areas. According to Mei, there are three main reasons behind this shift. The first was that Inner Mongolia, under the governance of New China, had accelerated the transition that began in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) from being a nomadic to a settled agricultural society. This laid an important economic foundation; the region's grain production was over 50 percent higher than when the PRC was founded in 1949, even at the lowest point in 1962. Secondly, the CPC and the government addressed severe public health problems in Inner Mongolia and other ethnic minority regions by sending trained health professionals and cadres as well as foreign exchange to import penicillin and other medicines to fight plagues and venereal diseases. Finally, Inner Mongolia’s development was inseparable from the all-round support and assistance provided by the central government and inland provinces and cities. For most of the past 72 years, Inner Mongolia has run a budget deficit, relying on the central government’s financial support to fill the gap as the most direct form of financial assistance. The story of the 3,000 orphans arriving in Inner Mongolia reflects the economic and social foundation that was laid as well as the spirit of mutual support and progress of the Chinese nation.
November 25 marks the 71st anniversary of the death of Mao Zedong's eldest son, Mao Anying, who died on the frontlines of resistance against US imperialism and in solidarity with the Korean people. He was 28 years-old at the time. Xia Yuansheng writes that after the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, Mao Zedong gave the order to “resist US aggression and aid Korea and defend the country” (抗美援朝、保家卫国 kàngměi yuán cháo, bǎojiā wèiguó). After learning of this, Mao Anying volunteered to join the war in North Korea and became the "first volunteer soldier.” On the morning of November 25, several US bombers swept over the headquarters of the People’s Volunteer Army in Dayu Cave and suddenly dropped dozens of napalm bombs. Mao Anying, who was on duty in the war room and did not have time to escape, was killed in the attack. Considering Mao Zedong's poor health, Zhou Enlai did not break the news to him until after New Year's Day in 1951. Enduring a great loss, Chairman Mao agreed to bury his son in North Korea, along with the more than 100,000 martyred volunteers, while he quietly treasured his son’s belongings for the next 20 years. In 1936, Mao Anying and his brother Mao Anqing were sent to the Soviet Union to study, where they learned Russian, French, English and German. In the Soviet Union, Mao Anying served in the Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany and was received by Stalin, who gifted him a pistol for his military service. Premier Zhou Enlai acknowledged that there were not many young people with comparable education and training as Mao Anying and that his sacrifice was an irreparable loss to the Party, especially to Chairman Mao. Kim Il-Sung, the leader of North Korea, said: “Comrade Mao Zedong is a great example of internationalism, having lost five of his relatives, including his wife, in the struggle to liberate the Chinese people. Moreover, he sent his beloved eldest son to the Korean battlefield to defend the Korean people against US invasion and to defend world peace. For his sacrifice, Mao Anying will be dearly missed."
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