No. 23 | 05.12.2021
Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province will host the 2022 Winter Olympics. [IC photo]
A historical look at the selection of deputies for the National People’s Congress
He Junzhi
He Junzhi (何俊志) is a professor at the School of Government, Sun Yat-Sen University

As China's annual session of the provincial people's congresses draws near, He Junzhi studies the transformation of the recruitment method of deputies for China's top legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC), since the reform and opening up. He points out two parallel patterns of recruiting NPC deputies, namely “absorption”(吸纳 xī nà ) and “optimization”(优化 yōuhuà). The principles of "broadness" (广泛性 guǎngfàn xìng), including social and class background, and "excellence" (先进性 xiānjìn xìng) in terms of their performance guide the "absorption" of new NPC deputies. These principles play a key role in China's political stablity. The Communist Party of China (CPC) started to include new social classes in addition to the workers and peasants to the people's congress based on the successful practice in the revolutionary base of Yan'an (1935 – 1948) that the CPC continues to implement today. Since the 6th NPC (1983), the new classes include different sectors and occupations such as rural entrepreneurs and urban self-employed people, and were gradually expanded to private business entrepreneurs, managers, and technicians, migrant workers, as well as lawyers and non-profit organization leaders. Overall, the largest group represented within the economic sector are private business entrepreneurs, although the number of representatives within this group declined significantly in the 13th NPC (2018) after peaking in the previous NPC (2013). Despite the significant increase of deputies from the newer classes from 0.9 to 16.1 percent between the 6th (1983) and the 12th NPC (2013), deputies from traditional sectors – mainly from the CPC and government, state-owned enterprises, public institutions and grassroots organizations as well as industry and agriculture – still account for a much higher proportion (above 83.9 percent). CPC and government cadres, in particular, always remain above 40 percent. Another obvious trend in the traditional sectors is the optimization of age and educational levels. As a result, deputies are younger and have higher educational levels, which contributes to their overall performance and political and social capabilities.

How to interpret high-quality development proposed in CPC’s third resolution
Liu He
Liu He (刘鹤) is vice premier of the People’s Republic of China, President Xi’s right-hand man on economic policy

China has shifted from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality growth. The CPC's third resolution adopted at the sixth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, highlights high-quality development. Compared with previous rapid growth patterns, Liu He, vice-premier of the People's Republic of China (PRC) identifies six major characteristics of high-quality development, all of which are key to creating new major strategic initiatives. First, people-centered development. Achieving common prosperity is a top priority on the Chinese government's to-do list. Promoting the expansion of the middle-income group is not about striving for absolute egalitarianism. Second, greater macroeconomic stability. Sticking to the approach of "working for the best, preparing for the worst" (底线思维 dǐxiàn sīwéi), China will keep a long-term balance between the pursuit of economic growth and the management of risk. Third, cultivation of competitive entrepreneurs. The government must create a favorable environment for markets that facilitate the growing strength of big companies and the growing competitiveness of small businesses. China also encourages foreign companies to introduce highly competitive products, technology, and services that will ultimately lead to win-win outcomes in an increasingly fierce and competitive market. Fourth, innovation-driven development. Liu emphasizes that innovation in science and technology is not just an issue in China's economic development, but a matter of economic survival. Fifth, marketization, legalization, and internationalization. China is enhancing market principles and building an open, fair, and orderly environment where market competition can flourish. Finally, green development. China will implement the most stringent ecological supervision system and promote low-carbon production and an eco-friendly lifestyle within the framework of carbon neutrality.

Why China has learned to be at ease with the politicization of the Olympic Games
Cheng Xiaoyong
Cheng Xiaoyong (程晓勇) is an associate researcher, School of International Relations/Institute of Overseas Chinese Studies, Jinan University
Cao Huimin
Cao Huimin (曹惠民) is an associate professor, School of Public Administration, China University of Mining and Technology

Chinese scholars have responded calmly to recent declarations by politicians in the US, Britain, Lithuania, and other countries to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. In a roundtable discussion on the politicization of the Olympics, Cheng Xiaoyong points out that since the 1936 Berlin Olympics, few Olympic Games have been immune to political influence. The politicization of the Olympics serves the purpose of linking sports with international politics and economic competition, where sports became a proxy for national, political, and economic interests. For example, during the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Nazi Germany used its achievements to uphold their theory of racial superiority. During the Cold War, the US boycotted the Summer Olympic Games in Moscow. On the other hand, the Olympics have also been a golden opportunity for individuals, civil society, international advocacy networks, and NGOs to raise concerns regarding racism, war, globalization, and so on. For example, during the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, massive protests were organized against the US-led war in Iraq. In addition, there has been an increase in protests against the Olympics itself over the last 20 years. For example, the torch relay ceremonies for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, and the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing faced varying degrees of disruption. Cao Huimin points out that while it is difficult to avoid political interference in the Olympic Games, worldwide vigilance is necessary, especially when political interference is used to harm the development of other countries.

China’s population challenge: ending the one-child policy doesn’t slow down an aging society
Lu Jiehua
Lu Jiehua (陆杰华) is a professor of the department of Sociology, Peking University
Liu Qin
Liu Qin (刘芹) is a PhD candidate of the department of Sociology, Peking University

The Chinese government recently issued a recommendation on a national strategy around its aging population that aroused widespread concern. Such policies include "encouraging adult children to live with their elderly parents." Lu Jiehua and Liu Qin point out that since 2000 when China became an aging society, China's aging population has shown characteristics that differ from other countries. These characteristics include the huge number of elderly people, a rapidly aging population, uneven regional development, and "getting old before getting rich," (未富先老 wèi fù xiān lǎo) which means the pace of aging is surpassing that of the country's development. The aging issue is coupled with people having "fewer children" – a result of the one-child policy – and the "empty nest" syndrome, characterized by an increasing number of elderly parents living alone. Between 2010 and 2021, China's population development underwent a historical transformation from the pressure of population growth in the prior decade to the structural challenge of an aging population. The adoption of a comprehensive two-child policy that came out of the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020) yielded a minor rebound in the proportion of young children; however, it did not change the long-term trend of aging. According to data from China's seventh census, the number of people aged over 60 and over 65 in the year 2020 was 264 million and 191 million people, respectively. These numbers accounted for 18.7 percent and 13.5 percent of the total population, a 5.44 and 4.63 percentage point increase from 2010. The average annual growth rate of the population aged 60 and above increased by nearly 1 percent between 2010 and 2020, far exceeding the 0.15 percent of the previous decade. The further acceleration of aging poses serious challenges to China's elder care, the country's top-level design (顶层设计 dǐngcéng shèjì) – or key national reform efforts –, and the allocation of resources for the elderly. However, the authors point out that not all the impacts of an aging population are negative. On average, China is still at a relatively low stage of aging – the proportion of Chinese people who are aged 60 and above is between 10 to 20 percent. The government still has the time to respond positively by creating opportunities to develop a "silver-haired" economy – industries that target the elderly population – and also guaranteeing the legal rights and quality of life for the elderly.

Why does China commemorate the 1934 Battle of Xiangjiang River?
Shi Zhongquan
Shi Zongquan (石仲泉) is former deputy director of the Party History Research Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China

In late November 1934, the Chinese Central Red Army fought the bloody Battle of Xiangjiang River, in which over 30,000 soldiers' lives were lost fighting against the Kuomintang (KMT). Eighty-seven years later – during the CPC's centenary year – the commemoration of these revolutionary martyrs is being accompanied by the revival of this historical battle. In his article, Shi Zhongquan recalls that from November 25 to December 3, 1934, during the Long March, the Central Red Army fought for nine days and nights against 300,000 of Chiang Kai-shek's KMT troops. Although his troops hugely outnumbered the Central Red Army, the battle was necessary to break the fourth blockade of the KMT in northern Guangxi and to ensure that the Central Military Commission and the main revolutionary forces crossed the Xiangjiang River. Shi points out that the Battle was an unprecedented tragedy, fundamentally because of erroneous leadership decisions. In leading CPC's fifth counter-encirclement campaign (第五次反围剿 dì wǔ cì fǎn wéijiǎo) (1933-1934), Bo Gu – General Secretary of the CPC at the time – and Li De (Otto Braun) – the military advisor from the Comintern – adhered to an incorrect military strategy. Because of the huge losses in Central Red Army, the Battle of Xiangjiang River is considered by many to be a failure. Shi, however, references Mao Zedong's comprehensive and dialectical analysis of the Battle. Although the Red Army suffered heavy losses – only 30,000 out of the original 65,000 soldiers survived – its heroic fighting broke through the fourth blockade and defended against Chiang Kai-shek's attempt to annihilate the Central Red Army. More importantly, the heavy losses also made the CPC reflect on the erroneous strategy of Bo Gu and Li De. The author points out that the Battle of Xiangjiang River is commemorated today because it led to the convening of the Zunyi Conference, the first great turn in the history of the Party, and the most important foundation for establishing Mao Zedong as the leader of CPC's Central Committee and the Red Army. As president Xi Jinping stressed during his visit to the Xiangjiang Battle Memorial Hall on April 25 this year, this magnificent battle of the Red Army's Long March was an important historical event that determined the survival of the Chinese Revolution.

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