eg Chinese Voices
No. 39 | 03.04.2022
Using traditional loudspeakers, volunteers provide epidemic prevention knowledge to community residents. Changsha, China. [Photo/SINA.CN]
China needs a new currency issuance system to prevent global financial shocks
Yang Shuai
Yang Shuai (杨帅) is an Associate Professor at Beijing University of Technology
Wen Tiejun
Wen Tiejun (温铁军) is an economist and professor at the China Rural Construction Institute of Southwest University

Context

The US Federal Reserve raised interest rates on 16 March, announcing the end of the monetary easing policy that began in March 2020. Emerging economy countries are once again facing the risk of capital flight, currency devaluation, an increased burden of foreign debt in US dollars, and even systematic crises in their balance of payments. Yang Shuai and Wen Tiejun analyse how the US dollar hegemonic financial system works globally and its impact on China and point out that China urgently needs to form an autonomous sovereign currency issuance mechanism based on "ecological resources".

Key points

  • The dollar’s position as the default international currency has enabled the US to dump dollars into global markets through the purchase of goods including raw materials, energy, and products; the dollars then flow back to the US to support the US's domestic capital markets by developing countries' reinvestment of dollar and dollar-denominated assets like US treasuries. The US relies on its military superiority and monetary power to fleece the global community (全球剪羊毛 quánqiú jiǎn yángmáo), especially the Global South, and also to receive huge seigniorage, government revenue created by issuing currency. While at the same time, developing countries also pay the social and environmental costs due to their dependency on the export of natural resources and low-labor cost products.
  • Due to China's export-oriented dominated economy in the past, China has gradually developed a currency issuance system anchored to foreign exchange reserves. The central bank has to issue money to absorb the over-supplied foreign exchange and this causes an increase in the money supply. At its peak (2014), China's foreign exchange reserves accounted for 80 percent of the total assets of the central bank. The currency issuance system not only makes the central bank's monetary policy susceptible to foreign exchange flows, but also creates a huge surplus of liquidity absorbed by the real estate sector, leading to the financialization of the economy.
  • Unlike Western economies, China has experience in relying on real assets to issue sovereign currency and to respond to crises. For example, during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-1945), for every 10,000 yuan of currency issued in the Shandong base areas, at least 5,000 yuan was used to purchase and store important materials such as grain and cotton, and the currency was recycled and put into circulation through the sale and purchase of materials. The relative stability of currency issuance and circulation was successfully maintained.
  • China's huge stock of spatial ecological resources, a system composed of mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, and grasslands, can be used as a reliable 'anchor' for currency issuance, i.e., to convert ecological assets into central bank assets by issuing bonds. This is designed to form a currency issuance mechanism based on the value of ecological resources owned by rural collective economic organizations, and to establish a three-tier market led by three transaction parties to promote the monetization of ecological resources, including farmers' collective economic organizations, county and township level operational companies, and outside investors.

Summary

The authors argue that the transformation of China's money supply system is urgent, and that the "materials standard" is an applicable experience in maintaining stable money issuance in contemporary Chinese financial history. In the construction of a three-tier market for ecological resources and currency issuance, a constructive cycle of ecological development, ecological consumption, and ecological currency supply can be formed. This will enable the construction of an ecological civilization and the rural revitalization strategy to be promoted in a complementary manner. At the same time, it will develop and strengthen the new collective economy, consolidate the ownership foundation of the basic socialist economic system, and organically combine the issuance of sovereign currency with the monetization of sovereign resources, thus laying a solid foundation for dealing with external pressures.

Why Wang Yi is visiting “intermediate zone” countries amid the Russia and Ukraine conflict
Teng Jianqun
Teng Jianqun (滕建群) is the director of the Institute of American Studies, China Institute of International Studies
Wei Honglang
Wei Honglang (韦洪朗) is a graduate student at the School of Foreign Languages, Hunan Normal University

Context

Amid the stalemate between Russia and Ukraine, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi began his visit to Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and Nepal on 24 March. It was his first visit to India since its border conflict with China in 2020. The frequent exchange of visits by China to countries in the "intermediate zone", referring to Asia, Africa, and Latin America has attracted attention by observers. The article, by Teng Jianqun and Wei Honglang, analyses the historical legacy of Mao Zedong's idea of the 'intermediate zone' and how China has sought to break out of the US global expansion of its sphere of influence.

Key Points

  • In the 1960s, Mao developed his concept of the '"intermediate zone", referring to the vast economically underdeveloped countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In the 1970s, Mao proposed the "three worlds" theory. Unlike the Intermediate Region or Three-World Model proposed by the Western strategists, Mao's aim was to "unite the vast number of Third World countries and unite the Second World countries to form the broadest international united front against hegemony".
  • Since the 1950s, Chinese diplomacy has sought to break through in the "intermediate zone" to form a united front against the superpowers .
  • Since President Obama's "Asia-Pacific rebalancing" strategy, US administrations have strengthened their control over Japan and South Korea, directly leading to a deterioration in China's relations with these countries. With Biden's election, the focus has been on military relations with other NATO members.
  • The US has also been active in bringing India, which maintains a classic non-aligned posture, into the fold, and putting pressure on ASEAN. In Latin America, the US government has made statements discrediting China and Russia, while suppressing left-wing governments in Latin America. In Africa, the US also uses false narratives such as the "debt trap theory", "resource plunder theory", and "neo-authoritarianism theory" to unite with other Western countries against China.
  • The Biden administration has expanded its sphere of influence by various means, returning to multilateral international mechanisms, and depriving China of its voice in various international spheres. One example was to pressure WHO to smear China by insisting they investigate the source of the epidemic. It also includes holding "democracy summits" and other events that bring countries together with so-called shared values, further strengthening control over the Allies, frequent visits of officials to Southeast Asia, and provocation of Russian-Chinese relations.

Summary

In the face of the US policy of global hegemonic expansion, the authors suggest that China's foreign policy should still follow Mao's international relations strategy as a reference and starting point, refine its methods of work to win over the "intermediate zone" countries, stabilize its relations with neighboring countries, further strengthen its "new era of comprehensive strategic partnership" with Russia, and strengthen existing multilateral mechanisms and regional organizations.

How social media is being used to mislead the world about China
Bu Yidao
Bu Yidao (补壹刀) is a Wechat influencer that specializes in commentary on international current affairs and is part of the Global Times

Context

The Russian-Ukrainian conflict has attracted global attention, with the embassies of Russia, Ukraine, France, the UK, and many other countries in China actively speaking out on Chinese social media platforms, making the arena of Chinese public opinion an intense online battleground in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. It has also become, however, a tool for anti-China activists to distort the country's image. In order to help our readers understand the facts, this article exposes a Twitter account called "The Great Translation Movement" (大翻译运动 dà fānyì yùndòng) that has been used to smear China by cherry-picking extreme Chinese online rhetoric about the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

KeyPoints

  • The Great Translation Movement was started by ChongLangTV, the largest Chinese-language community on Reddit with 50,000 followers, which takes an anti-communist and anti-China stance and also publicly disseminates personal information of people it dislikes on foreign websites.
  • Other members of the Movement range from people supposedly seeking "asylum" in Taiwan to those in Australia claiming to expose the "truth about China". Their content is also often preferred by some Western anti-China media correspondents in China.
  • The Movement deliberately selects specific words of individuals, even false ones, to inflame conflicts, which contributes to the inciting of hatred against Chinese people and other Asians.
  • The Movement began with translating discussions and opinions on the Russian-Ukrainian war from the Chinese Internet into English, and then reposting them outside of China. The main goal is to spread the message that "the Chinese are a collection of proud, arrogant, populist, cruel, bloodthirsty, and unsympathetic people" as one of members said in an interview.
  • The Movement has begun to move away from the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and towards controversial aspects of China's relationships with Japan and South Korea.
  • The essence behind the Movement is a part of the "peaceful evolution" strategy, referring to the attempt to transform China's socialist system by allegedly peaceful means, primarily by the US.

Summary

The author points out that the polarization of some individuals' words and actions through social media is a usual phenomenon in the online world. However, it is worth noting that, with the support of various forces outside China, this so-called Great Translation Movement may not be a short-term phenomenon, but rather a struggle for public opinion with a new twist. The Western promotion of "democracy and freedom" and other "values" to the Chinese people of the recent past has now become a campaign to spread misinformation and foment hatred towards China around the world.

How loudspeakers are used in the fight against Covid-19 in China
Guo Miao
Guo Miao (郭淼) is an associate professor, School of Journalism and Communication, Northwestern University of Political Science and Law
Hao Jing
Hao Jing (郝静) is a postgraduate student at the School of Journalism and Communication, Northwestern University of Political Science and Law

Context

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, the social governance approach with Chinese characteristics has received worldwide attention in the fight against the epidemic. The task remains arduous in the rural areas where people are generally less aware of the epidemic and health precautions. Guo Miao and Hao Jing found that the traditional loudspeakers (大喇叭 dà lǎ bā), first used during the Chinese revolutions, have played an important role in the prevention and control of the epidemic in rural areas and served as an effective means of information dissemination for grassroots governance with Chinese characteristics.

Key points

  • The loudspeaker, like newspaper and television, represents the voice of a government that is present and credible. During the pandemic, it has been disseminating information effectively, dispelling rumors in a timely fashion, and avoiding the polarization of online opinions and behaviors in rural areas.
  • Radio loudspeakers are used by village cadres to disseminate information to villagers, such as early warning messages and policy interpretations. It increases the breadth and depth of villagers' political participation, eases social or political conflicts, and stabilizes the political situation through an orderly grassroots governance .
  • Village cadres use diversified forms such as dialects, jingles, and chit-chat to disseminate the latest developments of the epidemic, which have helped the audience to understand the content of the message and raised their awareness of epidemic precaution. For example, in Chengdu, Sichuan province, jingles were used to discourage mahjong playing and advocate home quarantine; while in Shuangyashan, Heilongjiang province, residents were asked to abide by the rules of the epidemic in the form of traditional narrative singing, or clapper talk (快板 kuàibǎn).
  • Social media platforms record, edit, and spread the content of loudspeakers, which is also an effective online presentation of China's rural governance. This has increased the public's trust and recognition of the country's grassroots governance.

Summary

The authors point out that preventing the spread of Covid-19 in rural areas is a major priority during the pandemic outbreak and it is extremely important to help maintain two-way and transparent communication. The loudspeaker style of communication has not only enhanced the image of the grassroots government as pro-people, responsible, and effective, but has also met public needs for information, guided public opinion effectively, and prevented potential social risks.

The formation and development of Mao Zedong Thought in the Party’s mass line
Ai Silin
Ai Silin (艾四林) is Dean of the School of Marxism, Tsinghua University
Kang Peizhu
Kang Peizhu (康沛竹) is a professor at the School of Marxism, Peking University

Context

The Communist Party of China's series of theories on mass work (群众工作 qúnzhòng gōngzuò), having close contact with the masses, and the wholehearted service to the people, are key to its continuous success in leading the Chinese revolution and building socialism. They are also the result of the application of the basic principles of Marxism to the Chinese reality by the leaders represented by Mao Zedong. In their article, Ai Silin and Kang Peizhu review how the idea of the mass line (群众路线 qún zhòng lù xiàn) was formed and developed step-by-step from the early days of the founding of the Party (1921) to the period of socialist revolution and construction in China (1949-1979).

Key points

  • During the Chinese Great Revolution (大革命 dà gé mìng, 1925-1927), the prevailing ideological trend, represented by key leaders within the Party overlooked the peasants and focused only on the workers' movement. However, Mao Zedong, by examining the peasant movement in Hunan, concluded that the peasants were the most reliable allies of the Party and the revolution. In 1930, he wrote "Oppose Book Worship", which proposed that the correct revolutionary strategy of the Party could only be summarized from the practical experience of mass struggle.
  • During the period of the Agrarian Revolution(1927-1937), it was necessary to unite the masses to build the revolutionary base in Jinggang Mountain (井冈山 jǐng gāng shān) and to break the military "siege" of the Kuomintang. Mao pointed out that "all the problems faced by the masses" should be put on their agenda. "We must make the masses realize that we represent their interests and breathe the same as they do."
  • During the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937), Mao believed that victory would be achieved by fighting a protracted war (持久战 chí jiǔ zhàn), and proposed the "army and the people as the foundation of victory". Mao also developed the fundamental method of "coming from the masses and going to the masses" based on Marxist epistemology.
  • After the founding of the People's Republic of China, Mao's mass line was further developed. He unified democratic centralism with the mass line, advocated the "two participations, one reform and three-in-one unity" (两参一改三结合 liǎng cān yī gǎi sān jié hé) and the system of workers' congresses, and fiercely attacked the detachment from the masses, the desire for pleasure, and the bureaucracy of Party members and cadres after CPC came to power.

Summary

The mass line is the lifeline and foundation of CPC. As early as the Revolutionary period, Mao proposed that "the masses are the real bronze wall that no force can break." In 1981, the mass line was expressed as "everything for the masses, everything relying on the masses, coming from the masses, and going to the masses" at the 6th Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of CPC. In the new era, Xi Jinping's "people first" philosophy of governance has further enriched and developed the mass line.

(Chinese Voices will continue to interpret the historical context and developmental logic of Marxism's Sinicization)

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