Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Chinese Terminology: Xiaokang Society


China’s most important goal over the next five years is to build a society of moderate prosperity, a “xiaokang society”. The word “xiaokang” literally means “moderate well-being”. It was actually first mentioned in China 2,000 years ago as a social state in which people led a comfortable life. However, what would a xiaokang society look like today? First, no one would be below the poverty line. China would strive to eradicate absolute poverty in the most remote areas. People would receive guarantees about their livelihoods. A programme to promote better living standards in urban areas would cover a wide group of people in need. More students would get a tertiary education. Improved healthcare and living conditions would also benefit more people. Social fairness and justice would facilitate and guarantee people’s fundamental interests. At the same time, more measures would tackle environmental problems for bluer skies, a greener earth, and cleaner water. In 1979, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping used the term “xiaokang society” for the nation’s modernisation drive. Now, to turn China into a country of moderate prosperity, it requires greater advances in the economy, fuller democracy, and progress in science and education.

19 October 2017




Sunday, 3 June 2018

Xi Jinping: “No One Should Be Left Behind” As China Develops


Chinese leader Xi Jinping said, “no one should be left behind” as the country develops, while reviewing progress and plans to eliminate poverty by the year 2020. He said:

On the march toward common prosperity, no one should be left behind.

As China’s leadership pushes to realise its promise to lift the last 30 million residents out of poverty within three years, Friday’s meeting identified “three tough battles”, including “reducing poverty, preventing financial risks, and tackling pollution”. The Communist Party of China set 2020 as the deadline to achieve a “moderately prosperous society in all respects” China had enormous success in its anti-poverty campaign, which the World Bank called “the most rapid large-scale poverty reduction in human history”. However, at the end of 2017, around 30 million Chinese remained in conditions of poverty, concentrated in remote rural areas. Liu Yongfu, director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, said:

We’ll work to foster local industries, create new jobs, and strengthen aid to the aged, the disabled, and people who are seriously ill.

Efforts were focused primarily on boosting local economies, providing greater state safety nets, constructing housing, and building modern infrastructure.

2 June 2018



Friday, 1 June 2018

Trump Should Keep the Promise He Made To the DPRK

The DPRK maintains large armed forces because the USA tried to destroy it in 1950 and the Americans refuse to leave the Korean peninsula. That’s the long and the short of it all. 


While there are some in the USA saying it’d win their leader a Nobel Peace Prize, doubts were cast on whether the planned summit in Singapore between US President Donald Trump and DPRK leader Kim Jong-un will actually take place. The on-off-on roller-coaster exposed a shocking lack of seriousness and preparedness on the US side, particularly on Trump’s part, as to how to seize such a rare opportunity to ease the tensions on the Korean peninsula. It’s true that for the two countries to agree to the historic meeting is in itself a major breakthrough, especially if we recall the sabre-rattling and war of words just months ago. However, while the DPRK made goodwill gestures in the past weeks toward improving relations and denuclearisation, by blowing up its nuclear test site and releasing three US detainees, it’s unclear what concessions the USA is willing or able to make going to the summit and subsequent talks.

Pyongyang made it clear that it’d cancel the summit if Washington forces it to surrender its nuclear weapons programme unilaterally or continues to float the Libya model. The DPRK long cited security concerns to justify its nuclear programme. After all, the relevant parties haven’t signed a peace treaty to end the Korean War, which started in 1950. The US security guarantee must be in a formal document so that the Trump Administration and future US leaders will have to abide by it. It’s a lesson learned from the Libya disarmament in 2003. The Obama Administration and its NATO allies pursued régime change in Libya in 2011; eight years after Muammar Gaddafi gave up his nuclear weapons programme.

In this sense, the USA has much to do to make its security guarantee credible this time around. The USA likes to blame the DPRK for all the past failures on denuclearisation. But certain US government actions… such as when the US government stopped shipping oil to the DPRK as agreed upon and former president George W Bush calling Pyongyang part of an “axis of evil”… were much to blame for past setbacks. Key in the security assurance is the DPRK’s long-standing opposition to the US troops stationed in the ROK and their frequent joint drills on and in the waters off the peninsula. If the parties involved sign a peace treaty to end the Korean War, it doesn’t make sense for the USA to continue to deploy those troops on the peninsula. Holding regular military exercises aimed at the DPRK would become unnecessary provocations.

Many US politicians and the military-industrial complex don’t want to see a de-escalation of tensions on the peninsula, let alone a unified Korea, because that’d take away the justification for such a US military presence there. The phasing out of UN sanctions and US unilateral economic sanctions on the DPRK, whilst a reasonable expectation for the DPRK, will, unfortunately, be extremely challenging politically for Trump at home. China has long advocated direct contact between the DPRK and the USA to ease tensions. China doesn’t oppose Korean reunification because no one else in today’s world better understands the term “reunification” than Koreans and Chinese. Chinese would applaud a reunified Korea as a peaceful, prosperous, and friendly neighbour. However, China wouldn’t like to see a reunified Korea that was a US puppet, used as a geopolitical tool by the USA against China. The ball is now in Trump’s court.

1 June 2018

Chen Weihua

China Daily


Thursday, 31 May 2018

Are Chinese Media Reports Making the USA Anxious?


Some Chinese scholars speculate that because Chinese media presented an exaggeratedly positive invincible image of China to the outside world, it fuelled “China threat” fears in the West, particularly in the USA. Indeed, some Chinese media outlets should reflect on their exaggerated reports. However, while such scholarly arguments are well intended, their speculation doesn’t take into account the real and direct cause of the growing unsteady relations between the USA and China since Donald Trump became US President. China’s confident and practical strategy to engage the world is appropriate, even justified, given the changing times and thus we should refine it rather than halt or abandon it. Consequently, Chinese media should continue presenting China to the outside world as a positive global force, but in a more multi-varied manner.

In retrospect, Trump‘s visit to Asia on 3-14 November 2017 presaged the beginning of the US administration’s strategic shift from cooperation and competition to rivalry with China. For example, a consultation report, “Sharp Power: Rising Authoritarian Influence”, sponsored by the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy and released on 5 December 2017 attempted to define China’s soft power as “sharp power”. In a sense, the authors of the report used “sharp power” as a new and more powerful concept than soft power, in order to label any attempt by China to engage with the world, be it cultural exchanges such as the Confucius Institutes, the Belt and Road Initiative, or major country diplomacy, as malignant. Moreover, the White House National Security Strategy Report, released in December last year, categorises China as a “strategic rival” or “strategic competitor” of the USA. A flurry of op-ed commentaries in US and European media ensued to bolster the official US stance toward China.

This public opinion campaign (rather, US-style propaganda) aimed at legitimising US moves led to some ideologically-biased politicians such as Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz going against the very academic freedom they claim to value by pressuring a couple of universities in their respective states of Florida and Texas to close down Confucius Institutes. In contrast, thanks to its collaborative, holistic, and win-win ideology, China is attempting to further develop its economy and thus help others do the same by aligning with the Belt and Road Initiative. In short, China wants to work with other countries to build a community of a shared future for mankind. This cooperative strategy of China won’t only help change American culture from a culture of competition bordering on violence to a culture of cooperation and collaboration, but also help alleviate Chinese scholarly worries about deteriorating US-China relations.

30 May 2018

Jia Wenshan

China Daily


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