What China Says

Now more than ever it is important that Australians understand the diverse perspectives within the People's Republic of China. 'What China Says' points out articles from China’s state media and sources close to the PRC in both Chinese and English as well as Chinese-language media outlets to draw attention to Chinese positions on a range of issues.

What does China say about...

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Nationalistic Youth

人民观点, 12 June 2017

This commentary in People’s Daily argues that Chinese citizens born after the 1990s are highly patriotic and uniformly opposed to any foreign criticisms of China, especially as foreign countries face many of the same problems that China faces.

The articles cites a 2017 survey of university students in Beijing that found that 80-90% of them approve of the Chinese Communist Party and believe that the CCP’s vision to develop China into a strong nation that is confident in its own culture and institutions is within sight.

Read the original commentary in Chinese: “实现中国梦90后有担当” [To realise the Chinese Dream, the post-1990 generation is responsible]

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US withdrawal from Paris accord

环球时报, 1 June 2017

An editorial in Huanqiu Shibao (环球时报) criticises President Trump over his decision to withdraw the US from the Paris Climate Change Agreement, but reassures audiences that even without the US, global action on climate change will progress: 'We believe that so long as China and the EU continue to implement the Paris Agreement, UN climate action will not collapse'.

The editorial argues that US withdrawal from the agreement would 'clearly prove to the world that the United States is selfish and irresponsible'.

Chinese officials have reaffirmed Beijing's commitment to the Paris accord, but the state media has stopped short of portraying China as the global leader in combating climate change, contrary to current discourse in the Western media.

Read the editorial in Chinese: ‘没有美国,巴黎气候协也会往前走’ [The Paris Climate Change Agreement will still move forward without the United States]

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culture & soft power

新华网, 30 May 2017

This Xinhua commentary, published on the day of the Dragon Boat Festival, calls for all Chinese citizens to celebrate and value traditional Chinese culture. It writes that 'without a cultural revival first, there can be no great rejuvenation of the Chinese people'.

The commentary argues that Chinese people should have confidence in their own traditional culture - a culture that not only has over 5000 years of continuous history and made indelible contributions to advancing human civilisation, but continues to influence other cultures. Both modern China and the world need traditional Chinese culture.

The commentary claims that by preserving traditional culture and mixing it with other cultures and modern values, this can strengthen Chinese soft power.

Read the original commentary in Chinese: “让传统文化在创新中获得更大张力” [Let traditional culture gain more force in innovation]

People's Republic of China, People's Liberation Army (Navy) frigate PLA(N) Yueyang (FF 575) steams in formation with 42 other ships and submarines representing 15 international partner nations during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC exercise from June 26 to Aug. 1 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Shannon Renfroe/Released)

Naval modernisation

新华社, 24 May 2017

This article in Xinhua discusses Xi Jinping's declaration to build a "strong and modern" navy as a component of building Xi's "Chinese Dream" (中国梦). The speech was given during an inspection of the PLA Navy Headquarters in Beijing on May 24.

Xi articulates the importance of innovation when modernising the navy, and pays particular reference to seizing "scientific and technological innovation", promoting both offshore and high sea forces. But Xi also notes that strengthening the PLAN requires ideological and political education. This includes adhering to the ideology that the military must "unswervingly uphold the absolute leadership of the Party over the military".

The article makes special note of purging the harmful influence of Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, corrupt former senior Central Military Commission officials who had been purged as part of Xi's anti-corruption campaign.

Read the article in Chinese: ''习近平:努力建设一支强大的现代化海军"
[Xi Jinping: Strive to build a strong and modern navy]

Currency 1

The Belt and Road Forum

新华社, 14 May 2017

In this commentary, Xinhua lauds the success of the Belt and Road Forum, but argues that China must remain pragmatic. Behind the rhetoric of 'win-win cooperation and mutual gain', Beijing is aware of the extensive structural challenges that confront the OBOR initiative. Whether Beijing can translate rhetoric into practical solutions to these structural challenges will in large part determine the success or failure of the OBOR mega-project.

'Concrete action and real investment publicly declares China's firm confidence in pushing forward "One Belt One Road" construction, its bright attitude of solidarity with the countries and peoples involved, and its tireless quest to construct a community of common destiny for mankind.'

Read the original commentary in Chinese: ‘让务实举措助力“一带一路”行稳致远’ [Let pragmatic initiatives help the “One Belt One Road” initiative remain stable]

Jackson Kwok

North Korea

5 May 2017

In this analysis Jackson Kwok examines how China's state media has covered growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Read the analysis 'What Does China Say About North Korea?'

People's Republic of China, People's Liberation Army (Navy) frigate PLA(N) Yueyang (FF 575) steams in formation with 42 other ships and submarines representing 15 international partner nations during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC exercise from June 26 to Aug. 1 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Shannon Renfroe/Released)

China's aircraft carrier

环球时报, 26 April 2017

An editorial in Huanqiu Shibao (环球时报) celebrates the launch of China’s first domestically constructed aircraft carrier, the Type 001A. The editorial argues that aircraft carriers are important strategic tools of great powers and that the ability to domestically construct an aircraft carrier is a symbolic milestone in the growth of China’s national power.

However, the editorial also notes that China’s advances in other capabilities such as nuclear submarines, advanced fighter jets, and large transport aircraft should not be overlooked. The editorial concludes that building a functional aircraft carrier force is a necessary for China to be a great power, but China should not neglect existing shortcomings in its military capabilities – otherwise "it will continue to face the risk of external attack".

Read the editorial '001A是中国崛起大书的其中一页' [The Type 001A is a page in the great book of China’s rise]

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Visits to Yasukuni Shrine

人民日报, 23 April 2017

On the 21st of April, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine which commemorates fallen Japanese soldiers from World War II. An additional 90 Japanese lawmakers visited the shrine in person. However China sees this as highly contentious as the shrine also honours a number of convicted war criminals.

This 'Voice of China' (钟声) commentary in the People's Daily lambasts the Japanese government and accuses it of trying to revise history. 'Worshipping at the Yasukuni Shrine and denying the forced recruitment of 'comfort women' are both cases of the Abe government's flagrant trampling of historical acknowledgement and war crimes'. The commentary concludes that any attempt by the Abe government to 'wash away its historical guilt' will end in failure.

Read the article '膜拜战犯,就是亵渎和平' [To worship war criminals is to profane peace]

THAAD missile defence system

Beijing's Warning to Pyongyang

Global Times, 23 April 2017

An editorial in the English-language Global Times – a sister publication of the popular Huanqiu Shibao – uses relatively tough language about Pyongyang's attitude toward Beijing's efforts to persuade North Korea to stop its nuclear program.

"Perhaps Pyongyang needs to revise its understanding that North Korea is a sentinel and on guard duty for China, therefore, whatever it does, Beijing has no other alternative except to endorse Pyongyang. If North Korea really thinks this, it is making a mistake. Its nuclear program has severely impacted peace and stability in Northeast Asia, jeopardizing China's major national interests. Preventing Pyongyang from continuing to develop nuclear weapons has already become Beijing's priority in its Northeast Asian policies."

Read the editorial 'NK state media's broadside won't impact China policy'

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Australia-China Security dialogue

Xinhua News Agency, 23 April 2017

Following the inaugural High-Security Level Dialogue with China, an English-language Xinhua article encourages Australia to further deepen ties with China, citing the achievements the two countries have made so far through cooperation. Interestingly, this article and coverage of the security dialogue was released earlier than any official statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

"Both sides should take the opportunity of launching the high-level security dialogue mechanism to respect each other's interests and address each other's concerns, deepen sincere dialogue, boost mutual understanding and mutual trust, broaden cooperation in the areas of fighting transnational crimes, anti-drug, anti-terrorism, combating cybercrime, and strengthen dialogue and communications in legal and judicial fields so as to safeguard the security of the two countries and serve the well-being of the two peoples."

Read the article 'China, Australia pledge to further deepen bilateral relations'