1. China grapples with power shortages
2. Can’t you guys be more thoughtful to our business friends?
The State Council’s Economic Daily is a recommended read these days as it’s right on top of issues concerning the business community.
On Tuesday it was power cuts (see entry #1).
The paper’s front-page editorial called on local governments to minimize disruption to businesses (Economic Daily):
- “Pursuing [energy intensity] targets at the expense of the normal production and operation order of enterprises will create new difficulties for the hard-won economic recovery momentum.”
We couldn’t agree more! Does that mean a policy shift on energy targets?
- Not really.
The editorial asked local officials to strike a balance:
- “Stable economic growth is inseparable from energy consumption, and achieving the net zero goal requires energy conservation and carbon reduction. This is a dilemma.”
That should translate into more precise electricity rationing, not one-size-fits-all power cuts, according to the editorial.
- Residential use of electricity must be guaranteed.
- “Through precise measures such as differentiated restrictions for companies in different sectors with various energy consumption, we strive to achieve ‘power rationing without complete cut offs.’”
Get smart: Over time, we’ll see local governments get better at rationing power use among industrial users given the outcry from the public and business.
Get smarter: Still, businesses better prepare for the reality that power shortages will likely last through the rest of 2021.
3. An increasing proportion of the sky
On Monday, the State Council published a long-term development plan aimed at improving the lot of women.
- The plan was approved back in August, but this is the first time we’ve gotten a look.
And we’re largely impressed, we’ll admit.
The plain aims to address persistent challenges to gender equality…and actually sets out practical measures, like:
- Encouraging women to pursue education and employment in STEM fields with scholarships, hiring incentives, and ensuring there are visible female role models
- Cracking down on gender discrimination during recruitment and hiring by investigating reported violators
- Guarding against employment discrimination during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding via regular inspections of employment records
- Using public platforms to encourage partners to participate equally in family decision-making, childcare, and housework
Get smart: Beijing has figured out that women are less likely to start – or grow – families when they feel like they’re getting a raw deal in life.
What’s making headlines internationally: A one-line call to reduce abortion rates.
Don’t panic: The last long-term plan for women also mentioned reducing (not limiting) abortions, and so far, it looks like policymakers are pursuing this goal by expanding birth control access.
What to watch: As boosting the birth rate rises in priority, localities might start messing with abortion access.
4. The hope of the nation
Go on, just one more. For China.
On Monday, the State Council published the “Outline for Children’s Development in China (2021-2030)” – a long-term plan for children’s welfare.
Some context: China’s birthrate is in free fall, so Beijing is scrambling to boost births by relaxing family planning rules, encouraging three-child families, and rolling out tax breaks and other incentives to reproduce.
Unsurprisingly, the new plan is chock full of efforts to turn people into parents, including:
- Boosting access to and affordability of prenatal and early childhood healthcare
- Expanding early childhood education and childcare services
- Improving welfare systems to ensure all kids have access to basic care, nutrition, and safety
- Introducing even more financial incentives for larger families
It also packs a fair bit of ideology – the plan calls to:
- “Adhere to the socialist approach for running schools.”
- “Protect children from all kinds of bad news and improve children’s media literacy.”
- “Resolutely curb the spread of vulgar and violent online language.”
Get smart: A bunch of recent crackdowns – including on private tutoring and online gaming – have been carried out in the name of protecting kiddos.
Get smarter: Raising the next generation well, and increasing its headcount, has emerged as a top policy priority for Beijing – including for Xi Jinping (father of one).
5. Rule of law value-add
Have you, too, been suffering from a lack of coordination when integrating core socialist values into the development of the rule of law?
Well, then it’s your lucky day, comrade.
On Monday, Xinhua reported that four central Party and government authorities had dropped opinions on the establishment of a new coordination mechanism to deal with this very issue.
ICYDK: The 12 core socialist values were first promoted at the 18th Party Congress in 2012 to cure China’s “moral crisis” following rapid economic development and, subsequently, rising individualism.
- They are: Prosperity, democracy, civility, harmony, freedom, equality, justice, rule of law, patriotism, dedication, integrity, and friendship.
Here’s how the new coordination mechanism will work (Xinhua 2):
- “[It] will [mainly] be responsible for ensuring that core socialist values are incorporated into legislative items and judicial interpretations in the annual legislation working plans of the NPC Standing Committee and the State Council.”
And there’s more:
- The opinions also called for setting up coordinating bodies in the provinces to ensure local legislative work follows suit.
Get smart: This is an effort to move the core socialist values beyond the realm of ideology. The goal is to work them into practical legislative measures that will look to do things like better protect property rights and support fair competition .