Sunday, October 29, 2017

"Clear waters and green mountains are mountains of gold and silver."
   Seeking a Beautiful China and California
   together in harmony for our grandchildren

    Pollution has become a scourge in China, the debilitating consequences of rapid industrial development. Chinese people are exceedingly displeased to see their air, water and soil so polluted, and the government has responded by elevating "Green Development", the third development concept, to highest national importance. One of the pioneers has been East China's Zhejiang province, where in 2005 Xi Jinping, then Zhejiang Party secretary, famously said: "Clear waters and green mountains are mountains of gold and silver." Putting the theory into practice, Zhejiang has pioneered an "eco-compensation" system, which enables regions to both preserve the environment and develop eco-friendly industries. - from "The five major development concepts" by Robert Lawrence Kuhn
Xi Jinping, of course, has been President of China since March 14, 2013. And if you haven't read the other posts here, you can click on the images above where you might learn about the most important government policy developments of the 21st Century to date which will impact on your grandchildren's generation. You will also learn about Xi, the fellow human overseeing the implementation of those policies.
Of course, these government policy developments have nothing to do with Donald Trump. And of course, they are too complex for social media. And of course, because their goals are targeted for 2049 China they have no real impact on the day-to-day lives of Americans today. So of course, Americans generally have no awareness of them.

In 2005 Xi Jinping, then Zhejiang Province Communist Party Secretary, was not even on any pundits radar though in 2002 Xi was elected a full member of the 16th Central Committee. His environmental statement quoted above "Clear waters and green mountains are mountains of gold and silver" was far from pandering to the popular thinking.

In the first decade of this century, climate change skepticism in China was worse than in the U.S. as discussed in The Convenient Disappearance of Climate Change Denial in China: From Western plot to party line, how China embraced climate science to become a green-energy powerhouse. Fortunately, as the article notes: "By the time China adopted its 12th Five-Year Plan in 2011, a green strategy had begun to crystalize."

Keep that 2011 year in mind as you read this posted two weeks ago in the South China News:
    Ten years ago [October 2007], as early autumn set in and the Communist Party of China prepared to convene its 17th National Congress in Beijing, the names of two Lis – Liaoning party chief Li Keqiang and Jiangsu party chief Li Yuanchao – were making the rounds as odds-on favourites to emerge from the scrum of candidates to be anointed supreme leader-in-waiting of the party’s Fifth Generation.
    Newly appointed party chief of Shanghai, Xi Jinping, was not expected to contend for the post. He had just been elevated to his position in spring 2007, was expected to continue serving as Shanghai party chief, and there was no prior precedent of a regionally based leader serving concurrently on the party’s Politburo Standing Committee – the party’s highest decision-making organ.
    By mid-autumn, the script had been re-written.
    In the ‘open audition’ selection process at the party congress for the 25-member Politburo, which for the first time allowed all Central Committee members to vote from a wider pool of candidates drawn from provincial and ministerial-level cadres, Xi won the most support.
    The day after the National Congress, at the First Plenum of the party’s 17th Central Committee, Xi was selected as the sixth-ranking member of the nine-member Politburo Standing Committee and executive secretary of the party’s Secretariat. Later that December, he was appointed president of the Central Party School – mirroring the path that Hu Jintao had taken during his elevation to the supreme leader-in-waiting position in the late-1990s.
    That Xi was neither a protégé of Jiang [Jiang Zemin, President from 1993 to 2003] nor belonged to Hu-linked groupings [Hu Jintao, President from 2003 to 2013] – and therefore his elevation was beholden to neither factional politics nor to the reigning supreme leader’s dictates, was also instrumental in his meteoric rise to the top.
Five months later, at the 11th National People's Congress in March 2008, Xi was elected as Vice-President of the People's Republic of China. By the time of that 2011 Five Year Plan, Xi's vision of "clear waters and green mountains" had become the basis for policy.

On 15 November 2012, Xi Jinping was elected to the post of General Secretary of the Communist Party and Chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission by the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and on 14 March 2013 was elected President of the People's Republic of China by the 12th National People's Congress.

China is the largest country in the world in terms of population, second only to Russia in terms of land area, and the second only to the United States in terms of GDP (though China is firstcwhen measured by purchasing power parity). As noted in the May 23 post linked above, California and Californians need strong ties to China for economic growth and measures to reduce climate change impacts.

In the pictures at the top of this post, Governor Jerry Brown is shown during his June 2017 trip to China with Chinese  Science and Technology Minister Wan Gang (left) and with Chinese President Xi Jinping (right).

Shortly before meeting with President Xi, Brown, one of the co-chairs of a bipartisan group of U.S. Governors called the Climate Alliance,  signed an agreement providing that China and the Golden State will work together on cutting their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over time.

From renewable energy technologies to zero-emission vehicles, from low carbon infrastructures to electricity efficiency savings, a working group of top-level officials from both sides will continually plot ways to cooperate on climate measures and to zero in on initiatives that will help both countries cut their carbon footprints.

The agreement builds on subnational pacts Brown signed with officials in Sichuan and Jiangsu provinces earlier this week.

“California is the leading economic state in America and we are also the pioneering state on clean technology, cap and trade, electric vehicles and batteries, but we can’t do it alone,” Brown said before a Chinese delegation.

"I have proposed that California will cut its greenhouse gases 40 per cent below 1990 levels and that we'll have 50 per cent of our electricity from renewables," Brown told President Xi Jinping in a 45-minute meeting.

"To keep that goal, we need a very close partnership with China - with your businesses, with your provinces, with your universities," Brown said. 

"Nobody can stay on the sidelines. We can't afford any dropouts in the tremendous human challenge to make the transition to a sustainable future," Brown said during a green energy conference in Beijing. "Disaster still looms and we've got to make the turn."

Chinese President Xi expressed support for California to play a bigger role in promoting exchange and cooperation between China and the United States. He said he hoped California could continue to promote bilateral exchanges between localities and contribute more to China-U.S. cooperation in areas including technology, innovation and green development.  He welcomed California to join the Belt and Road Initiative.

Voicing appreciation of Xi's speech at the World Economic Forum annual meeting at Davos in January, Brown said California was willing to join the construction of the Belt and Road and was looking forward to a stronger cooperative relationship with China in trade, investment, clean technology and environmental protection.

Which brings us to the point of these posts. Climate change and economic issues in California are intricately tied to China. And going even further, understanding Chinese history, problems, and politics can help to understand the continuing political evolution of the United States and particularly of California. For example, consider the issue of multiculturalism.

China has about 7000 years of history, 1.4 billion people, and 56± ethnic groups. About 92% are considered Han Chinese while 8% are:

Ethnic Group
Major Areas of Distribution
Yunnan, Guizhou
Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang, Xinjiang
Guizhou, Hunan, Guangxi
Gansu, Xinjiang
Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang
Ningxia, Gansu, Henan, Hebei, Qinghai, Shandong, Yunnan, Xinjiang, Anhui, Liaoning, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Shaanxi, Beijing, Tianjin
Taiwan (population not counted), Fujian
Guizhou, Guangxi
Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai
Xinjiang, Heilongjiang
Jilin, Liaoning, Heilongjiang
Yunnan, Sichuan
Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Hebei, Beijing, Inner Mongolia
Guizhou, Hunan, Yunnan, Guangxi, Sichuan, Hainan, Hubei
Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Gansu, Hebei, Henan, Qinghai
Yannan, Sichuan
Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang
Qinghai, Gansu
Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Guangdong
Guizhou, Guangxi
Tibet, Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu, Yunan
Qinghai, Gansu
Hunnan, Hubei
Xinjiang, Liaoning, Jilin
Guangxi, Hunan, Ynnan, Guangdong, Guizhou
Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi
Guangxi, Yunnan, Guangdong, Guizhou

If one wants to talk about a "melting pot" and assimilation or multicultural diversity, China is the place to go, not the United States. DNA sampling indicates that the Han Chinese have about the same kind of historical experience as white European Americans - practically everybody is mixed because that is the result of constant human migration.

Language, however, does represent a clearer picture of multicultural diversity. Let's begin with this from the Microsoft Technet Citizenship Asia Pacific site Celebrating Linguistic Diversity on International Mother Language Day:

On 21 February, we celebrate International Mother Language Day, aimed at promoting linguistic and cultural diversity and multi- lingualism. A world map denoting the native languages spoken in different countries. Image courtesy of Daniel Dalet on

2,200—that is the estimated number of languages spoken in Asia Pacific, more than any other region in the world. Check out some interesting facts about Asian languages that you might have missed out learning in school:
  • Mandarin Chinese has the most native speakers of any language, with an estimated 12.5 percent of the world's population speaking it as their first language. If you are planning to pick up Mandarin, don’t be daunted by the fact that it has 50,000 characters—practice always makes perfect!
  • There are 830 listed languages in the island state of Papua New Guinea (PNG), accounting for the greatest concentration of linguistic diversity on Earth today. Sitting in what is known as a language hot-spot—an area where many languages face the threat of extinction—linguists from National Geographic’s Enduring Voices programme are surveying many in PNG to better understand the world’s languages and the forces that drive language extinction.
  • Asia is home to some of the world’s most endangered languages, including the Ainu in Japan, Dumi in Nepal and Manchu from China. The youngest speakers of these languages are often grandparents themselves, who are only able to speak them partially and infrequently.
While this rich variety of languages continues to shape and preserve the unique cultural identities of many Asian communities, language barriers can be a significant concern.
Within China there is a diversity of languages and cultures many as 292 living language identified though most are very small populations. The map below gives a sense of the areas where larger populations speak a language other than Mandarin which is spoken by 70% of the population:

This gives China problems as reflected in this 2016 story China aims to ease ethnic tensions with integration policy which is an indication that 7000 years of history still offers no solution to the "melting pot" versus "multicultural diversity" debate.

Pictures do appear in the press like the one on the right of police patroling the streets of the Muslim Uighur quarter in Urumqi after a series of violent incidents hit the Xinjiang region in the summer of 2013. China’s state-run media blamed around 100 people it branded as “terrorists” for sparking “riots” in the ethnically-divided region of western China.

On December 31, 2013, President Xi Jinping appeared on CCTV and extended his “New Year’s wishes to Chinese of all ethnic groups.”

The history is complicated as it is in the United States. As one commenter noted in Are Ethnic Tensions on the Rise in China? the answer is time frame dependent. From month to month the answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no. Since the formation of the People's Republic of China in 1949 regarding the Tibetans and Uighurs, China saw major armed rebellions during the mid 1950s, the imposition of martial law in 1989, and the 1990s were particularly volatile with many clashes, bombings, and assassinations. So right now, ethnic tensions are not quite so tense.

But just like us, they will see pictures appear like the one above and in this modern age occasional disturbing videos. Because just like us, they find it complicated to bring humans together. It is what makes politics and governing difficult.

Xi clearly stated that he wants a "country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful." His Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road plan covering 65 nations, about 60 per cent of the world’s population and a third of global GDP, involves the integration of a large region into a cohesive economic area through building infrastructure, increasing cultural exchanges, and broadening trade (see more details in the May 23 post here). He invited California to participate when meeting with Governor Brown.

We in California need to understand China and its politics. And we need to understand it without a bias that derives from a mid-20th Century view of communism. As explained in the last post, the folks in charge over there are the ones who were shipped off to rural farms to work after their parents were arrested, imprisoned, humiliated, tortured, and in some cases killed. It's safe to assume that they want far better for the next generations.

We need to be seeking together in harmony a beautiful China and California with clear waters and green mountains for our grandchildren. Xi and Brown are making the effort. So should all of us.

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