Space Station, Indonesia, President Xi, Sustainable Fashion, Disabled Villager Commentary from the Web, Week 30, 2022

China’s new space station is two thirds complete after launch of new lab – SupChina

On Sunday afternoon in the balmy tropical island province of Hainan, a large crowd of spectators and space enthusiasts gathered to watch a massive rocket launch a laboratory into space.

The 23-ton laboratory module, named Wèntiān 问天 (“quest for the heavens”), was successfully launched from the Wenchang space base and is now permanently orbiting the globe as of Monday, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).


China backs Indonesia as G20 looms – SupChina

Xi also urged the two sides to speed up the completion of the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway, the 142-kilometer (88-mile) Chinese-backed project under the Belt and Road Initiative, which is one of the largest infrastructure undertakings in Southeast Asia.

Beijing has been Jakarta’s top trading partner since 2013: In 2020, China was Indonesia’s top export destination, with more than 16% of the nation’s total exports and a total value of $78.5 billion.

In the first half of 2022, Chinese imports from Indonesia, mostly commodities, surged 34.2% year on year, coming in second after Russia’s.


Setting the record straight on Xi Jinping – SupChina

…  Xi’s policies really have a lot in common with post-Mao leadership from Dèng Xiǎopíng 邓小平 to Jiāng Zémín 江泽民 to Hú Jǐntāo 胡锦涛. They have wrestled with very similar issues of poverty and under-development, and how to reform the Soviet model adopted during the 1950s. They also share similar goals of achieving wealth and power. And they all know that stability breeds stagnancy, which is why they all had to launch campaigns and new initiatives to keep the economy going. …

The first [thing that is not reported in the West] is the major role played by the Central Organizing Department (COD) in recruiting, grooming, and scrutinizing generations of leaders. The COD recruits officials and rotates them to different regions and administrative levels until some of them finally reach the apex of power. So you can see very clearly how the COD recruited and groomed Xi until he became general secretary. At the 20th Party Congress this fall, we will be able to see the fruition of the COD’s efforts in cultivating the sixth generation or seventh generation leaders.

The second major finding is about the theory of “one party, two coalitions,” which says that the Chinese top leadership is divided into two coalitions, one called the Elitist Coalition, represented by “princelings” like Xi Jinping who are supposed to represent leaders from coastal cities, urbanites, the interests of the middle class, and so on. The other is the Populist Coalition, represented by former president Hu Jintao, [former premier] Wēn Jiābǎo 温家宝, and current premier Lǐ Kèqiáng 李克强, who had their career origins in the Communist Youth League and who tend to emphasize a “people-first policy”: the interests of farmers, workers, rural migrants, and so on. But in my book, I find that there’s basically no evidence to support this theory. Leaders including Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, and Hu Jintao really have had to grapple with a whole range of issues in their political careers; there is no evidence that there’s bias one way or another.

It’s common in the West to characterize Xi as a dictator, a new Mao, and a “last emperor.” It’s also a popular stereotype to conceptualize China as a “frozen” system under one-man rule. Xi Jinping certainly has an authoritarian side, but he has introduced many progressive reforms such as poverty alleviation and judicial reform. In decision-making, no doubt the buck stops at Xi Jinping’s desk, but Xi also depends on his colleagues for input and advice. All major decisions are subjected to extensive consultation and intense debate. These decisions also rely on a huge bureaucracy, which numbers about 6 million people, to implement. Xi has had to contend with the bureaucratic issues of vested interests, foot-dragging, non-compliance, and corruption.


A fashion exhibition in Shanghai puts sustainability front and center – SupChina

More than 30 environmentally conscious artists and designers join forces at “CanU,” a new exhibition in Shanghai that aims to educate, engage, and empower people about sustainability in fashion.


How uncle cured my mental friction after being back in the village for three days (

The 11-minute video of a story of a resilient villager who became disabled as a teenager went viral on all of China's social media platforms today. It was first posted on Bilibili, a video-sharing website in China, by 衣戈猜想 Yige Caixiang, an uploader, and got over 15 million views in a day, ranking first among all the videos on the platform. A Wechat blogger 粥左罗 Zhou Zuoluo posted a text version of the story on WeChat. Later, Yige Caixiang posted another video in response to netizens’ questions about his second uncle.

In this newsletter, you can find a YouTube link of the video by China Daily and a translation of the story by GRR. In the uploader's words, how his uncle maintains solemn self-improvement in the midst of struggles and difficulties makes people respect him.