Today is the last day before China enters the long October national day holiday, which also this year precedes the long-awaited and much-anticipated 20th Party Congress, which starts on October 16. As a result, by order of Those in Command, news has almost come to a complete standstill. There is basically nothing happening in China that is worth talking about beyond the fact that, in spite of swirling rumors last week, mentioned vaguely and skeptically in last week’s report, the expectation is that the big Congress will be smooth sailing for the party leader. He is expected to take a third term in that post, with possibly the addition of a new title, maybe “peoples leader“ or perhaps some reference to the word “helmsman.” Conceivably both! As to what measure of balance will be signaled in either the leadership lineup and the policy directions to be unveiled at the Congress, there is a little point speculating now and we will just have to wait and see. The only hint we have had is that the concept of “common prosperity” is likely to be a core part of the platform for the coming half decade before the 21st Party Congress.
Meanwhile, in international news, an interesting dilemma is raising its head in terms of Mr. Putin’s moves in the Ukraine war. In the past week, votes have taken place in various occupied parts of Ukraine, as a result of which Putin is expected to announce the annexation of these territories away from Ukraine and into Russian territory. This will be characterized by Mr. Putin as the result of it being the desire of the majority view of the inhabitants of those territories. Now, how does this relate to affairs in our corner of the world? If the Chinese leadership were to acknowledge this annexation, does that not implicitly recognise the right of self-determination by the inhabitants of a territory, say, for instance, Scotland? And it is only two weeks since politburo member Li Zhanshu stated that China understands and fully supports Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Wouldn’t it have been simpler at the start to say that our most basic foreign policy principle is non-interference in the affairs of other states?
Have a pleasant and placid week ahead.