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Pompeo May Want A ‘New Cold War,’ Not Everyone Does First Voice

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s infamous China speech on July 23 has incited a tsunami of criticism within America’s foreign policy circles and in the media. Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, published an opinion piece in the Washington Post on July 26. He blasted Pompeo as “decidedly undiplomatic” and stated that Pompeo has misinterpreted history while failing to “suggest a coherent or viable path forward for managing a relationship that more than any other will define this era.”

Ticked off by Pompeo’s not so subtle attempt to turn Chinese people against the Communist Party of China (CPC), Haass claimed that “it is not within our power to determine China’s future, much less transform it.” Whatever problems or challenges China’s facing, and whatever the relationship is between the CPC and the Chinese people, “will be for the Chinese people and their leaders to determine,” he said.

Steve Hadley, former National Security Advisor under President George W. Bush, believed that any administration’s China policy should be a sustainable one that doesn’t divide the world or take the two countries onto a path of confrontation. However, the problem is, many experts and former government officials don’t see Trump administration’s China strategy as solely centered on China or come from a place of international relations.

The Washington Post screenshot

Rather, many see domestic situations in the U.S. and Trump’s own political fortune as driving the administration’s hostility towards the world’s second largest economy. In a New York Times report dated July 25, it’s made clear that Trump’s campaign aides believe that aggression towards China, like closing down Chinese Consulate in Houston, “could help energize voters.”

A story by Los Angeles Times published on July 26 pointed out that Trump’s China policy has “repeatedly seesawed and has often appeared inconsistent or haphazard.” But now, with the election on the horizon, China hawks are granted “free rein.” Many China scholars and policymakers see this so-called “slegehammer” approach toward China as “counterproductive and disingenuous in its purported concern for Chinese people.” Debroah Seligsohn, former U.S. diplomat focused on Asia, told LA Times: “There are ways to handle the relationship without blasting through it.”

But blast it did. Michael D. Swaine, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote on Twitter that the U.S. move to close Chinese Consulate in Houston was a “transparent effort by mindless ideologues and political manipulators to help Trump’s political fortunes.” And in response to China’s closure of U.S. Consulate in Chengdu, Swaine pointed out that the Trump administration wanted this move to happen. “It is part of the decoupling and demonization campaign that it thinks will magically make Beijing do what it wants,” wrote Swaine.

The Financial Times had an interesting description of Pompeo’s speech: “Short on prescriptive policy detail, Mr. Pompeo’s speech had the feeling of a popular campaign speech at times.” There has been no shortage of speculation about Pompeo’s post-Secretary-of-State political ambition. In May, the NYT published a story pointing out that Pompeo had visited conservative donors and political figures on official business trips as he “nurtures plans for a presidential bid in 2024 and as he considered a run for the Senate form Kansas.” As Trump’s political fortune in uncertainty, it wouldn’t be too unreasonable to imagine that Pompeo could be looking out for his own future. After all, who better to pick up the mantle of a president chanting tough on China than his very own Secretary of State who might’ve put China and the U.S. on a path of confrontation?

Scriptwriter: Huang Jiyuan

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Xi Jinping Reviews Poverty Relief Progress in Hunan as China’s War on Poverty Nears End

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China has vowed to eradicate absolute poverty in rural areas by the end of 2020 despite the COVID-19 epidemic. While efforts are being made to ensure “no single poor area or individual shall be left behind” – as President Xi Jinping puts it – people that have recently shaken off poverty are striving for a better life.

Among the 529 residents in a small village in central China’s Hunan Province, 95 in 30 households used to live under the poverty line. The whole village was lifted out of poverty through rural tourism in 2018, and the average annual income of the residents reached 13,840 yuan (about 2,060 U.S. dollars) last year – way above the national poverty line of 2,300 yuan (about 340 U.S. dollars).

Shazhou Village, located in a mountainous area in Rucheng County, Chenzhou City, was the first stop of Xi’s inspection tour in Hunan.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, visited the village on Wednesday and learned about poverty relief industries and progress in consolidating poverty eradication at a modern agricultural tourism demonstration base.

Chinese President Xi Jinping learns about poverty relief industries and progress in consolidating poverty eradication at a modern agricultural tourism demonstration base in Shazhou Village, Rucheng County, central China’s Hunan Province, September 16, 2020. /Xinhua

Targeted poverty alleviation

China has adopted a targeted approach in in its poverty alleviation campaign, which means taking tailored relief measures to fit different local conditions.

The story of Shazhou is a prime example of that approach. The village boasts the beautiful scenery of the Luoxiao Mountains and the unique Yao ethnic culture – nearly two thirds of the residents belong to the Yao ethnic group. Tourism has played a significant role in Shazhou’s battle against poverty.

The village has promoted rural tourism and high-quality fruit planting, and arranged training programs to help villagers obtain such job skills as for restaurant cooks and rural tourism industry employees. More than 350 local jobs have been created through the efforts.

With all its residents lifted out of poverty, Shazhou has also been known for such national-level honor as the “village of beauty and leisure,” “role model for ethnic unity and progress,” “key village for promoting rural tourism” and “traditional Chinese village.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping talks with residents of Shazhou Village, Rucheng County, central China’s Hunan Province, September 16, 2020. /Xinhua

New starting point

Since the 18th CPC National Congress in late 2012, China has achieved remarkable results in poverty reduction. More than 93 million rural people shook off poverty between 2013 and 2019.

But 5.51 million people needed to get rid of poverty by the end of 2019. And such a formidable task was coincided by accident with the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking at a symposium on poverty alleviation in March, Xi described the goal of ending absolute poverty by 2020 as a “solemn pledge” made by the CPC Central Committee to the Chinese people, urging authorities at all levels to deliver on that promise.

As China intensifies efforts in the final stage of the tough battle, Xi tours around the country to inspect economic and social development, with poverty alleviation high on the agenda. Prior to the Hunan trip, he had taken inspection tours this year of capital city Beijing and provinces of Yunnan, Hubei, Zhejiang, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Jilin and Anhui, and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

In addition to increasing poor people’s incomes, China is also striving to improve the quality of poverty relief. Xi has repeatedly called for efforts to ensure rural poor people do not have to worry about food and clothing and have access to compulsory education, basic medical services and safe housing.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks with villagers in the village of Shazhou, Rucheng County, central China’s Hunan Province, September 16, 2020. /Xinhua

Meanwhile, he is looking into the future beyond the end of poverty. “Being lifted out of poverty is not an end in itself but the starting point of a new life and a new pursuit,” he said on several occasions this year, calling for consolidating achievements in poverty alleviation and advancing the rural vitalization strategy.

Put forward at the 19th CPC National Congress in 2017, the strategy aims to build rural areas with thriving businesses, pleasant living environments, social etiquette and civility, effective governance and prosperity.

Shazhou is among many previously poor villages in China that have embarked on the journey for a better future.

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From ‘saplings’ to ‘towering trees’

On Wednesday, Xi also visited a revolution-themed exhibition hall, a village service center, a clinic, a primary school and the homes of villagers in Shazhou.

The exhibition chronicles the story of an impoverished villager named Xu Jiexiu, who offered shelter to three female Red Army soldiers during the Long March in the 1930s. Upon the soldiers’ departure, they cut their only quilt in halves, leaving one part with Xu to show their care.

Xi said the CPC owes its achievements to the people’s support, vowing to further improve the people’s wellbeing.

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While inspecting the village service center, he stressed the effectiveness of primary-level public services. The center should provide targeted services for local residents according their needs, he told workers there.

At the primary school, the president encouraged students to make progress every day and grow from “saplings” into “towering trees” of the Chinese nation.

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Coronavirus Largest Health Crisis

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The novel coronavirus pandemic is the largest global health crisis of the past decades, and China was the first country to be hit by COVID-19.

When the lives of 1.4 billion people were put under threat by the virus, China locked down Wuhan, once the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

But how did the virus spread throughout the city? And what led to the unprecedented lockdown? CGTN launches “The Frontline: China’s Fight Against COVID-19”, a 90-minute-long two-part documentary.

In part one, the initial outbreak and the following two months are explored, and how a city of 11 million came to a standstill.

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Xi Jinping: China, EU Should Be Committed To Multilateralism, Dialogue

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China and the European Union (EU) should be committed to peaceful coexistence, openness and cooperation, multilateralism and dialogue, and consultation, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Monday, calling on the two sides to firmly promote the healthy and stable development of their comprehensive strategic partnership.

Xi made the remarks while co-hosting a China-Germany-EU leaders’ meeting on Monday evening in Beijing via video link with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

The world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, and the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the process, Xi said, adding that humanity is standing at a new crossroads.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of China-EU diplomatic ties, and this was the second video meeting between Chinese and EU leaders in less than three months. It also comes after recent visits by senior Chinese diplomats to EU member states such as Italy, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain and Greece.

During the meeting, the leaders announced the official signing of the China-EU Geographical Indications (GI) Agreement.

GI is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. The agreement is expected to prevent counterfeiting of GI and enable consumers on both sides to eat and use authentic high-quality products.

The two sides also vowed to accelerate the negotiation of the China-EU investment agreement and reaffirmed the goal of concluding the negotiation by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Xi and the European leaders decided to establish a China-EU high-level dialogue on environment and climate, and one in the digital field, in order to build a green partnership and a digital cooperative partnership.

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