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Is China preparing for war?
On a recent Foreign Affairs article by John Pomfret and Matthew Pottinger
Recently, there have been voices suggesting that China is preparing for war. As a newsletter writer with a long-standing interest in both observing and introducing China, I am highly concerned about this issue. I have taken the time to research these claims and their underlying reasons, intending to share my findings with you all.
Today's newsletter focuses on an article authored by Matthew Pottinger and John Pomfret for Foreign Affairs titled "Xi Jinping Says He Is Preparing China for War."
My friend and former colleague Zichen Wang and I, with the assistance of our newsletter interns, have carefully examined the arguments presented in the article and will share our discoveries here.
China is a complex country with its own operating mechanisms, and given the language barrier, it can be challenging for outsiders to gain clarity on certain issues. I hope and believe that today’s piece will help readers better understand China.
Before publishing this issue, we sent this newsletter to the authors of the Foreign Affairs article. They have yet to answer as of today. This piece reflects only our personal views, not those of our employers or anybody else.
Subscribe GRR newsletter for free to get a glimpse into the priorities of both the leadership and the general public in China.
In their recent article, "Xi Jinping Says He Is Preparing China for War," published in Foreign Affairs, Matthew Pottinger and John Pomfret explored their perceived latest escalation from Beijing regarding Taiwan. While the authors delve into important matters, the article, regrettably, contains a few issues that warrant further scrutiny.
Firstly, the article presents previously known facts and statements as new, which inadvertently fuels an exaggerated sense of panic over the Taiwan situation. This is particularly noteworthy because the article is centered on, in its own words, "something has changed in Beijing" very recently. To ensure a balanced discourse, it is essential to distinguish between past developments and recent events, lest they become conflated.
Additionally, the article occasionally presents claims that, while framed as factual, lack a solid foundation. To maintain credibility and foster constructive dialogue, it is crucial that all assertions be grounded in evidence and supported by reliable sources.
Lastly, some aspects of the article exhibit a one-sided interpretation, potentially overshadowing more nuanced explanations.
The first sign that this year’s meetings of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference—known as the “two-sessions” because both bodies meet simultaneously—might not be business as usual came on March 1, when the top theoretical journal of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) published an essay titled “Under the Guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Strengthening the Army, We Will Advance Victoriously.”
The top theoretical journal of the Communist Party of China (CPC), by definition, builds the CPC's theories, the most important of which lately has been Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. According to the CPC, Xi Jinping Thought comprises various parts, including the part on military issues - Xi Jinping Thought on Strengthening the Army, the focus of the essay in question.
The journal's publication of the essay is, therefore, its routine business, just as it published many other articles on Xi Jinping Thought, such as the worldview and methodology of Xi Jinping Thought in February 2023, Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization in January 2023, and Xi Jinping Thought on Law-based Rule in December 2022.
The essay in question is also not the journal's first coverage of the military part of Xi Jinping Thought. In August 2022, the journal published another article by the same author, calling Xi Jinping on Strengthening the Army "an important part of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era."
The essay appeared under the name “Jun Zheng” — a homonym for “military government” that possibly refers to China’s top military body, the Central Military Commission—and argued that “the modernization of national defense and the military must be accelerated.”
"Jun Zheng" is most likely not a homonym for "military government" but the Political Work Department of the Central Military Commission. Chinese leaders have for generations publicly argued that the modernization of national defense and the military must be accelerated, so that is hardly surprising.
Interpreting Jun Zheng for "military government" implies the term stands for Jun Zhengfu. The negativity correlated with it in the Chinese context, however, makes it almost impossible to be chosen as a conveyer of the CPC's positions.
For the CPC, "military government" is reminiscent of the 1910s and 1920s when the Republic of China was split and ruled by military despots such as Yuan Shikai - and after Yuan's death, Feng Guozhang, Zhang Zuolin, and Duan Qirui. It was when "feudalism and imperialism still oppress the Chinese people," said Mao Zedong, and China was "plunged again into unending darkness," according to a sister magazine of Qiushi, the top theoretical journal. The end of the military government is still regarded as one of the great feats of the CPC in its canonical history.
The misguided interpretation also violates the top CPC principle that "the Party commands the gun." The CPC has always maintained that it must hold absolute leadership over the People's Liberation Army (PLA). Anything near a "military government" - the gun commands the government - is unimaginable in China.
A more likely explanation is that Jun Zheng stands for Jun Wei Zheng Zhi Gong Zuo Bu, or the Political Work Department of the Central Military Commission, which, after the 2015 PLA reform, took over the personnel and publicity duties from the former PLA General Political Department (GPD).
PLA media outlets, such as PLA Daily, have been using similar homonyms such as "Jun Zhengping" (likely "review by the Political Work Department") and "Jun Ping" (likely an abbreviation or a homonym for "military review"). These media outlets are under the auspices of the Political Work Department.
For generations, Chinese leaders have publicly said "the modernization of national defense and the military must be accelerated." That a recent journal article also mentioned is not extraordinary.
Hu Jintao proposed at the 17th Party Congress in 2007 to "open new ground for the modernization of national defense and the military" and at the 18th Party Congress in 2012 to "accelerate the modernization of national defense and the military."
Xi Jinping called for "fully advancing the modernization of national defense and the military" at the 19th Party Congress in 2017. Beijing, in 2021, listed it as one of the goals in its 14th Five-Year Plan.
And riffing off a speech that Xi made to Chinese military leaders in October 2022, it made lightly veiled jabs at the United States:
In the face of wars that may be imposed on us, we must speak to enemies in a language they understand and use victory to win peace and respect. In the new era, the People’s Army insists on using force to stop fighting ... Our army is famous for being good at fighting and having a strong fighting spirit. With millet and rifles, it defeated the Kuomintang army equipped with American equipment. It defeated the world’s number one enemy armed to the teeth on the Korean battlefield, and performed mighty and majestic battle dramas that shocked the world and caused ghosts and gods to weep.
Again, the quote is not original - and not surprising to close watchers of Chinese official statements. For example, Xi said at a 2020 meeting: "It is necessary to speak to invaders in the language they know: that is, a war must be fought to deter invasion, and violence must be met by violence; victory is needed to win peace and respect."
Additionally, "shocked the world and caused ghosts and gods to weep" may sound dramatic in English, but it's a literal translation of a poetic tribute to a dead woman in the Qing Dynasty.
Even before the essay’s publication, there were indications that Chinese leaders could be planning for a possible conflict. In December, Beijing promulgated a new law that would enable the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to more easily activate its reserve forces and institutionalize a system for replenishing combat troops in the event of war. Such measures, as the analysts Lyle Goldstein and Nathan Waechter have noted, suggest that Xi may have drawn lessons about military mobilization from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s failures in Ukraine.
The "new law" refers to the Reservists Law of the People's Republic of China, whose contemplation and drafting date far earlier than the war in Ukraine.
The drafting started in January 2019 and was a part of the "reform of military policy framework," according to a statement from the Ministry of National Defense and an explanation to the Chinese national legislature.
In November 2018, Xi Jinping attended a meeting of the Central Military Commission on reform of the military policy framework, saying that China should reform in a coordinated way its policy systems covering various issues, including national defense mobilization, and China should "adopt military laws and regulations in an integrated way and enhance their codification."
According to a press conference of the Ministry of National Defense in November 2018, it took more than a year to complete the research for the reform program. That means the initiation began presumably in 2017.
Many countries have laws on reservists in their books. In the U.S., the reserve components are detailed in Subtitle E of Title 10 of the United States Code. The United Kingdom has its Reserve Forces Act 1996.
The Chinese leader...reiterated that he sees uniting Taiwan and the mainland as vital to the success of his signature policy to achieve "the great rejuvenation of the Chinese ethnos."
In his fourth speech (and his first as a third-term president), on March 13, Xi announced that the "essence" of his great rejuvenation campaign was "the unification of the motherland." Although he has hinted at the connection between absorbing Taiwan and his much-vaunted campaign to, essentially, make China great again, he has rarely if ever done so with such clarity.
His messaging about war preparation and his equating of national rejuvenation with unification mark a new phase in his political warfare campaign to intimidate Taiwan.
The "great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation" originated not with Xi Jinping at all, and Beijing has always been saying the reunification of Taiwan is a necessary part of it.
Indeed, Xi has been stressing "national rejuvenation," but top Chinese leaders have long emphasized it. In 2001, Jiang Zemin called for, at a meeting celebrating the 80th anniversary of the founding of the CPC, young people to "accomplish the grand cause of socialist modernization and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation." In 2002, Jiang Zemin's report to the 16th National Congress of the CPC mentioned the term nine times.
Top Chinese leaders have also repeatedly declared that reunification is within the framework of "rejuvenation." Jiang Zemin said in his report at the 15th Party Congress in 1997 "the complete reunification of the motherland and the comprehensive revitalization of the nation will certainly be achieved" (In Party speak, revitalization is the predecessor to rejuvenation). Jiang said in his report at the 16th Party Congress in 2002, "If the country is to be reunited and the nation is to be rejuvenated, the Taiwan question cannot be delayed indefinitely."
Hu Jintao said in his report at the 17th Party Congress in 2007 "cross-strait reunification is a historical necessity for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation" and in his report at the 18th Party Congress in 2012 "with all Chinese people working together, we will be able to accomplish the great task of reunification of the motherland in the process of achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation."
His government also announced...plans to make the country less dependent on foreign grain imports.
Xi also said that he wants China to end its reliance on imports of grain and manufactured goods. “In case we’re short of either, the international market will not protect us,” Xi declared. Li, the outgoing premier, emphasized the same point in his annual government “work report” on the same day, saying Beijing must “unremittingly keep the rice bowls of more than 1.4 billion Chinese people firmly in their own hands.” China currently depends on imports for more than a third of its net food consumption.
For decades, the Chinese leadership has stressed "self-reliance" in food. In 1983, the CPC Central Committee said in "Several Issues of the Current Rural Economic Policy" that "from the overall perspective, the solution to the grain problem must be based on self-reliance."
In 1989, Jiang Zemin said when celebrating the 40th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China "the steady growth of agriculture, especially food production, is the basis for the development of the entire national economy. The problem of feeding 1.1 billion people can only be solved by our own correct approach and sustained efforts, and we can not rely on any other people to solve it on our behalf. At no time can we forget this most basic national condition."
In October 1993, Jiang Zemin said in his speech "Attaching Great Importance to Issues Related to Agriculture, Rural areas and Rural People" that "if agriculture and food production go wrong, no country will be able to help us. If we live on imported food, we are bound to be constrained by others."
In 2008, the National Development and Reform Commission said in the Outline of the Medium-and Long-term Plan for National Food Security (2008-2020) that a guiding principle is “坚持立足于基本靠国内保障粮食供给” "insisting on basically relying on domestic (supply) to secure food supply"
In 2013, Xi Jinping said at the Central Conference on Rural Work that "having control over our own food supply is a basic policy that must be adhered to in the long run" and since repeatedly highlighted food security, including listing it as a part of national security in July 2015. Li Keqiang, then Premier, mentioned it in last year's report on the work of the government as well.
Heeding the market rather than Beijing's vows, China's dependency on imported grains, however, climbed in the past decade, although most of the imports are feedstuffs and oilseeds.
In his first speech on March 6, Xi appeared to be girding China’s industrial base for struggle and conflict ...
On March 5, Xi gave a second speech laying out a vision of Chinese self-sufficiency that went considerably further than any of his previous discussions of the topic, saying China’s march to modernization is contingent on breaking technological dependence on foreign economies — meaning the United States and other industrialized democracies.
Xi couldn't have made his first speech on March 6 and then a second on March 5.
Additionally, Xi's May 5 speech did stress Chinese self-sufficiency but it didn't, in our opinion, go "considerably further than any of his previous discussions of the topic." We looked at each sentence of that speech on self-sufficiency and found them highly similar to statements he had made before. Given that our response is already too lengthy, we choose not to facilitate a sentence-by-sentence reference here but would do so if challenged.
At the same time, cities in Fujian Province, across the strait from Taiwan, have begun building or upgrading air-raid shelters and at least one “wartime emergency hospital,” according to Chinese state media.
Upon research, the "wartime emergency hospital" probably refers to one in Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian Province. The official press release, titled "Fuzhou has built another war-time medical rescue project," says, "Yang Lihong, the Secretary of the Party Committee and Director of the Fuzhou Civil Defense Office, has proposed accelerating the construction of wartime medical rescue stations and extending them to subway stations and other locations in response to the current scarcity of medical rescue resources. He attaches great importance to the construction of such projects."
It's therefore clear that the "wartime emergency hospital" in question is the initiative of one local official whose jurisdiction covers only Fuzhou.
The press release added, "the wartime emergency project, in Cangshan District, Fuzhou City, combined with Mengchao Hepatobiliary Hospital of Fujian Medical University, has been built." Based on that, experienced observers of Chinese government press releases are likely to suspect the so-called "wartime emergency project" could be just a superficial addition to the existing hospital.
In evidence confirming the suspicion, the press release includes three photos. One shows the location - outside the Mengchao Hepatobiliary Hospital, and two show power generators and their control boxes. That’s probably why it was named a “wartime emergency project” instead of a hospital.
The conclusion is, therefore, that the local government office merely added backup power outside an existing hospital and declared they added a “wartime emergency project.”
Upon research, we couldn't find evidence for notable "building or upgrading air-raid shelters" in Fujian Province. It's worth mentioning that turning underground air-raid shelters into shopping malls is commonplace across China. In the northernmost Heilongjiang Province, commercialization has become so entrenched that enormous corruption has been discovered and highlighted by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the CPC's discipline watchdog, in 2021.
If these developments hint at a shift in Beijing’s thinking, the two-sessions meetings in early March all but confirmed one. Among the proposals discussed by the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference —the advisory body — was a plan to create a blacklist of pro-independence activists and political leaders in Taiwan. Tabled by the popular ultranationalist blogger Zhou Xiaoping, the plan would authorize the assassination of blacklisted individuals — including Taiwan’s vice president, William Lai Ching-te — if they do not reform their ways. Zhou later told the Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao that his proposal had been accepted by the conference and “relayed to relevant authorities for evaluation and consideration.” Proposals like Zhou’s do not come by accident. In 2014, Xi praised Zhou for the “positive energy” of his jeremiads against Taiwan and the United States.
First, a total of 4,689 proposals were submitted to the First Session of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Zhou's is just one of them.
Second, both the CPPCC and Chinese media shunned Zhou's plan. Zhou, a controversial first-time National Committee member, was featured in an interview on the CPPCC website under the section of Tianjin, where he serves as a member of CPPCC National Committee. The interview highlighted Zhou's other proposal while excluding the one concerning Taiwan. Mainstream media in the Chinese mainland did not cover or even mention it during the “two sessions." That suggests a lack of endorsement.
Thirdly, the CPPCC Daily, an official publication managed by the general office of the CPPCC National Committee, reported that the office has identified a number of "priority proposals" from the submitted proposals during the 14th session, such as promoting the Chinese path to modernization, implementing new development concepts, and ensuring and improving people's livelihoods. Taiwan-related proposals weren't mentioned.
Fourthly, Ming Pao published the interview with Zhou on March 6, 2023, when the CPPCC National Committee had just opened its annual session and had not yet begun considering proposals submitted by its members. Zhou's statement to the Hong Kong newspaper claiming that the proposal had been accepted and "relayed to relevant authorities for evaluation and consideration" is more likely a self-promotion.
Lastly, a Xinhua report also published in the People's Daily in 2014 described the interaction between Xi Jinping and Zhou in the only public account available.
Discussing internet literature, the General Secretary paused and asked: "I heard that there are two internet writers here today, which two are they?" At the symposium's conclusion, Xi Jinping approached them and said amicably "I hope you will create more works with positive energy."
In the Chinese mainland, "literature" typically refers to novels, prose, and poetry rather than commentaries on current affairs. What Xi meant by "positive energy" was also unclear. It's fair to say Xi praised Zhou for the "positive energy," but there is no basis for "of his jeremiads against Taiwan and the United States" from publicly available information.
Also at the two-sessions meetings, outgoing Premier Li Keqiang announced a military budget of 1.55 trillion yuan (roughly $224.8 billion) for 2023, a 7.2 percent increase from last year. Li, too, called for heightened “preparations for war.”
Even the official Chinese figure exceeds the military spending of all the Pacific treaty allies of the United States combined (Australia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand), and it is a safe bet China is spending substantially more than it says.
The "7.2 percent increase" is the nominal military expenditure growth, which does not take into account changes in prices. Li Keqiang said in the 2023 Government Work Report that "the main projected targets for development this year are as follows: GDP growth of around 5 percent ... CPI increase of around 3 percent," meaning that China's expected nominal economic growth without considering price changes in 2023 is about 8 percent. In other words, nominal military expenditure growth (7.2%) is lower than nominal economic growth (8%) - China is set to devote a smaller share of its economy to defense in 2023.
It's common sense that the Chinese military is not under the purview of the State Council, as the CPC has been steadfast in asserting absolute leadership over the PLA. Apart from the courtesy nature of the government work report's coverage of the military, the exact language adopted standard, uncharacteristic expressions.
Comparing defense budgets in different ways could create different impressions. For example, the combined land, population, and GDP of Australia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand are far lower than China, so their combined military spending is lower than China may not be surprising.
On a per capita basis, China's military spending is far lower than not only the U.S. but also its Pacific treaty allies such as Australia, South Korea, and Japan.
The Foreign Affairs article also apparently dodged a much more common comparison — the U.S. spends more on national defense than China, India, Russia, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Japan, and South Korea — combined.
But the most telling moments of the two-sessions meetings, perhaps unsurprisingly, involved Xi himself. The Chinese leader gave four speeches in all—one to delegates of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, two to the National People’s Congress, and one to military and paramilitary leaders. In them, he described a bleak geopolitical landscape, singled out the United States as China’s adversary, exhorted private businesses to serve China’s military and strategic aims
What Xi said was that the private sector is "an important force for our Party’s long-term governance and for the Party to lead the Chinese people to deliver on the two centenary goals and realize the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation."
Business entities are a key factor in a nation's overall strength. Xi also said the private businesses should adhere to "high-quality development" and contribute to shared prosperity of the Chinese people. These words, in our opinion, can hardly be qualified as he "exhorted private businesses to serve China's military and strategic aims."
Furthermore, they are hardly "most telling" given similar phrasing has been used numerous times before, including in the exact same words in November 2018 - the private sector is "an important force to lead the Chinese people to deliver on the two centenary goals and realize the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation."
The characterization also completely mispresented the context of the quote. It's not a secret that the confidence of China's private businesses dived in recent years, and the intended purpose of his words was to assure private entrepreneurs by describing them as being in the same camp as the CPC and Chinese development. It follows, as his apparent logic was, that private businesspeople do not have to worry about becoming a target.
Several parts in the article would take a lot more space for us to examine, but we are afraid that we have long ago run out of even the most generous reader's patience. So allow us to offer some preliminary thoughts here.
Since December, the Chinese government has also opened a slew of National Defense Mobilization offices—or recruitment centers—across the country, including in Beijing, Fujian, Hubei, Hunan, Inner Mongolia, Shandong, Shanghai, Sichuan, Tibet, and Wuhan.
They are the result of a decade-long reform of China's national defense mobilization system, dating back to the famed Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Some Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening the Reform in 2013 which said for "We will deepen the reform of national defense education, improve the national defense mobilization system, and the system of conscription during peace time and mobilization during wartime." In 2017, Xi said in his speech at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China again "we will improve our national defense mobilization system."
The timeline shows not a recent development as the Foreign Affairs article attempts to convey, and Chinese researchers have published on why the country needs to overhaul its national defense mobilization: the old system was cumbersome, detached from reality, and ineffective. For example, China's past "defense mobilization committees" used to be powerless coordinative bodies that could only relay information and did not even have dedicated staff.
The law governing military reservists is not the only legal change that hints at Beijing’s preparations. In February, the top deliberative body of the National People’s Congress adopted the Decision on Adjusting the Application of Certain Provisions of the [Chinese] Criminal Procedure Law to the Military During Wartime, which, according to the state-run People’s Daily, gives the Central Military Commission the power to adjust legal provisions, including “jurisdiction, defense and representation, compulsory measures, case filings, investigation, prosecution, trial, and the implementation of sentences.” Although it is impossible to predict how the decision will be used, it could become a weapon to target individuals who oppose a takeover of Taiwan. The PLA might also use it to claim legal jurisdiction over a potentially occupied territory, such as Taiwan. Or Beijing could use it to compel Chinese citizens to support its decisions during wartime.
Regrettably, Beijing offered few communications on this, giving rise to such speculations. Upon research, we found that the China Forum of Military Law 2022 by the PLA National Defense University may offer some clues, where unidentified but apparent PLA scholars appealed for rule changes that were later adopted by China's legislature. The discussions - reasons behind those changes - are highly technical and we will publish something else.
It also called for an intensification of Military-Civil Fusion, Xi’s policy requiring private companies and civilian institutions to serve China’s military modernization effort.
A lot of Western ink has been spilled on Military-Civil Fusion (MCF), and many have made up their minds about it. But as we see it, the MCF is not about "requiring" private companies and civilian institutions to serve China’s military modernization effort but "enabling" them to do so if they so choose.
"China has imposed a legal obligation on Chinese companies to participate in MCF" is one of the myths broken by Elsa B. Kania and Lorand Laskai in a Center for New American Security research, which found "Apart from the CCP constitution, no statute or law mandating compulsory participation in MCF appears to exist." For the CPC constitution, they found "When the 19th CCP National Congress approved an update to the party constitution in October 2017, this revision enshrined Xi’s top priorities, including the Belt and Road Initiative. The provision that mentions MCF, far from mandating society-wide participation in MCF or offering any affirmative command, is simply included among a listing of various strategies for party cadres to implement" and "the provision thus merely reaffirms what is already apparent on many fronts: namely, that the party considers MCF a strategic priority."
The background of MCF, in our opinion, is that the institutional foundations of PLA's weapon development and research are copied from the Soviet Union, where systematic barriers allow state-owned companies and, in particular, military-owned industrial complex, enjoyed a monopoly in defense contracts and shut out private businesses. In 2010, Chinese scholars estimated that less than 1 percent of the country’s civilian high-tech enterprises were involved in defense-related activity, according to a Council on Foreign Relations blog post.
Also, the MCF seeks to incentivize military equipment producers to tap the civilian market because otherwise, there weren't enough financial resources to sustain them.
Whereas U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has emphasized “guardrails” and other means of slowing the deterioration of U.S.-China relations, Beijing is clearly preparing for a new, more confrontational era.
While paying lip service to "guardrails," President BIden's administration put many Chinese companies under sanctions, expanded export control of chip technology, facilitated the proliferation of nuclear technology for military use in the Pacific, added military bases in the Philippines, and even stalled in bringing back the China Fulbright program - to name just a few. It's flimsy to say President Biden's administration slowed the deterioration of U.S.-China relations.
Last but not least, and this could not be stressed enough for China watching - each language has unique features rooted in its speakers’ national history and tradition, and Chinese is no different. Astute observers may have noticed that many words that the CPC and Chinese government routinely use can be traced back to military terms in revolutionary times but no longer invoke a violent nature in any meaningful sense. (Enditem)
The authors of this piece is:
Jiang Jiang is the founder and editor of Ginger River Review. His full-time job is as a correspondent for Xinhua News Agency.
Zichen Wang is the founder and editor of Pekingnology. His full-time job is Research Fellow and Director for International Communications at the non-governmental Center for China and Globalization (CCG). He previously worked for Xinhua for over 11 years.
Jia Yuxuan, Yu Liaojie, Gao Yuan, He Yuzhe, Wang Shuo, Li Huiyan, Nan Siyan, and Li Zhuoning, full-time students and part-time contributors to the two China newsletters, made significant contributions.
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