Two items today as I rest after the ride across Belgium and Germany (basic account and pictures gradually being loaded here). The first is a report on the continuing program to lift the remaining 43.35 million (as of the end of 2016) Chinese people out of poverty by 2020. From 2012 to 2016, 13.9 million people have been lifted out of poverty annually, but it still requires another 10 million every year, or 20 people per minute, by 2020. Consider for a moment the scale of the project, or even the fact that it is a major program at all (most places in the world do not really care).

But what is the point, apart from the obvious? It is part of the preparations for achieving a moderately prosperous society (xiaokang shehui) by the beginning of the first centenary goal of 2021 – the centenary of the founding of the CPC. As I have mentioned earlier, this is Confucian terminology for the second stage of socialism in China.

The second is the first part of a documentary series on China’s major-country diplomacy (which you can see here). Through all the gloss, I am struck by the fact that the two centenary goals are mentioned explicitly, as well as the Chinese dream, but above all by the way this includes China – under Xi Jinping – as force of global leadership.

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I am working my way through Xi Jinping’s The Governance of China, enjoying especially a piece from 2013 called ‘Hard Work Makes Dreams Come True’. One of a number of statements on the Chinese Dream (which actually means at a minimum the second stage of socialism, or xiaokang as it is called hereabouts), it addresses workers as the backbone of the party and the country. Here we find many good old communist themes – as with the book as a whole – such as the role of the working class, model workers and so forth.

The theme of hard work continues today in Xi Jinping’s statements, most recently in his new year’s address for 2017, where he called on all to ‘roll up your sleeves and get to work’ – sparking lines in pop songs, memes and images.