Modern China has been built on a series of “contradictions.” At last month’s 19th National Congress of the Communist Party, the Beijing administration identified a new “principal contradiction” which, in the framework of Sinicized Marxism, defines each period of the Middle Kingdom’s fast-evolving social development.
Every Chinese Communist Party member knows by heart that during the Mao Zedong era the principal contradiction was between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, as in outright class struggle.
During Little Helmsman Deng Xiaoping’s era of reforms, the principal contradiction was between the “material and cultural needs of the people” versus “backward social production.”
Now, with the CCP largely solving the problem of “backward social production”, President Xi Jinping has framed the new principal contradiction “between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life.”
And that includes, in Xi’s own words, “demands for democracy, the rule of law, fairness and justice, security and a better environment.”
Essentially, that means an economic boom on its own is no longer enough for China. What is needed is “well-rounded human development and all-round social progress” managed, of course, by the CCP.
China is at pains to stress it has become a responsible player when it comes to the environment. French President Emmanuel Macron never wastes an opportunity to stress how much he appreciates the country’s stance on climate change.
Urbanization rolled out at breakneck speed, coupled with ecologically correct policies, has been the hallmark of an ultra-competitive industrial China 2.0.
Beijing is quite serious on imposing stricter regulations to rationalize the nation’s industrial landscape. That, of course, is hardly surprising when 20% of agricultural land and 90% of subterranean water have been polluted to different degrees.
For example, the Yangtze, known historically as the “blue river”, turned red near Chongqin in southwest China. Strict anti-pollution rules now apply for new industries and businesses.
In urban areas, state-owned companies have done well in selling land and rebuilding state of the art factories, as cities tend to fuse with industrial zones in selected clusters.
State incentives have certainly helped finance ultra-modern and eco-friendly factories. In parallel, turbo-charged investment from private enterprise has triggered new developments related to the digital economy.
Simultaneously, Beijing is targeting an upgrade of the real estate market and the environment. Then there are projections that by 2027, China could be the global leader on research and development when it comes to eco-friendly vehicles.
China officially wants to replace 40% of its current automotive fleet with eco-friendly trucks and cars in less than 15 years.
Starting in 2019, there will be progressive quotas in terms of sales of electric or hybrid vehicles, initially at 8%. If a brand does not reach the quota, it will be forced to pay heavy fines or buy carbon credits from competitors.
The new policy, of course, will boost the manufacture of de-carbonized vehicles, which is part of the Made in China 2025 initiative. For five years now, state subsidies have boosted the sector and helped fund extensive battery charging networks.
Chinese auto brand Geely recently launched the all electric Volvo Polestar model. Great Wall Motors, BAIC and BYD, or “Build Your Dreams”, are also heavily involved in hybrid and electric vehicles.
An electric SUV sales boom is all but inevitable in the next five years as green vehicles start to dominate China’s highways and cities. BYD has even invested US$1 billion in R&D to set up an electric monorail in Ningxia province.
Naturally, major foreign companies are desperate to get a slice of this market. Volkswagen, which sold 10.3 million cars in the country last year, plans to launch 30 different new energy models by 2025 with the help of it local partners.
In cooperation with Chinese Zotye Auto, Ford has invested €650 million on a new line of 100% rechargeable small cars, which should be in sales rooms next year.
Renault-Nissan has also joined forces with Dongfeng to build an electric low-cost model. And Tesla now faces stiff competition from electric start-up Nio, which happens to be backed by the online Chinese behemoth Tencent.
Nio’s first mass-produced model, the ES8, was launched at the weekend. It costs around $67,765, compared to $126,470 for Tesla Model X. The ES8 is made to order, customizable and comes with an artificial intelligence system. It can be ordered through an app and the battery-charging plan costs only $181 a month.
Last year, only 500,000 electric cars were manufactured in China, which was about 2% of the total automotive market. The potential, though, is huge.
Indeed, it is highly probable that China will start exporting EVs on masse. In soft power terms that is bound to solidify the country’s green credentials.
This would set an example not only for the Global South but for the whole planet. Once upon a time “principal contradictions” had to deal with bicycles. Now it has all gone electric.
Electric vehicles are the future. They are more energy efficient than current internal combustion vehicles and ties in well with the alternative energy systems policy in China. Oil should be used ito produce petrochemical chemical products instead.
What a pathetic farce, at least on the energy front. And Pepe falls for it too.
China is in the midst of building HUNDREDS of new coal fired generating plants. Under the Paris Accords filing, China will not even consider caps on CO2 emissions until 2030.
EV? Please. Where do you thing the electricity comes from to charge EV batteries? Answer: from coal fired plants.
So how is this construed as "green energy"? Kudos to Xi for recognizing that a sucker is born every minute; just mothing the rhetoric is enough to impress the likes of Macron… meanwhile the US continues to cut their CO2 emissions, even as Drump rejects the rhetoric.
I can’t address the claim of hundreds of coal fired plants, but I do know China cancelled 80-something coal plants.Whatever, it is indisputable that China has become the leader in wind and solar and are working on advanced nuclear.
Instead of more roads for the urban jungles, Xi should encourage more Chinese city dwellers to buy NEV for weekend use and also take public transports for daily commute.
The article in its title is called “the road to contradiction.” Get it?
Not to be outdone, in the US, the Trump Administration is providing incentives for vehicles and trucks that burn rocks, coal, i.e..
John Rintala Anyone who cares to Google for info can verify "claims of hundreds of coal fired plants" being built by Chinese firms..
"When China halted plans for more than 100 new coal-fired power plants this year, even as US President Donald Trump vowed to "bring back coal" in America, the contrast seemed to confirm Beijing’s new role as a leader in the fight against climate change.
However, new data on the world’s biggest developers of coal-fired power plants paints a very different picture: China’s energy companies will make up nearly half of the new coal generation expected to go online in the next decade.
These Chinese corporations are building or planning to build more than 700 new coal plants at home and around the world, some in countries that today burn little or no coal, according to tallies compiled by Urgewald, a Berlin-based environmental group. Many of the plants are in China, but by capacity, about a fifth of these new coal power stations are in other countries.
Overall, 1,600 coal plants are planned or under construction in 62 countries, said Urgewald, which uses data from the Global Coal Plant Tracker portal. The new plants would expand the world’s coal-fired power capacity by 43 per cent."
Not all electricity comes from coal. I drive an electric Smart. 50-70 miles a day. I hardly notice any change in my electric bill. When I use my electric dryer instead of haning my clothes outside, I notice THATin my electric bill. So, If you could drive your car using less energy (or coal) than you use to dry your clothes, why not?
The solution to transportation without fossil fuels is back to the future. Before gasoline the internal combustion engine was fueled by ethanol and can be again. Sao Paolo is a city of 20 million that has the lowes air pollution of any city that size because cars in Brazil run on ethanol which can be produced in a regenerative way that sequesters carbon in the soil. The problem with ethanol is that it can be easily decentralized and democratized. Ethanol can be made in small plants that use what would otherwise be waste. For instance 30% of US fuel use could be provided by lawn clippings. All fuel injected engines could burn 50% ethanol today with no alterations. Simple changes can make them run 100% ethanol with no catalytic converter or other anti pollution devices.
Pepe is Brazilian so I don’t understand why he has ignored ethanol.
"Green credentials," meh.
Environmentalism is almost wholly a white thing.
And let’s not get into the Asian attitude toward animals. Jeez. That says volumes.
More nonsense from Yashad the Mad.
Peter Cini Straits Times is not credible when it comes to the maniland. China is focusing on natural gas fired power and decreasing it reliance on coal. That is a fact, and your waffle to the contrary doesn’t chnage that fact.
Ethanol is only useful as an additive in blend with petroleum products, not as a fuel in and of itself. Ethanol manufacture is energy-negative, it costs more energy to make a lite of ethanol than you can recoved by burning it.
I would like to draw your attention to a recent news, China built the first solar road in the world, using the road surface to generate electricity. This may means the electric car drivers can easily obtain power and recharge their batteries on roadside. A very blight idea, isn’t it?
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