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August 21, 2014

ZGBriefs August 2014


The great Chinese exodus (August 15, 2014, Wall Street Journal)

Today, China’s borders are wide open. Almost anybody who wants a passport can get one. And Chinese nationals are leaving in vast waves: Last year, more than 100 million outbound travelers crossed the frontiers.Most are tourists who come home. But rapidly growing numbers are college students and the wealthy, and many of them stay away for good. A survey by the Shanghai research firm Hurun Report shows that 64% of China’s rich—defined as those with assets of more than $1.6 million—are either emigrating or planning to.


Xi Remakes Internet in China’s Year of Blogging Dangerously (August 15, 2014, Bloomberg)

In the year since Xi’s Aug. 19 speech, China’s Internet — already one of the world’s most heavily censored — has grown even more tightly controlled, undercutting the idea that new technologies will lead to more open political debate and free speech. The government continues to expand its oversight, announcing new arrests and restrictions.

Thousands in Hong Kong Rally in Support of China (August 17, 2014, The New York Times)

Tens of thousands of people marched under a blistering sun in Hong Kong on Sunday to express their opposition to a pro-democracy movement that has threatened to bring Asia’s biggest financial center to a standstill if the government does not open up the nomination process for electing the city’s top leader.

Between Truth and TV: China’s New Deng Xiaoping-Inspired Miniseries (August 18, 2014, China Real Time)

August 22 marks 110 years since the birth of Deng Xiaoping, the reformist Chinese leader whose economic policies unleashed decades of unprecedented growth for country. Not surprisingly, China is going into overdrive to commemorate the anniversary. As part of that commemoration, state broadcaster CCTV last week began broadcasting a TV series featuring Mr. Deng’s life, titled Deng Xiaoping at History’s Crossroads. The series has since triggered considerable reaction, as well as lively debate.

Mao’s Little Red Book, Meet Xi Jinping’s Collected Speeches (August 18, 2014, China Real Time)

In the annals of China’s political canon, Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book is the country’s undisputed bestseller. But a new compilation of quotations from Chinese President Xi Jinping may be starting to nip at its heels. Since its publication not quite two months ago, the somewhat turgidly named “A Reader of General-Secretary Xi Jinping’s Important Speeches” has already sold 10 million copies, its publisher reports.

Under Beijing’s Eyes (August 18, 2014, The New York Times)

In the summer of 2000, a colleague gave me a sealed folder containing my personal file. He told me that our employer, a state-owned company that traded in automobiles and machine parts, had gone bust and that I should deliver it to the local Human Resource Exchange and Service Center, which is one of many repositories that hold the secret personal files Beijing has kept on hundreds of millions of Chinese since the 1950s.

5 Things to know ahead of Beijing’s decision on hong kong political reform (August 19, 2014, China Real Time)

In Beijing during the last week of August, the members of China’s Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress will discuss a plan for how Hong Kong will elect its top leader. Pro-democracy activists in the city, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997, have been threatening mass civil disobedience if a Beijing-backed committee is allowed to control who can run in the city’s 2017 elections. Here are five things to watch this month as the NPC deliberates.

North Korea transfers tanks to Chinese border (August 19, 2014, The Telegraph)

North Korea has transferred one of its newest and most modern armoured units to the border with China, in the latest indication of the depth of the rift between the two erstwhile allies. An estimated 80 tanks of the 12th Corps of the North Korean People’s Army have been reassigned to Ryanggang Province, the strategically important frontier region that shields North Korea’s east coast ports, including Wonsan.

At Least 2 Tibetans Reported Dead in Custody in Western China (August 20, 2014, The New York Times)

At least two Tibetans died in police custody in southwestern China after a protest last week in which residents were shot and wounded, according to the exiled Tibetan government and other groups abroad. The accounts described an eruption of tension in a mountainous area of Sichuan Province that has been beset by strife over the Chinese government’s rule.

Former Kunming railway official given death penalty with reprieve (August 20, 2014, China Daily)

A former railway official in South China’s Kunming city was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve over corruption charges in Beijing on Wednesday. Wen Qingliang was removed from his post as head of the Kunming Bureau of Railways in the capital of South China’s Yunnan province in 2011 for discipline investigations.


More Churches Lose Their Crosses Despite Protests (August 14, 2014, The New York Times)

Crosses have been removed from two more Christian churches this week in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang, part of a continuing campaign by the local authorities to lower the profile of the country’s fastest-growing religion.

The future of Christianity in China: Sino-theology and the pope (August 15, 2014, CNN)

But even as the central government and the pontiff seem to be getting along better, reports have emerged that Chinese Catholics have been barred from visiting South Korea to see the pontiff. Around half of more than 100 students who had planned to travel from China to South Korea to attend the Asian Youth Day event and catch a glimpse of the Pope have not made it.

For Chinese, Pope Seems Worlds Away in South Korea (August 17, 2014, The New York Times)

Pu Ge sat on a green bench outside Beijing’s oldest Catholic cathedral and stared at the ornate gray edifice, contemplating God and his shepherd. She said she had thought that Pope Francis would stop in China during his current trip to Asia.

China punishes Xinjiang official for openly practicing faith (August 18, 2014, Reuters)

China has reprimanded 15 Xinjiang officials for violations that include adhering to religious faith, state media said on Tuesday, amid a crackdown on what the government calls illegal religious activities in the unruly western region. […]  One official in the southern city of Kashgar, where a state-backed imam was killed last month, had “worshipped openly”, the official Xinhua news agency said, behavior which violated rules that state workers not be religious.

Protestantism and the future of China (August 19, 2014, Chinese Church Voices)

The article translated below is from a Chinese website called Urban Mission ( In it the author ponders what role Protestantism can play in the future development of China.

China Arrests ‘Nearly 1,000′ Members Of Quannengshen Religious Cult (August 19, 2014, Huffington Post)

Chinese authorities have arrested “nearly a thousand” members of a banned religious group, state media said on Tuesday, the latest in a series of official moves against a group that China has outlawed as an illegal cult.

China has sentenced dozens of followers of Quannengshen, or the Church of Almighty God, since the murder of a woman at a fastfood restaurant by suspected members of the group in June sparked a national outcry.

Among those arrested were 100 “high-level organizers and backbone members”, state news agency Xinhua said, citing a statement from the Ministry of Public Security.

The Greatest Threat to Christianity in China (July 19, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

Given the prevailing “persecution” narrative perpetuated in media reports about China, one could easily conclude a hostile, repressive regime poses the biggest threat to China’s church. But is government persecution really what keeps believers awake at night? Or is the answer found within the church itself? I have been putting this question, or a variation of it, to urban church leaders for the past year or so. While my sample is by no means scientific, it does represent a diverse cross-section of pastors and other indigenous ministry leaders.

Chinese cult murder trial opens in Shandong (August 20, 2014, BBC)

The trial of a group of cult members in China who beat a woman to death at a McDonald’s restaurant has opened in the city of Yantai in Shandong province. The woman, 37-year-old Wu Shuoyan, is alleged to have been killed last May simply for refusing to hand over her phone number to cult members. The murder, filmed on CCTV and on mobile phones, sparked outrage. The Church of the Almighty God cult is banned in China but claims to have millions of members.


In remote Xinjiang province, Uighurs are under siege (August 15, 2014, Globe and Mail)

Nathan VanderKlippe, The Globe and Mail’s correspondent in Beijing, travels to Xinjiang for a first-hand look at what’s behind the region’s increasing bloodshed.

Blurred Lines: The Ambiguity of Censorship on China’s Top Messaging App (August 15, 2014, China Real Time)

The new regulations directly address a popular WeChat feature that distinguishes it from other mobile chat apps: public accounts. Though WeChat started as a mobile chat application similar to WhatsApp, it sought to challenge China’s then-dominant social media platform, the microblogging site Weibo, by building a blog platform directly within the app. Starting in 2012, users could subscribe to those public accounts –set up by everyone from news organizations to activists to brands like Nike and Sprite – and forward the content their onto their contacts.

China promotes mixed marriages in Tibet as way to achieve ‘unity’ (August 16, 2014, Washington Post)

In recent weeks, Chinese officials in charge of the Tibetan Autonomous Region have ordered a run of stories in local newspapers promoting mixed marriages. And according to newly published government reports, the government has adopted a series of policies in recent years favorable to interracial couples.

Beijing listed as most charitable city in China (August 17, 2014, Xinhua)

Beijing has been listed as the most charitable Chinese city in a new ranking by the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA). In the list issued Saturday night, the MCA ranked 294 Chinese cities based on six criteria, including non-public donations, volunteer service, charity organizations, government support and the cities’ philanthropic culture. Beijing topped the list, followed by Shanghai and Shenzhen, according to the charity index.

In China, Myths of Social Cohesion (August 18, 2014, The New York Times)

When it comes to China’s ethnic minorities, the party-run history machine is especially single-minded in its effort to promote story lines that portray Uighurs, Mongolians, Tibetans and other groups as contented members of an extended family whose traditional homelands have long been part of the Chinese nation. Alternate narratives are far less cheery. They include tales of subjugation and repression amid government-backed efforts to dilute ethnic identity through the migration of members of China’s dominant group, the Han.

Jackie Chan’s son Jaycee in drug arrest (August 19, 2014, BBC)

The son of Hollywood actor Jackie Chan has been arrested on drug-related charges, Chinese state media say. Actor Jaycee Chan, 31, and Taiwanese movie star Kai Ko, 23, were detained last Thursday, Beijing police said in a statement on their official microblog. Police said both men tested positive for marijuana, with more than 100 grams of the drug found at Mr Chan’s home.

Their arrest comes amid an ongoing crackdown on drugs which has already netted several celebrity figures.

American man in Jiangsu opens breakfast stall, attracts chengguan (August 19, 2014, Shanghaiist)

A 62-year-old American named Randy gained some online attention after he set up a stand selling breakfast foods on a street in Changzhou city of Jiang province, attracting chengguan to pay a visit, Tencent News reports.

Yes, the ‘facekini’ is a thing. And it’s finally having a moment in the sun (August 19, 2014, The Telegraph)

The facekini looks more like a balaclava than essential beachwear. But in China, that’s exactly what it has become. Beachgoers in the eastern city of Qingdao have been sporting facekinis to protect their faces from the sun, and even jellyfish. The swimming gear is made of stretchy, swimsuit like material and covers the entire head. Holes are cut for the eyes, nose and mouth (well, you’ve got to be able to eat that sandy sandwich somehow).


Denying Historians: China’s Archives Increasingly Off-Bounds (August 19, 2014, China Real Time)

Over the past few years, historians of China have grown increasingly worried about changes they’ve seen at Chinese archives that threaten to impede understanding of China at a time when such understanding is taking on a growing importance. Many archives in mainland China have been tightening access and imposing new restrictions on scholars, which can make conducting academic research in China a time-consuming and frustrating experience.

Meet China’s Most Famous Single Dad (August 19, 2014, Tea Leaf Nation)

The scandal is more than 2,500 years old; but to the Chinese Internet, it feels fresh and exciting. State media People’s Daily has called it an “ancient celebrity divorce storm,” and one reader on microblogging platform Weibo asked, hopefully as a joke, whether it was “just a rumor.” This tempest in a fine China teacup is the perpetually surprising fact that Confucius — the famous Chinese philosopher born in 551 B.C. whose teachings in The Analects emphasized the primacy of family obligations — was a divorced single dad.

Canada, Eh? Chinese Students Flock to Canuck High Schools (August 21, 2014, China Real Time)

As thousands of China’s wealthier high school students prepare to begin their school year abroad, an increasing number are likely looking to board for flights to Vancouver and Toronto. Canada’s public schools have emerged as a popular destination for Chinese families who want an English-language education but can’t quite afford the high tuition fees or exacting admissions standards of elite private academies in the U.S and U.K.


436,800 infected with HIV/AIDS in China (August 15, 2014, Xinhua)

A total of 436,800 people were living with HIV or AIDS in China by the end of 2013, while 136,300 had died from the disease, according to figures from health authorities. Mortality for the disease dropped to 6.6 percent last year from 17.9 percent in 2005, Wu Zunyou, head of the HIV/AIDS division of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Friday. The decline in mortality was attributed to policies such as free HIV tests for all and free treatment for rural and poor urban citizens, according to Wu.

Under the Knife: Why Chinese patients are turning against their doctors. (August 25, 2014, The New Yorker)

Violence against doctors in China has become a familiar occurrence. In September 2011, a calligrapher in Beijing, dissatisfied with his throat-cancer treatment, stabbed a doctor seventeen times. In May, 2012, a woman attacked a young nurse in Nanjing with a knife because of complications from an operation performed sixteen years earlier. In a two-week period this February, angry patients paralyzed a nurse in Nanjing, cut the throat of a doctor in Hebei, and beat a Heilongjiang doctor to death with a lead pipe. A survey by the China Hospital Management Association found that violence against medical personnel rose an average of twenty-three per cent each year between 2002 and 2012. By then, Chinese hospitals were reporting an average of twenty-seven attacks a year, per hospital.


Building Silk Roads for the 21st century (August 16, 2014, East Asia Forum)

Last year, China devised a ‘New Silk Roads’ policy to enhance connectivity with neighbouring countries. This policy has two components: a ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ for land connectivity initially with Central Asia and a ‘21st century Maritime Silk Road’ to connect China with ASEAN and, ultimately, with the coastal cities of South Asia as well.

Foreign executives in China. Worry me yes or worry me no? (August 17, 2014, China Law Blog)

With the media recently paying so much attention to foreign businesspeople getting in trouble in China, the phones of our firm’s China lawyers have been ringing off the hook from worried Americans based in China. We are getting the following kinds of questions and we are giving the following kinds of short answers (needless to say, our long answers are much more nuanced):

China Home Prices Fall in Majority of Cities on Weak Demand (August 17, 2014, Bloomberg)

China‘s new-home prices fell in July in almost all cities that the government tracks as tight mortgage lending deterred buyers even as local governments eased property curbs. Prices fell in 64 of the 70 cities last month from June, the National Bureau of Statistics said today, the most since January 2011 when the government changed the way it compiles the data.

Video: China’s rising unrest: An economic threat? (August 18, 2014, CNBC)

Incidents of unrest in China are increasing, and analysts told CNBC the country’s one-party government may be getting more concerned about the broader impact on social and economic stability.

Video: China’s elite target New York real estate (August 19, 2104, BBC)

With Chinese households getting richer, a growing number of people are investing their cash in American real estate. Buyers from China and Hong Kong spent $22bn, 72% more than they spent the year before, snapping up high end homes from California to New York City.

China Targets Executive Pay at State-Run Companies (August 19, 2014, China Real Time)

China said it will curb executive pay and perks at major state-controlled companies as part of an austerity program intended to curb government largess.

China fines Japanese auto parts firms $200 mn for monopoly (August 19, 2014, AFP)
China has fined 10 Japanese auto parts firms more than $200 million in total for price-fixing, authorities said Wednesday, reportedly the biggest-ever such penalties, in the latest step of the country’s anti-monopoly drive.

Is it Still Worth it to Do Business in China? (Part 1) (August 20, 2014, Chinese Negotiation)

Guanxi-building gifts, premium pricing for prestige brands, and closely guarded trade secrets used to be the hallmarks of a savvy international management team in China – now they are prosecutable offenses.


China’s Latest Import: American Football (August 15, 2014, China Real Time)

American football is coming to China. A new league, to be known as the China American Football League, will kick off in preliminary form this year with games to be held among six university teams. In 2015, the league will officially launch with two conferences of six to eight teams in cities across China. The move is being led by Marty Judge, a Philadelphia-based businessman who is the owner of that city’s arena football team, the Philadelphia Soul.

Youth Olympics open in China amid Ebola worries (August 16, 2014, AP)

Fears of the Ebola virus cast a cloud over Saturday’s opening of the second Youth Olympics in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing, after three athletes were barred from competition because of the risk of infection. The entire delegations from three nations affected by the virus — Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone — will also not be competing.

Weiqi: the surrounding game (August 19, 2014, The World of Chinese)

Weiqi, probably better known to you as ‘Go!’ is a game which occupies a place in Chinese history and culture that seems not a great deal shabbier than Chinese chess or mahjong. Perhaps most famously, it was the board game of choice of the legendary Guan Yu while a physician was slicing his arrow wound open and scraping poison off the bone. Without anesthetic. All very impressive, but one wonders what his form would have been like.


5 Off-the-radar ancient villages in south china (that don’t charge entrance fees) (August 17, 2014, Matador Network)

Outside its major cities, China has hundreds of ancient, well-preserved villages. Almost stuck in time, these places are windows into China’s past, and have become part of the latest travel trend in China. The Chinese tourism industry has caught on, and many villages now charge visitors an expensive entrance fee. Here are five free, off-the-radar villages in five different provinces of south China.

Unearthing China’s Ancient Terroir in Maotai (August 19, 2014, Punch)

China’s traditional grain spirit, baijiu, has evolved—mostly in obscurity—along a trajectory that has no Western equivalent. Derek Sandhaus travels to one of its most famous production zones to discover why this peculiar drink has suddenly gained international acclaim, and why it can’t be replicated anywhere else.

7 ways of learning to write Chinese characters (August 19, 2014, Hacking Chinese)

I think that anyone who is serious about learning Chinese should learn to write characters. This isn’t necessarily because you will be required to write a lot by hand (that almost never happens to me), but because it will teach you a lot about how characters work. This will help you recognise characters as well, which is truly essential once you get beyond everyday conversations.

Cruising’s new frontier: Chinese tourists (August 19, 2014, CNBC)

The global cruise industry is lining up to get a bigger slice of the growing Chinese tourist pie, with Beijing putting its heft behind the expansion efforts just as growth in the U.S. market is slowing.

Beijing on a Budget: Top Tips for Saving Money in China (August 20, 2014, The Beijinger Blog)

Photos: 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games (August 20, 2014, The Big Picture)

Young athletes from around the globe are competing in more than two dozen events in Nanjing, China. The event created by the International Olympic Committee includes traditional opening and closing ceremonies that wrap up on Aug. 28. Many of these same competitors will be vying for spots to represent their countries in Brazil at the 2016 Summer Olympics.


The Illusion of Chinese Power (June 25, 2014, Brookings)

Conventional wisdom has it that the China juggernaut is unstoppable and that the world must adjust to the reality of the Asian giant as a—perhaps the—major global power. A mini-industry of “China rise” prognosticators has emerged over the past decade, all painting a picture of a twenty-first-century world in which China is a dominant actor. This belief is understandable and widespread—but wrong.

A research agenda on religious freedom in china (July 19, 2014, Taylor Francis Online)

Although the subject of religious freedom in China has appeared frequently in international news and human rights reports, it has been understudied by academic scholars. To follow the principle of shi shi qiu shi (to seek truth in facts, as promoted by Deng Xiaoping since the late 1970s as a new Chinese Communist policy principle), scholarly research ought to find facts and to develop theoretical explanations of the facts. Research does not have to become “political” in the narrow sense of antagonism or holding an ideological position. Rather it would be political in the best sense of politics, which is of, relating to, or concerned with the public interest. The conceptual, regulatory, and civil society dimensions of religious freedom would be particularly fruitful research areas in China today.

What does Xi mean? (August 18, 2014, China Media Project)

The discourse of the Chinese Communist Party can be mind-numbingly abstract and self-referential. And despite an early campaign that, ostensibly at least, opposed the use of official claptrap in Party meetings, Xi Jinping’s administration has brought more of the same.

Studying Tibet Today: a discussion with Robbie Barnett (August 20, 2014, The China Story)


“2014宗教与法治”暑期班圆满结束 (August 18, 2014, Pacific Institute of Social Science)


ZGBriefs is a free weekly compilation of the news in China condensed from published online sources. Highlighting articles and commentary from major news sites, blogs and other new media sites, ZGBriefs brings you the most important stories of the week in order to help deepen your understanding of what is happening in China today. Coverage includes domestic and international politics, economics, culture, and social trends, among other areas. Seeking to explore all facets of life in China, ZGBriefs also includes coverage of spiritual movements and the role of religious believers and faith-based groups in China. ZGBriefs is a reader-supported service. If you find this resource useful, please consider making a donation.

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