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September 18, 2014

ZGBriefs September 2014


Hong Kong missionaries targeting increasing number of ‘hungry souls’ from the mainland (September 15, 2014, Global Times)

While disgruntled Hong Kong residents find ‘locust’ mainland shoppers frustrating, local church groups exult over the potential to save an increasing number of souls who come to study in the former British colony. Mainland students, mostly indoctrinated in atheism and Marxism in their formative years, are now welcomed by Hong Kong’s missionaries who provide free Cantonese courses and everyday help. Campus conversion among mainland students is increasing, but when they come back to the mainland after graduation, they have to learn to cope with the division between the government-sanctioned Three-Self churches and underground house churches.


Chinese court sentences three to death for railway station knife attacks (September 12, 2014, The Guardian)

A court in southern China sentenced three people to death and one to life in prison on Friday for perpetrating a gruesome knife attack on a railway station this spring, an incident that shocked the country and underscored the severity of ethnic conflict in the north-western region of Xinjiang.

At the end of a one-day trial, prosecutors in Kunming, the capital of south-west China’s Yunnan province, found four defendants guilty of orchestrating the attack on 1 March, in which eight black-clad assailants indiscriminately hacked at bystanders with knives and machetes, killing 29 people and injuring 141.

Uighur Scholar Ilham Tohti Goes on Trial in China on Separatist Charges (September 17, 2014, The New York Times)

A prominent ethnic Uighur economics professor from Beijing went on trial Wednesday here in the far western region of Xinjiang on charges of separatism. […]  A conviction for separatism can result in the death penalty, but in this case life imprisonment is likely to be the maximum punishment because of the specific charges.

Chinese hackers penetrating key computer networks for Pentagon (+video) (September 17, 2014, Christian Science Monitor)

A Senate investigation focused on the ‘sophisticated’ cyberincursions into the computer systems of contractors for US Transportation Command, which plays a crucial role in the military’s response to global crises.

Spy claims over absent China envoy (September 18, 2014, BBC)

A prominent Chinese newspaper has called for clarification about China’s envoy to Iceland, who has gone missing amid rumours he was a Japanese spy. Ma Jisheng left Reykjavik in January, but has not returned, with the Chinese government telling Iceland this was for “personal reasons”. Some reports say that Mr Ma has been detained by Chinese state security, but there has been no official word. The senior diplomat previously worked at the Chinese embassy in Tokyo.

Video: China’s Xi Jinping signs landmark deals on India visit (September 18, 2014, BBC)

The Chinese President, Xi Jinping is on a three day visit to India hosted by the new Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. The two countries have signed 12 agreements in Delhi, one of which will see China investing $20bn (£12.2bn) in India’s infrastructure over five years.

Xi who must be obeyed (September 20, 2014, The Economist)

He has become the most powerful Chinese ruler certainly since Deng, and possibly since Mao. Whether this is good or bad for China depends on how Mr Xi uses his power. Mao pushed China to the brink of social and economic collapse, and Deng steered it on the right economic path but squandered a chance to reform it politically. If Mr Xi used his power to reform the way power works in China, he could do his country great good. So far, the signs are mixed.


China says ‘rescues’ more children from Xinjiang religious schools (September 14, 2014, Reuters)

A sweep on illegal religious activity in the capital of China’s unruly far western region of Xinjiang has resulted in 190 children being “rescued”, along with the detention of dozens of people, a state newspaper said on Monday.

Video: The Gospel Song (Chinese) – 福音歌 – Sovereign Grace Music (YouTube)


Ten problems facing Chinese society (September 17, 2014,  The World of Chinese)

Like every country in the world, China has its fair share of problems. And now citizens have set down their greatest fears in a survey outlining the main problems facing Chinese society, as conducted by the  People’s Tribune–a magazine  founded by the state-run People’s Daily. People’s key concern was a lack of morals, with 55.3 of respondents flagging this as a worry. The survey referred to the example of a qi gongmaster who was able to dupe government officials as they had nothing else to believe in and were essentially living in a moral vacuum.

Xi Jinping Implores Chinese Tourists to Stop Eating So Many Instant Noodles While Overseas (September 17, 2014, China Real Time)

China’s president has some words of advice for his country’s globetrotting citizens: Eat more local seafood and fewer cups of noodles. On Tuesday, while on a diplomatic trip to the tropical Maldives, Xi Jinping joked that his countrymen needed to improve their manners when representing their country overseas. “Let me just say here that we ought to teach our citizens to be a bit more civilized when they travel abroad,” Mr. Xi said. “Don’t throw water bottles everywhere, don’t destroy people’s coral reefs and eat fewer instant noodles and more local seafood.”


Q. and A.: Yong Zhao on Education and Authoritarianism in China (September 14, 2014, Sinosphere)

Yong Zhao, a professor of education at the University of Oregon, has come far. Born in what he calls “one of the most ordinary villages in China,” he is now an authority on Chinese and American education and the author of “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World,” being published this week.

Chinese Teacher Is Busted After Demanding Gifts From Students (September 15, 2014, NPR)

Chinese authorities have suspended a teacher after she was recorded berating her students for not providing teachers with gifts. Many parents in China’s hypercompetitive schooling system use gifts to try to buy influence. The teacher, Feng Qunchao in Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, harangued the high school students throughout the class.

Hiring Standards For Foreigners Get Tougher; Five Years’ Experience Needed for Teachers (September 15, 2014, The Beijinger)

A new regulation now requires foreigners seeking employment as teachers to have at least five years’ experience to teach non-language subjects, state-run media reported. Previously, teachers were not governed under separate regulations, requiring only the two years of experience mandated for other positions. It is unclear how teachers who have already obtained Z visas who do not meet this new standard will be handled.

China: Provinces – Map Quiz Game (Seterra)


Robotics and youth unemployment in China (September 14, 2014, CNBC)

While the better educated young people struggle to find jobs, businesses have been competing for low-skilled workers, which has led their wages to keep increasing. In 2013 alone, for instance, wages have gone up by over 10 percent, according to Bloomberg. At the same time, facing intensive competition from the neighboring Vietnam and Cambodia as well as weak export markets, Chinese manufacturers are under pressure to find ways to cut costs to remain profitable.

Video: Alibaba: What exactly does it do? (September 14, 2014, BBC)

Alibaba may well be the biggest business you’ve never heard of. Despite its domination of the Chinese internet market, the company has not yet replicated that success on a global scale. But its flotation on the New York Stock Exchange, expected next week, could change all that and the brand could end up alongside Facebook, Amazon and eBay as a giant of the online world.

China’s workers are turning from analogue slaves into digital rebels (September 14, 2014, The Guardian)

With a wave of strikes co-ordinated on social media, the migrant workforce is using 21st-century tools to fight poverty, corruption and sweated labour.

A Guide to WeChat’s Public Accounts Marketing System (September 17, 2014, East West Connect)

A simple and straightfoward guide to understanding WeChat’s public accounts marketing platform.

Foxconn Struggles to Meet New iPhone Demand (September 17, 2014, China Real Time)

Apple fans may have to wait for weeks to get the new iPhones as Apple’s major assembler Foxconn appears to be struggling to boost its production to meet strong demand. Foxconn has continued to hire more workers to assemble the two new iPhone models at its largest production site in Zhengzhou, north central China, according to people familiar with the matter. The company has more than 200,000 workers in the  Zhengzhou site, dedicated to just making new iPhones and key components such as metal casings.

China’s central bank said to inject $81bn into system (September 17, 2104, BBC)

China’s central bank is said to be injecting 500bn yuan ($81bn; £50bn) into the five biggest state-owned banks to counter slowing growth in the world’s second-largest economy. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) is reportedly giving each bank a $100bn low-interest loan over three months. The move may be the first of several stimulus measures, analysts say.

Social insurance for China expats. It depends. (September 17, 2014, China Law Blog)

Our clients often ask us whether as China employers they must contribute to social insurance for their expat employees. The answer is that it depends on the employer’s location.


Ancient sturgeon in China’s Yangtze ‘nearly extinct’ (September 15, 2014, BBC)

The Chinese sturgeon, thought to have existed for more than 140 million years, is now on the brink of extinction, according to local media. Xinhua reported that no wild sturgeon reproduced naturally last year in the Yangtze river. It was the first time since researchers began recording levels 32 years ago.


First Formula E electric motor race held in Beijing (September 13, 2014, BBC)

A new motor racing championship using electric cars has taken place in Beijing, backed by some of the sport’s biggest brands. Formula E cars can reach speeds of 225 km/h (140 mph) but the drivers had to change vehicle halfway through the race due to lack of battery power.


5 tips to survive as a vegetarian in China (September 16, 2014, The World of Chinese)

I have friends in China that don’t have the luxury of a flexible diet, due either to health reasons or to moral convictions stronger than my own. Based on their experiences and my failures, I’ve put together some tips for vegetarians in China.

“Timeless” Xinjiang: Interview with Ryan Pyle (September 16, 2014, Far West China)

I had the opportunity this last month to chat with Ryan Pyle, a Shanghai-based photographer and producer best known here in China for his 20,000 km motorcycle journey across the whole country. He’s been described as an “anthropologist with a camera” and I think you’ll see by the photos below exactly why that is.

Chinese Views of India: Culturally Rich but Backward (September 18, 2014, China Real Time)

From China’s side of the Himalayas, the view of India isn’t always that great. “This place is like China from 20 years ago. It’s much, much worse than I’d imagined,” said Tony Jiang, 29, an employee at an electronics-parts maker in Hangzhou visiting New Delhi this week.


Change your attitude to enjoy life and learn more Chinese (September 16, 2014, Hacking Chinese)

With the right attitude, learning Chinese in China can make your life a lot more interesting. I don’t mean this in the obvious sense that you can communicate with people around you, which is great, but that focusing on the language can turn things that would otherwise be boring into interesting learning opportunities.


Book Review: ‘The New Emperors’ by Kerry Brown (September 12, 2014, China Real Time)

Communist China has never been run by a direct descendant of a previous top leader. That can’t be said of either Korea—or the U.S. As Professor Jeffrey Wasserstrom of UC Irvine writes in a book review:

CDT eBook: Decoding the Chinese Internet (September 15, 2014, China Digital Times)

This eBook distills the most time-tested and ubiquitous terms in our lexicon. Organized by broad categories, Decoding the Chinese Internet will guide readers through the colorful, raucous world of China’s online resistance discourse. Students of Mandarin will gain insight into word play and learn terms that are key to understand Chinese Internet language. But no knowledge of Chinese is needed to appreciate the creative leaps netizens make in order to keep talking.

The Ricci Dictionary (September 16, 2014, The World of Chinese)

And it’s in the spirit of Matteo Ricci that in 2002, the Ricci Chinese-French Dictionary was released in Paris. The seven-volume work had been more than half a century in the making, and as of now is a standard purchase for such universities as Harvard, Yale, and the University of Paris with both Chinese learners and Sinologists in mind. It incorporates 13,500 Chinese characters and 330,000 character combinations, covering such diverse topics as Astronomy, Chemistry, Biology, Finance, Law, Philosophy, Art and Literature, among around 200 such topics.


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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