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October 16, 2014

ZGBriefs October 2014


China’s Dangerous Game (October 13, 2014, The Atlantic)

The country’s intensifying efforts to redraw maritime borders have its neighbors, and the U.S., fearing war. But does the aggression reflect a government growing in power—or one facing a crisis of legitimacy?


Communist China: Facing up to modern Mao (October 10, 2014, Globe and Mail)

For two-thirds of a century now, the revolution that took root under Mao Zedong has flourished, leaving China with a one-party authoritarian rule whose methods have changed greatly over the years, but whose grip on power has not. China today, like China in the years after 1949, rules from the centre, and reacts swiftly and harshly to anyone or anything that could threaten its command.

Leader Taps Into Chinese Classics in Seeking to Cement Power (October 11, 2014, The New York Times)

Seeking to decipher Mr. Xi, who rarely gives interviews or off-the-cuff comments, China watchers have focused on whether he has the traits of a new Mao, the ruthless revolutionary, or a new Deng Xiaoping, the economic reformer. But an overlooked key to his boldly authoritarian agenda can be found in his many admiring references to Chinese sages and statesmen from millenniums past.

Chinese Scholar Who Helped in an Escape Is Detained for ‘Picking Quarrels’ (October 12, 2014, The New York Times)

At 2 a.m. on Thursday, friends say, Mr. Guo was led away from his apartment by more than a dozen security agents, who also confiscated his computer, hard drives and documents. Mr. Guo’s apparent crime, according to friends, was “picking quarrels and provoking troubles,” the catchall charge that the Chinese authorities have been using with growing frequency in an effort to silence perceived enemies.

China Legal Reform Push Could Be Setback for Xi (October 13, 2014, China Real Time)

Chinese political campaigns have been a core component of Xi’s political strategy to remake the party and the nation; no matter how long they last, they’re apt to conclude with greater fanfare.  State-controlled media did note the various achievements of the campaign.  But Xi’s own take was less than laudatory, noting that “the party made a good start to improve the style, but the results are still preliminary, and the foundation is not solid.”

China sentences 12 to death for south Xinjiang attacks (October 13, 2014, BBC)

A court in China’s restive Xinjiang region has sentenced 12 people to death for attacks that left nearly 100 people dead in July. Dozens of civilians were killed along with more than 50 attackers when a knife-wielding gang attacked a police station and government offices. China has seen a number of attacks this year blamed on Uighur separatists.

How China’s Leaders Will Rule on the Law (October 15, 2014, China File)

As in previous years, top leaders will gather in Beijing to set out a broad policy framework that will guide the work of Party and government authorities over the coming year. This year’s theme? Ruling China according to law (yifa zhiguo).


A Surprising Tie That Binds Hong Kong’s Protest Leaders: Faith (October 9, 2014, NPR)

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Hong Kong in the past two weeks, demanding democracy and grabbing global attention. Many threads have run through the protests, including one that might seem surprising: faith. Many of the leaders are Christian, and some cite faith as an inspiration.

The secret history of Hong Kong’s stillborn democracy (October 10, 2014, Quartz)

These documents—which, perhaps unbeknownst to the People’s Daily, Hong Kong journalists have been busily mining (link in Chinese)—show that not only were the Brits mulling granting Hong Kong self-governance in the 1950s; it was the Chinese government under Mao Zedong who quashed these plans, threatening invasion. And the very reason Mao didn’t seize Hong Kong in the first place was so that the People’s Republic could enjoy the economic fruits of Britain’s colonial governance.

How Hong Kong protests are a big problem for Beijing – even if they fizzle (+video) (October 10, 2014, Christian Science Monitor)

The city’s youth increasingly identify themselves as ‘Hong Kong people’ rather than Chinese. An effort to bring the mainland’s ‘patriotic education’ to Hong Kong in 2011 failed – resulting in wide gaps in core values.

Young people of Taiwan and Hong Kong refusing to accept the unification of ‘Greater China’ (October 11, 2014, Canberra Times)

A whole generation of the most educated residents of ‘Greater China’ – as investment bankers like to call it – are refusing to accept the inevitability of “unification”. And this is more deeply subversive than it may sound.

Chinese state-run paper blames US for Hong Kong democracy protests (October 11, 2014, The Guardian)

A Chinese state-run newspaper has blamed the United States for being behind the pro-democracy protests that have rattled Hong Kong – a claim strongly rejected by the State Department.

Hong Kong’s Pop Culture of Protest (October 14, 2014, The New York Times)

These days the protesters are saying as much, and are rejecting the influence of Beijing over Hong Kong’s next election by invoking a combination of local Cantonese cultural references and global musical hits.


Five Profound Mentoring Needs in China (October 5, 2014, ChinaSource Quarterly)

Lee identifies five areas where Chinese leaders need mentoring due to a lack of positive influences in their lives. He examines each of these areas and shows how mentoring can fill the voids left by unfulfilling or nonexistent relationships.

Musings of a Mentee (October 6, 2014, ChinaSource Quarterly

I am the oldest in my family. From the time I was little, I had felt bad for not having an older brother or sister. However, upon becoming a member of the Father’s family, I realized that my Heavenly Father had prepared older spiritual brothers and sisters to walk alongside me to keep me from being alone in my growth. Due to the space constraints here, I can only share brief stories of three mentors: the sister who led me to Christ, my pastor, and my present best friend.

The Boomerang Effect (October 10, 2014, Christianity Today)

Twenty years ago, Asian North American churches were experiencing a trend that became known as the “Silent Exodus.” The phrase described the movement of second- and other next-generation Asian North Americans away from their Asian immigrant churches as they grew up. But an interesting countertrend has begun to emerge, one that Trinity Evangelical Divinity School professor Peter Cha terms “the boomerang effect”: many of these Asian North Americans have decided to return.

Chinese preacher ‘grateful’ to be jailed amid ‘anti-church’ campaign (October 13, 2014, The Telegraph)

A Chinese pastor who is facing seven years in prison after falling foul of a Communist Party crackdown on the country’s rapidly growing Christian community has told his lawyer he is “grateful that God has given him the chance” to go to jail. Huang Yizi, a 40-year-old preacher who had spoken out against a demolition campaign being waged against Chinese churches, is currently awaiting trial in a detention centre in Wenzhou, a city in the eastern province of Zhejiang.

New wine and old skin, part i: current context of the Chinese church (October 13, 2014, China Partnership Blog)

This article is the first in a three-part series by a Chinese house church pastor in response to a preaching workshop conducted in Shanghai by a prominent American pastor. The workshop focused on how to preach the gospel, and in particular Christ, through the book of Genesis. The China Partnership is thankful to this pastor for assistance with developing a curriculum on gospel-centered preaching.

New wine and old skin, Part II: Addressing the contemporary Chinese church with redemptive historical preaching (October 15, 2014, China Partnership Blog)

This article is the second in a three-part series by a Chinese house church pastor in response to a preaching workshop conducted in Shanghai by a prominent American pastor. The workshop focused on how to preach the gospel, and in particular Christ, through the book of Genesis.

The Wenzhou Church Reborn from the Ashes (October 15, 2014, Chinese Church Voices)

This year’s attacks on church buildings in Wenzhou have been the subject of much analysis, the majority focusing on the relationship between church and government in Wenzhou. The following blog post, written by a Christian in China, and published in the mainland Christian Times, takes a closer look at the impact on the Wenzhou church itself.

Innocuous, But Not Meaningless (October 15, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

Anyone serving in China knows that one of the more vexing issues to deal with is “security.” How public can / should I be about my faith? How public can/should I be about the faith and values that undergird my ministry? Opinions and policies on this matter range from performing elaborate linguistic gymnastic routines in order to avoid all religious or Christian terminology to featuring ministry vision statements on websites and all publications. Obviously there is no right answer; each individual and ministry must make decisions based upon their needs and situations.


Video: Peter Hessler: capturing essence of Chinese society (September 18, 2014, China View)

Peter Hessler had spent over a decade living in and reporting China before he moved his family to Egypt. His China trilogy – “River Town,” “Oracle Bones” and “Country Driving” – has been met with great success. He has thus become known as one of the best-known China writers. China View recently met with Hessler in Beijing, where he came to promote his essay collection “Strange Stones.”

China cult murder trial: Two members sentenced to death (October 11, 2014, BBC)

A Chinese court has sentenced five cult members for beating a woman to death at a McDonald’s restaurant in Shandong province last May. Two members were given death sentences, one was given a life sentence, and two were given 10 and seven-year jail terms. The victim was allegedly killed after she refused to give her phone number to the members, who tried to recruit her. The Church of the Almighty God cult is banned in China.

5 compliments that confuse foreigners in China (October 12, 2014, CCTV News)

Being a foreigner in China can be whirlwind of cultural confusion. Even having a good grasp of the language won’t save you on every occasion. Case in point – these are five Chinese compliments that leave foreigners scratching their heads.

Booming Chinese frontier town reveals growing Russian ties – and old divide (October 13, 2014, The Guardian)

Manzhouli is thriving as China sucks in Russian raw materials and exports its consumer goods, but mutual distrust persists.

Beyond Beijing: Life in the Chinese Countryside (October 14, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

Since China’s great gǎigé kāifàng (Reform and Opening) experiment was begun by reformists in the Communist Party of China (CPC) under Deng Xiaoping in late 1978, tens of thousands of articles—in print and online—have been written about the huge changes and nearly miraculous standard-of-living improvements that have happened throughout China. Evidence of these changes can be seen in every major large Chinese city as well as throughout most of China’s coastal provinces.

Insiders and Outsiders are Different (October 14, 2014, Outside-In)

When I first went to China many years ago, one of the things that I and my American colleagues found most annoying about living there was the difference in price between what we paid for things and what our Chinese friends had to pay. For us, a train ticket was 400 yuan; for our Chinese friends it was 200. Why? Because there was a “foreign price” and a “Chinese price.”  End of discussion, thank you very much.

China’s bawdy state media (October 14, 2014, China Media Project)

The bottom line is that while Chinese authorities encourage media to go out and generate income, they remain hostile to good journalism and sound (and therefore valuable) information.

China’s Nomads Have A Foot In Two Very Different Worlds (October 14, 2014, NPR)

Zhaxi Cairang is trying to give his son a choice of two worlds to live in: the traditional, pastoral world of Tibetan nomads, which he has inhabited for most of his 59 years, or the modern urban lifestyle that most Tibetans experience in today’s China.

Top five most hated chinese subcultures (October 14, 2014, The World of Chinese)

Consider this your introduction to China’s eccentric and sometimes unlikable subcultures. TWOC has written extensively about several of these types, so be sure to check the links to fuel your fascination.

More Than 82 Million Chinese Live on Less Than $1 a Day (October 15, 2014, China Real Time)

China lifted nearly 40 million people out of poverty last year, by its own measure, but more than 82 million rural Chinese still get by on less than $1 a day, a senior government official said. “Poverty is still a salient problem in China,” Zheng Wenkai, a vice-minister at a government office responsible for poverty alleviation and development, said at a news briefing Tuesday, according to the state-run China Daily newspaper. About 200 million Chinese, or 15% of the country’s population, would be considered poor by international poverty measures, set at $1.25 a day, Mr. Zheng added.

Changing role of women, illustrated by the stories of three generations of women of my family (October 16 2014, Lijia Zhang’s Blog)

My grandmother was a prostitute-turned concubine, my mother a frustrated factory worker and myself a rocket factory girl turned-international writer. Today I am going to tell you the stories of these three women in my family, to illustrate the changing role of women in Chinese society. I am always hugely interested in women’s issues and have written many stories on the subject because I believe women’s position and the attitude towards them, tell you a lot about a society.

For Some, Hong Kong Protests Make the Heart Grow Fonder (October 16, 2014, China Real Time)

While Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement has put a rift between the city’s old and young generations, they have also united demonstrators, kindled new friendships and cemented old ones. Newly-weds have shown up in black-and-white attire as well as the traditional red Chinese cheongsam at more than one demonstration site.

Back to the future: the fake relics of the ‘old’ Chinese city of Datong (October 15, 2014, The Guardian)

Six years ago the then-mayor launched an ambitious plan to reconstruct the lost walls, watchtowers and Ming-style homes of the city – resettling tens of thousands of residents and transforming Datong into a tourist site. Now few want to live here.


Creators of china’s atom bomb reminisce 60 years later (October 16, 2014, Nanfang Insider)

China was ushered into the modern age with its first successful test of an atom bomb on October 16, 1964, joining a small, select group of countries as a nuclear power. This achievement was made possible by a number of scientists and workers who were recently recognized for their contributions. They may be in their twilight years, but the forefathers of China’s atom bomb continue to look back with pride at their work, even if it has caused permanent damage to their health.


Thyroid cancer nearly doubles every two years in China (October 12, 2014, Xinhua)

China has reported 4.6 times more cases of thyroid cancer over the past decade, with women worst hit. Young and middled-aged women are most vulnerable to papillary thyroid carcinoma, the most common thyroid cancer, three out of every four patients are female, according to a national academic conference on thyroid cancer in Tianjin.

Infectious diseases kill 1,477 in China in September (October 14, 2014, Xinhua)

A total of 1,477 people died of infectious diseases on the Chinese mainland in September, showed official data released on Tuesday. Some 606,571 cases of infectious diseases were reported last month, said the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) in a statement.

China pledges continued efforts to fight against Ebola (October 16, 2014, Xinhua)

President Xi Jinping has pledged further efforts with the international community to fight against the Ebola epidemic that has run rampant in three West African nations, according to a press release on Thursday. “The Ebola epidemic is now rampant in West Africa, threatening people’s life and health there,” Xi said Wednesday afternoon as he received credentials of new ambassadors to China.


Once a Symbol of Power, Farming Now an Economic Drag in China (October 12, 2014, The New York Times)

From a bedrock of traditional culture, and an engine of the post-Mao economic boom in the 1980s, agriculture has become a burden for China. Farm output remains high. But rural living standards have stagnated compared with the cities, and few in the countryside see their future there.

Alipay Mobile App to Offer Car Rental Service (October 15, 2014, China Real Time)

Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group, Alibaba’s financial affiliate that owns Alipay, unveiled at an event in Beijing Wednesday a new rent-a-car service for Alipay Wallet called Che Fenxiang, which literally means “car sharing” in Chinese. One thing that makes the service unique is that users with good creditworthiness — determined based on their transaction data collected by Alipay — can rent a car without paying a deposit. Other users with lower credit ratings can also rent them but they have to pay a deposit.

How Can Weibo Be Used For Marketing? (October 15, 2014, Nanjing Marketing Group)

The platform should be seen as a way to increase brand awareness in the Chinese market. Brands looking to interact with potential customers should use a Weibo marketing strategy that is tailored to the unique sharing habits of Weibo users.


China village clash: Four workers burned to death (October 16, 2014, BBC)

Four construction workers were burned to death by villagers in a clash in south-west China, authorities have confirmed. The incident at a building site in Fuyou village, Yunnan province, left six workers and two villagers dead. The workers were building a trade and logistics centre that residents were reportedly unhappy about.


Young Chinese backpackers hit the road (October 10, 2014, The Guardian)

China’s thriving economy has created a demand for foreign travel, including the emergence of a young backpacking generation.

Universal to open theme park in China (October 13, 2014, BBC)

Universal Studios will open its first $3.3bn (£2bn) Chinese theme park after 13 years of trying to enter the booming entertainment market. Hollywood director Steven Spielberg will help design the Beijing Universal park, the company said on Monday. The park is being developed with local state firm Beijing Tourism Group.

Live Like A Nomad! 1 Week, 10 MUST Do’s In Xinjiang, China (October 13, 2014, Jetset Times)

Real nomads in Xinjiang have survived centuries of herding cattle, living in tents. Even if you won’t be road-tripping via camels, here’s a list must-do’s in an undiscovered region of China awaiting your inquisitive exploration.


The 10 best free listening resource collections for learning Chinese (October 14, 2014, Hacking Chinese)


The Five Languages of Apology (Chinese Edition) (ZDL Books via Amazon)

Books explain church’s past in China, look to future challenges (October 14, 2014, Catholic San Francisco)

“The Visitor: Andre Palmeiro and the Jesuits in Asia” by Liam Matthew Brockey. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2014). 528 pp., $39.95. “Evangelization in China: Challenges and Prospects” by Kin Sheung Chiaretto Yan. Orbis Books (Maryknoll, New York, 2014). 178 pp., $30. Taken together, these two books provide a clear introduction to Christianity in China, particularly from the 16th century onward.

The Arc of Possibility (October 15, 2014, Guernica)
The longtime Beijing correspondent on the roots of dissent in Hong Kong, China’s “Me” generation, and the precarious expansion of Chinese civil society.


宗教自由是一项基本人权——中国的宗教法治与宗教自由保护 (October 9, 2014, Pacific Institute for Social Sciences)


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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