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July 17, 2014

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FEATURED ARTICLE

Partnering with China’s Church in an Era of Global Convergence (July 14, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

With this global convergence, the collective experience of the church internationally does contain models or at least potential approaches for confronting issues that have only recently appeared upon the horizon in China. Herein lies fertile ground for the development of shared approaches to opportunities and obstacles that are not only critical to China but which will likely pose significant challenges to the Body of Christ globally in the decades to come. Herein also lie the pitfalls of applying uncritically to China assumptions about church life and ministry that have come to shape the development of the church in the West and, by extension, much of church life elsewhere in Asia.

GOVERNMENT / POLITICS / FOREIGN AFFAIRS

China’s rulers team up with notorious ‘White Wolf’ of Taiwan (July 11, 2014, The Age)

The Chinese Communist Party, which came to power promising to break the nexus between politics and crime, has teamed up with a notorious triad figure to help press its claims in Taiwan. Chang An-lo, known as White Wolf, is a convicted kidnapper, extortionist and heroin trafficker who has been mobilising muscular protests and intimidating pro-democracy activists on the island.

Heard in Hong Kong: The View on Democracy (July 14, 2014, China Real Time)

China Real Time hit the streets in Hong Kong to hear how ordinary residents feel about the struggle.

Many Asian Nations Believe That a War With China Is Looming (July 15, 2014, TIME)

China’s neighbors fear the worst is yet to come. Strong-arm tactics and tough talk coming from Beijing in the past year have succeeded in convincing neighboring countries that war may just be around the corner, according to a new poll released by the Pew Research Center.

Hong Kong Report Puts Government on Collision Course With Democracy Activists (July 15, 2014, China Real Time)

In the wake of noisy street protests earlier this month that brought tens of thousands of residents into the streets, Hong Kong on Tuesday submitted a report to China’s legislature that kick-starts the city’s electoral reform process. The report is sure to be a contentious one, given that it appears to directly contradict the demands of many activists.

China investigates Zhou Yongkang allies (July 15, 2014, BBC)

China’s top prosecutor has begun criminal investigations into three top officials, two of whom are linked to ex-security tsar Zhou Yongkang. In a statement, it said the trio, Li Dongsheng, Jiang Jiemin and Wang Yongchun, were accused of bribe-taking. Mr Li and Mr Jiang were said to have been allies of Mr Zhou, China’s once-powerful head of domestic security.

Chinese Oil Rig Near Vietnam to Be Moved (July 15, 2014, The New York Times)

A Chinese energy company announced Wednesday that a giant oil rig that was deployed in disputed waters off the coast of Vietnam two months ago had completed its exploration work and would be moved.

Chinese official sacked after pornography found under his Buddha (July 15, 2014, The Telegraph)

A disgraced Chinese official who allegedly used his ill-gotten wealth to collect real estate and pornography has been sacked after a stash of smutty films were found under a statue of the Buddha at one of his 34 properties. Wu Zhizhong, a senior civil servant from Inner Mongolia, is the latest official to see his career destroyed by a major anti-corruption campaign being spearheaded by President Xi Jinping.

Hong Kong Rising: An Interview with Albert Ho (July 16, 2014, New York Review of Books)

More than five hundred participants in the sit-in were arrested on suspicion of organizing illegal public gatherings and incitement. Among them was Albert Ho, a member of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council and chair of the Hong Kong Democratic Party from 2006 to 2012, who was detained along with two other members of the Legislative Council and eight student leaders and held for nine hours at a police training school. Following is an edited version of interview with Ho about the protests and the future of Hong Kong, conducted over the Internet in the days after his release from detention on July 2.

China protests to Britain after deputy PM meets Hong Kong activists (July 16, 2014, Reuters)

China issued a formal complaint to Britain on Wednesday after Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg met Hong Kong pro-democracy activists campaigning against Beijing’s tightening control of the former British territory.

China to civil servants: trade a car, ride the bus (July 16, 2014, AP)

China is telling thousands of civil servants to give up their Audis and get on the bus.

The Chinese government will force most officials to help it sell their official vehicles in return for up to $210 a month in public transportation aid, the state Xinhua news agency reported Wednesday. The officials will also have to help their drivers find other jobs.

Advice for journalists in China: Hire a lawyer (July 17, 2014, The Telegraph)

Mr Chen is not alone. Every journalist trying to produce original and thought-provoking reports, as opposed to copying out state-sanctioned bulletins, has become a target for a new rectification campaign. Zhang Zhi’an, who produced a comprehensive survey of investigative reporting in 2011, estimates that the number of journalists responsible for “independent, public-interest, negative or sensitive” reports has fallen by 66 per cent in the last three years.

Lord of the Flies (July 17, 2014, Tea Leaf Nation)

But below the radar is another parallel push to rid the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) lower ranks of members who have “unhealthy tendencies.” Maybe they do drugs, gamble, skim modestly from state coffers, miss party meetings, or fail to pay their membership dues. While less flashy, the party sees this campaign to clean up the lesser bad apples — and to keep them from joining in the first place with strict new vetting procedures — as key to regaining flagging public trust.

Undermining China, One Knockout at a Time (July 17, 2014, Sinosphere)

Tensions between the United States and China over cybersecurity have risen as the two countries continue to trade barbs over hacking. But according to an essay on the website of a state newspaper that was widely republished this week, there is, in fact, a longer-running cyberwar underway between the United States and China. And the weapons employed, the essay argues, are far more sophisticated than hacking.

RELIGION

Caring for elderly parents (July 15, 2014, Chinese Church Voices)

In addition to the economic challenges that such a demographic shift will bring, the challenges to individuals and families are even greater. Because of the one-child policy that has been in place for the past 30 years, the traditional responsibility that Chinese children have to care for their elderly parents (filial piety) is becoming increasingly weighty. In the translated article below, originally posted on the mainland site  Gospel Times, the writer shares a few stories of how this is impacting preachers, especially those in more rural and impoverished areas.

Jailed Chinese pastor’s family flees to US (July 16, 2014, The Guardian)

Activists have helped three members of an imprisoned pastor’s family leave China for the US after they complained about extensive harassment by the Chinese authorities. Zhang Shaojie’s daughter, son-in-law and one-year-old grandchild landed in Dallas, Texas, according to China Aid, a US-based Christian rights group. It said an underground network of activists helped the three leave China via south-east Asia.

SOCIETY  / LIFE

Chinese share embarrassing stories of foreigners who understand Chinese (July 9, 2014, Nanfang Insider)

Expats may enjoy each day in China as an “adventure” waiting to happen, but have you considered that Chinese have stories of their own about their “adventures” with foreigners? Guangzhou Daily shares with us a number of personal stories in which Chinese people encounter an expat who, to their often embarrassing surprise, understands Putonghua. While the number of foreigners that have adapted to living in China has increased, it seems the number of Chinese that continue to underestimate them remains extremely high.

All aboard: China’s railway dream (July 14, 2014, BBC)

One hundred and fifty years ago, the British built China’s first railway. The Qing Empire was suspicious of the foreign colonialists and their plans to open up China’s interior by means of rail. But Europeans, Soviets and Japanese have all played a part. Even as recently as a decade ago, it was French, German and Japanese companies which brought high-speed rail to China. But now, China has begun building its own bullet trains and indignantly denies suggestions that its advances owe anything to stolen technology. It said the story is one of “introduction, digestion, absorption and re-innovation”.

Chinese TV anchor vanishes from the screen in corruption investigation (July 15, 2014, The Guardian)

Rui, who is regarded as something of a celebrity journalist, appears to have been detained by prosecutors investigating allegations of corruption at China’s predominant state television broadcaster, which is one of the communist party’s primary propaganda outlets.

The knife attack that changed Kunming (July 15, 2014, BBC)

One of the victims is Shi Kexiang, who was slashed across the neck by a stranger armed with a sword and dressed in black. She’s been in a coma ever since. For four months, Shi Xuefa has bent over a hospital bed begging Kexiang to hear him. The doctors are kind and the government is paying the medical bills but Xuefa has no idea whether his sister will ever wake up. For a drought-stricken farming family who were only at the station that night because they were returning to back-breaking construction jobs far from home, this tragedy has wrecked even the modest hopes they had of life.

How Brazil’s World Cup Defeat Unleashed a Classical Poem Craze in China (July 16, 2014, China Real Time)

Was it a surprise? In fact, a Chinese poet foretold Brazil’s defeat almost 2,000 years ago – according to some Chinese Internet users, anyway. With its own national team locked out of this year’s World Cup, China’s internet users had fun with a distinctly unusual meme: fake poetry pretending to be from the Tang dynasty that supposedly predicted the outcome of the 2014 competition.

Wall Propaganda 2.0: The new face of Chinese villages (August 16, 2014, Offbeat China)

Walls (of any construction) in China’s villages used to be billboards for the government to promote its many policies, especially the one-child policy, in the absence of a better channel. Slogans that boost the benefits of population control and the use of contraception are very commonly seen in rural China. In today’s Chinese villages, however, wall slogans serve a new master.

Why are so many elderly Chinese dumpster diving? (July 16, 2014, NBC)

According to the World Bank, some 2.5 million people work in the “informal waste management sector” in China, picking through trash for recyclable materials to sell. As any visitor to a major Chinese city will soon notice, many of these trash pickers are elderly people, unable to support themselves on meager government pensions.

Photos:  Flood-hit Fenghuang (July 16, 2014, Caixin)

Chinese incomes continue to rise (July 16, 2014, China Daily)

Average incomes of China’s urban and rural residents continued to rise steadily in the first half of 2014, official data showed on Wednesday. The average disposable income rose 10.8 percent year on year to 10,025 yuan (1,629 US dollars) in the first six months, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). With inflation deducted, the growth rate stood at 8.3 percent.

Look: Golf ball-sized hail, torrential rainstorms ravage Beijing (July 17, 2014, Shanghaiist)

As storms continue to sweep across China, Beijing entered its 16th evening of heavy rainfall accompanied by strong winds and large hail, Xinhua News reported today.

Chinese Searchers Are Rallied After Giant Yellow Duck Goes Missing (July 17, 2014, China Real Time)

Lost: one giant yellow rubber duck, last seen on a river in southwestern China. A 54-foot tall inflated duck, the trademark creation of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, is on the run after disappearing from a river in China’s southwestern Guiyang city, where it was being displayed for locals. On Wednesday evening, after floating peacefully for a couple weeks, the duck was lashed by a heavy storm. “The duck flopped over and was flushed away really quickly by the torrential flood.

Chinese protestors attempt mass suicide in bid for justice (July 17, 2014, The Telegraph)

Twelve Chinese protestors are being treated in hospital after attempting to draw attention to alleged government abuses by taking their own lives. In two separate mass suicide bids, petitioners from the provinces of Guizhou and Jiangsu this week travelled to Beijing to make their dramatic protests. At around 8.10am on Wednesday morning seven petitioners drank pesticide outside the headquarters of China Youth Daily, a state-run newspaper. A photograph showed the victims – two women and five men – lying on the pavement outside the newspaper, with documents scattered around them.

China’s Demographic Fork in the Road (July 17, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

If projections by the Brookings Institution (see chart) are accurate, we are now beginning to see a dramatic divergence in the growth rates of these two demographics. China’s working-age population is declining while the ranks of China’s elderly are beginning to swell at an unprecedented clip.

Slideshow: Boot camp for net addicts (July 17, 2014, Caixin Online)

Pride and Prejudice: Young and Uyghur in Beijing (July 2014, That’s Beijing)

A combination of under-employment, low levels of education, and poor Chinese language skills have served to exacerbate the gap between Han and Uighur in many parts of China. Even in Xinjiang, such difficulties are compounded by pressures stemming from the need to balance a largely secular Chinese education with Uighur religious practices.

EDUCATION / HISTORY

Humility and History: Addressing the Unspoken (July 15, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

Anyone who has worked in China for even a short period of time has likely been warned about bringing up sensitive topics, especially political issues and certain historical events. There is great wisdom in avoiding these topics. After all, many of our initial perceptions of difficult history and current events are sure to be biased by our own media and education. It is better to observe, listen, and critically evaluate what we think we know with intentionality and in relationship. Our perceptions must be reworked in light of the real experiences of China’s people.

What’s an Overseas Study Tour Without the Studying? (July 15, 2014, Sinosphere)

Summer study trips have become a popular way for Chinese students to get a taste of life abroad, but the Ministry of Education has put out a call for more studying and less sightseeing. Participating in overseas study tours is an “important initiative” in the internationalization of education, the ministry said in a statement released on its website on Monday. But some of these programs have emphasized tourism rather than education, and have been poorly organized and subject to “arbitrary” pricing, the statement said.

Sinica Podcast: Education in China (July 12, 2014, Popup Chinese)

This week on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are joined by Jiang Xueqin, deputy principal of Tsinghua Fuzhong Affiliated High School and author of Creative China, for a discussion of the education system in China. Specifically, we’re curious to find out how China’s education system ranks internationally, how the politics of education play out here, and all the unscrupulous top-down planning that goes into modernizing Confucian education while maintaining political orthodoxy.

China Colleges Hike Tuition Sharply Amid Debts (July 14, 2014, Fox Business)

Several colleges in China, where nearly all universities are public and run by the government, are hiking their tuitions sharply — in some cases by almost 50% — as their debts have mounted due to rising overhead costs over the past decade, state media reports said over the weekend.

The Cham: Descendants of Ancient Rulers of South China Sea Watch Maritime Dispute From Sidelines (July 16, 2014, National Geographic)

But the dispute between Vietnam and China is grabbing the most attention. Both have referred to historical ties with the islands, in China’s case dating to the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. to A.D. 220), to support their claims in the region. Meanwhile, in Vietnam the roughly 160,000 members of the Cham ethnic minority, whose forebears dominated the South China Sea for more than a millennium, are quietly on the sidelines of the escalating conflict.

Chinese foot binding Chinese foot binding (July 16, 2014, BBC)

Close-up shots of people’s feet may not be the first choice of subject for a photo project, but Jo Farrell’s pictures of the last remaining women in China with bound feet act as both a link to the past and a fascinating portrait of those involved.

Learn English, Chinese Style – An Inforgraphic (July 16, 2014, China File)

Toronto school board seeks end to China deal (July 17, 2014, Toronto Globe and Mail)

Trustees at Canada’s largest school board are looking for a way out of a controversial agreement with the Chinese government that they were never given an opportunity to vet or approve.

Former premier Zhu’s fund to help 800 poor students (July 17, 2014, China Daily)

A foundation financed by former premier Zhu Rongji’s book sale revenue will offer about 870,000 yuan ($140,200) in the autumn semester to finance more than 800 poor students in five schools in Changting county, Fujian province, the provincial Education Department said on Wednesday. The Practical Education Foundation, created by Zhu in January of last year, is aimed at helping students from poor families, improving teaching facilities in less-developed regions and encouraging children to perform better academically.

HEALTH

Ten Things You Should Know About Health in Beijing – The Good, the Bad, and the Weird (July 16, 2014, The Beijinger)

If you’re new to Beijing or are planning a trip here, there are some things you can’t take for granted when it comes to your health. You might know about China’s air pollution woes but there are other facts of life to take into account here, such as food hygiene and water safety. Here’s a quick primer on what to watch out for.

Photos: Conjoined twins separated in Shanghai (July 17, 2014, China Daily)

ECONOMICS / BUSINESS / TRADE

China taps 6 state firms for reforms that may widen private capital’s role (July 15, 2014, Reuters)

A Chinese government agency that oversees state-owned firms on Tuesday named six of them it said will participate in a reform process that could widen the role private capital plays in China’s massive state sector.

A Westerner’s Inside View of Alibaba Successes and Failures (July 16, 2014, The New York Times)

The result is “Crocodile in the Yangtze,” an hour long documentary based on hundreds of hours of video footage Mr. Erisman collected, mostly from the archives of the company and other television outlets. The film, which was released in 2012, offers a largely positive portrayal of Alibaba as a scrappy and dynamic start-up, and Jack Ma as its flamboyant and relentless leader.

Desperate Times: Chinese City Leverages Party Paper to Sell Houses (July 17, 2014, China Real Time)

One joke that has made the rounds among some economists in recent years holds that the Chinese government is not a government at all, but in fact the world’s biggest property developer. After all, were it not for revenues from land sales, local government budgets across the country would likely collapse like hundreds of little Lehman Brothers.

 

Yes, China is Beginning to “Rebalance,” But There’s a Long Way to Go (July 17, 2014, China Real Time)

The best hope for further growth is the services sector and greater emphasis on consumer spending. As Mr. Sheng noted, service-oriented economies tend to grow more slowly, but also more consistently than those reliant on manufacturing and construction. They are also more labor-intensive, so slower rates of growth can still generate plenty of jobs. According to Mr. Sheng, over the last two years, China has indeed been transitioning to a more service-oriented economy.

SCIENCE / TECHNOLOGY / ENVIRONMENT

China Calls Apple’s iPhone a Security Threat (July 11, 2014, China Real Time)

Apple has had an up-and-down time of it in China. The company was dealt its latest blow in the Middle Kingdom after China’s influential state broadcaster called a location-tracking function of Apple’s iPhone a “national security concern” on Friday, part of the latest backlash against U.S. technology firms.

Coke Pays Employees to Breathe China’s Air (July 16, 2014, Bloomberg)

How much should a person be compensated to breathe China’s polluted air? If you’re an expatriate employee of Coca-Cola, the answer is a 15 percent bonus, according to a report last week in the Australian Financial Review. (Local Chinese are excluded from the bonus, despite breathing the same air.) Is offering an “environmental hardship allowance” enough for multinational companies in China to retain expatriate employees?

ARTS / ENTERTAINMENT

CCTV show now recruiting foreign talent for annual Chinese New Year Gala (July 17, 2014, Shanghaiist)

Americans seeking fame to the height of China’s most beloved Spinning Queen now have the chance to take the stage at CCTV’s Chinese New Year Gala, a four-hour variety show that airs every Lunar New Year holiday across the country and is arguably the most-watched television event in the world. A talent show that broadcasts on CCTV is now opening auditions to US applicants in major cities including New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston and Washington, the Wall Street Journal reports.

FOOD / TRAVEL / CULTURE

10 Things You’ll Learn as a First-Time Traveler to China (July 12, 2014, Wandering Educators)

The Top Chinese Superfoods (July 16, 2014, The World of Chinese)

We believe that China is home to some of the healthiest and most effective nutritional superfoods on the planet. So, don’t believe everything you hear, because the Chinese don’t just prey on fried fish and dog–you can easily live a healthy lifestyle in China, at least as far as food is concerned.

Here’s our list of China’s finest superfoods:

Top 5 reasons for loving Chengdu (July 16, 2014, China Daily)

The Chengdu Train Station Dance (July 16, 2014, Go Chengdoo)

The Chengdu East Railway Station just added to the Internet’s collection of Chinese state employees performing choreographed dances to pop music.

UGA Alums Hike Silk Road to Explore Chinese Views on Nature (July 17, 2014, Global Atlanta)

Two University of Georgia alumni are hitchhiking western China on a journey to learn more about how people in the world’s most populous country experience the outdoors and how its wild spaces will hold up under the pressure of a growing number of visitors.

LANGUAGE / LANGUAGE LEARNING

Language learning with a Chinese girlfriend or boyfriend (July 17, 2014, Hacking Chinese)

Without going into too much personal details, I’ve had my fair share of language learning with a Chinese-speaking partner. Since this is a topic that comes up fairly often and I have a few words to say about it, this is precisely what I’m going to do. I think that many people, both native speakers and other learners, misunderstand what it means to learn Chinese from/with a loved one.

BOOKS

Xinjiang and the Expansion of Chinese Communist Power: Kashgar in the Early Twentieth Century (July 13, 2014, China Rhyming)

Michael Dillon’s Xinjiang and the Expansion of Chinese Communist Power looks interesting (especially as my Zed Asian Arguments series has a book next year on more recent redevelopment and issues in Kashgar from Sam Chambers coming out that looks at more recent developments in Kashgar)…

Hong Kong history novelised – City of the Queen (July 14, 2014, China Rhyming)

For those that like their Hong Kong history novelised, James Clavell, Shih Shu-Qing’s City of the Queen may appeal….

ARTICLES FOR RESEARCHERS

Debunking Misconceptions About Xi Jinping’s Anti-corruption Campaign (July 17, 2014, China & US Focus)

Although the staggering number of officials caught in this campaign has helped affirm Xi’s consolidated power within the leadership, some analysts have expressed concern that the campaign has been too excessive, has been primarily driven by factional politics, has dissuaded officials from making decisions, and has weakened China’s economy. These arguments are not only inaccurate and misleading, but they also distract from the critical positive changes that the anti-corruption campaign and associated reforms can bring to Chinese society.

Review of Religion and Chinese Society (Brill Online)

Review of Religion and Chinese Society is an international peer-reviewed journal that publishes articles and book reviews in social sciences and certain humanities disciplines. All articles will be in English, and Chinese titles and abstracts will be provided as well.

ZGBriefs is a free weekly compilation of the news in China, condensed from published online sources. Highlighting articles and commentary from major news sites, and blogs and other new media sites, ZGBriefs brings you not only 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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