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December 11, 2014

ZGBriefs December 2014

{Note: Due to technical glitches, our move to the ChinaSource website has been delayed. However, we have collected lots of great articles, so decided to go ahead and send out this week’s ZGBriefs using the normal platform.}


Have yourself a Chinese little Advent… (December 1, 2014, China Hope Live)

For students of Chinese, here’s something to read during Advent 降临节: text from the four Gospels mashed together into a single Christmas narrative, then divided into four readings.


Q. and A.: James Leibold on Ethnic Policies in China (December 1, 2014, New York Review of Books)

In an interview, Mr. Leibold discussed the origin of the Chinese government’s ethnic policies, its efforts to control the borderlands where most ethnic minorities live and its demands that Muslim women remove their veils.

Kenya arrests 77 Chinese nationals in cybercrime raids (December 5, 2014, The Guardian)

Police find equipment capable of infiltrating bank accounts and cash machines in raids on homes in upmarket area of Nairobi.

The world is Xi’s oyster (December 6, 2014, The Economist)

A confident Chinese leader sets out his foreign-policy store. It is not wholly comforting.

China arrests ex-security chief Zhou Yongkang (December 6, 2014, BBC)

Ex-security chief Zhou Yongkang, the most senior Chinese official to be investigated for corruption, has been arrested and expelled from the Communist Party, state media report. The Supreme People’s Procuratorate, China’s top prosecuting body, said it had opened a formal probe against him. Before he retired two years ago, Mr Zhou was the head of China’s vast internal security apparatus.

Xi Jinping: the growing cult of China’s ‘Big Daddy Xi’ (December 8, 2014, The Telegraph)

A growing cult of personality surrounds Chinese president Xi Jinping as he seeks to cement his position as a Putin-style strongman determined to realise his “China Dream.”

Zhou Yongkang Arrest Answers One Question, Raises Others (December 8, 2014, China Real Time)

Taken together, they hint at a Chinese leadership that may not be in complete agreement about setting in motion the highest-level criminal prosecution of a Communist Party figure since Gang of Four show trials in the early 1980s.

Xi and the end of Zhou Yongkang (December 8, 2014, Asia Times Online)

The expulsion from the Chinese Communist Party of Zhou Yongkang, a former security czar and Politburo Standing Committee member, signals the end of an era in which party officials could push regulations aside at their convenience and shape state institutions to fit their desires. President Xi Jinping’s new path towards the rule of law has momentous consequences both for China and the party

China death penalties for Xinjiang market attackers (December 8, 2014, BBC)

Six people have been sentenced to death for an attack on a market in China’s western Xinjiang province that killed 39 people in May. Attackers drove two cars into shoppers and threw bombs in the Urumqi attack.At the same hearing, two people were given the death penalty for an attack at a railway station in April.

What China’s Army-issue underwear reveals (December 8, 2014, Christian Science Monitor)

Chinese infantrymen have a tradition of stripped-down fighting that dates back to the days when the Communist Party was fighting a guerrilla war before the revolution. Money is no longer so scarce, but Beijing is still not spending much on its lowly grunts.

Liu Xiaobo, Nobel-Winning Chinese Dissident, Said to Send Message From Prison (December 10, 2014, The New York Times)

A prominent Chinese writer living in Berlin said Wednesday that he had received a message from Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who has been held by the Chinese authorities since 2008 and is serving a long prison sentence. The writer, Liao Yiwu, who has known Mr. Liu for decades, declined to elaborate on how he received the message or what form it arrived in.

Mass arrests in Hong Kong as police tear down democracy protesters’ barricades (December 11, 2014, Christian Science Monitor)

The police crackdown was widely expected as the protest movement has fizzled in recent weeks. Protesters insist that their movement for freer elections in Hong Kong will continue in another form.

Police clear Hong Kong protest camp – in pictures (December 11, 2014, The Guardian)

Police have begun clearing the protest site at the Admiralty in Hong Kong after two months of demonstrations. Around 150 protesters remain at the site as police warn them to leave or face arrest.

Here Is Xi’s China: Get Used To It (December 11, 2014, China File)

The Chinese state is not fragile. The regime is strong, increasingly self-confident, and without organized opposition.


Registered temples get labels to fight fake monks (December 4, 2014, Xinhua)

China’s religious authorities will offer official certificates for Buddhist and Taoist temples to display in an effort to help believers tell real temples from fake ones. Religious sites can hang the document outside their establishment to help curb profiteering and illegal fund-raising, thus protecting the interests of religious circles and believers.

Photos: Guangzhou Churchgoing (December 5, 2014, Caixin Online)

Century-old church built by German missionaries moved to original position after relocation for tunnel in Guangdong Province.

Church Schools or Home Schooling? (Part 1) (December 9, 2014, Chinese Church Voices)

In September, the mainland site Christian Times published a piece originally posted on the China Home Schooling Alliance website about Christian education in China. In the article titled “Church Schools or Home Schooling?”, the author lays out what he believes to be the difference between Christian education conducted within a church setting and home schooling. He then sets out to argue that home schooling is the most effective way for Christians to educate their children.

Capital of Tense Chinese Region Outlaws Islamic Veils in Public (December 11, 2014, The New York Times)

Officials in Urumqi, the capital of the western Chinese region of Xinjiang, have approved a ban on Islamic veils in public, according to a message posted on Thursday on the Xinjiang regional government’s website. The citywide ban, approved on Wednesday, formalizes into law a set of rules that the city’s police officers have been trying to impose on Muslims.

Video: What is the Chinese Worldview? (December 4, 2014, China Partnership)

Video: What difficulties is Chinese culture facing? (December 9, 2014, China Partnership)

Video: Where does the Gospel meet the Chinese heart? (December 11, 2014, China Partnership)


These Photos Capture A Dwindling Chinese Village With Only One Baby (December 1, 2014, Huffington Post)

Tucked away high in the mountains of northwestern China is Da Ping, a village of about 20 residents, many of them elderly. There used to be more people here, but the children of the current residents moved away to find work in the city, and their grandchildren have left to attend school. Da Ping’s only school closed 20 years ago because there weren’t enough students, the village chief told The WorldPost. There is only one child in the village — a baby boy, just 7 months old.

China’s Communist Party Tells Kids Being a Loser is Nothing to Be Proud of (December 3, 2014, China Real Time)

The Chinese Communist Party’s flagship newspaper doesn’t like losers and wants the country’s youth to stop labeling themselves as such. In an essay titled “Self Deprecation – It’s Time to Stop,” the People’s Daily took aim Tuesday at the swelling population of so-called diaosi, Chinese youth who despair of competing in the country’s urban rat race and take an ironic pride in their lack of prospects.

Happy Constitution Day! Don’t Mention the Constitution! (December 5, 2014, Outside-In)

China just celebrated a brand new holiday: Constitution Day (December 4). The government has put forth this holiday as a way to signal it’s commitment to “rule of law,” something that Chinese President Xi Jinping has been promoting with much gusto as of late.

Residence permit reform to give migrants equal rights (December 5, 2014, China Daily)

China unveiled a plan to reform the country’s residence permit system on Thursday that would grant migrants equal access to more public services. Residence permit holders would be able to get benefits such as medical services and education for their children like urban dwellers, according to the plan released by the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council. Public opinion on the reforms is being solicited before the formal plan is released.

Sinica Podcast: Domestic Abuse in China (December 5, 2014, Pop-up Chinese)

Sinica is delighted to host Su Wenying and Cai Yiping, two leading advocates of women and children’s rights who join us for a discussion of domestic violence in China.

China registers 92 million people in poverty (December 6, 2014, China Daily)

China has identified 128,000 impoverished villages and 92 million people living in poverty, said a senior poverty alleviation official on Saturday. According to Liu Yongfu, head of the State Council leading group office of poverty alleviation and development, poverty has declined substantially in China, but the country still has 832 poor counties and districts

The twilight world of China’s wild west (December 6, 2014, BBC)

China says it is facing a growing threat from militant Islam. It is in the midst of a year-long crackdown on what it describes as terrorism driven by religious extremism. The campaign is focused on the western province of Xinjiang, home to China’s Uighur ethnic minority, who are predominantly Muslim. This is a story about China’s wild west, a place where different rules apply.

‘A Universe Beneath Our Feet’: Life In Beijing’s Underground (December 7, 2014, NPR)

In Beijing, even the tiniest apartment can cost a fortune — after all, with more than 21 million residents, space is limited and demand is high. But it is possible to find more affordable housing. You’ll just have to join an estimated 1 million of the city’s residents and look underground.

Below the city’s bustling streets, bomb shelters and storage basements are turned into illegal — but affordable — apartments.

Adopted Chinese daughter of US citizen dies amid child abuse allegations (December 8, 2014)

An 8-year-old girl died in a Beijing hospital last night after suffering injuries suspected to have been caused by her American foster father. Ten other children also cared for by the man, who has not been seen for two weeks, have been taken into protective custody.

New Documentary Explores the Less Ghostly Side of China’s Ordos (December 8, 2014, China Real Time)

After seeing numerous media reports labeling Ordos one of China’s most notorious “ghost cities,” the duo were intrigued. In person, however, they found a story they thought was even more compelling: the government’s efforts to relocate erstwhile corn and potato farmers into these newly built neighborhoods. Their film, “The Land of Many Palaces,” premiering in January, explores China’s ambitious urbanization drive, focused in particular on the experience of one government official trying to persuade farmers to trade in land for new lives.

Yiwu’s ‘red factories’: Where the world’s Christmas decorations are made (December 9, 2014, Shanghaiist)

The city of Yiwu, just a couple of hours south of Shanghai by fast train, is known as China’s massive Christmas market. From 2001 till now, the booming Christmas production industry there grew from a mere 10 factories to more than 600. The village produces 60 percent of the world’s Christmas decorations and more than 90 percent of China’s, Sina News reports.

Protests Prompt Hong Kong’s Rich to Re-Explore Emigration (December 11, 2014, China Real Time)

Immigration lawyers say that they have got a lot more inquiries from nervous Hong Kong residents who want a way out.  “More and more people think Hong Kong will never be the same again and that things will get worse,” said Jean-Francois Harvey, managing partner at Harvey Law Corporation. Harvey Law firm is working on a dozen immigration cases for Hong Kong cases, including six people obtaining an St. Kitts passport. The rest want to immigrate to Europe and North America.


Photos: New York’s Chinatown in the Early 1980s (December 4, 2014, The Atlantic)

From 1981 to 1984, photographer Bud Glick worked on a photography project as part of the New York Chinatown History Project, now the Museum of Chinese in America. An older Chinatown generation was being replaced by a rapidly expanding new influx of immigrants. His goal was to document the transformation from an aging and primarily male neighborhood (due to restrictive and discriminatory immigration laws) to a new community of young families.

China defends Confucius Institute after new doubts in U.S. (December 5, 2014, Reuters)

China defended its government-funded Confucius Institute programs on Friday after new questions were raised in the United States about their transparency and effect on academic freedom.


Photos: Inside China’s ‘scrap village’ (December 3, 2014, BBC)

Hidden deep in alleyways on the outskirts of Beijing is Dong Xiao Kou village, also known as China’s “scrap village”. From plastic to metal, villagers collect many different kinds of reusable material from rubbish in all corners of the city.

Reasons china’s stocks are tanking (December 9 , 2014, China Real Time)

China’s notoriously volatile stock market dived 5.4% Tuesday, its biggest fall since 2009, with bonds and the currency moving sharply lower too. Here are 5 reasons why.

Report: Elephants at Risk as China’s Demand for Ivory ‘Out of Control’ (December 9, 2014, TIME)

Skyrocketing demand for ivory in China has stoked the booming illegal trade and led to the slaughter of tens of thousands of elephants annually between 2010 and 2012, according to a new report.

The Silk Railway: freight train from China pulls up in Madrid (December 10, 2014, The Guardian)

Madrid mayor welcomes first cargo train from China after epic 8,111-mile rail trip inaugurates the longest rail link in the world.


Chinese government investigates ‘cancer village’ pollution case (December 10, 2014, The Guardian)

Authorities launch enquiry into illegal pollution from Chuangyuan Aluminium plant, alleged to have caused more than 10 cancer deaths in rural Hunan province.


Skiing in Beijing: How Do the Slopes Stack Up (December 7, 2014, The Beijinger)

Beijing may have high hopes for its slopes as China’s bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics but how do the summits suit the capital’s recreational skiers?

My review of the movie “Blind Massage” (December 10, 2014, Zhang Lijia’s Blog)

Based on the novel by Bi Feiyu, it is about a group of blind employees at a massage parlour in Nanjing ( my hometown) and their work and love life. I found the setting very intriguing: most of us ‘ordinary people’ have very little insight into a blind person’s life. I myself only know one person – Chen Guangcheng, the blind lawyer and rights activists. Again he is not a typical blind person.


Face, the final frontier (November 17, 2014, China Simplified)

The Chinese language is ripe with delicious ambiguities.  One of the most debatable of all is the word miàn zi 面子 meaning “face” or dignity or reputation, but such definitions somehow feel inadequate. There is also lián 脸 referring to the physical face as well as a person’s moral standing within society, which can be damaged due to improper conduct, i.e. diū lián 丟脸 lose face.  In practice, the concept of face is extremely subjective with no right or wrong answers.

Red Packets – Understanding When & How Much To Give (December 11, 2014, China Simplified)

Most people are aware of the tradition of giving red packets (红包 hóngbāo) in Chinese culture as gestures of appreciation during big life events. Venture beyond the surface level, however, and you quickly discover that effective gifting requires an understanding of public relations, sociology, psychology, finance & accounting, creative writing and even poetry.


Is Chinese difficult to learn? (December 4, 2014, Hacking Chinese)

I think people who have learnt Chinese differ in their opinions of how hard it is because they mean different things when they say “hard”. I’ve read about this several times, but I’ve never seen a good terminology for it, so I’m going to call it “vertical difficulty” and “horizontal difficulty”.

Top 5 free online Chinese dictionaries (December 9, 2014,


Hong Kong: Examining the Impact of the “Umbrella Movement” (December 3, 2014, Brookings)

On December 3, Richard Bush delivered testimony before the Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Read his testimony below and watch the hearing online.

Testimony of Perry Link, Chancellorial Chair at the University of California, Riverside at the hearing on “Is Academic Freedom Threatened by China’s Influence on American Universities?” U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs (December 4, 2014, U.S. House of Representatives)

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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