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October 30, 2014

ZGBriefs October 2014


Why Your Bible Was Made in China (October 23, 2014, Christianity Today)

Chances are good that your favorite Bible was printed in China. The overwhelming majority of Bibles sold at Christian bookstores or Barnes & Noble were printed there, said Mark Bertrand of Bible Design Blog. And more publishers are joining in.


Xi makes the rules (October 24, 2014, Analects)

ONE of the great enduring questions with which the Chinese Communist Party grapples, and that President Xi Jinping has made central to his leadership, is how to use the law to help the party rule the country. The party sees the law as one of its tools; an instrument meant to help strengthen, rather than check, the power of one-party leadership.

Detained Canadians subjected to intense questioning, refused legal counsel by Chinese authorities (October 24, 2014, Globe and Mail)

Chinese authorities have subjected two detained Canadians to intensive questioning while refusing their access to legal counsel, raising fears about what the couple might be pressured into admitting. Kevin and Julia Garratt have now been held by China’s State Security Bureau for 81 days, under suspicion of stealing military and defence research secrets. They have been held separately and under heavy guard in a government-run hotel, where they have endured interrogation sessions that have lasted up to six hours a day.

Why China Will Move Slowly — Very Slowly — on Legal Reform (October 24, 2014, China Real Time)

The Chinese Communist party’s four-day meeting on the role of law concluded Thursday by admonishing officials to administer the country through legal measures because, as the communiqué stated, “good law is the premise of good governance.” But, based on the communique at least, this was a plenum that wasn’t interested in engineering far-reaching changes to China’s legal system.  And there may be political costs to that reluctance.

In Xinjiang, China, journalists work in the shadow of censorship  (October 26, 2014, The Los Angeles Time)

Uplifting propaganda posters touting President Xi Jinping’s “China Dream” catchphrase are plastered across many cities in China these days. But throughout the country’s westernmost province, an unrelenting series of billboards, red banners and spray-painted signs suggests menace lurking everywhere. “It is strictly forbidden to transmit violent terrorist videos,” warn banners hung from government buildings and draped across traffic lane dividers. “Young men should not grow beards and young women should not cover their faces with veils,” some signs read.

Hong Kong protesters scrap vote on government proposals (October 26, 2014, BBC)

Protesters in Hong Kong have abandoned plans to hold a ballot over whether to accept several government concessions. Protest leaders said they decided to “adjourn” the vote after disagreements over its format and apologised for a “lack of discussion” with protesters. The vote was to be held electronically and was cancelled just four hours before it was meant to start.

Deep Threat: China’s Growing Submarine Capability Throws Others Off-Kilter (October 27, 2014, China Real Time)

China’s increasingly potent and active sub force represents the rising power’s most significant military challenge yet for the region. Its expanding undersea fleet not only bolsters China’s nuclear arsenal but also enhances the country’s capacity to enforce its territorial claims and thwart U.S. intervention.

Given glimpse into Xi Jinping’s daily life, China goes gaga (October 27, 2014, The Los Angeles Times)

Chinese President Xi Jinping eats breakfast before dawn. He speaks in a “bold, down-to-earth manner” and is capable of drawing a room to nod in praise. And the head of state is incredibly diligent: While others are gathering for family dinners or watching TV, Xi is still burning the midnight oil.

Under Cloud of Repression, Hundreds Turn Out to Mourn Tiananmen Square ‘Black Hand’ (October 27, 2014, China Real Time)

Hundreds gathered under polluted skies and the watchful gaze of police in a Beijing suburb this weekend, braving a sustained crackdown on dissent to bid farewell to one of the “black hands” behind the 1989 Tiananmen Square protest. Police prevented China Real Time from attending the funeral of Chen Ziming, 62 years old, who died of pancreatic cancer last week. At least one other would-be attendee, a democracy activist, reported being stopped by authorities on his way to the funeral, which was held in Beijing’s northern Changping district on Saturday morning.

China Considers Reducing Number of Crimes That Carry Death Penalty (October 27, 2014, Sinosphere)

The Chinese government is considering a reduction in the number of crimes eligible for capital punishment, part of a long-term trend that has seen a decline in executions, though China still leads the world in the number of people put to death annually. The proposal, which was put before the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Monday, would change the maximum punishment for nine crimes to life imprisonment,

China unveils legal reform plans, but says party to remain in control (October 28, 2014, Reuters)

China’s Communist Party pledged on Tuesday to speed up legislation to fight corruption and make it tougher for officials to exert control over the judiciary, even as it stressed full control over the courts. The decision, released by the official Xinhua news agency, was reached at a four-day party meeting, or plenum, last week.

What is China’s CPPCC and How to Get Kicked Out of It (October 29, 2014, China Real Time)

The ouster of Hong Kong lawmaker James Tien from the Chinese government’s top advisory body leaves him out of one of China’s most prestigious clubs, where actors hobnob with billionaires, and everyone hopes to get close to the top politicians. Mr. Tien was dismissed on Wednesday by the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference after he called on Hong Kong’s chief executive to resign in the face of pro-democracy protests. It marked an unprecedented punishment for apparently speaking out of turn, analysts say.

Taking Back Hong Kong’s Future (October 29, 2014, The New York Times)

My generation, the so-called post-90s generation that came of age after the territory was returned to China, would have the most to lose if Hong Kong were to become like just another mainland Chinese city, where information is not freely shared and the rule of law is ignored. We are angry and disappointed that Beijing and the local administration of Leung Chun-ying are trying to steal our future.

What does Xi mean by “rule of law”? (October 30, 2014, China Media Project)

As everyone struggles to unpack the significance of the “Decision” on “governing in accord with the law” (依法治国) emerging from the recent 4th Plenum, the clues continue to confuse.

China’s Lurid Tales of Corruption Hide a Second Story (October 30, 2014, China Real Time)

With Beijing now touting its devotion to “socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics” as part of its drive to clean up the Communist Party, it’s worth recalling a sharp commentary earlier this year by newspaper columnist Cao Lin that reflected on a key feature of news with Chinese characteristics: As soon as corrupt senior officials are brought down, Chinese media are often able to offer extensive information on their depravity and downfall, whereas previously one would be hard pressed to find even a shred of negatives new about them.

The Chinese President’s Love Affair With Confucius Could Backfire on Him (October 30, 2014, TIME)

Confucius is part of Xi’s reform team. For 2,000 years, Confucius’s doctrine laid down the code of ethics for proper behavior in China — the way of the gentleman — and now Xi seems to be trying to recreate those Confucian standards through persistent exhortation.


What Should Chinese Christians Do in the Midst of Current Persecution? (October 25, 2014, Christian Post)

The variety of reactions indicates the complication of the current issue. Conflicts have already appeared among Christians due to the differences of their opinions. A few blame the leaders of their churches because they did not raise their voices to support the Sanjiang church and criticize the government. Some share their concern about the danger of idolizing the cross. Others criticize those who call for theological reflection as being too rational. This could harm the unity of the church and confuse many Christians, for they do not know which voice to follow. How then does the Bible help the churches deal with this tough situation?

Another Perspective on the Wenzhou Crackdown (August 27, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

Most of this attention has understandably focused on the complex relationship between government officials and Christians in Wenzhou. Theories abound as to who is really behind the crackdown. Months into the ordeal observers inside and outside China are still scratching their heads as they seek to answer questions such as, Why Wenzhou? Why now? What does this mean (if anything) for the church elsewhere in China? Going beyond the questions surrounding the atrocities themselves, the events in Wenzhou do serve to shed light on the unique church culture that has come to characterize what is often referred to as “China’s Jerusalem.”

China to tighten laws to combat illegal cults (October 28, 2014, Reuters)

China will tighten the law to impose harsher punishments on people participating in illegal cults, a state-run newspaper said on Tuesday, after a brutal murder earlier in the year. An amendment to the law will mandate prison terms of up to seven years for those who organize or make use of a religious institution or cult to spread “superstitions to undermine national laws or regulations”, the official China Daily said.

Church collapse in rural Henan kills 2, injures 19 (October 28, 2014, Shanghaiist)

Two people were killed and another 19 injured after the wooden roof of a village church collapsed in Henan province on Sunday afternoon, authorities said yesterday. The roof caved in around 2:00 p.m. in Jinhutou village, Yichuan county as around 30 people were inside the church praying, Xinhua relays. Among the injured, four have been severely wounded. The cause of the collapse is still being investigated.

How Smashed Jesus Shrine Reveals Christian Undercurrent to Hong Kong Protests (October 28, 2014, Bloomberg)

When police cleared barricades in Hong Kong’s Mong Kok neighborhood this month, they knocked down a makeshift chapel and shattered a statue of Jesus Christ. A day later, activists rebuilt the shrine, adding for good measure a cross in front of government headquarters. The episode shows the unusually central role Christianity is playing in the protests over how the city’s chief executive will be elected, even as the faith is curtailed in China. Many protest leaders are Christians and they cite freedom of religion as one reason they’re leery of greater Communist Party control over the city.

Calvinism on the Ground in China (October 29, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

In recent years Calvinism has become an increasingly common topic of discussion within Chinese Christian circles.1This trend has not gone unnoticed, and many scholars of Christianity in China are working to document and understand the growth of Reformed Christianity within the mainland.

Mentoring: The Hardest Need to Fill? (October 30, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

In a recent ChinaSource Quarterly article entitled, “Five Profound Mentoring Needs in China,” Eric Lee notes that the most common requests from Chinese church leaders during the past three decades have been for Bibles, spiritual literature, and training. Now, however, they are asking for cross-cultural missionary training and mentoring. “Between these two needs,” says Lee, “Mentoring represents by far the more difficult request to deliver.” Why mentoring? And why so difficult?


A look inside the richest club in China (October 23, 2014, BBC)

In the north-west corner of Beijing, in an area renowned as a base for huge technology companies, stands a non-descript building a few stories high. Inside, in a small set of modest offices, is the hub of something quite extraordinary – a club that counts billionaires amongst its members. “There’s little else like it anywhere else in the world,” says leadership expert Steve Tappin, who is the presenter of the BBC TV documentary China’s Billionaires’ Club.

Rise and Fall of a Coal Boomtown in Shanxi Province (October 24, 2014, Caixin Online)

A mining boom briefly lifted Luliang from its hardscrabble history, but a collapse in prices and exposure of a graft network have brought the city full circle.

China’s obsession with vertical cities (October 30, 2014, The Guardian)

By the end of next year one-in-three of the world’s 100m+ skyscrapers will be in China, as its state-orchestrated urbanisation drive prompts a megacity building bonanza.


Ancient cliff paintings found in NW China valley (October 26, 2014, China Daily)

Chinese archaeologists have discovered more than 40 rock paintings in northwestern Gansu Province that may shed light on nomadic lives thousands of years ago. Found in the Chijinshan Valley near Jinchang City, the paintings depict human faces, animals and hunting scenes. They were carved on smooth cliffs and remain well-preserved, according to the Gansu provincial cultural heritage administration.

600-year-old Chinese book found in California (October 27, 2014, China Daily)

The manuscript of a unique volume of the Yongle Encyclopedia (Yongle Dadian), a 16th century Chinese encyclopedia, was uncovered by a Chinese archivist at the Huntington Library in southern California. The work will go on display at the library from Dec 13 through March 16, 2015.

Hong Kong Democracy Standoff, Circa 1960 (October 27, 2014, The New York Times)

But documents recently released by the National Archives in Britain suggest that beginning in the 1950s, the colonial governors who ran Hong Kong repeatedly sought to introduce popular elections but abandoned those efforts in the face of pressure by Communist Party leaders in Beijing.

SAT Cheating Inquiry Delays Scores for South Korea and China (October 29, 2014, The New York Times)

Responding to cheating allegations, the company that administers the SAT tests around the world is withholding scores, at least temporarily, for thousands of Chinese and South Korean students just days before the early application deadlines for most American colleges and universities. The delay applies to people who took the exam on Oct. 11. Students from other countries who took it on the same date received their scores on Tuesday.

Video: WW1: The Siege of Tsingtao (October 29, 2014, BBC)

The only battle to be fought in the Far East during World War One had a profound and lasting impact on Chinese-Japanese relations. Germany controlled the port of Tsingtao (modern day Qingdao) on the east coast of China until an Anglo-Japanese force invaded in September 1914.


Here’s What China’s Air Pollution Looks Like From Space (October 21, 2014,

Earlier this month, NASA’s Earth Observatory released the below photo, capturing a thick blanket of haze obscuring much of northern China. During that time, the depicted region experienced levels of smog that are 20 times higher than the World Health Organization’s safety limit, forcing Beijing to raise its air pollution alert to the second-highest level.

Ebola outbreak will hit China, virus pioneer Peter Piot warns (October 27, 2014, South China Morning Post)

One of the scientists who discovered Ebola has warned that China is under threat from the deadly virus because of the huge number of Chinese workers in Africa. Professor Peter Piot also made the grim prediction that Ebola would claim thousands more lives in the months ahead. “It will get worse for a while, and then hopefully it will get better when people are isolated,” said Piot, who is in Hong Kong for a two-day symposium. “What we see now is every 30 days there is a doubling of new infections.” He estimated the epidemic would last another six to 12 months.

More than 2000 pharmacy students caught cheating in national exam (October 30, 2014, Shanghaiist)

Around 2,500 students were caught cheating on a pharmacy licensing exam earlier this week in Xi’an through the use of wireless ear pieces and “electronic erasers,” CCTV reports. Proctors first detected abnormal radio signals in seven testing locations where over 2,500 would-be pharmacists were taking the national comprehensive test. Upon being investigated, a total of 2,440 students were caught using an earpiece to receive the answers in code.


China and 20 other countries sign up to regional bank (October 24, 2014, AFP)

China and 20 other countries moved forward on Friday towards setting up an Asian infrastructure lender seen as a counterweight to Western-backed international development banks. The signatories put their names to a memorandum of understanding to establish the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) at a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Cars With Chinese Characteristics: Geely Tries to Crack the Puzzle (October 27, 2014, China Real Time)

When it comes to design, Chinese car companies lag behind most foreign brands that enjoy longer histories of car making and can draw from deeper pools of experienced designers. For Chinese car buyers, foreign brands hold greater appeal as they are seen as having superior technology and design. To address this, Geely hired a team of foreign designers led globally by former Ford and Volvo designer Peter Horbury, who is based in Sweden. In 2010, Geely purchased Volvo from Ford.

China, Singapore to start direct currency trading (October 27, 2014, AFP)

China will begin trading its yuan currency directly with the Singapore dollar on Tuesday, the national foreign exchange market operator said, in the latest move to promote international use of Beijing’s unit. The Singapore dollar will be added to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System’s (CFETS) platform, which currently offers transactions between the yuan and 10 foreign currencies, it said Monday

China Copyrights: The Basics (October 29, 2014, China Law Blog)

The big thing to know about China copyright law is that it is not all that different from US copyright law. And that is why we have been so slow to write much about it.


China launches first mission to moon and back (October 24, 2014, AFP)

China launched its first space mission to the moon and back early Friday, authorities said, the latest step forward for Beijing’s ambitious programme to one day land a Chinese citizen on the Earth’s only natural satellite. The unnamed, unmanned probe will travel to the moon, fly around it and head back to Earth, re-entering the atmosphere and landing, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND) said in a statement.


It’s a Long Way to the Top (if You Wanna Be a Uighur Pop Star) (October 24, 2014, TIME)

Ablajan, 30, is one of the hottest singers in China’s vast northwest. His catchy songs fuse the rhythms of Central Asia with the stylings of global pop—a sort of Sufi poetry-meets-Justin-Bieber vibe. On stage, he channels the theatricality of his childhood idol, Michael Jackson, and the tight choreography of K-pop. His first album, Shall We Start?, sold more than 100,000 copies, no small achievement in a limited market. Local businesses vie to endorse Ablajan, and his face graces billboards in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi.

Stars Backing Hong Kong Protests Pay Price on Mainland (October 24, 2014, The New York Times)

Mr. Wong, Ms. Ho and other artistic figures from Hong Kong and Taiwan — including actors like Chow Yun-fat and Tony Leung, and a filmmaker, Shu Kei — have been among the most recognizable faces and voices during the protests that have occupied parts of the city for weeks. Some have spoken at rallies and mingled with students; others have used their social media accounts to express support for the demonstrators.


A Guide to China’s 72-hour Visa Exemption Program (October 24, 2014, Wild China)

The Hong Kong of my childhood (October 28, 2014, Matador Network)

The Hong Kong of mythology is nothing like my childhood. First-timers expect van loads of hyper-violent triads, waging turf wars on Nathan Road. Corrupt cops abetting smuggled coke via the mainland or poker sharks bedding Portland Street streetwalkers in the pay-per-hour rooms of Chunking Mansions. You can blame John Woo and his ‘heroic bloodshed’ films for that. Instead, my Hong Kong is all about Mong Kok district circa 1986-91, where eating and haggling is religion. It crams 340,000 fast-talking, food-obsessed, unapologetic Cantonese per catacombed square-mile. Officially, it’s the densest place on earth.


What Is a Uyghur? by Rian Thum (October 26, 2014, Los Angeles Review of Books)

In the scramble to make sense of the violence and repression in China’s Western region of Xinjiang, where many of the Uyghur inhabitants resist Chinese rule, local Uyghur perspectives have gone largely unreported. The following extract, from The Sacred Routes of Uyghur History, aims to uncover Uyghur understandings of the region’s history and the forces that shaped those understandings.


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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