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April 24, 2014

ZGBriefs April 2014

FEATURED ARTICLE

China – The Most Christian Nation? Three Comments and a Story (April 22, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

First of all, it’s important to remember that, since China begins with 1.35 billion people, it will almost always win every straight numbers game. If China does become the largest Christian nation, the percentage of Christians may still remain low. This is not to detract from the significance of a possible Christian population of 160 million or 247 million; it’s just a reminder to keep that number in perspective.

GOVERNMENT / POLITICS / FOREIGN AFFAIRS

China jails four more New Citizens Movement activists (April 18, 2014, The Guardian)

A Chinese court sentenced four anti-corruption activists to prison on Friday, closing another chapter in a protracted crackdown on dissent. The four belonged to the New Citizens Movement, a loose-knit grassroots organisation known for holding small dinner parties to discuss political issues such as children’s education rights and government transparency. All were tried last week.

Deadly Clash Reported on Border of China and Vietnam (April 19, 2014, The New York Times)

Five Chinese civilians and two Vietnamese border guards died Friday during a clash between Vietnamese border guards and Chinese citizens who were trying to enter Vietnam illegally, according to official Vietnamese news reports on Friday and Saturday.

Investigating Family’s Wealth, China’s Leader Signals a Change (April 19, 2014, The New York Times)

In thousands of pages of corporate documents describing these ventures, the name that never appears is his own: Zhou Yongkang, the formidable Chinese Communist Party leader who served as China’s top security official and the de facto boss of its oil industry. But President Xi Jinping has targeted Mr. Zhou in an extraordinary corruption inquiry, a first for a Chinese party leader of Mr. Zhou’s rank, and put his family’s extensive business interests in the cross hairs.

The Specter of June Fourth (June 4, 2014, China File)

The specter of the “June Fourth massacre” has had remarkable longevity. It not only haunts the memories of people who witnessed the events and of friends and families of the victims, but persists also in the minds of people who stood, and still stand, with the Chinese state.

Purge tightens Xi’s grip on reform (April 23, 2014, Asia Times Online)

First former security czar Zhou Yongkang is put under virtual house arrest; now Central Military Commission generals Xu Caihou and Guo Boxiong stand accused of selling promotions. The anti-corruption campaign is gathering pace, giving President Xi Jinping greater control of two pillars of the China Communist Party establishment and the kind of upper hand for enacting reform that the Cultural Revolution gave Deng Xiaoping.

Obama says US will defend Japan in island dispute with China (April 24, 2014, The Guardian)

The US is duty-bound to come to Japan’s aid in the event of a conflict with China over a group of disputed islands in the East China Sea, Barack Obama declared at the start of a tour of Asia aimed at reassuring Washington’s allies in the face of threats to stability from North Korea and an increasingly assertive China.

Obama went further than some analysts had expected in reassuring the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, that Japan’s dispute with China over the Senkakus – known in China as the Diaoyu – were covered by the allies’ post-war security treaty.

RELIGION

Concern rises in Wenzhou as Christianity booms in capitalist fashion (February 17, 2014, Global Times)

Li Xiangping, a professor of religion at East China Normal University, said, “The written document of ‘three revise and one demolition’ shows no bias against religion. But in actual implementation, there might have been a bias, because orders to dismantle crosses don’t seem to make sense.”

China on course to become ‘world’s most Christian nation’ within 15 years (February 19, 2014, The Telegraph)

Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world’s number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation. “By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon,” said Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule. “It is going to be less than a generation. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change.”

Looking Ahead: Which China? (April 21, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

Anticipating where China is headed is even more problematic. Although one may point to major trends and say with some confidence that these are the drivers that will shape China’s future, there are too many variables to be able to predict with any certainty what is ahead. Just as a collection of narratives is more useful than a single descriptor in getting a handle on China today, so it is helpful to think of possible scenarios when trying to imagine where China will be tomorrow.

The “Preach Everywhere Gospel Band” (April 21, 2014, Chinese Church Voices)

Many people in the West are familiar with the Back to Jerusalem Movement, which refers to a movement of Chinese Christians to take the gospel to Central Asia, and then “back to Jerusalem.”

Fewer people, perhaps, are aware of the fact that this movement, or vision, is not something new; it really began in the 1940′s when God called a group of Chinese believers to take the Gospel to Northwest China (Xinjiang) and Central Asia. They formed a team called the “Preach Everywhere Gospel Band,” and fanned out across Xinjiang.

Christianity, Culture must coexist in China, scholar says (April 22, 2014, Baptist Standard)

As Christianity continues to grow dramatically in China, the nation’s culture and the Christian culture must co-exist, educator Jing Cathy Zhang told a Baylor University audience. “It is true. There is always conflict and tension with the two cultures,” said Zhang, assistant to the director of the School of Liberal Arts at Renmin University in Beijing, China, in a lecture sponsored by Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion.

Christian estimate ‘inflated’ (April 24, 2014, Global Times)

An assertion by a US-based academic that China will be home to the world’s largest Christian congregation by 2030 is inflated and not rooted in fact, said officials close to religious affairs authorities. ”The estimate is unscientific and obviously an exaggeration. China advocates religious freedom and we are not against people’s right to believe in any religion. In this respect, an estimate of the number of Christians makes little sense,” an official told the Global Times on condition of anonymity.

In the Cross, In the Cross (April 24, 2014, Chinese Church Voices)

In response to the situation at the Sanjiang Church in Wenzhou, a Chinese believer posted an open letter to  Christians world-wide to pray for the Church in China. The article is translated below:

SOCIETY  / LIFE

‘Leftover Women’ Blamed For China’s Surplus Of Unmarried Men (April 18, 2014, NPR)

Kelly McEvers talks to sociologist Leta Hong Fincher about her new book, Leftover Women. It’s about the resurgence of social and economic discrimination against women in China.

China silent on deadly knife attack in Kunming railway station (April 19, 2014, Los Angeles Times)

The lack of information frustrates families, especially in light of the attention given relatives of Malaysia Airlines passengers.

Made In The USA: Childless Chinese Turn To American Surrogates (April 21, 2014, NPR)

Chinese couples who are unable to have children are turning to a surprising place for help these days: America. By hiring American surrogates, Chinese couples get around a ban on surrogacy in China, as well as the country’s birth limits. It also guarantees their children something many wealthy Chinese want these days: a U.S. passport.

Assault by City Management Officers Triggers Clash (April 21, 2014, Sinosphere)

Urban enforcement officers clashed with residents in a town in eastern China, the latest in a long series of violent interactions between the officers, known as chengguan, and the street peddlers they are tasked with regulating and bystanders who can be caught up in the disputes. The confrontation on Saturday left six people injured and drew huge crowds of protesters and onlookers into a central market area of Cangnan County in Zhejiang Province.

Amid Fear of Growing Violence, China’s Police Start Carrying Guns (April 22, 2014, China Real Time)

For the first time in six decades, Shanghai is arming its police forces with guns, in a program several Chinese cities plan to replicate in response to growing fears of violence from crime and terrorism. Over the weekend, more than 1,000 street-patrol officers in Shanghai began carrying 9mm revolvers.

China’s Porn Crackdown is Not About Porn (April 22, 2014, Tea Leaf Nation)

Chinese authorities have put would-be free speech advocates on notice: Step away from the computer. As an April 14 article in Communist Party-run news portal Seeking Truth avers, from mid-April until November, government offices nationwide will be striking out at online media in a dedicated campaign called “sweep out porn, strike at rumors.” An April 16 headline on state news service Xinhua declares the move is in response to “calls from people in all walks of life.” But at its core, this is about going after rumors — party parlance for destabilizing falsehoods  – in the name of going after porn. In other words, it’s about ensuring that party organs, and not the Chinese grassroots, have the loudest voice on the country’s Internet.

Bladdergate — Conflicts Between Hong Kong and Mainland Intensify (April 22, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

Tensions between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland have escalated again, this time ostensibly over a toddler’s diminutive bladder. On April 15, a scuffle broke out between young mainland parents, with their two-year-old boy in tow, and a local man who tried to take videos of the child urinating on the side of a street in Mong Kok, a dense shopping district. Amateur videos of the conflict that ensued first went viral on social media in Hong Kong, but now the news has exploded onto the mainland Chinese Internet, incurring a ferocious backlash against Hong Kong.

China’s one-child policy creates market for Cambodian brides (April 23, 2014, UCA News)

In the last six months multiple human traffickers have been arrested at Phnom Penh’s international airport while trying to send Cambodian women to China to become brides. Meanwhile, local rights groups say they’ve received a number of requests from poor rural families asking for help to get their daughters repatriated from China. Thirty-five years after China implemented its one-child policy—which prompted many couples to abort female fetuses so they could have sons instead—the country is facing a significantly skewed gender ratio. By 2020, China will be home to about 30 million single men—many of whom will need to seek wives elsewhere.

Beijing’s Subway Stops, Literally Translated (April 23, 2014, China Real Time)

Many of the stations, particularly those on Line 2, are named after the capital’s old city gates. Qianmen is, literally, the Front Gate, while Andingmen is the Stability Gate and Tiananmen, which marked the entrance to the Forbidden City and now makes up two stops on Line 1 (east and west), is the Heavenly Peace Gate.

The unknowns in China’s great urban change (April 24, 2014, China Real Time)

After more than a decade of mostly empty talk, China has finally announced a bold move to grant urban residential registration — known as hukou — status to 100 million people by 2020.

Beijing Tells Petitioners: Please Stay Home (April 24, 2014, China Real Time)

Since imperial times, China has permitted its citizens to file official complaints. But the State Bureau for Letters and Calls that governs the system is again warning petitioners to respect its protocol, or expect their petition to be ignored. In its newest body of regulations, the bureau said this week that anyone with a complaint should pursue it close to home and preferably in writing.

Yearning to breathe free (April 26, 2014, The Economist)

FOR years Lin Chen resisted his wife’s entreaties to move abroad. Then, when their daughter was born in 2012, he started thinking about her schooling. He realised he wanted a less stressful education than the one he and his wife endured in their climb to the middle classes, and he wanted to leave space for fun. “My wife and I suffered a lot,” he says. “I don’t want my daughter to suffer through all that.”

EDUCATION / HISTORY

Reflections from the front line of Tiananmen protests, 25 years on (April 18, 2014, CNN)

It was 2 a.m. on Sunday April 18, 1989 when the phone rang, jolting me out of bed. I recognized the distinctive voice of the caller Jiang Liren, a student at Peking University, also known in Chinese as Beida. “Our group is marching out of Beida now,” he said excitedly. “We are going to Tiananmen Square. If you want to see this rally, you better come now.”

The internet is awesome-Chinese history in film version (April 22, 2014, Frog in a Well)

‪British Pathé  has put some 80,000 of their old newsreels on YouTube. This is a massive treasure trove of cool stuff, and the many hours I will spend looking at them are fully justified as “work”. A lot the commentary is bland, foreigner-centered and uninformed, but the pictures are great.

10,000 ‘Olympic Babies’ Strain the Beijing System (April 23, 2014, Sinosphere)

“Olympic Babies are Coming,” read a headline in Beijing News on Wednesday. With about 10,000 more children than usual born in Beijing in 2008, a year considered by many to be lucky both for the number eight and for being the year that China hosted the Olympic Games, the state is scrambling to find enough school spaces for 6-year-olds as they head to first grade this fall.

After Recess, Chinese Students Smuggle iPhones (April 24, 2014, China Real Time)

Being a middle-school student is hard enough. It’s probably a lot harder when you also have to work as an iPhone mule. Since the start of the year, Chinese customs officials have busted some 30 cases in which schoolchildren were drafted to carry bags of electronics and other luxury goods across the border from Hong Kong, official party newspaper Guangzhou Daily reported this week.

ECONOMICS / BUSINESS / TRADE

Shares of Weibo soar on debut (April 17, 2014, Los Angeles Time)

Shares of microblogging site Weibo surged as much as 44% on its first day of trading, a robust start for the first of three major Chinese tech companies planning initial public offerings in the U.S. this year.

China’s Changing Economy and You (April 18, 2014, China Law Blog)

What can foreign companies do to avoid problems in China stemming from the downturn?

Strike spreads at Chinese supplier to Adidas and Nike (April 22, 2014, The Guardian)

A strike at a Chinese factory that manufactures shoes for Adidas and Nike has spread to a sister factory in a neighbouring province, as thousands of workers gathered to protest against what they said were unfair pay and benefits.

China yuan hits 16-month low against dollar (April 23, 2014, AFP)

China’s yuan currency extended its downtrend against the dollar on Wednesday to hit a 16-month low, despite the country’s central bank fixing its trading point for the unit at a higher level.

Bankers Tell Xi Jinping: Chinese Politics Put Hong Kong’s Economy At Risk (April 23, 2014, China Real Time)

Hong Kong bankers have a reputation for being politically apathetic. But 46-year-old fund manager Edward Chin—along with a number of his peers—want to buck that mold. In a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping published Wednesday, Mr. Chin along with 70 peers from the financial industry said they have concerns over Hong Kong’s political, economic and social development. In particular, they said an influx of cash from China and political cronyism into the former British colony could undermine fairness in the territory’s banking sector.

SCIENCE / TECHNOLOGY / ENVIRONMENT

China Admits That One-Fifth Of Its Farmland Is Contaminated (April 18, 2014, NPR)

Unbridled industrialization with almost no environmental regulation has resulted in the toxic contamination of one-fifth of China’s farmland, the Communist Party has acknowledged for the first time. The report, issued by the ministries of Environmental Protection and Land and Resources, says 16.1 percent of the country’s soil in general and 19.4 percent of its farmland is polluted with toxic heavy metals such as cadmium, nickel and arsenic. It was based on a soil survey of more than 2.4 million square miles of land across China, spanning a period from April 2005 until December 2013. It excluded special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau.

ARTS / ENTERTAINMENT

Chinese Grand Prix comes to abrupt end after flag waved one lap too early (April 20, 2014, The Guardian)

The Chinese Grand Prix was certainly not the most exciting race – but it hardly required the drastic action taken by the man wielding the chequered flag, who brought the race to an end one lap early.

Beijing’s thriving graffiti culture may surprise you (April 21, 2014, PRI)

Here in the US, we tend to think of graffiti as an illegal activity carried out by kids at night. But in China, the street art scene is quite different. Lance Crayon, a Texas native who has been living in China since 2009, made a documentary on graffiti artists in Beijing and found just how different the tagging culture is there.

Zhang Yimou’s “Coming Home” Hits Theaters on May 16 (April 23, 2014, The Beijinger)

Coming Home, a new film from director Zhang Yimou will be released on May 16th. The drama tells the story of a Chinese man (Chen Daoming) who flees to America after an arranged marriage with Li Gong’s character. Following the protagonist’s return he is sent to a labor camp, I guess for being a non-attentive husband to the beautiful Li Gong. These details are yet to be disclosed.

Dueling Aircraft Carrier (Videos) (April 23, 2014, Outside-In)

To celebrate the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, the Aviation Industry Corporation (a state-owned company) released this video of China’s J-15 carrier plane and the country’s only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning.

FOOD / TRAVEL / CULTURE

To China and Back Again – Ten Things That Will Make All the Difference (April 23, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

Moving to China is both a great adventure and a daunting task. Here are ten ways you can prepare yourself, your family, and those who care about you.

Tianjin airport links to Beijing rail (April 23, 2014, China Daily)

Tianjin Binhai International Airport has built a ticketing facility at Beijing South Railway Station, with the goal of attracting passengers who want to avoid the one-hour travel time between the station and the Tianjin airport. Passengers will be able to buy air tickets and complete check-in procedures at the Beijing station, and then take the 30-minute bullet train to Tianjin Railway Station free of charge. A bus will then carry passengers to the Tianjin Binhai International Airport, also free.

LANGUAGE / LANGUAGE LEARNING

English words borrowed from Chinese (April 22, 2014, Outside-In)

This is a pop quiz — what common English words are borrowed from Chinese? The answer may surprise you. How about kowtow, gung ho, and ketchup? Or typhoon. Or “long time no see.” Even though English is a language that compulsively borrows from other languages, we don’t have too many borrowed from English.

Learn to read Chinese… with ease? (April 22, 2014, Hacking Chinese)

BOOKS

China’s Next Generation: New China, New Church, New World (April 21, 2014, Global China Center)

(Review by Wright Doyle)

This short book should be required reading for any Christian who wishes to participate in what God is doing among the Chinese.

Stranger Than Fiction: A Q&A with Yu Hua (April 21, 2014, China File)

Ping-Pong Diplomacy: The Secret History Behind the Game that Changed the World (Amazon)

ARTICLES FOR RESEARCHERS

The Sudan-China Abu Ushar Friendship Hospital: China’s First Overseas Charitable NGO Project (January 23, China Development Brief)

In an article excerpted from the 2012 China Blue Book of Philanthropy, Lin Yuanzhuan recounts an important internationalizing step by the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA). The CFPA’s efforts to transform itself into an international NGO are perhaps the most prominent example of a recent interest among Chinese NGOs in “going abroad” as they follow the expansion of China’s global footprint, and respond to the Chinese government’s call to promote China’s soft power.

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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