ZGBriefs

April 04, 2013

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FEATURED ARTICLE

Current Ideological Trends in China How Should The Church Respond? (March 27, 2013, Lausanne Global Conversation)

In discussion of the social and political status of Christianity in China, the relationship of the churches and the government naturally takes centre stage. Nonetheless, how the faith and its growing influence are viewed in China is caught up in a confusing cauldron of competing political and moral ideologies that vie for Chinas future. As Chinas driving market economy and growing liberalization have rendered the old shibboleths of Marxism, Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought uncouth, Neo-liberalism, Neo-leftism, and Neo-Confucianism have sought to fill the ideological vacuum. Each has its own view on whether the rise of Christianity in China is bane or blessing.

GOVERNMENT / POLITICS / FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Timothy Thomas: Why China Is Reading Your Email (March 29, 2013, Wall Street Journal)

Beijing's cyber attacks are rooted in military strategy, says one of America's foremost experts. The best way to combat them is for the U.S. to go on the cyber offensive too.

Jailed China Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo's relative held (March 29, 2013, BBC)

The brother-in-law of jailed Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo is being held on fraud charges, his lawyer says. Liu Hui was detained in January over a property dispute, his lawyer Mo Shaoping said, adding that the evidence against him was "insufficient". Liu Xiaobo was sentenced in 2009 for helping to draft a manifesto - Charter 08 - calling for political change. His wife, Liu Xia, has been under house arrest ever since he was awarded the Nobel prize two-and-half years ago.

Could China and Japan see a spring thaw in relations? (April 2, 2013, Christian Science Monitor, via Yahoo!)

Diplomatic visits between Japan and China had been largely suspended since last September, when a territorial dispute brought the two Northeast Asian powers to the edge of a confrontation.

Chinese Leaders War on Graft Appears to Have Limits (April 4, 2013, The New York Times)

Chinas new leader, Xi Jinping, remains something of a mystery, but he has made one element of his agenda abundantly clear: The government will no longer tolerate the rampant corruption that he says is threatening the Communist Partys grip on power. But President Xis apparent war on graft has limits, at least judging by the detention on Sunday of four activists after they unfurled banners in central Beijing expressing support for the partys self-described war on official malfeasance.

Crisis only a phone call away (April 4, 2013, Sydney Morning Herald)

It's not quite the nuclear hotline out of Dr Strangelove, and nor is this the Cold War, but Beijing and Washington are inching towards the sort of military communication that both sides hope might prevent accidents from getting out of hand. The reigning superpower and its aspiring challenger tested the defence hotline for the eighth time last month, according to sources briefed by a senior Chinese military officer. The idea is that a well-placed phone call might prevent any one of the flashpoints that are proliferating on China's periphery from escalating into full-blown conflict with the United States.

RELIGION

In the beginning was the ideogram (March 30, 2013, The Economist)

In its first year, using a single printing press donated by UBS, Amity produced 500,000 bibles. In 2012 it printed more than 12m bibles and New Testaments. This makes Amity one of the largest printers of bibles in the world; quite an accomplishment in a country where, not long ago, people died for their faith.

3 random Easter-in-China photos (March 31, 2013, China Hope Live)

Three photos from this Easter weekend in Qingdao that just happen to represent three different kinds of Chinese engagement with Christianity. Easter in Chinese is Resurrection Festival

An Essential Resource On Christianity In China: Part One (April 1, 2013, Global China Center)

Review of Handbook of Christianity in China, Volume Two: 1800 present, edited by R. G. Tiedemann. Leiden: Brill, 2010. 1050 pages, including appendix and indices. This superb volume, edited and written by some of the worlds leading scholars, should be read carefully by every serious student of Christianity in China. Foreign Christians who wish to have a positive impact on the growth of the faith in China should reflect soberly on a few of its major themes. The book is divided into three parts, dealing respectively with late Qing China, Republican China, and the Peoples Republic, Hongkong, Macao, Taiwan. This review will deal with Part One only.

Easter on Weibo (April 2, 2013, Chinese Church Voices)

Sina Weibo is Chinas most popular micro-blogging site. In fact weibo means micro-blog. Its a Chinese version of Twitter that claims to have 300+ million subscribers. Christian subscribers took to Weibo on Sunday to comment on Easter. Below are translations of 5 Weibo posts.

'Don't you dare bring Christianity to Shanxi,' says official before detaining Beijing believer (April 4, 2013, South China Morning Post)

When Li Wenxi, a Beijing book store worker traveled to Shanxi province in December to help local Christians open a new book store in the capital city Taiyuan, he was threatened by local state security agents. Dont you dare bring Christian culture here, one agent allegedly shouted at Li and his co-workers, This is our turf. The police raided the new store and confiscated hundreds of books Li brought with him from Beijing. [] The desperate wife and mother of two then turned to Weibo, Chinas popular social media webiste, where she discussed Lis imprisonment and asked for help. Lis Weibo message was reposted over 4,000 times and received hundreds of comments. Shanxi is one of the places where Christians are persecuted with the harshest measures, wrote a blogger from Beijings Gangwashi Church. Revenge is mine; I will repay, he said before quoting a verse from the Bible.

SOCIETY / LIFE

Chinas Children of the Damned (March 18, 2013, Global Mail)

They are the forgotten victims of crime, cast onto the mean streets of some of the world's biggest cities. Not even relatives want them, unless a quick profit can be made.

Chinese Petitioners: Heres My Chinese Dream (March 27, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

Chinas new leader Xi Jinping has been talking up the idea of the Chinese dream since his inauguration. While millions of Chinese may aspire to greater material wealth, what about the Chinese dreams of petitioners in Beijing, one of the most disadvantaged groups in China? [] In a series of photos posted on Sina Weibo, Chinas favorite microblogging platform, a group of petitioners held up hand-made signs describing their Chinese dreams. An old woman named Xu wrote, My Chinese dream: at 70, I would not be sent to black [i.e. officially unacknowledged] prisons. I have the right to petition the central government. Jiefang is a crime.

Of Peasants With Pitchforks: Inside China's Villages (March 27, 2013, Huffington Post)

From Beijicun, China's northernmost village at the frozen borders of Siberia, to steamy Xishuangbanna in the southwestern-most jungles, it was from my time in the villageswhere an impoverished yet proud people, un-phased by or even unaware of the country's call for hyper-industrialization, are contented to proceed with their antediluvian customs just as they have for five-thousand yearsthat I unwittingly fell in love with this country's culture and its people.

Fact-Checking a Chinese Hero (March 29, 2013, Letter from China)

Lei Feng is the yeti of Chinese Communist historya creature widely described and occasionally photographed, but perhaps nonexistent. In a roomful of China scholars, its easy to divide them into those who say that he was a pure propaganda confectiona smile, a name, and a handful of slogansand those who see traces of fact.

Tibet landslide buries 83 miners (March 29, 2013, The Guardian)

A landslide has engulfed a gold mining rea in Tibet, burying 83 workers believed to have been asleep, according to Chinese state media. About 2m cubic metres of mud, rock and debris swept through the area on Saturday as the workers were resting, covering about 4km (1.5 miles), China Central Television said. The official Xinhua news agency said the workers in Lhasa's Maizhokunggar county worked for a subsidiary of China National Gold, a state-owned enterprise and the country's largest gold producer.

Hong Kong Life Through a Photographers Lens (March 29, 2013, China Real Time)

His photographs of Hong Kongs huge apartment blocks transformed Michael Wolf from a photojournalist to an artist. With more than a dozen art books under his belt, Wolf talks about how SARS launched his career and his new book, Small Gods, Big City.

China's urbanization drive leaves migrant workers out in the cold (March 30, Reuters, via Yahoo!)

About 130 million Chinese migrants live in tiny, sub-divided rooms rented out by former farmers whose villages have been swallowed by sprawl, according to government surveys. Policies to provide government-built housing while razing these shabby "villages within cities" result in a net loss of housing units, according to urban planners and academics, while choking off the private rental market that for decades has enabled China's massive urban migration. The dilemma poses harsh choices for those who have made lives in the cities on the slimmest of margins, such as the migrants in the converted shipping containers in Shanghai.

China at the crossroads of renewal and breakdown (March 30, 2013, The Globe and Mail)

Over a three-week train journey along the path of Chairman Maos historic Long March of the 1930s, correspondent Mark MacKinnon travelled into the economic giants heartland, beyond the horizons of Beijing and Shanghai. From rice paddies to dance clubs and corporate towers, he found the people of the rising power hopeful about prosperity but furious over corruption, and unsure of the promises of new president Xi Jinping a country on the verge of either renewal or breakdown

In China, anger grows over abuse of street vendors (March 31, 2013, Washington Post)

In a country infamous for heavy-handed officials, the government employees who harass and sometimes beat and extort money from street vendors are among the most despised. Their official name is chengguan, which means city management, but the word has become slang for someone who uses excessive force to solve lifes problems. In recent weeks, anger against the officials has reached a fever pitch as several cases of apparent abuse have been widely reported inChinese microblogs, sparking a flood of online comments.

What the Clamor Over Peng Liyuan, Chinas National Mother, Really Means (March 31, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

Whatever serious political signals that Xi Jinpings first trip abroad as Chinas new leader may have sent, Chinese Web users have recently focused on someone else: their new First Lady. Everything about Peng Liyuan seems to have fascinated users of Chinese social media, from Ms. Pengs designed-in-China clothes and handbags to her mannerisms to her career.

On Chinas State-Sponsored Amnesia (April 1, 2013, The New York Times)

Have todays 20- and 30-year-olds become the amnesic generation? Who has made them forget? By what means were they made to forget? Are we members of the older generation who still remember the past responsible for the younger generations amnesia? The amnesia Im talking about is the act of deleting memories rather than merely a natural process of forgetting. Forgetting can result from the passage of time. The act of deleting memories, however, is about actively winnowing out peoples memories of the present and the past.

A Day in the Life of a Beijing 'Black Guard' (April 2, 2013, Caixin)

A Henan native collected his pay and quit his job stopping petitioners from airing their grievances in Beijing. Then he told Caixin how he went about his work.

In China, a Newfound Interest in Keeping Dead Relatives Happy (April 4, 2013, The New York Times)

Qingming, which was observed on Thursday, is an age-old festival in which the living pay respect to their dearly departed ancestors and in-laws by tidying graves and burning paper offerings so that the spirits can afford the good afterlife. Banned by the victorious Communist Party in 1949 for its feudal links, Qingming has had a resurgence in recent years. Since the festival was officially reinstated by the mainland government as a public holiday in 2008, the masses have flocked to their relatives graves to sweep away debris and leave behind the deceaseds temporal favorites, like oranges, cigarettes and beer.

Chinese become world's biggest-spending tourists (April 4, 2013, The Guardian)

Chinese tourists have overtaken Germans as the world's biggest spending travellers after a decade of robust growth in the numbers of them holidaying abroad, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. Chinese tourists spent $102bn (67bn) on foreign trips last year, outstripping those from Germany and the US. They also spent 41% more on foreign travel in 2012 than they did the year before.

Beijing is booming, but talent is leaving due to bad air (April 4, 2013, Christian Science Monitor)

Three months of shockingly bad air pollution, known to foreigners here as the airpocalypse, is now prompting growing numbers of expatriates and their families to leave China, and some companies to offer hazard pay to keep them here, according to executive recruiters, doctors, and business leaders. And for the first time, they add, ambitious young Chinese executives, too, are seeking to build their careers in more hospitable cities, driven to fresher pastures by the capitals foul air.

The Internet in China: A giant cage (April 6 edition, The Economist)

The party has achieved something few had thought possible: the construction of a distinct national internet. The Chinese internet resembles a fenced-off playground with paternalistic guards. Like the internet that much of the rest of the world enjoys, it is messy and unruly, offering diversions such as games, shopping and much more. Allowing a distinctly Chinese internet to flourish has been an important part of building a better cage. But it is constantly watched over and manipulated.

HEALTH

Tuberculosis continues to plague China (March 28, 2013, Shanghai Daily)

China has 1.3 million new tuberculosis cases annually, or 14 percent of the world's total. Drug-resistant tuberculosis is also serious in China with about 120,000 new cases each year, accounting for one fourth of global cases, officials from the Chinese Tuberculosis Society said today as the National Center of Excellence on Drug-resistant TB Prevention and Treatment was launched in Shanghai.

China sees more HIV-infected students (March 30, 2013)

The number of Chinese students registered as infected with HIV is on the rise, with homosexual transmission becoming the major cause of new infections, an official said on Saturday. A total of 1,700 students were reported HIV positive in 2012, a 24.5-percent increase year on year, said Yu Jingjin, an official with the National Health and Family Planning Commission. Of the newly reported 1,700 cases, 64.8 percent of the infections are attributable to homosexual contact, Yu said, adding that 87 percent of the total HIV/AIDS cases in 2012 came via sexual transmission. In total, China has reported more than 7,000 students living with HIV. The first AIDS patient in China was found in 1985.

Is China getting better at handling epidemics? (April 3, 2013, Quartz, via Yahoo!)

Chinas mounting toll of bird flu cases just happens to fall on the 10th anniversary of the governments epic coverup of the SARS epidemic. This time, rather than covering up the crisis for months, authorities have been faster to report the nine cases of infection by H7N9although there was still an unexplained lag of several weeks. Crucially, China has provided the gene sequence of the virus and other information to the World Health Organization and neighboring countries. Its a night and day difference, said Laurie Garrett a global health fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, in an interview. I think [Chinese authorities] are far better today.

WHO confirms five deaths from China bird flu (April 4, 2013, BBC)

The World Health Organization says there have now been five deaths in China from a new bird flu virus. There have been 11 laboratory-confirmed cases of the H7N9 virus, a form of avian flu which had not been seen before in humans. But the WHO says there is currently no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus. Tests suggest that the virus could be treated with the anti-influenza drugs Tamiflu and Relenza. Around 400 people who have been in close contact with the 11 cases are being monitored.

Deadly, however it moves (April 4, 2013, The Economist)

WU LIANGLIANG went to hospital on March 1st with a tickly cough. After a number of hours hooked up to a saline drip, the 27-year-old pork butcher went home. When he still felt poorly a few days later Mr Wu returned to hospital and was diagnosed with a pulmonary infection. But then instead of recovering, as was expected for a man his age, Wus condition worsened rapidly. On March 10th, he became the second person known to have been killed by H7N9, a novel strain of avian flu not previously seen in humans.

As Avian Flu Death Toll Rises, Online Cynicism in China Grows (April 4, 2013,Tea Leaf Nation)

Chinese authorities have confirmed 14 cases of humans infected with bird flu, and of those, 5 have already died. Its no surprise, then, that bird flu and H7N9 have been trending on Chinese social media sites. Internet users are taking to social media to spread information about preventative measures, the latest news about confirmed infections, and speculation about as-yet unreported cases.

BUSINESS / ECONOMICS / TRADE

Apple's Tim Cook says 'I'm sorry' to Chinese customers (April 2, 2013, BBC)

Apple boss Tim Cook has apologised to Chinese consumers after state media accused the firm of arrogance, greed and of "throwing its weight around". A two-week long Chinese media campaign had focused on Apple's repair policies. A statement on Apple's China website said "misunderstandings" may have led to the perception "Apple's attitude was arrogant" towards Chinese customers. Mr Cook promised to improve the repair policy on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, and to improve warranty information.

Video: The Five Biggest Challenges to Doing Business in China (April 2, 2013, Asia Society)

Kent Kedl, greater China and north Asia managing director for global risk consultancy Control Risks, stopped by Asia Society Studios in New York recently to discuss common problems related to doing business in China.

Huawei: The Chinese Company That Scares Washington (April 4, 2013, Time)

Though largely unknown to U.S. consumers, Huawei Techonlogies is an industry leader in the field of telecommunications infrastructure, the plumbing of mobile phone networks. Last year their sales topped $35.4 billionmore than Goldman Sachs and McDonalds. They like to brag that one third of the worlds population is hooked up to networks that use their gear. But thats precisely what makes the U.S. nervous.

Baskin-Robbins vs. Dairy Queen: A delicious cold war in China (April 4, 2013, CNN)

Under parent company Dunkin' Brands (DNKN), Baskin-Robbins has made China the centerpiece of its push into emerging markets. "We're in the first stages of working out how to be really successful in China, and it's at the forefront of our growth strategy," says Nigel Travis, CEO of Dunkin' Brands. Just 20 years ago, few American companies had made it into China. Going into the region, with its shifting political and economic risks, was a considered bold move. Back then, the goal was to build a presence in first-tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai. By contrast, today, Baskin-Robbins says it will focus on China's second-tier cities like Zhengzhou, Chengdu, and Nanjing, where real estate is less expensive and opportunities are plentiful.

TECHNOLOGY / SCIENCE / ENVIRONMENT

90 million Chinese with Diabetes by 2030 (April 2, 2013, Shanghai Daily)

China is set to have 90 million people with diabetes by 2030, experts said today. There are currently 370 million people in the world with diabetes, experts told a Sanofi China Diabetes innovation summit forum in the city. This will rise to 500 million people in 2030, with 90 million of them coming from China - the highest figure for any country. The forum discussed the use of innovative drugs to meet patients' changing needs and improve diabetes treatment in China. Experts said the rising number of diabetes patients in China is due to changing lifestyles, demographics and medical advances. Factors include a less healthy diet, a lack of exercise, increased numbers of elderly people and better medical treatment ensuring diabetes patients live longer.

China's Deadly Air Pollution Is Already Up 30 Percent This Year (April 3, 2013, Atlantic Wire, via Yahoo!)

China's air pollution problem which contributed to 1.2 million deaths in the country in 2010 has gotten sharply worse in 2013. And the threat isn't contained to China. But things are still as ugly as ever in Beijing. The study linking air pollution to deaths in the country came out over the weekend. As The New York Times reported, the death toll comprised 40 percent of all of the global deaths linked to air pollution. Another way of expressing the damage done is that, had all of those who died due to the pollution lived natural lives, it would have comprised an additional 25 million years of existence.I

s China secretly hoarding the world's fish? (April 4, 2013, Passport)

It looks like rare earth elements aren't the only commodity China has been allegedly keeping to itself. According to a recent study published in the journal Fish and Fisheries, the Chinese have been drastically underreporting the number of fish that Chinese ships catch in other countries' waters every year. While China tells the UNFAO, the U.N. agency that tracks global fishing data, that Chinese distant-water fishing vessels take in roughly 368,000 tons of fish a year, the Fish and Fisheries report estimates that the actual weight of the collective catch is more than 12 times that numberaround 4.6 million tons a year. At the same time, China exaggerates its domestic catch.

CULTURE / EDUCATION / HISTORY

U.S. Private Schools All The Rage For China's Booming Middle-Class (April 1, 2013, World Crunch)

In the last five years, the number of Chinese children trying to get into prep schools in the U.S. has soared from just a few hundred to nearly 10,000. Meanwhile, school quotas for foreign students haven't changed, so it's getting increasingly difficult for Chinese children to get into American schools. "Last year a good student could still obtain three to four positive results whereas this year they would be lucky to get just one," says a consultant with a Chinese agency specialized in studies abroad. "Gaoshen," the Chinese expression for "applying to an American high school," is the biggest trend for China's middle class.

Are Chinas Colleges Too Easy? (April 1, 2013, Economic Observer)China may have the lowest college dropout rate in the world. Some chalk this up to the success of Chinas rigorous college entrance exam and family support systems. But others say the countrys universities have become too easy and are producing a glut of graduates that are saturating an already dismal job market.

If You Could Ask Chinese College Kids Anything (April 3, 2013, Sinosplice)

Thats because the content of each book is a simple interview question which is then answered by 10 different Chinese college kids.

Chinese Deluge U.S. Master's Programs (April 3, 2013, The Wall Street Journal)

Specialized master's degrees in accounting, finance and other disciplinesgenerally aimed at students just out of college and lasting one yearhave found tremendous popularity in recent years among Chinese nationals seeking a competitive edge and U.S. experience.

Watch: Students' epic climb to school in Hunan (April 4, 2013, Shanghaiist)

Attending a "school atop a mountain" sounds great until you realize that you live below the mountain, and need to rely on a series of ladderssome with vertical drops of up to 70 metersto get to class each day. For children in Sangzi, Hunan province, this adventurous trek is just another part of the daily commute.

Video: Shanghai forty years ago, part 1 40 (YouTube)

FOOD / TRAVEL

Photos: Tibet A culture on edge (Outside Online)

Photographer Phil Borges has a new book from his travels on the Tibetan Plateau. Tibet: Culture on the Edge shows a people facing a triple threat: global warming, development, and cultural devastation.

Getting Away: Exploring Ximeng County (Go Kunming)The Ximeng county seat is small and one runs out of things to do there quickly, especially when there is no festival. However, getting out of town and exploring the countryside provides plenty of interesting diversions.

LANGUAGE AND LANGUAGE LEARNING

Can China's minority languages be saved? (March 27, 2013, UPI)

To get a better education and enter mainstream society, many students from China's 55 ethnic minorities have to master Mandarin, and their minority languages may suffer. The minorities, totaling 106 million people, make up nearly 8.4 percent of China's population; 53 minorities have their own languages, and 28 their own written characters. But according to a report published on the Chinese central government's website in 2004, only about 60 percent of minority people could communicate through their own languages.

5 Unusual Tips for Learning Chinese from 5 Awesome Language Bloggers (March 27, 2013, East West Connect)

There are a lot of articles out there on how to learn Chinese. Basic tips include things like go to China, take Chinese language courses, etc. Great tips. But, as somebody that wants to learn Chinese, what else should you know? What are the secrets that only someone who has invested their sweat and blood into learning a language can tell you? To answer this, I asked this question to several accomplished language learners on the topic of learning Chinese: What is one unusual tip you have for learning Chinese? They sent some great responses. And, if youre aiming to learn Chinese, each of their blogs is certainly worth a look too.

Changing China through Mandarin, by Teng Biao (March 31, 2013, Seeing Red in China)

Thinking and memory cannot be separated from language. Modern philosophers have paid more and more attention to the extreme importance of language in human societies. The thinking human (homo sapiens) exists first and foremost as a language human (homo loquens). Society and language have not stopped interacting for a blink: regardless of whether philosophy is concerned, or whether politics or society is concerned, language not only is a tool for expression and memory language itself has a huge capacity to create reality.

Chinese Picture Book Reader (ipad app from AllSet Learning, via iTunes)

If you're studying Mandarin Chinese and tired of boring textbook content, this app is for you. While most story book apps are meant for truly bilingual children (or parents), and aren't designed for actual study of the language, this app is different!

BOOKS

Eight Questions: Bill Callahan, China Dreams (April 3, 2013, China Real Time)

The China dream has become a buzzword in Beijing, with new President Xi Jinping setting out a new vision of China as a muscular global power. But Mr. Xi is not the first person to have a China dream. The mainlands foreign-policy experts, economists, dissidents and artists are already engaged in an active and public debate on the future of their country. Bill Callahan, a professor of international politics at the University of Manchester who this year is researching China-India relations at the National University of Singapore, has been listening in on their conversations. His new book China Dreams: 20 Visions of the Future lets the rest of us in on what he heard. China Real Time threatened to harmonize him unless he answered our eight questions.

ARTICLES IN CHINESE

(March 29, 2013, Caixin)

Image credit: Dream, by Jonathon Kos-Read, via Flickr