ZGBriefs

April 10, 2014

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FEATURED ARTICLE

Jesus and Mao on Weibo (April 10, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

Here's the problem: people in China generally do not use the term "underground church" (地下教会) to refer to congregations that are not registered as state-sanctioned churches. That's a term used almost exclusively by foreigners. The common term for these unregistered churches is "house church" (家庭教会). This is true even if the church meets in a venue other than a house, such as rented office space. If she had used the term "house church" instead, she would have discovered thousands, if not millions of mentions, something that would have actually bolstered her findings.

GOVERNMENT / POLITICS / FOREIGN AFFAIRS

China warns U.S. not to meddle in Hong Kong over democratic reform (April 7, 2014, Reuters)

China has cautioned the United States not to interfere in Hong Kong affairs after Vice President Joseph Biden met two prominent pro-democracy advocates who have warned of Beijing's tightening control of the territory, state news agency

China puts more corruption activists on trial (April 8, 2014, BBC)

Two more anti-corruption activists have gone on trial in China on charges of disturbing public order.The two activists - Ding Jiaxi and Li Wei - are part of the New Citizens' Movement, which has campaigned for officials to disclose their assets. It was founded by Xu Zhiyong, who was jailed for four years in January. Other individuals linked to the group have also been prosecuted, despite a highly-publicised crackdown on corruption by President Xi Jinping.

Behind Chinas media cleanup drive (April 8, 2014, China Media Project)

Chinas Central Propaganda Department and other agencies recently announced an aggressivecleanup campaign for the countrys news profession. In response to the campaign which like past ones has taken a highly moralistic tone I wrote last week about the central role of state media censorship in driving the debasement of professional news and fostering what the recent joint notice calls journalism diseases.

China warns it cannot be contained as US defense secretary visits (+video) (April 8, 2014, Christian Science Monitor)

The timing was part of the message: The day after China brought US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on board its first aircraft carrier as the first foreign visitor, its defense minister warned that no one, not even the United States, could contain its military ambitions.

China: Suicide Victim Linked to Official (April 8, 2014, The New York Times)

A senior police official linked to the disgraced Communist Party official Bo Xilai hanged himself in a hotel room last week, the state news media reported Monday.

Why the Anti-Corruption Drive in China Is So Important, and So Potentially Destabilizing (April 2, 2014, The Atlantic)

An increasingly important question for Xi Jinping's time in office, which bears on the even more urgent question of whether China can make progress against its environmental catastrophe, involves the levels and forms of Chinese corruption. Has it begun passing from tolerable to intolerable levels? If so, does Xi Jinping have the time, tools, or incentive to do anything about it?

Chinese citizens need a passport to visit parts of their own country. Heres why (April 9, 2014, 22 Words)

CGP Grey has a knack for making complicated geopolitical situations easy for the rest of us to understand. If youve ever wondered why Hong Kong had its own Olympic team separate from China in 2008 or why a Chinese citizen needs a passport to visit both Macau and Hong Kong, your answers are here

Watch: Slick Video From Xi Jinpings Favorite Anti-Terror Squad (April 10, 2014, China Real Time)

China has a message for terrorists and troublemakers everywhere: Be very afraid. In footage aired during the lead segment of the governments evening newscast Wednesday night, President Xi Jinping watched pensively as special forces engaged in high-speed car maneuvers (with some cars driven backwards), performed a series of punches and kicks while armed with short knives, and repeatedly kicked each other during gym exercises. In another scene, a trio of camouflaged officers clad in furry grey, Chewbacca-style costumes also made an appearance.

Mysterious spate of official suicides in China sparks debate, censorship (April 10, 2014, Washington Post)

A series of mysterious apparent suicides by Chinese officials in the past three weeks, including of two senior figures, has sparked debate and questions among ordinary people here, as well as a fresh round of online censorship. Was President Xi Jinpings anti-corruption drive putting so much pressure on his ruling Communist Party that some members were being driven to take their own lives? Was it all just a coincidence? Or does a life of deceit and hypocrisy eventually take its toll.

RELIGION

Christians form human shield around church in 'China's Jerusalem' after demolition threat (April 4, 2014, The Telegraph)

Thousands of Chinese Christians have mounted an extraordinary, round-the-clock defence of a church in a city known as the 'Jerusalem of the East' after Communist Party officials threatened to bulldoze their place of worship. [...] Their 24-hour guard began earlier this week when a demolition notice was plastered onto the newly-constructed church which worshippers say cost around 30 million yuan (2.91 million) and almost six years to build.

Caring for Leukemia Patients (April 7, 2014, Chinese Church Voices)

As more space opens for Christians to be engaged in society, one of the things they are doing is offering care and encouragement for those who are sick. This article, from the Christian Times, is about some sisters from a church in Shanghai who minister to leukemia patients.

Chinese church grannies stick it to local authorities, occupy church building to save it from govt bulldozers (April 7, 2014, China Hope Live)

Heres my soapbox: People need to update their understanding of Christian persecution in China. And a recent Chinese-officials-try-to-bulldoze-a-church incident thats hit international news is a fine opportunity to illustrate what Im on about here. Like it or not, the relationship between Chinese authorities and Chinese Christians is not super-simple.

Confrontation or Conversation? The Church and Confucianism in China (April 7, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

The roots of Confucianism go deep and its influence in the Chinese culture is pervasive. The Christian faith has also become deeply rooted in China, and it is up to this generation of believers to decide how they will navigate the ongoing relationship with China's Confucian heritage and its modern day resurgence.

A Brief Q & A with Dr. Fenggang Yang at Purdue (April 8, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

The Center on Religion and Chinese Society (CRCS) at Purdue University is launching Leadership Enrichment and Access Program (LEAP) in the United States and China in the spring of 2015. [...] Recently I contacted Dr. Fenggang Yang, the Director of the Center on Religion and Chinese Society by email to ask him for a bit more information about this program and what he's hoping to see accomplished.I

nfographic: Jesus More Popular Than Mao on Chinas Twitter (April 8, 2014, Tea Leaf Nation)

Its easier to talk about Jesus than Chinese President and Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping on Weibo, Chinas massive Twitter-like social media platform.

Official denies order to tear down churches in Wenzhou (April 10, 2014, Global Times)

Religious affairs authorities in Wenzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, on Wednesday denied recent accusations that Christian churches in the city had been ordered to dismantle buildings or take down crosses.Claims about demolition orders have circulated in the local Christian community and on social media since late March, as the province has been carrying out a campaign to demolish illegal buildings at religious sites in an effort to rectify the "unsustainable growth pattern" of Christianity.

SOCIETY / LIFE

Migrant Worker Turns Protest Archivist One Mans Journey to Political Activism (April 4, 2014, Tea Leaf Nation)

Chinese protesters often post photographs of their actions on social media, with the hope of drawing public scrutiny. But the images and tweets they share are often either censored, or get lost in the torrent of social media information that cascades across the screens and phones of 618 million wired Chinese. Since October 2012, one 34-year-old migrant worker has taken it upon himself to bridge this gap. Thats when Lu Yuyu began a one-man project to document protests around China, powered by the Internet. Each day, Lu collects information about protests on social media outlets such as Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo, QQ Space, and Baidu Space. After gathering and organizing the information, he publishes the results on his own online accounts.

Someone Just Paid $36 Million for This Ming Dynasty Chicken Cup (April 8 2014, China Real Time)

A small Ming dynasty-era bowl dubbed the chicken cup sold for 281.2 million Hong Kong dollars (US$36.3 million) at a Sothebys sale in Hong Kong on Tuesday, setting a record for the most expensive Chinese porcelain ever sold at auction.

Laughing is Happiness (April 8, 2014, Outside-In)

Its one of my favorite things about Chinese society, and I have often thought that if we spent more time dancing with our neighbors, wed probably have a less violent society.

Year of the Pigskin (April 8, 2014, The New Republic)

American football in China is a sport/location combo that at first sounds like a joke, like Jamaican bobsled team. But according to the rule that, in a country of 1.3 billion people, everything is happening somewhere, the existence of Chinese football should come as no surprise.

China Not Full of Raging Nationalists (April 9, 2014, The National Interest)

Are Chinas leaders really being pushed around by a nationalistic, rowdy public? On March 25 at the Jamestown Foundations annual conference on Chinese defense and security issues, Australian analyst Andrew Chubb made a provocative presentation that challenged the official narrative that they are.

Cultural Revolution Nostalgia (April 9, 2014, The New York Times)

In todays China, more and more people speak in positive terms about the Cultural Revolution and hanker for a return to that era. Most of them dont really want to turn the clock back: Its mainly their dissatisfaction with current realities that fuels their interest in revolution.

Lavender-Filled Teddy Bears From Tasmania Are a Big Hit in China (April 10, 2014, China Real Time)

What happens when Chinese demand zeroes in on a humble lavender farm in a remote corner of Australia? For one farm that sells purple Bobbie Bear toys stuffed with lavender, it was a shocking experience.

This Chinese Auction House Wants to Buy $1 Billion of Detroits Art (April 10, 2014, China Real Time)

Chinese companies have been on a buying spree around the globe for minerals, oil, and real estate. Add art to the shopping list. Poly International Auction was named as one of four bidders looking to buy a portion of Detroits world-class art collection, according to court documents. The Beijing-based company said it would spend up to $1 billion on the museums Chinese works.

EDUCATION / HISTORY

New Yorks China Town (April 6, China Rhyming)

China Rhyming is away in New York this week and taking a short break from postingso heres a few shots of Manhattans old Chinatown.

Catholic Schools in U.S. Court Chinas Youth, and Their Cash (April 6, 2014, The New York Times)

American parochial schools from Westchester County to Washington State are becoming magnets for the offspring of Chinese real estate tycoons, energy executives and government officials. The schools are aggressively recruiting them, flying admissions officers to China, hiring agencies to produce glossy brochures in Chinese, and putting up web pages with eye-catching photos of blond, tousled-haired students gamboling around with their beaming Chinese classmates.

Before the Silk Road, the Grain Road (April 7 2014, The New York Times)

Nomadic shepherds in the high plains of Central Asia used grain imported from China and southwestern Asia more than 5,000 years ago, according to a new study perhaps to sprinkle over bodies in funeral rituals.

Solving Chinas Schools: An Interview with Jiang Xueqin (April 8, 2014, New York Review of Books)

A Canadian citizen whose parents emigrated from China, Jiang, who is thirty-seven, helped establish an experimental high-school program in Shenzhen in 2008 and now works for Tsinghua Fuzhong, Tsinghua Universitys Affiliated High School. He just published a book in China called Creative China about his experiences in Chinese public schools. I spoke to him in Beijing in late March about the future of education in China.

ECONOMICS / BUSINESS / TRADE

Introducing Chinas Future Megalopolis: The Jing-Jin-Ji (April 4, 2014, China Real Time)

If Chinas state planners have their way, Northeast China will soon be home to a massive regional hub with a population five times that of the New York metropolitan area. Officials hope the Jing-Jin-Ji region shorthand for Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, the three areas that they plan to grow increasingly integrated will become an immense megalopolis to rival any in the world. (Ji is a one-character abbreviation often used for Hebei province.)

China starts drilling into 'Roof of the World' (April 9, 2014, CNBC)

China has begun secretly drilling into the Tibetan Plateau, an area known as the "Roof of the World" for its elevation and the difficulty of getting to it, according to an analysis from Oilprice.com that cites Chinese media reports.

Chinas Anti-Corruption Battle Produces Unofficial Austerity (April 10, 2014, China Real Time)

Think corruption is costly to Chinas economy? So is stamping it out. The anti-corruption campaign launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping after he took power in late 2012 is worsening Chinas economic slowdown, economists say, as fearful cadres pull back on everything from lavish banquets to building projects.

SCIENCE / TECHNOLOGY / ENVIRONMENT

Chinas Poisonous Waterways (April 4, 2014, The New York Times)

More than 50 percent of Chinas rivers have disappeared altogether, and few of the surviving waterways are not completely polluted. Some 280 million Chinese people drink unsafe water, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection. Nearly half of the countrys rivers and lakes carry water that is unfit even for human contact.

Environmental protest in China: Volatile atmosphere (April 4, 2014, Analects)

But for citizens who regularly breathe polluted air and drink water of debatable toxicity, the state of the environment has become a central concern. It is also one of the few areas where mass incidents, to use party parlance, are to a degree tolerated. Hundreds of environmental protests occurred in China last year.

Can China win the war on air pollution? (April 9, 2014, East Asia Forum)

The Communist Party now finds itself caught in an irony of its own making: the economic prosperity it has fostered for the people over the past 30 years is a powerful source of its ongoing legitimacy; but the polluted environment spawned by that prosperity is putting the peoples support for the party the partys legitimacy at some risk. The challenge the leaders in Beijing face is finding the right balance between economic development and environmental protection. They must curb environmental pollution without putting a halt to the countrys economic progress.

Five Revelations From the U.S. Embassys Beijing Pollution Data Dump (April 10, 2014, China Real Time)

Beijing residents have often wondered whether the citys air pollution is getting better or worse. Although the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the Chinese government both publish air-quality readings every hour, limited historical data is publicly available. This partly changed last month when the U.S. State Department posted online a treasure trove of data showing hourly readings taken since 2008 at an air-monitoring station at its Beijing embassy.

FOOD / TRAVEL / CULTURE

Gorgeous Turpan Photos You Dont Want to Miss (April 4, 2014, Far West China)

Talking Travel: Even More New Air Routes (April 8, 2014, The Beijinger Blog)

For a city whose tourist arrival numbers dropped significantly in 2013, there certainly seem to be a lot of new air routes connecting Beijing to other parts of the globe.

Forget Beijing: Where Chinas Tourist Hordes Are Traveling (April 9, 2014, China Real Time)

Theres beauty in Guangxi, heaven in Suzhou and a rainbow of color waiting for you in Yunnan. In a barrage of billboards and wall-to-wall TV ads, Chinas tourists are being urged to hit the road and see their country, and theyre responding in enthusiastic, if somewhat agoraphobia-inducing droves. According to a new report from a state-backed think tank, income from tourism rose nationally by at least 15% in 2013. Among the provinces, Anhui, Shanxi, Sichuan, Qinghai, Hubei, Yunnan and Xinjiang all experienced growth in tourist income of at least 30%.

Community Matters: It's a Recreational Vehicle Invasion (April 9, 2014, The Beijinger Blog)As the sunny weather begins to hit the streets, people get antsy for ways to escape the oppressive environment of city life. People are discovering new ways to rid themselves of their hard earned vacation days. Recently there has been an increase in recreational vehicles. People are buying up and renting these four-wheel homes so that they can experience China through its ever expanding network of highways and camping areas.

LANGUAGE / LANGUAGE LEARNING

A Realistic Look at the Challenges of Reading Chinese (April 4, 2014, Sinosplice)

Ultimate Guide to Learning Uyghur (April 7, 2014, Far West China)

BOOKS

A New Must-read for China Hands (April 8, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

Love her or hate her, Empress Dowager Cixi does not leave us with the option of just letting her drift off into historical obscurity. Jung Chang's (author of Wild Swans) recently published Express Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China is destined to become a must read for China hands.

ARTICLES FOR RESEARCHERS

Shu Shan (Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity)

ARTICLES IN CHINESE (April 4, 2014, Gospel Times) (Pacific Institute for Social Science )

EVENTS

Logos Evangelical Seminary will hold a Dedication Camp on campus in El Monte, CA and the entire Camp will be live streamed. The event will be held April 12, 2014 from 10:00am to 2:00pm. The camp will discuss the unique seminary program at Logos. Information can be found at: http://www.les.edu/cn/about/?logosnews-1-57Logos Evangelical Seminary, located in Los Angeles, is a Mandarin-language seminary that offers fully-accredited MA, MDiv, and ThM degrees with a highly qualified Chinese faculty. Logos also offers the Logos Total Immersion Program (L-TIP) for students who speak Chinese as a second language. More information can be found athttp://www.les.edu/cn/admission/?nondegree_ltiphttp://www.les.edu/cn/home/index.asp

Image credit: Weibo button, by Julien Gong Min, via Flickr