April 11, 2013

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Insight: The backroom battle delaying reform of China's one-child policy (April 8, 2013, Reuters)

Two retired senior Chinese officials are engaged in a battle with one another to sway Beijing's new leadership over the future of the one-child policy, exposing divisions that have impeded progress in a crucial area of reform. [] Former State Councilors Song Jian and Peng Peiyun, who once ranked above cabinet ministers and remain influential, have been lobbying China's top leaders, mainly behind closed doors: Song wants them to keep the policy while Peng urges them to phase it out, people familiar with the matter said. Their unresolved clash could suggest the leadership remains torn over one of China's most divisive social issues, said a recently retired family planning official. How quickly it is settled may shed light on whether new President Xi Jinping will ease family-planning controls on a nation of 1.3 billion people.


Iron Lady Praised In China Despite Tense History (April 9, 2013, China Real Time)

Chinese media old and new have rushed to mourn the passing of Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher with many forgetting, or glossing over, her famous run-in with an equally iron-willed Deng Xiaoping 30 years ago over the return of Hong Kong to Chinese rule. News about her passing drew heavy attention from Chinas online community. It topped the hot topic list in Weibo, Sina Corps microblogging service, as Tuesday afternoon, and stayed in the top 10 most-searched list of Baidu, Chinas Google-like search engine.

China's new leaders will not bring change, says blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng (April 9, 2013, The Telegraph)

The self-taught, blind lawyer, who caused a diplomatic storm last year when he escaped from house arrest and took refuge in the US embassy in Beijing, said that it would be the people, not Chinas recently installed president Xi Jinping, who would bring change to China. "In reality, the new regime is just a continuation of the old regime," he said in an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraph in Washington DC before testifying to Congress about how China had broken promises to the US to investigate the six-year persecution of him and his family. "I think we have paid too much attention to the Chinese rulers but neglect the changes in the Chinese people. So the future of China is actually in the hands of the Chinese people, not a few Emperors," he said.

China grows weary of North Korea's 'chaos and conflict' (April 11, 2013, Behind the Wall)

In fact, there are signs that China is rethinking its policy toward the North. President Xi Jinping last weekend told a forum of political and business leaders that no country "should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gain." He didn't mention the North by name, but it was pretty clear who he was referring to.

Will China Ever be a Democracy? (April 11, 2013, Asia Sentinel)

For observers close to ground level in Asia, this is just not going to happen, certainly not in this century at least. The danger instead is that China will swallow Taiwan's democracy. Why such doubt and negativity? True, it would be easy and almost natural to argue that since it happened in Taiwan, it could therefore happen in China. The more realistic approach, however, would be to examine and contrast how and why it happened in Taiwan and not in China. This reveals the many, huge differences between the people in these two countries.


CCTV Announcer Bai Pursues Faith (April 9, 2013, Chinese Church Voices)

Bai Yansong is one of the top announcers on China Central Television (CCTV). In a recent interview, he commented on the lack of faith in Chinese society and how he is seeking to make faith an important part of his life. The article translated below from the Christian Times, summarizes and comments on Mr. Bais remarks from a Christian perspective.


Video: China Diaries The fall and rise of Xi Jinping (March 29, 2013, Globe and Mail)

Reporter Mark MacKinnon and photojournalist John Lehmann explore China at a defining moment in its modern history. Travelling mainly by rail, they retrace the path of Mao Zedongs Long March to look at the challenges facing Maos latest successor, Xi Jinping.

Matchmaking the Chinese Way (April 6, 2013, World of Chinese)

Single, aged 29, and living in Beijing. In the worlds most populous country, finding a significant other should be a piece of cake, right? Step outside into the busy streets of the city, or take the subway for a couple of stops, and its a guarantee that you will run into a significantly large number of other singles who are more than ready to mingle. With Chinas more than 180 million single people, why has the western concept of online dating services skyrocketed? Ironically, Chinas own culture is to blame. My parents worry that their only son might end up to be a bachelor for life and relatives simply enjoy nosing into others private lives, said Wang Zheli, 36, according to China Daily. As a result, I live like a zoo animal, being watched and commented on by different people every day.

Ordos: A Ghost Town That Isn't (April 8, 2013, The Atlantic)

Over the past decade, the city of Ordosa sprawling desert metropolis 350 miles west of Beijinghas gained infamy as an emblem of over-zealous urbanization. According to a Bloomberg report , in 2010, as many as 90 percent of housing units constructed in the city's Kangbashi New Area lay vacant. But the reality of Ordos is more complicated, say Adam Smith and Song Ting, two documentary filmmakers who chronicle the new city's birth in a film called " The Land of Many Palaces ."

Stuff You Didnt Know Came from China (April 9, 2013, World of Chinese)

China has invented a lot of stuff, to say the least. There are a few obvious things that everyone knows that China invented like silk, porcelain (a.k.a china), tea, and chopsticks. However, there is a good chance you have not heard of some of these things, and likely attribute them to other nations.

The Most Interesting Place in Beijing (April 9, 2013, The Corner)

Beijing West Railway Station is a miserable place to visit. But its probably the most interesting site in Chinas capital city. [] People can get swallowed in such an overwhelming setting, and thats a pity, because the people are the most interesting thing about Beijing West. Many of the travelers are migrant workers and their families, whove come to the cities looking for work. Theyve lived hand-to-mouth their entire lives, and they dream of being part of Chinas other major demographic shift the emerging middle class and theyre working hard to make that dream come true.

A Turning Tide? Why More Chinese Migrant Workers Are Saying Goodbye to First-Tier Cities (April 7, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

In Beijing, budget rental housingespecially bunk beds, small apartments and single rooms in the more dilapidated hutong areas are easy to find after Chinese New Year. This is because many migrant workers who leave the capital for their home regions for the new year choose not to return. Although there are no national statistics on this still under-researched phenomenon known as the tide of return (huixiangchao), the numbers of workers who leave Chinas overcrowded coastal metropolises to pursue their dreams in humbler settings has been steadily growing in past years.

Finishing school, Chinese style (April 10, 2013, Christian Science Monitor)

Sara Jane Ho, a well-groomed young woman from Hong Kong, has just launched what she calls Beijings first high end boutique finishing school to teach Chinas nouveau riche how to behave. Good manners are not necessarily deeply instilled in your average Chinese citizen, and here I am being as polite as Ms. Ho teaches her students to be. But as she points out, only 50 years ago, people here were fighting to get to the front of the food ration line, for survival. They were not thinking of manners.

China: Official Dies During Inquiry (April 10, 2013, The New York Times)

An official from a Chinese state-owned enterprise died after an accident while being investigated for possible violations of Communist Party discipline, according to a report by China Daily, an official English-language newspaper. The official, Yu Qiyi, died on Tuesday in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, according to the report, which cited the Peoples Procuratorate of Wenzhou. He had suffered an accident on Monday night during the investigation and died after being sent to the hospital, the report said, noting that he had been born in 1971. It added that an investigation team had been set up to look into the death.

Why So Many of Chinas Rich Still Have Emigration on Their Mind (April 10, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

It is not hard to understand what may have pushed this group of Chinese away from their hometowns, given recent news about pollution, food safety, quality of life, education and infrastructure in China. Even the inconvenience of carrying a Chinese passport, which makes international travel a nuisance, can drive some people to seek passports of a more convenient color.

15 m poor disabled people in rural China (April 14, 2013, China Daily)

About 15 million disabled people live below China's poverty line in the country's rural areas, the China Disabled Persons' Federation revealed Wednesday. The group accounts for about 12 percent of the country's total population living in poverty, according to a statement from the organization. The poverty threshold for China's rural residents is set at an annual net income of 2,300 yuan (365 U.S. dollars), or around 1 U.S. dollar a day. Most of these disabled people have extremely limited income and mainly depend on government assistance and family support, the statement said.


Photos: Chinas New Bird Flu Battle (April 5, 2013, China Real Time)

In China, bird flu brings panic buying of herbal remedy called ban lan gen (April 9, 2013, Washington Post)

Amid growing panic over a new strain of bird flu in China, some officials have prescribed a surprising solution: hot brews of a root called ban lan gen. With more Chinese cities closing their poultry markets, U.S. scientists rushing to produce a vaccine and the death toll reaching nine on Tuesday, the herb has flown off pharmacy shelves during the past week. Many stores from Shanghai to Guangzhou are sold out. Prices have shot up.

Analysis: Public doubt on bird flu a ghost of China's past (April 9, 2013, Reuters, via Yahoo!)

China has earned praise from international scientists for its handling of an outbreak of a deadly new bird flu in humans, but a history of public health cover-ups means the Chinese public is harder to win over. Even as global authorities have said the new H7N9 bird flu strain that has killed eight and infected 28 is no cause for panic, memories of past health scandals continue to undermine the government's credibility at home in dealing with outbreaks. Those suspicions have driven anxiety about the human cases in eastern China, and put the government's response under the microscope as much as the bird flu virus itself.

Three detained for spreading H7N9 rumor in SW China (April 10, 2013, Shanghai Daily)

Three people in southwest China's Guizhou Province have been detained by police for spreading a rumor about the deadly H7N9 bird flu virus online, local authorities said Wednesday. Two netizens, surnamed Li and Cai, have been detained for five days for spreading false information as no H7N9 case has been reported in the province, according to the public security bureau of Guiyang, the provincial capital.

China finds bird flu in five new sites: OIE (April 10, 2013, Reuters, via Yahoo!)

China found new cases of bird flu in five live bird markets in the eastern part of the country, a report posted on the website of the World Animal Health Organisation OIE showed on Wednesday. China said the H7N9 avian influenza virus was found on Wednesday in three live bird markets in Jiangsu province, one in Anhui province and one in Zhejiang province, the report said. It did not specify in what kind of birds the virus was found. The three previous outbreaks reported last week were all in China's financial hub Shanghai. Nine people have died out of 33 confirmed human cases of the virus, according to data from the National Health and Family Planning Commission on Wednesday.

Chinas Actions in Flu Cases Draw Critics (April 10, 2013, The New York Times)

Of all the mysteries surrounding the emergence of a new and deadly strain of avian influenza around Shanghai, one of the biggest is why Chinas hundreds of medical and veterinary labs did not spot the problem sooner or if they did, why it was not disclosed. Even the censored Chinese news media has begun cautiously questioning why the authorities did not say anything sooner about a disease that resulted in the first known human case in eastern China on Feb. 19, but was not announced to the public until March 31. The announcement came two weeks after the closing of the National Peoples Congress, a show event during which the Communist Party traditionally avoids acknowledging problems.

China Releases Grim Cancer Statistics (April 10, 2013, Business Week)

Cancer is the leading cause of death in Beijing, according to data released by the citys Cancer Prevention and Control Research Office. The center, which is a division of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, has found that since 2007, more Beijingers have died each year from cancer than from cardiovascular disease, previously the top killer.

China bird flu scare: 'My family and I don't dare to eat anything these days' (April 11, 2013, The Guardian)

As the death toll from H7N9 avian flu rises, public concern over health and food safety is growing too. The full impact on China's massive poultry sector is yet to be realised, but early indications point to widespread damage. Qiu Baoqin, of the National Poultry Industry Association, told AFP that H7N9 had been a "devastating blow".

Chinas Bird Flu Response Shows New Openness (April 11, 2013, Time)

After a new and lethal strain of bird flu emerged in Shanghai two weeks ago, the government of Chinas bustling financial capital responded with live updates on a Twitter-like microblog. Its a starkly different approach than a decade ago, when Chinese officials silenced reporting as a deadly pneumonia later known as SARS killed dozens in the south.

Two new H7N9 bird flu cases in Jiangsu Province (April 11, 2013, Shanghai Daily)

Two more cases of H7H9 bird flu infections have been reported in east China's Jiangsu Province, with a total of 35 cases reported nationwide so far, health authorities said today.


Chinese Business Negotiation: Smartest Guy in the Room vs. Richest Guy in the Room. (April 9, 2013, Chinese Negotiation)

Americans believe that the richest guy in the room is usually the smartest largely because CEOs view power as a product of intelligence. In China, however, the smartest guy is rarely the richest guy and the richest often takes pains to appear a bit dim. You can trace this back to Sun Tzu and the value that Chinese negotiators place on misdirection. Or maybe they are simply playing to the massive egos of certain American CEOs and decision-makers. Whatever the cause, it is something that Western negotiators have to build into their strategy when doing business in China.

How Bird Flu Could Hit Chinas Economy (April 9, 2013, China Real Time)

Uncertainty about the new bird-flu virus is raising concern among investors. Minggao Shen, Citigroups head of China research, talks about how H7N9 will affect the retail, airline and insurance sectors in China.

Yum Brands says KFC sales in China hit by bird flu scare (April 10, 2013, BBC)

The parent company of KFC has said sales had fallen in China because of concerns over a new bird flu outbreak. Yum Brands said publicity associated with Avian flu in China has had "significant, negative impact on KFC sales", without giving figures. The new strain of bird flu has already led to nine deaths, and made dozens ill. China is a key market for Yum, generating more than half the company's revenue. US-based Yum said it would continue to educate consumers that cooked chicken is safe to eat.

Baby milk rationing: Chinese fears spark global restrictions (April 10, 2013, BBC)

Worried mothers in China are going to great lengths to get their hands on imported milk, causing retailers in the UK and elsewhere to ration sales. When a child is born in China, anxious new parents often prize one gift above all others: imported formula baby milk, usually hand-carried from overseas to ensure it's the real thing. Fearful of the dangerous levels of hormones and chemicals sometimes found in Chinese baby formula, parents in mainland China often go to great lengths to secure foreign brands.


Coming Soon: A Truly Chinese Internet (April 10, 2013, China Real Time)

Replete with its own thriving news portals, social media and gaming sites, the Chinese Internet could take a major step toward becoming fully Chinese by the end of the year. Speaking in an interview Wednesday, Fady Chehad, president of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) the private body that oversees the basic design of the Internet said the organization would roll out Chinese character options for top-level domains in the second half of 2013.


Where have all the Chinese grad students gone? (April 8, 2013, Foreign Policy)

According to a survey released today by the U.S. Council of Graduate Schools, Chinese applications to U.S. grad schoolsonce about half of all foreign applicantshave dropped precipitously. Increases from other countries are (barely) picking up the slack:

Zhua Ji : New Photographic Work About China (April 8, 2013, The China Story)

An exhibition of photographic work by Adrian Suddenly Gordon, a Brooklyn NY-based photographer, titled Zhua Ji has been showing at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University since 6 February (it closes on 30 April 2013). The exhibition is jointly sponsored by the Department of History of Art and Architecture, under the aegis of the noted professor of Chinese art history Eugene Wang, and the Fairbank Center.

Asia University Rankings (Times Higher Education)

The Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2013 are based on the same criteria as the The World University Rankings, powered by Thomson Reuters. We judge world class universities across all of their core missions – teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. The top universities rankings employ 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons available, which are trusted by students, academics, university leaders, industry and governments.


Traveling to Turpans Tuyoq Valley (April 9, 2013, Far West China)

Turpan (also known as Turfan or Tulufan) boasts only about 300,000 residents and is located in what has to be one of the hottest depressions in all the world. For those who have visited Turpan in July or August, youre nodding your head right now in agreement with me. Its cook-a-burger-on-the-sidewalk hot!

A Lesson on Central Asian Etiquette for Uyghur and Kazakh (April 11, 2013, Far West China)

One of the first things I learned when living in Xinjiang is that the Uyghur and Kazakh cultures are two of the most beautiful and hospitable in all of the world. It is a point of pride for them, and rightly so. What this has meant for me and my wife is multiple invitations to weddings, meals, and family get-togethers. Mind you this isnt just our friends its strangers making these requests as well. If youre going to spend any amount of time in Xinjiang youll likely receive a similar invitation. While the Central Asian culture is very forgiving to foreigners who dont quite know proper etiquette, this is an opportunity for you to impress your Uyghur and Kazakh host by respecting their culture. Take this quick lesson on Central Asian etiquette and youll be ready for any situation you face in Xinjiang.

Getting Away: Tiger Leaping Gorge (Go Kunming)

Despite its fame inside China, to the outside world Tiger Leaping Gorge remains one of the country's best kept secrets. Boasting majestic views and epic hiking trails, it is considered a must see for many tourists passing through the province.

Bikes and Bikers (April 11, 2013, World of Chinese)

Over the recent Tomb Sweeping Day long weekend, I embarked on a shopping trip of the two-wheeled gas-fueled variety. My search took me to the motorcycle markets of Jiuxianqiao and to a bike rally in the suburb of Shunyi.


The "New" New HSK: Suddenly So Significant (April 9, 2013, ChinaSource Blog)

"Cataclysmic" is how I describe the impact I foresee of the recent decision of Beijing's educational establishment to allow HSK test takers to type instead of write. "HSK" stands for hanyu shuiping kaoshi (). Beginning in 1992, the HSK tests Chinese proficiency just as the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) tests English proficiency. Revised in 2009, it's now called the "New HSK."


Peter Hessler: Strange Stones (Asia Society)

Event Details21 May 20136:30pm – 8:30pm725 Park Avenue (at East 70th Street), New York, NY

Tibet: The CIAs Cancelled War (April 9, 2013, The New York Review of Books)

For nearly two decades after the 1950 Chinese takeover of Tibet, the CIA ran a covert operation designed to train Tibetan insurgents and gather intelligence about the Chinese, as part of its efforts to contain the spread of communism around the world. Though little known today, the program produced at least one spectacular intelligence coup and provided a source of support for the Dalai Lama.

Poets Nightmare in Chinese Prison (April 9, 2013, The New York Times)

Now Mr. Liaos prison memoir, For a Song and a Hundred Songs: A Poets Journey Through a Chinese Prison, has appeared in the West. Banned in China, it has been a best seller and prizewinner in Germany; has won critical acclaim in a French-language edition; and is being translated into Czech, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish. An English-language version will be published by New Harvest in June. Mr. Liao will be in New York for the publication and is to give a lecture at the New York Public Library on June 13.

In Hong Kong, a Sanctuary for Banned Books (April 10, 2013, The Atlantic)

For mainland Luddites who prefer to sit down and read a book that their government has determined unsuitable for general consumption, the closest thing to a 3-D VPN is People's Recreation Community, a tiny bookstore in Hong Kong's Causeway Bay known for selling the widest range of banned books available in greater China.


牧者谈:基督徒面对“H7N9型禽流感”阴影怎么办?(April 11, 2013, Christian Times)


Chinese Worldview Today Seminar, June 26-July 14, 2013, Beijing (ERRC)

The course will survey the core teachings, history and development of Confucianism, Taoism, Islam, Buddhism, folk religions and Christianity in China. Presenters will lecture about the impact of these traditions on Chinese thought and society today. Students will use primary sources, academic survey texts and current articles to supplement the lectures. Those taking the course for graduate credit will have the opportunity to develop critical questions and approaches for further study into Chinese thought and Christian worldview.

Image credit: Colour, by Sam Sherratt, via Flickr