ZGBriefs

April 18, 2013

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FEATURED ARTICLE  Chinese Church Voices: 10 Observed Trends on Chinese Christian Media (April 17, 2013, ChinaSource)

In June of 2012, ChinaSource launched a blog called Chinese Church Voices where we have been posting translations of content taken from Mainland Christian online sources websites, blogs, and micro-blogs. Our goal is to help give outsiders a chance to "listen in on the conversations" that Chinese Christians are having online. I recently went back through the articles that we have posted to see if there were any observable trends.

GOVERNMENT / POLITICS / FOREIGN AFFAIRS

In China, Feudal Answers for Modern Problems (April 10, 2013, The New York Times)

The corruption, income inequality and environmental degradation that have accompanied Chinas breakneck economic development over the last 30 years have provoked social unrest. In 2010, China had 180,000 mass incidents, the official euphemism for protests a fourfold increase over the previous decade. Methods of social control that once worked like charms are now losing their efficacy. So the Central Party School and its provincial subsidiaries, which train Chinas leaders, are revamping curriculums. Each year they send student-officials to Harvard to study Western management. But they are often finding that its the old feudal customs, so repugnant to Mao, that help them keep a grip on society.

Is political satire rising in China? (April 12, 2013, Washington Post)

When a pair of The Daily Show clips went viral in China this week, I wondered if the event signaled a greater appetite for political satire in a country that is routinely denied such critical media. On Friday, we got another small sign of this trend: Some awfully dark jokes are spreading around Chinese social media, poking fun at the countrys increasingly hazardous pollution and its residents poor health.

Bold Remembrances for a Chinese Reformer (April 15, 2013, China Real Time)

April 15th is almost as sensitive an anniversary in China as the actual suppression of the protests that began on the evening of June 3rd. For years, the day passed with little mention of its significance in official media as the Party tried desperately to suppress anything that would revive positive memories of a movement it has always cast as a counterrevolutionary rebellion. It was significant, then, that Liberation Daily, Shanghais main Party newspaper, ran two lengthy essays on Monday, each extolling Hu Yaobang as a reformer, while another essay originally published on the website of the Party-controlled China Youth Daily revisited political errors in the coverage of his death.

Ai Weiwei: 'Every day in China, we put the state on trial' (April 15, 2013, The Guardian)

Every day, we put the state on trial a moral trial, conducted with logic and reasoning. Nothing could be better than this. I am preparing a budding civil society to imagine change. First, you need people to recognize they need change. Then, you need them to recognize how to make change. Finally, change will come.

No consulates yet, but China and Taiwan opt for the next best thing (April 16, 2013, Christian Science Monitor)

The move to set up representative offices, despite decades of severed diplomacy and strong mutual distrust before 2008, will make life easier for the millions of tourists and investors who hop across the 99-mile wide Taiwan Strait from China to Taiwan. De facto consulates also would be the highest-level official presence by one side on the other.

Mourning for Hu (April 16, 2013, Analects)

On April 15th 1989 the death of Hu Yaobang, a former chief of the Chinese Communist Party, triggered the biggest outbreak of anti-government unrest in the history of the partys rule. To reformists in China, Hus name symbolises a short-lived era of enlightened leadership in the 1980s before the tanks moved in to crush demands for change. This year the anniversary of Hus death has been marked by an unusual flurry of tributes in the official media. But few see signs of another Beijing spring.

On China's Future (April 17, 2013, Asia Sentinel)

China, they say, has gone through many crises such as the Warlord Era (in the early 1900s), the Opium War, the Japanese invasion, the Cultural Revolution and the Tianamen Square massacre, all of which it survived relatively unscathed. Thus critics say that predictions of China's collapse are overly pessimistic. In this regard, first we should discuss not China's crisis but its stability. In fact, it is precisely under stability that we often see China?s biggest crises. A truly stable country should have many ways of regulating society: political stability is just one of them. Others institutions, such as civic and religious organizations and political parties should all play a role in helping ease pressures. Culture and tradition, religion and faith, morality and ethics all help stabilize society, and so does the legal system, the invisible hand of the market and an army that follows the constitution.

Chinas new first lady (April 18, 2013, East Asia Forum)

But Peng is not the only first lady from greater China to project she power. Soong Ching-ling the first lady of the first president and founding father of the Republic of China, Sun Yat-sen and her sister Soong May-ling, the first lady of Chiang Kai-shek, were both famous for their charisma, grace and leadership in diplomacy and politics.

RELIGION

More than a Label (Spring 2013, ChinaSource Quarterly)From "Back to Jerusalem" to "Indigenous Mission Movement from China"Back to Jerusalem (BTJ) has raised the expectation that China can be a significant missionary-sending country. With an exciting slogan, a clear target and a specific number of missionaries, it claims China is to take up the last baton of the Great Commission and bless the nations.

Chinese Christians Pray for Rick Warren (April 13, 2013, Chinese Church Voices)

This is a translation of an article in the Christian Times about the response of Chinese Christians to the death of Pastor Rick Warrens son.

Cultural Orphans (April 13, 2013, The Gospel in China)

To a Chinese person, the idea of accepting the message of Christianity can produce some real anxiety. One of the main reasons for these feelings is a fear of isolation. After all, many Chinese people have no family members who are Christians, no co-workers who are Christians, no neighbors who are Christians, and no friends who are Christians. Then factor in the deep patriotism of the average Chinese person, which includes pride in thousands of years of Chinese culture and tradition, all of which is inextricably tied into essentially pagan worldviews and totally at odds with the message of the Bible.

Ancient Chinese Buddhist temple faces demolition (April 11, 2013, AFP)

Authorities in Xian, the Chinese city home to the Terracotta Warriors, have ordered most of the buildings in a 1,300-year-old Buddhist temple demolished, staff said Thursday, provoking online outrage. The Xingjiao Temple holds relics of Xuan Zang, a Chinese monk who travelled to India to retrieve Buddhist scriptures in the 7th century. His trip was the basis of a popular 1988 Chinese television drama Journey to the Westand also inspired an earlier Japanese show, Monkey, which became cult viewing in Britain and Australia.

China's one-child policy increasingly being questioned (April 16, 2013, PRI)

Decades ago, China decided it had too many people and instituted a policy that allowed most couples just one child. While the policy has been loosened some, it's still largely in place. But many hope that as more people question the morality of the policy, it will be rescinded entirely.

A Christian Actress Comments on Marriage (April 16, 2013, Chinese Church Voices)

Lu Liping

is one of Chinas most famous actresses. She and her husband, who is also a Christian, are very open and public about their faith. Their blogs and microblogs have tens of thousands of followers. This article in the Christian Times is about a Weibo post that Ms. Lu wrote with advice for Christian couples.

SOCIETY / LIFE

The Slow Flash Mob: What can we Learn from the Elderly of China? (April 13, 2013, East West Connect)

A friend of mine recently launched a very cool idea inspired by the elderly people of China. She calls it the Slow Flash Mob and I think it's a great example of how an aspect of Chinese culture could be transplanted to another area in a postiive way.

Whats up, Uyghurs? (April 13, 2013, World of Chinese)

China boasts 5,000 years of history, but like most narratives, much of the story is left unsaid. Taking a train 33 hours west of Beijing, you might find yourself in a world with camels, Arabic-looking script and people with red hair or blue eyes. Peking University student, Abduletip, loves that Beijing offers much in terms of education and development. Still, compared to his home in Xinjiang: I dont like the big city, and I dont think its very sweet for living.

Sinica Podcast: Gady Epstein on The Internet (April 13, 2013, Popup Chinese)

The Internet was expected to help democratize China, but has instead enabled the authoritarian state to get a firmer grip. So begins The Economist's special fourteen page report on the state of the Internet in China, a survey that paints the country's online communities as canaries in gilded cages of sorts, and touches on everything from what censorship tells us about who really wields power in China, to more broader patterns of innovation and investment in China's high-tech industry.

"Wang" tops Chinese surnames (April 14, 2013, Xinhua)

Wang" is the most popular surname in China, with 95 million Wangs across the country, according to a study released Sunday by the China Fuxi Cultural Research Association. The surname is followed in popularity by "Li" and "Zhang," respectively. Twenty-one percent of the country's population has one of the three surnames, according to the study.

Chengguan makes video to clear up misunderstandings of his profession (April 15, 2013, Danwei)

This is probably not going the get the hated chengguan any love, but one of their number has made a short video in the style of a popular recent television advertisement to try and clear up some misunderstandings surrounding his profession. His video probably did nothing of the sort, but you cant fault him for ripping off another television advertisement to try and stem some of the overwhelming negative press his profession generates. Or perhaps you can.

Why Time is Running Out on Chinas Social Security System (April 15, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

In recent years, issues about Chinas pension system have repeatedly hit a public nerve. Among the hot topics consistently reappearing on the front pages of Chinese papers, the social pension perhaps has the most direct influence on peoples lives. Yet convoluted procedures and a lack of transparency make the institution hard to decipher. From time to time, officials, scholars and citizens have debated whether there is a major crisis about the system, and how to fix it.

Why terrorist attack wont work in China. Chinese netizens reaction to Boston Marathon Explosions (April 16, 2013, Offbeat China)

In response to the bombing in Boston, one Chinese netizen concluded: Terrorist attack works in the US, but not in China. Why? Netizen explained: With no immediate press conference and all information blocked, the terrorists would have no proof that they indeed attacked. There will be no impact at all. Another netizen Evildido chimed in: All near-by roads will be blocked for a similar event in China. Andthere are cheng guang (Chinas city law enforcement officers known for bullying street vendors). No terrorist can beat a cheng guan.

China sees the best and worst of America in Boston bombing (April 16, 2013, Washington Post)

Chinas many Web users tend to watch U.S. events closely, so it was no surprise to see the Monday bombings at the Boston Marathon become the top trending topic on Weibo, Chinas massive social media service. Some of this conversation turned around often-debated questions of the relative merits of the Chinese and American systems. The comments are revealing, both for what they say about how the U.S. and its values are perceived in China and for how Chinese compare the U.S. to their own country.

Grad Student With Eye on Career in Finance Is Mourned in China (April 17, 2013, The New York Times)

Grief over a Chinese student who was killed in the Boston Marathon bombing rippled across her home country on Wednesday as Internet sites and news reports described and celebrated a young woman whose ambitions for a career in finance were cut harshly short.

Whats Behind Chinas Growing Legions of Online Readers (April 17, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

Modern Chinese literature is flourishingat least for those who have an Internet connection. A survey by Chinese Internet market research firm iResearch counted a total of 12.2 million daily readers among Chinas top ten literary websites. These websites together contain millions of online books, some reaching millions of Chinese characters in length.

Heres How Much Poverty Has Declined in China (April 18, 2013, China Real Time)

The worlds poorest people are now concentrated most heavily in Sub-Saharan Africa after Chinas huge leap in pulling its citizens out of extreme poverty in recent decades, according to new estimates released Wednesday by the World Bank.

Was that the president in my Beijing taxi? (April 18, 2013, Christian Science Monitor)

When was the last time the Chinese president hailed a Beijing taxi? Just a few weeks ago, if taxi driver Guo Lixin is to be believed. Mr. Guo told a Hong Kong newspaper on Thursday that President Xi Jinping took an incognito ride in his cab last month, and chatted about what else? air pollution. []Neither the alleged president nor his driver ended up much the wiser, it seems. And then on Thursday evening, the official Xinhua news agency stamped on all the speculation with a terse one line announcement. Ta Kung Paos report, said Xinhua, has proven to be a fake story.

HEALTH

Bird flu: New scare (April 13, 2013, The Economist)

A deadly outbreak of bird flu is testing Chinas political leaders, as well as its response to health emergencies.

Video: Next stop in the H7N9 national tour: Beijing (April 14, 2013, Shanghaiist)

Previously found only in eastern parts of China, the H7N9 avian flu virus has officially spread to Beijing, with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirming the citys first case early on Saturday. A seven-year-old girl, whose parents work in live poultry trading, was admitted to the Beijing Ditan Hospital on Thursday after she developed flu-like symptoms, including a fever, cough and headache. Her fever has lessened and she is in a stable condition, local health officials confirmed.

China's toxic harvest: Growing tainted food in "cancer villages" (April 16, 2013, Marketplace)

In a recent trip to Xinglong, the village where the Wu family lives, Ma found at least 30 other villagers among 500 who had been diagnosed with cancer. Even the government has started referring to these places as cancer villages.

No poultry contact in some Chinese bird flu cases : WHO (April 17, 2013, Reuters)

The World Health Organization said on Wednesday that a number of people who have tested positive for a new strain of bird flu in China appear to have had no contact with poultry, adding to the mystery about a virus that has killed 17 people to date. Chinese authorities have slaughtered thousands of birds and closed some live poultry markets to try to slow the rate of human infection, but many questions remain unsolved, including whether the H7N9 strain is being transmitted between people.

As Bird Flu Spreads In China, The Source Remains A Mystery (April 17, 2013, NPR)

The new bird flu in China has come with a long list of questions. Are the 82 cases so far just the tip of a larger outbreak? Why does the virus cause mild symptoms in some people and severe pneumonia in others? Perhaps the most critical question is also the simplest: How do people catch the bug? The clearly infects birds. Health workers have detected it in chickens, ducks and pigeons. But many people who have gotten sick didn't came near birds, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

Could China's Bird Flu Be the Next SARS? (April 18, 2013, CNBC)

As the death toll from a deadly strain of bird flu in China rises to 17, China watchers say they are closely following Beijing's handling of the outbreak although officials appear to have learned a trick or two from the SARS crisis a decade ago.

BUSINESS / ECONOMICS / TRADE

Chinas Economy: The First Quarter (April 15, 2013, China Real Time)

Its tough getting your hands on Chinas economic data. The release of the quarterly gross domestic product numbers always triggers a melee at the press conference as reporters fight to be the first to see the release.

Understanding the way Chinas economy works (April 15, 2013, East Asia Forum)

Yu Yongding has recently and famously described the Chinese economy as being trapped in a Groundhog Day pattern of growth. What he reckons is that even since the global financial crisis, the Chinese economy has followed the familiar cyclical pattern of (of growth that it has over) the past two decades: high investment supported by expansionary policy drives growth; inflation follows after lag; policy is tightened; growth drops away, but inflation is still high; more tightening; inflation falls at last, but growth falls away more than desired at the same time; policy is shifted from tight to expansionary; again, led by investment, growth rebounds. And a new economic cycle starts Groundhog Day for Chinese growth. He believes that the Chinese economy will probably continue to grow at a rate higher than 8 per cent this year. But growth is likely to be achieved at the expense of structural adjustment and the discovery of a new, more sustainable growth pattern. The real challenge for the Chinese government will come later.

Highlights of Amchams 2012-2013 Business Report: A conversation with Kent Kedl of Control Risks (April 16, 2013, China Business Podcast)

Chinas Problem-Solving Perspective (April 17, 2013, Chinese Negotiation)

Chinese businessmen solve problems. If they can solve their problem by delivering high quality products at a reasonable price, on time, using their own technology then thats what theyll do. If they can solve their problem by outsourcing shoddy production to 4th tier countryside workshops and ripping off foreigners with a new company registration every 3 months, then thats what theyll do.T

ECHNOLOGY / SCIENCE / ENVIRONMENT

Beijing air quality now worse than everywhere but Lanzhou (April 13, 2013, Shanghaiist)

As of February, Beijing was the ninth most polluted city in China. Now, the fog is closing in, and the nation's capital has lept up to #2 in a new study released by SCMP.

Smog Levels in Hong Kong Hit Highs (April 16, 2013, China Real Time)

Hong Kongs pollution levels hit nearly decade-level highs this week, sending locals scurrying inside and obscuring the citys skyline behind a blanket of white. In the citys central business district, roadside monitoring devices clocked levels of pollution as high as 210 on the citys air pollution index yesterday, with high levels persisting through Tuesday afternoon. That figure is nearly the highest the city has experienced since 1999, with the exception of levels reached when a dust storm blew in from mainland China in 2010 and a similar high notched last year.

China pig and dog deaths prompt probe into factories (April 18, 2013, BBC)

A Chinese village has closed nearby chemical plants after hundreds of pigs and dogs died mysteriously, sparking fears among local residents. A total of 410 pigs and 122 dogs were found dead in Dongtun village in Yanshi city, Henan province, officials said.

CULTURE / EDUCATION / HISTORY

Really Cool Maps of China (April 9, 2013, China Adventurer Travel Blog)

Here are some Really Cool Maps of China displaying everything from population, languages, dynasties, and more so you never get lost.

FOOD / TRAVEL

California launches travel ad campaign in China (April 16, 2013, Travel Weekly)

Visit California, the states destination marketing organization, has launched its first direct-to-consumer marketing campaign to promote travel from China. Visit California will invest $1.6 million this year to attract Chinese visitors (a $1 million increase) through a social media and advertising campaign. It contracted with China-based WE Marketing Group to help advertise the California brand in China.A

View of Sinkiang in 1943 from Life Magazine (April 18, 2013, Far West China)

Last week a good friend and fellow Xinjiang-enthusiast loaned me a copy of LIFE magazine dated December 13, 1943. I get excited about these type of things (its weird, I know) and even after a quick glance I knew I wasnt going to be disappointed.

The Grand Canal: Chinas Ancient Lifeline (May, 2013, National Geographic)

The 1,400-year-old Grand Canal is a monumental project that bound north and south China together. Its still in use today.

LANGUAGE AND LANGUAGE LEARNING

The question you have to ask about your Chinese teacher or course (April 10, 2013, Hacking Chinese)

Some students ask many questions, but fail to ask the really crucial ones. Some students dont ask at all, but might be considering these questions anyway. In this article, Im going to talk about the question that you have to ask yourself about your current Chinese program (or one youre planning of enrolling in) and your Chinese teacher.

Chinese Numbers: Where 4 Meets 6 (April 16, 2013, Sinosplice)

This post is leading up to another longer post on how the Chinese write numbers. I dont mean the Chinese character numbers (etc.); Im talking about the numbers we call Arabic numerals. In China, they can occasionally be written pretty differently from what an American like me is used to.

LINKS FOR RESEARCHERS

White Paper: The Diversified Employment of China's Armed Forces (Information Office of the State Council, The People's Republic of China, April 2013, Beijing)

RESOURCES

9Marks Chinese website

Image credit: Suzhou, by barnyz, via Flickr