ZGBriefs

August 29, 2013

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FEATURED ARTICLE

All About Visas: Podcast by the Economic Observer (August 27, 2013, Economic Observer)

The China Hangup podcast is a weekly discussion with social, business and political figures hosted by Eric Fish, Hudson Lockett and Nicole Sy for the Economic Observer newspaper. This weeks episode, All About Visas, covers Chinas new immigration law.

GOVERNMENT / POLITICS / FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Climbing trees to catch fish (August 17 edition, The Economist)

A curious to-and-fro about Chinas constitution bodes ill for political reform.I

ts All About Mao (August 22, 2013, The New York Times)

Mr. Bos trial has been dressed up by the Chinese Communist Party as part of its anticorruption campaign. (As with Chen Liangyu and Chen Xitong, two other high-ranking party officials who were tried for corruption, Mr. Bo has met his fate most likely as a result of power struggles within the party.) But the true significance of the trial is that it highlights the urgent debate over what path China will take in the future specifically, whether its leaders will revive the disastrous tactics and policies of Chairman Mao.

No Missiles Required: How China is Buying Taiwans Re-Unification (August 23, 2013, The Diplomat)

While experts continue to look at the rapidly expanding military capabilities of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) as the greatest threat to Taiwans sovereignty, Beijing would much prefer bringing about re-unification without having to fire a single missile. Ongoing cross-strait investment liberalization could help make that possible.

The Bo Xilai Trial: Legal Experts Weigh In (August 27, 2013, China Real Time)

Chinas just-concluded Trial of the Century appears likely to emerge as one of the most closely scrutinized legal events in the countrys modern history. At the end of the five-day trial, The Wall Street Journal interviewed experts on the Chinese legal system for their thoughts on the performance of defendant Bo Xilai and the state prosecutors who sought to prove the former Communist Party Politburo member was corrupt and power-mad.

Actor, Trickster, Rogue: Chinese Discuss the Many Faces of Bo (August 27, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

Flamboyant, vengeful, crafty, mendacious, eloquent: is Bo some or all of these things? Is Bos fall due to his own flaws, or those of the larger political system? What do we really know about Bo Xilai

The Plight of Chinas Petitioners (August 27, 2013, The Diplomat)

Petitioning takes many forms in China sometimes there are harmless forms of protest, such as the petitioner who pulled down his pants at the Bo Xilai trial last week. Other times, petitioning can be tragic; earlier this month, twenty-one activists attempted mass suicide at the Beijing West Railway station after their petitions went ignored.

Death Toll in Xinjiang Police Shootout Climbs As Exile Group Blasts Raid (August 27, 2013, Radio Free Asia)

Authorities in China's Xinjiang region said Tuesday that they had shot dead 22 Uyghurs accused of terrorism last week, revising higher an initial death toll in one of the biggest crackdowns on the ethnic minority Muslim group. They said they have also arrested four Uyghurs in a raid on a house where the 22 were gunned down on Aug. 20 at the edge of a desert area in the Yilkiqi township in Kargilik (in Chinese, Yecheng) county in Xinjiang's southwestern Kashgar prefecture. The death toll was revised upward after police and other sources had said at the weekend that based on initial reports, 15 Uyghurs and one Han Chinese policeman were killed in the "anti-terror" operation.

Marxist School Now in Session for Chinese Journalists (August 28, 2013, China Real Time)

China has ordered all journalists at state-run media to attend Marxism classes, the latest in a series of recent government moves to assert control over the press. The Communist Partys Propaganda Department is requiring the countrys entire official press corpsmore than 300,000 reporters and editorsto attend at least two days of Marxist classes this month.

RELIGION

Lamb of God (August 24, 2013, The Economist)

Chen Guancheng, a leader of Mr Lambs church, says the police consulted him closely on plans for the service, which was attended by representatives of state-sanctioned churches too. Mr Lamb, or Lin Xiangao, was one of the last from an earlier era, when underground churches were harshly persecuted.

SOCIETY / LIFE

Feudal China Makes a Comeback, Through Slang (August 21, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

Both online and off, Chinese have dusted off outdated vocabulary to describe their government and various social phenomena. Old fashioned phrases like guanfu () Official Mansion and yamen () Official Gates are used to refer to the authorities or the police, while tianchao ( ) Celestial Dynasty is used as a synonym for China in general.

Man kills four, injures 11 in China knife attack (August 24, 2013, BBC)

A man has killed at least four people and left 11 injured in a knife attack in the Chinese city of Chengdu. The attack happened on Sunday night on a bus. As it left a stop, the man began attacking passengers, reports said. The driver stopped the bus and opened the doors so passengers could escape, but the attacker then disembarked and turned his knife on passers-by.

Op-Ed: My Dream? Become the Son of a Chinese Official (August 25, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

One might think that Beijings recent austerity drive, its professed rejection of hedonism, and the downfall of Bo Xilai would cool Communist apparatchiks ardor to pursue the good life by any means necessary. But recent revelations about life in Chinas fast line have led me to a very different conclusion: When I grow up, I want to be the son of a Chinese government official.

Party Urges Popular Weibo Users to Think of National Interests (August 26, 2013, China Real Time)

The recent uptick in government pressure on popular online pundits was evident as the Communist Partys mouthpiece Peoples Daily weighed in with a sharply worded commentary demanding users with huge followings act in the national interest.

Across China, Skyscrapers Brush the Heavens (August 27, 2013, The New York Times)

China is home to 60 of the worlds 100 tallest buildings now under construction. But the skyward aspirations of Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, have inspired incredulity tinged with hostility.

A Moniker Only a Mister Could Like (August 27, 2013, The New York Times)

Have you noticed how woman opinion leaders are being called Mr. on Weibo? asked my sharp-eyed friend Mei Zhang, referring to the influential Twitter-like microblogs.

Ten Cities Chinese People Want to Escape (But Cant)

What can two million RMB, which is more than US$326,000, get you? In Gansu Province, it totals the average annual income of 116 people, while in Shanghai, it is about the price that tradition dictates a groom pay before marriage, which includes the purchase of a house and wedding expenditures. Small wonder that Shanghai has topped a new ranking making the rounds in China: the ten cities that Chinese most want to escape

China Urbanizes (August 29, 2013, The Globalist)

China already has over 100 cities with a population that exceeds 1 million people. Whats next?Shanghai's Disappearing Doorways (August 2013, Shanghai Talk)

Infamed for centuries as a gateway to China for its prime port location at the mouth of the Yangtze River, Shanghais renowned international settlement and commercial hub are directly attributed to the municipalitys distinctive open-door policy. However, it is this same progressive thinking that has, in recent years, led to the wholesale obliteration of Shanghais historic homes. Once characterized by their quaint doorways of warped timber, stone thresholds, hand-made mailboxes and green address plates along with the welcoming smiles and invitations to tea from the gossiping grannies perched therein the old communities of this city are swiftly being replaced by towering, gated apartments and their unreceptive, reinforced-steel security doors. The following snapshots are but a few of the disappearing doorways that can still be found in Shanghais last-standing traditional neighborhoods.

HEALTH

Why TCM Products Are Seen as Poison Pills Abroad (August 27, 2013, Caixin Online)

Health authorities around the world are issuing warnings about herbal treatments from China, a problem that will persist until the industry better explains side effects.

China Seeks Western-Style Care Amid Explosion of Elderly (August 28, 2013, Bloomberg)

As the almost 200 million population of over-60s more than doubles in the next 40 years, China faces a deluge of infirm elderly who cant live alone. Nor can they rely on Confucian tradition of children caring for their parents: the countrys one-child policy has left fewer offspring to share the load, while more Chinese are moving away from home to study or work.

87% of AIDS infections in China through sex (August 29, 2013, China Daily)

About 87 percent of AIDS infections in China happen through unsafe sex, said a report from the National Health and Family Planning Commission on Wednesday. Unprotected sex also causes annual increases in the number of syphilis infections. Despite a nine-fold increase in government spending on public health in the last decade, which reached 110 billion yuan ($18 billion) in 2012, China has seen one new infectious disease detected every one or two years.

EDUCATION / ARTS / ENTERTAINMENT

Police crack diploma counterfeiting groups (August 23, 2013, China Daily)

Chinese police have cracked two major diploma counterfeiting groups and detained at least 21 suspects, said railway police on Friday. Shanghai railway police raided two locations involved in counterfeiting diplomas and detained 21 suspects in late July, said a statement from the railway police division of the Ministry of Public Security. Police confiscated more than 40,000 fake seals of government departments and other institutions, and more than 50,000 fake diplomas at the locations, the statement said. Last week, Chengdu railway police raided another counterfeiting location and seized about 2,700 fake diplomas and 3,190 fake seals following a lead from a train passenger using a fake identification card, it said.

More students to study overseas (August 27, 2013, China Daily)

China's top universities, which once had students and parents scrambling for admission, are experiencing an embarrassing downturn in applications in the face of growing competition from overseas. According to a recent survey by Chinese education consulting company MyCOS, the proportion of mainland students applying for top universities, such as Peking University, Tsinghua University in Beijing and Fudan University in Shanghai, is on a downward trend.

Photos: University sets up tents for parents of freshmen (August 28, 2013, China Daily)

Photo taken on Aug 27, 2013 shows tents set up at the gymnasium of Tianjin university in North China's Tianjin municipality. More than 200 tents have been set up at the gymnasium in Tianjin University for parents who accompanied their children to register as the freshmen of the university.

Well-Off Chinese Students Summer in U.S., Seeking an Edge (August 29, 2013, The New York Times)

By some estimates, more than 100,000 Chinese students, some as young as 10, flocked to the United States this summer to delve into American life and culture. Some studied diligently in programs designed to improve their SAT scores. Others kicked back and enjoyed more leisurely pursuits, on group tours that visited Las Vegas, New York and Disneyland. Some attended outdoor camps.

HISTORY / CULTURE

Tibetan Music: More than just Chanting (August 28, 2013, Word of Chinese)

Tibetans have a rich and spiritual culture, and music is like a well at its center. By listening to music, as well as singing, Tibetans are able to collectively share their feelings and emotions, somehow transcending their material lives.

Time to say sorry (August 29, 2013, Analects)

My formal apology has come too late, wrote Chen Xiaolu on August 20th on the alumni blog of the school where nearly 50 years ago he was among Red Guard activists who persecuted anyone they deemed disloyal to Mao Zedong (see here, in Chinese). Mr Chen said he had been directly responsible for denouncing staff and fellow students and for getting them sent to labour camps. Even state-controlled newspapers have applauded his honesty. But growing calls inside China for a more open appraisal of the Mao eras horrors are meeting resistance.

ECONOMICS / BUSINESS / TRADE

Why China's Farms Are Failing (August 21, 2013, The Atlantic)

The country's environmental problems threaten the food production system for over a billion people.'

You Must Confess': China's Red Campaign Against Multinationals (August 25, 2013, Forbes)

Beijings Maoist revival, roiling Chinese society and politics, is now beginning to poison Chinas business environment as well.

Chinese authorities investigate PetroChina executives (August 27, 2013, BBC)

Chinese authorities are investigating three senior executives of state-owned energy firm PetroChina over "serious breaches of discipline".

China Prepares for Slower Growth (August 27, 2013, The Street, via Yahoo!)

China is shifting away from relying on exports and foreign investment toward an economy driven by consumption. Unsustainable government debt levels and environmental problems have prompted this change. Over the past five years, accommodative monetary policy and surging investment levels have led to average growth rates of 9.3%. Times have changed, however, and that growth won't last. China's shift will weigh on growth, pushing growth domestic product growth down to the 6% region in the next half-decade.

SCIENCE / TECHNOLOGY / ENVIRONMENT

China hit by 'biggest ever' cyber-attack (August 27, 2013, BBC)

China has said it has suffered its "biggest ever" cyber-attack, causing many websites based in the country to go temporarily offline. The distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack was said to have targeted servers responsible for sites with a ".cn" domain name. The country has not speculated on who may be responsible.

Video: China plans unmanned moon lander launch (August 29, 2013, BBC)

China plans to send an unmanned space probe to the moon this year for the country's first lunar landing. State media said preparations were now under way for the launch of Chang'e-3, the latest stage in its efforts to put a person on the moon. The craft will use a radio-controlled rover to transmit images and dig into the moon's surface to test samples.

FOOD / TRAVEL

Tidal bore causes panic in China's Haining city (August 22, 2013, BBC)

More than 30 people have been injured by a tidal bore in the Qiantang River in the eastern Zhejiang Province of China. Given extra impetus by a typhoon, the huge and powerful tidal wave gathered momentum and crashed into the river bank in the city of Haining.

Move Over, Potstickers: China Cooks Up Hundreds Of Dumplings (August 29, 2013, NPR)

But perhaps no country has a longer history or greater variety of dumplings than China. Dumplings come in all shapes and with every imaginable filling. They are served at everything from a humble family meal to elaborate works of culinary art.

LANGUAGE / LANGUAGE LEARNING

On The Character (August 25, 2013, World of Chinese)

It used to be a ritual in which humans kneel before the gods; now (Si) is all about challenging ourselves to be the best we can be. This character appears whenever theres a contest: a football match , a cycling contest , or a debate competition.

.China sets down standards for Chinese characters (August 27, 2013, China Daily)

An official list standardizing the appearance of commonly used Chinese language characters has been published, the Ministry of Education revealed Tuesday. The 8,105 characters included in the list were chosen based on their frequency of use from hundreds of thousands of characters that have emerged since ancient times, according to the expert team that compiled the list.

On Delayed Language Acquisition (August 27, 2013, Sinosplice)

The jury is still out an exactly how closely related first and second language acquisition are, but clearly the two are related.

The Yongjiu Bicycles Logo (August 29, 2013, Sinosplice)

I noticed this cleverly designed logo for the Shanghai brand recently, and had to take note:

10 Hilarious Chinese to English Translations in Signs (August 29, 2013, China Whisper)

If a foreigner travels to China, he might have some difficulties finding their way around the country due to poor English knowledge and clumsy translation. Here is my collection of hilarious translation fails in China.

BOOKS

Macao - Cultural Interaction and Literary Representations (Routledge Studies in the Modern History of Asia)

Image credit: Carrying Grass, by David Woo, via Flickr