Is China Persecuting More Christians for their Faith? (February 22, 2013, ChinaSource)
According to the latest statistics from China Aid, 13.8% more Christians in China were persecuted last year as compared with 2011, continuing a trend of increasing persecution that goes back to at least 2007. On their face these numbers appear to be cause for serious alarm, and the China Aid report has in fact spawned headlines decrying the beginning of the end of the house church in China. However, upon closer examination these statistics do not support China Aid's assertion of a nationwide government-sponsored campaign against Christianity in China. Without a doubt, Christians in China face many obstacles as they live out their faith in an often hostile environment. But Christians are not persecuted simply for being Christians, nor are house churches targeted for attack simply for being house churches. If this were the case one would expect to see hundreds of house churches being closed down each week. (Beijing, which had the highest number of persecution cases in 2012, reportedly has more than 3,000 house churches, yet the China Aid report mentions only two cases involving Beijing house churches for the entire year.)
GOVERNMENT / POLITICS / FOREIGN AFFAIRS
U.S.-China Tensions: What Must Kerry Do? (February 15, 2013, China File)
On a recent trip to China, I heard a lot of scary talk of potential war over the disputed Diaoyu Islandsthis from both senior intellectual types and also just regular people, from an elderly calligraphy expert to a middle-aged history professor. People seemed to blame the U.S. for encouraging Japan in pushing its claims over the islands. (The assumption being that the U.S. wants to contain China, to keep China down.) So is war a real danger, and what should the U.S. do to defuse tensions?
China wages a quiet war of maps with its neighbors (February 15, 2013, Washington Post)
Bitter maritime disputes between China and its neighbors have recently sent fighter jets scrambling, ignited violent protests, and seen angry fishermen thrown in jail. But beneath all the bellicose rhetoric and threatening posture, China also has been waging a quiet campaign, using ancient documents, academic research, maps and technical data to bolster its territorial claims.
Is Wukan a failure? Newly elected leaders regret leading protests (February 17, 2013, Offbeat China)
A year after the villagers in Wukan held an open election after driving out corrupted officials, their newly-elected leaders told media that they regretted.
Striving for freedom in the Chinese New Year (February 15, 2013, Washington Post)
Constitutional government is the basis for the entire beautiful dream, they wrote. Only when we have established constitutional government, only when the powers of government have been limited and separated, will citizens be able to voice their criticisms of authority with confidence and be able to live in freedom, in accordance with their inner convictions. Only then will we have a free country and a country that is truly strong … . The real China dream is a dream for freedom and constitutional government.
China muscles US in Pacific (February 16, 2013, Brisbane Times)
Within two decades the United States will be forced out of the western Pacific, says a senior Chinese military officer, amid concerns that increasingly militarised great-power rivalry could lead to war. Senior Colonel Liu Mingfu, at the People's Liberation Army's National Defence University, told Fairfax Media this week that American strategic influence would be confined ''east of the Pacific midline'' as it is displaced by Chinese power throughout east Asia, including Australia. Colonel Liu's interpretation of one facet of what the new Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, calls ''a new type of great-power relationship'' adds to the uncertainty and anxiety surrounding China's strategic ambitions. It clashes with comments days earlier by his university colleague, General Zhu Chenghu, who told a conference in the US: ''We have no intention of driving the US out of east Asia or the western Pacific.''
China acquires potential naval base in Pakistan (February 17, 2013, AFP, via Manila Times)
Chinas acquisition of a strategic port in Pakistan is the latest addition to its drive to secure energy and maritime routes and gives it a potential naval base in the Arabian Sea, unsettling India. The Pakistani cabinet on January 30 approved the transfer of Gwadar port, a commercial failure cut off from the national road network, from Singapores PSA International to the state-owned China Overseas Port Holdings Limited. The Pakistanis pitched the deal as an energy and trade corridor that would connect China to the Arabian Sea and Strait of Hormuz, a gateway for a third of the worlds traded oil, overland through an expanded Karakoram Highway. Experts say it would slash thousands of kilometers off the distance oil and gas imports from Africa and the Middle East have to be transported to reach China, making Gwadar a potentially vital link in its supply chain.
With Creativity and Profanity, Chinese Web Users Lambast Drug Lord and Criminal Kim Jong-Un (February 17, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)
Over the past several days, that online anger has intensified in both severity and volume. A recent search for the term North Korea found over 39 million recent mentions on Weibo. Meanwhile, images mocking Kim Jong-Un briefly saturated the Chinese blogosphere. One (shown above) satirized Kim as the pudgy lead character of the movie Up. Another showed a nuclear mushroom cloud in the shape of a middle finger.
Tibetan teens 'set themselves on fire in western China' (February 20, 2013, BBC)
Two Tibetan youths have burned themselves to death in western China, reports from activists and Tibetan exiles say. The deaths are the latest in a long series of protests at perceived repression by the Beijing government. The two, aged 17 and 18, set themselves alight in Aba, in Sichuan Province.
China military unit 'behind prolific hacking' (February 19, 2013, BBC)
A secretive branch of China's military is probably one of the world's "most prolific cyber espionage groups", a US cyber security firm has said. Mandiant said Unit 61398 was believed to have "systematically stolen hundreds of terabytes of data" from at least 141 organisations around the world. The White House said it has taken its concerns about cyber-theft to the highest levels of China's government.
China condemns hacking report by US firm Mandiant (February 20, 2013, BBC)
China's military says a report linking it to prolific hacking of US targets is flawed. In a statement, the Defence Ministry said the report lacked "technical proof" when it used IP addresses to link hacking to a military unit. The report identified a Shanghai high-rise used by the military as the likely home of a hackers to whom it attributed multiple attacks on US companies. The US says it has repeatedly raised concerns with China about cyber theft.
Video: China security officers chase CNN crew (February 20, 2013, CNN)
Shanghai security officers chase a CNN crew attempting to record a building at the center of hacking allegations.
China's Bo Xilai not cooperating on probe, been on hunger strike: sources (February 21, 2013, Reuters)
Disgraced former senior Chinese leader Bo Xilai is refusing to cooperate with a government investigation into him and has staged hunger strikes in protest and at one point was treated in hospital, sources with knowledge of the matter said. […] Two independent sources with ties to the family said Bo's trial was likely to be delayed until after an annual full session of parliament and its top advisory body in March because he was not physically fit.
More than 600 million in China are religiously affiliated as Chinese New Year 2013 dawns (February 9, 2013, The Weekly Number)
As Chinese New Year begins on Feb. 10, 2013, some 640 million people of all ages are affiliated with religion in China. […] China's 68 million Christians make China home to the worlds seventh-largest Christian population.
Getting Better or Getting Worse? (February 19, 2013, ChinaSource)
If we are comparing the situation to what we are accustomed to, then it certainly isn't good. There are far too many restrictions on religious practice, and regulations that either permit or restrict activities are arbitrarily enforced. This certainly isn't good, but is it really "worse" than the situation that existed during the Cultural Revolution?
Next pope must not interfere in our affairs, says Beijing (February 19, 2013, South China Morning Post)
Beijing yesterday called for Pope Benedict's successor not to interfere in China's internal affairs, highlighting enduring tensions with the Vatican. Asked about the pope's decision to step down, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the Vatican "should not interfere in China's internal affairs". He said he hoped the next pope would "create conditions for the improvement of bilateral relations", but indicated that Beijing would not allow a thaw without concessions from the Vatican.
Going undercover, the evangelists taking Jesus to Tibet (February 21, 2013, The Guardian)
More than 10 people interviewed for this article said that Chinese authorities in Tibetan areas were selectively tolerant of missionaries for reasons that range from pragmatic to borderline sinister. One is that they are a boon to local economies they open lucrative businesses and teach at local schools for next to nothing, supplementing their meagre salaries with donations from home. Authorities may also consider missionaries politically trustworthy, reluctant to undermine their spiritual missions by openly criticising regional policies.
Definition of urban house church in China (Pacific Institute for Social Sciences)
Urban house churches in China are merely a branch or sub-set of Chinese house churches. Therefore, before we define urban house churches in China, we should define the concept of Chinese house churches.
SOCIETY / LIFE
Return to River Town (March 2013, National Geographic)
In 1996 a Peace Corps volunteer arrived in Fuling, a sleepy town on the Yangtze, to teach English. He went back recently to find the landscapeand his former studentstransformed.
Video: DLD13 – How Social Media is changing China and Asia (February 2013, Digital Life Design)
Far from being a minor trend, Social Media is having a deep, fast and far-reaching impact on politics, business and culture in China and across Asia. Join this panel of experts to hear the latest developments and unique Asian innovations.
Beijing parks, scenic spots receive 7.48 mln holiday tourists (February 15, 2013, Xinhua)
A total of 7.48 million local residents and tourists have visited parks and scenic spots in Beijing during this year's Spring Festival holiday, which began on Feb. 10. The fourth day of the lunar new year, or Wednesday, saw the peak with 1.46 million toursits, a Beijing Municipal Landscape and Forestry Bureau official said Friday.
Manchu Minority (February 16, 2013, World of Chinese)
The Manchu minority is based mainly in the Northeast of China, roughly half the population is based in Liaoning Province with the rest divided between the Heilongjiang and Jilin Provinces. Over the course of time, despite great efforts made by Manchu leaders and Emperors, the Manchu bloodline has been watered down by intermarriage with the Han Chinese, but the Manchu have still maintained a strong impact in the north of China, starting with the founding of the Qing Dynasty in 1616 AD.
On Chinas Twitter, Discussion of Hacking Attacks Proceeds Unblocked (February 19, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)
Tea Leaf Nation recently conducted searches for terms related to the Mandiant report on Sina Weibo, Chinas pre-eminent social media discussion platform, and found them all unblocked. These included Mandiant, 61398, Chinese terms for the PLA units found to lie behind the hacking (61398, , and ), and words referring to particularized Mandiant terms, such as Comment Crew and Apt1.
For Affluent Chinese, Africas Growing Appeal (February 19, 2013, China Real Time)
Africa is still off the beaten path for most wealthy Chinese, but the continent appeals to a growing number of them, she says. South Africa is one example. It saw more than 60,000 Chinese visits in the first half of 2012, a 68% jump from the same period a year earlier, according to the South African Tourism Ministry.
In China, Horse With a Side of Poisonous Fake Mutton (February 19, 2013, Bloomberg)
No one covers European horse meat quite like China Central Television, the state-owned and operated news media and entertainment juggernaut. For the past week and a half, CCTV newscasts just havent been complete without the most up-to-date information on the deceit that led to horse meat being sold as beef across Europe. Indeed, horse meat fever runs so hot at CCTV that, as of the afternoon of Feb. 19 in China, a search for horse meat on the networks official website produced 313 video results, with only a handful predating Feb. 11.
The Decline of the Expat: Foreigners in China Proliferate, But Become Less Special (February 20, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)
Chinas expat population has grown every year since 2000; in 2004, the government even introduced a green card system allowing foreign citizens to gain permanent residency. Before then, newcomers arrived in China to find a world stringently guarded against the outside. These early expats were the pioneers, the ones willing to carve out a life for themselves in cities bereft of cheese, English signage and sit-down toilets. Local food was dirt-cheap, and Western fare impossible to find outside of hotels. Instead of streets clogged with cars, dusty bicycles reigned supreme. Meanwhile, anyone with a white face and/or foreign passport was associated with wealth and prestige, regardless of their actual status.
How Internet, Social Media Can Change China (February 20, 2013, Digits)
Social media sites are giving Chinas millions of Internet users a channel to express themselves and could open the door to unstoppable transformation in the country, the founder of video site Tudou.com says.
China's top microblog site boasts 500 mln users (February 20, 2013, Xinhua)
Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, had attracted over 500 million users by the end of 2012, a year-on-year increase of 74 percent, Sina Corp. announced on Wednesday. Sina Weibo's active daily users have exceeded 46.2 million, the company said. The site's revenues totaled 66 million U.S. dollars in 2012, of which 23 percent came from surging income from value-added services. The other 77 percent came from advertising, the revenues of which exceeded 50 million U.S. dollars.
3,000-plus Chinese mainland children adopted overseas: official (February 20, 2013, Xinhua)
More than 3,000 Chinese mainland children were adopted by overseas parents in 2012, according to figures from the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Citing adoption registration statistics, the ministry said Wednesday that a total of 24,635 Chinese mainland children were adopted last year. Of the adoptees, 87 percent were adopted by parents from the mainland, while the remaining 3,311 children were adopted by Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan residents, Chinese nationals living in foreign countries or foreigners.
Match-fixing and bribery in Chinese football are endemic, sport insiders say (February 20, 2013, The Guardian)
Match-fixing and bribery are endemic in Chinese football, primarily because of low player salaries and unchecked local government officials, according to the deputy editor-in-chief of a popular Chinese sports newspaper and a former professional footballer. Their insights into corruption at the top levels of the game in China cast further light on the problems facing football, after the Chinese Football Association (CFA) fined 12 club teams up to 103,000 and punished 58 current and former football officials, players and referees for match-fixing and bribery.
Second-class camaraderie (February 21, 2013, Analects)
Train travel in Chinaas with most things in this country of 1.5 billion peopleis a distinctly communal affair. Crammed together for three days, garrulous and curious passengers move from compartment to compartment, striking up conversations with their neighbours that last for hundreds of miles. Sometimes the chats can become quite boisterous.
The Last "Red Guard"? (February 21, 2013, Inside-Out)
In my previous post, I distinguished two generations of Red Guards. The first generation, a disarray of factions who engaged in a great deal of violence from the summer of 1966 to 1968, were disbanded by the end of 1968 after the "Down to the Countryside" movement began on a large scale. This fact is pretty much clear. The nuance I was trying to spell out is about the second generation, which came into being when middle schools resumed classes in the fall of 1969 after a three-year hiatus. This time, the name "Red Guard" was borrowed by authorities for the official student organizations that, at first, served as a temporary substitute of the Communist Youth League which remained dormant then.
China Numbers: Chinese New Year Edition (February 21, 2013, Economic Observer)
China plans new medical payment system (February 19, 2013, Shanghai Daily)
Patients will be able to "pay after" they receive medical treatment as part of a new payment method, China's Ministry of Health revealed today. According to Jiao Yahui, an official with the MOH medical administration division, more than 20 provincial regions are exploring the new payment method. In response to media reports that said the new payment system will be implemented across the country this year, Jiao said a "pay after" method will not be adopted nationwide in the short term due to an immature social credit system and insufficient medical insurance. Currently, Chinese citizens must pay first before receiving operations and treatment. Patients must pay their bills and then apply for a reimbursement covered by medical insurance, usually more than 70 percent of the total treatment fees.
China mulls hygiene standards for public restrooms (February 21, 2013, Xinhua)
Health authorities have issued a draft regulation that sets standards for public toilets, including limits for odor intensity and the number of flies and maggots. The draft also sets requirements for the design, layout, construction and daily management of public toilets. According to the rules, toilets attached to other buildings should contain no more than one fly per square meter. For independent public toilets, each square meter should contain no more than three flies.
BUSINESS / ECONOMICS / TRADE
China's 'Wall' Hits Business (February 13, 2013, Wall Street Journal)
Experts say the blocks that keep Chinese users from accessing services like Facebook, Twitter and Google Inc.'s online-video unit YouTube, are hurting businesses, slowing their traffic and hindering their use of a new generation of cloud-computing services like those offered by Google.T
ECHNOLOGY / SCIENCE / ENVIRONMENT
Northeast China has nuclear power (February 18, 2013, UPI)
The first nuclear plant in Northeast China has started operating. The Hongyanhe nuclear power plant, 68 miles from the port of Dalian, is the first new nuclear power plant to come online in China since Japan's March 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. The first unit at Hongyanhe began operating Sunday as part of the $7.96 billion first phase of the project, which will include four power-generation units. Construction started in 2007 and is expected to be completed by year-end 2015, state-run Xinhua news agency reports.
The groundwater of 90% of Chinese cities is polluted (February 18, 2013, Danwei)
The front page of the Strait Times () from Fujian province today reports that the groundwater of 90% of Chinese cities is polluted to some degree, and that of around 60% is severely polluted. These depressing findings were recently uttered by an official from the China Geological Survey () at an international groundwater forum.
The colorful waters of China (February 20, 2013, Offbeat China)
A picture is worth a thousand words. Tencent News recently put together a picture essay of the colorful waters of China. Solet the images talk.
Interactive Maps of Chinas Mostand LeastPolluted Places (February 20, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)
And as a glance at pollution figures from this morning shows, hazardous air conditions remain in cities throughout China, from Urumqi (with a PM2.5 concentration of 511 micrograms per cubic meter, or 20 times the recommended limit) to Guangzhou.
China, worlds largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, will tax carbon (February 20, 2013, Quartz, via Yahoo)
Chinas Ministry of Finance has announced that the country will levy a tax on carbon emissions, reports Xinhua. Policy experts in the United States and Europe have long argued that a carbon tax is the most effective way to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses, but implementing one in most large industrialized countries has always seemed politically infeasible. In the same announcement, Chinas Ministry of Finance said that direct taxes on resources, including coal and water, will also be forthcoming.
Hack-attack (February 20, 2013, The Economist)
A timeline of cyber-attacks from China
Watch: The NMA Chinese hacking report we've all been waiting for (February 21, 2013, Shanghaiist)
It's been a while since we featured an NMA report on Shanghaiist, but the trusty animators/satirists are back with this cutting video about the Chinese hacking ring allegedly operating out of an office building in Shanghai.
CULTURE / FOOD / TRAVEL
Chengdus Street Food (February 14, 2013, TravelDoCo)
To sample a variety of traditional street snacks in Chengdu, such as dumplings and noodles, head for Jin Li Street where many vendors sell their specialties side by side. Fuchsia Dunlop takes us on an insiders tour one afternoon and introduces us to some of her favorites.
How to Check Your Bill in a Chinese Restaurant (February 16, 2013, Lets Eat China)
It is always a good idea to check your bill carefully before you pay. Recently we went out for dinner and found that an 80 bottle of Great Wall wine had been (accidentally?) added to our bill. The cheek!
Food from Dongbei (North East China) Photo Essays (February 18, 2013, saporedicina)
The Dongbei is the North East region of China. Even if people tend to associate China with rice, this isnt exact. While in the South of the country the staple food is rice, in the North is wheat. Especially in the North East, they also eat a lot of potatoes and corn.
Buying Milk in China (February 18, 2013, Lets Eat China)
Buying milk in China isnt as easy as you might think. Before moving here a Chinese friend told us: Dont worry about anything over thereexcept the milk.
Video: MacDonalds China New Years Compilation (February 10, 2013, Foodragon)
11 Reasons you should go to China RIGHT NOW (February 20, 2013, Twenty-something Travel)
guess anywhere will grow on you if you spend enough months there, but China is absolutely the most unique and interesting country Ive been to.
The Manchurian Dumpling Shop (February 20, 2013, Life on Nanchang Lu)
Every dumpling lover, and there are many of us out there, should know a great local dumpling shop. A place devoted to the art of crafting plump little dumplings from dawn to dusk, where there is always a pot on the boil ready to cook a freshly-made batch at any time. A simple, warm and inviting shop no bigger than a single room, with tiny formica tables and plastic stools, and wisping tendrils of steam coming from the front door, where you can stop in anytime for your favourite kind of dumpling – pork and chinese cabbage breakfast dumplings, fragrant chive flower and shrimp afternoon dumplings, late night beef dumplings.
Why You Should Visit Kashgar, Xinjiang (February 20, 2013, Far West China)
In Xinjiang half of the population belongs to the Muslim Uyghur minority. Also, there are other ethnic groups as the Kazakh, the Kyrgyz and the Tajik. Here the Han people that is the ethnic group that constitutes 92% of Chinas population, are the real minority and Mandarin is the second language (the first is Uyghur). Kashgar, an ancient oasis located between the Taklamakan desert and the Karakorum mountain range, was one of the busiest stops along the Silk Road. The European, Arab and Asian dealers of silk and spices used to meet here and exchange their goods. Today the Silk Road is gone but the markets are still there.
LANGUAGE AND LANGUAGE LEARNING
Translating to improve your Chinese (February 13, 2013, Hacking Chinese)
Translation into the target language (Chinese in our case) is a very powerful way of improving mainly writing ability, but also speaking and vocabulary in general. Its a method that works best for intermediate or advanced students. In fact, the better your Chinese is, the more you will benefit from translation. In this article, I will discuss why translation is so good, along with some tips on how to do it right. Ive separated the first part of the discussion into two parts: beginner and non-beginner.
LINKS FOR RESEARCHERS
Can Xi Jinping Grow Political Power Out of the Barrel of a Gun? (February 15, 2013, China Brief)
Xi appears to have gained control over several of the important mountain tops (shantou) in the party and the security services, ostensibly giving him control or influence over a number of traditional levers of power.
RESOURCES IN CHINESE
中古基督教选举的宪政意蕴中古基督教 (Pacific Institute for Social Sciences)
宗教政策在西藏 (Pacific Institute for Social Sciences)
“红歌”中的中国基督教 (Pacific Institute for Social Sciences)
A New China Book List (February 18, 2013, China Law Blog)
Book Review: Chinese ABCs (February 18, 2013, World of Chinese)
From tones, to grammar, to characters, to that pesky in Beijing slang, it is understandable why many new learners become frustrated talking the hua (). The closest Mandarin has to an alphabet is the pinyin system, thanks to Zhou Youguang and his friends less than 60 years ago. But have no fear, language learners! There is now a new book that teaches you the basics of Chinas ABCs sort-of.
25 Essential China Survival Apps (February 20, 2013, Rectified.Name)
A Webinar For Companies/Inside Counsel Doing Business With China. February 20, 2013. (February 19, 2013, China Law Blog)
On February 20 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, I will be co-presenting a China law webinar, along with Andrea Charters, Vice President and Associate General Counsel of Rosetta Stone Inc. LexisNexis is sponsorig this webinar and, incredibly enough, it is entirely free. We will be gearing our presentations towards in house counsel and together we will be addressing the following issues, with a view towards protecting IP and providing some basic legal information for those doing business in China
OA Westad, a history professor at the London School of Economics, has written one of the most-talked-about books on China in the past year. Restless Empire: China and the World Since 1750 is a timely book on Chinas foreign relations. The Washington Post called it a wonderful book. Westad upends, but ever so politely, a slew of misconceptions about China that have been concocted by his academic predecessors both in the West and in Asia. [He shows] that the foreigners story in China is not the monochromatic account of malevolent imperialism that has dominated the discourse in U.S. universities but a much richer and more important tale.
Image credit: Church in Beijing, by Anlide, via Flickr