"China" does a lot of things (February 3, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)
The absence of a cohesive religious policy leaves both Chinese believers and Chinese officials operating in a nebulous gray area. What is allowed or not allowed often needs to be negotiated at the local level, and it is always subject to change. Hence the vast disparity in freedom of Christian activity and expression that may be observed across China. Anecdotal evidence may suggest a straight-line relationship between "China's" policy and the treatment of China's Christians. In reality such a line does not exist.
GOVERNMENT / POLITICS / FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Chinas Deceptively Weak (and Dangerous) Military (January 31, 2014, The Diplomat)
While recent years have witnessed a tremendous Chinese propaganda effort aimed at convincing the world that the PRC is a serious military player that is owed respect, outsiders often forget that China does not even have a professional military. The PLA, unlike the armed forces of the United States, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and other regional heavyweights, is by definition not a professional fighting force. Rather, it is a party army, the armed wing of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Take Heed of Chinas Security Commission (January 31, 2014, China Real Time)
How will the NSC operate, and to what end? The key question hovering over commission has been whether it will focus more on domestic policing or on national security in the foreign policy sense of the term. Most indications suggest that it will concern itself mostly, though not exclusively, with internal security.
Japan-China tension has U.S. walking a fine line (February 2, 2014, Los Angeles Times)
The strain has put the United States, which has a military alliance with Japan and South Korea but also wants cooperative ties with China, in a particularly awkward position. "In both countries, there's an underlying story about World War II that creates foreign policy difficulties," said Boston College political science professor Robert Ross.
China to Ramp Up Military Spending (February 3, 2014, Sinosphere)
China already spends more on its military than any country in the world except the United States. Now, as defense budgets at the Pentagon and in many NATO countries shrink, Chinas Peoples Liberation Army is gearing up for a surge in new funding, according to a new report.
Tokyo Wants Swift Implementation of Crisis Management With China (February 3, 2014, China Real Time)
In a sign of eagerness to prevent territorial tensions from escalating into military conflicts, Japans defense ministry called for the early establishment of a crisis management mechanism between Tokyo and Beijing in its annual security report on China released Saturday.
Beijings State Secrets Law Still Broad, Still Opaque (February 4, 2014, Tea Leaf Nation)
Beijing may be whittling back its widely reviled state secrets laws but given their opacity, its hard to say for sure. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang signed a regulation, announced Feb. 2, that would prohibit Chinese government organs from using the law to classify those matters which should be made public, according to state-run Xinhua news service. In an English-language article, Xinhua added that the regulation will boost government transparency. But Chinas state secrets law remains still broad enough and vague enough to deny the Chinese public access to a surprisingly wide range of information.
US presses Beijing over South China Sea dispute (February 5, 2014, BBC)
A top US diplomat has called on China to clarify or adjust its territorial claims in the South China Sea in accordance with international law. Daniel Russel, assistant secretary of state for East Asia, criticised Beijing's so-called "nine-dash line" that outlines its claims. He said there were "growing concerns" over China's "pattern of behaviour".
Scandal Tests Xis Standing With Military (February 6, 2014, China Real Time)
An uproar over a Chinese generals mansion illustrates the challenge President Xi Jinping faces as he tries to reshape the nations armed forces.
Died: Philip Teng, Unanimous Choice to Help Billy Graham Evangelize China (February 4, 2014, Christianity Today)
Billy Graham has offered tribute to Philip Teng, a Chinese church and seminary leader who cofounded the Lausanne movement. Teng, who translated for Graham during the famed evangelist's first preaching tour of China in 1988, died peacefully on December 19 in a Hong Kong hospital. He was 91. Teng was one of the four founding chairs of the Lausanne Congress in 1974. He served as the first chief editor of the Chinese edition of Decision Magazine.
The Link Between 1989 and Christianity (February 9, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)
People found that in 1989, the Communist belief system could not really provide them the things they want and they began to look for alternatives, and Christianity is the alternative for many young people.
Christianitys sleeping giant (February, 2013, UC Observer)
Misconceptions abound about China, and thats no less the case when it comes to the countrys Christian population. Many assume a Communist country that is officially atheist would allow no religion. (Mao Zedong once said religion is poison.) But religious freedom is guaranteed in the 1978 constitution or at least what the government considers normal religious activity, occurring in government-sanctioned places of worship serving one of the five official faiths: Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Protestantism and Catholicism.
SOCIETY / LIFE
The Rise of Volunteering in China: Transforming Cities and Personhood (January 31, 2014, Asia Pacific Memo)
Spaces that used to be dominated and organized by the statesuch as poverty relief and educationare now inviting individuals to participate in new ways. Because these individuals are not necessarily familiar with those they are helping, this also means that volunteering establishes new kinds of (often cross-class) urban relationships between former strangers.
In China, Once the Villages Are Gone, the Culture Is Gone (February 1, 2014, The New York Times)
Across China, cultural traditions like the Lei familys music are under threat. Rapid urbanization means village life, the bedrock of Chinese culture, is rapidly disappearing, and with it, traditions and history. Chinese culture has traditionally been rural-based, says Feng Jicai, a well-known author and scholar. Once the villages are gone, the culture is gone.
Why Its Dangerous to Say We Are All Chinese (February 3, 2014, Tea Leaf Nation)
When 34-year-old Hong Kong singer and actress Ella Koon penned a column for the respected local paper Ming Pao on Jan. 24 entitled Kick Out Hatred and Discrimination, she was trying to beseech her fellow Hong Kong residents to be more tolerant toward mainland Chinese visitors. Instead, she has found herself pilloried online in a display of hatred toward mainlanders thats become eerily typical over the past several years.
Video: Its the Year of the Horsepower for Many Chinese Travelers (February 4, 2014, China Real Time)
Chinas fascination with cars has transformed the global auto industry and moved markets in everything from oil to tires to steel. Now amid the Lunar New Year holiday, cars open up China for an experience long taken for granted in the U.S. and elsewhere: the road trip.
Inside Chinas Mistress-Industrial Complex (February 4, 2014, The Daily Beast)
If youre pretty and educated, theres a booming new job market for womenas someones mistress. What the increasing number of females entering these relationships means for Chinas economy and demographics.
Chinas Way to Happiness (February 4, 2014, New York Review of Books)
Richard Madsen is one of the modern-day founders of the study of Chinese religion. A professor at the University of California San Diego, the seventy-three-year-olds works include Morality and Power in a Chinese Village, China and the American Dream, and Chinas Catholics: Tragedy and Hope in an Emerging Civil Society. Hes now working on a book about happiness in China. I recently spoke to Madsen in Chicago, where he was addressing a meeting of Catholic leaders who deal with the Church in China.
Chinese Red Guards Apologize, Reopening A Dark Chapter (February 4, 2014, NPR)
For most of the past half century, China has avoided a full accounting for one of the darkest chapters of its recent history: the Cultural Revolution of 1966-1976. During that time, Chairman Mao Zedong's shock troops Communist youth known as Red Guards persecuted, tortured or even killed millions of Chinese, supposed "class enemies." Now, some Red Guards have issued public apologies to their victims, a rare example of the ruling party allowing public discussion of its historic mistakes.
The Censorship Pendulum (February 4, 2014, The New York Times)
If you want to understand the current state of self-expression in China, the best indicator must be the line Sorry, the text has been deleted.
China Takes Aim at Exclusive Restaurants in Parks (February 5, 2014, TIME)
Over the past decade, upscale restaurants sprung up inside Chinas urban parks as enterprising operators took advantage of ambiguous land-use rules and park and local government officials sought extra revenue. While many of these spots were technically open to the public, their high prices the Scholarly House could fetch $250 per person put them out of reach of ordinary people, and some required membership.
China Ends One Notorious Form Of Detention, But Keeps Others (February 5, 2014, NPR)
That doesn't mean Chinese people are now safe from extrajudicial detention. Francis says and often converted motels to dispatch people it doesn't like. "So, essentially, while they're closing the camps down, what we're seeing on the ground is that many of the sensitive groups that have always been targeted are continuing to be targeted," Francis says.
Chinese New Year Starting to Look a Lot Like Christmas (February 6, 2014, Tea Leaf Nation)
If Norman Rockwell had painted a picture of idyllic life in China, he might have depicted something like this: A Chinese family squeezed around a big wooden chopping board on the eve of the Lunar New Year (which fell this year on Jan. 31), making dumplings from scratch. Family members would be chatting and getting their hands dirty as they mixed the mince, pressed dumpling skins under a rolling pin, and then wrapped the dumplings up. But this year, at least in my Chinese family, situated just outside of Beijing, things were a bit different: My grandmother bought pre-made dumplings from the Wal-Mart up the road.
Chinese Flock To The Countryside For A More Authentic New Year (February 6, 2014, NPR)
Increasing numbers of Beijingers are driving west for about three and a half hours to reach Nuanquan Zhen, or Warm Spring Town, famed for its folk customs. The town is in a rugged area where ethnic Han people of the North China Plain fought, traded and mixed with Linhu, Loufan and other nomadic tribes of the Central Asian Steppe more than 2,000 years ago.
Video: Mongolian way of life under threat in China (February 6, 2014, BBC)
A centuries-old tradition of herding livestock in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia could be under threat from new business and production methods, herdsmen are warning. Inner Mongolia is rich in gas and rare earth deposits, and a quarter of China's domestic coal production comes from there. But many ethnic Mongolian people say the pursuit of such resources is destroying the grasslands they rely on.
Korea to Chinese Tourists: Shop Here, Get a Visa (February 6, 2014, China Real Time)
South Korea will begin offering as early as March a special card exclusive to tourists from China entitling them to a five-year multiple-entry visa, use of exclusive immigration counters and discounts at certain stores, the countrys Ministry of Foreign Affairs told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.
Why Chinese Media Is Going Soft on Sochi (February 6, 2014, Tea Leaf Nation)
Beyond geopolitical considerations, the Chinese are likely more sympathetic to the story that Putin is trying to tell in Sochi: that of a proud, resilient people trying to reclaim their countrys past glory by splurging on a vanity project that holds the worlds attention for some two weeks
Human Rights Lawyer Xiao Guozhen On Faith and Law (February 6, 2014, China Digital Times)
spoke with Xiao about the significance of her Christian faith and the changing strategies lawyers have used in the face of tighter controls as part of my thesis research at the University of California, Berkeley:
EDUCATION / HISTORY
Ghostwriting for Chinese College Applicants (February 3, 2014, Forbes)
For as many colleges and universities as there are in the Western world, there exists an equivalent number of education consulting agencies in China. For most of these agencies, the measuring stick of success lies exclusively in targets. They can guarantee that each client will be accepted into an overseas school this is a given. However, the only true authentication of reputation and corroboration of sales pitches lies in the quantity of acceptance letters from Ivy League and brand-name schools.
Governor of Japan broadcaster NHK denies Nanjing massacre (February 4, 2014, BBC)
A governor of Japan's public broadcaster, NHK, has denied that the Nanjing massacre took place, days after a row over Tokyo's use of war-time sex slaves engulfed the new NHK chief.Naoki Hyakuta made his comments as he campaigned for a right-wing candidate in the Tokyo gubernatorial election. Mr Hyakuta, a prominent novelist, is one of 12 members of the NHK board of governors.
Slideshow: Life on a Peoples Commune, 1975 (February 5, 2014, China Digital Times)
Michael Rank was a British Council student in China from 1974-1976. During his time at Peking University in 1975, he and his classmates visited the Shangnian Brigade of the Beixiaoying Commune in Shunyi County, Beijing. His photos show a rare glimpse of daily life in Chinas peoples communes, which were launched by Mao during the Great Leap Forward in 1958 and lasted until the early 1980s.
China reports 11 new H7N9 human cases (February 5, 2014, Xinhua)
Eleven Chinese people were confirmed to be infected with the H7N9 bird flu on Wednesday in four regions, with 8 in critical condition, according to local health authorities. The southern province of Guangdong reported 4 new cases, including a 5-year-old girl and a 42-year-old man in Zhaoqing City, a 49-year-old man in Foshan City and a 56-year-old man in Shenzhen City, said the provincial health and family planning commission.
ECONOMICS / BUSINESS / TRADE
Will Chinas Cash Squeeze Pinch the Real Economy? (February 3, 2014, China Real Time)
Chinas cash squeeze has pushed up interest rates on the domestic interbank market, raised funding costs for the nations banks and left many people wondering if this is putting the real economy into lower gear. So far the evidence is inconclusive.
Doing Business In China. The Opportunities And The Challenges. (February 4, 2014, China Law Blog)
Just read a really good article in the China Business Review by William Edwards, a global franchise consultant, entitled, The Pros and Cons of Franchising in China. As its title implies, the article is on franchising in China, but the part I liked most has universal applicability for those looking at doing a consumer business of just about any kind in China. That part sets out the opportunities foreign franchises face in China, and the challenges, and I below list out those in the article and then make brief comments in italics.
Four Keys To A China Joint Venture That Works (February 5, 2014, China Law Blog)
In any event, our recent joint venture work has gotten me to thinking about what it takes for a China joint venture to succeed. Based on both our own observations and also on what we hear from others, we view the following four things as key to achieving a China joint venture that works.
A New Approach to Preparing for a Chinese Negotiation (February 5, 2014, Chinese Negotiation)
In the West, negotiation is the prelude to business. In China, negotiation IS the business. Westerners have to stop fighting the clock when negotiating in China. It is killing us. Every time you tell your Chinese counterparty when you are returning home, you give away all of your power. They know your self-imposed deadline and they know your HQ expects you to return with a signed contract. This does not make for a powerful negotiating position.
ARTS / ENTERTAINMENT / SPORTS
Cultural Revolution classics on Lunar New Year TV gala: Nostalgia or political metaphor? (February 3, 2014, Offbeat China)
Seeing lined-up ballet dancers in Red Army uniforms performing one of the Eight Model Operas from the Cultural Revolution era at the new year show of 2014 is a bizarre thing to say the least. Given the fact that the Cultural Revolution is still pretty much a taboo topic in official rhetoric, that the Eight Model Operas are such signature brain-washing pieces of that crazy period in Chinas history, and that the new year gala holds a very special place in the propaganda of the image of a prosperous and united China, very few would believe that the Red Detachment of Women was put on stage without a purpose.
Netizens post hilarious photos of families trying to sit through Spring Festival gala (February 3, 2014, Shanghaiist)
This year's installment of the CCTV annual Spring Festival gala aired on Thursday to the mixed reviews of audiences, but these photos posted by netizens across the country showing their families sleeping through the show are a pretty clear testament as to how much appeal CCTV's gala had to the older crowds. Take a look and read the wonderful reactions as told by online users.
Chinese-language film breaks box office record (February 4, 2014, BBC)
A film based on a reality TV show took 9.8m on its first day of release, breaking the record for a single day's earnings for a Chinese language movie. Dad, Where Are We Going? is based on the hit programme of the same name which aired last year. The show followed five celebrity dads, who were used to spending lots of time away from their children, attempting to look after them single-handed. The film was released on Friday, the first day of the Chinese New Year.
The Sochi Olympics: Chinas Athletes to Watch (February 6, 2014, China Real Time)
China is sending 66 athletes to Sochi this year, aiming, like every other country, to bring home the gold. But the 2014 Olympics may be tough for a country that has historically struggled to shine at the Winter Games. Chinas greatest hope for medals, gold-winning speed skater Wang Meng, wont make it to Sochi due to an ankle fracture. Ms. Wang raked in three gold medals after speeding past rivals in short-track speed-skating at the Vancouver Games in 2010.
FOOD / TRAVEL / CULTURE
36 Crazy Things That Only Happen In China (December 26, 2013, Business Insider)
Uyghur Customs | 26 Rules for Hosting (February 3, 2014, Far West China)
Hosting or being hosted by somebody from a different culture can always be a bit stressful, and for me the Uyghur culture with all the nuances of Uyghur customs, has been no different. Thats not to say that its hard Uyghur are some of the most kind, hospitable and forgiving people Ive ever met I just want to make sure I respect their culture and religion, making a reasonable effort not to offend.
Catering to the Chinese Shoppers Grand Tour (February 3, 2014, The New York Times)
Tourists like Ms. Mao are part of a growing wave of newly affluent Chinese taking advantage of more direct flights to the shopping capitals of Europe. The Lunar New Year holiday is now underway, a time when a big part of the 110 million Chinese expected to travel abroad this year will be packing their bags and their wallets for luxury expeditions.
Video: The slow decline of American Chinatowns (February 4, 2014, BBC)
Chinatowns are a feature of many US cities, but some of the best known are succumbing to gentrification, campaigners say. Even one of the largest and most vibrant, in Manhattan, is slowly being invaded by luxury shops and apartment buildings.
Feeding Four Hundred For Lunch In Guizhou (February 4, 2014, Life on Nanchang Lu)
The first thing I noticed as we came over the rise was a crowd of people all over the road, most with bowls and chopsticks in hand, eating. There must have been another two hundred people sitting outdoors at round tables on a terrace in front of a new-looking house. Dozens of motorbikes, the local transport of choice, lined both sides of the road. Was it a wedding? A funeral? Some other kind of celebration? "It's a new house party" said our driver. "Very auspicious day for it."
LANGUAGE / LANGUAGE LEARNING
- Waiting for Rabbits (January 30, 2014, Grasping Chinese)
A Chengyu is typically a deeper story, and this one is a parable of foolishness because the farmer quits farming and camps out at the tree. WHAT? Why? Answer: To wait for the next free meal!
On the Horse (January 31, 2014, Outside-In)One of my favorite Chinese expressions is mashang (马上), which can be translated as immediately, or right away. It is used to convey that something is about to happen. [...] What's fun about this expression is that it is made of up two characters (ma and shang). Ma means horse and shang means on. So a literal translation would be on the horse.
China's Next Generation: New China, New Church, New World. [Kindle Edition] (only $2.99)
What a difference a decade makes! Over the last ten years the nation of China and the Chinese Church have changed significantly; so has the world. Its a new China. Its a new Church. Its a new world. Chinas Cultural Revolution that ended in the late 1970s was followed by a 20-year-long spiritual harvest spanning the 1980s and 1990s. It was an awakening that many have called the greatest revival in history; but now we must face the reality that this phenomenal harvest is over. The year 2000 marked a turning point, the dawn of a new era. This important report brings to the fore the realities of the current situation and brings to the Church in China some crucial words of encouragement.
Book of the week: The Woman Who Lost China (February 3 2014, Susan B. Kason)
I'm always on the lookout for a good story set in Hong Kong. So it was with great delight that I recently read Rhiannon Jenkins Tsangs epic novel, The Woman Who Lost China (Open Books, 2013).While the story mainly takes place in China during WWII and the Chinese civil war, it includes some amazing scenes in Hong Kong.
Does Amy Chua Understand China? (February 4, 2014, The Diplomat)
The Triple Package, the book released Feb. 4 by "Tiger Mom" author and provocateur Amy Chua and her husband, constitutional law expert and novelist Jed Rubenfeld, is unsurprisingly controversial. The authors, both professors at Yale Law School, take on the taboo topic of explaining the success of certain cultural groups in the United Statesnamely, Jews, Mormons, and Asian-, Lebanese-, Indian-, Cuban-, and Nigerian-Americans. A reviewer in the Los Angeles Times wrote that the book "will convince few and offend many."
The Walls of Fortress Beseiged (February 4, 2014, World of Chinese)
The Chinese Republic period(1912-1949) was undoubtedly a high point for modern Chinese literature. The country was growing amidst unprecedented upheavals; it was a time of dissent, new thinking, and in literary terms there was a widespread attempt to identify China for what it was and carve out a path for what it could be. The sheer number of great literary minds was staggering: Lu Xun (), Lao She (), Lin Yutang (), Mao Dun (), and Hu Shi () to name but a few. Arguably the greatest novel from the periodand there were manycame at its tail end, Fortress Besieged () by Qian Zhongshu (), claimed by some to be the greatest Chinese novel of the 20th century.
ARTICLES FOR RESEARCHERS
Zhao Maijia: 1919 ~ 2007 (Biographical Dictionary of CHINESE Christianity)
China changing itself and the world after Third Plenum (February 2, 2014, East Asia Forum)
Now we can see the full script of what I once called Likonomics, the policy framework of the new Chinese leadership. The policy document approved by the Third Plenum is indeed very comprehensive, containing reform measures in 60 areas. Two distinctive features stand out, compared with previous reform programs: top-level authority and full market system.
Chinas Reforms Arent Keeping The Military Happy (February 4, 2014, China Briefing)
Image credit: How to Build a Road, by Mark, via Flickr