ZGBriefs

January 10, 2013

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FEATURED ARTICLE

Management Issues in the Rural Church (January 8, 2013, Chinese Church Voices)

Compared to the urban churches, Chinese rural churches lack all kinds of resources. In addition to the lack of finances and preachers, we cannot ignore management issues. Recently, the Executive Secretary of the Hong Kong Christian Council, Chen Jianguang, wrote an article in the Chinese Coordination Centre of World Evangelisms Pastoral Sharing periodical in which he pointed out that the most difficult problem that Chinese rural churches currently face is in the area of management, not finances.

GOVERNMENT / POLITICS / FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Xi Jinping: Chinas First Social Media President? (January 8, 2013, The Diplomat)

Here's something you don't see every day: the official voice of a one-party state embracing the power of social media to effect change.

Watch: Protesters in Guangzhou call for press freedom (January 8, 2013, Shanghaiist)

Solzhenitsyn, Yao Chen, and Chinese Reform (January 8, 2013, Letter from China)

When a Chinese ingnue, beloved for her comedy, doe-eyed looks, and middle-class charm, is tweeting her fans the words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, we may be seeing a new relationship between technology, politics, and Chinese prosperity.

Face-Off in a Beijing Newsroom: An Insiders Account (January 9, 2013, China Real Time)

Spreading discontent among Southern Medias journalists has galvanized free-speech advocates in China, and is widely seen as a significant test of new Chinese leader Xi Jinpings approach to concerns over media restrictions. Below is the edited account of a journalist at the Beijing News who was in the newspapers offices during Tuesday nights stand-off.

Echoes of Tiananmen (January 10, 2013, The Economist)In the face of increasing discontent over press freedom and the justice system, our correspondents assess the mounting pressure on China's rulers

China paper censorship stand-off ends (January 10, 2013, BBC)

A Chinese newspaper that saw a stand-off over censorship has published a new issue, as police removed a small number of demonstrators outside its offices. The Southern Weekly went on sale two days after a reported agreement to end the dispute. Staff had demanded a top propaganda chief step down after a New Year message calling for reform was changed.

RELIGION

China Opens its First Church for the Blind (January 4, 2013, Chinese Church Voices)

On September 21, 2012 Guangming Church, an affiliate of Shashan Church in Shenyang, officially opened Chinas first church for the blind. Its vision is to establish a church aimed at serving the blind, a church without blindness.

SOCIETY / LIFE

Pollution cuts off water supply in N China city (January 6, 2013, Xinhua)

Contamination in a north Chinese river has led to the water supply in Handan, a city with more than 1 million people in Hebei province, being cut off since Saturday afternoon. A statement by the city government said the cut-off was caused by an accident in the neighboring Shanxi Province where industrial pollutants poured into the upper reaches of the Zhanghe River. The statement did not provide details about the accident, or how many households have been affected.

China's child athletes train at Fuzhou sports school - in pictures (January 6, 2013, The Guardian)

The child athletes China hopes will bring home gold at the next Olympics train at Fuzhou sports school in Fujian province. Some of the children are as young as four, and they train each day at dedicated schools across the country

Home ownership dreams in booming Beijing (January 7, 2013, BBC)

The BBC's Beijing bureau looks at the housing market in the Chinese capital - and how many residents' dreams exceed their reach.

The Dead Children of Guizhou (January 7, 2013, Speigel Online)

Since the discovery in mid-November of the bodies of five young boys in China's Guizhou province, the Chinese leadership has sought to distract attention from the case. Reporting on the deaths by SPIEGEL was also hindered.

Faking it: replica architecture sweeps China in pictures (January 7, 2013, The Guardian)

From a pebble-like Zaha Hadid imitation in Chongqing to an Austrian village grafted on to a Huizhou hillside, not forgetting a Le Corbusier BBQ shack in Zhengzhou architecture copycats are all the rage in China

How the TV Stole Spring Festival: Part 1 (January 9, 2013, World of Chinese)

Huang Yihe, director in charge of singing and dancing programming at CCTV, stared out of the window of his temporary courtyard office in Beijing and contemplated his predicament. It was a snowy day in the November of 1982, and Huangs boss had just instructed him to organize a TV gala for the upcoming Spring Festival, a task that would make or break his career. It was just a few years after the end of the Cultural Revolution, and the growing popularity of televisions, along with a sharp public hunger for entertainmentwhich had been left languishing through the last decademeant that Huang was on the brink of either a monumental breakthrough or a humiliating failure.

Beijing to require ID for cellphone numbers (January 10, 2013, China Daily)

Beijing residents will soon need to provide identification when they register a new cellphone number or transfer an old one, authorities said on Wednesday. The so-called real-name system, part of a draft regulation still under discussion, follows similar moves by many micro-blogging websites to get users to log their personal details. "People's interests will be better protected under the policy, while illegal uses of cellphones, such as fraud and spreading rumors, will be effectively deterred," said Tong Liqiang, deputy director of the Beijing Internet Information Office.

Chinas Dangerous Income Gap (January 10, 2013, Chengdu Living)

In case you havent heard, there are two sides to every coin. This is no more evident than in the case of Chinas current financial situation. Although the nation can now boast more than a million millionaires, the bulk of the population lives a decidedly different reality.

EDUCATION / CULTURE / TRAVEL

Tibets Golden Worm (August 2012, National Geographic)

Across the Tibetan Plateau, these creatures have transformed the rural economy. Theyve sparked a modern-day gold rush. In fact, by the time the contents of Silangs bag arrive at the gleaming shops of Beijing, they can easily be priced at more than twice their weight in gold. The fungus is called yartsa gunbu. Translated from Tibetan, this means summer grass, winter worm, although it is technically neither grass nor worm.

Campus collaboration (January 5, 2013, The Economist)

Like their counterparts around the world in just about any other industry, administrators in higher education in the West can be forgiven for looking at the writing on the wall and seeing Chinese characters. Whether for the narrow purpose of generating revenue or the broader goal of engaging more deeply with a rapidly emerging and ever more important nation, foreign universities are scrambling to recruit in China as well as to establish or expand their presence there.

A Visit to Turpans Ancient Jiaohe City (January 8, 2013, Far West China)

For nearly thirteen centuries the ancient city of Jiaohe (a.k.a. Yarkhoto) once sat perched atop a narrow plateau not far from the Silk Road city of Turpan. It is one of Xinjiangs best historical sites and one of the most rewarding to visit. Any trip to Turpan is not complete without a visit to Turpans ancient Jiaohe City.

In China, Kung Fu Collides With CommercialismAnd Survives (January 8, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation) 

 While Kung Fu isnt necessarily religious, there are a lot of roots in Daoism and Buddhism, explained Gene Ching, associate publisher of Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine, in an interview with Tea Leaf Nation. A lot of things bleed into a lot of other things. Its like a great Chinese banquet, where there are so many different kinds of dishes.

Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival 2013 (January 9, 2013, The Big Picture)

The opening ceremonies for this year's Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in Heilongjiang province in northeastern China were held earlier this week. The event, held since 1963, can last more than a month, depending on the weather, and attracts visitors from around the world who come to see the elaborate ice and snow sculptures.

Snow and a Sea of Clouds: Huangshan (January 9, 2013, Life on Nanchang Lu)

The clouds moved slowly away to reveal a massive monolith, craggy and rutted, dusted with snow and studded with pine trees growing straight from the rock, ruggedly resisting the altitude, cold and wind. For a second I couldn't breathe, it was so utterly and completely beautiful. In one single moment every one of the 28,000 kilometres we had driven around China to get to this point on the map, on this particular day at this hour was worth it. Every one.

Skiing in China: Dongbei (Jilin and Heilongjiang) (January 10, 2013, The Beijinger)

To get to these ski resorts, the best way is to take a flight to the closest city and from there a taxi or hotel shuttle. If you prefer train travel, be advised that the arrival and departure times are impractical for weekend trips.

Missionary impossible: A 1917 Sichuan dialect textbook for starters (January 11, 2013, Go Chengdoo)

Canadian doctor and missionary Omar Kilborn's Chinese Lessons for First Year Students in West China is quite likely the oldest (and perhaps only) textbook on Sichuan dialect written by a Westerner. Published in 1917, the textbook's 32 chapters focus on aspects of daily life: cooking, shopping, cleaning, and other household duties, with step-by-step guidance for coolies, servants, and cooks.

HEALTH

H1N1 flu rears its head in Beijing (January 7, 2013, Shanghaiist)

Two women in Beijing have died of the H1N1 flu strain, the "swine flu" virus that caused panic throughout the country in 2009 and 2010. Flu cases are currently at their highest levels in five years, partly due to China's record low temperatures negatively effecting citizens' resistance to the virus. The victims include a 65-year-old cancer patient and 22-year-old migrant worker. Both women already had other diseases in addition to the flu, and neither were inoculated with the vaccine.

1,672 die of infections in China last month (January 10, 2013, Shanghai Daily)

More than 540,000 infection cases and 1,673 deaths were reported across China last month, the Ministry of Health said yesterday. Among the new cases, 5,163 were HIV infections and 1,228 AIDS patients died, representing the bulk of infection-related deaths last month. The Ministry's report also showed that the Chinese are more vulnerable to viral hepatitis, tuberculosis, syphilis, bacillary dysentery and gonorrhea. These five diseases accounted for 94 percent of new infection cases in December.

KFC owner apologizes over scandal of 'instant chicken' (January 11, 2012, Shanghai Daily)

Fast food giant Yum Brands Inc., owner of KFC and Pizza Hut, yesterday apologized for a recent "instant chicken" scandal and conceded it hadn't reported excessive antibiotics detected in chicken samples. The company published an open letter to customers on KFC's official website to apologize for not reporting the test results and for not quickly changing suppliers. The company said it had found faults in food testing procedures, and a lack of communication inside the company and with the public.

SCIENCE / TECHNOLOGY / ENVIRONMENT

China's Extreme Cold Snaps Records (January 9, 2013, Live Science, via Yahoo!)

An unusually cold winter across China has some regions hitting their lowest average temperatures in more than 40 years, according to state media reports. The Chinese national meteorological agency said polar fronts caused by global warming are to blame for the frigid air. The freeze is the coldest winter in 28 years, the English-language newspaper China Daily reported. The national average temperature across China's vast territory was a chilly 25.2 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 3.8 degrees Celsius) since late November. In northeast China, which typically has snowy, cold winters, the average temperature was an icy 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 15.3 degrees Celsius), the lowest in 42 years. Temperatures have dropped down to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 40 degrees Celsius) in eastern Inner Mongolia, northern Xinjiang and the Arctic reaches of northeast China. (Mohe, in northeast China, holds China's record low temperature of minus 62.1 F, or minus 52.3 C, set on Feb. 13, 1962.)

BUSINESS / ECONOMICS / FOREIGN TRADE

Chinas Economy: The Coming Year (January 7, 2013, China Real Time)

Whats the outlook for Chinas growth in 2013? China Real Time asked economists to flip their best forecasting coin, then charted the results

LANGUAGE AND LANGUAGE LEARNING

Chinese character challenge: Towards a more sensible way of learning to write Chinese (January 1, 2013, Hacking Chinese)

Learning to write thousands of Chinese characters is a daunting task, but fortunately, character writing is also one of the most hackable parts of the Chinese language. This means that if you use the wrong method, it will take forever and be quite boring (see last weeks post), but if you use the right method, its neither impossible nor boring.

LINKS FOR RESEARCHERS

Can the Chinese Government Both Support and Micromanage NGOs? (December 13, 2013, NGO China)

Here's one of the Policy Briefs I wrote for China Development Brief in November. It's about whether the Chinese government can have it both ways. It want to support the development of NGOs, but at the same time, closely manage and supervise that developmental process. But doesn't the latter ultimately subvert the former?

What Direction for Legal Reform under Xi Jinping (January 4, 2013, China Brief)

New language in official pronouncements now suggests Chinese leaders intend to reverse at least some of these policies. This appears to be linked directly to internal party efforts to curb the power of political-legal committees in the wake of the Bo Xilai scandal (Year-End Questions on Political-Legal Reform, China Brief, December 14, 2012).

Where is China taking Asia? (January 5, 2013, East Asia Forum)

The recent upping of the ante by China in the disputed South China Sea and the flexing of its maritime muscle has underlined the dilemma faced by many countries in the region: how can countries in Asia expand and deepen economic links and interdependence when political tension is rising?

BOOKS

The Chinese Children Next Door Pearl Buck (January 6, 2013, China Rhyming)

Pearl Bucks The Chinese Children Next Door, was about a family of six little girls totally overshadowed and enslaved by the seventh child, a baby brother.The book was first published in 1942.

Image credit: Preparing the Fields, by Tim Zazhernuk, via Flickr