January 16, 2014

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The Church in China: Asking the Wrong Questions? (January 15, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

The church in China is often viewed through two prevailing and related paradigms. The "persecuted church" paradigm positions the church and the Chinese government in perpetual opposition to one another, while the "Christian China" paradigm sees Christianity as bringing a new moral order to China and foresees the day when the church will usher in political change. In her recent post, "Researching Chinese Christianity: (Mis)conceptions and revelations," University of Westminster professor Gerda Wielander takes issue with both these paradigms while posing the question, "What is the real social and political impact of Christianity in China today?"


Why China Wants to Strike the Mountain and Kill the Chicken (January 9, 2014, The Diplomat)

Chinese leaders are engaging in a dual strategy of strike the mountain to shock the tiger and kill the chicken to scare the monkey. The first strategy is an internal approach designed to take down a few powerful leaders to scare the lesser ones. The second strategy is an external approach in which leaders go after lesser powers to diminish the role or prevent the involvement of a greater power.

Why Does China Coddle North Korea? (January 12, 2014, The New York Times)

The Kim dynasty intends to keep China in the dark as fully as it can. Chinese leaders, including President Xi Jinping, voice periodic frustration with North Korea, but none seems able or willing to translate Pyongyangs ever increasing economic dependence on China into meaningful influence.

'Cultural threats' among five focuses of new national security panel, colonel says (January 14, 2014, South China Morning Post)

Nobel peace prize winner Liu Xiaobo's wife reads poem from house arrest video (January 14, 2014, The Guardian)

Liu Xia, a poet and artist, reads one of her poems in her home. There is much support for her jailed husband, Nobel Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, but activists are trying to pressure China to relax restrictions on Liu Xia.

Chinese Activists Test New Leader and Are Crushed (January 15, 2014, The New York Times)

Since Mr. Xi assumed control, the Communist Party has used the state news media to denounce perceived ideological threats, sought to rid the Internet of politically unwelcome rumors and opinion, and tried to silence rights lawyers and muckraking journalists. Wen Yunchao, a Chinese rights activist studying at Columbia University, estimates that 160 activists have been arrested over the past year, not counting the Tibetans and Uighurs detained on separatism-related charges.

China police detain Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti (January 16, 2014, BBC)

Police in China have detained a prominent and outspoken scholar of China's Uighur Muslim ethnic group, his wife says. Ilham Tohti, 45, was taken from his Beijing home by several police officers on Wednesday. Computers and phones were also seized, his wife said. A foreign ministry spokesman said he was suspected of breaking the law.

You've Got Mail: Chinese Communist Party Received Almost Two Million Complaints in 2013 (January 16, 2014, Tea Leaf Nation)

In 2013, Chinas Communist Party disciplinary organs received an eye-popping 1.95 million citizen complaints about officials. This is a 49.2 percent jump from 2012, according to a Jan. 13 report from state-run website China News Online but surprisingly, the article did not evince displeasure with the total, calling 2013s anti-corruption efforts the strongest in 30 years.


The Challenge of China's Shifting Labor Market (January 11, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

The seemingly unlimited opportunity symbolized by China's burgeoning cities may prove an empty promise to the current generation of upwardly mobile yet frustrated urbanites. This generation poses a new challenge for China's church, which, up until now, has thrived amidst the energy and buoyant optimism that has characterized China's rapid urban development. Should the pace slow, leaving millions in the cold, the church's attention may need to shift from engaging the distracted hearts of busy working people to bringing meaning to a disillusioned and increasingly restive cadre of unemployed youth.

The Church in China: Asking the Wrong Questions? (January 15, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

The church in China is often viewed through two prevailing and related paradigms. The "persecuted church" paradigm positions the church and the Chinese government in perpetual opposition to one another, while the "Christian China" paradigm sees Christianity as bringing a new moral order to China and foresees the day when the church will usher in political change.


Test Your China Chops: Take the CDT News Quiz (January 10, 2014, China Digital Times)

How do instant noodles and pork chop soup go together? Theyre both Internet code words for important people and events from 2013. From disasters natural and man-made to political scandals, Chinese netizens talked about it all, creating memes and skirting censorship. Take our news quiz to test your knowledge of Internet language from the past year. Good luck!

Beyond prosperity: the real Chinese dream is reform of the one-child policy (January 12, 2014, The Guardian)

Film director Zhang Yimou may have been fined for having three children, but he leads where most people in China wish to follow.

Video: Fire ravages ancient Tibetan town (January 12, 2014, BBC)

Fire has severely damaged an ancient Tibetan town in south-western China. Nearly 300 mostly wooden houses were destroyed in the blaze in Dukezong in Shangri-La county, in Yunnan province. Officials say more than 2,600 people have lost their homes in the town, which dates back 1,300 years and is popular with tourists.

Ex-Red Guard Offers Fresh Cultural Revolution Apology (January 13, 2014, China Real Time)

By denouncing a school administrator almost five decades ago, the daughter of a famous Chinese admiral helped spark a riotous summer in Beijing that left the administrator dead and earned her personal praise and a new nickname from Mao Zedong. Now, Song Binbin says she is sorry, according to media reports.

Shangri-La fire defence was shut off while Tibetan town burned (January 13, 2014, The Guardian)

The fire prevention system in an ancient Tibetan tourist town destroyed by a blaze on Saturday had been shut off, Chinese officials have said. The system in Shangri-La installed in 2011 at a cost of 8m yuan (800,000) had been closed down to stop pipes bursting in the freezing temperatures, the Deqen prefecture fire brigade said.

An end to Chinas apartheid? (January 14, 2014, East Asia Forum)

For over half a century, the Chinese Communist Party has sought to control where Chinese people live under the hukou system of household registration, which has separated people into two distinct groups those with rural passports and those with urban ones. While the Afrikaans term apartheid may be a harsh way of describing this system, its literal meaning the state of being apart suggests that it is also fairly apt.

China doctor jailed for selling babies to traffickers (January 14, 2014, BBC)

A Chinese obstetrician has been given a suspended death sentence for stealing newborn babies and selling them to child traffickers. Zhang Shuxia was found guilty of abducting and selling seven babies in Fuping, Shaanxi province, the sentencing court said. She told parents their infants had serious diseases and convinced them to give up the babies, the court said. Zhang has been sentenced to death, with a two year reprieve.

As Parents Age, Asian-Americans Struggle to Obey a Cultural Code (January 14, 2014, The New York Times)

This idea that the younger generation is culturally mandated to take care of their parents is deeply ingrained in the Chinese culture, Mr. Feng said. Children are supposed to take care of older parents in need. But that tradition is being eroded, he said, by the increasing number of families that are geographically dispersed or in which both spouses have to work.

Farmers in Sichuan's Jianshe village build 'money wall' (January 15, 2014, BBC)

Villagers in China have built a wall of banknotes worth 13 million yuan ($2.1m: 1.3m) after a massive payout in annual bonuses from their rural co-operative. The money was delivered in baskets to Jianshe village in south-west Sichuan province by military officials. The notes were stacked to form a seven-foot (2m) wall and were heavily guarded before being distributed to villagers in time for the Chinese New Year. There was so much money it took two days to hand all of it out.

Chinese police detain suicide bomber's daughter (January 15, 2014, The Guardian)

Daughter of farmer Dang Zhaofei, who blew up bus in Shaanxi province, is said to be 'major suspect in case.'

Youth face barrage of awkward questions (January 16, 2014, China Daily)

Chinese youth of marriageable ages are often embarrassed by questions about marriage or babies from relatives when they go home to enjoy the Lunar New Year and Spring Festival holidays. This is partly because of declining enthusiasm for marriage in general, and partly because of overbearing attention from their elders as the only child (or one of few) in the family. Here's how it goes:

China: Luxury clubs ordered to close shut amid anti-corruption drive (January 16, 2014, BBC)

Authorities in Beijing have ordered the closure of some of the city's most exclusive clubs, it's reported. The move comes as part of a government drive to eradicate corruption and extravagance among officials, Chinese media say. Each of the two dozen high-end clubs that have sprung up in the Chinese capital's public parks have been ordered to close or "downgrade to an acceptable level", official news agency Xinhua reports. They must also leave the parks once their leases expire.


English proficiency should be toughened, expert says (January 15, 2014, China Daily)

The English-language standards for Chinese college students should be raised, not lowered, in any national reform of English education, an expert said. Citing international research, Cai Jigang, deputy director of the Foreign Language Research Institute of Fudan University in Shanghai, said on Jan 15 that a college student should have a vocabulary of 8,000 to 10,000 English words, and be able to read at least 200 words per minute to function in their academic or vocational lives after graduation. "However, most college students now must master only about 4,500 words and read 70 to 100 words a minute in the College English Test Band 4." It is a national English test that evaluates college students English proficiency.

Partner colleges taking foothold (January 15, 2014, China Daily)

Duke Kunshan University in Kunshan, Jiangsu province, opened its doors for enrollment on Monday, making it the fourth joint venture between Chinese universities and foreign countries since 2004. The university was established by Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and Wuhan University in Hubei province. It was approved in September by the Ministry of Education. "We are aiming to recruit 80 to 100 postgraduate students in the first year and will be welcoming more students in the future," Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead said.


Hospital equips medical staff with pepper spray (January 14, 2014, China Daily)

A hospital in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, is providing pepper spray to doctors in the outpatient department to prevent violent attacks from patients'families, Jinling Evening News reported. The doctors were told not to use the pepper spray unless they are under threat. The China Hospital Association revealed that an attack on a medical worker occurs every two weeks on average, and 27.3 percent of hospital doctors were assaulted in 2012, a rise from 20 percent in 2008.

Bird flu cases keep growing nationwide (January 16, 2014, China Daily)150 infections confirmed since March, health authorities say. The number of human H7N9 bird flu infections continues to rise nationwide with about 20 new cases reported in the first two weeks of 2014. On Wednesday, three new H7N9 cases were reported from Shanghai and Fujian and Zhejiang provinces. Since Jan 1, Shanghai has reported four cases, including a 35-year-old man from Ningbo, Zhejiang province, on Wednesday.


China Branded Products In The United States. When Will They Find True Love? (January 13, 2104, China Law Blog)

Succeeding at selling consumer products (really most products) in the United States virtually always requires more than just having the lowest price. Unless and until Chinese companies truly understand this (rather than paying it mere lip service), the threat of Chinese companies taking over the US consumer market is minimal at best.


China, US move toward cooperation in space (January 12, 2014, AFP)

The space race started as an intense Cold War competition between the United States and the former Soviet Union. But with budgets shrinking, the United States is relying more on private companies and looking to keep costs down with multinational collaborationsand other countries that are emerging as future major players in space.


Hong Kong cityscape in tilt-shift (One Big Photo)

Retracing Mao Zedong's Long Marchby Motorcycle (January 10, 2014, The Atlantic)

I found evidence of a myth in decline: new, cavernous Long March museums devoid of visitors; memorials crumbling from neglect.

Watch: Laowai Dancing Around China in 100 Days is a Hit (January 11, 2014, Shanghaiist)

This video of a laowai dancing his way through various tourist spots in China has received almost 300k views since it was uploaded three days ago on Youku. Just look at him go with those shorts."Why are foreigners always so happy?" one user asked.

Chinas Train Ticket Website, the Little Engine That Couldnt (January 13, 2014, Tea Leaf Nation)

Think the Obamacare website is bad? Those griping about the much-derided launch of healthcare.gov, the website of U.S. President Barack Obamas signature healthcare law, should try www.12306.cn, the only website authorized to sell train tickets in China.

China Braces for Holiday Travel Crush (January 15, 2014, China Real Time)

China is a country on the move especially around its Lunar New Year holiday. This year, the holiday crush promises to be even heavier than before. Government officials estimate that Chinese people will take to the air, roads and railways 3.62 billion times over a 40-day period around the nations most important holiday this year. The total is about 200 million more than last yearnearly three trips per person for this country of 1.3 billionas people jostle their way home for family gatherings or to indulge their new-found passion for travel.

How Pop Culture Influences Chinese Travelers (January 14, 2014, China Real Time)

China is the source of most of the worlds tourists as well as its biggest-spending travelers. In 2012 alone, 83 million Chinese went abroad and spent a whopping $102 billion, according to the most recent figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organization. Now more than ever, popular culture is driving their decision making. Below are a few examples of how TV shows and hit movies are influencing Chinese tourists travel choices.

Video: Where Rich Chinese Tourists Are Traveling in 2014 (January 14, 2014, China Real Time)

Forget Sino-Japanese border disputes. Japan has emerged as the most desired destination for Chinas wealthy travelers this year, according to a recent report by Travelzoo Asia-Pacific.

Wokipedia: Four Chinese Food Words That Start With S (January 16, 2014, The Beijinger)

Foreign Tourists Skip Beijing (January 16, 2014, China Real Time)

Overseas tourists continued to shun Beijing through 2013. Amid rising pollution and a strengthening yuan, the capital city saw its tourist numbers drop to 4.20 million visits from January to November from 5.01 million visits in 2012, according to China Daily, citing a report from China Tourism Academy and Beijing Commission of Tourism Development.


Wheat Golden Farmer? A lesson in a new Chinese name (January 11, 2014, Los Angeles Times)

When I began my application for a press card, part of the process for receiving a working journalist visa, I found I had already been assigned a name. It was Mai Jinnong, a very loose adaptation of my Finnish surname, Makinen. The characters' meaning? "Wheat Golden Farmer." "It sounds rural," one of my Chinese office colleagues commented, giggling.

On the Character (January 12, 2014, World of Chinese)

Social revolution and bloodshed often go hand in hand, with some revolutions redder than others. As Chairman Mao famously said: A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another. The word (gmng, revolution) has its emphasis on the character , which has a bloody origin.

Introducing Mandarin Companion (January 14, 2014, SinoSplice)

Mandarin Companion graded readers are for learners with 1-2 years of formal study under their belts (or the equivalent), looking for something longer and more interesting to read for pleasure, without having to constantly reference a dictionary.


Plastic arts: What really happens to human junk (January 11, 2014, The Economist)

The multibillion-dollar recycling trade stands as one of globalisations great, green successes, writes Adam Minter, an American journalist, in Junkyard Planet. It is also a largely unsung one, as under-appreciated as a rusty bike.

The Hall of Uselessness the most extensive collection of Simon Leyss essays to be published to date. (January 12, 2014, China Rhyming)

Hopefully Simon Leys needs no introduction to China Rhyming regulars and The Hall of Uselessness is major collection of his essays that is, quite frankly, a must have. For me its almost the perfect book combining writing on Chinas approach to history, the problematics of Zhou En-lai and westerners gullibility around Mao and Maoist myths of history (oh, if only I had a dollar for every one of those I meet!)

Tom Carter on the making of a China anthology (January 15, 2014, Lost Laowai)

The editor and author dishes on the behind-the-scenes decisions and drama that went into producing Unsavory Elements: Stories of foreigners on the loose in China.


Xi Evokes New Left Vision of Chinas Future (January 9, 2014, China Brief)

The Language of Terrorism in China: Balancing Foreign and Domestic Policy Imperatives (January 9, 2014, China Brief)

Xi Invokes Maos Image to Boost his own Authority (January 9, 2014, China Brief)

Xi, Mao, and Chinas Search for a Usable Past(January 14, 2014, China File)

China today is experiencing its own process of reckoning with its history, revealed in fascinating ways late last month during the official celebration of the 120th birthday of Mao Zedong. Whats involved is nothing less than Chinas search for a usable pastan account of its history that can serve its large goals for the countrys futureand the Communist Partys search for a usable past that can help preserve its hold on power.

Image credit: Shanghai, Summer 2009, by Jakob Mantrasio, via Flickr