ZGBriefs

January 23, 2014

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FEATURED ARTICLE

Coming to Terms with the Church (January 21, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

Contrary to how China's Christians are often portrayed in the Western press, which generally equates going to church in China with making a political statement, the Christians and the curious onlookers described in the Global Times article are seen as ordinary people with a genuine spiritual interest. Their intentions are not political, and whether the church is "official" or "unofficial" is not a primary issue. For many in China, particularly those with little church background, the important thing is not the church's relationship to the government, but simply what the church does.

GOVERNMENT / POLITICS / FOREIGN AFFAIRS

China's closure of labor camps gets qualified applause (January 18, 2014, Los Angeles Times)

Activists say they're watching to see whether China merely finds other venues for imprisoning perceived troublemakers without trial.

China starts building second aircraft carrier: media (January 18, 2014, AFP)

China has started constructing the second of four planned aircraft carriers, a top government official said according to media reports on Saturday. The ship is under construction in the northeastern port of Dalian and will take six years to build, the reports said quoting Wang Min, Communist Party chief for Dalian's Liaoning province.

The Dangerous China Japan Face-Off (January 21, 2014, China Real Time)

The regional order in East Asia is being challenged as both Japan and China find themselves in periods of strength, an entirely new phenomenon that is likely to play out in unpredictable ways over many decades.

China anti-corruption activist Zhao Changqing on trial (January 23, 2014, BBC)

A second anti-corruption activist is being tried in China, after the trial of Xu Zhiyong on Wednesday. Zhao Changqing is charged with disturbing public order and could face up to five years in prison. Several members of the New Citizens' Movement, a transparency movement led by Mr Xu, are facing trials this week.

China condemns report on elite's "hidden" wealth, censors discussion (January 22, 2014, Reuters)

The Chinese government condemned on Wednesday a report on the wealth of the country's elite being hidden in overseas tax havens as illogical and having ulterior motives, as the government blocked websites and censored mention of the story online. The report, the result of an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, was published in newspapers, including Britain's Guardian and Spain's El Pais.

Report reveals offshore dealings of China's elite (January 23, 2014, BBC)

A trove of leaked financial documents 160 times bigger than the famous Wikileaks classified cables has now revealed the secret offshore banking dealings of thousands of well-connected people in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Reporters from several different news organisations, working together under the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), reportedly spent months combing through a cache of 2.5 million electronic files to uncover hidden offshore accounts held by Chinese citizens.

RELIGION

What Day Is This? (January 23, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

I'm already two weeks into my current episode of jet lag, so I know there is no excuse. However, I still find myself waking up in the morning and wondering, "What day is this anyway?" This is actually a good question to keep in mind when seeking to make sense of church developments in China. A recent article featured on Chinese Church Voices by Professor Liu Peng, a Beijing-based researcher on religious policy, mentioned no fewer than five different phases in the life of the Chinese church since 1949. The differences between these are jarring.

SOCIETY / LIFE

Eastern Chinese province first to ease one-child policy (January 17, 2014, Reuters)

China's wealthy eastern province of Zhejiang became the first to implement a new landmark relaxation of the country's strict one-child policy on Friday, state media reported, allowing more parents to have a second child.

Video: Chinas Left-Behind Kids Bear Adult Burdens (January 17, 2014, Wall Street Journal)

About 61 million Chinese childrenone of every five in the worlds most populous nationhavent seen one or both parents for at least three months, according to the All-China Womens Federation, a Communist Party advocacy group. The total has grown so big that the children are widely known as left-behind kids. Nowhere else on earth do so many children live largely on their own.

Video: Children denied an identity under China's one-child policy (January 17, 2014, BBC)

This month, China's one-child policy was relaxed, allowing some couples to have two children. But nothing has changed for an estimated 10-20 million children already born in violation of the original policy. In their simple home, the Zhangs detailed their ongoing battle with the local officials, starting with the failure of Mrs Zhang's government-mandated birth control.

How I Flunked China's Driving Test Three Times (January 17, 2014, NPR)

Recently, I decided to apply for a driver's license in China. Since I already have one from the U.S., the main thing I had to do was pass a computerized test on the rules of the road here. I figured it would be a breeze.

Slogans that Probably Wont Change China (January 18, 2014, Outside-In)

Below are pictures of slogans that I have spotted around Beijing over the past few years. As much as the writers of the slogans would like them to, i doubt if any of these are having much of an impact in other words, they are not likely to change China.

Documentary Film: Chinas Web Junkies (January 19, 2014, The New York Times)

Compulsive Internet use has been categorized as a mental health issue in many countries, including the United States, but China was among the first to label Internet addiction a clinical disorder.In this Op-Doc video, we show the inner workings of a rehabilitation center where Chinese teenagers are deprogrammed. The Internet Addiction Treatment Center, in Daxing, a suburb of Beijing, was established in 2004.

Back in China, Watching My Words (January 19, 2014, Sinosphere)

I left China for the first time in 2005, at the age of 17, to attend high school in the United States. I quickly realized that my homeland, when viewed from the outside, looked very different from what I was familiar with.

For Chinese women, unmarried motherhood remains the final taboo (January 20, 2014, The Guardian)

China has seen a dramatic liberalisation of sexual attitudes in recent decades. But while premarital sex has become common, unmarried motherhood has remained a taboo. Only recently have attitudes begun to shift.

A Popular Chinese Social Networking App Blazes Its Own Path (January 20, 2014, The New York Times)

Just three years after being introduced in China, Weixin has nearly 300 million users a faster adoption rate than Facebook or Twitter giving the app a dominant position in what is now the worlds biggest smartphone market.

No, Beijing residents are NOT watching fake sunrises on giant TVs because of pollution (January 20, 2014, The Beijinger)

In truth, that sunrise was probably on the screen for less than 10 seconds at a time, as it was part of an ad for tourism in Chinas Shandong province. The ad plays every day throughout the day all year round no matter how bad the pollution is. The photographer simply snapped the photo at the moment when the sunrise appeared. Look closely, and you can even see the Shandong tourism logo in the bottom right corner.

China orders real name register for online video uploads (January 21, 2014, Reuters)

Chinese Internet users are now required to register their real names to upload videos to Chinese online video sites, an official body said, as the Communist Party tightens its control of the Internet and media to suppress anti-government sentiment.

Letter from China: A Race Against Time for a Second Child (January 22, 2014, Sinosphere)

At 39, Xiao Cai knows time is not on her side if shes to fulfill her yearning and have a sibling for her 3-year-old son. Her dreams are modest; she only wants two children. Yet two months after the Chinese government announced a change to the one-child policy to permit some families a second child (the change will apply to couples where one partner is an only child), hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of women like Xiao Cai who are pushing the limit of their fertility find themselves in a bizarre and painful situation: Their dream of having two could be defeated at the finish line by the slow-turning wheels of state bureaucracy.

Thirty Years in China; Four Observed Trends (January 22, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

Thirty years ago, I set off for what I thought would be a one-year teaching stint in China. Twenty-eight years later, I moved back to the States. Either I'm really bad at math or that was one very long year. [] As I look back over three decades in China, these are some of the trends that I have witnessed.A Burial Plot In Beijing Now Costs as Much as a House in Parts of the U.S.(January 23, 2014, TIME) Beijing residents have long complained that sky-high property prices and soaring cost of living make it too expensive to live in Chinas capital city. But now even dying there may be beyond reach. According to the Legal Weekly, a state-run newspaper, asking prices for plots in Beijing cemeteries are increasing by more than 30% per year.

Chinese Hotels Drop Stars to Score Political Points (January 23, 2014, China Real Time)

The grand thresholds of Chinas fancy hotels often trigger the question: who can afford this place? Now, five-star hoteliers appear to be asking the same thing and, spurred by Beijings anti-corruption push, are taking steps to make their properties look a little less fabulous. According to Hangzhou hotel magnate Chen Miaolin, he and his fellow innkeepers are taking the extraordinary step of removing stars from five-star star properties.

Photos: This is how you carry home 2 million yuan in holiday bonuses (January 23, 2014, Shanghaiist)

EDUCATION / HISTORYChinese Labour Corps (January 19, 2014, World of Chinese)

In the tiny French commune of Noyellessur-Mer, facing the English Channel, a stone Chinese archway rises incongruously at a cemetery entrance. Inside, over 800 graves are marked with Chinese names, birthplaces, death-dates between 1916 and 1920, and Biblical phrases in Chinese and English.

A test for one Chinese province: How to educate an influx of US-born children (January 20, 2014, Christian Science Monitor)

At least 10,000 children born in the US to Chinese parents have been sent back to Fujian to be raised. But because they maintain US citizenship, they're ineligible for China's public schools.

China to boost education for disabled children (January 20, 2014, Xinhua)

The Chinese government has vowed to ensure that at least 90 percent of children with visual, hearing and intellectual disabilities receive primary and middle school education by the end of 2016, according to a plan publicized Monday. According to a 2014-2016 plan on improving education for learners with special needs, the country will increase investment, build more infrastructure, foster more quality teachers and reform special education curricula.

HEALTH

Can China really stop 350 million people from smoking? (January 18, 2014, NBC)

The need for a nationwide smoking ban has been recognized by Chinas ruling Communist Party in recent years as an unavoidable next step toward maintaining social stability. Having long tied its legitimacy to raising economic prosperity and life expectancy in China, Beijing has seemingly begun to weave quality of life into that opaque rubric by which the government weighs its policy decisions.

H7N9: Bird flu cases surge ahead of Chinese New Year (January 23, 2014, BBC)

A surge in cases of the deadly new strain of bird flu has been reported in China at the beginning of 2014. Only a handful of people had been infected with H7N9 since June, but health officials have reported 73 cases so far this month. Influenza researchers argue the winter season and preparations for Chinese New Year may be driving the increase.

ECONOMICS / BUSINESS / TRADE

Is China's Historic Credit Bubble About to Pop? (January 19, 2014, The Atlantic)

In five years, China's shadow banks have increased credit from 120 to 190 percent of GDPa bigger run-up than the U.S. housing bubble.

China injects fresh cash into banks (January 20, 2014, BBC)

China's central bank has injected fresh liquidity into the country's large commercial banks ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday later this month. The bank did not say how much cash it injected, but said the move was aimed at ensuring the "stability" of the monetary market ahead of the holidays. The Lunar New Year is China's most important festival and sees increased demand for cash among consumers.

Chinese Buying Up America. Yeah, Thats The Story. (January 21, 2014, China Law Blog)

The Chinese will save Detroit. Toledo is booming, thanks to Chinese investors. Half of LA/Orange County/fill in the SoCal City will be Chinese within ten years. I have heard all the above recently and I dont buy a word of it.

Chinas Working Population Fell Again in 2013 (January 21, 2014, China Real Time)

Chinas working-age population continued to shrink in 2013, suggesting that labor shortages would further drive up wages in the years to come. The nations working-age populationthose between the ages of 16 and 59was 920 million in 2013, down 2.4 million from a year earlier and accounting for 67.6% of the total population, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday. The countrys workforce dropped in 2012 for the first time in decades, raising concerns about a shrinking labor force and economic growth prospects.

Is Chinas Slower Growth Good or Bad News? (January 21, 2014, China Real Time)

Chinas growth slowed in the fourth quarter of last year, showing a third quarter rebound ran out of steam but also suggesting that policy makers might be willing to sacrifice some growth for structural reform. So is less growth good or bad? Is economic data pointing to political success or merely a flagging economy? And should Chinas leaders take a bow or should they take a hint? The answer is it depends.

Video: Why Chinas Growth Is Slowing (January 22, 2014, China Real Time)

A Manufacturing Slowdown Carries Over to 2014 in China (January 22, 2014, The New York Times)Activity in Chinas manufacturing sector contracted in January for the first time in six months as new orders declined, a preliminary private survey showed on Thursday, confirming that a mild slowdown at the end of 2013 has continued into the new year.

SCIENCE / TECHNOLOGY / ENVIRONMENT

Chinese Wonder Who Took Down Two-thirds of Their Internet (January 22, 2014, Tea Leaf Nation)

When the Internet in the worlds largest country largely stops functioning, does it make a sound? On or around 3:20 p.m. on Jan. 21, most Chinese websites became inaccessible about two-thirds, one technology expert with anti-virus company Qihoo 360 told state-run China National Radio. [] The massive service interruption, coupled with the lack of a full official explanation, left many Chinese wondering whom to blame.

Big Web Crash in China: Experts Suspect Great Firewall (January 22, 2014, Sinosphere)

The story behind what may have been the biggest Internet failure in history involves an unlikely cast of characters, including a little-known company in a drab building in Wyoming and the worlds most elite army of Internet censors a continent away in China. On Tuesday, most of Chinas 500 million Internet users were unable to load websites for up to eight hours. Nearly every Chinese user and Internet company, including major services like Baidu and Sina.com, was affected.

LANGUAGE / LANGUAGE LEARNING

Wuxia, a key to Chinese language and culture (January 10, 2014, Hacking Chinese)

What is wuxia? Short answer: Chinese martial arts fiction featuring heroism, usually set in imperial China.

Physical Examination in English and Chinese (January 23, 2014, carlgene.com)

This is a demonstration of the most common steps involved in a physical examination, conducted by a physician in a hospital or general practice. Both the original recording in English, as well as the version translated into Mandarin, are provided.

Chinese Grammar Points Used by a 2-year-old (January 23, 2014, Sinosplice)

My daughter is now two years old, and shes well on her way to simultaneously acquiring both English and Mandarin Chinese (with a little Shanghainese thrown in for good measure). Were using the One Parent One Language approach, and its working pretty well. Ive taken a keen interest in my daughters vocabulary acquisition, but recently Ive also been paying close attention to her grammar in both English and Chinese.

FOOD / TRAVEL / CULTURE

Xinjiang Cuisine: 5 Must-Eat Foods (& How to Order Them) (January 17, 2014, Far West China)

But since most people dont have the luxury of time that I do, I thought it might be helpful to compile a list of the top must-eat foods during your short stay here in Xinjiang. Perhaps you already know some of them but I would bet you dont know them all.

Burger King Opens Urumqi, Xinjiang Store (January 20, 2014, Far West China)

Last week, Burger King opened its first restaurant in Urumqi, Xinjiang not far from Hong Shan Park. That may not seem like a big deal to you, but here in Xinjiang the buzz has been pretty big. Rumors started flying last year that Burger King was going to make its entrance into the Central Asia market but nobody was willing to believe it. These same rumors have been heard about McDonalds and Starbucks many times over and yetnothing. Last Thursday my family joined in the grand opening of Urumqis new Burger King and I must say, the experience was definitely worth the time waiting in line.

Cold and Hungry? 5 Must-Try Beijing Winter Snacks (January 20, 2014, The Beijinger)

When the temperatures take a dip, one of the things that get hotter in the cold weather is Beijings scrumptious winter snacks, which tastes better when it is colder. We seldom get to eat these during other seasons.

Five Spring Festival Traditions You've Never Heard Of (January 21, 2014, Go Chengdoo)

Here are some of the Spring Festival traditions that are commonly observed in Sichuan and other parts of China, listed chronologically.

Chinese Outbound Tourist Numbers To Double By 2020 (January 21, 2014, China Briefing)

CLSA, the CITIC-owned Asian investment and brokerage advisory firm, issued a report on Monday which estimated that the number of mainland Chinese outbound tourists will double from 100 million in 2013 to 200 million by 2020. As a result, tourist spending is expected to triple, from about RMB500 billion to some RMB1.4 trillion during the next six years. 

Chinese Tourists Say Aloha to Hawaii (January 22, 2014, China Real Time)

Chinas southern island of Hainan has long lured domestic tourists to its sandy beaches and tropical climate by billing itself as the Hawaii of the East. But the countrys flagship carrier Air China that Chinese travelers are now ready for the real thing. This week it begins direct flights from Beijing to Honolulu, and airline officials say they see plenty of demand for the new route.

Chungking Mansions a Global Village (January 23, 2014, Outside-In)

Anyone whos been to Hong Kong is probably familiar with Chungking Mansions, the building that towers over the lower end of Nathan Road and is home to shops, restaurants, apartments and hostels.

ARTS / ENTERTAINMENT

10 Most Popular Chinese TV Series of 2013 (January 13, 2014, China Whisper)

China teams up with Hollywood for terracotta army superhero movie (January 21, 2014, The Guardian)

Paramount among studios trying to cash in on Chinese box office boom with film transplanting ancient clay soldiers to modern world.

BOOKS

Books to Read in 2014 (January 20, 2014, Outside-In)

Image credit: En la muralla de Xi'an, by Nathan Wind, via Flickr