ZGBriefs

January 30, 2014

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The ZGBriefs Team would like to wish you and your familya HAPPY NEW YEAR!

FEATURED ARTICLE

The New Contexts and Challenges in China Today (January 7, 2014, Global China Center)

Needless to say, the context in which the Chinese Church lives is a fast-changing one. As China undergoes drastic social and cultural changes, the Church there is facing new realities and challenges. If the overseas churches continue to walk along with the Chinese Christians in a constructive way, it is absolutely necessary to understand the Chinese Churchs current dynamics in Chinese society and culture, and to adjust their approaches and strategies accordingly.In my view, there are three monumental shiftings or mega trends in the Chinese context, which have huge implications for the Christian ministry there.

GOVERNMENT / POLITICS / FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Why Is China Purging Its Former Top Security Chief, Zhou Yongkang? (December 17, 2013, China File)

Xi Jinping plans to use Zhou Yongkang as a sacrifice in his anti-corruption campaign. If Xi failed to break the unwritten rule that the Politburo Standing members are immune to any legal punishment, his anti-corruption would have no teeth. Zhou Yongkangs corruption has been well-known and people both inside and outside of the Party hate him. Thus, he has become the best tool to build up Xi Jinpings power.

Thinking About Thinking in China (January 24, 2014, China Real Time)

Among the lesser-known policy goals promoted by Xi Jinping since he became Chinas president last year was a call to improve the nations think tanks. Now, researchers in Shanghai have published a blueprint for what they are calling a think tank with Chinese characteristics. Published this month in Chinese and English, the 38-page report is the product of a Center for Think Tank Research at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

Abolishing government detention in China for public health (January 25, 2014, East Asia Forum)

The Chinese government has begun to dismantle the system of re-education through labor (RTL), one of the pillars of its extensive extra-judicial administrative detention system. While this development has clear implications for the rule of law and administrative regulation in China, it could also reap public health benefits.

Xu Zhiyong: Moderate activist who still tested Chinas limits (July 26, 2014, The Malay Mail)

With a clean-cut, handsome appearance, he came to nationwide prominence in 2003, campaigning against a form of extra-legal detention allowing police to detain people arbitrarily if they travelled away from their rural hometowns. The law was ultimately changed. The same year he took the defiant step of standing as a non-Communist candidate for a Beijing district Peoples Congress, a rubber-stamp local legislature.

China: Twelve dead in Xinjiang violence (January 26, 2014, BBC)

Clashes that killed 12 people in China's western region of Xinjiang were caused by "terrorists", Chinese state media report, citing police. Six people were shot dead by police and six were killed in explosions in Xinjiang's Aksu prefecture on Friday, state media said.

China Starts Briefing Officials on Zhou Probe, Morning Post Says (January 28, 2014, Bloomberg)

China has started briefing officials about a corruption investigation of Zhou Yongkang, the nations former security chief, paving the way for a public announcement soon, the South China Morning Post said. The briefings indicate that the probe of the former Politburo Standing Committee member is in its final stage and results may be disclosed as soon as after the Lunar New Year break, which ends next week, the Hong Kong-based newspaper said, citing two unidentified people who received the information.

Jailed Activist Xu Zhiyong Not Done Fighting, Lawyer Says (January 28, 2014, China Real Time)

One of Chinas most prominent rule of law advocates is planning to appeal his conviction on charges of disturbing public order, his lawyer said Tuesday, in part to give other dissidents facing trial more time to fight their cases. Xu Zhiyong, a legal scholar and founder of the loosely organized civic group known as the New Citizens Movement, was found guilty and sentenced to four years in prison Sunday for his role in organizing a series of small protests over corruption and access to education last year.

Hong Kong Man Seeking to Issue Book About Xi Is Held in China (January 28, 2014, The New York Times)

Three months ago, Yiu Mantin, a retired engineer from Hong Kong, crossed into mainland China for a short visit, as he had done many times. But this time he disappeared into the hands of the police, and his family and friends believe he was singled out because of his second career book publishing and especially because he planned to distribute a withering denunciation of President Xi Jinping.

U.S. Nominee for China Post Promises Human Rights Agenda (January 29, 2014, China Real Time)

Sen. Max Baucus, President Barack Obamas nominee to be the next U.S. ambassador to China, vowed Tuesday to make human rights a cornerstone of his agenda if he wins Senate confirmation to take on the high-profile diplomatic mission for the administration. The six-term Montana Democrat told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the U.S. represents an island of freedom around the world, and he would ensure human rights issues are a top priority in his dealings with China. Protection of human rights is probably the bedrock, fundamental goal, Mr. Baucus told the committee, which is expected to vote on his nomination next Tuesday.

Sinica: Talking about Taiwan (Popup Chinese)

This week on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo is joined by David Moser and Paul Mozur for an in-depth discussion about everyone's favorite renegade province. This is a lively conversation that stretches from questions of personal identity in Taiwan to the island's media sensationalism, close ties with the United States, and obviously political relations with the mainland as well.

RELIGION

Unmasking China's "Official" Church (January 27, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

Just as it is impossible to generalize about all of China's unregistered churches, so, too, one cannot paint all the TSPM-affiliated churches with the same brush. Getting below the surface and hearing directly from a church pastor at the local level helps to put a face on China's "official church" and to dispel some misperceptions that are often taken for granted in outside observers' attempts to parse the complex reality of China's church.

Should We Use Biblical Languages to Teach Chinese Christians? (January 28, 2014, Jackson Wu)

First of all, I do not use English Bibles when teaching. I only teach in Chinese. Although our school teaches people Greek and Hebrew, not all the students have taken those classes. I cannot assume that knowledge.

SOCIETY / LIFE

Hit Defying Economy, Chinese the Road (January 24, 2014, Sinosphere)

The Chinese economy is growing less swiftly, but one thing has not suffered at all: Chinese citizens ravenous appetite for travel beyond their borders. Data released by Hong Kong on Friday showed that a record 40.7 million mainland Chinese crossed the border to the former British colony last year. That is up 16.7 percent from the previous year, and nearly ten times the 2001 number.

Chinas Gilded Tuhao (January 24, 2014, World of Chinese)

If you are still banging on about the xiaozi (, petty bourgeoisie), Chinas young middle class obsessed with their education and all things highbrow, then your knowledge of Chinese society is out of date by at least a decade. Chinas online public have taken a shameless turn toward heightened levels of snobbishness. The xiaozi, with their Starbucks-stained French novels, are out, and the tuhao (), the tacky rich, are in.

China's official crackdown on graft brings a happy New Year for sharks (January 24, 2015, NBC)

Demand for sharkfin is down 70 percent in China, according to official government statistics. Those stats aren't always reliable, but traders in Hong Kong, the hub of the world's shark fin trade, are hurting, with imports down around a third year-on-year.

Map Visualizes Chinese New Year Migration (January 27, 2014, China Real Time)

Chinese officials estimates that 3.65 billion passenger trips will be made during this years 40-day Lunar New Year travel period. Now some of those trips can be visualized. Chinas largest search engine on Sunday launched Baidu Migrate, a map that displays Lunar New Year travel routes in China and their popularity over a rolling eight-hour period. The Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, holiday in China is considered the worlds largest seasonal migration of people as hundreds of millions of people flock home to reunite with their families.

800,000 Yuan? Li Na Is Not Impressed (January 28, 2014, China Real Time)

Has anyone ever looked so unhappy to receive $132,000? Chinese tennis hero and newly crowned Australian Open champion Li Na stepped off the plane in her home province of Hubei on Tuesday, three days after winning her second Grand Slam title, to find a delegation of provincial officials waiting for her with extended hands and a great big red check for 800,000 yuan.

Photos: Throwaway Tuition (January 28, 2014, Caixin)

A couple in Hunan have picked some 9 million plastic bottles to send their sons overseas for college

Snow polo for China's 1% (January 28, 2014, Los Angeles Times)

After taking up hobbies like golf and sports cars, China's 1%-ers are looking for new exotic diversions, and places like the Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club are happy to oblige for a price.

Photos: Chinas Travel Nightmare Begins (January 28, 2014, Business Insider)

China is about to see one of the largest human migrations, as people travel home for the Lunar Year holiday. Jan. 31 marks the beginning of Chinese New year, and travelers are expected to make some 3.62 billion trips home during the 40-day Spring Festival that began Jan. 16. Every year this places a huge burden on Chinese infrastructure. We rounded up some images that show just how busy it gets this time of the year in China.

Photos: Behind the scenes at China's New Year Gala (January 29, 2014, BBC)

The New Year Gala show, broadcast on state media on the eve of Chinese New Year, is one of the most watched television programmes in the world. Hundreds of millions of people in China tune in to watch the show, which features patriotic songs, comedy sketches and dance routines.

Chinese New Year Gift-Giving Goes Mobile (January 29, 2014, China Real Time)

When China celebrates the Lunar New Year on Friday, millions of red envelopes stuffed with cash are expected to change hands among families, friends and colleagues. But this year, theres a new spin on this old tradition, with the gift-giving happening right on peoples smartphones.

Picture China: Worship Ceremony Rehearsal, Bird Flu Prevention, Taipei Sunset (January 29, 2014, China Real Time)

Photos: Temple of Heaven Worship Ceremony (January 29, 2014, Caixin)

Your sample Chinese New Year 2014 horsey text message (January 30, 2014, China Hope Live)

Chinese will send billions (literally!) of New Years greeting text messages today and tomorrow. And since the Year of the Horse begins tonight at midnight, this year there are lots of horsey word-plays (in addition to a proliferation of auspicious horse panties), just like the rabbit word-plays in 2011. Heres a real life example that we earlier today, because these kinds of things are great for language learners, and you gotta have something with which to spam your address book.

Fireworks and red underwear: Chinese saddle up for the Year of the Horse (January 30, 2014, Christian Science Monitor)

Friday, Jan. 31 is the first day of the year of the horse according to the lunar calendar, marking the end of the year of the snake. It's a day when families reunite to feast, houses get cleaned, new clothes are worn, and children receive red envelopes with lucky money in them (a custom in China and some other countries).

EDUCATION / HISTORY

Im a Loser, Baby: The Life and Times of Prince Duan (January 24, 2014, Jottings from the Granite Studio)

The Qing court ca. 1900 had more narcissistic drug-addled half-wits than Justin Biebers mansion on a Friday afternoon but even with that competition, Prince Duan (Aisin Gioro Zaiyi 1856-1922) was something special.

More Chinese teachers needed as demand grows (January 27, 2014, Xinhua)

Figures from Hanban, the headquarters of the Confucius Institutes, suggest that about 150 million people in various countries want to learn Chinese, but there aren't enough teachers to meet this huge demand. In the past several years, Hanban and the country's education authorities have been working on the cultivation of higher-level international and domestic professional talent who can use Chinese as a second language or as a foreign language for teaching purposes. One of the hottest education programs is the Master of Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages, launched in 2007.

Sources of Early Chinese History (January 30, 2014, BBC)

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the sources for early Chinese history. The first attempts to make a record of historical events in China date from the Shang dynasty of the second millennium BC. The earliest surviving records were inscribed on bones or tortoise shells; in later centuries, chroniclers left detailed accounts on paper or silk. In the last hundred years, archaeologists have discovered a wealth of new materials, including a cache of previously unknown texts which were found in a sealed cave on the edge of the Gobi Desert. Such sources are are shedding new light on Chinese history, although interpreting ancient sources from the period before the invention of printing presents a number of challenges.

Class Consciousness (February 3, 2014, The New Yorker)

Chinas new bourgeoisie discovers alternative education

HEALTH

H7N9 bird flu: Chinese provinces halt live poultry trade (January 27, 2014, The Guardian)

Authorities in eastern China have banned live poultry sales after an increase in the number of people infected with the H7N9 strain of bird flu, state media has reported as the busy Chinese new year travel period gets under way. So far this year H7N9 has killed 19 people in China and infected 96, according to the official Xinhua news agency, which cited the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. A week ago more than 50 cases had been reported. The virus is believed to pass to humans through direct contact with infected birds.

At 71 Farmer Dresses Wife as China Faces Alzheimers Crisis (January 27, 2014, Bloomberg)

In China, there are only about 300 qualified physicians to treat more than 9 million dementia sufferers. The shortage is overwhelming families and threatening resources from an already stretched welfare system as the country ages.

H7N9 Bird Flu Claims Third Victim in Hong Kong (January 30, 2014, TIME)

ECONOMICS / BUSINESS / TRADE

China loses its allure (January 25, 2014, The Economist)

For the past three decades, multinationals have poured in. After the financial crisis, many companies looked to China for salvation. Now it looks as though the gold rush may be over.

Chinas Weibo Losing Users (January 25, 2014, Daily Beast)

Chinas version of Twitter has been bleeding users this year, thanks to a government crackdown and the rise of new social technologies.

Chinas WeChat is Getting Serious About U.S. (January 27, 2014, China Real Time)

WeChat, developed by Shenzhen-based Tencent Holdings is one of China's hottest technology exports with more than 272 million monthly active users world-wide. While the majority of its users are still in China, the app since last year has been quickly adding new users in Asia and other overseas markets like South Africa and Spain. The fast-growing smartphone messaging application is now trying to expand in the U.S. market with a newly launched promotional campaign.

In China's Hugely Indebted Cities, Some Big Bills Are Coming Due (January 28, 2014, NPR)

In recent years, rampant borrowing has driven a significant chunk of China's economic growth. The bill is now becoming clearer and it's big. Late last year, China revealed that local governments owe nearly $3 trillion more than the gross domestic product of France, the world's fifth-largest economy. One city with a sizable debt problem is , an industrial hub that lies along the Yangtze River in central China's Hubei province. With a population of 10 million, Wuhan has a growth rate of 11 percent and is known for its car factories and many universities. According to China's state media, it also owes more than $33 billion, nearly twice Wuhan's GDP.

SCIENCE / TECHNOLOGY / ENVIRONMENT

China Moon rover Jade Rabbit in trouble (January 27, 2014, BBC)

China's Jade Rabbit Moon rover is in trouble after experiencing a "mechanical control abnormality", state media report. The Moon exploration vehicle ran into problems due to the moon's "complicated lunar surface environment", Xinhua news agency said, citing science officials. The rover landed in December as part of China's Chang'e-3 mission - the first "soft" landing on the Moon since 1976. It was expected to operate for around three months.

ARTS / ENTERTAINMENT / SPORTS

Why Chinas Li Na Wont Thank Her Homeland (January 27, 2014, Tea Leaf Nation)

Li previously ruffled government feathers after her first Grand Slam win at the French Open in 2011, when she also declined to thank her homeland. Most Chinese athletes express gratitude to China first, because many have risen to prominence through a state athletic system that selects and trains promising young people with government funds. But in 2008, Li joined with three other tennis players to opt out of that system, which pockets 65 percent of its participants earnings, as the Chinese Tennis Association (CTA) allowed them to fly solo.

Ruhan Jia: China's state-sponsored pop (January 27, 2014, BBC)

Chinese President Xi Jinping is determined to promote China's cultural "soft power", and this applies to pop music too. The singer carrying the state's hopes for success in the West is Ruhan Jia - but can the Communist Party machine create a star?

A Rare Visit With Ai Weiwei, Chinas Loudest Rebel (January 29, 2014, Wired)

Ai has ruffled more than a few feathers in the Chinese government over the last decade with his unbridled pursuit of free expression and artistic commentary. Following several run-ins with the authorities, hes been stripped of his passport, unable to leave the country.

FOOD / TRAVEL / CULTURE

Day Hike Around Urumqi | Yamalike Park (January 24, 2014, Far West China)

Over the past decade, outdoor clubs have become a huge thing in Xinjiang. Groups organize almost every week to hike, ski, camp and bike every part of this massive province. Many of these outdoor clubs are based out of the numerous outdoor equipment stores that have popped up like sunflowers here in Urumqi. Its crazy because these stores in Urumqi seem to be as ubiquitous as Starbucks in the U.S.

Amy Tans Evolving Sense of China (January 24, 2014, The New York Times)

Below are excerpts from correspondence with Ms. Tan, 61, whose latest novel is The Valley of Amazement, about how her relationship with China changed over time.

Talking Travel: Three Domestic Destinations to Visit in 2014 (January 28, 2014, The Beijinger)

For these destinations all you'll need is a plane or train ticket because these domestic trips will have you staying closer to home.

Urumqi BRT & K Buses: How to Navigate Urumqi Traffic (January 28, 2014, Far West China)

For those that will be traveling here to Xinjiang or even those that are planning to move here, its not a bad idea to get acquainted with the the BRT system before you arrive. If I were you, I would even attempt to stay as close to a BRT stop as possible to make things convenient.

I Heart My City: Beths Hong Kong (January 29, 2014, Intelligent Traveler)

Armed with her camera and irrepressible wanderlust, Beths now on a mission to prove that you can work a 9-to-5 and still find time to travel. Here are some of her favorite things about the city she calls a place unlike any other.

Mildred Cable: An Early Traveler in Northwest China (January 29, 2014, Outside In)

Mildred was a prolific writer, chronicling not just her missionary work, but her travels as well. A number of her books (co-authored by her colleague Fransesca French) are considered classics because of their descriptions of life in western and northwestern China in the first half to the twentieth century.

Hong Kong Is Worlds Top Travel Destination (January 30, 2014, China Real Time)

Hong Kong is the worlds most-visited city for international travelers, thanks to a growing influx of visitors from mainland China, according to a new study. Hong Kong drew 23.8 million visitors in 2012, outpacing Singapore (21.3 million) and Bangkok (15.8 million), market-research firm Euromonitor said in its Top 100 City Destinations Ranking report released this week. The firm analyzed various travel data, including government statistics and airport arrivals, to determine its list for 2012, the most-recent year for which figures are available.

Photo: Colors of Zhangye Danxia, China (One Big Photo)

LANGUAGE / LANGUAGE LEARNING

Hole in your Chinese vocabulary? Hole in your neck (January 25, 2014, China Hope Live)

And then the first nurse gets an idea, Or maybe you could just use a ______. They both stop and turn, eyeing the lump on the side of my neck from across the room. Hmmm the surgeon mulls it over, her eye still on me. And its in this moment that I wish I had a bigger vocabulary. I dont know what a ______ is; technical medical terms are outside my Chinese vocab range. I probably dont even know what a ____ is in English. But Im sure its something sharp.

BOOKS

Chinas New Confucianism (January 22, 2014, Global China Center)

Writing with admirable clarity and conciseness, Daniel Bell explores the rapidly-growing influence of some aspects of Confucianism in todays China; shows why this development is basically positive; ventures a few guesses about the future; and makes some recommendations, both for the Chinese and for Westerners. As a serious student of the Chinese classics as well as a keen observer of modern Chinese society, he deserves our attention.

Ping-Pong Diplomacy by Nicholas Griffin review (January 25, 2014, The Guardian)

Nicholas Griffin's history deftly captures the bizarre moment when table tennis lay at the heart of US-China relations.

Breaking with the Past: The Maritime Customs Service and the Global Origins of Modernity in China (January 28, 2014, China Rhyming)

Should you feel you need to know more about the China Imperial Maritime Customs Service (and you could be forgiven for holding your head in your hands and crying NO!) then theres a new book out, Breaking with the Past from Hans Van de Ven.

Image credit: by Gwydion M. Williams, via Flickr