ZGBriefs

January 9, 2014

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FEATURED ARTICLE

Researching Chinese Christianity: (Mis)conceptions and revelations (January 8, 2014, The China Story)

Adopting a non-religious approach, my own recent study aimed to find out what really was the social and political impact of Christianity in China today. [1] Are Chinese Christians a new moral vanguard? And if so, does this moral vanguard constitute a challenge or a pillar of support for the Chinese leadership? Will Chinese Christians usher in political change or would they even welcome it? Is there a significant link between political liberalism and Christian values, ideas and faith in China today?

GOVERNMENT / POLITICS / FOREIGN AFFAIRS

China probes almost 37,000 officials for graft (January 5, 2014, AFP)

China investigated almost 37,000 officials suspected of corruption in more than 27,000 cases between January and November, state media said on Sunday. Out of the 27,236 cases, 12,824 resulted in "losses for the people" involving a total of 5.51 billion yuan ($0.9 billion), Xinhua news agency said without elaborating.

Is China Losing Hong Kong? (January 6, 2014, Bloomberg)

Are Chinas leaders destined to ask each other, Who lost Hong Kong? Its a question worth pondering after a holiday week that offered a stark reminder of just how restlessif not unhappya sizable percentage of the former colonys residents are under Chinese rule, 17 years after the end of British sovereignty.

Chinas Three Challenges in 2014 (January 6, 2014, Project Syndicate)

The world will soon find out whether Xis politically conservative course is intended to facilitate his pro-market economic reforms. Having spent 2013 consolidating his position and formulating his agenda, this year Xi will have to begin delivering on his promises and demonstrating that he is as capable of applying power as he is at accumulating it. His success will depend on how he addresses three major challenges.

Will Xi Jinping Bring a Positive New Day to China? (January 6, 2014, China File)

Its come to my attention that some in China-watching circles are exercising wishful thinking about the ruling Chinese Communist Party and its new leader, Xi Jinping. The only wishful thinking I engage in is the hope that the Communist Party will abide by its own Constitution. But I have to admit, theres absolutely no chance of that happening because if the Party did that, it would have trouble surviving for very long.

Fight corruption: Zap a Chinese Party member (January 7, 2014, BBC)

The state-run People's Daily has a unique take on China's corruption problem. "Corrupt officials are frightened," says a post on People's Net, their subsection of the Sina Weibo social network. "[W]hether 'tigers' or 'flies,' wave the electric baton and expose them." This is not one of Chinese media's famous metaphorical statements. If you click the link, you are taken to a specially created video game where you can actually use an electric prod to attack - and shock - corrupt bureaucrats.

Is Li Keqiang Being Marginalized? (January 7, 2014, The Diplomat)

The Premiers position in the Chinese Communist system appears to be diminishing however. As others have noted, President Xi Jinping has appeared to amass more power than any Chinese leader since Deng himself. This has left it unclear just exactly what role Premier Li Keqiang will play in the system.

Video: Bremmer: China-Japan 2014s Most Dangerous Spat (January 8, 2014, China Real Time)

In an interview with WSJ, political-risk expert Ian Bremmer of the Eurasia Group calls the bilateral conflict between China and Japan the greatest geopolitical danger in the world in 2014. He also discusses what reform means for China under new leader Xi Jinping.

China renews Western journalists visas after months-long standoff (January 9, 2014, Washington Post)

Several Western journalists who faced expulsion from China were issued renewed visas by the Chinese government Thursday, ending a months-long standoff. The country is still on track to force at least one New York Times reporter to leave for the second year in a row, however.

RELIGION

Chinas Kaifeng Jews Rediscover Their Heritage (January 3, 2014, The Daily Beast)

In Kaifeng, where Sephardic Jews from the Silk Road settled in the 12th century, their descendants are rediscovering lost religious practices and petitioning Israel for recognition.

A Conversation: Folk Customs or Pagan Customs? (January 6, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

I recently ran across a post called "Pagan Practice in China's Shanxi Province," which included some intriguing photos of traditional customs. [...] I was intrigued by the use of the word 'pagan,' because it is not a word normally used when describing traditional Chinese folk religions. I fired off the link to two friends, Mark and Andrew, who have lived in Shanxi for many years to get their take on these photos and the accompanying description.

14 Killed in China Mosque Stampede (January 6, 2014, TIME)

A stampede broke out during an event at a mosque in northern China, killing 14 people and injuring 10 others, a state news agency said Monday. Worshippers at the Beida Mosque in Guyuan, a city in the Ningxia region, were handing out traditional cakes during an event to commemorate a religious figure Sunday afternoon when a rush for food triggered the stampede, the Xinhua News Agency said.It quoted a witness as saying people trampled over each other.

The 2013 Grinch Award (is for your educational benefit) (January 7, 2013, ChinaSource Blog)

Just because a Chinese Christian is in trouble doesn't mean they're in trouble just because they're a Christian. Their Christianity may have something to do with it, or it may have almost nothing to do with. China being as it is, the "whys" are usually a little more complicated and a lot more pragmatic. This is not the Mao Era.

Phases of Chinese House Church Development (January 7, 2014, Chinese Church Voices)

The mainland think-tank Pacific Institute for Social Sciences recently translated an article by Professor Liu Peng, titled Three Issues Concerning Chinese House Churches. This article provides and excellent overview of the history and current situation for house churches in China. In one section of the article, he identifies several phases of house church development in China:

SOCIETY / LIFE

Video Series: One Billion Stories

One Billion Stories is a series of short films set in Shanghai about the people we pass by every day.

Video: China police break up a large, illegal drugs operation (January 3, 2015, BBC)

Police in China have confiscated three tonnes of the drug methamphetamine and arrested 182 people during raids at a village, officials say. The drug, also known as crystal meth or "ice", was seized in Boshe village, Lufeng city, Guangdong province. Police told state media that more than a third of China's methamphetamine came from Lufeng in the last three years.

Chinese tightrope walkers' balancing act between Xinjiang and Beijing (January 6, 2014, The Guardian)

Uighur national sport seen as sign of ethnic group's resilience amid country's religious and cultural constraints.

China fines Zhang Yimou $1.2m over one-child policy breach (January 9, 2014, BBC)

China has fined popular film director Zhang Yimou more than one million dollars for violating the country's one-child policy. The director, who said he has three children, has 30 days to pay 7.5m yuan ($1.2m, 729,000), state media say. Mr Zhang, known for directing the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony in 2008, in December apologised for violating the strict policy.

Confucius Comes Home (January 13, 2014, The New Yorker)

In September, 2010, nine months after I moved in, I was at my desk one morning when I heard a loudspeaker crackle to life inside the temple. A booming voice was followed by the sound of a heavy bell, then drums and a flute, and the recitation of passages from writings by Confucius and other ancient masters.

EDUCATION / HISTORY

The Curious, and Continuing, Appeal of Mark Twain in China (January 6, 2014, Sinosphere)

Twains writings have won him literary fame in China as well. Although Huckleberry Finn, with more than 90 different translations in Chinese, is a favorite, a large portion of Twains popularity in China derives in fact from another, much more obscure work: a short story called Running for Governor.

Chinese Communist Party Promotes Confucian Text Designed to Produce Obedient Children (January 7, 2014 Tea Leaf Nation)

The 1,080-character Dizigui, authored by a Qing-dynasty scholar named Li Yuxiu and short enough to fit into a small pamphlet, began to re-emerge in Chinese society more than a decade ago on the back of an educational movement, called Dujing, that seeks to teach the Confucian canon to children.

Foreign teachers in Hunan fined over lack of qualifications (January 9, 2014, China Daily)

Six foreigners were fined for teaching English without proper qualifications or work permits in Hunan province, police announced on Thursday. Four of the foreigners were caught while teaching at a kindergarten in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province on Dec 2. The kindergarten was fined 40,000 yuan ($6,550) for hiring unlicensed foreigners, and they were fined 5,000 yuan each, the police said.  

HEALTH

New H7N9 human case reported in Shenzhen (January 7, 2014, China Daily)

The southern city of Shenzhen in Guangdong Province reported a new human H7N9 case on Tuesday, raising the total number of such cases in the province to nine since August. The patient is a 31-year-old man, surnamed Ou, who is a local resident living in Luohu District of Shenzhen, the provincial health and family planning commission said in a statement.

ECONOMICS / BUSINESS / TRADE

China approves pilot plan to set up 3-5 private banks (January 6, 2014, Reuters)

China has approved a pilot scheme allowing the setting up of three to five private banks, the regulator said on Monday, in a step to boost financial support for cash-starved smaller firms.The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) would maintain "prudential regulatory standards" in approving private banks, it said in a statement following a meeting on banking supervision.

10 Common China Negotiating Mistakes (slideshow) (January 7, 2014, China Solved)

International negotiators doing business in China have been making the same mistakes for years. ChinaSolved.com has compiled a least wanted list of Western worst-practices for doing business in China. Make sure you or people you rely on arent committing these highly-avoidable blunders.

China to allow 5 private banks this year (January 7, 2014, AP)

China will allow the creation of up to five privately financed banks this year to support economic growth by gradually opening the state-run industry, the country's banking regulator says. Analysts including the World Bank say an overhaul of Chinese banks that lend little to entrepreneurs is urgently needed to achieve the ruling Communist Party's goals of making the economy more productive.

China 2013: A Year in Review by Stan Abrams (January 8, 2014, China Briefing)

This week, China Briefing is featuring a series of specially-commissioned articles from prominent China-based writers regarding their thoughts on the key developments in the country during 2013, and what lies ahead in 2014. Todays article is written by Stan Abrams, the head of Bentley Softwares Asia legal team and author of the blog China Hearsay.

SCIENCE / TECHNOLOGY / ENVIRONMENT

China's moon mission captivates scientists (January 8, 2014, Los Angeles Times)

When China landed its first lunar rover on the moon last month, many Americans reacted with a shrug. After all, the U.S. sent men to the moon more than 40 years ago, and the Soviets landed a rover there too. But among lunar scientists, the Chang'e 3 mission has generated considerable interest. They say the lander and the rover, equipped with ground-penetrating radar, cameras, a telescope and spectroscopic instruments, could gather significant new information, especially relating to the chemical composition and depth of the lunar soil.

ARTS / ENTERTAINMENT / SPORTS

Chinese Movies for Religious Eyes (January 6, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

It dawned on me recently that no one has commented on a recent phenomenon: famous Chinese movie directors injecting Christian and related religious elements into contemporary Chinese movies.

The Legacy of Hong Kong Media Mogul Run Run Shaw (January 7, 2014, China Real Time)

Media titan Sir Run Run Shaw, who co-founded dominant broadcaster Television Broadcasts, died Tuesday morning at the age of 106, the company said. Sir Run Run was one of the key figures of Hong Kong cinema, helping popularize martial-arts films like The One-Armed Swordsman to Western audiences in the 1960s and 70s through his legendary Shaw Brothers film studio.

Rocker Cui Jian to Perform on CCTV Spring Festival Gala (January 9, 2014, The Beijinger)

China's Godfather of Rock, Cui Jian, has been confirmed to perform on this year's China Central Television (CCTV) Spring Festival Gala, the Chinese New Year's Eve extravaganza that is watched by as many people as the World Cup Final and the Super Bowl combined.

Shaq in China: A Love Story (January 9, 2014, Tea Leaf Nation)

At 7-foot-1, roughly 350 pounds, and with a smile thats been featured on everything from cereal boxes to CD album covers, Shaquille ONeal isnt particularly hard to recognize. And yet there I stood at the airport arrival gate in Chongqing, a city of 30 million people in southwestern China, holding a placard that carefully read Shaquille Rashaun ONeal as if I might mistake this Shaquille ONeal, the iconic NBA superstar that I grew up idolizing, with some other Shaquille ONeal

FOOD / TRAVEL / CULTURE

Macau is betting on a new kind of Chinese tourism (January 4, 2014, The Guardian)

The former Portuguese colony is threatened by a crackdown on its controversial 'junkets'. Now, with new malls and lavish shows, it is hoping to replace high rollers with middle-class families.

Hainan opens a new US direct-entry point (January 7, 2014, China Daily)

It's the largest-city in New England and the sister city of Hangzhou, China, and come June it will become another direct-entry point for Chinese travelers as Hainan Airlines launches its Beijing-to-Boston service.

Photos: Harbins Winter Wonderland (January 7, 2014, China Real Time)

Taipei vs. Beijing: A Travelers Perspective (January 9, 2014, World of Chinese)

The differences between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland are striking. I have visited mainland China three times over an 18-year period, but this was my first trip to Taiwan. Of course both are Mandarin-speaking and Chinese in culture, Taiwan is without doubt a much easier place to be in for a westerner. Here are 10 advantages of Taipei and Taiwan as a travel destination:

LANGUAGE / LANGUAGE LEARNING

Guanxi Part 1 (January 6, 2014, Grasping Chinese)Gunxi to me starts of as "personal relationships," and then moves outward from there. Where Americans, "don't mix business with pleasure," typically, Chinese do. Therefore is both "relationships" and "connections." What you end up with is a contact list more complicated than Facebook.

BOOKS

In Fast-Changing China, Reality Can Overtake Fiction (January 6, 2014, NPR)

One of the challenges of writing about China is the country moves fast sometimes faster than the publishing business. Take Enigma of China, the latest detective novel by Chinese-American author Qiu Xiaolong. In one scene, Qiu's main character, Inspector Chen, sits in a Shanghai restaurant scanning a hotel where government agents are holding a corrupt official in secret detention.

ARTICLES FOR RESEARCHERS

Zhang Yong (Biographical Dictionary of CHINESE Christianity)

Mildred Cable (Biographical Dictionary of CHINESE Christianity)

RESOURCES

9Marks in Chinese (9Marks.org)

Hail Taxis From Anywhere in Chengdu With This Amazing App (January 5, 2014, Chengdu Living)

As you read this, there are hundreds of taxis driving around Chengdu with Didi Taxi enabled, usually running on a smartphone thats mounted to their dashboard. After youve completed the quick setup procedure on your smart phone, you launch the app and can see these taxis driving around you in a 3D map view, in real time. All you have to do is send a quick voice (or text) message stating your destination and a car will be on its way to get you, usually within seconds.

What could happen in China in 2014? (January 2014, McKinsey & Company)

The year ahead could see companies focus on driving productivity, CIOs becoming a hot commodity, shopping malls going bankrupt, and European soccer clubs finally investing in Chinese ones. McKinsey director Gordon Orr makes his annual predictions.

Velvet Ashes: An online community to encourage and breathe hope into the lives of women serving overseas

Image Credit: Reading, by Jenny NLF, via Flickr