July 12, 2013

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Foreigners and Chinese Working Together: A Local Perspective (Summer 2013, ChinaSource Quarterly)

As a Chinese Christian, Jenny has worked alongside foreigners in Christian organizations for over a decade. She opens her heart and shares insights from a Chinese perspective to help new workers (and those already in China) avoid points of misunderstanding and friction as they serve with local brothers and sisters.


China ex-rail minister gets suspended death sentence for bribery (July 8, 2013, Channel News Asia)

A Chinese court Monday gave former railways minister Liu Zhijun a suspended death sentence, the highest-ranking official to be punished for corruption since new leaders took office vowing to clean up the ruling Communist Party. Once hailed as the "father" of China's flagship high-speed rail network, Liu, 60, was convicted of bribery and abuse of power by a court in Beijing, the official Xinhua news agency said.

China releases journalist Du Bin from detention (July 9, 2013, BBC)

Chinese journalist Du Bin has been conditionally released after five weeks of detention by state security officials. The film-maker and photographer disappeared days before the anniversary of the Tiananmen killings on 4 June. He was held at a detention centre in Fengtai district. He told the BBC that officials questioned him about a book he wrote on the 1989 Tiananmen square crackdown and a documentary he made on a labour camp. Du Bin said police detained him for "causing a disturbance" and accused him of "spreading rumours online".

Can Hong Kong stay corruption-free under China? (July 10, 2013, BBC)

Hong Kong has a reputation as a "clean" city. In Transparency International's 2012 corruption perception index, it ranked 14, above Japan, the UK and the US, with China down at 80. Since the handover to China in 1997, more interaction with the mainland has created both opportunities to spread the city's experience fighting corruption across China and threats to its clean image.

China and Russia, in a Display of Unity, Hold Naval Exercises (July 10, 2013, The New York Times)

From Beijings point of view, there was a message for Washington, too: As China rapidly builds its maritime power and the United States begins to deploy more of its naval and air assets back to the Pacific Ocean as part of its new focus on Asia, China will not stand alone.


Why Chinese Pastors Cheat (July 2, 2013, JacksonWu)

Contrary to convention thinking among many western Christians, the great problem among the Chinese is not that they are trying to be saved by works. After all, doing good works is just one way to get face. One can also get face through via other routes, like establishing relationships (guanxi), having a title, or simply giving the impression that you are worth being honored by others. So, as long as a person gets a degree, then the piece of paper will guarantee some measure of facewhether you earned it or not.

A Discussion of Seminary Education in China (July 5, 2013, Chinese Church Voices)

Recently, the Chinese Christian Theological Education Fair was held in Shanghai. The reporter took the opportunity to interview presidents, vice presidents, and provosts from 20 seminaries all over the country and experts from China and abroad. In those interviews, they were asked to give their views on the curriculum setting and training goals of Chinese seminaries and the challenges they are facing.

Tombs of Jesuits Past (July 9, 2013, World of Chinese)

To the immediate west of Chegongzhuang Station rests a small cemetery which holds the graves of foreign missionaries to China as well as, more significantly, the tombs of three Jesuit missionaries. These three missionaries were not only among the first Westerners to venture into China, but individuals that had high influence among Beijing officials, even advisory roles in the court of the emperor

Bringing the Gospel to Tibet (July 10, 2013, Chinese Church Voices)

Of the more than 7 million Tibetans, currently only several hundred are believers. The author recalls attending a service at Beijing Zion Church during which a Han missionary to Tibet tearfully related his experience in the region. Because he had felt called by God to preach the gospel in Tibet, he had married a Tibetan woman.


Music video: Beijing State of Mind (Youtube)

A Billion Stories (July 5, 2013, The New Yorker)

Living in China at this moment, the stories bombard you with such fantastical vividness that you cant help but write them down and hope to make sense of them later. Writing about China, in The New Yorker, for the past five years, Ive tried to capture something of this age, to grab a few of these stories out of the air before they slip by. The complexities of individual lives blunt the impulse to impose a neat logic on them, and nobody who stays here for some time remains certain about too much for too long.

Gatsby-Like Extravagance And Wealth In Communist China (July 5, 2013, NPR)

The of hasn't opened in China yet, but the story's themes extravagant wealth, naked ambition and corruption have been in full force here for years.

When Filial Piety Is the Law (July 7, 0213, The New York Times)

Chinas imperial dynasties stressed the importance of being loyal to ones ruler and country and dutiful to ones parents, but when the Paragons was banned, it meant that, of loyalty and filial piety, only loyalty remained loyalty to the Communist Party. While the Communist Party now promotes filial piety, it ignores its own history of suppressing it and blames individual behavior for the breakdown of ethical norms, then comes out with a ridiculous legal clause as it fudges its own responsibility as the party in power for the last 63 years.

Weibo User on Flight 214 Posts First Hand Account and Photos (July 7, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

A first-hand account was posted on Sina Weibo by Xu Da (@S), a product manager for Taobao, the Chinese e-commerce giant. Xu was traveling with his wife and child from Shanghai to San Francisco.

San Francisco plane crash and the death of two Chinese girls (July 8, 2013, Danwei)

Yesterdays tragic plane crash in San Francisco is nearly dominant on Chinas front pages today, and particularly highlighted is the death of two Zhejiang middle school students in the crash. According to Chinas official Xinhua news agency, the two girls, Wang Linjia , 17, and Ye Mengyuan , 16, both students at Jiangshan Middle School in Jiangshan , Zhejiang, were traveling to America along with twenty-eight other first-year classmates to participate in their schools summer English camp.

Chinese netizens mourn Asiana crash victims (July 8, 2013, CNN)

With sympathy, grief and some outrage, Chinese netizens expressed their condolences over the deaths of two Chinese schoolgirls in Saturday's crash landing of an Asiana Airlines flight at San Francisco International Airport.

Unwed Chinese Mothers: The Invisible Demographic Birthing an Inconsequential Minority (July 9, 2013, Sinopathic)

This combination of law and opinion have enmeshed to create a web of discrimination against unwed mothers and their families. For instance, children of unmarried parents can not receive a birth certificate. While this may seem like a good idea for tax purposes, this is in fact a very bad thing in China. For starters, it means that all expenses relating to the birth have to be personally paid for with no chance at a government rebate.

What Is the Chinese Dream Really All About? (July 9, 2013, Sinofile)

I hope that the notion of the Chinese Dream is a signal that the Party recognizes that China ought not to be merely the worlds biggest factory, largest market, and most significant creator of pollution. I hope it is a recognition of the dignity and the aspirations of ordinary Chinese people.

High/Low (July 9, 2013, Al Jazeera)

Gambling has long been part of life in China, but in a society increasingly divided by rich and poor, the Chinese have become obsessed with winning easy money. And as gambling is illegal in China, so Hong Kong and Macau have become top destinations for Chinese gamblers. In this Witness film, four gamblers who pin their hopes on games of luck and fortune, take us on an emotional search for belief and identity in money-centric modern China.

New report warns leftover men and women of dangers: Chinese ask whos to blame? (July 11, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

The issue of leftover women those deemed by society to be past the ideal age for marriage has continued to spark fierce debate among Chinas netizens. Recent coverage has shifted somewhat, widening in scope to include and sometimes highlight Chinas bachelor crisis.

The New Visa Alphabet Soup (July 11, 2013, World of Chinese)

The new visa regulations have been hotly discussed across the internet, and even with a handy before-and-after chart, there are some questions about their implementation and specifics. The new visa letters, from C to Z, taken from the Chinese Foreigners Entry and Exit Management Regulations, are listed below.

China plans to further restrict car purchases (July 11, 2013, AP)

China plans to increase the number of cities that restrict vehicle purchases in a bid to fight pollution and traffic congestion, state media reported Thursday. With more than 13 million cars sold in China last year, motor vehicles and their emissions have emerged as the chief culprit for the air pollution in large cities. Four cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, already curb the purchase of vehicles for private use, through lotteries and auctions of a limited number of license plates.

Search for China landslide missing in Sichuan (July 11, 2013, BBC)

The death toll from a landslide caused by heavy rain in China's Sichuan province has risen to 12, state media report, with 11 people still missing. Wednesday's landslide in Dujiangyan city covered an area of two sq km (0.8 sq miles), reports say. It followed days of bad weather that has led to flooding which has damaged hundreds of homes in southwest China. The weather has forced the evacuation of more than 36,000 people in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces.

Photos: Rains Wreak Havoc in China (Jully 11, 2013, China Real Time)

And the Newest Country to Court Rich Chinese Immigrants Is (July 11, 2013, China Real Time)

Countries in southern Europe are tripping over themselves in the competition to woo wealthy Chinese investors looking to buy property in exchange for a resident visa. The latest entrant into the international house-for-visa market: Greece, which is currently rolling out a new program that will offer renewable five-year resident visas to foreigners who spend at least 250,000 ($328,000) on residential real estate.


Pollution Leads to Drop in Life Span in Northern China, Research Finds (July 8, 2013, The New York Times)

Southern Chinese on average have lived at least five years longer than their northern counterparts in recent decades because of the destructive health effects of pollution from the widespread use of coal in the north, according to a study released Monday by a prominent American science journal.

Chicken feet scandal scares public (July 10, 2013, Xinhua)

A food scandal involving chicken feet has led to public concern in China after it emerged products had been stored in a freezer for nearly half a century. Police in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on Friday said they had confiscated more than 20 tonnes of low-quality long-expired chicken feet from a frozen meat warehouse. Chicken feet, or fengzhao in Chinese, are a popular delicacy. They are often served as a cold dish eaten with a beer. The chicken feet, some of which were 46-years-old, have caused anger among Internet users.

China introduces fair organ distribution system (July 10, 2013, Xinhua)

A new system for the management and distribution of donated human organs will soon go into operation nationwide, a health official said Wednesday. Technical means will be used to monitor human intervention in organ distribution, Deng Haihua, spokesman for the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC), said at a Wednesday press conference. The system has been in development since 2010, Deng said, adding that the system is ready to go into use nationwide after successful trials. All patients currently on organ waiting lists will be ranked according to their degree of need, he said.

China confirms 132 H7N9 cases, 43 deaths (July 10, 2013, Xinhua)

A total of 132 H7N9 avian flu cases have been reported on the Chinese mainland, including 43 that have ended in death, according to an update released Wednesday by health authorities. Of the total, 85 H7N9 patients have been discharged from hospitals after receiving treatment. The other patients are being treated in hospitals, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission. The H7N9 infections cover 40 cities in 10 provincial regions, the commission said in a statement.


Plight of the sea turtles (July 6, 2013, The Economist)

Students coming back home helped build modern China. So why are they now faring so poorly in the labour market?

Survey of Chinese Students at Indiana University Reveals Challenges of Integration (July 5, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

According to this survey, Chinese students confirmed that many have few or no American friends and are often unaware of campus life activities such as sporting events or extracurricular clubs. Instead, the surveyed Chinese students often reported spending their free time involved in Chinese Student associations or Chinese Christian events

For-profit study tours banned in Shanxi schools (July 10, 2013, Shanghai Daily)

Schools in north China's Shanxi Province have been banned from organizing overseas study tours for profit after a plane crash killed two Chinese girls in San Francisco. The provincial education department announced the ban in a statement issued yesterday, as well as pledged to launch an investigation into local schools' participation in organizing overseas summer or winter camps and study tours.


Chinas Local Debt Mystery (July 5, 2013, China Real Time)

Leaders in Beijing know that swelling local government debt is one of the greatest threats to Chinas economy. What they dont know, apparently, is just how big the threat is.

Sources of Negotiating Power for Westerners in China Video (July 8, 2013, Chinese Negotiation)

Doing business in China is easier if you have power but thats a real challenge for Western negotiators. ChinaSolved shows you how to identify your natural sources of power and how to leverage them for greater success in your interactions both with external counter-parties and your colleagues & staff.

Outside the Law: Lessons From a Chinese Hostage-Taking (July 9, 2013, China Real Time)

A dispute in a small medical supplies factory in Beijing last month between an American businessman and his employees ended in an agreement that the American says was coerced. What is notable about the case is not only that the American was held hostage, but that local police and officials enforced his detention. The incident highlights both the anxiety of the Party-state about protests that endanger social stability and the extent to which extra-legal measures are used to quell protest.

China June trade surplus down 14.0% (July 10, 2013, AFP)

China's trade surplus fell 14.0 percent in June, data showed, as imports and exports both saw an unexpected dip, suggesting a further slowdown in the Asian economic giant on the back of global weakness. Exports fell 3.1 percent to $174.32 billion, according to figures from Customs, while imports decreased 0.7 percent to $147.19 billion, leaving a trade surplus of $27.13 billion.

Easy Money or Thankless Toil? Chinas Young E-commerce Entrepreneurs Weigh in on Taobao (July 10, 2013, Taobao)

Taobaos low barriers to entry give many people an opportunity to open a store and generate income independently from the comfort of their homes, an appealing option given Chinas terrible job market. If todays young people either want to earn extra money or dont have jobs, their first thought is to open a Taobao store, wrote @19866, commenting on the retirement of Alibaba CEO Jack Ma in May. Taobaos success is in responding to this demand, keeping up with the peoples increasingly difficult lives

Budgeting For Chinese Negotiations (July 10, 2013, Chinese Negotiation)

Treat your China negotiation as a discrete operation with its own timetable, budget and manpower plan. Americans view negotiations as a hurdle they must cross in order to get to the business Chinese feel that negotiating IS the business, and it doesnt end as long as the relationship continues. Thats a completely different orientation, and it has been the downfall of many promising deals (and Western executives).

Media Piracy And The End of Chinese Cultural Exceptionalism? The Ancient History Of The DVD (July 10, 2013, China Law Blog)

Dan invited me to write a post about the recent launch of the Chinese translation of Media Piracy in Emerging Economiesan independent, 6-country study of piracy that I directed while at the Social Science Research Council. The report is free to download, in English and Chinese, under a Creative Commons license.


Photos: Chinas Largest-Ever Algae Bloom (July 9, 2013, China Real Time)

The Yellow Sea algae bloom has become an annual event in recent years. This year's, which the official Xinhua news says is the largest on record, has damaged the aquatic-farming industry and hurt tourismthough some swimmers are willing to put up with itand threatens other ocean life.

China to Report Air Pollution Monitoring Data in 116 More Cities (July 10, 2013, Bloomberg)

China widened its air-quality monitoring rules, asking more cities to report data as the nation seeks to combat high levels of pollution. A State Council notice told 116 more of its cities to disclose air quality monitoring data, including readings for pollutants such as PM2.5 and ozone, adding to 74 cities that already do so. PM2.5 refers to fine air particles that pose risks for lung and heart diseases.The country will rank its major cities by the severity of their air pollution, according to the statement, posted on the State Council website yesterday and dated July 1.

Gallery: Beautiful images of China's new space program (July 10, 2013, DVice)Survey Finds That Sina Weibo Users Are Less Active This Year (CHARTS) (July 11, 2013, Tech in Asia)

There comes a time when everything peaks and then its all downhill from there. According to a tracking tool thats monitoring Sina Weibo, users of the Twitter-like service are a lot less active this year.


Memories of Peking, the Northern Capital (The China Story)

The anonymous author of this essay recounts his experiences of travelling through Beijing. He describes the modes of transportation, the city scenes and visits to the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, a Lama temple and other sites.


Photos: The Yellow River (Zhang Kechun)

The worlds new largest building is four times the size of Vatican City (July 3, 2013, Quartz)

China just cut the ribbon on the worlds new largest building. The New Century Global Center, which recently opened in Chendgu, China, is 328 feet high, 1,640 feet long, and 1,312 feet wide. Thats roughly 20 times the size of Sydneys legendary Opera House, four times the size of Vatican City, and three times the size of the Pentagon. And its 420 acres in floor space is nearly the size of the entire country of Monaco (499 acres).


China, Here We Are! (Summer 2013, ChinaSource Quarterly)

Any journey begins long before you arrive at your destination. Inevitably, there is preparation with most attention given to the practicalities of travel arrangements, paperwork, packing and farewells. Some things are "packed" without a thoughtand these can often lead to the biggest problems.

Mandarin English Dialogue #33 Setting Up a Bank Account (July 5, 2013, carlgene.com)

A Mandarin-speaking man has called a bank to set up a new account. He is being served by an English-speaking teller.

Meaningful Chinese Transliterations (for fun!) (July 9, 2013, Sinosplice)

Recently I came across this list of English words (probably taken from a list of vocabulary words for some horrible standardized test) that have been transliterated into Chinese in a humorous way. That is to say, the Chinese characters chosen, rather than being random or standard transliteration characters, were chosen for their meanings. Ive added pinyin tooltips to the transliterations, and also English translations of the transliterations.

Chinese Slang: The Ultimate Guide (Fluent U)

As a Chinese learner, do you have this issue? You feel like you can communicate competently but theres still something missing. You want to be able to make Chinese people laugh, and say things that are more thought provoking. Youre not content just speaking passably you want to communicate powerfully. You want to connect to Chinese people on a personal level. Theres one simple step you can take to get there learn Chinese slang.


为基督,为教会——基督教教育的目的和性质 (Pacific Institute for Social Sciences)


Literary guide to China (July 2, 2013, The Telegraph)

We asked some of the world's most eminent writers to offer literary tours of the places they know best.

Image credit: Lijiang, by Mi..chael, via Flickr