ZGBriefs

July 5, 2013

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FEATURED ARTICLE

Changing China, Continuing Challenges (Summer edition, ChinaSource Quarterly)

This new context for China ministry raises a host of questions for anyone committed to long-term ministry in China. Ministry goals and strategies that were formed in the 1990sand in some cases in the 1980smay no longer be appropriate for the conditions and needs of the Chinese church today. Models of cooperation and partnership that were developed to aid a church with little money and few qualified ministers no longer fit the current realities. Even questions as fundamental as, "How do Christians relate to society?" need to be reconsidered in post-Olympic China. For those already deeply engaged in China service, there is a great need for reevaluation.

GOVERNMENT / POLITICS / FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Xi Jinpings Rare Scolding of Top Party Leaders (June 26, 2013, China Real Time)

After telling the lower ranks of the Communist Party to shape up and make a clean break from past practice, Chinese leader Xi Jinping has taken aim at a new target: the Party leadership itself. And hes done so with authority and openness from the highest pulpit of politics in Chinathe Politburo, the very place where the senior leaders sit and make policy.

Outspoken China princeling takes on President Xi (Jun 26, 2013, Asia News Network)

Chinese President Xi Jinping's conservative stance on political reform has led to a major split within the princeling community, whose members share a common interest in preserving the ruling status of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Hu Dehua, the third son of the late party chief Hu Yaobang, openly criticised Xi at a seminar held by the liberal magazine Yan Huang Chunqiu in mid-April. It was by far the most severe criticism lodged against Xi since the latter became CCP general secretary last November.

China's Leaders Beginning To Confront Its Economic Problems (June 28, 2013, NPR)

Things have calmed down since then. But the crisis showed how China's new leaders are just beginning to confront some fundamental problems in the world's second largest economy.

Six Years That Shook the World (June 28, 2013, Foreign Policy)

One of the best foreign reporters in China says goodbye.

China ramps up response after Xinjiang riots (June 30, 2013 Channel News Asia)

China has vowed to ramp up patrols and "crack down upon terrorist groups" after staging large military exercises in the ethnically-divided Xinjiang region following clashes that killed at least 35 people.

The Leadership Crisis at the Heart of Chinas Freest City (July 2, 2013, Time)

But yesterdays rally the 10th iteration of the 7/1 marches, as they are known in Cantonese was startlingly different in the monolithic unity of the demand being made. The only thing being asked for was representative leadership.

China launches new online portal for petitioners (July 2, 2013, BBC)

China has started a new online platform to accept petitions from its citizens. Officials say the website, which was launched by the State Bureau of Letters and Calls on Monday, will help "broaden the channels" for public opinion. However, some potential users expressed fears that the website would be used to expose petitioners.

China cracks down on the 'extravagant style' of officials (July 3, 2013, Christian Science Monitor)

High-end restaurants in top cities have seen their revenues drop by 20 percent from a year ago, perhaps from curbs on official perks.

China, neighbors set up hotlines over island disputes (July 3, 2013, Christian Science Monitor)

China, confident after a recent high-level meeting in the United States and bilateral talks with regional rivals, is ignoring a second round of US advice to sign a code of conduct that could ease the threat of conflict in a crowded, contested tract of Asian ocean.

Big Move? Chinas Highest Court Flirts With Transparency (July 4, 2013, China Real Time)

A decision by Chinas highest court to publicize a handful of judgments through a national online database has ignited a debate about the possibility of greater judicial transparency in the country. Verdicts in a number of high-profile cases are now available on the official website of Chinas Supreme Peoples Court, including the case of former Communist Party official Li Xingong, who was sentenced to death in April after being found guilty of rape and child molestation.

Ethnic unrest in Xinjiang: Unveiled threats (July 6, 2013, The Economist)

In Shanshan county in the western region of Xinjiang, efforts in May to promote ethnic-harmony education month were declared a success after official lecture teams delivered more than 100 speeches on the topic to 80,000, mostly Muslim, residents. On June 26th it became clear that their hard work had failed, as 35 people were killed in Shanshan in the bloodiest outbreak of ethnic violence in Xinjiang for four years. The government, as usual, has blamed Islamic terrorists.

RELIGION

House Church versus Three Self: Cooperation across the Christian Community in China (Summer edition, ChinaSource Quarterly)

The narrative which suggests that Protestantism in contemporary China is clearly divided into the binary opposites of "house church" and "Three-Self" is so ingrained in the thinking of many scholars, observers, journalists and missionaries (among others) that it is arguably one of the dominant paradigms shaping perceptions of the church in China today. I do not think that those new to China should just accept this paradigm as a given.

SOCIETY

Chinese Dream? American Dream? (June 28, 2013, Danwei)

Comparing the American dream with the new Xi Jinping buzzword Chinese Dream (or China Dream), Marquis and Yang use data mined from Sina Weibo by social media analytics firm Crimson Hexagon to answer the question: What do Chinese people, at least those on the Internet, talk about when they talk about the Chinese dream?

Video: Report claims two million Tibetans rehoused in 'socialist villages' (June 28, 2013, BBC)

The New York based group Human Rights Watch has released a report claiming that between 2006 and 2012 more than two million Tibetans were moved into new housing by Chinese authorities. They say the so-called 'socialist villages' are designed to erode ethnic Tibetans' traditional way of life.The Chinese government maintains that the programme is aimed at boosting the region`s economy and providing a better standard of living for Tibetans.

Why Is the Chinese Mens Soccer Team So Bad? (June 28, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

Netizens have been so quick to lampoon their own team in part because they feel a sense of hurt pride. Chinese Web users often criticize their government, but they also evince a strong sense of national identity, and are highly sensitive about their countrys image. Team-based sports such as soccer and basketball should, theoretically, represent the unity of the Chinese state. Instead, as taxpayers who subsidize the national soccer team, Web users feel as if they have made a failed investment.

Why China loves to build copycat towns (June 30, 2013, BBC)

Bosker says that's partly because China has a different attitude towards copying. "The culture of copy in China is very different from what we find in the West, where there's a sense that copying is something incredibly taboo, and to be avoided at all costs." In China, she says, mimicry is seen as "a form of mastery", and is therefore not frowned upon - but encouraged.

Why oh Why? 5 Bewildering Chinese Activities Explained (July 1, 2013, eChinaCities)

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why it is that Chinese restrooms are lacking in toilet paper? Why pregnant women wear those apron-thingies on their way to work? What the obsession with keeping noisy, screeching crickets is about? Why people walk backwards in the morning, all the while clapping their hands rhythmically? Or why that peddler wakes you up with his yelling early in the morning? Everyday activity can astound and bewilder us when were not familiar with the culture. So why is it that Chinese people do what they do?

A Chinese Virtue Is Now the Law (July 2, 2013, The New York Times)

But Chinese officials apparently think it is not enough these days to count on tales and parental admonitions to teach children the importance of filial piety, arguably the most treasured of traditional virtues in Chinese society. The government enacted a law on Monday aimed at compelling adult children to visit their aging parents. The law, called Protection of the Rights and Interests of Elderly People, has nine clauses that lay out the duties of children and their obligation to tend to the spiritual needs of the elderly.

In China, Visit Granny or You Might Get Sued (July 2, 2013, Bloomberg)

What are elderly parents to do when their children no longer bother to visit? In China, theres a new answer: sue the kids.

Living the American dream in Jackson Hole, China (July 4, 2013, CNN)

Looking for a weekend escape from the city, Annie Liu and her husband fell in love at first sight with a log home in Jackson Hole and bought it for less than $300,000. Five years on, a weekly 90-minute drive from their downtown apartment to the house has long been the norm. They enjoy gardening, barbecuing or simply relaxing in their getaway surrounded by mountainsbut often shrouded in Beijing's infamous smog.

Microblogs in China: Digital Democracy Walls? (July 4, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

Real-name registration is no new strategy. A similar tactic was used to successfully shut down Chinas Democracy Wall Movement, a call for political and social change that took place 1978.

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

Mr Li seems the perfect example of a sea turtle, or hai gui (in Mandarin, the phrase return across the sea sounds similar to that animals name), long applauded in China for bringing back advanced skills. In the past such folk reliably reaped handsome premiums in the local job market, but no longer. Sea turtles are not universally praised, the wage differential is shrinking and some are even unable to find jobs. Wags say they should now be called hai dai, or seaweed. This is a startling turn, given their past contributions.

HEALTH

Pollution Leading to Higher Cancer Rates in China (July 2, 2013, China Digital Times)

Chinas rapid development is creating a number of well-documented environmental problems, which in turn are leading to elevated cancer rates, especially in rural regions.

EDUCATION / ARTS / CULTURE

With scores finally announced, suicides follow college exams in China (June 26, 2013, Vocativ)

Test scores for Chinas high-stakes national college entrance exam, the gaokao, are now completely distributed. For one young girl from Sichuan province, several years worth of preparation ended in failure. And, unfortunately, far worse. Wang Qian, 20, committed suicide after receiving her score, which was six points lower than what she needed to get into a third-tier school.

Looted statues returned to China in Pinault donation (June 28, 2013, BBC)

Two bronze animal heads, returned to China after more than 150 years, will soon be on display in their new home in Beijing's National Museum of China. The sculptures were bought by the Pinault family, who own French luxury group Kering, and donated to the Chinese government. The rabbit and rat heads were looted from Beijing's Old Summer Palace at the end of the Second Opium War in 1860.

ECONOMICS / BUSINESS / TRADE

China manufacturing growth rate slows (June 30, 2013, BBC)

China has reported a slowdown in growth of its manufacturing sector, underlining concerns that its economic recovery continues to remain fragile. The official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), a key measure of manufacturing activity, fell to a four-month low of 50.1 in June, from 50.8 in May. A sub-index of new orders also fell, indicating a weak demand.

In China, a replica of Manhattan loses its luster (July 3, 2013, Marketplace)

"Dont invest here!" Zhang says loudly, "Its way too risky. Some developers have re-sold entire buildings at a loss just so they can pull out of here as soon as possible. For the projects that are finished, the investors are now pulling out." The way Zhang sees it, Yujiapu is more Detroit than Manhattan, and it hasnt even been built yet. So I ask her: why IS it being built? "Hu Jintao," Zhang says with a nervous giggle.

Nestle and Danone to lower baby milk prices in China (July 4, 2013, BBC)

Food giants Nestle and Danone have said they will cut prices of some of their infant milk formula products in China. The move comes a day after China launched a probe into alleged price fixing by foreign infant milk makers. Demand for foreign brands has surged in China after tainted milk scandals resulted in distrust of local rivals.

SCIENCE / TECHNOLOGY / ENVIRONMENT

Photos: Chaohu Lake Turns Green (June 30, 2013, Way China)

Chaohu lake in Anhui Province, east China, has seen an invasion of blueish green algae.The photos below taken on the 30th of June, shows how the algae has turned the water into what looks like someone has emptied tonnes of paint into it. The cause of this sudden algae growth is due to high temperatures and sunshine leading to such a bloom.

In Just 6 Weeks, WeChat Blasts from 50 Million to 70 Million Users Outside of China (July 3, 2013, Tech in Asia)

Just six weeks after hitting 50 million, China-made messaging app WeChat has now reached 70 million users outside of China. Revealed this morning by Tencent (HKG:0700) president Martin Lau, its another interesting milestone in the progress of the hottest social media export from the Chinese tech ecosystem.

BOOKS

China's War With Japan by Rana Mitter review (June 29, 2013, The Guardian)

An excellent account of the Sino-Japanese conflict argues that it had a profound impact on the course of the Second World War.

Rejuvenation (July 1, 2013, ChinaFile)

An Excerpt from Wealth and Power: Chinas Long March to the Twenty-first CenturyWealth and Power: China's Long March to the Twenty-first Century (Amazon link)

Image credit: Local chicken express, by Andreas Muelder, via Flickr