June 19, 2014

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Six Trends Shaping China (and What They Mean for the Church) (June 16, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

Jeffrey Towson and Jonathan Woetzel, both professors at Peking University's Guanghua School of Management in Beijing, claim you can understand China in an hour. An excerpt from their new book on the McKinsey & Company website says getting a handle on China is a lot less about politics and a lot more about a handful of major economic and social trends that are shaping the country's future. Here they are, along with some comments of my own (in italics) on what they mean for China's Christians.


Does China Care About its International Image? (June 12, 2014, The Diplomat)

Chinas global image faces challenges but if asked to choose between its national interests and preserving its national image, China would choose the former.

Macau: Gambling Away the Future on Chinas Doorstep (June 12, 2014, Foreign Policy in Focus)

Macau may be right where Beijing wants it and Chinas other peripheral regions to besocieties increasingly dependent on the mainland for their prosperity and therefore less willing to make annoying demands for such things as democracy and greater autonomy.

Jets in East China Sea: Japan and China blame each other for encounter (June 18, 2014, Christian Science Monitor)

On Wednesday, Japan lodged a diplomatic protest with Beijing over the incident. In response, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson told reporters, 'China strongly opposes and protests Japan's act of ignoring the facts, shifting the blame onto the victim, aggressive slandering and hyping the so-called China threat.'

China to build school in contested Paracel Islands (June 15, 2014, BBC)

China says it will build a school in the disputed Paracel Islands, boosting its presence in waters also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam. China calls the island Yongxing and has been building up a settlement there for the last two years. The school is expected to serve just 40 children, whose parents all work on the tiny island.

China aims to revamp justice system but Communist Party to retain control (June 16, 2014, Reuters)

China will launch pilot programs to overhaul its judicial system and curb abuses of power by local governments without sacrificing the ruling Communist Party's control of the courts, state media reported on Monday. Legal reforms are a key platform for President Xi Jinping's government to restore popular faith in the Party and judicial system amid simmering public discontent over miscarriages of justice often caused by officials' abuse of power.

Chinas ethnic policies short on evidence (June 16, 2014, East Asia Forum)

The CCPs insistence that enemies abroad are responsible for all Tibetan and Uyghur unrest is harming the partys interests and its ability to govern its ethnic regions. It stands as a political great wall against intelligent inquiry into the sources of ethnic minority grievances and the extent to which public policies can exacerbate or ameliorate those grievances.

Why Pu Zhiqiang is not guilty (June 16, 2014, China Media Project)

Pu Zhiqiang, a well-known rights lawyer and former CMP fellow, was detained by authorities in Beijing in early May after he participated in a private event to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the June 4th Incident. Pu remains in custody and authorities announced last week that they would move ahead to prosecute Pu on charges of creating a public disturbance (even though the event was private) and illegally obtaining the personal information of citizens. The following is our translation of a recent post by Pu Zhiqiangs lawyer, Zhang Xuezhong, that has been actively deleted from Chinas internet and social media. In it, Zhang argues the reasons why Pu Zhiqiang is not guilty.

China Sentences 3 To Death For Tiananmen Attack (June 16, 2014, NPR)

A Chinese court has sentenced three people to be executed for their roles in a deadly attack at Beijing's Tiananmen Gate in October in which an SUV plowed into a crowd of bystanders then crashed and burst into flames, killing five and wounding 40. NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports that the three were sentenced in China's western Xinjiang region for leading a terrorist group and endangering public security.

China Executes 13 in Xinjiang Region After Attacks (June 16, 2014, The New York Times)

The Chinese government executed 13 people in the Xinjiang region on Monday, part of an intensifying response to growing violence in the region that is spreading to other parts of the country. The 13 people had been found guilty of organizing and leading terrorist groups, as well as murder, arson, theft and other crimes, according to the official Xinhua News Agency, whose report cited courts in three different cities in Xinjiang.

Queen welcomes Chinese premier to Windsor Castle video (June 17, 2014, The Guardian)

The Queen welcomes the Chinese premier Li Keqiang and his wife to Windsor Castle. After being officially announced, he shakes hands with the Queen and the Duke of York before sitting down for a brief meeting in one of the lavishly decorated drawing rooms, which the Queen kicks off with a question: 'Have you just arrived?' Li, who is travelling with a large business delegation, is in Britain to boost trade ties and mend diplomatic relations.

As Chinas Leader Fights Graft, His Relatives Shed Assets (June 17, The New York Times)

As President Xi Jinping of China prepares to tackle what may be the biggest cases of official corruption in more than six decades of Communist Party rule, new evidence suggests that he has been pushing his own family to sell hundreds of millions of dollars in investments, reducing his own political vulnerability.

For Vietnam And China, No Easing Of Tensions (June 18, 2014, The New York Times)

China and Vietnam exchanged sharp views Wednesday in their dispute over a Chinese oil rig deployed in contested waters in the South China Sea near Vietnams coast and appear to have made little headway in cooling tensions, according to accounts by both governments summarizing a top-level meeting in Hanoi.

RELIGIONIs the Chinese Regime Changing its Policy Toward Christianity? (June 11, 2014, The American Interest)

It appears to be. And its hostility is only likely to increase as the regime turns to forces such as nationalism to legitimate itself in the face of an inevitable slowdown in Chinas rate of growth.

Can Christianity Impact Chinese Society? Ten Take-aways (June 12, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

The topic of the second panel was Christianitys impact on civil society, and the speakers were David Aikman, Richard Madsen, Jiexia Zhai Autrey, and Zhao Xiao. Here are ten "take-aways" from the second panel:

Christians in China Claim Government Harassment (June 16, 2014, VOA News)

Last week, Christians in the southeastern Chinese city of Wenzhou prevented an attempt by demolition workers to remove a cross from the roof of the Guantou church. Chinese Christians and human rights activists view the incident as the latest attempt by authorities to subvert Christianity. In April, the citys huge Sanjiang Church was demolished, allegedly because it failed to meet building codes.

China's Clampdown on 'Evil Cults' (June 17, 2014, The New York Times)

The governments anti-religion campaign is not borne of concern for public security stemming from a horrific murder. This is a concerted effort to bring independent churches and their followers into line. The clampdown is simply the governments way of strengthening its control of society.

Governing Religion with One Eye Closed (June 17, 2014, ChinaSource Blog)

I am not a regular reader of Daedalus (although I probably should be), but a few weeks back I downloaded the Spring 2013 edition of the journal Daedalus onto my kindle because the cover caught my eye: "Growing Pains in a Rising China." The article topics range from economics to education to the internet, and almost everything in between. The one that caught my eye, though, and the one I read first was the "Politics of Increasing Religious Diversity in China," by Robert P. Weller. His main point is that China's approach to religious governance is a case of "governing with one eye open." Another term he uses is "governance by mutual hypocrisy."


Interview: Will Forced Urbanization in China Create a New 'Permanent Underclass'? (June 13, 2014, Asia Society)

Around this time last year, New York Times China correspondent Ian Johnson published the first installment in his ambitious series of stories about the effects of China's new policy of forced urbanization, expected to relocate hundreds of millions of rural residents in the coming years. Johnson looked the issue from a variety of perspectives, including those of the rural people affected by the initiative and the government officials behind it. For his work on the topic, Johnson was named a finalist for this year's Osborn Elliott Prize for Excellence in Journalism on Asia the judges called his series "revelatory." Asia Blog caught up with Johnson via email.

China not at World Cup, but they're still crazy for it (June 18, 2014, CNN)

Thirty-two of the world's best football teams are now competing for the iconic golden World Cup trophybut the planet's most populous nation is not among them. Team China failed to qualify for the "beautiful game's" showpiece event in Brazil. In fact China's World Cup dream turned into a nightmare as early as 2011, when it was eliminated in a regional qualifying round. But for all the interest in football in this country of more than one billion people, it is a huge source of frustration that they can't field a competitive national team.

China bans unauthorised critical coverage by journalists (June 18, 2014, Reuters)

Reporters in China are forbidden from publishing critical reports without the approval of their employer, one of China's top media regulators said on Wednesday. The rule comes as the government intensifies a crackdown on freedom of expression, both online and in traditional media.The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television published the rule in a circular announcing a crackdown on false news and journalists who take bribes or extort money from their sources.

Chinas Dog-Meat Eaters Told to Lay Low as Internet Howls (June 19, 2014, China Real Time)

Authorities in southern China have thrown a bone to an angry public and put the annual Yulin Dog Eating Festival on a somewhat tighter leash. Authorities in the city of Yulin in the Guangxi region havent canceled the event, insisting that eating dog meat is a local custom and they couldnt possibly interfere. Still, they have told civil servants to try to stay away. In response to howls of criticism, authorities also recently posted a statement on the local government website saying that neither the government nor any private organizations have been behind the Lychee Dog Meat Eating Festival, as the festival is known in China.


AAUP Rebukes Colleges for Chinese Institutes and Censures Northeastern Ill. (June 15, 2014, Chronicle of Higher Education)

The American Association of University Professors on Saturday urged colleges that operate Chinese language and culture centers financed by the Peoples Republic of China to either scrap the partnerships or renegotiate them to promote transparency and protect academic freedom. In a statement approved last week by the AAUPs Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure and released here on Saturday at the associations annual conference, the AAUP argues that many colleges in the United States and Canada have sacrificed their integrity and jeopardized academic freedom by giving the Chinese government considerable say over the centers, which are known as Confucius Institutes.


Chinese Cities Quietly Loosening Shackles on Housing (June 13, 2014, China Real Time)

Shh! As the countrys property market starts to deflate, Chinas cities may be relaxing their property curbs. But it doesnt mean they want too many people to know about it. The latest example comes from the northeast city of Shenyang, where the glare of media attention after it was reported that the government was easing property curbs prompted some real estate types to dive for cover.

52 Chinese Brands You Ought to Know (June 13, 2014, Nanjing Marketing Group)

Gone is the myth that China produces cheap goods that no one wants. Im going to look at the biggest Chinese companies and how they are developing. Below is a list of categories. For each category Ill list the most important and valuable firms. These emerging multinational companies may not be so well known outside of China right now. But in the future these firms will be known around the world and will change the way we all live in future.

Chinas 40 hour work week is mandatory. Except when its not. (June 16, 2014, China Law Blog)

In Chinas Forty Hour Work Week Is Mandatory. Except When Its Not, I wrote of how Chinas labor law permits a flexible working hours system for senior management as an exception to the basic work week rule (it seems most municipalities enforce a 40-hour work week). This system can benefit employers needing greater employee hour flexibility, without having to pay overtime every time their employees work outside the basic hours. However, employers should proceed with caution.

China, Britain sign trade deals worth 14 bn (June 17, 2014, AFP)

Britain and China signed trade deals on Tuesday worth more than 14 billion ($28 billion, 17 billion euros), during a visit to London by Premier Li Keqiang aimed at resetting economic and diplomatic ties.

At the World Cup, Its Made in China, Sold in Brazil (June 18, 2014, The Wall Street Journal)

From the official Adidas ball to armadillo figurines, China may not have made the World Cup this year, but its factories are keeping soccer fans supplied.

China to start direct yuan trade with British pound (June 18, 2014, AFP)

China will start direct trade between its yuan currency and Britain's pound on Thursday, the country's foreign exchange trade platform said, in another step in its push to internationalise the unit. Sterling and the Chinese renminbi, the yuan's other name, will be directly swapped from June 19 without using the US dollar as an intermediary, the China Foreign Exchange Trade System (CFETS) said in a statement Wednesday.

China Home Prices Fall for First Time in 2 Years (June 18, 2014, The New York Times)

Chinas average home prices fell for the first time in two years in May, data showed on Wednesday, and price weakness spread to more major cities, adding to signs of cooling in the property market.The 0.2 percent monthly price drop in May, though slight, follows data last week that showed growth in property investment had slowed while property sales and new construction tumbled, compounding the challenges for leaders in Beijing as they deal with an economic slowdown.


Chinese-Made Smartphone Comes With Spyware, Security Firm Says (June 18, 2014, China Real Time)

The Star N9500, a cheap Android-powered smartphone made in China, ships with more than just an 8-megapixel camera and quad-core processor, according G Data, a Germany cyber-security company. The company says it has discovered malicious softwarewhich could be used to track the phones user and manipulate the device remotely embedded in the device.


30 Hour Train Ride in China (June 16, 2014, BootsnAll)

The moment I enter the Turpan train station, I know the next 30 hours are going to be rough.The whole station is absurdly crowded, full of umbrellas and wet people and families huddled together and men smoking and stray dogs. The aisles are all muddy and clogged with luggage and the seats are all full and the signs are all in Mandarin.

Demystifying Bike Sharing in Shanghai (June 17, 2014, John Pabon)

I reported a few weeks ago on Chinas growing use of bike-sharing programs, particularly in Hangzhou. Unbeknownst to many, Shanghai has an albeit smaller program. Many of you have undoubtedly passed by the racks of orange Forever-brand bicycles locked up around the city. If you noticed them at all, your first reaction would probably be to look for a rental kiosk. If you were unsuccessful in finding one you wouldnt be alone.


Writing China: James Manicom, Bridging Troubled Waters (June 16, 2014, China Real Time)

The Senkaku/Diaoyu islands under Japanese administration but also claimed by China are at the center of the dispute as these two Asian states take a more assertive stance in defending their respective claims. This is the subject of James Manicoms new book Bridging Troubled Waters. Mr. Manicom, a research fellow in global security at the Canadian think tank the Centre for International Governance Innovation, argues that despite the serious deterioration in relations, the dispute isnt necessarily destined to spin out of control. China Real Time recently caught up with him on a visit to Beijing.

From Doctors to Kings: Who Are Chinas Old Friends? (June 17, 2014, China Real Time)

Chinese journalist and blogger Fang Kecheng turned heads five years ago when he compiled a list of the instances in which Chinas feelings had been hurt by people abroad, as catalogued by party newspaper the Peoples Daily. (The ultimate tally? According to Mr. Fangs count, at that time the feelings of the Chinese people had been hurt at least some 58 times by Japan and 27 times by the U.S.) This year, hes again created waves with The Old Friends of the Chinese People. Published this spring, Mr. Fangs book examines the question of who, according to state media, has been awarded the title of an old friend of the Chinese people and why.


Chinas labour shortage and the pace and structure of growth (June 16, 2014, East Asia Forum)

The shrinkage of labour supply, in the face of increasing labour demand, has induced a widespread shortage of labour and rapid growth in Chinese wages. This is the famous turning point in development where unlimited supply of labour dries up and the structure of economic growth has to change profoundly if growth success is to continue. It is also a point after which the pace of economic growth can be expected to slow somewhat.

Foreign Correspondents Club of China Annual Reporting Conditions Survey (CPJ.org)

Image credit: Shanghai, by Fitz Carraldo, via Flickr

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