June 6, 2013

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Listen: Tiananmen Square, A 'Watershed' For Chinese Conversions To Christianity (June 3, 2013, Here & Now Radio)

Monday is the 23rd anniversary of China's 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. And Professor Fenggang Yang of Purdue University says the crackdown set off a trend of conversions to Christianity in China.


Tiananmen group condemns Chinese leader Xi Jinping (May 31, 2013, BBC)

Relatives of victims of the 1989 Tiananmen killings have criticised Chinese President Xi Jinping for failing to initiate political reform. The open letter, from the Tiananmen Mothers group, came ahead of the 4 June anniversary of the crackdown.

China Is Reaping Biggest Benefits of Iraq Oil Boom (June 2, 2013, The New York Times)

Since the American-led invasion of 2003, Iraq has become one of the worlds top oil producers, and China is now its biggest customer.

Witnesses to Tiananmen Square struggle with what to tell their children (June 2, 2013, Los Angeles Times)

From a young age, Qi Zhiyongs daughter asked him how he lost his leg. To everyone else in the world, Qi always responded to the question with an unflinching, often angry, answer: He lost his left leg when soldiers fired on him and other unarmed civilians during protests at Tiananmen Square in one of modern historys most brutal crackdowns. But when his daughter asked, Qi choked back the words.

Video: Who is Xi Jinping? (June 3, 2013, The New York Times)

The Timess China correspondents discuss the countrys new president, Xi Jinping, who will meet with President Obama this week.

Elite in China Molded in Part by Tiananmen (June 3, 2013, The New York Times)

This year is the 24th anniversary of the bloodshed, and the first under a party leadership dominated by officials with such intimate and ambivalent ties to the events of 1989. Many top leaders served their political apprenticeship in the 1980s, when the boundaries between the permissible and the forbidden were not as stark and heavily policed as they are now. Their careers and friendships, and sometimes their viewpoints, overlapped with intellectuals, officials and policy advisers who were jailed or dismissed after the June 4 crackdown.

How China Made the Tiananmen Square Massacre Irrelevant (June 4, 2013, The Atlantic)

24 years after the government crackdown on pro-democracy protesters seemed to signal its doom, the Chinese Communist Party survives. But can it put off political reforms forever?

Why Are So Many Chinese Talking About Constitutionalism? (June 4, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

Among public intellectuals on Chinas Internet, the term constitutionalism () has been raised with increasingly frequency. Esoteric as it may sound, the term is probably the most frequently invoked in the context of political reform, rising above the ranks of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, democracy, or human rights. Why has constitutionalism become a banner to unite Chinese reformists, and what does it really mean?

How Would Facing Its Past Change Chinas Future? (June 4, 2013, China File)

Until the Chinese Communist Party takes the difficult step of facing its recent past, it will continue to abdicate an important leadership role to the nations dissidents and public intellectuals: guardian of the nations history and its conscience. That duty needs wider stewardship. An increasingly pluralistic, confident, and digital China surely can do better. Near-term change is unlikely, but we can always dream aloud.

Thousands Rally in Hong Kong on Tiananmen Square Anniversary (June 4, 2013, The New York Times)

Tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents, joined by a smattering of mainland Chinese, converged in central Victoria Park here on Tuesday to honor the 24th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown and vent their anger at a Chinese leadership that has increasingly signaled its intent to broaden its limited control over the territory.

Tiananmen still taboo in China after all these years (+video) (June 4, 2013, Christian Science Monitor)

More than two decades on, some young people don't even know the significance of the day the Chinese police ended a massive student protest, killing hundreds, perhaps thousands of young people.

Tiananmen Effect: Big Yellow Duck a Banned Term (June 4, 2013, China Real Time)

Sinas censors were also busy hand-deleting Tiananmen-related images from the site, including a series of tongue-in-cheek re-imaginings of the iconic Tank Man photo, taken as Chinese military vehicles were attempting to leave the square. In one version, produced by cartoonist Hexie Farm, a blue bird from the Rovio game Angry Birds stands before a line of porcine tanks, middle feather raised in a defiant gesture. Other users posted various recreation of the Tank Man tableau using Legos.

Watch: The Story Behind the Tank Man Photo (June 4, 2013, China Real Time)

Pultizer Prize winner Liu Heung-Shing tells the WSJ how a fellow Associated Press photographer captured the iconic Tank Man image during the Tiananmen Square crackdown in June 1989and how the AP snuck it past plainclothes police who were on the lookout for protestors and the media.

China Travels Back Down the River (June 4, 2013, China Real Time)

Faced with a slowing economy and mounting public frustration over corruption, Chinas new leadership has signaled plans to reduce state control in economic matters while simultaneously tightening control over politics and ideology. That bifurcation between economic liberalization and political repression is reminiscent of an earlier era, when economic uncertainty coupled with the partys failure to tackle official corruption and refusal to allow a more liberal political climate led to the 1989 student uprising.

China Says Its Navy Is Spying On America (June 4, 2013, Forbes)

As if massive Chinese cyberespionage wasnt enough, now China is indicating that it will and already has send ships and aircraft to spy on U.S. territory.

Chen Xitong: Timely passing (June 5, 2013, Analects)

It is somehow fitting that news of the death of Chen Xitong, a disgraced former leader, trickled out two days after the fact, on June 4th, the anniversary of the violent 1989 crackdown on the Tiananmen Square demonstrations that had paralysed the Chinese capital for weeks. It is a date that continues to roil Chinese politics.

Chinese-American Released From China (June 5, 2013, AP, via ABC News)

A Chinese-American businessman who was held in China for nearly five years after he became involved in a dispute with a competitor has been allowed to return to his Southern California home, his wife said Tuesday. Hong Li said her husband, Hu Zhicheng, arrived at Los Angeles International Airport from China on Monday night. [] Hu was released just ahead of a summit between President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, but Li said she didn't know if that played any part in her husband's return.

China has 'mountains of data' about U.S. cyber attacks: official (June 5, 2013, Reuters)

China's top Internet security official says he has "mountains of data" pointing to extensive U.S. hacking aimed at China, but it would be irresponsible to blame Washington for such attacks, and called for greater cooperation to fight hacking. Cyber security is a major concern for the U.S. government and is expected to be at the top of the agenda when President Barack Obama meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in California on Thursday and Friday.

China's President Lays Groundwork For Better U.S. Relations (June 6, 2013, NPR)

Chinese President Xi Jinping says he wants to build a new great power relationship with the United States at this week's summit with President Obama. What does he mean by that, and what are the implications for the U.S.?

Domestic Dangers for Xi in Sunnylands (June 6, 2013, China Real Time)

Xi surely knows that he arrives at this summit just when his reforms at home are both raising hopes and meeting resistance. The meeting in California should tell us how much more reform and rethinking Xi has in mind for Chinaand how much political strength he has when gets back home.

Obama and Xi: Meeting of minds (June 6, 2013, BBC)

During their two days together at an estate in Rancho Mirage, discussions are expected to focus on hacking, tension between their militaries and North Korea. But both men also seem keen to establish a personal rapport. So they may end up seeking common ground, focusing on shared interests – like basketball. Here are some other suggestions for breaking the ice.

Nowhere to turn for China's Uyghurs (June 6, 2013, Asia Times Online)

Pressure from the United Nations and Washington over alleged religious and cultural suppression by China in Xinjiang province is being resisted by Beijing, which insists its achieving progress in religious freedoms and autonomy in minority regions. Deadly clashes in the province in April that saw 21 killed, including 19 Uyghur suspects, suggest a lack of self-determination is leading to radicalization.

The Communist Partys Process Problem (June 6, 2013, China Real Time)

In short, the Chinese public has a strong sense of problems, not only because problems abound, but also because of the government has failed to address them either 1) not mentioning them at all; 2) mentioning them but not analyzing them or offering a solution; or 3) mentioning and analyzing the them and proposing solutions, but then failing to implement the solution. Its no wonder the public is becoming anxious and pessimistic, as the Peoples Daily observes.

Special Report: The mother who burned herself to death for Tibet (June 6, 2013, Reuters)

On the chilly afternoon of March 24, Kalkyi – who like some Tibetans went by just one name – stood outside the monastery gates with about 200 to 300 other worshippers. She doused herself with gasoline and lit a match. Flames instantly engulfed her, and as they did, she shouted words that no one could make out.


Why are the Chinese atheists? (June 3, 2013, Frog in a Well)

Possibly the most important reason that so many Chinese identify as atheists is not the history of Confucianism throughout the 5000 years of Chinese history, but the complex history of Chinese religion in the 20th century.

An Anti-Abortion PSA and a Call for the Church to Repent (June 4, 2013, Chinese Church Voices)

The following article from the mainland site Gospel Times tells of an anti-abortion public service announcement that was posted online as well as played on Bus-TV in Chengdu, urging people to avoid having abortions on International Childrens Day (June 1), and of other anti-abortion activities in Changchun, Jilin. The blogger in question then calls on the church to repent of the sin of neglecting this moral issue.


Chinese unmarried mothers could face huge fines (June 3, 2013, The Guardian)

Women in Wuhan province could be fined 17,000 six times average disposable income for having a child out of wedlock

A Factory Burns in China (June 3, 2013, Letter from China)

In that sense, the Jilin fire was as much a symbol of Chinas internal dynamism as the Dhaka tragedy was a symbol of Bangladeshs fragile place in global supply chains. And therein lies one of Chinas vulnerabilities: that a four-year-old factory in a fast-growing economy could be run in such a dangerous fashion is a story not of poverty but of legal disarray.

Photos: China's Next Great Inventions (June 3, 2013, China Real Time)

Possibly the most important reason that so many Chinese identify as atheists is not the history of Confucianism throughout the 5000 years of Chinese history, but the complex history of Chinese religion in the 20th century.

China's nightmarish working conditions: By the numbers (June 4, 2013, The Week)

Labor experts said the tragedy reflected a long history of safety problems in Chinese factories. "Throughout China's modern economic development, there has really been very little consideration for the rights and interests of the workers," said Li Qiang, executive director of New York-based China Labor Watch. A numerical look at China's deadly industrial record:

China's workplaces: Accident prone (June 4, 2013, Analects)

The enforcement of Chinas work-safety measures has lagged behind the growth of its economy, now the worlds second-largest. Industrial workplaces boast dire safety records.

Video: Relatives demand answers after China poultry plant fire (June 4, 2013, BBC)

The relatives of workers who died in a fire at a poultry plant in China have gathered outside the factory to demand answers and an investigation into the cause of the accident. At least 119 people died in the fire, thought to have been caused by a leak of ammonia at the factory, in Dehui in Jilin province. The fire is one of China's worst industrial accidents in recent years and there is growing anger over China's poor record when it comes to workplace safety.

"This is China" (June 4, 2013, Isidors Fugue)

After a few seconds he replied, "This is China." His brief but loaded statement struck me as remarkable, yet it made me recall analogous cases I had seen elsewhere in China, such as people ignoring barriers to cross a potentially dangerous construction site in Changsha. As I walked away from the pier I considered why people are willing or allowed to break some rules but not others and how what I had seen was an instance of people enjoying a particular type of freedom.

Could One Chinese City Cut a Small Hole in the Great Firewall? (June 5, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

The Chinese Web is well known to sit within a so-called Great Firewall of Censorship, even as government spokespeople have always managed to declare that the countrys Internet is open with a straight face. But did one local government just inadvertently admit to the world that it is?

"Chinese dream" among top media buzzwords: report (June 5, 2013, Xinhua)

"Chinese dream," "beautiful China" and "the completion of a well-off society" were among most frequently used terms in media reports and textbooks last year, according to a report released Wednesday.Other popular terms included "ecological civilization," "self-confidence (in the Chinese path, theories and system)" and "a nation with strong marine capabilities," said the report released by the Ministry of Education and the State Language Commission.

China arrests two over poultry plant fire (June 6, 2013, BBC)

Two senior executives at a poultry processing plant in China have been arrested over a fire that left 120 people dead, officials say. Monday's blaze, in Jilin province, was China's deadliest fire since 2000. A microblog post from the Jilin government's information office, citing investigators, said that company chairman Jia Yushan and general manager Zhang Yushen had been detained.According to officials, the firm's bank account has also been frozen.

U.S. teacher detained in Shanghai for alleged molestation (June 6, 2013, Xinahua)

A U.S. teacher at a French school in Shanghai has been detained on suspicion of molesting children, local police confirmed on Thursday. The man, a 32-year-old surnamed McMahon, was detained on May 13 after police received a report one day ago from a French student and her parents claiming that the man molested the student several times, according to the municipal public security bureau. Police said the man is suspected of molesting several children.


90 pct Chinese parents support sex education (June 3, 2013, Xinhua)

Over Ninety percent of parents support educating minors about sex, and incorporating it into school education, the Beijing News, reported on Monday, citing a survey. The survey was jointly conducted by the newspaper and an NGO, the Maple Women's Psychological Counseling Center. It came after a series of molestation scandals against children, and was designed to learn about the prevalence of children's sex education. The questionnaire was completed in written form by 107 children aged between 6 and 14, and more than 1,100 parents via the Internet.


Migrate or educate in Chinas borderlands (May 31, 2013, Asia Times Online)

Urbanization, labor migration and universalization of education are creating radical shifts in China's social and cultural fabric, particularly in minority regions. A study of southwestern Sichuan reveals that as agricultural priorities fade, parents are forced to choose between the immediate income of labor migration and investing in a Han-based education that could lead to college and better jobs.

Crunchtime for Chinas High School Seniors (June 4, 2013, Deal Book)

As with just about everything in China, there are too many people competing for a scarce resource. And through the household registration (hukou) system, the college entrance process is biased in favor of urban applicants.

Silk Road of Pop: A Look at Modern Uyghur Music (June 5, 2013, Far West China)

Stereotypes are present in every culture (yes, even still now in China) and often we seem to cling to them for the simple sake of nostalgia. Take, for instance, the idea of a beautiful Uyghur woman dancing, accompanied by the rhythmic thumping of the dap and the rapid strumming of the rawap. Is this Uyghur music? Thats the idea being challenged by a new documentary named The Silk Road of Pop. Its a fascinating look at as the video description says age-old roots of the Uyghur music culture in Kashgar, metal bands combining local folk music & Western hard rock in their wild performances, and hip-hop crews honing their skills in the smoky basements of communist block towers.


Inside China's 'cancer villages' (June 4, 2013, The Guardian)

Death rates in communities near chemical, pharmaceutical or power plants exceed the national average, but residents face a wall of denial and intimidation


Indicators present muddled picture of China's factories (June 3, 2013, CNN)

What's going on with China's all-important manufacturing sector? Economic reports seeking to gauge activity in China's factories during the month of May have presented investors with a muddled picture, with official indicators from the state outpacing those of private forecasters.

First U.S. Assembly Plant For China's Lenovo Opens In N.C. (June 6, 2013, NPR)

Chinese computer maker Lenovo celebrated the opening of its first U.S. manufacturing plant in Whitsett, N.C., on Wednesday. The company is trying to boost its brand and U.S. market share. Other high-tech firms, including Motorola, have announced plans to manufacture in the U.S. The Lenovo plant celebration was a patriotic affair. A large sign was on display featuring the American flag and the words "Assembled in the U.S."

Beijing hikes taxi base fare by 30% (June 7, 2013, Shanghai Daily)

The 3km base fare for a taxi in Beijing will rise by 30 percent from 10 yuan (US$1.6) to 13 yuan as of June 10, the city announced today. The Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform held a public hearing in May to solicit opinions on the fare hike, which is supposed to address the difficulty in hailing a cab in the gridlocked city, as well as improve drivers' income. According to the new plan, a cab fare will be charged at 2.3 yuan per km after the first 3 km. Meanwhile, a 1 yuan fuel surcharge will continue to be imposed on every taxi journey.


China's mega water diversion project begins testing (June 5, 2013, The Guardian)

South-north diversion project aimed at preventing water shortages has had no shortage of problems and criticism

China offers a new environmental report, filled with state secrets (June 5, 2013, Quartz, via Yahoo)

China published its annual report on the state of its environment yesterday, but dont get too excited. As usual, the sensitive bits were labeled state secrets. Sadly, even the publicly available parts look bad. What we found out:


Capital Skylines: Beijing vs. London (June 5, 2013, World of Chinese)

Both cities are home to big financial districts and although Beijings CBD is fairly new; Londons banking area, the City, has been around for hundreds of years. To the east of the City, Canary Wharf was developed as another banking area in the 1990s. In both capitals, these banking districts are home to the tallest buildings.

Watch: 'This is Shanghai' may just be the best timelapse of China's best city (June 6, 2013, Shanghaiist)

Shot by Rob Whitworth and JT Singh for Thrilling Cities, 'This is Shanghai' is "a roller coaster ride seamlessly weaving between the iconic, sparkling and mismatched buildings of the financial district travelling by boat and taxi touring Shanghais impressive infrastructure whilst glimpsing some of the lesser-known aspects of Shanghai life such as the lower stratum areas or the stunning graffiti of Moganshan road.


Is there a wrong way to learn Chinese? (May 27, 2013, Study More Chinese)

What advice or techniques have you heard, tried or been told about that you think are just not that effective? It could be things like 'starting with pinyin first is wrong' or 'learning without a teacher' or 'only using flashcard apps' etc.

Rediscovering Chinese Rote Memorization (June 5, 2013, Hidden Harmonies)

It turns out, Western critics of Chinese Rote Memorization methods may have been proven wrong by Western educators. Not surprising, critics were far too quick to jump to conclusions of whats bad in education, while without really understanding the education process in depth.


自治: 中国基督教唯一合理的教制设计 [1] (Pacific Institute for Social Science)

无腿舞后廖智:感谢上帝选择我去历经一切的美意 (June 6, 2013, Gospel Times)

又是一年高考时 基督徒艺人邓萃雯为考生打气 (June 6, 2013, Gospel Times)


Top ten photography books about China(April 28, 2013, China Whisper)

China must be seen, not just read about, in order to be understood. And what better way to explore the country than through pictures? From scenic landscape photography to candid street snapshots to classic portraiture, these are some of the best photography books about China.

Cooks Guide to Peking, North China, South Manchuria and Korea 1924 (May 31, 2013, China Rhyming)

An interesting cover from the Thomas Cooks guide to Peking, North China, South Manchuria and Korea from 1924 it was a very popular guide (this is the fifth reprint) that was used by both foreigners living in China as well as by visiting tourists to the area.

The Immobile Empire More on Macartney (June 6, 2013, China Rhyming)

A new study of the Macrtney Mission to China from Alain Peyrefitte

Photography in China a new book (June 6, 2013, China Rhyming)Photography and China is the first overview of the subject to be published in English, providing a comprehensive account of this previously neglected relationship. Spanning the period from the inception of photography until the present, the book foregrounds Chinese photographers and subjects, and draws on works in museum, archival and private collections across China, the USA, Europe and Australia.

Image credit: Tiananmen Square after the flag lowering ceremony, by KittyKaht, via Flickr