March 21, 2013

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 For Many in China, the One Child Policy is Already Irrelevant (March 19, 2013, China File)

Before getting pregnant with her second child, Lu Qingmin went to the family-planning office to apply for a birth permit. Officials in her husbands Hunan village where she was living turned her down, but she had the baby anyway. She may eventually be fined $1,600about what she makes in two months in her purchasing job at a Guangdong paint factory. Everyone told me to hide so the family-planning people wouldnt find me, but I went around everywhere, she told me. In the past, that place had very strict family planning, but now the policy has loosened. The cadres worry that there are too many only children here. I asked her if government policy had factored into her decision to have a second child. It was never a consideration, she said.


Chinas Glamorous First Lady Peng Liyuan Saving the Communist Party With Song (March 16, 2013, The Daily Beast)

As Chinas new president takes power, his glamorous, widely popular wife is singing her way to center stage. Eveline Chao says a little stardust from the high-profile first lady may be just what the Communist Party needs.

China's new president calls for 'great renaissance' (March 17, 2013, AFP)

China's new President Xi Jinping will fight for a "great renaissance of the Chinese nation", he said Sunday as the world's most populous country completed its once-in-a-decade power transition. In his first speech as head of state, Xi called for "the continued realisation of the great renaissance of the Chinese nation and the Chinese dream", laying out a vision of a stronger military and ever-higher living standards. The 25-minute address closed a parliament meeting which named Xi as head of state and Li Keqiang as premier, four months after the pair took the top two posts in the ruling Communist Partythe real source of their power.

Reforming China's gulags (March 17, 2013, BBC)

China's new Premier Li Keqiang has signalled his government is prepared to start the process of reforming the widely-despised system of re-education camps. The camps, a gulag-type network created half a century ago, hold thousands of inmates who are made to undergo "laojiao", also known as "re-education through labour". But the case of one woman, Tang Hui, sent to a camp last year, galvanised public opposition to the system. Reforming it would be a significant legal step.

China's Premier Li meets the press but no unscripted questions, thank you (March 17, 2013, Christian Science Monitor, via Yahoo!)

China is unlike any other country in the world when it comes to press conferences: You generally learn more from the questions that are asked than from the answers that officials give. That rule of thumb proved valid again Sunday as new Prime Minister Li Keqiang met the press for the first time. He seemed confident and relaxed, but like his predecessors, he answered only questions that journalists had submitted in advance, and that his press office had approved.

Xi Set to Slow Down on Reform? Signs Point Other Way (March 18, 2013, China Real Time)

With this years annual political conclave in Beijing finally concluded, will new Chinese leader Xi Jinping now pause? It would be understandable if Xi hesitated, especially in the wake of a successful leadership handoverone praised across the Party media for representing both refreshing inspiration and an end to political uncertainty (in Chinese). Its also part of Chinas political tradition for leaders to consolidate their power base before embarking on initiatives that might create opposition among vested interests. Even Premier Li Keqiang acknowledged in his press conference on Sunday that there was bound to be resistance to the sorts of reforms the government was looking to undertake (in Chinese). But there are all sorts of indications that Xi sees in his proposed reforms the need for speed.

Falling Out of Love With China (March 18, 2013, The New York Times)

While pockets of positive views regarding China can be found around the world, public opinion surveys from the Pew Research Centers Global Attitudes Project and the BBC reveal that Chinas image ranges between mixed and poor. And the negative view is expanding: for almost a decade, European public opinion toward China has been the most negative in the world, but that is now matched in America and Asia.

Why Japan and China could accidentally end up at war (March 19, 2013, Passport)

At a time when Chinese authorities seem to be making efforts to dial down tensions with Japan over disputed islands, could a war between East Asian superpowers be sparked by accidentby some frigate commander gone rogue?

Who makes Chinas foreign policy? (March 18, 2013, BBC)

Capping 38 years of diplomatic service, Yang Jiechi has finally ascended to China's top foreign policy position. After serving as foreign minister for six challenging years, Mr Yang has become a State Councillor in charge of managing foreign affairs. Mr Yang's successor, Wang Yi, moved into his new role as foreign minister after scaling China's diplomatic ranks for three decades, working both as ambassador to Japan and the United States. Most recently, Mr Wang was in charge of Beijing's complex relationship with Taiwan. Those outside China will look to Yang Jiechi and Wang Yi to understand China's stance on a host of international issues. However, they might not receive clear answers.

Why was it so easy for a Chinese citizen to pose as a senior Communist Party official? (March 19, 2013, Washington Post)

Sometime in 2010, a senior official in the Chinese Communist Party named Zhao Xiyong arrived in Yunnan, a mountainous province that is one of the poorest in China. Zhao had a jet-black hair, a fancy title (head of the Beijing-based State Council Research Office), a big appetite and lots of empty nostrums about good governance. Officials in Yunnan doted over him for three years, toasting him at dinners and competing for his favor. Except that Zhou wasnt a senior Communist Party official.

Xi Jinping and the PLA (March 19, 2013, The Diplomat)

Since becoming Chairman of the CCPs Central Military Commission at the 18th Party Congress four months ago, the policies adopted under Xi reflect far more continuity with those of past leaders than is commonly perceived.

China Debates Lews Lunch Tab (March 20, 2013, China Real Time)

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lews lunch in Beijing on Tuesday, notable for the appropriately named guests in attendance, is garnering attention in China for another reason: the remarkably modest bill. Mr. Lew, who had come to China to meet with newly elected Chinese President Xi Jinping, took time out of a packed schedule Tuesday afternoon to dine at the Bao Yuan Dumpling House a restaurant near the U.S. Embassy in Beijing thats popular among expatriates and locals alike for its extensive selection of colorfully wrapped and reasonably priced jiaozi (boiled dumplings). Total outlay for Mr. Lew and two of his Treasury colleagues: 109 yuan, or around $17.50.

North Korea: an albatross around Chinas neck (March 21, 2013, East Asia Forum)

Many prominent Chinese national security analysts have made compelling cases for cutting North Korea loose for several years. Most recently, Shen Dingli, dean of Fudan Universitys Institute for International Studies, made a bold argument for China to stop enabling North Korea in Foreign Policy magazine. Yet, to date, Beijing continues to follow a flawed strategic logic.

China "extremely concerned" about U.S.-Japan island talk (March 21, 2013, Reuters)

Japan and the United States have started talks on operational plans in the case of armed conflict over a group of East China Sea islets claimed by Tokyo and Beijing, Japanese media said on Thursday, prompting China to complain of "outside pressure". The dispute in recent months had escalated to the point where both sides scrambled fighter jets while patrol ships shadow each other, raising fears that an unintended collision or other incident could lead to a broader clash.


Christianity and Civil Society in China (March 18, 2013, Mark Shans Upper Room)

Christianity is promoting citizenship rights in China today primarily through invisible and unstructured church communities. Through the pastoral regions culture based on justice- and love-centered Christian ethics, churches and Christians are holding fast to their faith ideology and its application principles, not giving up meeting and worshiping together, popularizing the model of using the law to defend their rights, and influencing church and society.

Another baby slaughtered: Where is God? (March 18, 2013, Chinese Church Voices)

Over the last couple of days many people have been caught up with the sad news regarding a baby boy who went missing when the car he was in was stolen. After a 5-day search, police in Changchun, Jilin Province announced that the two-month-old baby boy had been found dead. That night at 8PM the mother of the dead child fainted when she was notified and was taken to the hospital. It was reported that the suspect, Zhou Xijun, turned himself in. When he discovered there was a child in the back of the car he had stolen, he drove to Gongzhuling city in Huaide township on the Yongfa village highway. There he strangled the baby and buried him in the snow.

Church leaders in China enter spring training (March 19, 2013, Mission News Network)

In China, the evangelical movement is outpacing its leaders. According to the Chair of the National Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China, the ratio is 1 trained pastor for every 1,000+ Christians. While that's similar to a ratio that's standard in American mega-churches, many of these Chinese pastors don't have the same tools and resources available to them. In fact, many may struggle to have their own Bible, never mind on-hand reference books.

Illicit ordination on same day as pope's inauguration (March 19, 2013, UCA News)

Bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin of Kunming, who is not recognized by the Holy See, ordained two priests in Yunnan province today, raising new questions about the troubled relationship between the China Church and the Vatican. A priest of Kunming who concelebrated the Mass told ucanews.com they had planned the ordination for the solemnity of St. Joseph inadvertently coinciding with Pope Francis installation several months ago.

What Does the Chinese Constitution Say About Religion? (March 20, 2013, ChinaSource)

Misconceptions abound regarding what the Constitution of the People's Republic of China has to say about religion. The government trumpets the fact that the freedom of religious belief is enshrined in the Constitution. And we often hear about the constitution forbidding the teaching of religion to those under 18. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at what the constitution has to say about religion and religious freedom.

How to combat doomsday cults and other undesirables: China-style (March 20, 2013, China Hope Live)

Hitting problems sideways goes back thousands of years in China. Wiq (aka encirclement chess aka Go) is at least 2500 years old. And while theyre certainly willing to engage in head-on confrontation, using an indirect approach is the standard M.O. for Chinese authorities when dealing with troublesome, undesirable groups its effective and less accountable. Here are three examples: two on-going and one more-or-less recent.


How Methamphetamines Replaced Heroin As China's New Drug Of Choice (March 8, 2013, Le Monde)

The Yunnan province in southwestern China, near the border with Burma (Myanmar), was once known for its booming heroin trade. Today, methamphetamines have taken over the market, as synthetic drugs grow more popular in the country. In 2011, 65% of Chinese addicts were heroin users, down 13% since 2008. According to the National Drug Control Commission, methamphetamine users now make up 23% of addicts, up from 9% in 2008.

Dispose of chopsticks and China loses part of its identity (March 18, 2013, The Guardian)

In China, chopsticks are as quintessential to life and culture as tea and rice or noodles (depending on whether you're in the north or south). When I lived in Beijing or travelled on assignment, using a fork was rarely an option, certainly not at the hole-in-the-wall eateries which served the most delicious renditions of dumplings, noodles and "homestyle" dishes like tomatoes fried with eggs, fragrant and spicy shredded potatoes, and red braised pork.

Watch: Words of a Generation, series of interviews with 70s generation Chinese (March 18, 2013, Shanghaiist)

Public relations firms Edelman has produced a series of interviews and vignettes about the generation born in 1970s China. In Edelman's words, this is the generation "whose work and efforts, took a technically backward and largely rural country and transformed it into the second largest and consistently one of the fastest growing economies in the world." Each video dives into a specific aspect of the subjects' lives, above: 'Love'.

As China Surges Ahead, Inhabitants of Tibetan Plateau Fall Further Behind (March 18, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

Today, Tibet lingers on officially only as the TAR (Tibet Administrative Region), while the rest is divided into the Chinese provinces of Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu, and Yunnan. While urbanites in these provinces are, to some extent, riding the wave of Chinas newfound affluence, farmers and nomads of the Tibetan Plateau, just a few kilometers away, inhabit a different world.

Six Reasons Why Weibo Is Powerful, Even If Its Haunted By Zombies (March 18, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

According to the Wall Street Journal, a recent study from Hong Kong University found that over 57% of the 500 million-plus registered users on Sina Weibo, Chinas favorite microblogging service, may be zombie accounts that post no original tweets. The study further found that just over 10% of users appear active in a given week, which squares with information recently shared by Sina Corp itself. The study may be a blow to Sina investors. But it should not dishearten those who believe that social media has changed China or want to use social media to gauge social sentiment. Here are six reasons why.

Flood of dead pigs, trickle of answers in China (March 20, 2013, Washington Post)

Pig carcasses about 14,000 of them have been floating down rivers that feed into Shanghai for nearly two weeks. The citys residents have been told not to worry, and not much else. Where the pigs came from, how they died and why they suddenly showed up in the river system that supplies drinking water to a city of 23 million has not been explained. Officials have told residents that their drinking water is safe and have censored microblog posts suggesting that the public organize peaceful protests.

China pig deaths: Toll from Shanghai rivers nears 14,000 (March 20, 2013, BBC)

The number of dead pigs discovered in Chinese rivers around Shanghai has risen to almost 14,000, officials say. There is no word from the authorities about the cause of the deaths. Last week, officials retrieved nearly 6,000 pig carcasses from the Huangpu River network. They insisted that water from the river was safe.

Guangdong University assembles Internet Red Army to monitor students online activites (March 21, 2013, Offbeat China)

Students at the university call the team the Internet Red Army. The army is led by over 50 student counselors who monitor students activities and conversations on Weibo (Chinas Twitter), Baidu Tieba (online communities), and QQ (IM service). According to a report by Nandu, the armys primary responsibility is to control negative sentiment, monitor online conversation, repel wrong opinions and protect the universitys image.

Eight Questions: Hou Xiaoshou on Community Capitalism (March 21, 2013, China Real Time)

The socialist-capitalist hybrid lost a stalwart practitioner this week with the death of Wu Renbao, the 84-year-old former Communist Party chief of what is widely known in China as the countrys richest village. Starting in the 1980s, Mr. Wu pivoted his rural Jiangsu Province village, Huaxi, toward urban-style capitalism by opening steel plants and numerous other businesses. The twist: Most everything in Huaxi is collectively owned by the original villagers.


More Than 300 Million Abortions In China Under One-Child Policy: Ministry (March 15, 2013, International Business Times)

New data from the Chinese health ministry has revealed the monumental scale of birth control measures conducted under the countrys one-child policy more than 40 years ago. The Chinese have enacted more than a half-billion birth-control procedures, including 336 million abortions, since 1971. In addition, Chinese medical officials sterilized almost 200 million men and women since the policy was initiated. They have also inserted more than 400 million intra-uterine devices in women, sometimes by force.

TCM for Sprains and Strains (March 18, 2013, World of Chinese)

So youve just sprained your ankle fighting for that offensive rebound (you should have stuck to defense) or maybe you just stepped on an uneven patch of pavement. In either case youve been taught to religiously recite the sacred mantra RICE Rest Ice Compression and Elevation. Well, thats not a bad idea and it will work over time; however some would argue that if you try the TCM approach, youre ankle will heal even faster and youll be off playing basketball again in no time. Unlike RICE, the tenets of TCM say if you sprain or strain a joint, the first thing you should do is to immediately and aggressively massage the injured area using tuina ( tun) to prevent the blood from over clotting and qi from stagnating.

Report: Girl with cerebral palsy recovers after massages for 5 years (March 18, 2013, Shanghai Daily)

A young girl with cerebral palsy has recovered after her mother gave her hourly massages for the past five years in Puchen City, Fujian Province, Qianjiang Evening News reported. The mother, Ji Shoulan, was cited as saying she was totally grief stricken when she learned her five-day-old daughter had cerebral palsy. She told the newspaper she would not give up and decided to massage her daughter every hour in the hopes she would get better. "I believed that as long as I had confidence, my daughter would sense my thoughts and gradually recover," she told the newspaper.


Hiring A Chinese Employee Without A China Company. Good Luck With That. Part II. (March 17, 2013, China Law Blog)

A couple of years ago, we did a post on the difficulties in using independent contractors in China, entitled, Hiring A Chinese Employee Without A Chinese Entity. Good Luck With That. We wrote that post (and this post too) because forming a WFOE in China can be so difficult, expensive, and time-consuming, and because so many companies are looking for some way of hiring a Chinese employee without a China company. This is our even grimmer follow-up.

Economists: China Mirrors U.S. on Eve of Financial Crisis (March 18, 2013, China Real Time)

The same three warning lights that preceded Americas real estate crash and financial crisis are now flashing over China, two economists say, leaving the government limited time to get out of trouble. In a research note published on Saturday, Nomura economists Zhiwei Zhang and Wendy Chen outline the way that elevated property prices, a rapid build-up of leverage and a slide in the countrys potential growth rate could lead to a systemic crisis.

China's Global Yuan Push Accelerating (March 19, 2013, Forbes)

Chinas push to make its currency, the yuan, a global reserve currency is accelerating. Only, this is China. And China is more tortoise than rabbit (though we know who wins the race in that fable). HSBC bank said Tuesday that it expects the country to enact various measures that will increase the yuans use as a global trade currency, especially throughout Chinas Asian trading partners. Qu Hongbin, HSBCs chief China economist, said at a news conference on Monday that the time is right for China to speed up liberalization of its currency. Qu expects it to be fully convertible by 2015.

Swift Demise of Last Major Monopoly in China (March 20, 2013, The New York Times)

Chinas powerful Ministry of Railways was an independent kingdom, people said. Rooted in the Communist forces that took power in 1949, it was intimately tied to the military and was a culture, a way of life for its employees more than two million by 2013. But within one quick week this month it was gone, turned into the China Railway Corp. in a move one analyst likened to bringing a pig to market. The Ministry of Railways was a big, fat pig, and this is a golden opportunity to cut a share from it, said the analyst, a Chinese researcher on corruption who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of political sensitivities. Its the end of an era.

China manufacturing activity speeds up post holidays (March 21, 2013, BBC)

Manufacturing activity in China picked up speed in March, an initial HSBC survey has indicated, adding to hopes of a sustained recovery in its economy. The preliminary reading of HSBC's Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to 51.7, from 50.4 in February. Numbers for March are seen as a true indicator for the sector, as the Chinese New Year holidays skew the data in January and February. China has been taking measures to boost manufacturing, a big driver of growth.

TECHNOLOGY / SCIENCE / ENVIRONMENTChina's Top 6 Environmental Concerns (March 16, 2013, Live Science, via Yahoo!)

China's environmental crises seem to arise on a scale as sweeping and epic as the vast nation itself: Thousands of dead, bloated pigs floating down the river that supplies Shanghai with its drinking water. Air pollution in Beijing so impenetrable the U.S. Embassy's air quality measuring station can only call it "beyond index." Industrial towns where rates of cancer are so high they're known as "cancer villages." []Chinese officials, however, have barely started to acknowledge the problem. In the meantime, the people of China are forced to face the following environmental catastrophes on a daily basis:

Photos: Gross polluted Henan river is gross (March 18, 2013, Shanghaiist)

Disgusting rivers aren't exclusive to Shanghai! Caijing brings us these photos of a waterway in northern Henan province, full to the brim of dead and rotting fish, and garbage. Lovely.


Top universities drop English exam (March 16, 2013, Shanghai Daily)

Chinas top universities began their annual independent recruitment exams yesterday, with English no longer included among compulsory subjects. In most of these universities, applicants for science and engineering majors will only be required to take math and physics exams, while art students will be required to take Chinese and math exams. Yu Han, an enrollment officer at Tsinghua University, said the subject was eliminated in order to reduce students' workload and attract talented students who excel in target subjects.

China's homegrown hit films struggle overseas (March 19, 2013, AP)

The surprise hit in Chinese theaters last year was a low-budget, wacky road-trip comedy that even beat out global blockbuster "Avatar" to become the country's highest-grossing film ever. But "Lost in Thailand" found just a paltry $57,000 during its U.S. theatrical release. The film that earned 1.26 billion yuan ($200 million) in China joins other homegrown hits that have flopped internationally, and is the latest sign that while the country has become a box-office superpower, it faces a harder task fulfilling its leaders' hopes that its studios will be able to rival Hollywood for global influence.

A Building Boom in China (March 20, 2013, The New York Times)

Museums big, small, government-backed, privately bankrolled are opening like mad. In 2011 alone, some 390 new ones appeared. And the numbers are holding. China is opening museums on a surreal scale.


The Official Policy to Curb Rude Chinese Tourists of 2006: Or, So Long As We Got Our Olympic Gold (March 16, 2013, Sinopathic)

The online oven of Chinese anger was stoked again when former employee Andrew Zhao accused the Beach House at Iruveli in the Maldives of discrimination against Chinese tourists. These allegations may have set off a point of contention among Chinese since the charges allege that the resort confiscated hot water kettles; as Sinopathic pointed out, hot water is a essential resource for Chinese.

Eight Questions: Ryan Pyle, The Middle Kingdom Ride (March 18, 2013, China Real Time)

Canadian Ryan Pyle moved to China in 2002 and established himself as a freelance photographer, traveling the country shooting for a host of publications, including The Wall Street Journal. In 2010, he turned the lenses on himself and his brother Colin as the two set off on a 65-day, 11,000-mile Guinness World Record-breaking motorcycle journey that circumnavigated China. The pair captured their journey on video and wrote a book documenting their exploits,

The Middle Kingdom Ride: Two Brothers, Two Motorcycles, One Epic Journey Around China.

In 2011, the Pyle brothers tackled India, biking around its perimeter. The India Ride will be their next joint project. China Real Time recently caught up with Ryan Pyle to ask him about the dangers of Chinese roads, brotherly bonding and seeing China through fresh eyes.

Palace Museum to limit admissions on Mondays (March 19, 2013, Shanghai Daily)

Beijing's historical landmark, the Palace Museum, will be shut for tourists on Monday afternoons, starting from April 1, the museum's operator announced yesterday. The museum, also known as the Forbidden City, will open as usual at 8:30am on Monday but will stop issuing tickets at 11am and close the door at 12pm. The museum's operator said the curbs are necessary to protect the cultural relics and historical buildings after a jump in visitor traffic.

Experts see Chinese tourism to US rising in 2013 (March 20, 2013, China Daily)

The number of Chinese tourists to the United States will rise by about 13 percent this year, aided by aggressive marketing and easier visa procedures, said travel industry professionals. "Thanks to the new (US) visa policy, the number of tourists from the Chinese mainland to the US will touch the ceiling of 1.7 million this year," said Xu Chengwu, president of the American Chinese Tourist Association.

Train tickets may cost more than air travel (March 20, 2013, China Daily)

Traveling by train could become more expensive than flying after the reform of China's railways authorities, a top engineer said. Wang Mengshu, deputy chief engineer of the China Railway Tunnel Group and a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, predicted the debts built up by the now-defunct Railways Ministry will lead to a rise in prices. Railway freight costs have not increased for 30 years, but that will end after the establishment of China Railway Corp, the 75-year-old said. He also expressed concern the corporation is likely to construct the most profitable railways rather than the most needed.


Youve Got Mail: Email Lingo Youve Got To Master in Chinese (March 18, 2013, Fluent U)

Oh, email lingo. You write in all these business, formal terms like we appreciate your understanding and apologize for the inconvenience. Ever find yourselves scratching your head thinking, I wonder whats the most professional way I need to put this? Well, fear not about what to write, Ive made a list of all the common phrases used in business email writing that you can keep right in your desk.

Chinese Traditional/Chinese Simplified Conversion (Chinese Converter)

BOOKSInterview with Leslie Chang: Factory Girls Author (March 16, 2013, China Newz)

China Newz was privileged to be able to have an interview with Leslie T. Chang, author of the New York Times notable book, Factory Girls. She is a former correspondent for the Wall Street Journal.

Will the Chinese Be Supreme? (April 4, 2013, New York Review of Books)A review of 3 books, by Ian Johnson

  • Eclipse: Living in the Shadow of Chinas Economic Dominanceby Arvind Subramanian
  • The Rise of China vs. the Logic of Strategyby Edward N. Luttwak
  • Restless Empire: China and the World Since 1750by Odd Arne Westad


两会提案:基督教发展中的问题与对策 (Pacific Institute for Social Sciences)


Ten Topics Concerning the Rule of Law for Religion (Part 1)

(Pacific Institute for Social Sciences)

Editors Note: Professor Liu Peng is a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Director of the Beijing Pu Shi Institute, an eminent expert on church-state relations in China, and a long-time champion in advocating reform of the administrative regime that regulates religious affairs and establishing the rule of law for religion. In July 2011, 21CCOM.Net invited Professor Liu Peng as an honored guest to interact with netizens at 21CCOM.Net Online to discuss religion and the rule of law in China. Recently, 21CCOM.Net conducted an interview with Professor Liu Peng concerning the rule of law for religion in China. The interview covered ten topics and contains the basic views of Professor Liu Peng regarding the rule of law for religion and the reform of the administrative regime that regulates religious affairs. Below is a transcript of the interview. Since the transcript is rather long, for the convenience of the readers, the ten topics covered in the interview are listed before the transcript as key points. For other articles by Professor Liu Peng, please refer to the Columns of Scholars of 21CCOM.Net.

The Night New York's Chinese Went Out for Jews: How a 1903 Chinatown fundraiser for pogrom victims united two persecuted peoples (September 2011, China Heritage Quarterly)

Image credit: Souzhou 117, by Design for Health, via Flickr