Photos: Chinas Glamorous New First Lady (March 25, 2013, China Real Time)
Pastor Jin on the Church and Social Responsibility (March 22, 2013, Chinese Church Voices)
The revival of the Korean Church is widely known and its influence cannot be ignored. After WWII, in the course of only a few decades, a small, poor nation became todays second largest missionary sending country. In recent decades Christianity in China has also experienced rapid growth and as one of Koreas neighboring countries, there is much to emulate and many lessons to be learned from the passion and experience of the Korean Church.
GOVERNMENT / POLITICS / FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Identity crisis (March 22, 2013, Analects)
In the first part of our interview with David Shambaugh, author of "China Goes Global: The Partial Power", he describes the country's political, economic and military influence abroad
Xi Jinping: Russia-China ties 'guarantee world peace' (March 23, 2014, BBC)
Xi Jinping has said China's friendship with Russia guarantees "strategic balance and peace" in the world, on the second day of his trip to Moscow. Mr Xi, on his first official overseas trip as leader, has already met President Vladimir Putin. He described the Russian leader as a "good friend".
In China, Soviet Unions failure drives decisions on reform (March 23, 2013, Washington Post)
The shadow of the U.S.S.R. still hangs over many parts of Chinese society. What is considered bygone Cold War history by much of the rest of the world, even by many in Russia, lives on in China. You see it in the hulking Soviet-style buildings that dominate Beijing and in songs such as Moscow Nights, which remain favorites among party leaders and choir clubs in Chinese parks.
China President Xi Jinping hails ties with Africa (March 25, 2013 BBC)
New President Xi Jinping has hailed the strength of China's ties with African nations.Mr Xi described Africa as "a continent of hope and promise. He was speaking in Tanzania – the second country he has visited since taking power 11 days ago. Addressing leaders at a conference hall built by China in Dar es Salaam, he said trade between China and Africa topped $200bn (130bn) last year.
In China, First Ladys Fashion a Sensitive Topic (March 25, 2013, China Real Time)
The triumphant unveiling on an international stage of Peng Liyuan, the wife of new Chinese president Xi Jinping, has sent the countrys Internet users into a frenzy of enthusiasm over her graceful manner and well-chosen outfits. It has also spurred the countrys censors into action.  Most of the censorship has focused on the first ladys wardrobe, noteworthy because she appears to have shunned the foreign luxury brands once preferred by Chinas elite in favor domestic labels.
China and Vietnam row over South China Sea clash (March 26, 2013, BBC)
China has said one of its patrol boats acted reasonably in a confrontation with a Vietnamese fishing boat last week in disputed waters in the South China Sea. The foreign ministry said it was "legitimate" for China to take action. Vietnam accuses the Chinese vessel of firing on the fishing boat near the Paracel islands, setting it alight.
Can China Transform Africa? (March 26, 2013, China File)
The question is all wrong. China is already transforming Africa, the question is how China is transforming Africa, not whether it can. From the China shopssmall stores selling cheap clothing, bags, and kitchenwarethat have become ubiquitous in Southern Africa, to oil, infrastructure and mining projects across the continent, Chinas government, private and state companies, and individual Chinese immigrants are changing the continent that the west gave up on sometime in the 1990s.
Hu's decade of failed power (March 27, 2013, China Media Project)
As we wait hopefully, lets turn to an interesting assessment of the past 10 years by one of Chinas most influential thinkers, Sun Liping (), who happens to have been current president Xi Jinpings PhD advisor at Tsinghua University. Sun Liping, who has been an outspoken critic of social inequality in China and the dangers posed by powerful political interests, wrote recently of the past 10 years of the Hu-Wen administration as a failure of power. Interestingly, Sun also talks about the Beijing Olympics as an event that profoundly changed the course of Chinese politics, and for the worse. Looking back now, Sun writes, it might be that the Olympics were something we did that we ought not to have done.
China jails 20 on terror charges in Xinjiang (March 27, 2013, BBC)
China has sentenced 20 men to jail terms of up to life imprisonment on charges of terrorism and inciting secession in Xinjiang, state media say. Some of the men, who are all thought to be members of the ethnic Uighur group who live in the region, were accused of plotting to assassinate local police. An exiled Uighur group described the sentences as "repressive". It said the men had been persecuted for listening to foreign radio broadcasts and forwarding video clips.
Elite in China Face Austerity Under Xis Rule (March 27, 2013, The New York Times)
While the power of the nations elite remains unchallenged, the symbols of that power are slipping from view. Gone, for now, are the freshly cut flowers and red-carpet ceremonies that used to greet visiting dignitaries. This month, military officers who arrived here for the annual National Peoples Congress were instructed to share hotel rooms and bring their own toiletries.
Taking centre stage (March 28, 2013, Analects)
China may have a new president in Xi Jinping, but it is Chinas new first lady, Peng Liyuan, who has been making the headlines this week. It certainly helps that Ms Peng, 50, was already a celebrity. She been a fixture of Chinese television since the 1980s, famous for her soaring renditions of patriotic folk songs, which she performs wearing her army uniform. It is rare to have a first lady who looks like a model but is ranked as a major-general.
China 'will appoint next Hong Kong leader regardless of election result' (March 28, 2013, The Guardian)
Hopes that Hong Kong's 2017 election will be genuinely democratic have been dashed after a senior Chinese politician said Beijing would have the final say on who was appointed the next leader.Qiao Xiaoyang, the chairman of the law committee of the National People's Congress, said China would not allow someone who confronted Beijing to become Hong Kong's leader.
What Would it Take to Change? (March 22, 2013, ChinaSource)
In a lengthy article calling upon his colleagues to adjust their practices in China, Welshman Timothy Richard described the way in which he imagined the foreign community was viewed by Chinese people.
Proclaim the Gospel; Talk about Mary (March 26, 2013, Chinese Church Voices)
Pastor Hu Junjie, Chairman of the Henan Christian Council, recently preached at the Haidian Christian Church in Beijing. What follows is a translation of the sermon. The title of the sermon, Proclaim the Gospel; Talk about Mary is posted on the website of Haidian Church.
SOCIETY / LIFE
Eye on the future: Kashgars Urban Plannig Museum (March 21, 2013, Far West China)
In 2009 China began to tear down Kashgars Old City, promising safer homes and higher standards of living. Two years and 20 million yuan later, China completed construction of the Kashgar Urban Planning Museum located on its own little island in the East Lake Park.
Chinese ration license plates in effort to curb traffic congestion, air pollution (March 22, 2013, Washington Post)
The Chinese dream is to own an apartment, a car and, increasingly, a license plate.As the worlds biggest car market battles some of the worlds worst traffic congestion and air pollution, license plate rationing has driven prices up to the point where a Shanghai plate costs nearly three times as much as a cheap Chinese car. Scalpers throng the entrance of the art deco auction house near Shanghais famous Bund, where owners line up to register for the monthly Saturday municipal plate auction Shanghais largely unsuccessful effort to control the number of cars on the citys narrow and chaotic roads.
Jay Leno Wins Chinese Fans With Dead Pig Quip (March 25, 2013, China Real Time)
With talk swirling that NBC has committed to eventually handing Mr. Fallon the job of hosting the The Tonight Show, the shows current host is making waves on Sina Weibo, Chinas most popular Twitter-like microblogging platform, with his take on the vast numbers of dead pigs recently pulled out of the Huangpu River near Shanghai. Officials suspect they ended up in the water because farmers upstream have been throwing the pigs, suspected of having died of disease, into the river, Mr. Leno said in his opening monologue last Monday (at the 3:50 mark in the video above). Either that or someone is playing the worlds biggest game of Angry Birds. Theyre not sure what it is.
Why Chinas Real-Name Micro-blog Rules Do Not Work (March 25, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)
Real name registration has applied to Sina Weibo and many other popular microblogs in China for over a year now. But you wouldnt know it.
The astonishing speed of Chinese censorship (March 26, 2013, BBC)
You have written something politically sensitive on one of China's "weibo" microblogging sites. So how much time passes before it gets deleted? And what does it reveal about how Chinese censors work? Computer scientists Jed Crandall and Dan Wallach explain the findings of a study they conducted.  Deletions happen most heavily in the first hour after a post has been submitted. About 5% of deletions happened in the first eight minutes, and within 30 minutes almost 30% of the deletions had been made. Nearly 90% of deletions happen within the first 24 hours.
Lonely and Far From Home, Chinas Migrant Workers Turn to Temporary Marriages to Survive (March 26, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)
According to the latest figures from Chinas National Bureau of Statistics, about 80% of the countrys more than 250 million migrant workers are between the ages of 21 and 50. More than 73% of them are married, but most live far away from their partners. Yet not many asked themselves beforehand how they would deal with the lack of companionship while the arrangement persisted.
The hukou system is a disaster for the children of migrant workers (March 27, 2013, Shanghaiist)
Despite frequent promises of reform, the hukou system still creates significant legal hurdles for many citizens, particularly migrant workers and their children. […] Of Beijing's population of 20 million, over a third has no right to social services because they lack the proper hukou.
China's Cultural Revolution: son's guilt over the mother he sent to her death (March 27, 2013, The Guardian)
They beat her, bound her and led her from home. She knelt before the crowds as they denounced her. Then they loaded her on to a truck, drove her to the outskirts of town and shot her. Fang Zhongmou's execution for political crimes during the Cultural Revolution was commonplace in its brutality but more shocking to outsiders in one regard: her accusers were her husband and their 16-year-old child. More than four decades on, Fang's son is seeking to atone by telling her story and calling for the preservation of her grave in their home town of Guzhen, central Anhui province, as a cultural relic.
Chinese censors report Facebook blocked in North Korea, Iran, Cuba and 'another country' (March 28, 2013, Shanghaiist)
The cowards at China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology recently published article about Facebook which states that the social network is only banned in four countries 'North Korea, Cuba, Iran and another country' (emphasis added).
Goodbye, Uncle: This McDonalds Has Left the Building (March 28, 2013, The Beijinger)
"The McDonald's family is the friend of the world, we always hold hands / not to mention happy meals, where we get all sorts of toys / I'm a junk food eater, junk food eater, McDonald's will always be my bff." Those are roughly the lyrics being sung by the girl in the video above. She is mourning the closing of Beijings second-oldest McDonalds last Sunday.
Video: Dilemma of China's migrant workers (March 28, 2013, BBC)
China is now home to more than 260 million migrant workers – or one fifth of the country's population. But despite their role in boosting the economy, many workers who have moved from rural areas to major cities are missing out on benefits. One such migrant, a charity shop worker, tells her story.
China's "black clinics" flourish as government debates health reform (March 27, 2013, Reuters)
A one-room shack with a single, bare light bulb on a non-descript Beijing side street is 29-year-old Chinese migrant worker Zhang Xuefang's best recourse to medical care. Not recognized as a Beijing resident, she does not qualify for cheaper healthcare at government hospitals, and her hometown is too far away to take advantage of medical subsidizes there. Like millions of other migrant workers, Zhang, on whose labor China's economic boom depends, is forced into a seedy and unregulated world of back ally "black clinics" if she falls ill.
BUSINESS / ECONOMICS / TRADE
China's hidden debt risk (March 24, 2013, AlJazeera, via Yahoo!)
Now China is experiencing a fourth instance of elevated debt risk, this time characterised by high levels of accumulated local-government and corporate debt. To be sure, China's national balance sheet, which boasts positive net assets, has garnered significant attention in recent years. But, in order to assess China's financial risk accurately, policymakers and economists must consider the risks that lie in the country's asset structure – and the liabilities that are not included on its balance sheet.
You Cant Solve Chinese Problems with Western Solutions (March 25, 2013, China Negotiations)
Don't try to solve Chinese problems with NY solutions. Youve got to negotiate with your own team first at home, then in your own China office, and finally with your Chinese counterparty.
An Inside Look At Chinas Ghost Cities. (March 26, 2013, China Law Blog)
We seldom write about Chinas ghost cities because in our view they show little more than pockets of inefficiency from which every economy necessarily must suffer, particularly one as big and as centralized as Chinas. So it was nice to receive the following guest post from Dirk Chilcote giving us additional reasons not to worry about Chinas ghost cities.
China takes aim at Apple. Why? (March 28, 2013, Christian Science Monitor)
The state-owned Chinese media have gone into full William Tell mode this week, taking aim at Apple in a string of angry and critical articles accusing the US giant of multiple sins. The question is, why? Chinas Central TV (CCTV) launched the campaign two weeks ago, on International Consumers Day, with a report blasting Apple for treating its Chinese after-sales customers worse than their counterparts elsewhere in the world.
Unparalleled arrogance, undisclosed agenda (March 28, 2013, Analects)
It seems more likely that Apple is the target of an officially-sanctioned attack, but which bit of officialdom might be pushing it remains unclear. Some think it might be a shakedown by CCTV, in order to encourage Apple to advertise on its channels. Others think that it is the vanity of bureaucrats at work. The ever-arrogant Apple may have failed to kowtow to the right officials in Beijing.
TECHNOLOGY / SCIENCE / ENVIRONMENT
China's Toxic Water (March 22, 2013, The Atlantic)
On World Water Day, I'd like to share with you a strong collection of images from southern China, showing local activists fighting against industrial pollution in their waterways, and cancer sufferers in so-called "cancer villages", linked to pollution from hazardous chemicals.
Extinction of Yangtze porpoises accelerating: report (March 29, 2013, Xinhua)
A report released on Thursday said the population of China's finless porpoise is decreasing at a faster pace, suggesting looming extinction for the rare freshwater mammal. Based on a survey conducted last year, the report by the Ministry of Agriculture estimates that there are only about 1,000 finless porpoises, or "river pigs" in Chinese, in their only habitats in the Yangtze River and two nearby lakes. The report said the porpoises' population has decreased by 13.73 percent every year, twice the rate reported before 2006. Experts have warned the species could die out within a decade if the trend is not reversed.
CULTURE / EDUCATION / HISTORY
In China, Executives Flock Back to School for Unfinished Business (March 26, 2013, The New York Times)
Chinese executives are going back to school partly because, unlike their Western counterparts, many did not have the chance to study properly earlier in life. The average age of our executive M.B.A. student is 41 or 42, with almost 20 years of work experience they are much older than their counterparts in Europe or the U.S., said Qian Yingyi, the dean of the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University in Beijing. They simply didnt have a chance to study business in their 20s. Some never finished high school. They grew up during the chaos of the Cultural Revolution and then built their careers through the state-owned enterprise system in the 1980s and 90s.
Thanks to inbreeding, sheltered lives and unusual upbringings, many monarchs and other royals become known for their eccentricities. In ancient China, Emperors were believed to be the sons of heaven and were entrusted with supreme power to rule their kingdom. How they performed decided the fate of the people and the country. While some were very capable rulers, othersnot so much. Over a history that spans thousands of years, the Chinese have seen many a ruler come and go, and some have become known for their cruelty, incompetence and what could sometimes possibly be classed as insanity. Without further adoand in no particular orderthese are some of the more eccentric emperors I could find.
Chinese Students Struggle for Returns on Education in U.S. (March 27, 2013, China Real Time)
Mere figures tell a complex story of explosive migration, wealth and cultural value in the East as the number of Chinese students attending U.S. colleges has grown exponentially in recent years. But tangible returns on such hefty educational investments have yet to be seen.
China and its Revolutions: What Kind of History for the Asian Century? (March 29, 2013, The China Story)
This contribution by Lewis Mayo of the Asia Institute, University of Melbourne, continues The China Story Journal discussion of the Australian governments Australia in the Asian Century, released on 28 October 2012.
FOOD / TRAVEL
How to Buy Tea in Chengdu (March 22, 2013, Chengdu Living)
We always hear about the countless teahouses in Chengdu and how everyone here is too busy sipping tea and playing cards to do anything else. Everyone in China refers to Chengdu as the leisure city, and Chengdu reinforces the stereotype by trying to nudge out the other cultivated cities like Suzhou and Hangzhou as the teahouse capital of the country.
March Fruit in China (March 22, 2013, Lets Eat China)
The snow went as quickly as it came and it feels like we are one step closer to spring. Soon the s will all be out again and well be able to get our fill of and fresh . Cant wait! In the meantime there are a few new faces in the fruit world:
Shanghai Street Food #32 Salt and Pepper Fried Chicken (March 23, 2013, Life on Nanchang Lu)
I confess I rarely eat chicken on the street because it breaks one of my Dr Fiona Street Food Safety Rules. These rules are entirely in my head, mind you, and I'll be writing about them in an upcoming post, but they're all about getting the maximum enjoyment from street foods, with minimum risk. Chicken is often too close to the risky side for my liking, but as I smelled the tantalising smell and saw the crisp golden pieces, my resolve collapsed. What are rules for if not to break now and again?
Photos: The Harbin Ice Sculptures a Winter Wonderland (March 25, 2013, Escape Articst)
We all know that Chinese companies love to clone everything from sneakers to smartphones, but that's not all. In the last few decades, architecture firms in China have started to copy iconic buildings and even whole cities from other countries. Here are some of the strangest copycat monuments, including the Eiffel Tower and the entire city of Venice.
LANGUAGE AND LANGUAGE LEARNING
Skritter Review: Learn how to write Chinese characters (March 25, 2013, Sapore di Cina)
Skritter is, in my opinion, the best way to learn how to write Chinese characters. Since I started to use it ten minutes per day (about two months ago) Ive learned how to write 492 characters and 169 words (composed by two or three characters). Im also learning the meaning and pronunciation of those characters.
Restless ChinaThis compelling book explores the explosive pace of change in China and how its citizens are grappling with a dramatically new world, both in the public and private spheres. Chinas stratospheric growth has made it the second largest economy in the worldand one of the most unequal. Marxist ideology and socialist ideals have almost completely collapsed, replaced by a combination of materialism and assertive nationalism. The vast migration of labor from countryside to city has continued apace. The pressures of a hypercompetitive market economy are ripping apart the traditional family and threatening the environment. Corruption has reached new heights. The political system is even more rigid, but perhaps more brittle, than a decade ago.
ARTICLES IN CHINESE
(Pacific Institute for Social Sciences)
LINKS FOR RESEARCHERS
(Pacific Institute for Social Sciences)
China Needs a Law of ReligionPart 1(Pacific Institute for Social Sciences)
Facing such a reality, as the protector and coordinator of public interests, the question for the government isnt whether or not it needs to establish a system to deal with religious issuesthe regime for regulating religious affairs has existed for decades. Instead the question is what kind of system should be adopted to effectively manage the relationship between the state and religion and regulate the relations between religious groups and believers with other social groups, organizations and non-believers.
The Role of the Foreign Missionary in China (March 27, The Gospel in China)
The task assigned to me for the two week course I taught was to outline The Role of the Foreigner in Chinese Missions. This is a complex issue, and Im afraid that I may not have dealt with it in as nuanced a way as it deserved. Im sure many others would have done a far better job than I did. But, while it may be overly simplistic, the course will at least give you an idea of the strategy employed by the team members of Project China. I think that many of the decisions made by the missionaries on our team are fairly unusual, and I think this course explains some of the thinking behind these choices. Below are links to the five lectures, as well as four discussions of assigned reading.
41 propaganda posters for Chinese children (China Underground)
Image credit: by michal_china, via Flickr