September 26, 2013

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The Postmodern Generation and the Church in China (Fall Edition, ChinaSource Quarterly)

Thinking with Their Hearts: Postmodernism in ChinaAs Dr. Pan points out in this issue of ChinaSource Quarterly, "Disillusionment with faith, hope and love leads to confusion for this new generation of young people, but it also creates opportunity for spreading the gospel. Postmodern man fails in his search for life-stabilizing and soul-anchoring faith, as well as in his quest for goodness and for finding a future hope that modernity provided with modernism as the basis. Yet, man craves the satisfaction of these three crucial needs " The upside of postmodernism is that it leaves people asking the right questions. Online in blogs and weibo posts a new generation surveys China's social landscape with its food scandals, official corruption, unbridled consumerism and rampant abuse of women and children, and asks, "What's wrong with their hearts?"


A Century of American Dreams and Nightmares of China (September 22, 2013, The China Story)

The currency of this dream and nightmare rhetoric in China makes this a good time to reflect on a different set of fantasies originating outside China. Imean what might be called the Western China Dream (theyre about to buy our goods and convert to our ways!) and the recurring Western China Nightmare (theyre so different and there are so many of them!).

Bo Xilais Life Sentence: The Weibo Reaction (September 22, 2013, China Real Time)

Bo Xilais sentence to life in prison for corruption and abuse of power marks the harshest penalty handed down by a court to such a senior Chinese politician in three decades, but Sundays sentencing elicited limited emotion in the countrys online community.

Why was Bo Xilai smiling? (September 22, 2013, The Los Angeles Times)

But as he stood in court to hear the predictably punitive verdict, he grinned like a Cheshire cat. It was the knowing smile of someone who has endured a life of struggle and sat on both sides of China's capricious and politically calibrated scales of justice. That smile could haunt Xi and the Chinese leadership for years to come if they don't continue on the path of reform.

Chinas Crackdown Prompts Outrage Over Boys Arrest (September 23, 2014, The New York Times)

On Monday, the police in Zhangjiachuan Hui Autonomous County apparently bowed to public pressure and released Yang Zhong, a middle school student who was among the first people to be charged under new regulations that criminalize the spreading of online rumors with up to three years in jail. The authorities contend the boy had simply confessed to his crimes and served his punishment. Hours after his release, he posted online a photograph of himself flashing a victory sign. His shirt read, Make the Change.

From Chinas Left and its Right, Pride Cometh Before a Fall (September 23, 2013, Tea Leaf Nation)

Here are seven things that Bo Xilai and Charles Xue have in common, despite their divergent political views.

China opens UN door to old foe Taiwan (September 24, 2013, Christian Science Monitor)

China is breaking with tradition to back Taiwan's participation in a United Nations event this week. Once bitter political rivals, China's trust in Taiwan has grown over the past five years.

Parsing the public opinion struggle (September 24, 2013, China Media Project)

In recent weeks, the Chinese Communist Party has loudly proclaimed Xi Jinpings August 19 speech on ideology. In the rush of language that has accompanied this media campaign, one phrase in particular stands out: public opinion struggle, or yulun douzheng (). The phrase is heating up, and this allows us to draw some serious conclusions about the volatility of Chinas current political climate. In fact, some media are now using the phrase positive propaganda, public opinion struggle zhengmian xuanchuan, yulun douzheng () to synopsize Xi Jinpings speech. This is a dangerous sign. And serious questions also remain about how this phrase has come to the fore.

With Bo Sentenced, Will China Shift Focus to Economic Reforms? (September 24, 2013, China Real Time)

But politics might not stay civilized for long. Possibly the biggest impact Bo has had on Chinese politics is to distract and delay the leadership from making tough decisions ahead of the Party plenum scheduled for Novembera major meeting that will need to resolve what sort of reform Chinese leader Xi Jinping wants to see. Among the many questions left unaddressed: Just how committed is this leadership to pushing through serious economic reforms?

China bans several weapon-related North Korea exports (September 24, 2013, BBC)

China says it has banned the export to North Korea of several weapon-related technologies which could be used in the development of nuclear weapons. China's Commerce Ministry published the list, which includes components for nuclear explosive devices and rocket systems, on Monday. It said the move would help implement UN resolutions on North Korea, and would be effective immediately. Analysts say the ban shows China taking a firmer line against its ally. The list includes technology in nuclear, missile, chemical and biological fields.

China activist Cao Shunli 'disappears', says rights group (September 25, 2013, BBC)

A well-known legal rights activist in China has seemingly disappeared after being questioned by Beijing airport police, a rights group says. Cao Shunli has not been seen since 14 September, when she was barred from boarding a flight to Switzerland, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says. Ms Cao had been planning to attend a UN human rights training course in Geneva.

China and shared regional prosperity: five risk factors (September 25, 2013, Asia Sentinel)

While stories of Chinas burgeoning economy abound, so do concerns regarding risks with the potential to derail its growth story. China faces five highly intertwined domestic and external risk factors. Thus when engaging China we must pay close attention to how its domestic risks shape its external policy.

Jordan: China's Gateway to the Middle East (September 25, 2013, The Atlantic)

A bustling trade fair illustrates the possibilitiesand limitsof Beijing's engagement in the region.

Xi Jinping oversees self-criticism sessions in Hebei (September 26, 2013, South China Morning Post)

President and Communist Party chief Xi Jinping has taken his "criticism and self-criticism" campaign on the road, attending a series of meetings where provincial cadres were made to admit shortcomings and offer ideas for correcting their behaviour. Xi has participated in four separate half-day meetings with standing committee members of Hebei's provincial party committee since Monday, Xinhua reported yesterday. The president listened as the officials criticised their own conduct, laid out major problems and set down plans for rectification, the state news agency said.

Photos: Large Stately Edifice (September 26, 2013, Caixin Online)

Cavernous government office buildings set in the hollow landscapes of the country's most impoverished areas

Chinese Provinces Collected Billions in Family-Planning Fines, Lawyer Says (September 26, 2013, The New York Times)

Nineteen province-level governments in China last year collected a total of $2.7 billion in fines from parents who had violated family-planning laws, which usually limit couples to having one child, a lawyer who had requested the data said Thursday.

What the Bo Xilai Trial Means for Chinas Legal System (September 26, 2013, China Real Time)

Bo's exit is significant in that it leaves the neo-Maoist New Left without a star. But the trial was also noteworthy for the many questions it raised about the future of Chinas much-scrutinized legal system.


Protestant churches see 2.4 mln more Chinese in past 5 years (September 23, 2013, CCTV)

Christianity has found a lot more followers in China in the past 5 years. According to the China Christian Council, during 2007 to 2012, there were 2.4 million Chinese baptised in protestant churches in China. The influence of the western religion is growing rapidly. Our reporter Wang Xinye attended Sunday prayer in Beijing Haidian Christian Church, and talked to the pastor there.

Why China Matters for Doing Theology: The Inspired Authority of Scripture (September 24, 2013, Jackson Wu)

The inspiration and authority of Scripture are at stake. By this, I mean peoples recognition of the Bible as Gods inspired and authoritative word.

Category Creation (September 24, 2013, The Gospel in China)

The very concepts of the Gospel and the way we communicate them may not be rightly perceived by Chinese people. What does a Chinese person think of when I use the word sin? What do they think about the afterlife? How do they conceive of justice? Or forgiveness? Or faith? Thus, the missionary sorts about through the available cultural information for comparable concepts some Chinese clothes that will fit!


China's richest man announces $8 billion film park (September 22, 2013, Reuters)

China's richest man, property developer Wang Jianlin, raised the curtain on a planned 50 billion yuan ($8.17 billion) "motion-picture city" which he described as the biggest-ever single investment in the movie and television industry. Property developer Wang Jianlin, 58, founder of Dalian Wanda Group, was surrounded by Hollywood stars John Travolta, Nicole Kidman and Catherine Zeta-Jones on Sunday as he launched his most ambitious project yet in the picturesque coastal city of Qingdao. When completed in 2017, the Oriental Movie Metropolis will boast 20 sound stages, including the world's first underwater studio, a massive convention and exhibition complex, a sprawling shopping mall with an indoor amusement park and seven resort hotels. The project also will include a yacht club with 300 berths.

Typhoon Usagi hits southern China, killing at least 25 (September 23, 2013, CNN)

At least 25 people have died after Typhoon Usagi slammed into the coast of southern China, state media reported Monday. Bringing strong winds and heavy rain, Usagi forced the relocation of hundreds of thousands of people, the cancellation of hundreds of flights and the closing of a major shipping lane. "Usagi has devastated the eastern part of Guangdong," where it made landfall late Sunday, the state-run news agency Xinhua said.

Speedy Trains Transform China (September 23, 2013, The New York Times)

Just five years after Chinas high-speed rail system opened, it is carrying nearly twice as many passengers each month as the countrys domestic airline industry. With traffic growing 28 percent a year for the last several years, Chinas high-speed rail network will handle more passengers by early next year than the 54 million people a month who board domestic flights in the United States.

Video: China rescue efforts after massive floods (September 24, 2013, BBC)

A massive clean-up operation is under way across large parts of southern China, after one of the most powerful storms in the past 30 years hit the region on Sunday. State media said at least 25 people were killed as Typhoon Usagi ripped through Guangdong province, with winds gusting at up to 155 km per hour. Millions of people on the Chinese mainland have also been affected by extensive flooding in many areas.

Obtaining Work Visas and Residence Permits in China (September 24, 2013, China Briefing)

The Regulations, which came into effect from September 1, 2013, have updated the countrys visa system and introduced several changes to the application of the residence permit, which we discuss below.

China's execution of street vendor sets off outrage (September 25, 2013, Los Angeles Times)

Xia Junfeng killed two municipal officers he said had been beating him. His supporters say he was acting in self-defense, and the death sentence was not fair.

Chinese Deterred From Donating to Their Countrys Dubious Charity Sector (September 25, 2013, Time)

Less than a third of registered charities in China meet basic international standards for transparency and disclosure. Thats according to the China Charity Transparency Report, published by the state-run charity watchdog the China Charity and Donation Information Center last weekend.

The Strangers (September 25, 2013, China File)

Among the Uighur, however, the policy has created two distinct groups: the minkaohan, minorities educated in Mandarin, and the minkaomin, educated in their own language. Minkaomin education is not taken seriously by non-Uighur employers, and not speaking Mandarin shuts minkaomin graduates out of jobs. In turn, they often resent minkaohan students as opportunistic and unfaithful to their own heritage. Li was interested in what language, Mandarin or Uighur, minkaohan used when they met each other, especially with a third-party present.

Wave of hornet attacks kills 28 in southern Shaanxi (September 26, 2013, South China Morning Post)

A spate of hornet attacks in southern Shaanxi province has resulted in 28 deaths and hundreds of injuries, a local newspaper reported. Most of those affected are in remote rural areas of the cities of Ankang, Hanzhong and Shangluo, the provinces Chinese Business reported on Thursday. The thumb-sized hornets, known as Asian giant hornets or Vespa mandarinia, are known for their highly toxic stings. Multiple stings may be fatal to humans without immediate medical treatment.

Son of Chinese army singers gets 10 years' jail for gang rape (September 26, 2013, Reuters)

A Chinese court jailed the teenage son of two celebrity army singers for ten years on Thursday for gang-raping a woman in a case that has fanned resentment against the offspring of the political elite who are widely seen as spoilt and above the law. Li Tianyi, 17, was found guilty of sexually assaulting the woman in a hotel in February. He was one of five accused.

No, China is NOT unblocking Facebook (or anything else) in Shanghai free trade zone (September 26, 2013, Tech in Asia)

ecently, rumor had it that Chinas plans for a free trade zone in Shanghai would lead to the unblocking of Facebook and Twitter. This idea came from a report in the South China Morning Post, which is often a pretty reliable source of news, but yesterday it was squashed by Chinese officials, who told the Peoples Daily that the reports were incorrect and that there would be no changes to internet policy in the free trade zone.


Chinas Fallen Mighty: A Timeline of Toppled Communist Party Leaders, 1976-2013 (September 19, 2013, China File)

Video: Junxun: Behind China's College Military Training (September 22, 2013, YouTube)

Every year, millions of new college freshmen in China undergo weeks of compulsory military training, or "Junxun" as it's known in Chinese. This video looks at what this program hopes to achieveboth physically and politically – and explores how it's evolving with China's "Post-90s Generation."

Dilapidated Mansion Has Had Many Occupants, Maybe Even a Ghost (September 24, 2013, The New York Times)

According to local legend, the Qing imperial family built the mansion as a church for British residents of Beijing. It could not be more of an anachronism, with its red brick facade, mansard roof and stone quoining. Yet, there has been a surge of interest in the house in recent years, with videos circulating online and word of mouth building about a new film set at the house.

Duke's China Campus Approved (September 25, 2013, The New York Times)

Duke University has received final approval from the Chinese Education Ministry for its planned campus in Kunshan, near Shanghai. Mary Brown Bullock, executive vice chancellor of Duke Kunshan University, said the approval allowed the university, a joint venture between Duke and Wuhan University, formally to start recruiting faculty and students for enrollment for the fall semester of 2014.

China maintains "balanced" male to female ratio in university admission (September 25, 2013, Xinhua)

An education official said on Wednesday that China maintained a balanced male to female ratio in university admissions, following media reports of gender discrimination. The ratio of female applications and admissions stood at 50.3 percent and 51.9 percent respectively in the 2013 college entrance exam, according to an official from the Ministry of Education.

Forbidding City: Trouble in Chinas Imperial Residence (July 31, 2013, Art News)

Managers of Chinas Forbidden City are facing concerns over restoration, security, and access

Matricide and the Cultural Revolution: the story of Zhang Hongbing (September 25, 2013, An Optimists Guide to China)

This is the story of Zhang Hongbing, a man who turned his own mother over to the authorities to be shot for her counter-revolutionary ideas. Its a story of collective madness, family betrayal and individual repentance. The post below is largely paraphrased and in some places translated (denoted in block quotes) from interviews Zhang has given to Chinese media outlets, particularly . I give the outline of events below and a brief comment of my own at the end.

1949 revolution meant progress for most Chinese – Zhang Lijia (September 26, 2013, China Herald)

China's recent history had a fair share of man-made disasters, including the Great Famine and the Cultural Revolution. The few years after the 1949 revolution have always been considered to be a golden period. Wrong, says Frank Dikotter in a recent book,

The Tragedy of Liberation.

Author Zhang Lijia disagrees with him at the BBC.


China launches juice probe after rotten fruit report (September 23, 2013, Reuters)

China's food safety watchdog has launched an investigation into local juice makers after a media report said they used rotten fruit to make their products. The probe includes two branches of the country's sector leader, China Huiyuan Juice Group Ltd.

Chronic diseases on the rise in Shanghai (September 26, 2013, Xinhua)

With the number of the elderly population on the rise, and changes in lifestyle, chronic diseases have become the top killer in Shanghai with over 5 million people battling hypertension and nearly 2 million diagnosed as diabetic. Unhealthy lifestyle like smoking, drinking alcohol, irregular eating habits and lack of exercises are factors that contribute to chronic diseases.


Video: How WeChat is Reshaping the Way Chinese Consumers Shop (September 17, 2013, China Skinny)

Although WeChat is best known as a messaging app, new and interesting features are regularly added. One of the most exciting new features on WeChat 5.0 is the barcode scanner. Any business selling to Chinese consumers should take note, as it is likely to play a part in influencing the way people shop in China. China Skinnys Tracy Dai demonstrates WeChats barcode scanner in the following 2:30 minute video and shows how mobile commerce is reshaping retail in China.

Why big American businesses fail in China (September 23, 2013, NBC)

Since China opened up to foreign investment in the late 1970s, some of America's most powerful corporations have gone confidently into the People's Republic, only to stagger out a few years later, battered, confused, and defeated. It's not because the businesses were incompetent. Many of the biggest failures belong to the Fortune 500: Mattel, eBay, Google, Home Depot. All of these have thrived in markets around the world, but not China. Why?

China has grown into Amway's number one market (September 23, 2013, China Daily)

According to Amway Chairman Steve Van Andel, China has been a significant part of that growth. Amway went into China in 1995. "When you look at the number of people in China, it made sense for us to move in there," Van Andel said. "We did and it grew and grew quickly. It has grown to our number one market in those years, so we're very happy in that regard."

China gains momentum (September 24, 2013, Business Day)

China's manufacturing activity expanded in September to a six-month high, a further sign that a rebound in the world's second-largest economy is gaining momentum on improving demand.The HSBC preliminary purchasing managers' index (PMI) for September hit 51.2, the highest since March when it stood at 51.6, HSBC said on Monday.

Facebook and Twitter too late for China's Internet (September 25, 2013, Reuters)

Facebook Inc and Twitter face a daunting task in China, if access to their social networks is unblocked, as they would be up against deeply entrenched domestic rivals which cater to local needs and tastes. Years of isolated growth means China's sophisticated social media companies, including Tencent Holdings, Sina,Inc and Renren, Inc. won't be too worried if Facebook and Twitter pry open the door to China's 591 million Internet users, the world's biggest online population.

China Beige Book Shows Slowdown, Opposite Official Data (September 25, 2013, Bloomberg)

Chinas economy slowed this quarter as growth in manufacturing and transportation weakened in contrast with official signs of an expansion pickup, a private survey showed.

Smithfield shareholders approve buyout by China's Shuanghui (September 25, 2013, BBC)

Shareholders of US pork producer Smithfield Foods have approved a buyout by Chinese firm Shuanghui International for $4.7bn (3.1bn) in cash. It is the largest takeover of a US company by a Chinese firm, and comes amid growing demand for foreign food products in the country.


The Cost of Cleaning Chinas Filthy Air? About $817 Billion, One Official Says (September 25, 2013, Time)

China will need to spend nearly 5 trillion yuan, or $817 billion, to fight air pollution, according to Fang Li, spokesman of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Environmental Protection. Fangs startling estimate came on Sept. 23 as he released the Chinese capitals antipollution blueprint, which promises significant improvements in air quality by 2017.


The Silk Road of Pop (September 25, 2013, China File)

Most coverage of Xinjiang focuses on the tensions between Han and Uighur in the region, especially since the 2009 Urumqi riots. The Silk Road of Pop, a new documentary about Uighur music directed by Sameer Farooq, is a timely portrait of the rich contemporary culture of Chinas westernmost reaches, and the need to look beyond the commonly presented view of Xinjiang as a troubled or restive area.


Humble Chinese Village Basks in Legacy of Three Kingdoms Era (September 22, 2013, The New York Times)

In the shadow of a lush mountain and near a slow-moving river in southeast China sits this village, whose name means Dragon Gate. There are narrow alleys and whitewashed homes and the flesh of sliced bamboo drying on the ground. Its humble appearance, though, belies the fact that it played a role in the famous Three Kingdoms era, when kings leading rival states fought in the third century over the right to succeed the Han empire. The blood-drenched stories were immortalized in a 14th-century classic by Luo Guanzhong, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which in turn has spawned countless films, television shows and other adaptations.

Guizhou: The Most Overlooked Destination in China (But You Need To Go Now) (September 23, 2013, Life on Nanchang Lu)

Guizhou Province is easily one of China's undiscovered gems. As beautiful and as ethnically diverse as Yunnan Province, as uncrowded as Inner Mongolia, and as gifted with natural beauty as Sichuan and Qinghai combined, it's a wonder Guizhou isn't over-run with its own popularity. And yet hardly anyone ever goes there.

A culinary tour in London's Chinatown (September 24, 2013, China Herald)

London's Chinatown is one of the better organized I have ever visited. Of course, the size of the Chinese population does help London, but the local shop owners had their stuff pretty well organized.

Tour Erhai Lake by Bicycle (September 25, 2013, Wild China Blog)

After exploring the bustling streets of Dalizhen in Yunnan Province, we needed an escape to mother nature. With the towering Cangshan Mountains encircling beautiful Erhai Lake, we decided to see what the waterfront had to offer. We considered a leisurely day trip down but, plagued by restless legs, we chose to cycle upwards of 120 kilometers (75 miles) around the lakeshore.

Chinese Tourism Tastes Are Changing, and Heres Why (September 25, 2013, China Real Time)

A recent survey by travel website TripAdvisor found that nearly half of the top 20 international destinations for Chinese travelers were in Southeast Asia, while locations such as Kyoto, Japan, and Jeju Island in South Korea are experiencing explosive growth in interest from mainland Chinese tourists.


Reading aloud in Chinese is really hard (September 13, 2013, Hacking Chinese)

Reading aloud is tricky in any language, but now Im going to explain why its significantly harder in Chinese than most other languages (and when I say most, I refer to languages likely studied by readers of Hacking Chinese).


Banned Books Week Maybe a Selection from Shanghais Banned Books of 1940 Might Interest You (September 25, 2013, China Rhyming)

The following books were noted by undercover cops in Shanghai on sale in Settlement bookstores in the summer of 1940 and seized by the Shanghai Municipal Councils Translation Office and the Shanghai Municipal Police in the form of Special Branch (S5)

The Virgin Mary and Catholic Identities in Chinese History (Hong Kong University Press)

The Chinese Catholic Church traces its living roots back to the late sixteenth century and its historical roots back even further, to the Yuan dynasty. This book explores paintings and sculptures of the Virgin Mary and the communities that produced them over several centuries.

Image credit: by bricoleurbanism, via Flickr