ZGBriefs | April 20, 2017

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ZGBriefs is a compilation of news items gathered from published online sources. ChinaSource is not responsible for the content, and inclusion in ZGBriefs does not equal endorsement. Please go here to support ZGBriefs.

Featured Article

American students lose interest in China studies (April 15, 2017, Nikkei Asian Review)
Though China looms ever larger in U.S. economic and security concerns, American universities are experiencing a decline in the enrollment in Chinese language courses and study abroad programs. The growing sense that work opportunities in China are harder to come by is compounding worries about pollution and other living conditions.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Greater Corruption in China? A Billionaire Says He Has Evidence (April 15, 2017, The New York Times)
In two rambling interviews with a New York-based media company lasting more than four hours, Guo Wengui, a real estate magnate, described what he said was a ferocious struggle that culminated two years ago in the collapse of a business deal pitting him against relatives of a retired top Communist Party official, He Guoqiang.

Podcast: What Happened at Mar-a-Lago? (April 17, 2017, China File)
Shortly following their meeting, Paul Haenle spoke with Zha Daojiong, a professor in the School of International Studies at Peking University and a former Senior Arthur Ross Fellow at the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society, to discuss his reaction to the summit.

On China And North Korea: The Strength Of Weakness And The Limits Of Power (April 18, 2017, NPR)
But we should also ask what it would mean to "solve" North Korea from China's perspective and how likely it is that Chinese President Xi Jinping's government could do so.

China's Xi restructures military, consolidates control (April 19, 2017, CNBC)
Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced a military restructure of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to transform it into a leaner fighting force with improved joint operations capability, state media said.


In China, the ranks of the religious are growing (April 13, 2017, Ledger-Enquirer)
I wondered if this announcement about churches signaled a return of religious life in China. But my 30-something cousin downplayed the news. He thought older people who had religious lives before the Cultural Revolution might be inspired to return to church. But for his communist-educated generation, he didn’t think it would amount to much. How wrong we were.

3 Things Chinese Pastors Can Learn from the Reformers (April 13, 2017, China Partnership Blog)
As a current seminary student and as a minister of the unregistered Chinese church, here are three things I think we can learn from the Reformers.

The Inculturation of the Chinese Church Revealed, A Priest's Reflection (April 14, 2017, China Christian Daily)
Fr.John B. Zhang, Director of Faith Institute for Cultural Studies, delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of the conference themed "Matteo Ricci and Nanchang: Inculturation of the Church in China." He mentioned the questionnaires on the issue of Christians remembering their ancestors, as well as his thoughts regarding the issue on how to localize the church.

New Church to Be Dedicated in Yunnan (April 15, 2017, China Christian Daily)
A simple church was built soon after the Gospel was preached into Dongfeng Village around 1985. Due to a lack of funding and construction technology, it was renovated three times, first with wood, then mud and wooden bricks on the third time. The new church construction kicked off under the guidance of the county CCC & TSPM in 2016.

Christianity in China—The Early Years (April 17, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
In February Montgomery posted an episode titled ”The Earliest Years of Christianity in China,” in which he describes the history of “pre-Jesuit” Christianity in the Middle Kingdom:

A Chinese Missionary to Nepal (Part 2) (April 18, 2017, Chinese Church Voices)
This week in part two we see how his struggles influenced his call to ministry, as well as the lessons he learned about foreign missions and about himself while in Nepal.

From Sending to Receiving (April 19, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
While many in China strongly promote sending workers abroad, others caution that, at present, the Chinese church still lacks sufficient infrastructure, experience, training, and grassroots support. International organizations welcome the prospect of a flood of new workers from China.

South Gaoluo: the Catholics (April 2017, Stephen Jones: A Blog)
Although we had no idea of this when we first visited the village in 1989, Gaoluo is known to historians of modern China for a major incident in the Boxer uprising in May 1900, in which several dozen Chinese Catholic converts were murdered, and which led to the killing of a Qing general. The continuing unease caused by the presence of a minority of underground Catholics still active in the village today made our research sensitive, but the history of the village, and of the ritual association, is inextricably linked with their activities.

Society / Life

WATCH: What life is like for the last woksmiths of Shanghai (April 6, 2017, Shanghaiist)
As Shanghai continues to grow, develop and modernize, some of the sounds that used to characterize urban life are now being lost forever. Over a period of three years, documentary makers Jia Li and Christopher St. Cavish documented the lives of the last few men in Shanghai who are still creating the distinctive clangs made from fashioning woks on the street, a traditional craft that has now all but disappeared.

Winning and Losing in Modern China (April, 2017, Peeps Forum)
In 2012, a new term bubbled up from the obscure reaches of the Chinese Internet. The term Diaosi (屌丝), which is roughly translated to mean ‘loser’, was originally used as an insult to mock other online users. By 2013, Analysys International, a consultancy, estimated that over 500 million Chinese—more than a quarter of the total population of the country—self-identified as a Diaosi. This throwaway derogatory slang had seemingly hit a deep and collective emotional chord among the wider Chinese population.

Security Restrictions at US Embassy in Beijing Have Created a Thriving Industry for 'Bag Holders' (April 14, 2017, The Beijinger)
Would you be willing to give a total stranger all of your possessions, let alone pay him for it? What sounds like the last thing you'd want to do in China is actually a thriving cottage industry right here in Beijing. Due to a longstanding ban on personal items that include cell phones and handbags for visitors to the US Embassy, street hawkers have been earning a living by temporarily holding onto other people's possessions as they wait in line to process non-immigrant visas.

Disgruntled Tenants Attack Shanghai Police (April 14, 2017, Sixth Tone)
Shanghai police were in an hours-long standoff with local residents on Thursday afternoon after personnel from a demolition company were attacked while working inside a building that had been partially cleared out.

Beijing Mega-Region Plan Aims To Alleviate Poverty, But Some Are Wary (April 16, 2017, NPR)
Three years ago, President Xi Jinping announced a plan intended to help people like Ming. Xi's signature policy goes beyond urban planning, envisioning an entire network of cities around the capital, a region with a population already one-third of that in the U.S. The plan would merge Beijing, the neighboring port city of Tianjin and Hebei Province into one mega-region.

China's abandoned daughters search for their parents (April 16, 2017, Al Jazeera)
The stories of three women who were abandoned by their parents during China's one-child policy.

Over 900,000 foreigners work in Chinese mainland in 2016 (April 16, 2017, China Daily)
More than 900,000 foreigners were employed on the Chinese mainland in 2016, an indispensable force in the country's development, a senior Chinese official said on Sunday. […]  The number of foreign employees in China has increased at a staggering pace over the past decades. There was less than 10,000 foreign experts working in China in the 1980s. From 2001 to 2016, the country of origin of foreign experts expanded from 21 to 73, official data shows.

China’s two-child policy one year on (April 19, 2017, East Asia Forum)
At the beginning of 2016 the Chinese government relaxed its family planning laws to allow all married couples to have a second child. The new policy came into effect in March after formal ratification by the National People’s Congress. But, one year on, how effective has this new policy really been?

Trafficked into Wedlock (April 19, 2017, China File)
In recent years, large numbers of Cambodian women have migrated to China’s Jiangxi, Zhejiang, and Fujian provinces to marry, enriching brokers in both their home and adopted countries. Although neither country’s government has published statistics about the size of this migration, Chinese officials from the Ministry of Public Security told their Cambodian counterparts that there were 7,000 Chinese-Cambodian couples living in China in August 2016, according to The Cambodia Daily.

Economics / Trade / Business

China says to deepen structural reforms in 2017 (April 18, 2017, Reuters)
China plans to deepen reform of its economy, cutting more excess factory capacity while making its state-owned firms more competitive and currency regime more market-driven, according to guidelines issued by the country's cabinet on Tuesday.

China's economy is slowing, but there is one sector booming: tourism (April 19, 2017, Sydney Morning Herald)
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation preliminary 2016 scorecard has Chinese spending $344 billion as foreign tourists, a jump of 12 per cent in local currencies and more than double the splurge of the next biggest spenders, Americans. 


China's 'Best And Brightest' Leaving U.S. Universities And Returning Home (April 17, 2017, Forbes)
Chinese college students studying in the U.S. are finding it just as interesting these days to return home to the world's No. 2 economy rather than staying a few years in the world's No. 1. Some 82.23% of students who studied abroad returned to China last year, up from 72.38% in 2012, according to government figures.

Survey identifies bullying trends at Beijing schools (April 18, 2017, China Daily)
Younger students experience school bullying more frequently than older children, and boys are affected by the problem more than girls, a new survey has found.

Health / Environment

Beijing reports 10 H7N9 cases this year (September 18, 2017, China Daily)
Beijing has reported 10 human H7N9 avian flu cases in 2017 so far, according to the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control on Tuesday. The latest two cases were reported on April 5. The two patients had contact with live poultry. One of them died of the infection on April 8 after treatment failed. The other is still being treated in a hospital and is in stable condition.

Science / Technology

China’s WeChat Is a Censorship Juggernaut (Apr8l 14, 2017, Fortune)
When it comes to censoring topics the government wants, Tencent's cooperation has gone to impressive new lengths, according to a new report released yesterday by The Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto. The report details the ways Tencent  censors keywords without users ever knowing; deletes images appearing on WeChat news feeds, which was previously undiscovered; and doesn't subject overseas users to the same onerous censorship as Chinese users.

Why China is beating the U.S. at innovation (April 17, 2017, USA Today)
In other words, the U.S. Is doing the hard work of inventing new technologies, and China, among other countries, is reaping the benefits by taking those ideas and turning them into commercial products, the report says.

New section: Living Cross-Culturally

10 Months after Leaving China (April 14, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
Keeping China as a part of our lives is important to us. It can also be a little work and something that can easily be forgotten in this fast-paced world of school, sports, screens, and social media. There are several ways we’ve been able to keep our China connection in this land of Hoosiers, one of which I would like to highlight.

Top 10 most popular Chinese cities for foreigners (April 15, 2017, China Daily)
Shanghai tops the list of most popular cities in China for expats in a survey released on Saturday. Famous for its international atmosphere and multicultural environment, Shanghai is the most attractive city for foreigners, followed by Beijing and Hangzhou.

Do You Have What it Takes to Drive in China? (April 18, 2017, Small Town Laowai)
Here’s a small selection of questions that are particularly mind-numbing. Take a look and you’ll soon learn why you need to give up on reasoning things out and just stick with rote memorization.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

“Hollywood Can’t Exist Without China” (April 18, 2017, China Digital Times)
Now Hollywood producers are eager to placate Chinese censors in order to get a share of the lucrative and growing market of Chinese filmgoers.

History / Culture

Li Rui: China's red rebel turns 100 (April 13, 2017, BBC)
Li Rui was born 100 years ago, shortly before the fall of China’s empire. As a young man, he joined the Communist Party. The BBC's Carrie Gracie met the former secretary to Chairman Mao - a man who dared to speak out then, and who remains an independent voice to this day.

Slow Boats and Caravans: Great Explorers in Chinese History (April 19, 2017, The Beijinger)
China was never closed to the world. The myth of Chinese civilization huddled behind the Great Wall, isolated and insular, is as much a product of Western imagination as any historical reality. For thousands of years, travelers, traders, scholars, and missionaries explored the overland routes and sea lanes connecting China with the rest of the world.

Matteo Ricci, 1552 – 1610 (Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity)
Pioneer Roman Catholic missionary and the first European sinologist Ricci founded four Jesuit houses in China, translated Euclid’s Elements and other books into Chinese, and authored several popular books in Chinese. He was the initiator of the controversial “accommodationist” strategy for missions in China.

Travel / Food

“Bring out the Heat” – Ginger Cola-Cola Comes to China with Some Smart Yin Yang Marketing (April 16, 2017, What’s on Weibo)
Ginger-flavored Coca-Cola (姜味可口可乐) has recently hit the Chinese market, where the combination of ginger with cola is a well-loved one; boiled Coca-Cola with ginger is often used as a remedy against a cold. With its “bring out the heat” tagline, Coca-Cola is emphasizing the Chinese yin-yang philosophy in the marketing of Ginger Cola in the PRC.

The 30 Best Chinese and International Restaurants for Beijing Visitors and Tourists (April 19, 2017, The Beijinger)
Beijing is blessed with a fast-paced, diverse restaurant scene home to everything from high-end Western fine dining to authentic regional Chinese cuisine. However, this can make choosing a restaurant from one of the thousands available a daunting prospect.

Switzerland Tourism Fights Rivals for Chinese Travelers With New Focus (April 19, 2017, Skift)
Switzerland Tourism is employing “precision marketing” as the number of Chinese individual travelers rose last year while overall arrivals dropped. Tactics aim to be as precise as a Swiss watch; other destinations it competes with for longhaul Chinese travelers, including the U.S., Canada and New Zealand, should take note.

The essential guide to backpacking China's Silk Road (April 2017, Lonely Planet)
The section of the ancient Silk Road that runs through China is an epic journey through desert dunes to the end of the Great Wall, a length of pink mud that ends abruptly in the magnificent beige towers of the Jiayuguan Fort.

Finding Four Sisters: secret valleys of the Sichuan Himalaya (April 2017, Lonely Planet)
A few hundred kilometres west of Chengdu, deep in the Sichuan wilderness of western China, four magnificent mountains stand side-by-side, dominating the provincial skyline with their soaring peaks. Named after this towering quadruplet, Four Sisters Mountain National Park is composed of three major valleys that cut into the eastern escarpment of the Trans-Himalaya range.

Language / Language Learning

8 great ways to scaffold your Chinese learning (April 13, 2017, Hacking Chinese)
In this article, I want to discuss ways of scaffolding your Chinese listening and reading practice. While it’s certainly possibly to scaffold any learning activity, I think the need is much bigger for listening and reading, so that’s what I will focus on today.

List of 148 well-known Chengyu (or idiomatic expressions) (April 14, 2017, Sapore di Cina)

The Easy Way to Learn Chinese Tones (April 17, 2017, The Beijinger)
But before I go on, I should say that learning Chinese tones can be done by practicing (a lot!) or through understanding phonetics.

Links for Researchers

We (can’t) Chat: “709 Crackdown” Discussions Blocked on Weibo and WeChat (Citizen Lab, University of Toronto)
This report is a continuation of research documenting content filtering on WeChat and Sina Weibo. Censorship on these platforms is dynamic and often reactive to news events.

Image credit: 北京大学 Peking University, by Alva Chien, via Flickr

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman is senior vice president of ChinaSource and editor of ZGBriefs. Prior to joining ChinaSource, Joann spent 28 years working in China, as an English teacher, language student, program director, and cross-cultural trainer for organizations and businesses engaged in China. She has also taught Chinese at the University... View Full Bio