ZGBriefs | April 27, 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

Ten Questions That EVERY Expat (or Repat) Parent Should Ask About Their Kids (April 20, 2017, The Culture Blend)
I love what my kids are getting out of this experience.  I love what is being built into them.  I love who they are becoming . . . but I’m not an idiot.  This is hard. It’s hard for us and it’s hard for them.  So as a parent I want to be in touch with the realities — the specific realities, good and bad — of who my kids are and what they are going through.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

In Poor Province, an Election Rich With Meaning: Delegate Xi Jinping (April 21, 2017, China Real Time)
Thursday’s vote marked Mr. Xi’s latest step in preparing for the party’s twice-a-decade conclave this fall, where he is expected to consolidate power by promoting allies to China’s new leadership bench. That Mr. Xi would become a delegate was a forgone conclusion, as is his second term as party leader and president. His choice of electoral constituency—Guizhou, one of China’s poorest provinces—was not.

Chinese Media Is Subdued in the Face of North Korea-U.S. Standoff (April 22, 2017, The New York Times)
Here is a look at the themes dominating coverage of North Korea in the Chinese media, and what they reveal about Beijing’s attitude toward Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump.

China launches aircraft carrier, boosting military presence (April 26, 2017, BBC)
China has launched a new aircraft carrier in the latest sign of its growing military strength. It is the country's second aircraft carrier, after the Liaoning, and the first to be made domestically. The as-yet unnamed ship was transferred into the water in the north-eastern port of Dalian, state media said. It will reportedly be operational by 2020.

China jails American businesswoman for spying (April 26, 2017, CNN)
A Chinese court has convicted an American businesswoman of spying, sentencing her to three and a half years in prison and deportation. Sandy Phan-Gillis, a resident of Houston, has been in custody in China since March 2015 when she was detained during a business trip with officials from Texas.


Raising Support—an Uphill Struggle (April 21, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
For a missionary, raising support is no easy task. When we were preparing for our first term of service, I wasn’t sure how we were ever going to raise the required budget. But for Chinese missionaries, the task is even harder. Coming from a culture that is not accustomed to supporting missionaries, obtaining financial backing is an uphill struggle.

China Gripped by Spiritual Revival as 'Hundreds of Millions Turn to Religion and Faith' (April 24, 2017, CBN)
Forty-one years after China's Cultural Revolution snuffed out all forms of religious expression, hundreds of millions of Chinese people are flocking to religions like Christianity.

Church China Roundtable: Five Questions For Churches Today Based On The Spirit Of The Reformation (April 25, 2017, China Partnership Blog)
Church China is one of the most widely read Christian publications in mainland China and is an excellent glimpse into the life and discussions of the urban Chinese house church. Its bi-monthly magazine focuses on different topics concerning the church and theology and is widely read among house church pastors and lay leaders.

From Trailblazer to Fellow Traveler (April 26, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
The China of the 1980s seems worlds apart from the era covered in Lodwick’s brief survey, but someday a book will be written about another generation of intrepid foreigners who also broke new ground as China was reopening—on its own terms this time—to the outside world.

Society / Life

China bans religious names for Muslim babies in Xinjiang (April 24, 2017, The Guardian)
Many couples fret over choosing the perfect name for their newborn, but for Muslims in western China that decision has now become even more fraught: pick the wrong name and your child will be denied education and government benefits. Officials in the western region of Xinjiang, home to roughly half of China’s 23 million Muslims, have released a list of banned baby names amid an ongoing crackdown on religion, according to a report by US-funded Radio Free Asia.

In Fast-Paced China, Marathon Craze Is Off And Running (April 26, 2017, NPR)
Xu is new to marathons, and so is China. Six years ago, the country hosted 22 marathons. This year, it's scheduled to host more than 400. "This is part of the central government's nationwide campaign," says Xu Guangyou, director of the Qingyuan city sports bureau. "They want more marathons and more people exercising."

“I Am Fan Yusu” – Beijing Migrant Worker’s Writing Takes Chinese Internet by Storm (April 26, 2017, What’s on Weibo)
A moving essay by a Beijing migrant worker has gone viral over Chinese social media this week. Although the article named “I Am Fan Yusu” (我是范雨素) is currently the best-read article in China, the 44-year-old author, who has become China’s literary sensation overnight, just hopes she can live her life in peace.

Economics / Trade / Business

Debt Crisis Shakes Chinese Town, Pointing to Wider Problems (April 25, 2017, The New York Times)
Zouping’s plight offers a sobering example of the problems that could lurk within China’s vast and murky debt load. A nearly decade-long Chinese lending spree drove growth but burdened the economy with one of the world’s heaviest debt loads, equal to $21,600 worth of bank loans, bonds and other obligations for every man, woman and child in the country. Debt in China has expanded twice as fast as the overall economy since 2008.

China is crushing South Korea's tourism industry (April 26, 2017, CNN)
Pro tip for countries looking to keep their tourism numbers up: Don't annoy China. That's the lesson South Korea is learning the hard way. The country suffered a 40% plunge in Chinese visitors last month, according to the Korea Tourism Organization.

China's yuan dips against dollar, falls to record low against currency basket (April 26, 2017, Reuters)
China's yuan slipped against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday and fell to a record low against a basket of currencies after the central bank set a weaker midpoint, but tightening liquidity was expected to limit losses. The People's Bank of China set the midpoint rate at 6.8845 per dollar prior to the market open, weaker than the previous fix of 6.8833.


Studying in China on Scholarship: The Complete Guide (April 21, 2017, Sapore di Cina)
In the majority of cases, scholarships won’t only cover your tuition and accommodations during your studies, but will also provide you with a monthly allowance for your personal expenses. Here you will find information to help you decide what scholarships are the most appropriate for you as well as the steps and documents necessary to apply for them.

Shanghai’s Vocational Schools Open Doors for Rural Students (April 24, 2017, Sixth Tone)
Though much international media coverage of China’s education system focuses on the intense competition for university places, a sizeable share of the population will never attend high school. Compulsory education finishes at the end of middle school — around age 15 — after which many rural teenagers leave school to help run their families’ farms or look for work in the city. 

Pilot ‘Gaokao’ Reforms Only Pile On the Pressure (April 25, 2017, Sixth Tone)
But the first batch of students affected by these reforms have complained that their lives have become more stressful because the gaokao now comes earlier and more often, while teaching methods have not kept up with the changes. At the same time, the gaokaoremains just as critical to their futures as it was before, students told Sixth Tone.

In China, Daydreaming Students Are Caught on Camera (April 25, 2017, The New York Times)
As internet speeds have improved, live-streaming has become a cultural phenomenon in China, transforming online entertainment and everyday rituals like dating and dining. Now the nation’s obsession with live video is invading its schools, and not everyone is happy about it.

Health / Environment

Journal Retracts Dozens of Papers by Chinese Scientists (April 21, 2017, Sixth Tone)
An international scientific journal has retracted 107 articles after it discovered irregularities in their peer reviews. The articles were published in Tumor Biology between 2012 and 2016, and their authors were nearly all Chinese researchers.

Student HIV Epidemic Alarms Changsha Officials (April 22, 2017, Sixth Tone)
A university-rich district in Changsha, capital of central Hunan province, is in the throes of an HIV epidemic, local paper Sanxiang Metropolis Daily reported Saturday. The Yuelu District Center for Disease Control and Prevention called an emergency meeting on Friday morning to address the fact that 106 students have tested positive for HIV.

Why China Is Selling Cheap HIV Tests In Campus Vending Machines (April 25, 2017, NPR)
China is piloting the use of vending machines that sell HIV testing kits on university campuses. The goal is to reach students who may be reluctant to go to a clinic for a test because of the stigma of contracting HIV. The experimental program began last year on five college campuses in the city of Beijing as well as Harbin, Guangxi and Heilongjiang provinces. 

Science / Technology

China Moves To Increase Number Of Electric Vehicles On Its Roads (April 25, 2017, NPR)
By early next year, Beijing will require automakers in China to ensure that at least 8 percent of all vehicles they manufacture are electric. The country had more than 1 million electric vehicles in 2016 — an 87 percent increase over the previous year. 

Living Cross-culturally

You Are Not a Failure (April 19, 2017, A Life Overseas)
To people who made youthful commitments they didn’t follow through on, to people who moved back ‘home’ earlier than planned, to people who don’t see what they dreamed of seeing, I want to say: You’re not a failure. And, you didn’t even fail.

Ten Questions That EVERY Expat (or Repat) Parent Should Ask About Their Kids (April 20, 2017, The Culture Blend)
I love what my kids are getting out of this experience.  I love what is being built into them.  I love who they are becoming . . . but I’m not an idiot.  This is hard. It’s hard for us and it’s hard for them.  So as a parent I want to be in touch with the realities — the specific realities, good and bad — of who my kids are and what they are going through.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Chris Buckley: The China Journalist’s China (April 24, 2017, Sinica Podcast)
In this podcast, recorded with a live audience in Beijing, Kaiser and Jeremy ask Chris about his tradecraft and sourcing of stories about elite Chinese politics, his views on Xi Jinping and the anti-corruption campaign, and what we can expect from the 19th Party Congress this fall. Chris also talks about the joys of journalism in a country that makes it very difficult to do.

History / Culture

A Hundred-Year-Old Hospital in Jiujiang (April 25, 2017, Chinese Church Voices)
Many hospitals in Chinese cities, particularly along the coasts or along the Yangtze River, were originally founded by western missionaries. After the missionaries left in the 1950s the hospitals were nationalized and, in many cases, became the leading hospitals in the community. They serve as important and interesting legacies of the work of the missionaries.

Eastern versus Western Honor & Shame (April 26, 2017, Jackson Wu)
Recently, I stumbled on a key difference between Eastern and Western versions of honor-shame. Let me know how you’ve seen this in your own setting.

Travel / Food

Why China's craft breweries are tapping into ancient beer recipes (April 25, 2017, CNN)
China is home to one of the oldest civilizations, so it's only fitting that it's home to ancient beer as well. But no one knew how its ancient beer was made — until in 2015 a team of archaeologists from Stanford University conducted studies on a primitive brewery discovered on a Neolithic site in China.

Language / Language Learning

The Cute “Mispronounced” Chinese Words Confounding Your Reading (April l25, 2017,  Sinosplice)
These types of usages are frequently lumped together with other forms of “netspeak” (网络语), but they do share the special feature of swapping a character (or two) to mimic a regional accent.


Books, Books, and More Books! (April 24, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
According to Dictionary.com, a Sinophile is “a person who admires or has a strong liking for China, the Chinese, or their culture.” After 25+ years in China, I guess I qualify; and I’m guessing that readers of this blog do as well.

China’s Hegemony: Four Hundred Years of East Asian Domination (April 25, 2017, China File)
This book demonstrates that Chinese hegemony and hierarchy were not just an outcome of China’s military power or Confucian culture but were constructed while interacting with other, less powerful actors’ domestic political needs, especially in conjunction with internal power struggles.

Book Cousins (April 26, 2017, The Messy Middle)
You may wonder what a book cousin is. Come near and I will tell you a story. Once upon a time Amy and Joann worked for the same organization in China. As colleagues, they trained and then supported foreign English teachers scattered around China. But more than that, they were friends, good friends. […]  But this is the true story of how The Bells and Looming Transitions came to be book cousins.

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 of Northwestern-St. Paul …View Full Bio