ZGBriefs | April 6, 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

Finding My Roots Deep in Rural China (March 31, 2017, Sixth Tone)
Although I was born in China, I have been molded by the United States. The country gave me the chance to think and feel like an American. Here, I was taught to be curious; I learned that asking questions is often more fulfilling than knowing all the answers. Here, I fell in and out of love for the first time. And here, I became a person with two identies. Yes, I was “Americanized,” but I was also very attached to my Chinese roots.

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Overseas NGO Law

62 overseas NGOs set up offices in China after registration under new law (April 2, 2017, China Daily)
Among the 62 NGOs, which include those in fields such as the economy, education and environmental protection, 27 are from the United States, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the US-China Business Council. The other 35 come from 14 regions and countries, including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Britain, Germany and Switzerland.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

The New York Times vs. the ‘Great Firewall’ of China (March 31, 2017, The New York Times)
If you look at the top of our home page, you’ll see a tab with two Chinese characters, which mean “Chinese.” Few people know the struggle and angst that put those characters there.

Is Hong Kong on Its Way to Becoming Just Another City in the P.R.C.? A ChinaFile Conversation (March 31, 2017, China File)
Unpopular with Hong Kong’s pro-democracy lawmakers and citizens, Lam’s election has exacerbated concerns about the mainlandization of Hong Kong. What does Lam’s election mean for Hong Kong’s future?

Is it too late to save Hong Kong from Beijing’s authoritarian grasp? – podcast (April 3, 2017, The Guardian)

When Britain handed over control to China in 1997, Hong Kong was a beacon of freewheeling prosperity – but in recent years Beijing’s grip has tightened. Is there any hope for the city’s radical pro-democracy movement?

As Trump Meets Xi at Mar-a-Lago, There’s a ‘Wild Card’ (April 4, 2017, The New York Times)
He is a billionaire who made his fortune in real estate. He has been called a narcissist. He posts to Twitter — incessantly — about politics and his battles against the media. Lately, he has been spending time at a Florida resort named Mar-a-Lago.

What Should We Expect When Trump and Xi Meet in Florida? – A China File Conversation (April 4, 2017, China File)
What is likely to happen? How should each side approach the other? And what would constitute a successful meeting?

Trump Administration Quietly Starts Review Of China's Trade Status (April 4, 2017, NPR)
What's in question is a longstanding designation of China as a "Non-Market Economy," or a country that operates outside of the norms of developed nations when it comes to trade.

Trump and Xi: Two Imposing Leaders With Clashing Agendas (April 5, 2017, The New York Times)
But while the meetings could lift Mr. Xi’s stature at home, they also present significant risks. The two men are at odds on several contentious issues, and perhaps no Chinese leader has ever walked into a meeting with an American president like Mr. Trump, who has shown a disdain for the language of diplomacy. Mr. Xi has a highly scripted style, and the Chinese are accustomed to meetings that are tightly choreographed.


An Inside Look at China’s Remarkable Religious Resurgence (March 30, 2017, Christianity Today)
CT editor at large Rob Moll spoke with Johnson about the reasons for spiritual ferment among the Chinese people.

The Chinese Church: Great Progress and Great Work Yet to Be Done (March 31, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
The growth of the Chinese church over the past several decades cannot be overstated. What the Lord has accomplished is truly beyond anything we could have ever asked or imagined. 

When Marx Meets Islam (March 31, 2017, Foreign Policy)
Marx’s harsh critique of religion does not stop a large number of Chinese from embracing the teaching of Buddha, the message of Jesus Christ, or the words of Mohammed.

Picturing the Church in China (April 3, 2017, From the West Courtyard)

Church in Beijing to Carry Out “80-Hour Bible Reading” Activity During Passion Week (March 31, 2017, China Christian Daily)
The Chongwenmen Christian Church in Beijing has planned an 80 hour Bible reading activity from April 10-13.  The purpose of the activity is to help brothers and sisters think about the suffering and resurrection of Christ.

Why China is banning beards and veils in Xinjiang (March 31, 2017, CNN)
No long beards. No veils in public places. No home-schooling. China is intensifying its crackdown against what it deems religious extremism in the far-west province of Xinjiang, which is home to 10 million Muslims.

Christians hospitalized after resisting state surveillance in China's 'Jerusalem' (April 3, 2017, Fox News)
Chinese Christians in a city known as the nation’s “Jerusalem” are clashing with the local government after a controversial directive to install surveillance cameras in churches.

A Chinese Missionary to Nepal (Part 1) (April 4, 2017, Chinese Church Voices)
What is it like for Chinese Christians to engage in cross-cultural missions outside of China? An increasing number of Chinese Christians have the opportunity to serve short-term abroad. Their experiences abroad offer valuable lessons for future indigenous mission efforts by the Chinese church.

How the Bible came back to China (April 4, 2017, Eternity News)
In an amazing turnaround, China has gone from being a place where Bibles had to be hidden, to the place where more Bibles are printed than anywhere else on Earth. There is a good chance any Bible you buy, especially from Bible Society, has been printed in China. a A young Australian, David Thorne, had a key role in this transformation. Thorne had a conviction God would use his print production skills for the kingdom.

As a Religion, Chinese Communism Has Failed: Rising Persecution Will Fail Too (April 4, 2017, The American Spectator)
Persecution is low to very low for Taoists, Chinese Buddhists, and Hui Muslims. Catholics face moderate restrictions; Protestants high persecution. Very high levels of repression are applied to Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur Muslims, and Falun Gong.

From Doing to Paving the Way (April 5, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
Being a faithful steward involves stewarding relationships, not for the purpose of enhancing one’s own ability to get things done, but for the fulfillment of the greater purposes that will be fulfilled through the lives of others.

Society / Life

China’s “Most Famous Foreigner” Mark Rowswell: Ready for Dashan 3.0 (March 31, 2017, What’s on Weibo)
He is China’s “most famous foreigner” since the late 1980s: Canadian Mark Rowswell, better known as Dashan. On March 30, he talked about his life as a Chinese household name and his work as a comedian at Beijing’s The Bookworm. 

The kingdom of women: the society where a man is never the boss (April 1, 2017, The Guardian)
It’s a place where women rule, marriage doesn’t exist and everything follows the maternal bloodline. But is it as good for women as it sounds – and how long can it last?

What Chinese People Talk About When They Talk About Death (April 3, 2017, Sixth Tone)
Sixth Tone spoke to three people who confront death on a daily basis: a hospice volunteer, a palliative care doctor, and a notary. Each shared stories of how their interactions during and after the final moments of life might one day help to puncture China’s culture of avoidance.

Ancient Chinese tomb-sweeping festival goes hi-tech (April 4, 2017, BBC)
Millions of ethnic Chinese people will be paying their respects to dead ancestors this week, as they observe the ancient Qing Ming festival. The centuries-old festival, also known as "tomb sweeping day", is traditionally observed by sprucing up loved ones' graves and making offerings to their spirits. But in recent years, it has taken on a more hi-tech style for some people.

Mums in China race their biological clock as one-child policy ends (April 5, 2017, 9News)
Last year, China brought to an end its one-child policy for city dwelling couples after enforcing its law for more than 30 years. This has meant a number of women are now putting their faith in being able to fall pregnant for a second time using embryos they had frozen.

Illegal trade in 'corpse brides' surges in China (April 5, 2017, UPI)
Chinese villagers are willing to pay as much as $26,000 for female corpses they can bury with dead unmarried male relatives. The practice of "ghost marriages," where Chinese pay their respects to the deceased with a gift of a "bride" in the afterlife, persists in rural areas despite the exorbitant costs to families.

Why Bans on Paper Money Will Anger China’s Ghosts (April 5, 2017, Sixth Tone)
Some local governments have even banned its burning and manufacture outright, while also taking steps to discourage feudal superstitions such as burning paper idols made to resemble people, horses, or cattle. This is a foolish move, in my opinion, as it strikes a heavy blow to the roots of deep-seated traditional belief systems.

Economics / Trade / Business

China's young locked out of Beijing's property market (April 3, 2017, BBC)
If you're young, Chinese and living in Beijing, you're probably locked out of the property market. Demand for property in China's top cities is so red hot, some couples are even undergoing fake divorces in order to buy additional homes.

China bought its dominance over the West, factory by factory (April 4, 2017, Sydney Morning Herald)
It's true that China has played hard and dirty in its breakneck catchup with the West. It's stolen technology and used it relentlessly to put its foreign competitors out of business. But what about the factories the Chinese bought? And dismantled. And shipped back to China. And reassembled. Legally.

China is no longer perceived as the world’s economic superpower (April 4, 2017, Quartz)
After years of convincing the world that it is the singular dominant economic superpower China has lost that throne to the US, according a survey of 16 countries by the Pew Research Center.

China to Develop Hebei’s Xiongan as Rival to Shenzhen and Pudong (April 5, 2017, China Briefing)
In what is fast becoming a rite of passage for Chinese leaders, President Xi Jinping has decreed that the Xiongan New District be created in Hebei, about 160 km south of Beijing. The area will be developed with similar incentives and infrastructure that were put in place with the creation of Shenzhen and the Pudong New Area by predecessors Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin.


The importance of “programming” in Chinese culture: the scholastic path of Chinese children (March 31, 2017, Sapore di Cina)
The East sees things in a different way, for a Chinese person it is all part of a single thing, an eternal cycle of transformation that alternates between prosperous and difficult moments. It is an eternal breath that includes cycles of inhalation and exhalation and an eternal balancing between opposites.

China’s Happy Education Policy Is Failing Our Kids (April 4, 2017, Sixth Tone)
In China’s primary and secondary schools, there exists an obvious paradox. On one hand, the official education system is attempting to ease the burden of schoolwork on students, with the Education Administrative Department repeatedly exhorting schools to lessen students’ workloads. On the other hand, more and more of the time students spend outside the classroom is being devoted to educational training organizations.

Chongyi Feng's detention in China a blunt warning to Chinese Australians (April 5, 2017, abc.net.au)
"Unfortunately a signal of intimidation has been sent to Chinese Australians not to criticise Communist party interference in Australian domestic affairs," the head of the National Security College at the Australian National University (ANU), Rory Medcalf, says.

Health / Environment

Germs in China: Immunity Training Ground? (March 31, 2017, Sinosplice)
After 16.6 years in China, has my immune system been “trained” at all? I don’t think there’s any way to definitively answer this question, but I’ve got a few thoughts, and I’m hoping others might share their experiences.

China is about to change the way it uses a last-resort antibiotic for the better—but it’s too late (April 4, 2017, Quartz)
As part of its efforts against antibiotic overuse, a global problem that has caused some bacteria to become resistant to drugs, China will entirely stop using the drug in animal feedfrom the end of this month (April 30). 

Science / Technology

China’s great firewall gives rise to a robust industry of information smugglers (April 2, 2017, Hong Kong Free Press)
It is common knowledge that China’s so-called Great Firewall bars Chinese netizens from accessing overseas websites. A chief side effect of the firewall that is less commonly known among foreigners are the many social media outlets that “smuggle” news from overseas to mainland China.

History / Culture

When East met West: Matteo Ricci and his failed attempt to convert China (April 3, 2017, Aletia.org)
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the state-run Catholic Church in China, which appoints its own bishops and rejects the authority of the pope. […] But the history of Christianity in China goes back much further than that, and the Middle Kingdom’s relationship with Western religions has been far more complicated. One of the pioneers of Christian evangelistic efforts in China was Father Matteo Ricci, a member of the Society of Jesus who arrived in the country in the late 16th century.

Travel / Food

Chinese Travelers Want U.S. Cities to Make Them Feel More Welcome (April 1, 2017, Skift)

The American hospitality industry is stepping up efforts to make Chinese visitors feel more welcome since they are projected to soon surpass travelers from the United Kingdom and Japan as the single largest overseas demographic.

Top 10 Food Myths in China That You Should Know (Part 2) (April 3, 2017, The Beijinger)
In an attempt to quell some of this ignorance and scaremongering, The Beijing News recently listed a number of the most prevalent and pervasive fake rumors that have spread across China in recent years. Of course it pays to be vigilant and conscious of what you're putting in your body but it also pays to know when people are feeding you lies.

The Qingming Dumpling (April 5, 2017, The World of Chinese)
Known also as qingtuan (青团), these green dumplings are made of glutinous rice mixed with Chinese mugwort leaves and are usually filled with sweet red bean paste. Edible when they are young and fresh, mugwort leaves are burned to repel mosquitos, used to treat minor swelling, and are even said to ward off evil. 

How Long Can I Stay in China Without a Visa? (April 5, 2017, The Points Guy)
It’s important to note that Chinese visa free transit rules are very specific and somewhat tricky. If you’re not eligible, you’ll need to have a visa to enter China and you need to get it before you leave the US since you can’t obtain one upon landing in the country.

Language / Language Learning

China sets target for 80% of citizens to speak Mandarin by 2020 (April 3, 2017, BBC)
China has said that it wants 80% of its citizens to speak Mandarin, the country's dominant dialect, by 2020. The current figure of 70% leaves hundreds of millions of people speaking other languages, the government says. It also wants to improve Mandarin speaking among teachers, especially those from ethnic minority regions.


MISSIONARY: A Historical Study of the Entry of the Gospel into China (March 27, 2017, Global China Center)
MISSIONARY presents an engaging and wide-ranging history of the Western missionary contribution to China’s all-around development—spiritual and material. This five-year film project has resulted in a stunning presentation of archival photographs and historical film footage. Images follow each other in a seamless pattern with excellent voice narration in English as well as Chinese. This is a most worthy follow-on to earlier valuable film contributions by China Soul for Christ. (book and DVD set)

China’s Crony Capitalism: The Dynamics of Regime Decay (April 5, 2017, China File)
China’s Crony Capitalism traces the origins of China’s present-day troubles to the series of incomplete reforms from the post-Tiananmen era that decentralized the control of public property without clarifying its ownership.

Links for Researchers

Make the Foreign Serve China: How Foreign Science and Technology Helped China Dominate Global Metallurgical Industries (March 1, 2017, Center for Strategic and International Studies)
This paper seeks to demonstrate that China’s massive investment in capacity to produce metals is not just the result of state support, but because the country is home to the world’s largest and technically advanced metallurgical plants, its companies are able to produce metals at lower cost than most of their foreign competitors.

Same Bed, Different Dreams: The Divergent Pathways of Foundations and Grassroots NGOs in China (ReadCube)

Image credit: Impression of Xidi, by Xianyi Shen, 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