ZGBriefs | August 15, 2019

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Featured Article

‘I don’t’: why China’s millennials are saying no to marriage (August 10, 2019, South China Morning Post)
Ran’s thinking is typical among Chinese born after 1990. She is part of a generation who are in no rush to tie the knot in large part as a result of huge social and economic changes that have overturned tradition for China’s millennials. Researchers say the effects of this emerging “single society” have implications not only for the individual but the country as a whole.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

China Said It Closed Muslim Detention Camps. There’s Reason to Doubt That. (August 9, 2019, The New York Times)
But reporters from The New York Times found, over seven days of traveling through the region, that the vast network of detention camps erected by the government of China’s authoritarian leader, Xi Jinping, continues to operate, and even expand.

Protests Put Hong Kong on Collision Course With China’s Communist Party (August 12, 2019, The New York Times)
As anti-government demonstrations escalate in Hong Kong, each side is staking out increasingly polarized positions, making it difficult to find a path to compromise between the protesters and China’s ruling Communist Party.

Hong Kong Shows the Flaws in China’s Zero-Sum Worldview (August 12, 2019, The Atlantic)
Beijing’s growing power is limited by its narrow decision making and approach to negotiations.

The Battle for Hong Kong Is Being Fought in Sydney and Vancouver (August 13, 2019, The New York Times)
The weapons of this information war include a flood of social media posts from state-run media, some carrying misinformation. When a woman dispensing first aid was shot in the eye by the Hong Kong police, the state-run CCTV reported on its official social media account that she had been shot by protesters.

What Hong Kong's Laws Say About When The Chinese Military Can Intervene (August 13, 2019, NPR)
NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Martin Lee of the United Democrats of Hong Kong about when the mainland can intervene in Hong Kong affairs. He says military action must be requested by Hong Kong.

Satellite photos show Chinese armoured vehicles on border of Hong Kong (August 14, 2019, The Guardian)
The pictures collected on Monday by Maxar’s WorldView show more than 100 vehicles sitting on and around the soccer stadium at the Shenzhen Bay sports centre just across the harbour from the Asian financial hub that has been rocked by more than two months of near-daily street demonstrations.

Hong Kong airport attacks trigger nationalist frenzy in mainland China (August 14, 2019, South China Morning Post)
News of the attacks spread like wildfire on the mainland, where public sentiment towards Hong Kong has already hardened over the past weeks following a state-led propaganda campaign to discredit the protests. Within hours of the attacks, state media started posting condemnations of the protesters and sought to rally support for the two victims.

'Frightened, angry and exhausted': Hong Kong protesters apologise for airport violence (August 14, 2019, The Guardian)
The group apologised for clashes on Wednesday, in which police armed with batons and pepper spray clashed with thousands of protesters, saying that “after months of prolonged resistance, we are frightened, angry and exhausted. Some of us have become easily agitated and over-reacted last night.”

China describes Hong Kong protests as 'near terrorism' (August 14, 2019, BBC)
Some observers believe that the repeated use of such language suggests that China is losing patience with the protesters, and could increase the likelihood of an intervention from Beijing.

Hong Kong Airport Reopens After Court Order Forbids 'Obstructions,' Limits Protests (August 14, 2019, Radio Free Asia)
Hong Kong's international airport reopened for business on Wednesday after a court order banning demonstrations, and amid a general ban on non-passengers, on a day that ended with riot police firing tear gas through the streets of Sham Shui Po.

China State Media Present Their Own Version Of Hong Kong Protests (August 14, 2019, NPR)
Official state media pin the blame for protests on the "black hand" of foreign interference, namely from the United States, and what they have called criminal Hong Kong thugs. A popular conspiracy theory posits the CIA incited and funded the Hong Kong protesters…

Hong Kong protests: How could China intervene? (August 14 2019, BBC)
What legal options does Beijing have to intervene, and could we ever see Chinese military action in Hong Kong?

‘Retake Hong Kong’: A Movement, a Slogan and an Identity Crisis (August 14, 2019, The New York Times)
The increasing influence of the Chinese government on the territory in recent years — what the protesters see as encroachment — has galvanized a large majority of Mr. Leung’s generation to completely reject ties to mainland China and fiercely assert what a growing number see as a distinct and entirely separate identity.

As China Cracks Down on Uighurs, a Uighur American Joins the White House (August 14, 2019, Foreign Policy)
Current and former U.S. officials told Foreign Policy that Elnigar Iltebir, a Harvard Kennedy School-educated academic and daughter of a prominent Uighur intellectual and journalist, was recently appointed to the White House post. 


Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross (August 9, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
One translated hymn that is much loved by Chinese Christians who worship in unregistered churches as well as those who worship in registered churches is “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross.” Written by the prolific American hymn writer, Fanny J. Crosby, the hymn first appeared in a published hymnal in 1869.

China’s Churches Reaching China’s Ethnic Minorities (August 13, 2019, Chinese Church Voices)
How involved is the church in China in cross-cultural missions? Do Chinese churches send missionaries abroad? In this article from Mission China Today, Ming Xian, a missions worker who has been involved long term in motivating, training, sending, and serving ethnic minorities in China shares about the current missions efforts among Chinese churches. 

We Know What We Fight For, Part 1: I Have To Be Accountable Before My Lord (August 13, 2019, China Partnership Blog)
This two-part series focuses on the current state of the Chinese church, a situation that is very much in flux with recent tightening of regulations and increased pressure on believers and churches across the nation. 

Being a Western Christian in the Global Church, Part 2 (August 14, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
Once we understand that the world in which we minister has changed significantly, then we are in a position to reassess more accurately what our role ought to be in the global church.

Society / Life

How China Can Improve the Lives of Its State-Supported Orphans (August 9, 2019, Sixth Tone)
After years spent in state-run institutions, adult orphans often struggle to find their footing in society.

Young, educated and middle class: first field study of Hong Kong protesters reveals demographic trends (August 12, 2019, South China Morning Post)
Almost 75 per cent of the protesters who have taken to the streets in Hong Kong in recent weeks have had some higher education and nearly 60 per cent are younger than 30 years old, a study has found.

A Look At Some Of the Pro-Beijing Neighborhoods In Hong Kong (August 14, 2019, NPR)
Young, black-clad protesters have widespread support among residents of Hong Kong. But there have been clashes with residents in pro-Beijing enclaves.

More than 12.8 million people in China affected by Typhoon Lekima (August 14, 2019, China Daily)
Some 12.88 million people in nine provincial-level regions of China had been affected by Typhoon Lekima as of 4 pm Tuesday, the Ministry of Emergency Management said. About 2 million people in the provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong, Anhui, Fujian, Hebei, Liaoning and Jilin as well as the city of Shanghai had been relocated, the ministry said.

Economics / Trade / Business

The Top 14 China Wild Cards/Future Risks (August 12, 2019, China Law Blog)
In this way, a careful consideration of the wild cards is essential for planning by companies currently working with the PRC. You cannot eliminate the risk, but you can reduce their impact.

Trump delays some tariffs on Chinese imports (August 13, 2019, BBC)
The US is delaying imposing tariffs on some imports from China until 15 December because of "health, safety, national security and other factors". The products include mobile phones, laptops, video game consoles, some toys, computer monitors, and certain footwear and clothing.

Hong Kong for International Business: Stick a Fork in It (August 13, 2019, China Law Blog)
Not sure why nobody has just come out and said this yet, but Hong Kong as an international business and financial center is no more. I take no comfort in saying this because I have many friends in Hong Kong and I’ve always loved going there, but Hong Kong’s special position is over. 

Migrant workers in the digital market: China’s platform economy (August 13, 2019, Asia Dialogue)
Platform work, with its promise of relatively easy earning, profitable entrepreneurship, autonomy and flexibility at work, has a perceived ‘new spirit’ within the ‘Internet Plus’ economy today.


The U.S. Recently Erected a New Hurdle to U.S.-China Academic Cooperation. Here’s What It Might Mean (August 8, 2019, China File)
In April 2019, the Department included several Chinese universities on its Unverified List (UVL)—most notably, Renmin and Tongji Universities, prestigious, highly ranked schools with many ties abroad. 

Class dismissed: Surge in arrests of foreign teachers in China (August 12, 2019, Reuters)
Arrests and deportations of foreign teachers in China have soared this year, lawyers, schools and teachers say, amid a broad crackdown defined by new police tactics and Beijing’s push for a “cleaner”, more patriotic education system.

Ghostwriters, forgery and ‘gifts’: the short cuts Chinese students take to get into foreign universities (August 12, 2019, South China Morning Post)
Wealthy parents in China spend tens of thousands of dollars on admissions middlemen to get their children into world-class universities. But the practises that these ‘consultants’ promote, ranging from embellishing transcripts to bribing officials, are often far from ethical.

Peking Univ. Rejects, Then Accepts, Rural Students’ Admissions (August 12, 2019, Sixth Tone)
China’s college admission system assigned two students from an underprivileged area of Henan to the prestigious Peking University, but the school sparked an online backlash when it objected to their low test scores.

Health / Environment

Powerful typhoon sweeps away buildings in eastern China – video (August 12, 2019, The Guardian)
Heavy rain swept through eastern China after Typhoon Lekima made landfall in the coastal province of Zhejiang on Saturday. The powerful storm left a trail of destruction after a landslide backed up a river that broke through debris and inundated homes. The death toll from Lekima rose to 44 on Monday morning, according to state media.

Science / Technology

The Best VPN Service (August 14, 2019, Wire Cutter)
We spent more than 65 hours researching 53 VPN services, testing five, interviewing the leadership of three, and consulting information security experts.

History / Culture

Street photography reveals China in the 1980s (August 8, 2019, BBC)
British photographer Adrian Bradshaw arrived in Beijing in 1984, going on to spend three decades documenting China's changing culture.

8 Political Slogans That Changed the Course of China's History (August 12, 2019, The Beijinger)
From serving the people to the realization of one's own Chinese Dream, they provide insight into the inner workings of the Chinese government and a peep into the country’s means of development in the years since they were first uttered.

Travel / Food

Seven-Tenths Tea, Three-Tenths Friendship: Culture and Tea in China (August 9, 2019,Wild China Blog)
In fact, although the oldest known written records of the country’s history date to the ancient Shang Dynasty in 1250 BC, Chinese legend has it that tea’s story began much earlier. Over a thousand years earlier.  

How German Settlers in China Created One of the World’s Most Consumed Beers (August 10, 2019, Radii China)
In the seaside city of Qingdao, the German-founded Tsingtao brewery has withstood a century of turbulence to produce one of the world's most consumed beers.

Alipay Expands to Cater to Chinese Tourists in Europe (August 11, 2019, Skift)
Travel brands and destinations take note: Offering digital mobile payment methods is an effective way to appeal to Chinese outbound travelers, who are adopting apps like Alipay and WePay in ever growing numbers.

British explorer is first person to complete 4,000-mile Yangtze trek (August 12, 2019, The Guardian)
A 28-year-old British explorer has become the first person to complete a 4,000-mile (6,437km) trek along the Yangtze River in China. Ash Dykes, from Old Colwyn in north Wales, finished the year-long expedition on Monday, overcoming blizzards, a landslide and temperatures as low as -20C (-4F).

The Three Most Overrated China Travel Experiences (August 13, 2019, Wild China Blog)
China is so vast, varied, and personal that it’s a huge shame that everyone seems to visit the same places. So, assuming you are not heeding the U.S.’s travel warning and are heading to China anyway, here’s my warning: Stay away from these places.

Flights from Daxing airport on sale (August 15, 2019, China Daily)
Tickets are now available for flights at Beijing Daxing International Airport, which is scheduled to begin operations before Sept 30. On various travel websites, passengers can book tickets from the new airport to many domestic destinations such as Shanghai, Xiamen in Fujian province, Guangzhou in Guangdong province, Chengdu in Sichuan province and Kunming in Yunnan province.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

“I’ve Always Known My Journey Would End in China” – Jeremy Lin’s Off-Season Grind Benefits Chinese Youth  (August 13, 2019, Radii China)
Following a championship season with the Toronto Raptors, Jeremy Lin talks about his basketball schools in China and his motivation to get back on the court.

'One Child Nation' Documentary Explores The Dark Side Of Chinese Policy (August 13, 2019, NPR)
With co-director Jialing Zhang, Wang has made a new documentary called One Child Nation. It's an unflinching look at the ripple effects of China's one-child policy: how it tore families apart, how it forced abortions and sterilizations and how it fed the trafficking of unwanted baby girls. Wang now lives in the U.S. and has a son.

Language / Language Learning

How many ways are there to ask “where are you from” in Chinese? LOTS. (August 9, 2019, Sinosplice)
As an English speaker, you may be tempted to think that “where are you from?” is a super basic question. Just 4 words, right? How hard could it be? Well, for this particular question, in the particular language of Mandarin Chinese, it can be phrased more than 10 different ways.

Guide to the HSK 6 Test – Advanced Chinese for Foreign Students (August 9, 2019, Sapore di Cina)
Before taking the time to read this guide, know that you can only really appreciate it if you’ve already reached level 5 of the HSK exam or if you’ve already attained a good level. Consider too that you’ll have to know more than 2500/3000 words before being able to specifically work on the HSK 6. 

How to learn to read and write Chinese(August 12, 2019, Language Log)
But it is so much easier to learn Chinese in the current age of electronic resources than it was even a couple of decades ago.  Now there's no excuse for or reason to slave over character flash cards and dictation (tīngxiě 聽寫/听写[a striking example of the difference between traditional and simplified characters]).

The nine principles of learning (and the mistakes from failing to follow them) (August 13, 2019, Hacking Chinese)
In this essay, I’d like to share these principles, as well as how not following them leads to some common mistakes. Those mistakes, in turn, can prevent you from reaching a decent level of Chinese despite years of study.

Living Cross-culturally

Challenged by Different Ways of Seeing, Part 2 (August 12, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
Guilt culture sees everything through the lens of right and wrong. It can be compared to a court, where guilt is determined and followed by the declaration of judgement and punishment. When we have committed sin, a wrong action, the right response is to confess and ask for forgiveness. 

Links for Researchers

The Nobility of Failure: Hong Kong Apostasy (China Heritage)
The title of this latest chapter in our series ‘Hong Kong Apostasy’ — ‘The Nobility of Failure’ — is inspired by Ivan Morris, The Nobility of Failure: Tragic Heroes in the History of Japan (Penguin, 1975). Morris’s book provides an enthralling record of what he calls a ‘spontaneous sympathy with the courageous loser’ and he depicts in it a culture that ‘since ancient times … recognised a special nobility in the sincere, unsuccessful sacrifice.’

The Definition of Religion for the Social Scientific Study of Religion in China and Beyond (DeGruyter)


Evening Desert with ChinaSource, August 25, 2019 (ChinaSource)
Join us for a look at the current situation of the church in China.
Date: Sunday, August 25, 2019
Time: 6:30pm dessert
Venue: Whitworth Community Presbyterian Church
Address: 312 W Hawthorne Road, Spokane, WA 99218

Webinar: What is it Like to be a Christian in China? (September 5, 2019, ChinaSource)
Being a Christian in today’s China is challenging in many ways. The difficulties are not just political but social, cultural, and material in nature as well. As the global church, the more we understand the context of Chinese Christians, the better we can support and effectively serve the church in China.
Date: September 5
Time: 7:30-8:30pm, US Central Daylight Time
Host: Joann Pittman; Presenter: Dr. Mary Li Ma
Cost: US$10.00

The Present and Future of the Catholic Church in China and How the American Church Can Respond: A presentation at the America Media headquarters, hosted by the US-China Catholic Association.
Tuesday, September 17, 2019
6:00 p.m.​
America Media Headquarters
Rockefeller Center, Manhattan
1212 6th Ave, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10036

Image credit: Gauthier DELECROIX, 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