ZGBriefs | August 2, 2018

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Featured Article

How a Chinese cook helped establish Yosemite and the National Park Service (July 22, 2018, NBC News)
Learning about the Chinese-American history of Yosemite prompted Shu to brainstorm ways to raise awareness about the community’s contributions to one of America's most popular national parks, which sees more than 5 million visitors per year, according to the park service.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

US urged to sanction Chinese officials overseeing sweeping crackdown in Muslim region (July 27, 2018, Hong Kong Free Press)
Since hardline official Chen Quanguo was transferred from Tibet to govern China’s Muslim region in August 2016, he has overseen the construction of a network of extrajudicial internment camps. 

Chinese ex-online tsar Lu Wei charged with bribery (July 30, 2018, BBC)
China's former chief of internet regulation, Lu Wei, has been charged with taking bribes. He is accused of taking advantage of his position to reap monetary and property gain, the official Xinhua News Agency reports. Mr. Lu was once one of China's most senior officials, overseeing the department of online media regulation.

In The Highest Position (July 31, 2018, China Media Project)
In the dictionary of the Chinese Communist Party, the term “one position as the highest authority,” or dingyuyizun (定于一尊), has for decades been used in a decidedly negative sense — to suggest power and position that escapes necessary constraints. But in recent weeks this negative phrase seems to have been dusted off, and a fresh coat of paint applied. It now rings as an affirmation of the need for resolute leadership. 

As China’s Woes Mount, Xi Jinping Faces Rare Rebuke at Home (July 31, 2018, The New York Times)
Censorship and punishment have muted dissent in China since Mr. Xi came to power. So Xu Zhangrun, a law professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, took a big risk last week when he delivered the fiercest denunciation yet from a Chinese academic of Mr. Xi’s hard-line policies, revival of Communist orthodoxies and adulatory propaganda image.

Accounts Show Impact of Repression in Xinjiang  (July 31, 2018, China Digital Times)
Referred to as “crimes against humanity” by rights activist Michael Caster, the persecution of Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang has steadily increased amid a long-running anti-terrorism campaign. 


Beijing House Churches Call For Freedom to Practice Their Religion (July 24 2018, Radio Free Asia)
The statement called on the authorities to respect freedom of religion enshrined in China's constitution, which contains many rights that are not upheld in practice in the one-party state. "The belief that religious believers are some kind of dissenting force, to be managed and rectified, or a target for containment or direct attack, is misguided, and a fundamental error," it said.

Chinese churches screening visitors as police raids increase (July 27, 2018, Premier
A local source in the city of Guangzhou told World Watch Monitor that authorities are “trying to stir up the larger more influential churches to see what reaction they will get from the people”.

Religious sites in China to raise national flag to enhance national identity (July 31, 2018, Global Times)
The measure was proposed by the heads and representatives of national religious groups, including the Buddhist Association of China, the Taoist Association of China, the Islamic Association of China, and the Bishops' Conference of the Catholic Church in China. They gathered in Beijing on Tuesday for their sixth joint conference.

The Struggles of the Chinese Rural Church (July 31, 2018, Chinese Church Voices)
Churches in many urban areas in China are growing quickly. Yet, as this article from China Christian Daily notes, there are serious challenges facing the rural church in China today.

China grasps rare chance to solve its Catholic problem during a unique papacy (August 1, 2018, Global Times)
Pope Francis has showed enormous commitment to improving China-Vatican relations since his papacy started in March 2013. Talks between the Holy See and the Chinese government were reinitiated and have been going on and off for years, according to officials from the two sides. Experts say the pope's Jesuit background and Latin American origin both played a role in his commitment to China.

China’s New Approach to Religion: Implications for the Church (August 1, 2018,ChinSource Blog)
China’s increasingly repressive political environment presents new challenges for Christians in China, many of whom came to faith during the past two decades and have, until now, enjoyed a period of relative openness and tolerance toward religious activity.

Society / Life

The demographic timebomb that will hit the Chinese economy (July 29, 2018, Wired)
An unintended consequence of China's one-child policy is emerging, with the nation now facing a generation of only-children having to support ageing parents and grandparents.

China's Marriage Rate Plummets As Women Choose To Stay Single Longer (July 31, 2018, NPR)
While men outnumber women among China's overall population, at Chinese universities, women have outnumbered men for the past two decades. That means more women have career trajectories they don't want to jeopardize by marrying and having children while they're in their 20s and 30s. They're marrying later, or not at all.

Beware the Fandom of a Chinese Smartphone Zealot (July 31, 2018, Sixth Tone)
Loyal followers of Smartisan and Xiaomi are so dedicated that they hold regular events —and even get tattoos.

Outcry as coffins crushed in Chinese 'zero-burial' campaign (August 1, 2018, The Guardian)
Officials in south-east China have been ordered to moderate their enforcement of a “zero-burial” policy after videos circulated of elderly villagers weeping as coffins were dragged from their homes and destroyed.

No Baby, No Cry (August 1, 2018, The World of Chinese)
Growing individualism and an embrace of non-traditional values mean more young couples are choosing to stay childless—despite pressure to procreate.

Economics / Trade / Business

Made in China: Laszlo Montgomery’s other life in Chinese manufacturing  (July 26, 2018, China Channel)
But when I first started out as a China watcher, back in the day, I didn’t realise that in my professional life I would become part of it myself.

Photos: Made in China (July 26, 2018, The Atlantic)
Last year, China shipped more than $2 trillion worth of goods to ports around the world, while at home, Chinese manufacturers, processors, and producers have a potential customer base of 1.4 billion people.

What is China's Belt and Road Initiative? (July 30, 2018, The Guardian)
The project is often described as a 21st century silk road, made up of a “belt” of overland corridors and a maritime “road” of shipping lanes.

WFOE Deregistration in China: Six Common Questions (July 30, 2018, China Briefing)
The Chinese government imposes severe sanctions on investors who do not properly deregister their company, including barring companies and individuals from doing business in China. 

Economic warfare: Four takeaways from being in China when the trade war started (July 31, 2018, Brookings)
I found myself in China exactly when the Trump Administration imposed tariffs, which felt a little bit like being behind enemy lines the first day that shots are fired. 

Forming a China WFOE: Scope is Key (July 31, 2018, China Law Blog)
I do this early by stressing how when all is said and done, forming a WFOE in China typically costs more than ten times what it costs to form an LLC or a corporation in the United States or in Europe and usually takes at least ten times longer as well.

China’s Best Business Websites 2018 (July 31, 2018, China Briefing)

Chinese parents are leaving the mainland to get vaccines for their babies (July 31, 2018, The Washington Post)
In a country that manufactures 95 percent of its vaccines, parents are increasingly looking outside the mainland to get imported medicines. Poorer families, meanwhile, are left wondering whether they can trust the shots at local clinics. 

'No Cambodia left': how Chinese money is changing Sihanoukville (July 31, 2018, The Guardian)
The once-sleepy beach town of Sihanoukville has been transformed by Chinese investment – and the sheer speed of development has divided locals.

Mark Zuckerberg, give up on China before you embarrass yourself even more (July 31, 2018, The Washington Post)
Facebook can stay an American company, or become a Chinese one. For Facebook, there is no middle ground.

China’s Fastest Growing Cities (August 1, 2018, China Briefing)
In this article, we examine the business environment and latest developments in the top five fastest growing cities in China.

Germany's 'China City': how Duisburg became Xi Jinping's gateway to Europe (August 1, 2018, The Guardian)
As the threat of Donald Trump’s tariffs and Brexit-related trade barriers is driving wedges between the EU and the Anglosphere, this former rust-belt town town allows one to see in real time how Germany and China are intensifying their economic ties.

China’s Plan to Win Friends and Influence Includes Ski Slopes and Spas (August 1, 2018, The New York Times)
In addition to the Chinese-medicine spa in the Czech Republic, there are plans for Chinese cultural centers and theme parks in Hungary, Italy, the Philippines, Russia, Serbia and Vietnam. 

Audio: What's At Stake For Apple In China (August 1, 2018, NPR)
Apple reported record sales in its most recent quarter on strong demand for iPhones and App Store purchases. But Apple could face trouble if the trade war with China escalates.

Whistleblower reveals Google’s plans for censored search in China (August 1, 2018,Verge)
According to internal documents provided to The Intercept by a whistleblower, Google has been developing a censored version of its search engine under the codename “Dragonfly” since the beginning of 2017.


China brings 10,000 teachers out of retirement to take up jobs in impoverished rural areas (July 29, 2018, South China Morning Post)
Beijing is sending “outstanding” retired or retiring educators aged 65 or under to the remote areas under its “Silver Age Lecture Plan”, a new programme that is part of the government’s campaign to alleviate poverty in the countryside, according to the Ministry of Education.

Health / Environment

Chinese Parents Protest Bad Vaccines for Hundreds of Thousands (July 30, 2018, The New York Times)
More than two dozen Chinese parents, shouting phrases including “Justice for the victims,” gathered outside a government building in Beijing on Monday to protest a vaccine scandal that has become one of the most visible public health crises in China in recent years.

Science / Technology

China May Become the World’s Leader in AI. But at What Cost? -- A ChinaFile Conversation (July 30, 2018, China File)
What is the future of AI and big data in China? Will China’s tech industry surpass Silicon Valley to become a global leader in either or both fields?

History / Culture

Life inside the Forbidden City: how women were selected for service (July 12, 2018, South China Morning Post)
Most women in the Forbidden City were employed as maids and servants, but there was also a select group of concubines whose task was to bear children for the emperor – as many as he could father.

A Sad Suicide at Shanghai’s Embassy Hotel in 1933  (August 1, 2018, China Rhyming)
I sometimes think of old Shanghai as a city of suicide. Reading the old newspapers it is striking just how many suicides are reported, both Chinese and Shanghailander. The reasons are many and varied but mostly go to the core issues of Shanghai.

Travel / Food

Missed Connections: Why Chinese Tourists Feel Left Out Overseas (July 30, 2018, Sixth Tone)
In order to get on Chinese tourists’ good sides — and stay there — the international tourism industry must first understand their consumption habits. 

Just About Everything You Need to Know About High-Speed Train Travel in China (August 1, 2018, The Beijinger)
Below we've compiled a number of tips and tricks that will hopefully help enhance your train experience in China, as well as some of the country's most desirable destinations that won't take longer than an overnight ride to reach. 

How to Shop for Chinese Tea (August 1, 2018, Radii China)
Whether it’s in China itself, or in the numerous Chinese specialist teahouses that have cropped up overseas, within the often hundreds of different tea tins you’ll encounter lies the possibility of one tea that you will just absolutely love. The question is, how do you find that one tea?

The world’s best Chinatowns that aren’t in China (August 1, 2018, Travel Wire Asia)
Most metropolitan destinations in the world host little cultural enclaves such as Little India, Koreatown, Vietnamese suburb, Japantown, and perhaps the most popular town of the kind, Chinatown.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

WeChat Drives The News Cycle (July 29, 2018, China Media Project)
It was a busy week last week for China’s media. Once again, we’ve picked out a few stories that merit particular attention.

Living Cross-culturally

The Three Cultures of a Third Culture Kid (July 27, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
The three cultures are not a count—not a number of countries that influence a person. If this were so, most TCKs I know would be well past three or even four. Rather, the three cultures are three types of cultural influence. This is crucial for understanding how an international childhood shapes a person, even into adulthood.


Imperial Twilight: The Opium War and the End of China’s Last Golden Age (July 26, 2018, China File)
As China reclaims its position as a world power, Imperial Twilight looks back to tell the story of the country’s last age of ascendance and how it came to an end in the 19th-century Opium War.

Books: A Detailed and Timely Look at the History of the Church in China (July 31, 2018, Sight Magazine)
The first two books in a monumental undertaking to write a history of Christianity in China on a province-by-province basis, Shandong – The Revival Province and Guizhou – The Precious Province are redolent with stories of lives transformed through the saving grace of Jesus Christ, of hardships suffered in His cause, both by missionaries and those encountered on the mission field, and of breath-taking moments of faith and joy.

Seeking Identity in China’s Shadow (July 31, 2018, China Channel)
It is that unadulterated objectivity and his unquenched curiosity that make Generation HK: Seeking Identity in China’s Shadow a discerning and refreshing read. Released last summer under Penguin Book’s inaugural “Hong Kong series” to mark the 20th anniversary of the handover, the book zeroes in on the demographic that came of age in the two decades since the city’s return to Chinese rule. 

Links for Researchers

China’s Crackdown on Tibetan Social Groups (July 31, 2018, Human Rights Watch)
This report examines the February 2018 police notice and its consequences, including the outlawing of community-based mediation and welfare organizations.  It also examines the context of the notice through previous regulations criminalizing social activism in Tibet. 


Video: Hearing on Surveillance, Suppression, and Mass Detention: Xinjiang’s Human Rights Crisis (July 26, 2018, Congressional-Executive Commission on China, via YouTube)

5 China-related Podcast Episodes for Your Summer Listening (July 30, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)

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