ZGBriefs | August 30, 2018

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Featured Article

China Has Withheld Samples of a Dangerous Flu Virus  (August 27, 2018, The New York Times)
For over a year, the Chinese government has withheld lab samples of a rapidly evolving influenza virus from the United States — specimens needed to develop vaccines and treatments, according to federal health officials.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

50 student activists missing in China after police raid  (August 24, 2018, The Guardian)
Fifty student activists have gone missing in southern China after police raided an apartment where they had been mobilising support for factory workers demanding union rights.

No One Can Resist the Tides of History”: Detained Activist Yue Xin on the Jasic Workers   (August 24, 2018, China Digital Times)
About 50 student activists and workers advocating in Shenzhen for the establishment of an independent trade union have been detained in an early morning raid. Most of those detained are college students from Peking University, Nanjing University, Renmin University, and other schools who have formed an informal coalition with workers at a Jasic Technology factory to support their protests throughout the spring and summer.

Chinese Communist Party is stepping up efforts to stifle dissent abroad, US officials are told  (August 25, 2018, South China Morning Post)
China’s ruling Communist Party is pursuing an aggressive, covert infiltration of US educational and social institutions to quell dissenting voices and strengthen its soft power overseas, according to a report written for an influential US congressional body.

The Draft Regulation for Registration and Management of Social Organizations (August 27, 2018, NGOs in China)
On the first week of this month, the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) issued an important draft regulation governing the registration and management of social organizations (the official Chinese term for nonprofits) for public comment.

China targets rumors, religion in updated Party rules  (August 27, 2018, Reuters)
China’s ruling Communist Party has issued a revised set of regulations governing members’ behavior, threatening punishment for spreading political rumors and recommending those who cling to religious beliefs be asked to leave the party.

China building first modern military outpost in Afghanistan to fight terrorism  (August 28, 2018, South China Morning Post)
China has started building a training camp for Afghan troops in a narrow corridor that connects the two countries – a project Beijing is fully funding to help its neighbour improve counterterrorism efforts, sources close to the military said.

Beijing’s Bid for Global Power in the Age of Trump  (August 29, 2018, China File)
As the second year of Donald Trump’s presidency and sixth of Xi Jinping’s draws to a close, the world seems to be witnessing one of those epochal clashes that can change the contours of global power.


Chinese leader Wang Yang urges tight control of separatists and Buddhist institutions in Tibet  (August 27, 2018, South China Morning Post)
Wang Yang, the ruling Communist Party’s No 4 ranking official, was quoted in state media on Monday as stressing the importance of tight control over Tibet’s Buddhist institutions, urging “preparedness and precautions for danger in times of safety”.

China Is Treating Islam Like a Mental Illness  (August 28, 2018, The Atlantic)
One million Muslims are being held right now in Chinese internment camps, according to estimates cited by the UN and U.S. officials. Former inmates—most of whom are Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic minority—have told reporters that over the course of an indoctrination process lasting several months, they were forced to renounce Islam, criticize their own Islamic beliefs and those of fellow inmates, and recite Communist Party propaganda songs for hours each day.

Flying the Flag  (August 28, 2018, Chinese Church Voices)

The United Front Work Department, a department of the Chinese Communist Party and freshly tasked with overseeing religious bodies in China, recently proposed on its Wechat account that religious groups display the Chinese national flag at their religious venues. The proposal has caught the attention of many religious groups, including Christian groups in China.

Partnering in China: The Missing Foundation  (August 29, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
For Western partners who would rather just cut to the chase, this foundational process may seem overly tedious. As one frustrated evangelical leader asked after sitting through yet another banquet that was, in his mind, long on conversation and short on substance, “Can someone just tell me how to get to ‘yes’?” Yes, partnership is possible. Friendship comes first. 

Society / Life

Reunited at last: The friends who escaped China's Cultural Revolution  (August 24, 2018, BBC)
Two childhood friends met and then grew apart in the Chinese city of Guangzhou as the Cultural Revolution was at its height. Nearly six decades later they were reunited in Hong Kong after one read about the other in a BBC report.

Fire kills 19 people at spa hotel in northeastern China  (August 25, 2018, Reuters)
Fire tore through a hot springs hotel in the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin before dawn on Saturday, killing 19 people and causing 23 others to be taken to hospital, city officials said.

The Murders That Sparked China's Rideshare Boycott  (August 28, 2018, The Atlantic)
In the past two years, four women have been killed by drivers for the popular Chinese ride-hailing app Didi. Users have had enough.

Economics / Trade / Business

Retailers seeking China success have 'no real path' but to choose Alibaba or Tencent  (August 24, 2018, CNBC)
Chinese giants Alibaba and Tencent have become so dominant in China that companies hoping to crack the country's retail space have no choice but to team up with one or the other.


Elite School Literally Divided Over Incoming Migrant Students  (August 27, 2018, Sixth Tone)
A century-old primary school in eastern China has divided its campus in two, Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper reported Friday: One side is for 800 children from migrant families, the other for 400 children whose parents own expensive apartments within the elite school district.

Health / Environment

It’s Too Easy to Wind up in a Chinese Psychiatric Hospital, and Far Too Hard to Get Out  (August 23, 2018, China File)
Every day in China, hundreds of people are involuntarily confined in mental health facilities, some through their involvement in criminal cases, many more via the government’s civil commitment processes. Whether, how, and how long to detain the seriously mentally ill is, to be sure, a worldwide problem of increasing gravity.

Science / Technology

China's Sending a Probe to the Moon's Far Side. Here's Where It Will Land  (August 24, 2018, Space)
Chang'e 4 will head for the Von Kármán Crater, within the moon's South Pole‐Aitken (SPA) basin. The scientific instruments of this far-side mission, mounted on a lander and a rover, will analyze both the surface and the subsurface of this region.

World’s Leading Human Rights Groups Tell Google To Cancel Its China Censorship Plan  (August 28, 2018, The Intercept)
The groups said the censored search engine represents “an alarming capitulation by Google on human rights” and could result in the company “directly contributing to, or [becoming] complicit in, human rights violations.”

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Chinese Moviegoers Think “Crazy Rich Asians” is Really Not That Asian  (August 24, 2018, Quartz)
The film, which is set in Singapore and features an all-Asian cast, is undoubtedly a resounding victory for Asian representation in Hollywood, but some Chinese viewers feel it’s not all that representative—and are instead criticizing the movie for its stereotypes and for being more reflective of Asian-American culture.

Living Cross-culturally

Two Key Lessons from a TCK Childhood  (August 24, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
TCKs tend to understand intuitively that there is more than one way to see a situation—more than one answer to each question. The foundational worldview TCKs construct, therefore, is strongly influenced by the experience of living in between cultures.

Two Types of Cultural Adjustment  (August 27, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
Adjusting to life in China means doing what is necessary to adjust to those features of life that are different and often difficult to accept. This can range anywhere from embracing the new behaviors (I still hate splitting the bill when out to eat with friends here in the US) to no longer getting angry!

Links for Researchers

China’s Overseas United Front Work: Background And Implications For The United States (August 24, 2018, U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission)
China uses “United Front” work to co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of its ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The CCP’s United Front Work Department (UFWD)—the agency responsible for coordinating these kinds of influence operations—mostly focuses on the management of potential opposition groups inside China, but it also has an important foreign influence mission.

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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