ZGBriefs | December 12, 2019

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Featured Article

Anniversary of a crackdown  (December 9, 2019, World Magazine)
Dec. 9 marks the first anniversary of the crackdown on Early Rain, when police shut down the unregistered church and arrested more than 100 church leaders and members. In the past year, members have faced continued monitoring and harassment from police, with more than 300 people arrested in total. 

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

China Reacts To Uighur Bill  (December 6, 2019, NPR)
China has reacted with fury and defiance to the U.S. House of Representatives passing the Uighur Human Rights Policy Act this week. The bill condemns the mass detention of ethnic minorities in China.

Chinese Diplomats Take Their “Fighting Spirit” to Twitter, With Mixed Results  (December 6, 2019, China Digital Times
As China takes the global lead in number of overseas diplomatic postings, several ambassadors have also been joined social media. Others who have taken to Twitter to lambast critics of the Chinese government include China Daily’s Chen Weihua.

US business leaders in Hong Kong detained and denied entry to Macau  (December 7, 2019, The Guardian)
The chairman and president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong were separately denied entry to the neighbouring Chinese-ruled city of Macau after being detained by immigration officials. Chairman Robert Grieves and president Tara Joseph were travelling to the former Portuguese colony for the chamber’s annual Macau ball on Saturday. They said authorities did not provide a reason for refusing them entry.

Uighurs And Genetic Surveillance In China  (December 7, 2019, NPR)
Geneticist Yves Moreau tells NPR's Scott Simon the ethical concerns he has for businesses and academics who may be helping Chinese authorities to track Muslim minority groups.

Video: Protesters Are Fleeing Hong Kong. A Secret Network Is Helping Them.  (December 8, 2019, The New York Times)
Risk years of imprisonment or flee? We traced the journey along a covert pipeline helping Hong Kong protesters escape to Taiwan.

China tells government offices to remove all foreign computer equipment  (December 8, 2019, The Guardian)
China has ordered that all foreign computer equipment and software be removed from government offices and public institutions within three years, the Financial Times reports. The government directive is likely to be a blow to US multinational companies such as HP, Dell and Microsoft, and mirrors attempts by Washington to limit the use of Chinese technology, as the trade war between the countries turns into a tech cold war.

Why the CPC’s Urbanized Cadres Are Turning Down Rural Postings  (December 9, 2019, Sixth Tone)
The CPC has found it difficult to enforce the ironclad discipline it expects of its members while also attracting and retaining the capable individuals it desires.

Behind huge Hong Kong march, a dramatic show of public support  (December 9, 2019, Christian Science Monitor)
The passage of time and outbursts of violence can upend any protest movement. But Hong Kongers have been able to sustain a remarkable sense of unity around their pro-democracy demands.

China Claims All Xinjiang Detainees Have ‘Graduated,’ Drawing Skepticism From Experts, Exile Groups  (December 9, 2019, Radio Free Asia)
Internment camp detainees in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have “graduated” and future training will take place on a voluntary basis, regional chairman Shohrat Zakir said Monday, although he did not clarify whether those held in the facilities have been released.

What Does Beijing Want from the Pacific Islands?: A ChinaFile Conversation  (December 9, 2019, China File)
What does Beijing want from the Pacific Islands? What do these nations offer China politically, in bodies such as the United Nations? And what comparative advantages and disadvantages might Beijing experience in pursuing these interests?

US warplanes on Beijing’s radar in South China Sea, American air force chiefs say  (December 9, 2019, South China Morning Post)
The US Air Force’s frequent activities over the South China Sea  might not attract the same attention as the US Navy’s, but they still played an important role in negotiations with China, according to American air force officers.


A Song in the Night: Chinese Christian Art as Sower, Sustainer, and Disseminator of a Faith Immured  (December 9, 2019, ChinaSource Quarterly)

Art—a Pathway to the Heart, Soul, and Mind  (December 9, 2019, ChinaSource Quarterly)
This issue of the China Source Quarterly offers an opportunity to understand some of those rich, creative Chinese minds, as well as the impact of one of those social reforms taking place in Chinese contemporary society—the explosion of Christian belief.

Contemporary Chinese Art and Christianity  (December 9, 2019, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Contemporary Chinese Christian artists are the unique product of three cultural heritages, each with a complicated relationship and history with the others. One stream is comprised of Chinese culture, both traditional and revolutionary. This cultural heritage has a storied history of tension with the other two inherited traditions, namely contemporary art and Christianity. In turn, contemporary art and Christianity themselves have a complicated relationship with one another.

“The Spirit in Fire and Wind”: An Opportunity for Silent Artists to Converse  (December 9, 2019, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Chinese Christian artists are sculpting, painting, filming, and performing works of art that reveal the scarred soul and sanctified spirit of their contemporary China.

Developing a Returnee Ministry from Overseas  (December 10, 2019, Chinese Church Voices)
“Have you considered that the Chinese student you are connecting with may one day be a person of influence in China?” That was the closing question posed by Leo to Christians around the world on a recent ChinaSource blog post. This article from Overseas Campus Ministries shares about not only about the need to minister to returnees, but also offers some practical tips how to do so.

Recognizing Spiritual Warfare behind Social Unrest  (December 11, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
As a citizen in Hong Kong working for the kingdom with a call to serve China, I have had a deep concern to find out how the movement impacts local churches and ministry related to China.

Society / Life

Why Chinese Elites Are Mastering Western Manners  (December 5, 2019, Sixth Tone)
Etiquette classes offer the urban upper crust cosmopolitan polish, but can they also be a means of reviving China’s own cultural identity?

China’s one-child policy left countless children bereft. It can help to ease the pain of loss  (December 7, 2019, South China Morning Post)
In 1992, I was abandoned as a baby and found in a public place in Hefei, China. For almost two years, I lived in an orphanage and with a foster mother. Then my adoptive mother flew me to Sacramento, California, where I grew up.

Chinese library sparks outrage over report staff burned ‘banned books’  (December 9, 2019, South China Morning Post)
Staff at a public library in northwest China have set fire to “banned books” in front of the building, sparking anger online and drawing comparisons with the actions of a ruthless emperor during the Qin dynasty.

Economics / Trade / Business

China exports fall again as US trade war continues  (December 8, 2019, BBC)
China's exports fell in November as shipments to the US slowed sharply, adding to concerns about the effects of the two nations' trade war. November exports from the world's second largest economy fell 1.1% from a year earlier, the fourth straight fall. Exports to the US were down 23%, the worst such result since February and the twelfth monthly decline in a row.

China’s pork price jumps 110 per cent, sending consumer inflation rocketing to eight-year high  (December 10, 2019, South China Morning Post)
A 110.2 per cent increase in the price of pork from a year earlier led to a further rise in China’s consumer prices in November, as African swine fever continued to take a toll on the country’s pig population, data released on Tuesday showed.

China auto sales drop for 17th straight month in November  (December 10, 2019, Reuters)
Total auto sales in the world’s biggest auto market fell 3.6% from the same month a year earlier, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said. That follows a drop of 4% in October and 5.2% in September.

China buys U.S. soybeans after Beijing issues new tariff waivers: traders  (December 10, 2019, Reuters)
Chinese soy importers on Monday bought at least five bulk cargo shipments of U.S. soybeans, or about 300,000 tonnes, for shipment in January and February after Beijing offered the buyers at least 1 million tonnes in new tariff waivers, U.S. exporters said.

Health / Environment

96 Chinese Veterinary Researchers Infected With Brucellosis  (December 9, 2019, Sixth Tone)
The students and staff have not exhibited the flu-like symptoms characteristic of the bacterial disease, which humans can contract from coming into contact with infected animals.

Science / Technology

Chinese residents worry about rise of facial recognition  (December 5, 2019, BBC)
A survey by a Beijing research institute indicates growing pushback against facial recognition in China. Some 74% of respondents said they wanted the option to be able to use traditional ID methods over the tech to verify their identity. Worries about the biometric data being hacked or otherwise leaked was the main concern cited by the 6,152 respondents.

History / Culture

A collection: Streetlife in Beijing in 1979  (Everyday Life in Maoist China)

The first bird view of Peking, 1900, by French troops of the Allied Forces, published in La Chine A Terre Et En Ballon, 1902.  (December 10, 2019, Tong Bingxue, via Twitter)

And the air view of Peking in 1946:  (December 10, 2019, Tong Bingxue, via Twitter)

Travel / Food

Guiyang!  (December 6, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
The province, and by extension the capital city, has historically been among the poorest regions in China. Until recently, it seemed China’s massive economic development might pass them by.

Travel to Sichuan Province: A Complete Guide  (December 6, 2019, Sapore di Cina)
Sichuan is a large province located in the Southwestern parts of China and one of the most popular travel destinations among locals and foreigners. It’s referred to as the Land of Abundance, mainly thanks to its cuisine, diverse culture, and many beautiful sceneries.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Free Chinese Christmas Songs to Spice Up the Holidays  (December 5, 2019, Sinosplice)
It’s Christmastime again, and time to remind everyone that Sinosplice still has some awesome familiar Christmas songs in Chinese. This year I’m posting a selection of the MP3 files online in streamable format, so be sure you’re viewing the original post on Sinosplice.com if you’d like to play the songs without having to download everything.

Language / Language Learning

How to Learn a Language, Part 1: Criteria for Success  (December 9, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
Fifty-five years have gone by since then, spent mostly in mainland China. Today we have near-native fluency in Mandarin and we have observed many others seeking to learn Mandarin with greater and lesser degrees of success. What makes the difference? 

The impact of phonetic inputting on Chinese languages  (December 9, 2019, Language Log)
The vast majority of people, both inside and outside of China, input characters on cell phones, computers, and other electronic devices via Hanyu Pinyin or other phonetic script.  Naturally, this has had a huge impact on the relationship between users of the Chinese script and their command of the characters, since they are no longer directly writing the characters through neuro-muscular coordination and effort. 

Living Cross-culturally

A Note to Expat Dads. Don’t be that guy.  (December 9, 2019, The Culture Blend)
75% of corporate expats are still men. 80% of accompanying spouses/partners don’t work while they’re abroad. 50% of them did before they moved. And . . . here’s the kicker. The NUMBER ONE reason for faceplanting (sometimes called “assignment failure”) is “FAMILY CONCERNS.” Go figure huh?


'Midnight in Peking' Author Paul French Returns With Grisly Tales of Murder in Old China  (December 8, 2019, The Beijinger)
Midnight in Peking author Paul French just can't resist a good crime story, whether it comes from Beijing, Shanghai, Harbin, or anywhere else in China. The self-professed "hutong hugger" is back with more tales of misdeeds from China's recent past. The bestselling author and former Shanghai resident chatted with the Beijinger about his new, audio-only project Murders of Old China.

Image credit: by LWYang, 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