ZGBriefs | December 13, 2018

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Featured Article

Chinese Police Detain Prominent Pastor and Over 100 Protestants (December 10, 2018, The New York Times)
The Chinese police have detained one of the country’s most prominent Protestant pastors along with more than 100 members of his independent congregation, the latest sign of a growing crackdown against what the government perceives as illegal or foreign-influenced religious activity.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

One Belt, One Road, One Big Mistake (December 6, 2018, Foreign Policy)
China’s signature foreign-policy project is a failure that the U.S. shouldn’t copy.

Inside China's audacious global propaganda campaign (December 7, 2018, The Guardian)
Beijing is buying up media outlets and training scores of foreign journalists to ‘tell China’s story well’ – as part of a worldwide propaganda campaign of astonishing scope and ambition. 

The year China’s luck ran dry (December 9, 2018, East Asia Forum)
At a time when the country is suffering further reputational damage because of the gargantuan security crackdown in Xinjiang and evidence of repression has never been stronger, many are again asking the questions that have haunted China’s leadership for the last few years. Is Xi’s power for real? Can he really enforce positive change? Will the country avoid political reform?

The Death of Democracy in Hong Kong (December 9, 2018, The Atlantic)
Four years later, it’s clear that the reforms advocated by 2014’s youth-led, pro-democracy protest movement won’t take shape.

Chinese General Says Military Should Use Force Against U.S. Ships in South China Sea (December 10, 2018, Newsweek)
Senior Colonel Dai Xu, who serves as the president of the country's Marine Institute for Security and Cooperation, on Saturday lashed out against inaction over repeated U.S. Navy trips through disputed territory in the South China Sea, much of which is claimed by Beijing. 

Trump administration to condemn China over hacking and economic espionage, escalating tensions between superpowers (December 11, 2018, The Washington Post)
Multiple government agencies are expected to condemn China, citing a documented campaign of economic espionage and the alleged violation of a landmark 2015 pact to refrain from hacking for commercial gain.

China wants a new world order. At the U.N., NGOs secretly paid cash to promote Beijing’s vision.  (December 11, 2018, Yahoo News)
Regardless of the prosecution’s arguments in court, Western intelligence officials says Ho’s case fits a broader pattern. Beijing, they argue, is deploying private companies, billionaires, spy agencies, and even charities to achieve its political agenda abroad.

Is this the Beginning of a New Cold War? -- A ChinaFile Conversation (December 11, 2018, China File)
Beyond complicating trade negotiations between the United States and China, Meng’s arrest has renewed concerns that the two countries are embarking on a new Cold War, based on economic preeminence and technological innovation but also extending into the military and ideological domains. 

China Says Detained Canadian Worked for Group Without Legal Registration (December 12, 2018, The New York Times)
China said on Wednesday that a Canadian former diplomat who was detained in Beijing had been employed by an organization that was “not registered in China legally,” citing a law passed in 2016 that has had a chilling effect on the work of foreign charities,universities and nonprofit groups in the country.

The Foreign Billionaires, Activists and Missionaries Detained in China (December 12, 2018, The New York Times)
China has a long history of arresting or holding foreigners for mysterious reasons, often in a tit-for-tat play to put pressure on overseas rivals. In recent years the number of such detentions has increased, a disturbing trend for foreigners visiting or conducting business in the country.

Turning the desert into detention camps (November 29, 2018, Reuters)
China is accused of incarcerating hundreds of thousands of Muslims in detention camps that are rising from the desert sands in Xinjiang. A forensic analysis of satellite images of 39 of these facilities shows they are expanding at a rapid rate.


2018 Bible in China Seminar Held in Shanghai, Focusing on Migration and Community (December 6, 2018, China Christian Daily)
From November 14th to 16th, the 2018 Bible in China (BIC) seminar kicked off its annual event to the theme of "Bible and A Shared Future for Humankind" with a focus on "Migration and Community".

Chinese Arabic school to close as areas with Muslim populations are urged to study the Xinjiang way (December 9, 2018, South China Morning Post)
The imminent closure of a 34-year-old Arabic language school in China’s northwestern province of Gansu has raised fears that draconian religion policies adopted in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region are applied to other Muslim-populated areas.

Detained Chinese Pastor: Xi’s God-Like Status ‘Incompatible With the Christian Faith’  (December 10, 2018, The Wall Street Journal) (subscription required)
Officials have threatened to close the Early Rain Covenant Church in the central city of Chengdu by the end of the year in keeping with new religious-management regulations, according to several congregants who said they had been waiting for the net to fall.

Worship in the Mountains of Yunnan: A Video (December 11, 2018, Chinese Church Voices)
The famous Laomudeng Church sits in the Salween Valley, serving Nu Christians there. "Laomudeng" is from the Nu ethnic language and means "a place people like to visit." 

My Declaration of Faithful Disobedience (December 12, 2018, China Partnership Blog)
Foreseeing this circumstance, Pastor Wang Yi wrote the declaration below to be published by his church should he be detained for more than 48 hours. In it he explains the meaning and necessity of faithful disobedience, how it is distinct from political activism or civil disobedience, and how Christians should carry it out.

A Meeting of Minds -- 20 Years of Publishing ChinaSource  (December 12, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
Since its launch as the ChinaSource Journal twenty years ago, the driving idea behind the ChinaSource Quarterly has been to bring together a meeting of minds. We have sought to create a platform for diverse views from inside and outside China, encouraging proactive thinking about Christian service in a rapidly evolving environment.

Society / Life

Zhengzhou: China's living laboratory for urbanization (December 6, 2018, MIT News)
A new MIT program in the planned Chinese city offers opportunities for observation and collaboration.

Beijing’s Population Declines for First Time in Two Decades (December 10, 2018, Sixth Tone)
Beijing saw a decrease in its resident population in 2017, the first such dip in 20 years, according to a report co-published Sunday by the Beijing Municipal Party Committee School and the Social Sciences Academic Press.

China built more skyscrapers in 2018 than ever before (December 12, 2018, CNN)
A total of 88 buildings measuring 200 meters (656 feet) or above were completed in cities across China this year. The figure sets a new benchmark for annual skyscraper construction in a single country, and is almost seven times higher than the 13 completions recorded in the US, which ranked a distant second.

Economics / Trade / Business

Social Insurance in China: Prepare Your Business for Big Changes on January 1, 2019 (December 6, 2018, China Briefing)
Under the new rule, the tax bureau will have much more responsibility: the tax bureau will be in-charge of social insurance collection and will check if the social insurance contribution base corresponds with the payment amount.

Explainer: What is China's Huawei Technologies and why is it controversial? (December 6, 2018, Reuters)
Huawei is the world’s largest supplier of telecommunications network equipment and second-biggest maker of smartphones, with revenue of about $92 billion last year. Unlike other big Chinese technology firms, it does much of its business overseas and is a market leader in many countries across Europe, Asia and Africa.

American Entrepreneurs Who Flocked to China Are Heading Home, Disillusioned (December 7, 2018, The Wall Street Journal) (subscription required)
Worsening costs, taxation, tech transfer and regulation prompt foreign-owned businesses to throw in the towel.

How to Form a China WFOE: A Roadmap (December 7, 2018, China Law Blog)
Please note that the below is a generic roadmap for WFOE formation and the exact details for forming a WFOE in China will depend on, among other things, the WFOE’s business scope and the city/district in which the WFOE will be formed.

China says rejecting physical cash is illegal amid e-payments popularity (December 9, 2018, Reuters)
China’s central bank on Monday warned that rejecting cash as a form of payment was illegal, saying that such practices could eventually could cause the loss of confidence in physical money and was unfair to those not accustomed to electronic payments.

How to Avoid Being Detained in China (December 10, 2018, China Law Blog)
What though do you do if you are already in China and you have a problem? Generally, you get out as quickly and quietly as you can and you enlist qualified help in doing so.

Trade War Damage to China's Economy Is Already Done, Citi Says (December 12, 2018,Bloomberg)
That’s because the tariff war is underlining China’s rising cost of labor at a time when the job market is under pressure, Citi economists led by Liu Li-Gang said in their 2019 economic outlook report. The trade war with the U.S. could cut China’s export growth by almost half next year, putting around 4.4 million jobs at risk, the economists wrote.


A US university is buying insurance in case Chinese students stop coming (December 7, 2018, Quartz)
It is no wonder a drop in Chinese students visas is making school administrators nervous. Especially Jeff Brown, dean of the University of Illinois’s business school, where in 2015 Chinese students made up 51% of foreign students and almost 12% of the entire student body.

Education Chief Resigns Amid ‘Gaokao’ Scoring Debacle (December 7, 2018, Sixth Tone)
The head of Zhejiang’s education department resigned on Wednesday after an investigation revealed that high school students in the eastern province had been given extra points on their college entrance exams for no obvious reason. 

U-M to end agreement with Confucius Institute next year (December 10, 2018, The University Record)
The university has decided not to renew the agreement to host a Confucius Institute at the University of Michigan for a third term when the current partnership expires in 2019. The university has informed Hanban, the headquarters of Confucius Institute, of this decision.

Professionalism and Witness in TESOL (December 10, 2018, ChinaSource Quarterly)
The global role and popularity of English has created opportunities for Christians to teach English around the world. These opportunities, though, have come with a variety of challenges and tensions which need careful consideration.

Introducing Modern Chinese Education (December 10, 2018, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Why would a nation drive its young so fiercely to get an education? What is the nature of education in China? What are the pros and cons of the system? What can the West learn from the Eastern educational system?

Views from the Classroom (December 10, 2018, ChinaSource Quarterly)
We invited four different teachers, in a variety of educational sectors in different parts of the country, to give brief perspectives on the opportunities and challenges of teaching in China. 

Health / Environment

Outrage Intensifies Over Claims Of Gene-Edited Babies (December 7, 2018, NPR)
As researchers have scrutinized the scant details made public by the scientist, He Jiankui of the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China, it has become clear that He actually missed precisely editing his genetic target.

Science / Technology

Japan sets policy that will block Huawei and ZTE from public procurement as of April (December 10, 2018, Japan Times)
Japan decided on a policy Monday that will effectively exclude Chinese telecommunication equipment giants Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. from public procurement starting in April next year, the government said.

Here’s why China’s launch to the far side of the Moon is a big deal (December 10, 2018, ARS Technica)
If successful, this mission will carry out several lines of important scientific research on the still somewhat unknown far side of the Moon. However, the launch and landing of Chang'e-4 also helps to reveal the full scope of China's spaceflight ambitions and how the space program furthers the country's ambitious geopolitical goals. In this post, we try to unpack some of the implications.

Chinese Hackers Are Likely Responsible For Marriott Data Breach, Reports Say (December 12, 2018, NPR)
As the U.S. government investigates the breach of Marriott's Starwood chain hotel reservation system, it appears Chinese state hackers are mostly likely responsible for the data breach. The information of about 500 million customers worldwide was exposed.

Shenzhen's silent revolution: world's first fully electric bus fleet quietens Chinese megacity (December 12, 2018, The Guardian)
All 16,000 buses in the fast-growing Chinese megacity are now electric, and soon all 13,000 taxis will be too.

Travel / Food

11 popular American-Chinese foods that you won't actually find in China (December 3, 2018, Insider)

Arts / Entertainment / Media

People’s Daily Growls Over Meng Arrest (December 9, 2018, China Media Project)
But it is clear from the piece that the Chinese leadership, at least publicly, does not view this as a legal case at all, but purely as a political move on the part of the United States and Canada. The threats to Canada are unambiguous: dire consequences follow unless they relent and release Meng immediately.

Language / Language Learning

How to Make Expats Fight: The Conversation About Learning a New Language (December 10, 2018, The Culture Blend)
Regardless of where the individual expat lands (or how fluent they become) you should be warned that when you poke at our language learning paradigms you’re likely to hit a nerve that may be connected to our most ongoing frustrations, our most embarrassing failures, and our most painful insecurities.

Living Cross-culturally

Returning ‘Home’: Insight from an Expert (May 17, 2018, Globally Grounded)
Known by a number of different terms including repatriation, reverse culture shock and re-acculturation, Cate prefers to use the broad term ‘re-entry’ because it encompasses all kinds of returning ‘home’ experiences from the international career expat returning after decades to a study abroad student returning after a year overseas.

Calling from China: Can I Use Skype, FaceTime or WhatsApp? (December 11, 2018, Sapore di Cina)
One of the common questions that people going to China will ask themselves is how they can communicate with people outside of the country. The purpose of this article is to present and analyze each of the possibilities for making calls and video calls from China.


2 New Christian Books (December 7, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
Last month, on a trip to China, I did something I always do when I get there—I tried to find out what new Christian resources are available within China. Much to my surprise, or perhaps lack of faith, I discovered the following two translated Christian books that are now available:

5 New China-Centric Books That Make for Great Christmas Presents (December 10, 2018, The Beijinger)

“The Mind of a Missionary” -- A Book Review (December 10, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
The Mind of a Missionary is a fast-moving and fascinating survey of missionary stories. On a big-picture level, we learn much about the advance of the gospel globally over the past 200 years. But at the same time, we get a chance to look through history’s keyholes at the personal lives of some well-known missionaries.

Chungking Mansions: Photographs from Hong Kong’s last ghetto (December 11, 2018, China Rhyming)
A new photography book on Hong Kong’s Chunking Mansions by Nana Chen. Squatting amid the luxury hotels and malls of modern Kowloon, Chungking Mansions resembles the dirty vent of a giant subterranean machine. 

Image credit: by Vince Smith, 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