ZGBriefs | December 5, 2019

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Featured Article

Expat Wrestling Season: The internal clash between staying and going  (December 3, 2019, The Culture Blend)
It’s here again. Wrestling season. For the expats. Here’s the backstory . . . for the rest of you. Expats don’t stay forever. We come and go. “Transience” is our middle name and there is a revolving door at the airport. This one simple truth produces about 83 super significant gaps between our daily existence and the daily existence of the normalpats (now a word).

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

How China’s Rise Has Forced Hong Kong’s Decline  (November 26, 2019, New York Review of Books)
But all these arguments, honed and debated endlessly on social media, obscure a bleaker fact: that we are witnessing Hong Kong’s descent from leading international city to collateral damage in Beijing’s rise to a strident superpower. While the activists have made their mistakes, the Hong Kong protests are mostly an epic failure of China’s soft power.

On the Meaning of Hong Kong’s Recent Election  (December 1, 2019, China Law Blog)
The council election victory should be celebrated by pro-democracy forces, not least because it confirms their most important claim: Given a choice, Hongkongers would run their city differently than how it’s being run by the current, undemocratic administration.

China suspends US military visits to Hong Kong, sanctions US-based NGOs  (December 2, 2019, CNBC)
China said on Monday U.S. military ships and aircraft won’t be allowed to visit Hong Kong, and also announced sanctions against several U.S. non-government organisations for encouraging protesters to “engage in extremist, violent and criminal acts.” The measures were announced by China’s Foreign Ministry in response to U.S. legislation passed last week supporting anti-government protesters.

Riot Police Win Back Control of Protest Town in China's Guangdong  (December 2, 2019, Radio Free Asia)
Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong have shelvedplans to build a public crematorium near Huazhou city after clashesbetween protesters and riot police firing tear gas and wielding batons.

China considers banning 'odious' US politicians over Xinjiang criticism  (December 3, 2019, The Guardian)
US diplomats may soon be barred from entering Xinjiang, the far north-western Chinese region where more than a million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are believed to be detained in internment camps. Hu Xijin, editor of the state-run Global Times, said Beijing was considering banning all US diplomatic passport holders from entering Xinjiang in retaliation for US legislation that would punish Chinese officials for human rights abuses.


Churches, Posters, and State Propaganda: Compliance and Appropriation  (November 25, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
In addition to attempts such as these to comply in ways that have the least possible effect on church life and witness, there are also instances of churches going on the offensive, appropriating the official propaganda efforts to suit their own purposes.

Will Graham Preaches in Sichuan Church  (November 26, 2019, China Christian Daily)
On November 17, 2019, Will Graham, the great-grandson of Billy Graham and associate evangelist of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), preached a message about Jesus' cross and love in Chengnan Church in Guang'an, Sichuan province, according to China Christian Council & Three-Self Patriotic Movement. 

On Being a Servant Leader  (November 26, 2019, Chinese Church Voices)
A master’s standard for the servant is not his talent or leadership abilities, but his faithfulness. In the parable of the “unworthy servant,” this faithfulness means offering all our heart and not seeking our own gain. In the parable of the “servant leader,” it means being similarly faithful in the face of the master and behind his back.

China’s religion chiefs to double down on bringing doctrine in line with socialist dogma (November 27, 2019, South China Morning Post)
China’s religious leaders met in Beijing on Tuesday to work on ways to reinterpret religious doctrine to bring it in line with socialism, as the ruling Communist Party presses on with its campaign to “Sinicise”  religion. The meeting, convened by Wang Yang, the country’s top official overseeing religious affairs, focused on how to ensure that religious dogma “meets the requirements of the progressing times” and fits “core socialist values”, according to state news agency Xinhua.

Contextualising “Chinese Religions”  (November 27, 2019, University of Westminster)
What do we talk about when we talk about religion in China? As someone who had the opportunity to major in Religious Studies as an undergrad in China before further studies abroad, I reflect back on my journey with several observations, hoping for more dialogue and conversations.

Macau Bible Institute: The First Protestant Seminary in Macau  (November 27, 2019, China Christian Daily)
President Yeung introduced the present situation of the Macau church. The total Sunday combined attendance in all the Protestant churches in Macau stands at about 5,000. The average attendance per church is around 50, while there are approximately 10,000 Christians in this region.

A Tea House Ministry in Chicago  (December 2, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
Many non-Christian students come just to talk. They feel the pressure of family, school, and life. Recently one student said that before he found Jesus he did not know how to face the pressures of life, but now he has peace and can rest at night. 

Early Rain Covenant Church Elder Qin Defu Sentenced to Four Years in Chinese Prison  (December 3, 2019, Christian News)
On Nov. 29, elder Qin Derfu of Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC) in Chengdu, Sichuan province was sentenced to four years in prison for “illegal business operations.” It emerged at the trial that the charge related to 20,000 Christian books used by the church.

Zhejiang Dedicates New Church  (December 3, 2019, China Christian Daily)
On this year's Thanksgiving Day, a new church was dedicated in China's eastern coastal Zhejiang Province. Xiatianxi Church in Sanhe Town, Tiantai County, Taizhou has a floor space of 1,500 square meters (0.37 acres) with a seating capacity of 800 people, according to Taizhou Jiaojiang Church. 

An Official Code of Conduct for China’s Pastors  (December 3, 2019, Chinese Church Voices)
here has been much speculation and anecdotal reporting of what is expected of the church in China in light of the revised religious regulations and call of sinicization of religion. The China Christian Council and Three-Self Patriotic Movement are providing guidelines through a newly announced code of conduct for pastoral staff.

Our China Stories: And What They Tell Us about Ourselves  (December 4, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
What we fundamentally believe about China’s church goes a long way toward determining how we will choose to engage, how we view what is desirable, and what is possible.

Society / Life

Facing Reality  (November 22, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
Unfortunately, in recent months we have begun to hear about facial recognition technology being installed in Three-self churches. While it is most certainly disturbing, we shouldn’t be all that surprised. If it is being rolled out in every other public space, why would we think churches and other religious institutions would be exempt?

A foreigner’s life in Beijing without access to Alipay or Wechat Pay is like a fish out of water. Here’s my experience  (December 1, 2019, South China Morning Post)
life here functions completely through screens and mostly through two apps, WeChat, with its mobile payment arm WeChat Pay, and Alipay. […]  Being locked out means you don’t truly experience the quirks or intricacies of every day life in China.

China's facial recognition rollout reaches into mobile phones, shops and homes  (December 2, 2019, Reuters)
China on Sunday put into effect new regulations that require Chinese telecom carriers to scan the faces of users registering new mobile phone services, a move the government says is aimed at cracking down on fraud.

Shanghai’s Fading Graffiti Scene Writes One Final Chapter  (December 4, 2019, Sixth Tone)
For over a decade, Moganshan Road was a haven for Shanghai’s budding graffiti movement. Now, artists are bidding it farewell.

Economics / Trade / Business

China hopes to cut work permit red tape for foreigners as part of plan to boost Yangtze River Delta  (December 3, 2019, South China Morning Post)
A policy document released on Sunday  outlined plans for a series of pilot programmes to reduce the red tape involved in the process as part of a project to boost the Yangtze River Delta region, which includes major commercial hubs such as Shanghai, Hangzhou and Nanjing. The plans, rubber-stamped by the Central Committee of the Communist Party  and the State Council, aims to streamline work permit applications, permanent residency and employment for overseas workers.

How to Protect Your Company Information When You Travel to China  (December 3, 2019, China Law Blog)
With all that has been going on in China lately regarding data theft and with the accelerating decline in relations between China and the West, our international lawyers are getting a raft of questions from clients and readers wanting to know what they should be doing to protect their data when traveling to China.

Huawei faces online storm in China over employee treatment  (December 3, 2019, Reuters)
The treatment of Li Hongyuan, who had worked for the company for 13 years, has become one of the most discussed topics in recent days on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform. The telecoms group that rode a wave of patriotic support last year when it was put on a trade blacklist by the United States is under growing pressure to make an apology.

Hit hard by the trade war, China’s economic outlook is uncertain – except for one thing: growth is sure to decline  (December 4, 2019, South China Moring Post)
Already grappling with its own deleveraging campaign, rising inflation and an ageing population, China is reeling from US tariffs that strike at the heart of an economy whose explosive growth was grounded in free trade and globalization.


School’s Out: China’s Suddenly Disappearing English Academies  (November 28, 2019, Sixth Tone)
Stories of English tutoring centers vanishing and leaving clients out of pocket for thousands of yuan have spread like wildfire across the Chinese internet in recent months. 

International Schools in China – Our Complete Guide  (December 1, 2019, Sapore di Cina)
International schools can be found in almost all Asian countries where mainly children of foreign expats take up education. Many private international schools are even referred to as Schools for Children of Foreign Workers (SCFW), so the purpose is clear.

Chinese, English language students learn from each other in U of M program  (December 2, 2019, MPR)
Murphy is one of 20 Chinese immersion graduates participating in a program at the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus that allows high school students to practice Mandarin in a conversational setting with Chinese international students who are studying here in Minnesota.

World’s Top Students Found in (Parts of) China  (December 4, 2019, Sixth Tone)
Test-takers from four affluent coastal provinces ranked first among their peers from 79 countries and regions on a triennial international assessment, but critics question the test’s representativeness.

Health / Environment

China reports fourth plague case, as herder is diagnosed with bubonic strain of deadly disease (November 28, 2019, South China Morning Post)
A fourth person in northern China has been diagnosed with the plague this month, officials confirmed, as a flea and rat eradication campaign was carried out by local government. Authorities in Ulanqab in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region said on Wednesday that a herder who had been diagnosed with bubonic plague was being treated in isolation but was in a stable condition.

China’s ‘mutant pigs’ could halt pork crisis as DNA researchers fight to tackle African swine fever outbreak  (December 4, 2019, South China Morning Post)
For years, the quest was for better-tasting, stronger, and faster-growing swine. Now, in the wake of a devastating global outbreak of African swine fever, the more crucial need is to safeguard food security, and keep hogs alive.

Science / Technology

China brings in mandatory facial recognition for mobile phone users  (December 2, 2019, The Guardian)
All mobile phone users in China registering new SIM cards must submit to facial recognition scans, according to a new rule that went into effect across the country on Sunday. The guidelines, first issued in September, require telecoms companies to deploy “artificial intelligence and other technical methods” to check the identities of people registering SIM cards. All physical stores in the country have had until 1 December to begin implementing the new standards.

China Uses DNA to Map Faces, With Help From the West  (December 3, 2019, The New York Times)
Chinese scientists are trying to find a way to use a DNA sample to create an image of a person’s face. The technology, which is also being developed in the United States and elsewhere, is in the early stages of development and can produce rough pictures good enough only to narrow a manhunt or perhaps eliminate suspects.

Travel / Food

Chinese Takeout: Preaching the Jianbing Gospel in Australia’s Capital City (November 28, 2019, Radii China)
iangsu province native Miya Wu fell in love with jianbing while living in Beijing — so much so that she made the humble breakfast food her life’s calling. When she and her husband relocated to Canberra, Australia, it wasn’t long before they decided to get into the business of vending jianbing, sharing authentic Chinese eats — and culture — with an all-but-unfamiliar audience.

7 things to know before visiting Shanghai Disneyland  (December 3, 2019, The Points Guy)
I’ve visited every Disney park on the globe and was surprised at how Disney’s newest park — Shanghai Disneyland — is both similar and different from its brethren. Here’s what you need to know before you visit the Chinese House of Mouse.

Living Cross-culturally

Learning to Be Hospitable  (November 29, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
While we have hosted our share of parties and meals with friends, we noticed early on as we observed the culture that Chinese did not default to inviting us to their homes for a meal. We have received a few invitations, and we have been in our friends’ homes, but meals with our friends more frequently take place in restaurants. In fact, most of our relationships take place outside of any home.

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