ZGBriefs | December 6, 2018

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Featured Article

Weibo’s Online Slang: 10 Chinese ‘Tribes’ & ‘Clans’ to Know (December 1, 2018, What’s on Weibo)
A major part of this online slang culture is the categorization of people into ‘tribes’ or ‘clans’ (族); classifying those (urban) young Chinese people who share certain traits. Although many of these terms are often ironic and generalized, to a large extent, they also represent a bigger trend in China’s transforming society and digital culture.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Beijing’s Long Struggle to Control Xinjiang’s Mineral Wealth (November 28, 2018, China File)
This effort is only the most recent in more than a century of campaigns undertaken by an assortment of regional actors seeking to bind Xinjiang and all of Central Asia into a single resource production region.

Xi Jinping targets grass roots in push to extend Communist Party control  (March 29, 2018, South China Morning Post)
Commercial buildings, business districts and dedicated marketplaces in China are now required to set up Communist Party branches, joining a long list of economic and social institutions where the party is extending its reach.

China Interference Report (November 29, 2018, NPR)
One of China's most prominent scholars shows the many ways China's Communist Party is attempting to influence and infiltrate American government, society, and economy.

Old Rhetoric, New Normal (November 30, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
So the rhetoric isn’t really that new; we’ve heard this stuff before. What does seem to be new are the efforts at implementation and enforcement. That is what makes the current situation in China a “new normal.”

How Outsiders View ‘Civil Society,’ the Stages of Chinese Charity, and Partnering with Domestic NGOs (November 30, 2018, The China NGO Project)
Several of the recommendations made during the UN Human Rights Council’s recent Universal Periodic Review of China’s human rights record pertain to civil society and NGOs.

Huawei CFO arrested on suspicion of violating US sanctions against Iran (December 5, 2018, The Guardian)
Canada has arrested Huawei’s global chief financial officer in Vancouver, where she is facing extradition to the US on suspicion she violated US sanctions against Iran, the Globe and Mail newspaper reported on Wednesday.

China hails Trump-Xi summit, but offers no new details (December 5, 2018, Reuters)
The summit between President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in Argentina was “friendly and candid” and would help to avoid further trade tensions, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Thursday, but offered no new details on the talks.


The Church in China Prays (December 4, 2018, Chinese Church Voices)
Through prayer, the Chinese church has launched many campaigns to promote church ministries and a life of prayer. Churches have arranged special rooms and even caves for activities such as daily devotions and prayer, prayer chains, fasting and mourning, and prayer meetings.

How Should We Do Theological Education Within The Chinese Environment? (December 4, 2018, China Partnership Blog)
His letter provides a fascinating look both at how many Chinese see and experience American theological education, both it benefits and drawbacks, and at what Chinese church leaders believe is important for seminary education and pastoral training

Big Name Leaders and Nameless Heroes (November 5, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
China needs international agencies with enough foresight to invest sufficient time and resources in the best candidates among the fresh missionaries from China so the growing missionary movement can be sustained. 

Society / Life

China's Official 2019 Holiday Calendar Finally Announced! (November 29, 2018, The Beijinger)
After weeks of educated guesses, the official state-sanctioned holiday calendar for 2019 has been officially announced, and at least a couple of them were exactly spot on. 

China’s Civil Service More Competitive Than Ever (December 3, 2018, Sixth Tone)
Careers in the civil service or at state-owned enterprises are often referred to as the “iron rice bowl” for providing those who obtain them with steady incomes, elevated social status, and near-certain job security. Such posts are especially coveted in China’s smaller cities, where there are fewer employment opportunities compared with first-tier cities.

The Blurring Boundaries Between Hong Kong and Mainland China (December 3, 2018, The Atlantic)
A string of moves in recent months—from the opening of major infrastructure projects to the expulsion of a British journalist and the stifling of dissident voices—has, however, raised urgent questions about the sustainability of Hong Kong’s unique status and culture.

Economics / Trade / Business

Amid Trade War With U.S., There Are Signs Of Dissent Among China's Economists (November 30, 2018, NPR)
They argue that what Trump is asking for — further opening China's markets to the private sector and eliminating unfair competition from China's state-run companies — will not only be good for U.S. companies, but also for the Chinese people, because China's private sector employs three times more people than its state-run sector, and it accounts for the lion's share of China's economic growth.

China Employers Face NEW and SEVERE Punishment For Failing to Comply with Social Insurance Laws (December 5, 2018, China Law Blog)
Numbers 1, 2 and 3 above — that is, not paying or under-paying employee social insurance — are the violations our China employment lawyers most often see among foreign employers in China, and even before the MOU, we often saw foreign employers get in trouble for such violations.

Saving Stitches: Alibaba’s Clothing Revolution (December 5, 2018, Sixth Tone)
Not content with dominating the shopping scene, China’s tech giants want to change manufacturing. But could Alibaba end up with too much power?


Parenting Crisis Sends China’s Moms and Dads Back to School (November 30, 2018, Sixth Tone)
Raising a child in China comes with its own set of concerns. Parents tend to spoil their child — often their only child — while simultaneously putting them under immense pressure to do well in China’s competitive education system. Another worry is the amount of time children spend with indulgent grandparents, who are sometimes blamed for China’s burgeoning population of “bear kids” — a term for screaming children prone to tantrums.

The Slippery Slope of English Teaching (December 3, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
But our relationship also brings students to my door for so many more reasons than disputing a grade. Many have told me their hopes and goals. Some share family issues and affairs of the heart.

Shanghai’s Students Need More Homework, Not Less (December 3, 2018, Sixth Tone)
Well-intentioned reforms targeting the extreme workloads of the city’s primary and middle schoolers are doing more harm than good.

Chinese parents spend up to US$43,500 a year on after-school classes for their children (December 4, 2018, South China Morning Post)
More than 60 per cent of primary school pupils in China are tutored outside the classroom in subjects such as English, literature and maths.

Peking University Student Investigates Classmate’s Disappearance (December 4, 2018, China Digital Times)
CDT Chinese has archived another PKU student’s account of classmate Jia Shijie’s violent disappearance from campus in September, and university authorities’ attempts to deflect any inquiry into the student’s whereabouts. According to the account, Jia doesn’t appear to have been an activist, but rather a concerned follower of the labor movement who, while potentially tempted to head south to support the workers, never did.

Health / Environment

China Halts Work by Scientist Who Says He Edited Babies’ Genes (November 29, 2018, The New York Times)
China said on Thursday that it had suspended the work of a scientist who claims to have created the world’s first genetically edited babies, saying his conduct appeared to be unethical and in violation of Chinese law.

Cut out of the Operating Room (November 30, 2018, China File)
demand for healthcare is far outpacing the country’s capacity to provide it. Patients often face dangerous wait times for surgery, not because China lacks surgeons, but because there are not enough surgeons who can actually operate. According to World Bank data, China’s number of surgeons per capita is on par with other upper-middle income countries, but collectively, its surgeons perform 40 percent fewer surgical procedures than their counterparts.

Science / Technology

Chinese tech companies are now keeping detailed records of users' activity (November 30, 2018, CNN)
The new requirements apply to any company that provides online services which can influence public opinion or "mobilize the public to engage in specific activities," according to a notice posted on the Cyber Administration of China's website earlier this month.

History / Culture

Some of the Earliest Known Photographs of China Now on Display at Tsinghua (November 30, 2018, The Beijinger)
Taken by both Chinese and international photographers, the snapshots capture intimate moments between subjects as well as stunning and barren landscapes of some of Beijing's most famous sights, some of which still stand to this day.

Beijing's Five Architectural Colors, and the Symbolism Behind Them (December 2, 2018, The Beijinger)
In imperial times, builders and architects relied on five colors to add life to their creations: red, yellow, blue, white, and (yes) gray. These colors were not just aesthetic choices; each was associated with a complex schematic that involved everything from astrology and metaphysics to food and medicine: 五星 wǔxīng. 

Staging the Struggle to Relocate Palace Museum’s Artifacts (December 3, 2018, Sixth Tone)
hey aren’t professionally trained, but museum staff are still putting on a homemade play to promote cultural preservation.

Ode to ‘Opening Up’ (December 4, 2018, The World of Chinese)
Admittedly, the museum has been entirely refitted to accommodate China’s 40 Years of Opening Up and Reform, an exhibition advertised daily on CCTV, and visited by Xi Jinping himself. But the sheer ferocity of the Chinese grannies and grandpas, pushing past us inline, was still surprising.

Did President George H.W. Bush Mishandle China?- a China File Conversation (December 4, 2018, China File)
ChinaFile contributors discuss 41st U.S. President George H.W. Bush’s legacy for U.S.-China relations.

George H.W. Bush And His Impact On U.S.-China Ties As An Unofficial Ambassador (December 5, 2018, NPR)
NPR's Ailsa Chang talks with Orville Schell, director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations, about what President George H.W. Bush accomplished as the unofficial U.S. ambassador to China from 1974-75.

Travel / Food

China’s hotel hygiene horror continues with new scandal (November 5, 2018,South China Morning Post)
Health officials from the provincial capital of Taiyuan found disinfected towels stored with shoes and half-consumed snacks during an inspection on Tuesday.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Why 'Crazy Rich Asians' Missed The Mark In China's Box Offices (December 4, 2018, NPR)
Crazy Rich Asians had a crazy bad opening weekend in China. NPR's Mary Louise Kelly speaks with Wall Street Journal reporter Ben Fritz about why the movie doesn't translate well.

Language / Language Learning

“I’m So Qiou” – The New Chinese ‘Character of the Year’ is ‘Dirt-Poor & Ugly’ (December 4, 2018, What’s on Weibo)
A new (unofficially) elected ‘character of the year’ of 2018 is qiou, a creative combination of ‘dirt-poor’ and ‘ugly.’ Many self-mocking netizens identify with the new online word.


Exclusive Interview With Ian Johnson On The Return Of Religion After Mao – The souls of China (November 30, 2018, Oclarim)
 complex situation, as we all know very well and also for this reason Johnson’s book needs to be carefully considered as an important resource for a bigger understanding of the relationship between China and the religious phenomenon.

CLM Insights: Interview with Elizabeth Economy (December 1, 2018, China Leadership Monitor)
“My motivation was simple: I wanted to make sense of the emerging Xi Jinping era.  In the first few years of Xi’s tenure as general secretary of the Communist Party and president of China , no one seemed to have a clear picture of his political and economic orientation.”

Image credit: A friend of ChinaSource
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