ZGBriefs | February 14, 2019

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Featured Article

Visa-Free Travel to China is Now a Piece of Cake (February 9, 2019, China Law Blog)
This 6-day visa free travel is relatively new (for most cities and provinces) and it has not gotten much publicity. But since the start of this year you can enter into and stay in the following Chinese cities for 144 hours:

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Where Is China’s Foreign Policy Headed? – A ChinaFile Conversation (February 8, 2019, China File)
With China’s global influence and tensions between Washington and Beijing growing apace, what is the best way to understand how China envisions itself in the world?

Beijing’s Olympics Paved the Way for Xinjiang’s Camps (February 8, 2019, Foreign Policy)
The 2008 games were supposed to help liberalize China. Instead the party learned it could get away with anything.

China retaliates after Turkey's claims about Abdurehim Heyit (February 11, 2019, BBC)
China has railed at Turkish claims it is mistreating its Uighur minority, after a dispute about the fate of a prominent musician. Turkey cited reports Abdurehim Heyit had died in a detention camp, and called China's treatment of the Uighurs a "great embarrassment for humanity".

US warships again challenge Beijing's claims in South China Sea (February 11, 2019, CNN)
The guided-missile destroyers USS Spruance and USS Preble sailed within 12 nautical miles of the Spratly Islands as part of what the US Navy calls a "freedom of navigation operation."

Next stop Xinjiang for one of China’s rising political stars Wang Junzheng (February 12, 2019, South China Morning Post)
Beijing has sent a trusted senior cadre – with a track record of versatility and economic development – to join the highest decision-making body of China’s highly sensitive Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Audio: China’s Cognitive Warfare (February 12, 2019, Project 2049 Institute)
The Chinese Communist Party plainly says that what they want is a space for their form of authoritarianism to be able to live and survive…

Families of missing Uighurs call for 'proof of life' videos from Chinese government (February 12, 2019, The Guardian)
In an effort to dispel rumours of the death of famous Uighur musician Abdurehim Heyit, who disappeared in Xinjiang in 2017, Chinese state media released a video of Heyit attesting to his health. In the video, he says he is in police custody and has “never been abused”. 

Video: Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Goes to China: China in 60 Seconds (February 12, 2019, GZero Media)
US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin travels to China this week to try and secure a trade deal, will he be successful? It's China in 60 Seconds with Kevin Rudd!

Public Security Infographic: Make Sure Foreign NGOs Have Filed!  — Ministry of Public Security WeChat Posts—January 9-10, 2019   (February 13, 2019, The China NGO Project)


A Special Interview With Early Rain Covenant Church, Part 2: The Growth And Shepherding Of The Church (February 7, 2019, China Partnership Blog)
The following is Part 2 of an extended interview conducted by a Chinese writer with the leadership and various members of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu.

What to Take Home for the New Year (February 12, 2019, Chinese Church Voices)
When Christians celebrate the New Year, in addition to preparing New Year’s goods, it is more important to give to one's dear family the best gift in this life. This gift is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ himself is the gift of God.

Society / Life

Through Her Lens: Cong Yan Chronicles China’s Cambodian Brides (February 8, 2019, Sixth Tone)
There are no reliable statistics on the number of Cambodian mail-order brides currently living in China, but according to a report from The Cambodia Daily, Chinese officials estimated that the country was home to about 6,900 such women as of August 2016. 

Young Chinese are fighting back against scourge of Lunar New Year: interfering relatives (February 8, 2019, South China Morning Post)
More and more younger Chinese people are complaining about their relatives’ interfering ways, especially at Lunar New Year when they feel compelled to visit those they may not have seen since the previous new year celebrations.

Building China: Why Does Half of China Struggle to Stay Warm Indoors in the Winter? (February 8, 2019, Radii China)
Central heating has long been China's great north-south divide, but it's fast becoming a class issue.

Dongbei Diaspora (February 10, 2019, The World of Chinese)
Sparsely settled to begin with, none of the three provinces actually crack the top five that contribute most to China’s migrant population (Hunan ranks third). Instead, the depletion of Dongbei is significant for its apparent permanence…

A Surgically Sculpted Face, the Newest Back-to-School Necessity (February 11, 2019, Sixth Tone)
Fueled by the desire to take good selfies and emulate celebrities, many young Chinese like Chen are opting for surgery at increasingly younger ages. Independent statistics on plastic surgery in China are hard to come by, save for a prediction from an industry body that the market would be worth 800 billion yuan this year, compared with half that in 2015.

The Face of China’s #MeToo Movement Enters the Fray  (February 12, 2019, China File)
Photographer Zhou Na spent time with Zhou, who goes by the nickname Xianzi, this past October to December, as she prepared for her court cases, managed media requests, corresponded with admirers and detractors, and grappled with both the symbolic and practical consequences of her decision to speak out.

Chinese couples can't afford a second child, no matter what Beijing wants (February 13, 2019, CNN)
Three years ago, the party relaxed its controversial and fiercely enforced one-child policy, which limited couples to a single offspring and had been in place for four decades. The result was not what Beijing expected. 

In Cliffside Village, Hipster Bookshop Spurs Rural Revival  (February 13, 2019, Sixth Tone)
Located in the old cultural center, in which people used to worship their ancestors, the bookstore’s renovated exterior blends in with the village’s 640-year history. 

China’s social credit systems and public opinion: Explaining high levels of approval (February 13, 2019, Sage Journals)
While one might expect such knowledgeable citizens to be most concerned about the privacy implications of SCS, they instead appear to embrace SCSs because they interpret it through frames of benefit-generation and promoting honest dealings in society and the economy instead of privacy-violation.

Understanding China’s Middle Class in 5 Simple Questions (February 13, 2019, China Briefing)
The World Bank has ranked China as an ‘upper middle income’ country; its gross domestic product per capita income was US$8,827 in 2017.

Empty Nests (February 13, 2019, The World of Chinese)
Although the countryside has lost over 100 million permanent residents in the last decade, in 2011, the Ministry of Housing estimated that China was gaining 700 to 800 million square meters of new rural housing per year. 

Economics / Trade / Business

Terminating Your China Employees Just Got Tougher (February 10, 2019, China Law Blog)
Our China lawyers are hearing from our clients with WFOEs in China that local government officials are stopping by essentially to make sure no layoffs are coming and if they are, that they are informed in advance.

China’s Daigou Shopping Model: This is the End, My Friend…  (February 11, 2019, China Law Blog)
China’s new e-commerce law, which took effect January 1, 2019, threatens to upend the entire daigou business model. As we’ve written previouslydaigou are individual shoppers who purchase goods overseas and then bring them back in their luggage for resale in China.

China’s debt iceberg: private firms going bankrupt after guaranteeing others’ loans (February 12, 2019, South China Morning Post)
The collapse in China of a complex web of debt guarantees involving several private firms highlights risks in its financial system and opens up a potentially hazardous front for an economy in the grip of its slowest growth in nearly three decades.

China’s gig economy losing ability to absorb laid off factory workers (February 13, 2019, South China Morning Post)
Chinese internet-based service companies, which served as the employment backstop in the last economic downturn, have themselves fallen on hard times, only adding fuel to rising lay-off worries.

China’s Economic Downturn AND the US-China Trade War AND their Impact on YOUR Company (February 13, 2019, China Law Blog)
Our China lawyers are constantly getting asked how China’s slowing economy and all that is going on between China and the United States will impact foreign business with China.

Chinese New Year Travelers Made 1.2 Billion Purchases Over WeChat Pay (February 13, 2019, The Beijinger)
According to data released by Tencent’s ubiquitous app WeChat and Alibaba’s payment platform Alipay, China’s mass holiday migration over the lunar new year shook up spending patterns domestically while setting new trends abroad.

Man vs machine: China’s workforce starting to feel the strain from threat of robotic automation (February 14, 2019, South China Morning Post)
As part of its effort to upgrade its manufacturing sector, the Chinese government started a campaign in 2014 with the overall aim gradually replace manual labour with robots, with the heavily industrialised provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Guangdong among those introducing the new technology on a massive scale.

Science / Technology

Censored on WeChat: A year of content removals on China's most powerful social media platform (February 11, 2019, Global Voices)
Our team tracked more than 4,000 public accounts covering daily news through our computer program which visits (and periodically revisits) published articles and records the contents. When the system sees that a post has disappeared, it is detected as censored. A copy of the post is then restored in the database and made available for public access.

History / Culture

Roderick MacFarquhar, Eminent China Scholar, Dies at 88 (February 12, 2019, The New York Times)
Professor MacFarquhar specialized in the origins of the Cultural Revolution, the decade of turmoil that terrorized China beginning in 1966. His three-volume work, “The Origins of the Cultural Revolution,” came to be considered a classic.

The carpenter lovingly repairing old Shanghai’s historical buildings (February 13, 2019, South China Morning Post)
Using tools handed down by his predecessors, 57-year-old Ma Jiale cycles from job to job preserving some of the city’s best old architecture – but he worries about who will take over when he retires.

Travel / Food

A Photo Trip to China’s Daocheng County (February 7, 2019, The Atlantic)
In Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, on the west side of China’s Sichuan province, sits Daocheng County, a small, mountainous region that about 31,000 ethnic Tibetans call home.

29 Ultimate Things To Do In Shanghai (February 8, 2019, Fodor’s Travel)
From exploring quirky museums and contemporary art, eating sour dumplings and drinking craft cocktails, and visiting the Buddha temple and sailing on riverboat tour, here are the very best things to see and do while visiting Shanghai, China.

5 Apps You Need on Your Family’s Vacation to China (February 9, 2019, The Points Guy)
You’ve probably got a smartphone and with the help of specific apps, you can ensure your family’s travel to China will be fun and hassle-free. So, go apply for a travel visa for your brood, read these five tips for China travel and then download these apps to your phone before your family’s adventure.

The eternal debate: Do all Chinese outbound tourists want to eat Chinese food? Answer: No. Do all Chinese outbound tourists prefer to eat à la chinoise? Yes. (February 12, 2019, Asia Dialogue)
Since 2004, the Hospitality Association of Switzerland has published several editions of a brochure to assist the Swiss hospitality industry to adapt itself to Chinese visitors, in which it states: ‘In fact, it would be unthinkable for the Chinese to enjoy something other than Chinese food when on a trip abroad’.

48 hours in Shenyang (Lonely Planet)
The biggest city in northeast China was once – briefly – the capital of the Qing dynasty, before the all-conquering Manchu moved to Beijing in 1644. Shenyang’s magnificent Manchurian legacy is best explored via its Unesco World Heritage palace complex, royal tombs, and hearty, game-rich cuisine, while China’s biggest Korea Town adds a multicultural vibe.

Internet / Media / Entertainment 

Chinese Sci-Fi Blockbuster “The Wandering Earth” Now Showing in US Theaters (February 8, 2019, Radii China)
Mixing elements of Armageddon and 2001: A Space Odyssey (though hewing much closer to the former), the film is China’s first notable sci-fi blockbuster, based on a story by Liu (the same author behind The Three Body Problem). 

Reddit: Censorship fears spark criticism of Tencent funding reports (February 11, 2019, BBC)
A reported investment by Chinese tech giant Tencent in Reddit has sparked a backlash on the popular community news site over censorship fears. Last week reports said that Tencent would be investing $150m (£115m) into the platform. China has a strict internet censorship regime known as the Great Firewall and Reddit is among the sites it blocks.

The Dawn Of The Little Red Phone (February 13, 2019, China Media Project)
On January 25, all seven members of China’s elite Politburo Standing Committee, including President Xi Jinping, gathered at the headquarters of the flagship People’s Daily newspaper to underline the importance of “convergence media” and digital media development as a means of strengthening the Party’s dominance of ideas and information.

Top Chinese Director Zhang Yimou Withdraws Film From Berlin Festival  (February 13, 2019, Radio Free Asia)
Zhang's latest movie, "One Second," was originally scheduled for screening on Friday, according to an announcement on the festival's official website. "Due to technical difficulties encountered during post-production, Yi miao zhong (One Second) by Zhang Yimou unfortunately cannot be presented on Feb. 15," the announcement said.

Language / Language Learning

How Do I Write My Name in Chinese? (February 8, 2019, Sapore di Cina)
Translating a name into Chinesepresents a different challenges that make it hard to do so “directly”.

Training your Chinese teacher, part 1: Introduction (February 13, 2019, Hacking Chinese)
I don’t mean teaching them their own trade, hopefully they know something about that already, I mean training them to teach you in a way that is suitable according to your needs, goals and preferences.

Living Cross-culturally

3 Questions: China’s New Tax Law (February 8, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
There have been numerous stories over the past few months about China’s new tax law and how it may affect foreigners working in China. Most concerning is the proposed provision that income earned outside of China would need to be reported and taxed.

Why the Bathroom in Your Chinese Apartment Smells Awful (And How to Fix It)  (February 9, 2019, The Beijinger)
If you've experienced a gag-reflex-inducing, sulphury, sewer smell emanating from your bathroom, that no deed of yours could ever explain, you know what we're talking about. The good news is that there is a simple explanation for the problem, and a number of ways to deal with it.

Uncovering a Hidden Need in China-One Expat Family’s Adoption Story (February 11, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
I’ve decided to share our journey of adoption, with all its sensitivities, in hope of encouraging others who are considering adoption. I also hope to change how people view the needs concerning adoption, specifically in China. For those wanting to adopt from China it is a long road lined with paperwork and set-backs, but the process is also refining, eye-opening, and faith-growing. 

Visa Requirements and Procedures in Hong Kong (February 12, 2019, China Briefing)
Generally, a visa or entry permit is required to work, study, establish, or join in any business or to take up residence in Hong Kong. Otherwise, there is high risk of being refused admission on arrival.

Care for Those Who Remain in China (February 13, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
For our local brothers and sisters what is happening now to their expat friends is very confusing. Some of them have been persecuted and some have been taken in for questioning more than once over the years, but to see their foreign friends, co-workers, and sisters and brothers suffer is new for most of them.


Varieties Of Chinese Nationalisms And Their Implications On Religion (May 6, 2019, Voegelin View)
Review of Religion and Nationalism in Chinese Societies. Cheng-tian Kuo, ed. Amsterdam University Press, 2018.
This volume is a collection of papers discussing “the origin, development, content, and implications of religion-state relations” in mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong (10). The lens of using nationalism in examining state-society-religion relations works as an overarching theme to bring these social contexts together. 

This Book Will Tell Everything You Need to Know About China-Africa Relations (February 12, 2019, The Beijinger)
It is within this context that author and social entrepreneur Lina Getachew Ayenew, born in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, has spent the past five years documenting China's emergence as a key player in Africa's economic development, distilling her findings into her new book The Complete Beginner's Guide to China-Africa Relations.


You Can Learn Chinese (Podcast) (February 12, 2019, Sinosplice)
This podcast is about learning Chinese; it doesn’t teach Chinese. And while it may sound like it’s for beginners, learners of all levels should get something out of it. As the name suggests, it’s also more motivational and conceptual than technical. 

Image credit: by Wong, 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 of Northwestern-St. Paul …View Full Bio