ZGBriefs | January 28, 2016

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ZGBriefs is a compilation of news items gathered from published online sources. ChinaSource is not responsible for the content, and inclusion in ZGBriefs does not equal endorsement. Please go here to support ZGBriefs.

Featured Article

China’s Search for the Secrets of Jewish Success (January 25, 2016, Tablet)
In their quest to understand Jews better, popular Chinese authors and bloggers offer up facts and myths about everything from the Talmud to anti-Semitism.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

China responds to Taiwan’s election results with hostile messages (+video) (January 21, 2016, Christian Science Monitor)
As of Thursday morning, thousands had flooded President-elect Tsai’s Facebook page with pro-China comments.

Visualizing China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign (January 21, 2016, China File)
Welcome to “Catching Tigers and Flies,” ChinaFile’s new interactive tool for tracking and, we hope, better understanding the massive campaign against corruption that China’s President, Xi Jinping, launched shortly after he came to power in late 2012.

Activist in China’s Troubled Xinjiang Region Is Handed 19 Years in Jail (January 22, 2016, TIME)
Authorities arrested Zhang on June 26 last year on less serious charges including “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble,” but the charges were changed during his incarceration. Zhang’s wife learned of his lengthy jail sentence earlier this week.

Beijing’s Televised Confessions: A ChinaFile Conversation (January 20, 2016, China File)
What do these apparent admissions of guilt signal about China’s stance on international NGOs’ operations in China, and about Beijing’s view of freedom of expression in publishing? Who’s the audience for these “trials by TV”? What will happen next?

‘My Personal Vendetta’: An Interview with Hong Kong Publisher Bao Pu (January 22, 2016, New York Review of Books)
During a break from The New York Review’s conference on the “Governance of China,” which took place in Hong Kong earlier this month, just weeks after Lee’s disappearance, I spoke to Bao Pu, one of the Chinese-language world’s best-known publishers of books about the Chinese government.

More than 31,000 prisoners granted early release (January 25, 2016, China Daily)
A total of 31,527 prisoners, most of whom were juveniles when they committed their crimes, have been released thanks to an amnesty deal, according to an official statement on Monday.

Chinese Journalist Seeking Refuge in Thailand Disappears (January 25, 2016, The New York Times)
A Chinese journalist who was traveling across Thailand on a frantic quest for political refuge messaged his wife recently to say that he would soon reach the border with Laos. Two weeks ago, the journalist, Li Xin, disappeared.

The day Zhao Wei disappeared: how a young law graduate was caught in China's human rights dragnet (January 24, 2016, The Guardian)
Zhao Wei – who relatives and friends describe as a bubbly and kind-hearted young woman – is behind bars facing trial on political subversion charges that could see her jailed for the rest of her life. And each day her grief-stricken mother sinks into her daughter’s unmade bed, her hands trembling and tears streaking her face as she leafs through family photo albums chronicling happier times.

China releases Swedish rights activist Peter Dahlin (January 26, 2016, BBC)
A Swedish activist who was detained in China on charges of damaging national security has been released and deported. Peter Dahlin, 35, has been held since early January amid a crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists.

Pursuing critics, China reaches across borders. And nobody is stopping it. (January 26, 2016, Washington Post)
The nation may have crossed a red line, but Western countries appear unwilling or unable to intervene.

China statistics boss under investigation (January 26, 2016, BBC)
The head of China's National Bureau of Statistics is being investigated for suspected corruption. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said that Wang Baoan was "suspected of serious violation of discipline", a phrase that usually refers to corruption. 

Publisher warns of China's campaign to 'wipe out' free speech in Hong Kong (+video) (January 26, 2016, Christian Science Monitor)
Bao Pu, a publisher in Hong Kong and son of purged Chinese leader Bao Tong, warns that free expression in the territory is increasingly under threat.

South China Sea at Top of John Kerry’s Beijing Agenda (January 27, 2016, China Real Time)
Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in China for talks late Tuesday after spending two days in meetings with Southeast Asian nations to urge unity in the face of Beijing’s increasingly assertive behavior in the South China Sea.


Over 12 million Bibles Printed in 2015 in China, Latest Statistics Show (January 21, 2016, China Christian Daily)
Latest statistics report, released by the Amity Printing Company, shows that over 12 million Bibles have been printed in the year of 2015 in China. The majority was destined for export.

What divides and unifies Chinese Christians? (January 21, 2016, UCA News)
Jan. 18 marked the start of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity promoted by both the World Council of Churches in Geneva and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in Rome. What does it hold for churches and Christian communities developing in China? A look at the past and current situation will help us better understand issues about Christian unity.

Senior Pastor of China’s first Mega-Church Removed, Official Announced (January 22, 2016, China Christian Daily)
Gu Yuese(Joseph), senior pastor of Chongyi Church, considered China’s first mega-church and largest protestant church ,is removed from his office. The latest official announcement states on January 18th,2016.

China to certify open church priests in 2016 (January 22, 2016, UCA News)
China's State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) made ID papers for certified Buddhist monks compulsory in 2015 and they're planning to do the same for Taoist and Catholic priests this year. News concerning the certification of open church priests came from a national meeting of the government's religious affairs directors from across China. The meeting convened in Beijing, Jan. 14-15.

Chinese Indigenous Missions: A Reading Round-Up (January 25, 2016, From the West Courtyard)
To help provide context and background, we thought now would be a good time to highlight some of the resources that ChinaSource has published on the topic over the years. We hope these will be helpful to those wanting to learn more.

Story of Head of Nanjing Philadelphia Christian Drug Rehab Ministry: I Want the Ministry to Be More Complete to Help Addicts (January 26, 2017, China Christian Daily)
Mr. Sun and his wife were called “mandarin ducks in the drug sea” in the past. After getting rid of drugs through their faith, they built the Philadelphia Christian Drug Ministry in Nanjing to help drug addicts gain new life through God’s gospel and their own experiences.

What Is a Disciple? (January 26, 2016, Chinese Church Voices)
Recently the mainland-based The Good and Faithful Steward blog published a short post about what it means to be a disciple, reminding readers that being a disciple is more than just taking on the name of Christ (“Christian”), but actually following Christ.

Partnering with Churches in China: Toward a New Paradigm (January 27, 2016, From the West Courtyard)
Over the past week or so I have had several conversations with friends from US churches about partnering with the church in China. All have had years of China involvement. They have assisted churches in mainland China in various ways. Yet there was a sense that the former ways of serving may no longer be relevant.

Society / Life

Glory days of Chinese steel leave behind abandoned mills and broken lives (January 21, 2016, The Guardian)
The full effect of China’s economic decline on the world is unclear, but for the steel city of Tangshan the future already looks decidedly bleak.

Video: Adopting JiaJia: Abandoned Chinese boy heads 'home' to U.S. (January 22, 2016, CNN)
As the Wilsons travel from their home in the American Midwest to northern China, JiaJia (pronounced "Jah Jah") lays wide awake in the small room he shares with eight other orphans. He is the oldest child at Alenah's Home, a small medical foster home in the Chinese capital where he has lived for most of his nine years.

China Blames Goats For 2015 Drop In Birth Rate (January 25, 2016, NPR)
This week, China's National Health and Family Planning Commission cited these folk beliefs as part of an explanation for a decline in births in 2015. According to the latest statistics, 16.5 million babies were born in China last year, some 320,000 fewer than in 2014. The commission's reasoning: People decided not to have babies because "Year of the Goat" babies are linked to bad luck.

China's social media search for stolen children (January 25, 2016, BBC)
This image of a three-year-old girl being abducted has been widely shared across Chinese social media. The girl has now been found, but the search sheds light on the country's huge digital campaigns trying to track down tens of thousands of missing children and return them to their parents.

As Snowpocalypse Hits U.S., Deep Freeze in China Grinds Travel to Halt (January 25, 2016, China Real Time)
For some in China, the unexpected advent of snow meant the chance to make tiny, fanciful inch-high snowmen. For others, it meant massive pile-ups and a delay in travel — one that unluckily coincides with the run-up to China’s annual Lunar New Year festival, a time during which the government estimates billions of trips will be made around the country as people return home.

People of Hong Kong Hunt Frost, Post on Instagram (January 26, 2017, China Real Time)
When Hong Kong shivered through its coldest day in nearly sixty years Sunday, some of the city’s hardier inhabitants rushed to find frost, a rare and exotic site in this subtropical climate. These explorers figured that the chilliest place would be the top of Tai Mo Shan, the tallest peak in Hong Kong at 3,140 feet. Before the frost thawed it was thoroughly documented on Instagram.

Studies Point to Inequalities That Could Strain Chinese Society (January 27, 2016, The New York Times)
The study shows that, as in all societies, family background plays a powerful role in determining people’s level of schooling, especially parents’ educational attainment. But in China, political privilege is also an important factor.

Economics / Trade / Business

China’s Working-Age Population Sees Biggest-Ever Decline (January 22, 2016, China Real Time)
China’s working age population saw its biggest decline in 2015, underscoring demographers’ warnings of an oncoming labor shortage in the country. The number of workers aged 16 to 59 dropped by a record 4.87 million to 911 million last year, compared to decline of 3.71 million in 2014, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

Sinica: The China Meltdown (January 25, 2016, Pop-up Chinese)
Joining Kaiser, Jeremy and David in the studio today to talk about the Chinese economy and its recent tailspin is none other than Tom Orlik, an economist at Bloomberg and author of the book Understanding China's Economic Indicators.

Video: The race to get money out of China (January 25, 2016, Reuters)
Investors worried about China's plummeting currency are pouring money into assets overseas, and as Tara Joseph reports the flow of money is getting bigger just as authorities need investment back home.

Chinese shares see steep losses on Tuesday (January 26, 2016, BBC)
Chinese markets saw steep losses in late trade on Tuesday as investors worried about oil prices, and despite an injection of liquidity into the mainland market by the central bank.

China GDP Growth Could Be as Low as 4.3%, Chinese Professor Says (January 27, 2016, China Real Time)
As growth in the world’s second-largest economy slows, the spotlight has intensified over the accuracy of China’s growth figures. This week, Xu Dianqing, an economics professor at Beijing Normal University and the University of Western Ontario, joined the debate with an estimate that China’s gross domestic product growth rate might just be between 4.3% and 5.2%.


What Future for Women in Chinese Higher Education? (January 22, 2016, Inside Higher Ed)
When parents have more than one child, experts fear sons will receive more support for education.

Growing Numbers Of Chinese Teens Are Coming To America For High School (January 26, 2017, NPR)
Zhang belongs to a growing population of Chinese teens leaving the test-driven, high-pressure world of schools back home for the U.S. — more than 23,000 at last count, according to the Institute of International Education. Their goal is to better their children's chances of getting into an American college; a degree earned in the U.S. carries a lot of weight.

Health / Environment

Scalping Tickets to the Doctor? Woman in Beijing Has Had Enough (January 27, 2016, The New York Times)
Ticket scalpers can be a headache in China, raising the prices of concerts, train trips and more. But no scalpers are more detested than those selling tickets for hospital visits. A video of a woman in Beijing denouncing the practice circulated widely this week, as many others shared their own experiences.

Science / Technology

Single group of hackers targets Uyghur, Tibetan activists (January 24, 2016, PC World)
A years-long campaign of seemingly disparate cyberattacks against Tibetan and Uyghur activists likely comes from a single group of hackers, according to a seven-month study by Palo Alto Networks.

More Than Half of China’s Population is Online — And Most Use Smartphones (January 26, 2016, China Real Time)
For the first time, more than half of China’s 1.37 billion population is connected to the Internet, a new report says – and more than 90% of users access the Web by smartphone.

History / Culture

Beijing Railroad Station (January 24, 2016, Everyday Life in Mao’s China)
The exact year of these photos is not entirely clear. It appears that most of them come from 1959 when the station was completed.

A large collection: Everyday Life in Beijing in 1985 (January 25, 2016, Everyday Life in Mao’s China)

A collection: Changchun streets in 1982 (January 25, 2016, Everyday Life in Mao’s China)

The World of WeChat ‘Lucky Money’ (January 26, 2016, What’s on Weibo)
Dumplings and firecrackers are not the only things that are popular during Chinese New Year. WeChat’s ‘Lucky Money’ is all the rage – and its success goes beyond the new year’s festivities.

China's Great Wall Is Crumbling In Many Places; Can It Be Saved? (January 27, 2016, NPR)
After centuries of neglect, the world's largest fortification, the Great Wall of China, has a band of modern-day defenders who are drawing up plans to protect and maintain the vast structure. They're not a minute too soon: Roughly a third of the wall's 12,000 miles has crumbled to dust, and saving what's left of it may be the world's greatest challenge in cultural preservation.

Revolutionary masses criticize a film at the Forbidden City in 1969 (January 27, 2016, Everyday Life in Mao’s China)

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Chinese Netizens: CCTV’s New Year’s Mascot Kangkang “Too Ugly” (January 24, 2016, What’s on Weibo)
This week, CCTV revealed Kangkang the Monkey, the mascot of its 2016 Spring Festival Gala. It did not receive a warm welcome from Chinese netizens, who mocked the monkey saying it is ugly and wondering if the two balls near its head are tumors.

When Cross-Strait Politics Meet Entertainment: Pop Star Controversies (January 25, 2016, What’s on Weibo)
Cross-strait politics seem to have taken over China’s entertainment industry. This week, two pop stars from Taiwan have become the victim of ongoing political tensions between mainland China and Taiwan.

China Looks Abroad for Soccer Talent, Sparking Online Furor (January 27, 2016, China Real Time)
After trying unsuccessfully for years to forge a world-class national men’s soccer team, China signaled it was considering a surprising new tack: offering citizenship to foreign players.

Travel / Food

5 Unexpected Finds in the Beijing Hutongs (January 26, 2016, Wild China Blog)
Beijing’s hutongs are the beating heart of the city, teeming with old stories and everyday modern Beijingers going about their lives. Here are some of our favorite unexpected finds inside the hutongs.

Number of Chinese tourists visiting UK soars nearly 40% (January 27, 2016, The Guardian)
The number of Chinese tourists visiting the UK soared 37% in the first nine months of last year, taking the total to more than 200,000 in 2015.


The Changing Face of Political Leadership in China – a review of Following the Leader: Ruling China, from Deng Xiaoping to Xi Jiinping, by David Lampton (January 22, 2016, From the West Courtyard)
Since rising to power three years ago, President Xi Jinping has frequently been called the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong. Such comments often refer to the way Xi has consolidated power by bringing the various Communist Party organs firmly under his control and to how he has eliminated possible opposition through a wide-ranging anti-corruption campaign and emphasis on rule by law.

China: Surviving the Camps (January 26, 2016, New York Review of Books)
By now, it has been nearly forty years since the Cultural Revolution officially ended, yet in China, considering the magnitude and significance of the event, it has remained a poorly examined, under-documented subject. Official archives are off-limits. Serious books on the period, whether comprehensive histories, in-depth analyses, or detailed personal memoirs, are remarkably few. Ji Xianlin’s The Cowshed: Memories of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, which has just been released in English for the first time, is something of an anomaly.

Links for Researchers

Challenges Ahead in China’s Reform of State-Owned Enterprises (January 2016, Asia Policy)
This essay analyzes three challenges ahead in reforming China’s centrally owned companies, known as yangqi: determining how and when to give market forces a greater role, aligning mismatched executive incentives, and overcoming complicating factors within firms.

China’s First Overseas Base in Djibouti, An Enabler of its Middle East Policy (January 25, 2016, China Brief)
Just as China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, acted as a both a symbol of China’s rise and a platform to practice more complex operations, the future base will have a highly symbolic value as China’s first “protective facility” abroad (保障设施) in the definition provided by the People’s Daily (People’s Daily, November 26, 2015).


Watch live: Why China is hacking the world (January 26, 2017, Christian Science Monitor)
Join Passcode and the Mary Baker Eddy Library Thursday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m. for a deeper look at China's cybersecurity playbook. 

Image credit: Judaica, by Israel Tourism, via Flickr

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Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman is Vice President of Partnership and China Engagement 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