ZGBriefs | January 5, 2017

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Featured Article

Inside China's 'mosquito factory' fighting Zika and dengue (December 28, 2017, CNN)
Zhiyong Xi is a man on a mission. He wants to rid China — and potentially the world — of mosquitoes, specifically the ones that carry devastating diseases like Zika and dengue. And he's doing it in the classic style of good versus evil. "We're building good mosquitoes that can help us fight the bad ones," the entomologist said in his 3,500-square-foot laboratory in Guangzhou, China.

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Special Section: Foreign NGO Law

Uncertainty Over New Chinese Law Rattles Foreign Nonprofits (December 29, 2016, The New York Times)
The hotline rings, but nobody answers. China’s Ministry of Public Security opened the line last month to answer questions about the new law regulating foreign nonprofit organizations, which takes effect on Sunday. But this week and last, calls went unanswered, exemplifying the uncertainty that still surrounds the law, raising concern among thousands of nongovernmental organizations about their ability to continue their work in the new year.

The Evolution and Implication of China's Overseas NGO Law (December 30, 2017, NGOs in China)
Since China opened its doors to the outside world in the late 1970s, thousands of overseas not-for-profit NGOs have carried out programs and activities in China, contributing to China’s development and engagement with the rest of the world. These NGOs run the gamut from trade and commercial groups like the U.S.-China Business Council and European Chamber of Commerce to universities like NYU and Stanford to foundations like Mercator and Ford to performing arts groups like the Philadelphia Symphony to think-tanks like Brookings and Carnegie to sporting associations like the International Olympic Committee and the NBA.

China’s New Foreign NGO Law: A Conversation with Sophie Richardson (January 3, 2017, China Power Podcast)
In this episode, we welcome Dr. Sophie Richardson as we discuss the implications of the law for China’s development as a modern society and a country that aims to play a bigger role in global governance.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Couple Held in China Are Free, but ‘Even Now We Live Under a Cloud’ (January 1, 2017, The New York Times)
The Garratts suspect they were unwitting pawns in a gambit by the Chinese government to prevent Canada from extraditing a Chinese spy to the United States. The detention of the couple transfixed Canada and proved deeply damaging to the country’s relations with China.

China says won't allow Hong Kong to be used as subversion base (January 1, 2017, Reuters)
China will not allow anyone to use Hong Kong as a base for subversion against mainland China or to damage its political stability, Beijing's top official in the territory told state television. Chinese leaders are increasingly concerned about a fledgling independence movement in Hong Kong, which returned to mainland rule in 1997 with a promise of autonomy known as "one country, two systems", and recent protests in the city.

A human rights activist, a secret prison and a tale from Xi Jinping's new China (January 2, 2017, The Guardian)
Peter Dahlin spent 23 days in a ‘black prison’ in Beijing, where he says he was deprived of sleep and questioned with a ‘communication enhancement’ machine. Here he tells the story of his incarceration and expulsion from the People’s Republic.


China Emerging as a Mission Sending Country (December 19, 2016, ChinaSource Quarterly)
While it is still premature (and missiologically incorrect) to claim that China will become the leading country in mission sending, one can say with confidence that China is emerging as a significant player in this arena as it learns to partner with other sending nations. The variety of articles in this issue is a vivid illustration of this. However, warning signs are looming on the horizon.

The Church in China and World Evangelism (December 19, 2016, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Is the Chinese church truly ready to face the task of world evangelism? What does the church in China still lack in the realm of addressing the Great Commission? How can we better understand the work of evangelism and missions?

Working for, in, and with International Agencies (December 19, 2016, ChinaSource Quarterly)
It is not easy for a Chinese national to join an international agency, not only because of security reasons, but also due to structure and trust. Some agencies have policies of not having a local Chinese on their team, and some do not even believe that a local Chinese is trustworthy enough to be given important mission tasks that he/she can finish independently.

Ian Johnson on the Vatican and China (December 29, 2016, Sinica Podcast)
Ian has covered the gamut of religious topics in China from the recent tightening of controls on the faithful to shariah with Chinese characteristics to Taoism, and is uniquely qualified to discuss the subject of this episode of the Sinica Podcast: the complicated relationship between the Vatican and the Chinese Communist Party. Kaiser, Jeremy, and frequent guest host David Moser talk to Ian about the Catholic Church in China: the arrival of Jesuit missionaries in the 16th century, the current state of Catholicism and what the recent apparent warming of relations between the Church and the Party means.

China says party control over religion in Tibet will only increase (December 30, 2017, Reuters)
In excerpts of a speech on religious policy carried by the official Tibet Daily, Tibet's Communist Party chief Wu Yingjie said Tibetan Buddhism had a fine tradition of patriotism and had made important contributions to maintaining national unity. But Tibetan Buddhism needs to march with the times, and at the same time as passing down and teaching its traditional precepts it needs to put more focus on teachings that "benefit social harmony and move with the times", Wu said.

Catholic Churches in China Should Be Independent of Vatican, Official Says (December 30, 2016, The New York Times)
A top Chinese official suggested that Catholic churches in China should be run independently of the Roman Catholic Church, the state news media reported on Friday, striking a nationalistic tone as the country negotiates a possible deal to improve relations with the Vatican.

2016: Not “Business as Usual” (December 30, 2016, From the West Courtyard)
In fact, it may be argued that Christians serving in China are facing the most challenging environment in decades. These developments are not entirely unexpected, given the overall tightening that has characterized China since 2012. Nevertheless they do suggest that those serving in China need to seriously rethink their approach.

Video: Fenggang Yang discusses religion beliefs in modern China (January 3, 2016, CGTN via Youtube)
For more about religion and the beliefs of Chinese people, CGTN's Elaine Reyes spoke with Professor Yang Fenggang. He teaches religion and Chinese society at Purdue University.

China’s Church at the Threshold (January 4, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
The church in China is at the threshold of many new possibilities, some very promising, others disturbing. Holding these two conversations in tension is a daily fact of life for Christians in China as we enter the new year.

Society / Life

In China, Death Of A Young College Grad Sparks Protest From Fellow Alumni (December 30, 2016, NPR)
China's police are under fire this week as citizens blast Beijing authorities' decision not to prosecute police following the death of a 28-year-old environmentalist, Lei Yang. Many observers see this as a landmark case that flies in the face of pledges by China's leaders to prevent miscarriages of justice and curb the arbitrary exercise of state power.

Beijing Highway Turns Into Massive ‘Parking Lot’ as Smog Disrupts Traffic (January 2, 2017, What’s on Weibo)
As measures to reduce heavy smog prevented cars from entering Beijing on January 2nd, the G4 Expressway turned into a massive ‘parking lot’ with thousands of cars waiting in front of the city’s tollgate. Aerial photos of the exceptionally long traffic jam has attracted the attention of Weibo netizens.

Cashing in on dystopia (January 3, 2017, SupChina)
Hundreds of tracking services are advertised on internet-based platforms in China, offering clients the power to unlock, with as little as a phone number or ID, the personal data of just about any Chinese citizen. You can find them on Tencent’s WeChat and QQ services, on the Taobao online marketplace and on Weibo. And while some of these services are unreliable or outright fraudulent, others are able to deliver accurate information from what must be national police and government databases, as well as from banks and mobile carriers. In other words, through a simple mobile transaction, you, too, can be Big Brother.

Knife-wielding man attacks 11 at Chinese kindergarten (January 4, 2017, CNN)
A man with a knife climbed over the wall of a kindergarten in China and attacked 11 students, according to Chinese state media. No children sustained life-threatening injuries, according to police. The attack happened in the southwestern Chinese city of Pingxiang in the province of Guangxi.

China officials try to rein in 'bride price' (January 4, 2017, BBC)
In recent decades it has become a trend in China for a man to give his wife-to-be's family a cash sum, like a reverse dowry. But the "bride price" has been rising, particularly in poorer rural areas where there are fewer potential wives, reaching more than 100,000 yuan ($14,000; £12,000) in some places.

Good samaritans who came to woman's rescue make headlines in China (January 4, 2017, The Guardian)
A woman is punched and thrown to the ground by a man who then proceeds to kick her as she raises her arms to deflect the blows. A pedestrian marches ahead; a car drives by. Many similar incidents in China have ended here, with a stream of passersby doing nothing to help strangers in need. But luckily for the woman in this video, two restaurant workers, Yang Yanshuai and Zhang Chengwei, chose to step in and stop the violence.

Economics / Trade / Business

China Has Too Many Shopping Malls (January 3, 2017, The Wall Street Journal)
Chongqing’s glut of shopping malls is a vivid sign of a big miscalculation now imperiling China’s retail economy. For the past five years, developers have been churning out new supply at a record pace on the assumption that the growth of the country’s middle class would greatly boost shopping and create enormous demand among retailers for store space.

China sends first freight train on 8,000-mile journey to London (January 4, 2017, CNN)
Time for a long trip along the new silk road. China sent its first freight train to London earlier this week in what is one of the world's longest train rides. The train left Yiwu West Railway Station in Zhejiang province Sunday and is headed for the British capital, according to Xinhua, China's state-run news agency.

Six Common Myths About China Employment Laws (January 4, 2017, China Law Blog)
I have been writing a lot lately about various myths regarding specific aspects of Chinese employment law.[…]   But I have yet to write about the most common China employment law myths overall. Until now.


Traditional culture being revived in Chinese schools (January 1, 2017, CGTN)
Confucius is regarded as the greatest sage and teacher among Chinese. The social disciplines of the 5th century B.C. philosopher have deeply influenced Chinese culture. An interest in reviving the study of traditional values has led to a growing number of schools offering Confucius classes. Many are hoping these teachings can be revived. In our special series, “What Is China?”, reporter Han Bin goes to Taiyuan City in Central China, to see how it’s being done.

More Chinese Are Sending Younger Children to Schools in U.S. (January 3, 2016, The Wall Street Journal)When Ken Yan ’s parents were contemplating his future, they decided the best option for the 11-year-old was to send him 7,000 miles away from his home in China to Southern California. Ken didn’t speak English, and he would need to live with a host family in the U.S. he had never met. But the Yans felt it was all worth it.

Lively Trade in Course Registrations at Chinese Universities (January 3, 2017, Sixth Tone)
With spring semester just around the corner, it’s course registration time in China, and some students have spied a chance to make a quick buck. Popular courses fill up quickly, and students who manage to secure a place have found that those who weren’t so lucky are willing to pay for their place in class. The trading floors for course registration are online chat rooms specifically set up for this purpose.

Health / Environment

China confirms another human bird flu case (December 31, 2017, Reuters)
Health authorities in the southern China province of Jiangxi have confirmed a new case of a person infected by the H7N9 strain of avian influenza, state news agency Xinhua said late on Saturday. The 53-year-old man is being treated in hospital in provincial capital Nanchang and is in a critical condition, Xinhua said in a brief report.

Shocking ‘Airpocalypse’ Timelapse of Smog Rolling Into Beijing (January 3, 2017, PetaPixel)
This striking timelapse is rapidly going viral online. The video captures what appears to be a thick bank of smog rolling into Beijing yesterday—20 minutes compressed into 12 shocking seconds of timelapse footage.

China issues first-ever red alert for fog (January 4, 2017, CNN)
China's national observatory issued the fog alert Tuesday in a number of northern and eastern regions. That followed some 24 cities issuing red alerts for air pollution. Red is the most serious level in the country's warning system.

Science / Technology

How China Built ‘iPhone City’ With Billions in Perks for Apple’s Partner (December 30, 2017, The New York Times)
A hidden bounty of benefits for Foxconn’s plant in Zhengzhou, the world’s biggest iPhone factory, is central to the production of Apple’s most profitable product.

History / Culture

‘Dixie Mission’ Americans Scorned for Backing Mao Are Hailed in China (January 1, 2017, The New York Times)
In 1944, a group of American diplomats in a beat-up C-47 propeller plane swooped down onto a rocky runway in Yan’an. Their mission was to assess Mao Zedong, who had made the city in northern China his guerrilla redoubt, and judge whether he deserved American backing.

Travel / Food

Our Top Destinations in China for 2017 (December 29, 2016, Wild China Blog)
Strolling through delicate gardens of spring blossoms, lounging on a semi tropical beach in summer or dancing alongside locals at raucous minority festivals in autumn, imagine what 2017 could have in store for you. It’s time to start planning your getaways for this upcoming year!

Arts / Entertainment / Media

China state broadcaster rebrands in international push (December 31, 2017, CNBC)
State broadcaster Central China Television has rebranded its international networks and digital presence under the name China Global Television Network as part of a push to consolidate its worldwide reach.

President Xi’s Great Chinese Soccer Dream (January 4, 2017, The New York Times)
Grooming the next Ronaldo or Messi has become a national project in China, where the country’s No. 1 fan, President Xi Jinping, is bent on transforming the country into a great soccer power. It is a moonshot for China, whose teams have ranked poor to middling in recent international competition. But the effort has already unleashed a surge of spending and support for the game that has stunned fans and players around the world.

Language / Language Learning

Who-nan? A Guide to Province Names (December 29, 2016, The World of Chinese)
The names of many (though not all) Chinese administrative regions today retain the helpful references to directions and geographic features to let you know roughly where they are—for instance, “South of the River,” or “North of the River,” provided you know enough basic history and geography to know what river is being referred to.

North or South? What’s Behind China’s Linguistic Rivalry (January 3, 2017, Sixth Tone)
In China, “north” and “south” are universally recognized as highly distinct regions, though no one is sure where exactly to draw the dividing line. The country’s diverse geography, history, and ethnic culture have led to the emergence of distinctive linguistic variations, even within standard Mandarin.


Global Chinese Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity (Brill)
This is the first scholarly volume on Chinese Christian Pentecostal and charismatic movements around the globe. The authors include the most active and renowned scholars of global Pentecostalism and Chinese Christianity, including Allan Anderson, Daniel Bays, Kim-twang Chan, Gordon Melton, Donald Miller, and Fenggang Yang. It covers historical linkages between Pentecostal missions and indigenous movements in greater China, contemporary charismatic congregations in China, Singapore, Malaysia, and the United States, and the Catholic charismatic renewal movement in China.

Links for Researchers

Trust at Work: A Study on Faith and Trust of Protestant Entrepreneurs in China (Religions)
There is much talk about the trust crisis in China and the possible role of religion in rebuilding China’s moral order. This study is an attempt to examine religion’s impact on the emerging market economy in China, focusing on trust in business relations that might be generated by the Christian faith.

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