ZGBriefs | July 13, 2017

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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 Tells Carriers to Block Access to Personal VPNs by February (July 10, 2017, Bloomberg)
Beijing has ordered state-run telecommunications firms, which include China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, to bar people from using VPNs, services that skirt censorship restrictions by routing web traffic abroad, the people said, asking not to be identified talking about private government directives.

Sponsored Link

An Asian Harvest: The Autobiography of Paul Hattaway
Read the gripping testimony of how God took a hopeless life – "a waste of oxygen" according to his high school principal – and shaped him to become a best-selling author and used his ministry to supply more than ten million Bibles to believers in China.

Overseas NGO Law

We are becoming a Foreign Non Government Organization in China (May 20, 2017, Blessing Hands Blog)
We are submitting files to show what we have done in China for 11 years and getting all of our official papers notarized and sealed by three levels of our government before they are submitted to the Chinese Embassy for the final official seal there. We are complying with a new law in China that makes all foreign charities and their activities illegal unless they register with the government. 

Four More Previously Unlisted Entities Become Professional Supervisory Units (June 30, 2017, The China NGO Project)
Based on data released on June 28, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) has permitted four additional entities to become Professional Supervisory Units (PSUs) for foreign NGOs. […]  The addition of these four new PSUs confirms that the MPS is actively approving applications with sponsors who were not on the initial list of eligible PSUs issued at the end of last year. 

Ministry of Public Security WeChat Posts—July 3-11, 2017 (July 12, 2017, The China NGO Project)

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Chinese Carrier Makes First Hong Kong Port Call (July 7, 2017, NPR)
China's only operational aircraft carrier is making its first port call at Hong Kong – a symbol of Beijing's growing naval prowess that follows recent tensions with U.S. forces in the region. The Liaoning, which carries a complement of Chinese-built J-15 fighter jets, steamed into Hong Kong harbor in the company of a pair of destroyers on Friday, news agencies reported.

Beijing says Sino-British treaty on Hong Kong handover still binding but does not allow UK to interfere (July 8, 2017, South China Morning Post)
Xu Hong, director general of the Chinese foreign ministry’s treaty and law department, sought to clarify a colleague’s recent remarks suggesting the irrelevance of the treaty. He also assured Hong Kong that Beijing was committed to upholding the “one country, two systems” policy – not under the treaty, but because of a commitment in the city’s mini-constitution.

Why Won’t China Help With North Korea? Remember 1956 (July 9, 2017, China File)
But for all the frustration, North Korea is an important piece on Beijing’s diplomatic board. If played incorrectly, it could backfire on China to the detriment of its bid for global leadership. Bringing Kim to his knees on behalf of the international community does nothing to advance Xi’s vision of a China-centered order in East Asia.

The Uneasy Partnership Between North Korea And China (July 10, 2017, NPR)
China "continues to walk on eggshells" when it comes to North Korea, says historian Jonathan Pollack. NPR's Rachel Martin asks Pollack about about North Korea's fraught relationship with its neighbor.

China says 'China responsibility theory' on North Korea has to stop (July 11, 2017, Reuters)
China hit back on Tuesday in unusually strong terms at repeated calls from the United States to put more pressure on North Korea, urging a halt to what it called the "China responsibility theory", and saying all parties needed to pull their weight.

In Liu Xiaobo’s Last Days, Supporters Fight China for His Legacy (July 11, 2017, The New York Times)
As the life ebbs from Liu Xiaobo, China’s most famous dissident and only Nobel Peace Prize laureate, a battle is shaping up over his life, his legacy, his words and maybe even his remains.

The Chinese Think Liu Xiaobo Was Asking For It (July 11, 2017, Foreign Policy)
Many Chinese, like other residents of authoritarian states, don’t want to confront what officialdom could do to them at any moment. When the government crushes people, then, it must be the victim’s fault. They should have known what would happen. They shouldn’t have been so arrogant. They should have realized who they were up against.

How China buys the silence of the world’s human rights critics (July 8, 2017, South China Morning Post)
Rather than upset the leader of the world’s second-largest economy and a major global ally, officials of foreign nations would rather keep their lips buttoned in public and focus on trade and bilateral ties. This is in stark contrast to the days when international pressure could make a difference in the fate of individuals fighting for rights in China – when Beijing was still sensitive enough to listen.

Taiwan says Chinese carrier sails into its defense zone (July 11, 2017, Reuters)
Chinese aircraft carrier the Liaoning entered Taiwan's air defense identification zone early on Wednesday morning on its way back from Hong Kong and is being monitored, Taiwan's defense ministry said, adding there was no cause for alarm. 

China sends troops to open first overseas military base in Djibouti (July 11, 2017, Reuters)
Ships carrying personnel for China's first overseas military base, in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, have set sail to begin setting up the facility, as China's rapidly modernizing military extends its global reach.

China Less Willing To Send Dissidents Abroad Than Before (July 12, 2017, NPR)
Ailing Nobel laureate and dissident Liu Xiaobo would prefer not to die in China. But China is more confident of itself, and less willing to send dissidents into exile abroad than it used to be.

Can ‘one Country, two Systems’ continue to weather Hong Kong’s political storms? (July 12, 2017, East Asia Forum)
After two decades of experimentation, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has largely maintained its separate and distinct legal, political and administrative systems, its market economy, its relatively free and pluralistic society and its status as a global financial centre — not to mention a way of life and culture very different from that of mainland China. But unexpected tensions now threaten to overturn this experiment.

Jerome A. Cohen on human rights and law in China (Sinica Podcast)
One of the most experienced and respected scholars of Chinese law comments on the current state of human rights and the persecution of lawyers in the PRC.


Responding to Despair, Part 2: "Blue Whale" or Christian Faith? (July 11, 2017, Chinese Church Voices)
Last week we posted the first part of an article from Territory about the entrance of the “death game” Blue Whale into China and its effect on teens in China. Part one detailed the workings of the game. The second part describes a Chinese Christian’s response to the game and the gospel’s message of hope for teens in China. This is part two.

A Chinese Christian says “No” to say “Yes!” (July 12, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
A recent Chinese Church Voices post featured one Chinese believer’s reflections on several related decisions she had made in her struggle to live out an authentic faith. Each decision involved saying “no” to the prevailing social norms, putting the author, Wei Chen, at odds with the expectations of co-workers, family, and even her fellow Christians.

Reformation 500 Conference Voices: Dennis Brown (July 12, 2017, China Partnership Blog)
You could palpably feel the love for Christ and his cause in the large auditorium near the Hong Kong airport. The singing, the attention given to the speakers, and the Thursday night event confirmed the vibrancy of this group of Christians.

Society / Life

At the Movies in China, Some Propaganda With Your Popcorn (July 6, 2017, The New York Times)
Chinese cinemas have been ordered to play one of four government-issued videos before every movie screening. Theater managers in several Chinese cities confirmed on Wednesday that they had received the order, which went into effect last week.

Devotion amid despair: the great contemporary love story of Liu Xia and Liu Xiaobo (July 11, 2017, The Guardian)
She has been almost entirely cut off from the outside world, to prevent her speaking out about her husband. There is growing concern that – unless the couple are allowed to leave the country together – her invisible prison will endure long after his death. 

Beijing Has 850,000 Public Security Volunteers Watching Your Every Move (July 12, 2017, The Beijinger)
Charged with keeping a watch over every last corner of the city, Beijing's "public security volunteers" continue to grow in massive numbers, illustrating how neighborhood representations of authority help preserve the city's law and order.

Chinese Youth Embrace New Attitudes Toward Pets and Wildlife (July 12, 2017, National Geographic)
t’s easy to see China as the bad guy when it comes to protecting animals. But in reality the country is also home to a robust and rapidly growing animal protection movement that encompasses both animal welfare and efforts to fight wildlife poaching and trafficking.

Why Chinese towns are so keen to lay claim to poets, philosophers and emperors (July 12, 2017, South China Morning Post)
Two counties in eastern China have been feuding over which has the right to call itself the home town of one of the nation’s early emperors. The case is the latest example of towns or counties on the mainland claiming links to famous ancient Chinese figures such as emperors, philosophers or poets as they try to lure investment and tourists.

Economics / Trade / Business

Eyeing sleepy office workers, China's 'sharing economy' opens nap capsules (July 11, 2017, Reuters)
With an easy phone scan, customers can book a nap in a sleek white capsule – designed to look like a space pod – for just 10 yuan ($1.50) for half an hour during the mid-day rush.

Beijing to Calculate All Provincial GDP After Fake Data Debacles (July 12, 2017, Sixth Tone)
China’s central government will begin making its own calculations of provincial GDP after three provinces were found to have inflated their numbers earlier this year.

Apple Opens Data Center in China to Comply With Cybersecurity Law (July 12, 2017, The New York Times)
Apple has set up its first data center in China, setting the tone for how foreign companies will handle a strict new law requiring them to store Chinese users’ information in the country.

A Chinese umbrella-sharing start-up just lost nearly all of its 300,000 umbrellas (July 12, 2017, The Washington Post)
It was this bonanza that inspired entrepreneur Zhao Shuping. “Everything on the street can now be shared,” he told the South China Morning Post. That everything, he realized, included umbrellas.


Migrant Children Losing Their Schools (July 10, 2017, Caixin Online)
housands of children from rural migrant families may be in education limbo after the summer holidays as their schools face imminent closure amid a government crackdown on slums in Beijing’s Changping district.

School Scolded for Asking Students With Bad Grades to Drop Out (July 10, 2017, Sixth Tone)
Teachers at Jiangshan International School in Laoling, a city in the eastern province of Shandong, reportedly tried to pursuade their worst-performing grade eight students to not return after the summer for their final year of middle school, local news portal iQilu.com reported Friday.

Why I Joined China’s Craze for Expensive US Summer Camps (July 10, 2017, Sixth Tone)
Third, the culture of summer camps is another reason for sending my child to the U.S. Children learn how to help others, make friends, follow and even set the rules, integrate with different cultures, and become leaders.

Overseas study tours for preschoolers: China’s latest parenting trend (July 11, 2017, South China Morning Post)
In a growing trend, one catching on quickly in the US as hundreds of thousands of Chinese students flock to study overseas each year, kids Feiyu’s age are making short-term study tours abroad.

Health / Environment

More cases of H7N9 reported in Beijing (July 12, 2017, China Daily)
Twenty-seven cases of human H7N9 have been reported to authorities in Beijing so far this year, the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control said on Tuesday. Of the 13 cases contracted in the city of Beijing itself, six people have died, six were cured and one is undergoing medical treatment, Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the center, said at a news conference.

Science / Technology

All VPNs to Be Blocked by Feb? Numerous China Tech Insiders Call BS (July 11, 2017, The Beijinger)
A spokesperson and investor at one firewall-defying proxy provider (who spoke to the Beijinger on condition of anonymity, because of the sensitivity of such censorship issues) told us that he's not troubled by such talk because the authorities "have been saying that for years and years now."

What you need to know about China’s VPN crackdown (July 12, 2017, Quartz)
China seems to be sticking to its self-imposed schedule for making it harder for Chinese citizens to connect to the unfiltered web.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Knife in the Clear Water: A Film Review (July 7, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
A great first splash for Wang Xuebo, and a beautiful piece of art for Chinese cinema. Keep an eye out for Knife in the Clear Water at a film festival in your city, it’s soulfully beautiful to watch.

History / Culture

Hanging coffins: China's mysterious sky graveyards (July 6, 2017, CNN)
It's one of about 30 caskets anchored on a limestone rock about 30 meters (almost 100 feet) up the side of a cave in Guizhou province in southwestern China. It could date back hundreds of years. The coffins, inside and out, are littered with fragments of clothes, bones and ceramics.

Islamic Architecture in China: 4 Stunning Cities (July 6, 2017, Wild China Blog)
Islamic architecture in China is as rich and varied as the country itself. In China’s desert region of Xinjiang, mosques are built in the more traditional Middle Eastern style, with towering domes and minarets. In China’s more populated east, however, mosques eschew domes in favor of a more traditional style of Chinese architecture.

Rebuilding the Great Wall of China (July 12, 2017, The Week)
What was once a symbol of China's impenetrable strength is showing its age. Now, a massive restoration project is underway.

Travel / Food

Magical travel along the Ancient Silk Road (July 5, 2017, USA Today)
While the full Silk Route extends all the way from Beijing to Turkey and would require months to fully explore, this three-week tour hit many of the important highlights, beginning with Beijing.

Chinese Tea at Crossroads (July 6, 2017, The World of Chinese)
Chinese tea companies produced more than 2.4 million tons of tea leaves in 2016, amounting to over 40 percent of the world’s total output. However according to 1Nongjing, because the plantations nestled in the rolling hills by the Yangtze River and the verdant mountains of the Southwest are small and labor intensive, they are only 40 percent as efficient as tea farms in India.

China’s impossible engineering feat (July 7, 2017, BBC)
Suspended 565m above China’s remote south-west mountains, the Beipanjiang Bridge took decades to construct and has revolutionised bridge-building around the world.

New bullet train opens up Gansu and Qinghai (July 10, 2017, The Hong Kong Standard)
A new high speed railway linking Baoji city in northwestern Shaanxi Province with Lanzhou, capital of neighboring Gansu Province, began operating yesterday. The new route will open up northwestern Gansu and Qinghai provinces as well as Xinjiang to the national high-speed rail network.

Exploring the Wilds of Wusu, Xinjiang (Off Road!) (July 11, 2017, Far West China)
Anybody who’s actually heard of the remote town of Wusu (乌苏 in Chinese or Shiho in the original Uyghur) in China’s Xinjiang region usually only knows it for one thing: Wusu Beer. I don’t blame them, really.  How is any traveler supposed to know that Wusu is home to spectacularly diverse and stunning scenery?

Escape from Xi'an: Hiking Hua Shan, China's sacred Taoist peak (Lonely Planet)
A city of historic drum towers and roasting lamb skewers, historic Xi'an is often more evocative of Central Asia and the Silk Road than the Middle Kingdom. Yet just on the edge of the Wei Valley is a holy mountain whose Taoist temples and legendary precipices are centuries older than even the famous Terracotta Warrior Army.

Language / Language Learning

Interesting Facts about Chinese Names and Surnames (July 7, 2017, Sapore di Cina)
Chinese names, in contrast to their English counterparts, are made with family name first and then the given name. Children usually take their father’s family name, though it is legal for a child to follow either their father’s or mother’s family name.

How Do You Say “Chinese?” (July 10, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
Like many things related to China, the answer isn’t a simple one since there are various terms that refer to Chinese or the Chinese language.


Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? (July 9, 2017, China File)
In Destined for War, the eminent Harvard scholar Graham Allison explains why Thucydides’s Trap is the best lens for understanding U.S.-China relations in the 21st century. Through uncanny historical parallels and war scenarios, he shows how close we are to the unthinkable.

China’s ‘Fault Lines’: Yu Jie on His New Biography of Liu Xiaobo (January 18, 2017, New York Review of Books)
Last year, Yu completed a rough draft of his biography of Liu Xiaobo, who is now serving an eleven-year prison sentence. Authorities warned Yu that he too would be jailed if the book was published and put him under house arrest for several months. In January, he fled China with his wife and son for the United States, where he now resides. I spoke to Mr. Yu at a church in the Washington area.


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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