ZGBriefs | July 27, 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

No Man’s City – A Chinese Blogger’s Powerful Essay About The “Fake Lives” of Beijing Residents (July 26, 2017, What’s on Weibo)
An essay titled “Beijing Has 20 Million People Pretending to Live Here” by Chinese blogger Zhang Wumao (张五毛) has gone viral on Chinese social media, sparking wide debate on life in China’s capital. The essay describes how Beijing has changed into a city that is overrun by ‘outsiders’ and no longer belongs to the ‘old Beijingers.’ Chinese state media say the essay, which is now censored, polarizes the relations between Beijing’s locals and immigrants.

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

Visually Understanding the Data on Foreign NGO Representative Offices and Temporary Activities (July 19, 2017, China File)
To analyze foreign NGO representative offices, we looked at organizations’ countries/regions of origin, province and date of registration, fields of work, and number of representative offices per organization. 

The Overseas NGO Law: A Second Look (July 26, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
The fact that more than a dozen organizations with strong Christian identities have been approved for registration or for temporary activities is encouraging. Being known as “faith-based” is not necessarily a deal breaker when it comes to gaining legal recognition.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

How Class in China Became Politically Incorrect (July 12, 2017, LA Review of Books Blog)
Talking about class is neither politically safe, nor politically correct, “It’s a dirty word. It’s almost something that many academics in China think is irrelevant.”

The Lonely Crusade of China’s Human Rights Lawyers (July 25, 2017, The New York Times)
As the global spotlight on the nation’s domestic policies has dimmed, lawyers for dissidents increasingly face a terrible choice: acquiescence or imprisonment.

Man tipped as China's future president ousted as Xi Jinping wields 'iron discipline' (July 25, 2017, The Guardian)
But Xi’s unforeseen decision to purge Sun has shredded not only those expectations but also the playbook governing how one-party China conducts political leadership successions. In doing so, some experts fear Xi may also have set in motion a new phase of political turbulence in the world’s number two economy.

China’s Fault Lines: Challenges, Instability, and Response (July 25, 2017, Asia Eye)
On March 30th, 2017, the Project 2049 Institute hosted a conference titled "China's Fault Lines: Challenges, Instability, and Response." The conference brought together a distinguished group of experts to address China's challenges and sources of instability, as well as Beijing's potential response to both.

For China’s Global Ambitions, ‘Iran Is at the Center of Everything’ (July 25, 2017, The New York Times)
Like pieces of a sprawling geopolitical puzzle, components of China’s infrastructure network are being put in place. In eastern Iran, Chinese workers are busily modernizing one of the country’s major rail routes, standardizing gauge sizes, improving the track bed and rebuilding bridges, with the ultimate goal of connecting Tehran to Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.

Satellite photos reveal underground construction at Chinese military base (July 26, 2017, CNN)
New satellite imagery of China's first overseas military base reveal it to be bigger and more secure than previously thought.

China’s military preparing for a potential crisis with North Korea (July 26, 2017, news.com.au)
The overhaul involves establishing a new border defence brigade, bunkers to protect against nuclear and chemical blasts, and 24-hour video surveillance of the mountainous frontier — including the use of hi-tech aerial drones.

China closes off big chunk of Yellow Sea for military drills (July 26, 2017, CNN)
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) announced that ships will be forbidden from entering a 40,000-square-kilometer (15,444-square-mile) block of ocean off the coastal city of Qingdao, according to the Weihai Evening Post newspaper, which is run by the Weihai city government.


Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association marks 60th anniversary (July 19, 2017, Xinhua)
The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA) celebrated its 60th anniversary at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Wednesday. Top political advisor Yu Zhengsheng met with leaders of the CPCA and Bishops Conference of Catholic Church of China, and called on the CPCA to contribute to national unity, ethnic solidarity, social and religious harmony and world peace.

Former Director SARA on Three Issues of Religions in China (July 19, 2017, China Christian Daily)
Ye Xiaowen, former Director of the State Administration of Religious Affairs (SARA) once talked about the religions in China, in an interview with a government press. In his talk, three major issues were mentioned: what is Marx's view on religion, how does atheistic ruling party offer religious administration, what are the prominent problems in the current Chinese religion work.

Church leaders in China remain open to dialogue with Vatican (July 19, 2017, Catholic News Agency)
As the Catholic Church in China journeys toward a normalized relationship with the Holy See, one priest in dialogue with Chinese bishops has seen vast improvement in openness and dialogue on the part of leaders, both in the patriotic and underground Churches.

A Place to Preach in Inner Mongolia (July 20, 2017, Sixth Tone)
With utter faith in the power of prayer, in May, congregation members participated in six-hour shifts of around-the-clock worship at their current church, hoping God would offer a way through the red tape.

Chinese Sending Organizations—Are They Necessary? (July 21, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
Church-based models of mission sending are fraught with difficulty. Pastors providing oversight for missionaries in such churches often have little to no actual missionary experience. Competent, strategic, and knowledgeable oversight of missionaries is difficult under this circumstance.

Religion in China (July 23, 2017, The Statesman)
Intrinsically, this is an essay towards a redefinition of the Communist Party’s equation with religion, though theoretically antithetical. Not that there is no support for religious beliefs within the party. Yet on the eve of the congress, there is mounting concern over the fact that this has undermined the CPC’s values which are based on the Marxist concept of “dialectical materialism”.

20 Things a New Chinese Pastor Needs to Learn About Ministry (July 25, 2017, Chinese Church Voices)
In this article, Chen Fengsheng, a Three-Self pastor in Wenzhou, provides budding pastors with timely advice on how to prepare for a healthy pastoral ministry. He gives “twenty realities” of ministry life that will help set up fresh seminary graduates for the pastorate.  

Reformation 500 Conference Voices: Wang Jianguo (July 26, 2017, China Partnership Blog)
I was really impacted and blessed by the musical worship during the conference. One of the first reasons I believed in Christianity was how musical worship humbled me through its power to purify and revive the spirit. 

More growing pains, more great gains (August 5, 2017, World Magazine)
What’s the cost of faithfulness? For Christians living in China, it may be a police raid, an arrest, or censure for following Biblical teaching. Setbacks like these are what can strengthen believers’ resolve—or break it.

Society / Life

US student speaks out about time in jail in China (July 24, 2017, South China Morning Post)
Now-freed American blames taxi driver and ‘old fashioned thinking’ on part of police in Zhengzhou for his detention.

Sacred Lakes Threatened by China’s Growing Capital (July 24, 2017, The New York Times)
The government’s expansionist ambitions are clearest here in what will be known as Xiongan (pronounced Sheong-an) New Area. Three times the size of New York City, it is to be built from scratch out of the delicate swath of meres and marshlands of Baiyangdian, in Xiongan county.

How to make $100,000 a month in China, live-streaming your life (July 25, The Washington Post)
Yu Li is ready for his close-up. Hair: poofed. Face: powdered. Any minute now, he will be live on camera, raking in the cash.

A Fatal Hutong Fight, a Plea of Innocence, and a Prison Sentence (July 25, 2017, Sixth Tone)
How a rooftop quarrel between neighbors ended with one man dead and a Dutch citizen sentenced to four and a half years in a Chinese jail.

Anger at plan to let Chinese police patrol in Hong Kong (July 26, 2017, The Guardian)
A Hong Kong government plan to lease part of a new high-speed rail station to China and allow Chinese police to enforce mainland laws has sparked new fears the city is losing its autonomy.

One-third of children living in rural China have been 'left behind' by their parents, survey finds (July 26, 2017, Shanghaiist)
The report from On the Road to School, an NGO working to help these underprivileged children, states that nearly 60% of the kids living in rural settings see their parents less than twice a year. This data comes from a survey of approximately 15,000 rural kids in 17 different provinces. Even more shocking, the report estimated that upwards of 10 million young students across the country could be living without either of their parents.

Economics / Trade / Business

Chinese buying of US residential property hits record high (July 19, 2017,)
Buyers snap up US$31.7 billion worth of real estate, with 67 per cent of purchases detached single-family homes.

New agreement will allow US rice exports to China (July 21, 2017, BBC)
China has agreed to allow imports of rice from the US for the first time. The agreement gives US farmers access to the world's biggest rice consumer, with China importing about 5 million tonnes last year.

Silicon Valley Giants Confront New Walls in China (July 22, 2017, The New York Times)
This summer of challenge for the three companies offers a broad illustration of just how varied the obstacles have become for foreign companies in China. They also show in stark terms why this vast market has been frustratingly difficult for outsiders.

First Staff-less Convenience Store Opens in Beijing (July 22, 2017, The Beijinger)
With no cash register on its premises, all purchases made at the Xiaomai convenience store in Beijing's Haidian District are done with electronic payment systems like Alipay or WePay. And although the store employs one staff member responisible for restocking its shelves with new products, the 24-hour convenience store is designed to be a self-serve operation free of any human contact.

Corn Farmers Hope for Sweet Transition to Open Market (July 24, 2017, Sixth Tone)
For almost 40 years, Qi Shucheng has been growing corn. Like most of his neighbors in a village outside Gongzhuling City, the 66-year-old farmer has always planted field corn, which is mainly used in animal feed and ethanol production. This spring, however, Qi decided to sow sweet corn on his land for the first time.

China to convert all giant state companies into joint-stock firms by end-2017 (July 25, 2017, Reuters)
All big Chinese companies owned by the central government will be registered as limited liability companies or joint-stock firms by the end of the year, as Beijing moves to make its state-owned giants more nimble, efficient and modern.

American city cashes in on China’s ‘made in USA’ desire (July 26, 2017, South China Morning Post)
“Having a made-in-the-USA brand is very powerful for many Chinese companies right now,” Fuling’s chief financial officer, Gilbert Lee, said at its Allentown factory. He added that he was saving room for additional machinery that would churn out cups and containers for a customer base that includes Subway, Wendy’s and Burger King.

Health / Environment

AP Interview: China to lead in organ transplants by 2020 (July 26, 2017, ABC News)
China is on track to lead the world in organ transplant surgeries by 2020 following its abandonment of the much-criticized practice of using organs from executed prisoners, the architect of the country's transplant program said Wednesday.

Science / Technology

Beijing defends crackdown on VPNs, saying there are alternatives for businesses (July 25, 2017, South China Morning Post)
Foreign companies that fear impact of tightened restrictions are told they can use authorised providers or lease special circuits.

Paw power: China plans 100 panda-shaped solar plants on new Silk Road (July 25, 2017, Reuters)
In a country where you can find everything from chopsticks to slippers designed to look like pandas, one Chinese energy company is going a step further by building 100 solar farms shaped like the bears along the route of the ambitious Belt and Road initiative.

China's Xiaomi just launched a $44 rival to the Amazon Echo (July 26, 2017, CNBC)
It's a white tall speaker with Xiaomi's "Mi" branding on it and contains six microphones in order to hear a user no matter which side of the device they are standing. The speaker employs artificial intelligence that allows users to speak to it.

History / Culture

1984 with Chinese Characteristics: How China Rewrites History (July 19, 2017, Asia Eye)
Understanding and assessing the CCP’s manipulation of China’s political history is critical in understanding the role China’s leaders intend to play in shaping norms and in creating an internal and international environment conducive to protecting their core interests.

The 100-year History of Northeast China’s Frontier Railway (July 25, 2017, Sixth Tone)
The Russian-built China Eastern Railway, once the most advanced transport route in the world, has now fallen on hard times.

Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection in China (July 25, 2017, China Policy Institute)
What has driven China’s new enthusiasm for UNESCO-style ICH protection? For policy-makers, international prestige is surely a factor: UNESCO’s high-profile programmes constitute something of a cultural Olympics, in which China has excelled. 

Travel / Food

Beyond Shanghai: 5 getaways in the Yangtze River Delta (July 19, 2017, CNN)
From the canals of Shaoxing to Hangzhou's famous West Lake, China's ancient "water towns" and lush tea plantations are just a 20- to 30-minute bullet train ride away. Here are five day trips you'll enjoy:

Remembering Hair-Raising Landings at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Airport (July 21, 2017, Atlas Obscura)
It’s been nearly 20 years since Hong Kong’s Kai Tak International Airport closed, but its unique, notorious landing approach is still very much alive in the memory of those who experienced it.

How Vancouver became China's aviation hub to the West (July 25, 2017, CNN)
It seems a surprising hub, but consider its geographical advantage -- all its Chinese destinations are closer to Vancouver than to any other major North American city.

Language / Language Learning

Mother Swears at the Horse (July 24, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
For native English speakers, one of the hardest things about learning to speak Chinese is mastering the tones. Unlike English, where tone and intonation may affect the emotional aspect of a word, it does not change the actual meaning of the word.


‘Publishers are self censoring and afraid’: China’s banned books fade from Hong Kong (July 21, 2017, Hong Kong Free Press)
The annual Hong Kong book fair has always been a source of politically sensitive titles banned in China, but this year fewer were on display as the city faces growing pressure under an increasingly assertive Beijing.

An interview with Paul French on Bloody Saturday: Shanghai’s Darkest Day (July 26, 2017, Los Angeles Review of Books)
Next up is Paul French’s look back to a dramatic and dreadful day on Shanghai history, dubbed “bloody Saturday,” which will be published as the 80th anniversary of that August, 14, 1937, date arrives. Here are some questions Paul, known for works such as the Edgar-winning Midnight in Peking, was good enough to answer via email.

Links for Researchers

Guide to the 19th Party Congress (Trivium China)
This autumn, the Chinese Communist Party holds its most important political event in five years. The congress will select a new set of Party leaders and set policy direction for the next half-decade.

Troops, Trolls and Troublemakers: A Global Inventory of Organized Social Media Manipulation (Computational Propaganda Research Project, Oxford University)
We find that cyber troops are a pervasive and global phenomenon. Many different countries employ significant numbers of people and resources to manage and manipulate public opinion online, sometimes targeting domestic audiences and sometimes targeting foreign publics.

Video: Living with Xi Dada’s China: Making Choices and Cutting Deals (China Heritage)
China Heritage was launched on 15 December 2016 at the conference ‘Political Enchantments: aesthetic practices and the Chinese state’. That conference, organised by Gloria Davies 黃樂嫣and Christian Sorace with the support of the Australian Centre on China in the World, was held at ANU House in Melbourne, Australia. Gloria and Christian invited me to present an opening address, the title of which was ‘Living with Xi Dada’s China — making choices and cutting deals’. 

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