ZGBriefs | July 4, 2019

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Featured Article

Chinese Christianity encounters Islam along the Belt and Road Initiative (July 3, 2019, East Asia Dialogue)
As China expands along the ‘new silk road’ with the BRI it must grapple with the reality that not only is it exporting cultural and economic influence, but with more than thirty million Christians in China, it is slated to become a major exporter of Christianity as well.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

One Country, Two Systems’ — and deep division (June 27, 2019, East Asia Forum)
It is now clear that it is very difficult — if not impossible — for any Chief Executive to walk the fine line between the different constituencies of Beijing and Hong Kong. The political system designed in the Basic Law failed to provide an effective administration that can simultaneously respond to the demands of the people and secure Beijing’s trust.

Scenario #4 (June 28, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
In September of 2007 I wrote an article for the ChinaSource Quarterly titled “China in Transition: Transition to What?” […] The article was a summation of a conference that I had attended where we looked at different scenarios of what China might look like in 2020. 

U.S. And China Agree To Restart Trade Talks (June 29, 2019, NPR)
The U.S. will hold off another round of tariffs on Chinese goods. The two countries agreed to restart trade talks after President Trump and Chinese President Xi met during the G-20 summit in Japan.

Hong Kong protests: Did violent clashes sway public opinion? (July 2, 2019, BBC)
A splinter group of protesters smashed their way into Hong Kong's legislative council on Monday, breaking glass walls, defacing paintings and spraying graffiti. It was denounced by the city's leader as an extreme use of violence, but how do residents feel about what happened?

For China, a growing conundrum: What to do with Hong Kong? (July 2, 2019, The Washington Post)
The warnings underscore a quandary for Beijing: How long can and should Hong Kong be allowed to remain so defiant before it becomes ungovernable by Beijing’s strict standards?

China says violent protests in Hong Kong are 'undisguised challenge', reports state TV – video (July 2, 2019, The Guardian)
China regards the violent actions of some protesters in Hong Kong as an 'undisguised challenge' to the 'one country, two systems' formula under which the city is ruled, state television reported on Tuesday. A representative of China's Hong Kong affairs office condemned the violence of some protesters, who are angered by a proposed extradition bill, and said Beijing supported the Hong Kong government in holding violent criminals responsible, the report said

Hong Kong’s PLA garrison held a drill last week on ‘emergency dispatches’ (July 3, 2019, South China Morning Post)
The report, which was posted on the newspaper’s account on microblog site Weibo, did not give details such as how many troops were involved, but it included photographs of Chinese soldiers with automatic rifles, a PLA helicopter and warships.


Catholic Church accuses China of intimidating Vatican loyalists (June 28, 2019, South China Morning Post)
The Vatican asked Beijing on Friday to stop intimidating Catholic clergy who want to remain unequivocally loyal to the Pope and refuse to sign ambiguous official registration forms. The request, contained in Vatican guidelines to clergy in mainland China, was the latest hiccup in relations between the Holy See and Beijing since the two sides signed a historic and disputed pact on the naming of bishops last September.

Christian Faith and Literary Works of Famous Chinese Nolivest Lao She (June 28, 2019, China Christian Daily)
It was the Christian faith of tthese three men, Bao Guanglin, Xu Dishan and Yi Wensi, that had a great impact on Lao She. In 1922, he was baptized at the Gangwa City Church. What had really attracted him was the sacrifice and the spirit of the love of Jesus as well as the Kingdom of Heaven and idea of the serving society.

Interview With a Xuzhou Pastor — A Life Driven by Grace (June 29, 2019, China Partnership Blog)
The demographics of our church are quite typical of our city. We have people from all different socioeconomic classes, and we are all commoners. A characteristic is that our believers are intentional about sharing the gospel with their non-Christian relatives and friends. We see this very clearly in my church.

Dealing with Local Officials in a Changing China, Part 2 — An Update (July 1, 2019, ChinaSource Voices)
Few aspects of living and working in China today are more important or more challenging than securing the good will and assistance of local Chinese officials. While a host of factors both internal and external to China are adding unwelcome strain to these vital relationships, the basic principles for understanding Chinese officials remain the same.

Reflections on the Righteousness of God (July 2, 2019, Chinese Church Voices)
In the Bible there are many teachings about fairness and righteousness. How do we view righteousness? How does the Bible’s view of righteousness inspire us? We have invited a couple of pastors to guide us in reflecting on the Bible’s view of righteousness. May we live our life on earth through the lens of the gospel.

The 5 Most Pressing Needs of the Chinese Church (July 3, 2019, Jackson Wu)
Believers outside China should consider ways to support Chinese Christians who are ready to take a leadership role in the global work of the gospel. Maturity and equipping are needed in several areas.

A Church in Nanyang (July 3, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
I appreciate the deep spirituality and theological openness (not to be confused with an anything-goes attitude) that I have seen in the Three-self churches. At the same time, I am troubled by the focus on labels (Three-self, Presbyterian, Reformed, Anglican) that was evident in my talk with Pastor Yang. But I also admire Pastor Yang and those like him for their Reformed witness and willingness to stand up for what they believe. Perhaps both are necessary, and both are being used by God to build his church in China.

Society / Life

Humans of China: "I've Only Cut My Hair Once" (July 1, 2019, The Beijinger)
The following account comes from a lady who makes traditional Zhuang minority clothes in China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Etiquette classes in Shanghai – in pictures (July 1, 2019, The Guardian)
Against a soundtrack of classical music, children learn social skills, dining manners and deportment – hence the books on their heads to teach them how to walk gracefully. Other exercises include how to introduce themselves and greet people, with practice in ‘air kissing’, and what topics are appropriate to discuss at the dinner table.

Young Chinese mock proposal to lower legal marriage age to 18 to counter ageing population crisis (July 1, 2019, South China Morning Post)
The latest proposal by China’s legislators to lower the minimum legal age for marriage has been met with confusion and ridicule as the country continues its efforts to address a looming population crisis.

Itsy-Bitsy Teeny-Weeny ‘Beijing Bikini’ Is Unseemly, City Says (July 3, 2019, Sixth Tone)
As the mercury rises during the summer, so do many Chinese men’s shirts, often rolled up to expose ample bellies. Though this has long been a familiar sight in the country, straight-laced authorities are starting to push back. On Tuesday, the eastern city of Jinan became the latest in China to target the so-called Beijing bikini with the release of a new guideline against “uncivilized behavior.” 

Economics / Trade / Business

Video: China's investment in Africa: Everything you need to know  (June 27, 2019, BBC)
The BBC’s Vincent Ni and Larry Madowo explain why it is a complicated relationship, often criticised by the West.

Legal Updates Businesses in China Should Note from July 1 (July 1, 2019, China Briefing)
According to the National Development and Reform Commission, it is hoped that the new measures will reduce the burden on enterprises and individuals, and in turn boost the economy. Here is a brief roundup of key legal changes coming into effect July 1.

China’s middle income claim causes uproar as Weibo users ask ‘why am I not that rich?’ (July 3, 2019, South China Morning Post)
Many users questioned why their incomes are far below the per capita nominal gross national income (GNI) of US$9,732 for 2018, which the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) claimed in a statement released on Monday as part of a publication highlighting China’s economic achievements under Communist Party rule over the last 70 years.


Chasing Riches, China’s ‘Smartest Village’ Rips Up the Textbooks (June 27, 2019, Sixth Tone)
High numbers of Ph.D. holders made Yangtian famous nationwide. Now, youngsters are increasingly shunning education in pursuit of a quick buck.

The Great Firewall of Chinese Academia (June 30, 2019, China Digital Times)
On June 21, former Peking University Law School professor Gong Renren published an essay on the prospects for official plans to lift China’s universities into the global top tier. While massive financial investment may enable this in the fields of science and technology, he argued, the ever-tightening political environment works in several ways to thwart it elsewhere.

How I Found a Community for Philosophy at a Chinese High School (July 1, 2019, Sixth Tone)
When I became the first Chinese student to medal at the International Philosophy Olympiad earlier this year, I realized how much I owed to the unique environment at my school.

Health / Environment

Video: How China is trying to stop its deserts spreading (June 28, 2019, BBC)
The deserts in China are constantly spreading, due in part to human activity. Now China is trying to reverse the negative impact the creeping sands are having on the environment.

Science / Technology

China Snares Tourists’ Phones in Surveillance Dragnet by Adding Secret App (July 2, 2019, The New York Times)
China’s border authorities routinely install the app on smartphones belonging to travelers who enter Xinjiang by land from Central Asia, according to several people interviewed by the journalists who crossed the border recently and requested anonymity to avoid government retaliation. Chinese officials also installed the app on the phone of one of the journalists during a recent border crossing. Visitors were required to turn over their devices to be allowed into Xinjiang.

History / Culture

Chinese overseas students then and now: Lei Haizong and the myth of a Chinese liberal martyr (July 2, 2019, East Asia Dialogue)
Having witnessed the atrocities that the Great War brought to Europe, many non-Western intellectuals became disillusioned with Western modernity and drifted away to alternative visions.

Travel / Food

Ayi’s Recipes: Kung Pao Chicken(June 20, 2019, Beijing Kids)
This sticky, sweet, and spicy medley of chicken, leek, and cucumber has to be in the top-five list of my favorite Chinese dishes. 

Coca Cola Chicken Wings Are Here! McDonald’s China Introduces Cola Chicken on Its Menu (June 28, 2019, What’s on Weibo)
Whatever its origins are: Cola Chicken is hugely popular in China. So popular, in fact, that McDonald’s China announced on Weibo this week that it would add ‘traditional cola chicken wings’ to its menu.

American Airlines Gives Up on Serving China From Chicago (June 30, 2019, The Points Guy)
American Airlines is giving up on serving China from Chicago O’Hare for the time being, returning its rights for flights to Beijing and Shanghai to US regulators. The Oneworld Alliance carrier returned the 14 frequencies it holds for flights to the Chinese cities from Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to the Department of Transportation on Friday (June 28), it said in a regulatory filing.

Wǒ Men Podcast: Cycling Along China’s Belt and Road Initiative (June 30, 2019, Radii China)
Born in Korea, Eva has worked in five countries and speaks four languages. Rather than enjoying a nice job in Shanghai, she decided to challenge herself by taking a bike trip from Shanghai to London. In this episode, she shares the danger and joy that she experienced during the trip and what she learnt about China’s ever-expanding Belt and Road initiative along the way.

5 essential Shanghai dishes you need to try that aren’t soup dumplings (July 2, 2019, Matador Network)
With the city’s economic takeoff, the culinary culture also boomed, echoing Shanghai’s refined and sophisticated urban life. Today, the city is filled with so much good food that pretty much the only place an eater will be disappointed is the Shanghai airport.

Evicted and Excluded, ‘Space Base’ Villagers Doubt Tourism Boom (July 3, 2019, Sixth Tone)
A project in China’s desert hinterland promises to bring in cash by simulating life on Mars. Locals are less sure.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Xi Jinping, Leader of the G20 (July 2, 2019, China Media Project)
Reading the official propaganda from Beijing in the wake of last week’s G20 Summit in Osaka, one might have the impression that the Group of Twenty is actually now the “1+19,” and that this “premier forum for international economic cooperation” relies on the forcefulness, grace and wisdom of China’s top leader, Xi Jinping.

Language / Language Learning

24 Most Common Errors Committed by Chinese Students Who Major in Translation 翻译专业学生在汉译英中最常见的24个错误 (July 7, 2019, carlgene.com)
This is just a rough guide that teachers and students of Chinese translation might find useful. There are of course more mistakes than this, but I am confident that this makes up the majority of errors that Chinese translators make.

Living Cross-culturally

Medical Insurance in Beijing: Why You Need It, and How to Get It (June 27, 2019, The Beijinger)
However, as the profile of Beijing’s international community changes, with fewer traditional expats posted here by big companies, and more entrepreneurs paying expenses out of their own pockets, increasing numbers have no insurance at all. They gamble that they will stay healthy, or that they can pay for treatment if it’s needed. But it’s a risky gamble, particularly for families with children, and if you have a medical emergency, you don’t need a financial emergency at the same time.


We Have Been Harmonised: Life in China’s Surveillance State by Kai Strittmatter – review (June 30, 2019, The Guardian)
We Have Been Harmonised is the most accessible and best informed account we have had to date of China’s transition from what scholars such as Rebecca MacKinnon used to call “networked authoritarianism” to what is now a form of networked totalitarianism. 

Image credit: Gur Emir Mausoleum at Night, by Maureen Barlin, 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