ZGBriefs | June 1, 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

While the rest of the world tries to “kill email,” in China, it’s always been dead (May 28, 2017, Quartz)
In many parts of the world, email remains deathless—a relic of the desktop-era internet, before mobile and social media were on the landscape. It’s a convention: You can’t not have an email address. In China however, email never reached the ubiquity it has in other countries. Most Chinese consumers, if they have an email address, seldom use it. Chat, instead, remains the preferred method of communication–between friends, families, colleagues, business partners, and even strangers.

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Overseas NGO Law

The Overseas NGO Law: A Game-Changer? (May 31, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
A game changer? Perhaps it’s too early to tell. But if the new law forces groups working in China to raise their game, it will ultimately benefit these foreign organizations as well as those whom they serve. 

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

China vows maximum effort to recover kidnapped citizens in Pakistan (May 25, 2017, Reuters)
China said on Thursday it will do all it can to ensure the safe return of two citizens kidnapped in Pakistan and it promised new measures to protect Chinese people and companies working in the country, an important link on its Silk Road infrastructure plan. Gunmen pretending to be policemen kidnapped two Chinese language teachers in the Pakistani city of Quetta, in the violence-plagued province of Baluchistan, on Wednesday.

U.S. warship drill meant to defy China's claim over artificial island: officials (May 26, 2017, Reuters)
A U.S. warship carried out a "maneuvering drill" when it sailed within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea, to show Beijing it was not entitled to a territorial sea around it, U.S. officials said on Thursday. The operation near Mischief Reef on Thursday, Pacific time, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals over which China has disputes with its neighbors, was the boldest U.S. challenge yet to Chinese island-building in the strategic waterway.

China postpones portion of cybersecurity law (May 31, 2017, ABC News)
China is postponing enforcement of part of a cybersecurity law that business groups warn might violate Beijing's free-trade pledges, but says most of its restrictions will take effect Thursday as planned. […]  The latest version of the law sent to companies says enforcement of measures on cross-border movement of data has been postponed for 18 months to Dec. 31, 2018.

Southeast Asia Finds China Love as Xi Pushes 'One Belt, One Road' Dream (May 31, 2017, Bloomberg)
Dominated by Japanese investment since the 1980s, Southeast Asia has found a new source of funds in China. Chinese companies poured a record $14.6 billion of foreign direct investment into Southeast Asia in 2015, almost double from the previous year and a gargantuan leap from $156 million a decade ago, according to Maybank Kim Eng Holdings Ltd.


Reflections on the Reformation 500 and the Gospel Conference (May 26, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
A few speakers said the church should “always be reforming.” If so, what does it mean for the Chinese church to reform itself where it has surrendered too much to tradition? Even if we affirm Reformation theology, at what point might we need to reconsider whether certain emphases and strands of Protestant teaching reflect historically Western questions? The Reformation was a particular response to specific historical problems. At a broad level, the church yielded too much authority to tradition.

Launch of Online Chinese Christianity Collection (May 28, 2017, Independent Catholic News)
The 'Online Chinese Christianity Collection' (OCCC) has been launched by The Kingdom Business College based in Beijing, China and Globethics.net in Geneva, Switzerland. This collection has more than 34,500 carefully selected full text documents on Chinese Christianity and culture and a detailed classification tree. It is the fruit of the cooperation of many leading institutions on Chinese Christianity. Two thirds of the documents are in Chinese, the others in English, German, French and others.

Evangelism, Reformed Theology, and Church Life, Part 3 (May 30, 2017, Chinese Church Voices) Last week we posted the second part of an article from ChurchChina about the impact of Reformed theology on evangelism in “Y Church.” Part one discussed the current situation of Y Church. The second part described in more detail how the research findings describe the impact of Reformed theology on Y Church’s evangelism. The third part gives recommendations for Y Church’s evangelism. This is part three.

A Tour of Christianity’s Origins in Hangzhou (May 30, 2017, China Christian Daily)
A group from Xiasha Panshi Church of Hangzhou took a tour of the local birthplace of Christianity on May 20. The first stop on the tour of Christianity in Hangzhou is the Hangzhou Christian College Historic Site. This college was formerly called Hangchow Presbyterian College, and it is located in Dataer Valley. It was founded by the American Presbyterian missionary John Leighton Stuart in 1897.

Reformation 500 Conference Voices: Bill Nyman (May 31, 2017, China Partnership)
It was clear to me that the Chinese leaders demonstrated strength, courage, and a commitment to serve Christ whatever the cost. The conference reminded me that the Body of Christ is an international body, and though we have cultural differences we have Christ in common; we can learn from and encourage one another, whatever our cultural background. 

Society / Life

Can China eradicate poverty by 2020? (May 26, 2017, East Asia Forum)
Despite the shrinking number of rural poor, China is still facing a smaller yet tougher poverty problem. For decades, the Chinese government has relied on economic growth to boost incomes. But those still impoverished are below the poverty line because of health issues and China’s more gradual economic growth rate. This indicates that China has entered a late and crucial stage of poverty elimination in which it must reform its social assistance system.

China's Seniors Will Reshape the World (May 30, 2017, Bloomberg)
With 222 million people over age 60, China is home to the world's largest population of seniors, and their economic clout is set to surge in the years ahead. By one estimate, the value of products and services geared toward them may reach 33 percent of gross domestic product by 2050.

Why Male Migrants Are More Than Just the Breadwinners (May 31, 2017, Sixth Tone)
China has around 280 million migrant workers, most of whom are men. But we rarely hear about these men’s family relationships.

Economics / Trade / Business

In China, Umbrellas and Basketballs Join the Sharing Economy (May 28, 2017, The New York Times)
China may be oversharing. First, a brutal and costly ride-hailing war drove Uber out of the country. Then a boom in bike-sharing blanketed city streets with unused bicycles. Today, Chinese start-ups want to share umbrellas, concrete mixers and mobile phone power banks. One wants to share basketballs. As Chinese entrepreneurs and investors pile in, some skeptical industry insiders are wondering: Has China reached “peak sharing?”

'Made in China' could soon be made in the US (May 31, 2017, CNBC)
It's Chinese-made in America. Yes, you read that right. Contrary to widespread belief, China isn't the cheap place to manufacture that it once was, and rising costs have been forcing manufacturers to explore new countries to make their goods.

Health / Environment

China’s Ill, and Wealthy, Look Abroad for Medical Treatment (May 29, 2017, The New York Times)
China’s nearly 1.4 billion people depend on a strained and struggling health care system that belies the country’s rise as an increasingly wealthy global power. But more and more, the rich are finding a way out. Western hospitals and a new group of well-connected companies are reaching for well-heeled Chinese patients who need lifesaving treatments unavailable at home.

Living on fumes: China's war on pollution means little to a chemical park’s neighbors (May 29, 2017, Reuters)
Hebei province, home to many of China's most polluted cities, has promised to close down companies that are poisoning the environment, but after years of protests villagers living in the shadows of the Guantao chemical park remain skeptical. Though festooned with banners calling for the construction of "beautiful villages" and the "upgrade" of Hebei's highly-polluting heavy industries, the sprawling complex of chemical plants shadowing the villages of Nansitou and East Luzhuang often operates unchallenged by environmental regulators, residents say. 

Science / Technology

WannaCry hackers ‘were likely from southern China’ (May 28, 2017, South China Morning Post)
The authors of the WannaCry malware, which infected computers in 150 countries two weeks ago, are probably from the southern mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan or Singapore, according to a US intelligence company. Forensic linguistic analysis on the malware suggested it was written by native Chinese-speaking people with southern accents, said Flashpoint.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower review – a Hong Kong schoolboy takes the fight to China (May 27, 2017, The Guardian)
A rousing documentary profiles Joshua Wong, the adolescent activist who found fame with his protests against the Chinese government

China's female athletes winning in competition but losing fame game (May 31, 2017, ESPN)
For years, China has become one of the biggest sports nations, with its strong competitiveness in many fields and attractive market potential. The country's female athletes have been enjoying a proven record of success in a traditionally male-dominated environment, excelling in volleyball, diving, table tennis and other sports.

History / Culture

Poets, Dragons, and Water Demons! (May 29, 2017, The World of Chinese)
Legend surrounds the Dragon Boat Festival. There are stories about water demons, dragons, renegade poets, and men who become gods. Like holidays from all corners of the world—be it Asia, America, Europe, or Africa—the Dragon Boat Festival is made of myth layered on top of myth, stories woven together and made new with each retelling.

Travel / Food

Mute Museums: Why China’s Institutions Fail to Connect With Visitors (May 26, 2017, Sixth Tone)
Most Chinese museums follow the “curator-as-king” model, whereby all other departments are subservient to the curator guiding the conversation. The curator’s agenda is often to appear knowledgeable and intelligent to other curators — they don’t really care much about whether you or I understand them.

Makin’ Zongzi (May 28, 2017, The World of Chinese)
Everything has a reason… People are not eating zongzi, but culture. Even though the Chinese don’t care about eating zongzi, they still love them deeply. Everyone loves talking about them, making them and passing them out as gifts, or receiving them. Zongzi has become a cultural token, deeply rooted in our consciousness.

Why more Chinese tourists are coming to Maine (May 30, 2017, Bangor Daily News)
For the first time, the Boston-based Sunshine Travel brought a group of international tourists by the Maine State House as they charted a course up from Ogunquit to Bar Harbor, with a stay in Bangor on Saturday night. The company that caters to Chinese-speaking tourists reflects the state’s growing share of tourism from the country where a growing middle class and changing cultural norms are propelling more travel abroad.

Language / Language Learning

Manchu, Once China’s Official Language, Could Lose Its Voice (May 30, 2017, Sixth Tone)
The Manchu people are China’s third-largest ethnic group, ruling over the entire country from 1644, when they established the Qing Dynasty, until 1911, when China became a republic. Their language, which has its own script, was the official language of government in China for nearly 300 years. But despite its high-status history compared to other ethnic minority languages, Manchu, too, is facing acute decline. Many young Manchu people see learning the language as an impractical and unprofitable hobby.


China’s God-Shaped Vacuum (May 31, 2017, The Gospel Coalition)
A favorite photo from my early years in China was taken at a Taoist temple in Henan province in 1984. I snapped the photo of an old Taoist priest, perhaps recently released from prison, burning incense. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was witnessing the beginning of the religious revival that Ian Johnson writes about in his wonderful new book, The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao.

Links for Researchers

Missio Nexus China Ministries Cohort (May 29, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
To that end, ChinaSource is launching a China ministries cohort this week. We want it to be a place where those serving in China-related ministries can gather to discuss issues relevant to our work.

Online Chinese Christianity Collection

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