ZGBriefs | June 13, 2019

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Featured Article

China’s population to peak in 2023, five years earlier than official estimates, new research shows (May 2, 2019, South China Morning Post)
Tony Nash, CEO and founder of Complete Intelligence, one of the co-authors of the report, said the findings should be a cause for concern for Beijing’s policymakers, who waited too long to lift the controversial one-child policy for its rapidly greying society.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

China behind massive Australian National University hack, intelligence officials say (May 5, 2019, The Guardian)
The ANU, based in Canberra, has graduates throughout the public service, including in Australia’s intelligence and security agencies. Quoting senior intelligence officials on Thursday, the Herald reported fears the data will be used to recruit students or ANU alumni as informants.

As Relations With U.S. Sour, Xi Describes Putin As 'Best Friend' At Moscow Meeting  (June 6, 2019, NPR)
Chinese leader Xi Jinping described Russian President Vladimir Putin as his "best friend" as the two met in Moscow on Wednesday at a time when U.S. relations with both countries are increasingly strained.

US lawmakers target Chinese as potential campus spy threats (June 6, 2019, South China Morning Post)
Chinese students and scholars will find it harder to work in the United States if a group of US lawmakers succeed in passing legislation aimed at securing potentially sensitive information.

US Officials Step up Calls For End to China’s Uyghur Internment Camps (June 7, 2019, Radio Free Asia)
The U.S. Congress has also joined in efforts to halt the incarcerations, debating legislation that seeks accountability for China’s harsh crackdown on the Uyghurs. 

The Seeds of the US-China Trade War Go Way Back (June 10, 2019, NPR)
China is still an export driven economy, with no other major export markets for its goods besides the EU and North America. Were the United States to put in place a ban on any number of China sourced items it would cause immediate harm, and potential civil instability in the People’s Republic.

Hong Kong protests: government vows to push ahead with extradition bill (June 10, 2019, The Guardian)
The leader of Hong Kong’s government has said she remains determined to pass a proposed extradition law despite a huge protest march against the legislation on Sunday that drew hundreds of thousands of people. The bill creates a system for case-by-case fugitive transfers between semi-autonomous Hong Kong and regions with which it does not already have agreements, including mainland China.

What Happens if a Foreign NGO Violates the Law?  (June 10, 2019, China File)
What happens if public security decides a foreign NGO representative office is violating the law, or decides that a foreign NGO’s temporary activity is in contravention of the law? Can a foreign NGO face immediate expulsion from China?

How Can My NGO Operate Before It Finds a Professional Supervisory Unit? (June 10, 2019, China File)
My organization already had an office in mainland China before this law took effect. What activities can we legally engage in while we are trying to find a Professional Supervisory Unit?

China mobilises diplomats to drum up global support ahead of G20   (June 11, 2019, South China Morning Post)
Since the breakdown of trade talks and subsequent imposition of new tariffs in May, Beijing has launched harsh criticism of the United States via its ambassadors to G20 countries, including Britain and France, in a bid to avoid isolation by US allies in Osaka from June 28-29.

Hong Kong protests: Police use tear gas on protesters (June 12, 2019, BBC)
Police have fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters in Hong Kong where anger at a new extradition bill has spilled over into violence. Protesters blocked key roads around government buildings and threw bricks and projectiles at police.

Explainer: Why proposed changes to Hong Kong's extradition law are fueling protests (June 12, 2019, Reuters)
The Hong Kong government first launched the proposals in February, putting forward sweeping changes that would simplify case-by-case extraditions of criminal suspects to countries beyond the 20 with which Hong Kong has existing extradition treaties. 

Hong Kong protesters shut down city centre over extraditions bill – in pictures (June 12, 2019, The Guardian)


China Resumes Expulsions From Sichuan’s Yachen Gar Buddhist Center  (June 7, 2019, Radio Free Asia)
Authorities in western China’s Sichuan province have begun a new wave of expulsions from the Yachen Gar Tibetan Buddhist study center, this time targeting monks and nuns who came from outside areas to join the sprawling complex located in Kardze prefecture’s Palyul county, Tibetan sources say.

Witnessing Christ through Ethical Leadership (June 10, 2019, ChinaSource Quarterly)
This summer issue of ChinaSource Quarterly focuses on the topic of leadership ethics among the growing churches in China. A few thoughtful Chinese Christians share their observations.

The Church’s Greatest Crisis Comes from Inside (June 10, 2019, ChinaSource Quarterly)
The abuse of power and lack of pastoral ethics can be ranked among the top issues given the overall authoritarian political culture in which many churches are immersed. We also need to acknowledge that during the past two decades, churches in China have enjoyed relative freedom to grow and expand. With expansion, the use of power often becomes a problem.

Beyond Courageous Leadership and Servant Leadership: What Does Leadership Failure in the West Teach the Chinese Church? (June 10, 2019, ChinaSource Quarterly)
However, in an Asian society with a culture of authoritarian leaders, servant leadership easily degenerates into a mere slogan or item of propaganda. It is difficult to really put into practice. It can even be taken as a method of control.

Wife of Early Rain Covenant Church pastor released on bail (June 11, 2019, China Aid)
Jiang Rong, the wife of Early Rain Covenant Church Pastor Wang Yi, was released on bail today, six months after vanishing into China’s prison system. Jiang and Wang were initially seized on the night of Dec. 9 as authorities conducted a mass, overnight arrest of their church members. By the end of the week, more than 150 Early Rain Covenant Church members had been taken into custody.

Honoring Our Parents According To God’s Will, Part 1: Examining God’s Good Will (July 11, 2019, China Partnership Blog)
This is the first in a three-part essay examining how Christians ought to care for their aging parents.

Society / Life

Honey Hunting on the Cliffs of China’s Yunnan Province (June 6, 2019, The Atlantic)
Kevin Frayer, a photographer with Getty, recently went honey hunting with a group of ethnic Lisu people in China’s mountainous Yunnan province. The “cliff honey” is coveted in China, and can sell for up to US$50 per kilogram.

China rains: Thousands stranded in southern China  (June 11, 2019, BBC)
Police officers and rescuers are evacuating people trapped by record rainfall in southern China. The downpours have left several people dead and destroyed hundreds of homes.

Seven Instagram Accounts That Show Beijing in a Different Light (June 11, 2019, The Beijinger)
Beijing’s diverse culture, interlaced alleys, and 22.7 million people have long been the subject of photography. It's no surprise then that Instagrammers have followed suit, starting accounts that hope to compile and arrange, decipher and make sense of trends in a city constantly in flux.

Scarred Lives: The Lasting Hurt of China’s Leprosy Villages (June 12, 2019, Sixth Tone)
Quarantined in far-flung settlements decades ago, many residents are now elderly, disabled, and burdened by biting poverty and lingering discrimination.

Economics / Trade / Business

China Summons Tech Giants to Warn Against Cooperating With Trump Ban  (June 8, 2019, The New York Times)
The Chinese government this past week summoned major tech companies including Microsoft and Dell from the United States and Samsung of South Korea, to warn that they could face dire consequences if they cooperate with the Trump administration’s ban on sales of key American technology to Chinese companies, according to people familiar with the meetings.

Foreign Companies in China: What We are Seeing and Hearing NOW  (June 11, 2019, China Law Blog)
A number of our clients have been calling us nearly weekly of late for what they usually call “China briefings” or “China updates.” They mostly want to know what our China lawyers are hearing is happening to foreign companies in China.

Huawei cancels laptop launch because of US trade blacklist (June 12, 2019, BBC)
Huawei has ditched a product launch for the first time since the US placed it on a trade blacklist. It was reported that the Chinese tech firm had intended to unveil a new laptop as early as this week. However, its consumer device chief Richard Yu told CNBC that it had become"unable to supply the PC".


The Viral Superstitions Surrounding This Year’s ‘Gaokao’ (June 10, 2019, Sixth Tone)
From sunflowers to purple underwear, Chinese high schoolers and their parents were full of novel approaches to conquering 2019’s grueling college entrance exams.

The Mental Health Camp Treating China’s Troubled ‘Gaokao’ Kids (June 11, 2019, Sixth Tone)
The camp — one of only a handful in China — is in Changchun, the capital of northeastern China’s Jilin province and some 2,700 kilometers away from Chongqing. Run by Duguo, a volunteer organization, it connects troubled students and their families with teachers and counselors. Although it doesn’t completely release kids from their test-taking burdens, the camp tries to lighten their loads with psychological support and social events.

Chinese university entrance exam maths question leaves US teacher stumped (June 12, 2019, South China Morning Post)
A video of a US secondary school maths teacher comically trying – and failing – to complete a mathematics question from a Chinese gaokaoexam paper has been widely shared on social media in China.

Health / Environment

Chinese Govt Unveils Blacklist for People Who Assault Doctors (June 6, 2019, Sixth Tone)
Some netizens welcome the measure for protecting medical workers against violence; others worry it will protect unethical doctors from being held to account.

China’s fragmented health care system under increasing pressure as nation rapidly ages (June 11, 2019, South China Morning Post)
China’s health care market still has much room to grow due to the country’s ongoing demographic shift, with the country’s elderly population above the age of 65 estimated to increase from 166 million in 2018 to 250 million by 2030. And as more people move to urban areas, and the number of affluent families rises, health care costs will also increase.

History / Culture

The Yellow Peril (June 7, 2019, The World of Chinese)
Known alternately as “China’s Mother River” and “China’s sorrow,” the mighty Yellow River has nourished the northern plains as well as claimed countless lives in the course of its meandering, muddy history. One of the river’s most notorious tragedies, however, was not the result of nature’s indifference, but human beings.

Sun Yat-sen's Connection To China And The U.S. (June 7, 2019, NPR)
We look at the life of Sun Yat-sen, a founder of modern China, who spent time in exile in the United States.

Travel / Food

Chinese Takeout: Dragon Boat Bites by the Riverside in Zhujiajiao (June 5, 2019, Radii China)
Zongzi are woven into the fabric of this holiday, but freshly-made zongzi are always a local draw in Zhujiajiao (朱家角), a historic water town criss-crossed with canals that’s located within a suburb of Shanghai.

AirBnB in China: The Complete Guide for Foreigners (June 7, 2019, Sapore di Cina)
Still, the Chinese authorities have put more pressure on home-staying websites with requirements to ensure safety and to disclose information about tenants. Simply put, it’s not like it used to be a couple of years back.

As Trade War With U.S. Grinds On, Chinese Tourists Stay Away (June 12, 2019, The New York Times)
A Los Angeles hotel long popular with Chinese travelers saw a 23 percent decline in visits last year and another 10 percent so far this year. In New York City, spending by Chinese tourists, who spend nearly twice as much as other foreign visitors, fell 12 percent in the first quarter. And in San Francisco, busloads of Chinese tourists were once a mainstay of one fine jewelry business; over the last few years, the buses stopped coming.

Language / Language Learning

101 questions and answers about how to learn Chinese (June 11, 2019, Hacking Chinese)
As far as I know, this is the most comprehensive list of questions about how to learn Chinese available anywhere. 

The Four Strands of a Balanced Language Course (June 12, 2019, Sinosplice)
It’s worth noting that this book was published in 2001, and Paul Nation is not introducing radical new ideas here; he’s simply gently reminding the learner about some facts that researchers in the field of second language acquisition have known for some time. And yet, what follows is probably not going to sound familiar to most of you that have ever studied a foreign language in school. It’s truly jarring just how strong the grip of traditional language teaching in our educational system still is.

Living Cross-culturally

Staying Out of Trouble and Knowing What to do When Things Go Wrong in Beijing (June 9, 2019, Beijing Kids)
Ignorance of the law is no excuse in China, as in most countries. Here are some of the crucial rules that one should know (and not break), the rights that you have as a foreigner residing in Beijing, and other important information that you will need to navigate this city safely and avoid legal entanglements.

Links for Researchers

China’s Social Credit System: A Big-Data Enabled Approach to Market Regulation with Broad Implications for Doing Business in China (Mercator Institute, via China File)
Under the catchphrase “Social Credit System,” China is currently implementing a new and highly innovative approach to monitoring, rating, and regulating the behavior of market participants. The Social Credit System will have significant impact on the behavior of individuals, companies, and other institutions, such as NGOs. Despite much international attention on the impact of the system for individuals, the core motivation behind the Social Credit System is to more effectively steer the behavior of market participants.

Image credit: Sheena Leong, via Flickr
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Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman is Vice President of Partnership and China Engagement 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