ZGBriefs | June 14, 2018

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Featured Article

How Bad Is Facebook’s New China Problem? (June 6, 2018, The Atlantic)
Beginning in 2007, Facebook cut deals with 60 phone manufacturers to put versions of the service onto their devices, and among those companies were four Chinese manufacturers, including Huawei, which U.S. intelligence services have repeatedly linked to the Chinese government.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Here’s How NGOs Are Allowed to Operate in the P.R.C., Hong Kong, and the United States (June 6, 2018, The China NGO File)
The overwhelming majority of foreign NGOs now legally operating in the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.) under the Foreign NGO Law are incorporated in Hong Kong and the United States. How do Hong Kong and U.S. foreign NGO regulatory structures compare with that of mainland China’s?

Letter from U.S. Congress Questions U.S. NGO’s Ties to Chinese Government (June 7, 2018, The China NGO Project)
The United States House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources is “seek[ing] clarification” regarding the advocacy activities of U.S.-based non-profit National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). 

U.S. Issues Alert to Americans in China in Wake of Sonic Attack Fears (June 8, 2018, The New York Times)
The State Department issued a health alert on Friday to American citizens living or traveling in China, advising them to seek medical attention if they experienced “auditory or sensory phenomena” similar to those experienced by American diplomats evacuated to the United States.

Normalizing Trade Relations with China Was a Mistake (June 8, 2018, The Atlantic)
Lawmakers wanted to turn a potential enemy into a friend—instead, they squandered their leverage, in ways that shortchanged both nations.

A World in Transition: A China in the World Podcast (June 11, 2018, China File)
Now, as president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Ambassador Burns spoke with Paul Haenle about the future of U.S. diplomacy, the rise of China, and the Trump-Kim Summit in Singapore.

Hong Kong Activist Edward Leung Given 6 Years for Police Clash (June 11, 2018, The New York Times)
A Hong Kong activist was sentenced to six years in prison on Monday for his role in a 2016 clash between protesters and the police over unlicensed street vendors selling traditional snacks during the Lunar New Year.

Washington opens de facto embassy in Taiwan, angering China (June 12, 2018, CNN)
The American Institute in Taiwan, as the de facto US embassy in Taipei is called, was officially declared open Tuesday morning, in a ceremony attended by senior US diplomats and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.

China’s Master Plan: A Worldwide Web of Institutions (June 12, 2018, Bloomberg)
Beijing is building an interlocking series of security, trade and educational bodies to rival the West.

China hails its 'indisputable' role in outcome of Trump-Kim summit (June 13, 2018, The New York Times)
Chinese officials have been quick to take credit for some of the outcomes of a historic summit between the US and North Korea on Tuesday. Following the meeting between US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi hailed China’s “indisputable” role in the process.

Xi cracks down on local governments’ compliance and creativity (June 14, 2018, East Asia Forum)
Even as Xi consolidates personal power and overrides post-Mao norms of collective leadership, he must still rule through the Party apparatus. But it is the changes to the administrative state under Xi that have had the largest impact on central–local relations.


Chinese authorities target temporary churches (June 7, 2018, UCA News)
Chinese Catholics are concerned about a State Administration for Religious Affairs circular that requires organizers of religious activities at temporary sites to seek guidance from government-recognized church organizations. They fear it will mean that Catholic underground communities and Protestant house churches will come under greater control.

What is Chinese Christianity? (June 8, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
As mainland Chinese Christianity goes through this process of “glocalization,” expatriates need to find ways to support and encourage the Chinese church’s search for its theological and cultural identity without dictating the direction (or result) of its explorations. Even if the end result doesn’t look Chinese to me.

South Korean missionaries fearful as crackdown on ‘infiltration’ in China gathers pace (June 10, 2018, South China Morning Post)
In the last month alone, more than 30 South Koreans and Japanese have reportedly been arrested across the country, including in the Ningxia region and in Shanxi, Hebei and Henan provinces. All of them are believed to be members of foreign religious groups, and most have already been deported.

Let’s Be Honest about Denominationalism in China (June 11, 2018, ChinaSource Quarterly)
When it comes to discussions on denominations or denominationalism in China, Christians easily get stuck on the basic questions: Are there now denominations among churches in China? Isn’t China on the post-denominational end of the continuum? Should there be denominations? If so, how should they work?

Denominationalism or Nondenominationalism? Is There a Third Way? (June 11, 2018, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Churches in China have evolved from small-scale home gatherings in the 1980s to the current diverse range of organizational forms. There has been much discussion within the church about denominations. In the modern history of Chinese Christianity, the concept of denomination is not something entirely new.

The Waning of a Pragmatic Cosmopolitanism: Western Denominations in the Views of Cheng Jingyi and Ni Tuosheng (June 11, 2018, ChinaSource Quarterly)
However, together with other Chinese leaders in what Daniel Bays calls the “Sino-Foreign Protestant Establishment” (SFPE), Cheng’s disapproval of Western denominations was markedly different from the later and more militant anti-denominationalism of Ni Tuosheng (Watchman Nee).

Chinese police arrest couple for distributing Christian tracts (June 11, 2018, Christian Times)
A couple from Guangdong, China was arrested earlier this month for distributing Christian tracts and protesting against abortion at a local park. Liang Ziliang, who leads a Baptist Church in the city of Heshan, was detained along with his wife, Li Yinxiu, after they handed out brochures about Christianity at the park with several church members on June 1.

Encouragement for the "Gaokao" and for Life (June 12, 2018, Chinese Church Voices)
This blog post from Heimen captures the anxiety students face, while offering the hope and comfort that Christians can find in God in the face of such pressure.

Looking at the Questions beneath the Surface (June 13, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
Swirling beneath the surface discussion of denominations—how they are defined, their relationship to the indigenous Chinese church, and whether or not they are needed—are some core questions regarding the fundamental nature of Christian community. 

Society / Life

Shanghai Through a Glass, Darkly (June 8, 2018, Sixth Tone)
From the glimmering heights of China’s tallest tower, window cleaner Xiong Guihua has a bird’s-eye view over the whole city. Among the ant-sized people walking the streets below are nearly 10 million outsiders, who, like him, have come to Shanghai hoping for larger paychecks, big-city thrills, and a brighter future.

Party People: What Kind of Students Join the CCP? (June 12, 2018, Sixth Tone)
Surveys indicate that over half of China’s college students apply for Communist Party membership — but not for the reasons you might think.

Click-through: Interactive Guide to Migration in China (June 14, 2018, Radii China)
If you’ve followed the broad strokes of the Grand China Narrative™ at any point over the last few boom decades, you probably know something about the great tide of migration the country has undergone in that time.

Economics / Trade / Business

China's ZTE to pay US $1bn fine in new deal to save company (June 7, 2018, The Guardian)
The United States and China have reached a deal that allows the Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE to stay in business in exchange for paying an additional $1bn in fines and agreeing to let US regulators monitor its operations.

How to Transfer a Work Permit to a New Employer in China (June 13, 2018, China Briefing)
Transferring an existing work permit from one employer to another usually takes around 4-6 weeks, though some applications may take up to 12 weeks to complete. Because the application process can be lengthy, it is best to be prepared for what lays ahead at each stage of the process.


Is China’s Infamous Gaokao College Entrance Exam as Scary as it Seems? (June 7, 2018, Radii China)
Of course, every student is different and responds to the pressure of examination in different ways. But as someone who sat the dreaded gaokao relatively recently, in my experience the exams are not all that scary.

University of New Hampshire to accept Chinese exam results (June 13, 2018, BBC)
A US university will begin accepting the Chinese university entrance exam known as the Gaokao in an effort to attract more Chinese students. The University of New Hampshire will be the first state university in the US to accept the standardised placement test.

Becoming a Certified Teacher While Teaching in China (June 14, 2018, Sapore di Cina)
Having worked for that last 3 semesters at a school with more than a few issues, this was a major motivator for me. There are lots of great schools in China but the best ones will never consider you if you aren’t a certified teacher.

Science / Technology

China is building massive solar farms shaped like pandas(June 11, 2018, Matador Network)
Soon, plane passengers will have no doubt about their location when flying over China. The country’s newest renewable energy program will call for solar energy farms that, from above, resemble pandas. 

In China’s Far West, Companies Cash in on Surveillance Program That Targets Muslims (June 13, 2018, Foreign Policy)
But for Chinese surveillance companies, it has turned the area into something else altogether: a lucrative market and a laboratory to test the latest gadgetry. The companies include some of the leaders in their field, often backed by Western investors and suppliers, according to analysts and activists who follow the plight of the Uighurs. 

Best VPNs for China Summer 2018 (June 13, 2018, What’s on Weibo)
We’ve recommended multiple VPN’s before, but for this time there are just two names we’d like to recommend for their overall stable connections from China from our personal experience: ExpressVPN and NordVPN.

China wants to track citizens’ cars with mandatory RFID chips (June 13, 2018, The Verge)
The program is being put in place by China’s Ministry of Public Security, and the ministry’s Traffic Management Research Institute. By installing RFID chips on the windshields of new cars, and reading devices on the side of China’s roads, government officials reportedly hope to be able to study and improve congestion, therefore helping to reduce pollution — a major priority for China’s president Xi Jinping. 

China’s ambition to power the world’s electric cars took a huge leap forward this week (June 13, 2018, MIT Technology Review)
Thanks largely to the company’s new plants, China will be making 70 percent of the world’s electric-vehicle batteries by 2021, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

History / Culture

Oldest 'footprints' found in China (June 7, 2018, BBC)
The oldest known "footprints" left by an animal have been uncovered in southern China. The identity of the creature that made the 546-million-year-old tracks is still unknown, but they come from the period when the earliest animals are thought to have evolved.

How a Chinese Manuscript Written 2,300 Years Ago Ended Up in Washington (June 8, 2018, The New York Times)
For decades, the ancient document, known as the Chu Silk Manuscript, has fascinated people seeking an understanding of the origins of Chinese civilization. But it has been hidden from public view because of its fragility — and the uncertain circumstances by which it ended up in the United States.

'The week that changed the world': How China prepared for Nixon (June 10, 2018, BBC)
The BBC's Yuwen Wu was a young student in 1972 and reflects on how China prepared for what Nixon described as "the week that changed the world".

The ABC of Chinese Poetry (June 11, 2018, China Channel)
As Walter Benjamin famously put it, translation gives literature a new life, an afterlife. And the vital importance of Chinese poetry’s afterlife to Anglo-American literature may be encapsulated in Pound’s proclamation, “A great age of literature is perhaps always a great age of translations; or follows it.”

Video: A Documentary: Nanjing in1975 (June 13, 2018, Everyday Life in Maoist China)

Travel / Food

Chinese ‘ghost village’ offers determined visitors a green encounter with the past (June 10, 2018, South China Morning Post)
Blanketed with greenery, the ghost town is perched atop cliffs looking west into sea mists obscuring the horizon. Abandoned homes ravaged by weather and creeping vines stand silent but for the sounds of surf, mosquitos and birds.

144-Hour China Transit Visa Complete Guide (Updated 2018) (June 2018, Travel China Cheaper)
For those traveling through China, the new 144-hour China transit visa is a welcome opportunity to see the country without the hassle of applying for a full visa. The problem – as you probably know – is finding accurate, up-to-date information on how to get the visa and who is eligible for the 144-hour transit visa in China.

Why the jaw-dropping karst landscapes of China belong on your bucket list (June 11, 2018, Matador Network)
These mystical-looking Chinese lands are one of my favorite spots in the world; here’s why they’ll be one of yours too.

Photos: China’s ‘Kingdom of Women’ (June 13, 2018, BBC Travel)
In the foothills of the Himalayas lies picture-perfect Lugu Lake, the home of the Mosuo people and the gateway to a mysterious land often dubbed ‘The Kingdom of Women’.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

The 10 most popular sports in China (June 8, 2018, Sapore di Cina)
According to the Telegraph, China wants to complete a transition from a big country to a strong nation in sports. The purpose is to have one third of population (or 435 million people) to do physical exercises by 2020. Obviously, it is a very ambitious purpose.

Meet the Chinese artist on a mission to record the country’s ancient heritage (June 9, 2018, South China Morning Post)
Lian Da has spent the past two decades hiking across the province of Shanxi to document its old temples and other buildings at risk of demolition.

Living Cross-culturally

Leaving well when leaving well is not possible (June 12, 2018, The Culture Blend)
Sometimes the final weeks of your expat experience get blasted by circumstance. Sometimes leaving is a mess, not a choice. Sometimes it’s a rush to the airport with no time for intentional eye contact or heartfelt affirmations. Sometimes the bitterness feels beyond reconciliation. Sometimes the schedules are just too crazy, the people are just too busy or the time is just too short.


The Politics of Protestant Churches and the Party-State in China: A Book Review (June 11, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
In a society where religious life is tightly proscribed and managed (controlled) by the Party-State, how is it that so many independent (“illegal, but free”) churches have sprung up and not only survived, but thrived?

Censored: Distraction and Diversion Inside China’s Great Firewall (June 13, 2018, China File)
Roberts finds that much of censorship in China works not by making information impossible to access but by requiring those seeking information to spend extra time and money for access. By inconveniencing users, censorship diverts the attention of citizens and powerfully shapes the spread of information.

Links for Researchers

Philosophical Influences on Education in China: Different Schools of Thought on Self-Cultivation (Journal of Contemporary Educational Research)

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