ZGBriefs | June 22, 2017

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Featured Article

China, Where the Pressure to Marry Is Strong, and the Advice Flows Online (June 18, 2017, The New York Times)
Although women in their 20s are greatly outnumbered by men in the same age group in China, a product in part of the since-abandoned one-child family policy and a cultural preference for sons, they face enormous pressure to marry. Those who do not have a husband by the age of 27 are routinely branded as “leftover women,” with diminishing value in the dating market.

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.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

How the Communist Party controls China’s state-owned industrial titans (June 17, 2017, South China Morning Post)
The state-owned enterprises in China contain 10 million Communist Party members and 800,000 party committees, according to the director of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.

China May Soon Establish Naval Base in U.S. Ally Pakistan (June 19, 2017, NBC News)
Nuclear-armed Pakistan is a key ally of the United States — but the relationship is far from untroubled. And one of Washington's main geopolitical rivals appears ready to step in. The Pentagon is warning that the Islamic republic may soon house a Chinese military base.

Is China Pulling the Strings Down Under? (June 20, 2017, Foreign Policy)
Revelations about Chinese influence have rocked Australian media and politics. Should the U.S. have the same debate?

The dark side of China’s national renewal (June 21, 2017, Financial Times)
The most interesting thing about Zhonghua minzu is that it very deliberately and specifically incorporates anyone with Chinese blood anywhere in the world, no matter how long ago their ancestors left the Chinese mainland.

What the Lawyer Crackdown Means for Rule of Law (June 20, 2017, China Digital Times)
A pair of articles in The Economist’s current edition examines how China’s ongoing crackdown on rights lawyers, the illegal means including torture by which it has allegedly been carried out, and high-level warnings against “Western” judicial independence all fit into Xi Jinping’s emphasis on promoting the rule of law.

U.S., China meet on North Korea after Trump points to failed Chinese effort (June 21, 2017, Reuters)
Top diplomats and defense chiefs from the United States and China began a day of talks in Washington on Wednesday looking for ways to press North Korea to give up its nuclear and missile programs. The talks come a day after U.S. President Donald Trump said Chinese efforts to persuade North Korea to rein in its weapons programs had failed, ratcheting up the rhetoric after the death of an American student who had been detained by Pyongyang.

Could the world’s new superpower be on the verge of collapse? (June 21, 2017, news.com.au)
Could China be witnessing the beginnings of its own end? The vast majority of commentators say chances are slim. Most are as dismissive of China-sceptics as Nikita Krushchev was of USSR doom-mongers in the late fifties. Yet within three decades of “We will bury you!” Krushchev was proved wrong. History was not on his side and the only grave being dug was for the Soviet Union itself.


Father’s Day in China: A Gospel Opportunity (June 16, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
Yet, for those working among Chinese (in any context) it does provide a unique opportunity to generate gospel-oriented discussion given the central theme of God the Father in the Bible.  Below are a few suggestions and sample questions, largely based on personal experience, for how to create opportunities for such discussion with Chinese friends, colleagues, students, etc.

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (June 19, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
Many Chinese Christians lack a proper understanding of God’s unconditional and loving fatherhood because we project what we know of our relationship with our earthly fathers onto our relationship with God. And many of these Christians go on to become parents themselves who then perpetuate the vicious cycle of a misrepresented fatherhood of God. There is a great need in the Chinese church today for men who would model biblical fatherhood.

Mourning Two Chinese Christians Killed in Pakistan (June 20, 2017, Chinese Church Voices)
As news and details come out, Chinese Christians continue to express their sympathies and ask questions about the event. The following is a summary of the events from China Christian Daily.

A Servant Is Not Greater than His Master (June 21, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
As the global missions community and those of us with a heart for China mourn the loss of Mr. Li and Ms. Lu, we need to pray for China and its church. We need to pray for the loved ones of Mr. Li and Ms. Lu.

Society / Life

Bike-Sharing Schemes: Flourishing or Running Riot? (June 15, 2017, China File)
Rapid investment has seen the number of bikes on the road skyrocket and spread over the course of the year. But this has also caused problems. Bikes are often parked haphazardly and infringe on urban spaces, while the manufacturing of the bikes is causing pollution.

How China’s fearsome Tiger Dads found their way back into fashion (June 17, 2017, South China Morning Post)
Strict fathers are winning support as society resists rising Western influence to embrace traditional Chinese parenting style.

Mongolian Warriors and Communist Soldiers: A Frontier Town in China (June 18, 2017, The New York Times)
Wenquan is part of the Bortala Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, the base of the Chahar in Xinjiang. (Their ancestral home is in present-day Inner Mongolia, where the majority of Chahar in China live.) The prefecture is one of several scattered enclaves that arose from Qing-era garrisons. Farther south, in the fertile Ili Valley, is another — that of the Xibe, who speak a language similar to Manchu and are one of China’s 56 official ethnic groups.

China’s Housing Problem: One Million People in Beijing Live in Underground Basements and Bomb Shelters (June 20, 2017, Newsweek)
A recent inspection by city authorities found 400 people living underground in Beijing. They were crammed into a warren of tiny rooms with no windows in the basement of a high-end residential and office block called Julong Gardens in central Beijing.

China's Dancing Grannies Are Driving a Tech Boom (June 20, 2017, The Beijinger)
But Chinese square dancing (广场跳舞 guǎngchǎng tiàowǔ) is not just a convenient way for older people to socialize and exercise, it is an industry worth RMB 1 trillion. It is also sparking a wave of tech innovation aimed at a 120 million-strong population which have mostly been left out of the technological boom: The dancing aunties or  “dama” (大妈 dàmā), mostly comprised of female retirees born in the 1950s or 60s.

What a Tragic Traffic Incident Says About Chinese Social Ethics (June 21, 2017, Sixth Tone)
Video of a deadly road collision has social media up in arms — but are poor individual morals really to blame for the indifference of so many onlookers?

Economics / Trade / Business

Why Is China Snatching Up Australian Farmland? (June 20, 2017, NPR)
In the past year alone, Chinese investment in Australia's overall agricultural sector has skyrocketed threefold, from $300 million to $1 billion — an unprecedented investment boom.

Ford to build the Focus in China instead of Mexico (June 20, 2017, CNN)
Ford will shift production of the Focus compact car from the United States to China. And in a first for the automaker, it will ship many of these cars back to the U.S. to sell.


Podcast: American Universities in China: Free Speech Bastions or Threats to Academic Freedom? (June 21, 2017, China File)
In this episode of Asia In-Depth, we zoom in on the case of N.Y.U. Shanghai with interviews with students, professors, administrators, outside analysts, and critics to see where the school falls in China’s political landscape, and what effects it’s leaving on those who study there.

Health / Environment

Multinationals losing battle for Chinese consumers (June 21, 2017, Financial Times)
International brands in China are losing market share to domestic companies in everyday items ranging from fruit juice and make-up to toothbrushes, according to a large-scale survey released on Tuesday, as multinationals struggle to adapt to changing tastes in the world’s largest consumer market. 

Chinese bike share firm goes bust after losing 90% of bikes (June 21, 2017, BBC)
A Chinese bike-sharing company has gone out of business after 90% of its bikes went missing in the first five months. Chongqing-based Wukong Bikes said the bulk of its 1,200 two-wheelers were lost or stolen. Unlike rivals, the firm did not put GPS systems on its bikes and by the time it realised the technology was necessary, money had run out.

China's Transport Revolution (January 21, 2017, Al Jazeera)
Since the 1980s, Shenzhen has grown from being little more than a farming community to a booming metropolis with more than 11 million inhabitants, 150 skyscrapers and more than three million cars.  Here, the new energy vehicle industry is booming. By September of this year, all of Shenzhen's buses will be fully electric. Meanwhile, residents are restricted access to new licence plates for cars running on fossil fuels and nudged to buy hybrid or electric ones through government subsidies.  

Arts / Entertainment / Media

The Infamous Chalk Talk Girl (June, 2017, The Guardian)
Chalk Girl: a protester at the heart of Hong Kong’s democracy movement. Two years since her arrest made her an accidental infamous hero of the pro-democracy umbrella movement, the 16-year-old must decide whether to rejoin the battle alongside the 'localist' youth. As elections loom, Chalk Girl is torn between wanting to respect her family, who are concerned about the risks of her activism, and standing up to Chinese interference. 

Review: Wait, Was That Confucius? PBS’s Rushed ‘Story of China’ (June 19, 2017, The New York Times)
Six hours of television would be enough to cover the histories of most countries satisfactorily, but China is not most countries. “The Story of China,” which begins on Tuesday with two hourlong episodes on PBS, is all highlights. Three dynasties, not to mention Confucius, fly past in the first episode.

History / Culture

The secret negotiations that sealed Hong Kong's future (June 18, 2017, CNN)
With that, on December 19, 1984, the end of more than 150 years of British rule over Hong Kong was sealed and a timeline put in place for China to assume sovereignty over the city on July 1, 1997. The people of Hong Kong were not party to the discussions, nor were they consulted about the final decision, which had a profound effect on their futures and freedoms.

Travel / Food

Feast your eyes on these amazing 3D pictures that Chinese farmers created on rice paddies (June 14, 2017, Lonely Planet)
Tourists are flocking to northeast China to see a very unusual sight: rice paddy fields covered in cartoons and images.

6 Things You Didn’t Know about Xinjiang (June 15, 2017, Wild China Blog)
Travelers to China have probably noticed Xinjiang as the huge northwestern area on the country’s map. Yet despite its size, few know that much about it. The region is wrapped in a fascinating history and is home to a wealth of landscapes and diverse peoples.

9 images that will make you want to visit Hong Kong right now (June 15, 2017, Matador Network) From the colorful city lights of Kowloon to the breathtaking hikes on Lantau Island, Hong Kong has it all. When you plan a trip to Asia, be sure to spend time in this magical city.

Traveling to Shanxi, the Province West of the mountains (June 16, 2017, Sapore di Cina)
The following guide contains a few suggestions on how to plan your trip to the province of Shanxi (literally 山西, where 山 means mountain, and 西 west: west of the mountains).

Disney’s Iger Says Shanghai Resort Close to Breaking Even (June 16, 2017, Skift)
Walt Disney Co.’s ambitious $5.5 billion Shanghai theme park is close to breaking even after its first full year of operations — a mark none of its resorts have been able to hit in the last 30 years, said Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger.

Huangshan: How to Make the Most of a Trip to China’s Yellow Mountain (June 17, 2017, Wild China Blog)
In Huangshan, China’s Yellow Mountain, granite peaks jut out above the clouds, leopards stalk their prey through bamboo forests and Tibetan macaque monkeys swing from centuries-old pine trees.

Video: Off-Roading DEEP in the heart of China's gorgeous western region (June 19, 2017, Far West China, via YouTube)
Josh takes an off road vehicle to places that very few foreigners have ever been in China's western region of Xinjiang!

Haidilao: Taking Chinese Hotpot to the Next Level (June 20, 2017, What’s on Weibo)
Twenty-three years after opening its first restaurant, China’s Haidilao hot pot chain is hotter than ever. With its special business model and service creativity, people happily wait in line for two hours to get a table. At Haidilao, even the lonely eaters never eat alone – they get a teddy bear to dine with them.

Nanjing's Presidential Palace offers rare insights into China's modern history (June 20, 2017, CNN)
Widely recognized as the father of the nation, his beautiful rooms are just one of many intriguing displays inside the Nanjing Presidential Palace, a 120,000-square-meter museum of modern history made up of buildings and sculpted landscapes.

Links for Researchers

Theory and Practice for Teaching English from a Christian Perspective (Journal of Christianity and World Languages, via Academia.edu)

Civic Freedom Monitor: China (June 9, 2017, The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law)
The Overseas NGO Management Law went into effect in January 2017. Foreign NGOs now have two ways to operate in the country: (1) register with the Ministry for Public Security (MPS) or (2) engage in “temporary activities”, which requires notification to the MPS. Both of these forms of activity require a foreign NGO to work with a local partner. The MPS has now registered around 90 foreign NGOs. This appears to fall well short of their expectations for the number of registrations. The impediment appears to be the unwillingness of many Chinese Professional Supervisory Units (PSUs) to vouch for foreign NGOs. It is also evidence of the fact that there remains considerable uncertainty around the implementation of the Overseas NGO Management Law.

Image credit: A Shanghai Wedding, by Drew Bates, 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