ZGBriefs | June 6, 2019

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Featured Article

Video: The legendary tale behind the Dragon Boat Festival  (June 5, 2019, Inkstone)
The Dragon Boat Festival falls on the fifth day of the fifth month on the traditional Chinese calendar. This year it's on June 7. These days, the occasion is celebrated by racing dragon boats and eating rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves. 

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Temporary Activities: the New Normal for International NGOs in China?  (May 14, 2019, China Development Brief)
While it remains complicated for overseas NGOs to register a representative office in China, conducting “temporary activities” is becoming a popular solution even for organizations that want to work in the country for the long-term. 

China’s Position on the China-US Economic and Trade Consultations: The Full Text of China’s White Paper  (June 3, 2019, China Law Blog)
If China actually believes what they wrote in this White Paper, the chances of their being a trade agreement are essentially zero.

Nine Lessons from the China Trade Negotiations  (June 3, 2019, National Review)
Having spent much of my professional life in Chinese trade negotiations and business development, I can relate that despite these twists and turns, much of what we are seeing is what we might expect — with one major exception. What are the takeaways from the talks?

Xi Jinping’s Visit to Russia Accents Ties in Face of Tensions with U.S.  (June 5, 2019, The New York Times)
President Xi Jinping of China arrived in Moscow on Wednesday at the start of a high-profile three-day state visit that will include some panda diplomacy and underscore the strengthening Beijing-Moscow axis at a time when relations for both with Washington continue to fray.

Video: Oriana Skylar Mastro on the U.S. and China: A New Cold War?  (June 5, 2019, National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, via YouTube)
Dr. Oriana Skylar Mastro of Georgetown University and the American Enterprise Institute explains why U.S. relations with China differ from those with the former Soviet Union, and why a new cold war might not be the worst outcome.

Rule of the rigid compromiser  (Spring 2019, Brookings)
President Xi Jinping’s populist leadership of China, six years on, has been a lesson in the art of mixing flexibility in tactics and rigidity in ideology—alongside the ultimate goal of growing his own power and that of China. Cheng Li and Diana Liang unpack Xi's domestic and foreign policies and highlight important takeaways for American analysts and policymakers around the world in their search for a more effective approach to China. 


The Christian Backstory of Hong Kong’s Pro-Democracy Protests  (May 30, 2019, Christianity Today)
In April, nine Hong Kong activists were convicted for participating in the pro-democracy Occupy Central and Umbrella Movement protests. One of those was a Baptist pastor, Chu Yiu-Ming.

The Challenge of Ethical Leadership in the Church  (June 3, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
We are reminded that all—even our leaders—“have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

A Story of Two Drug Addicts, Part 2  (June 4, 2019, Chinese Church Voices)
This moving article from Territory shares how one drug rehabilitation ministry has impacted the lives of drug addicts in China. Qiu Han tells the faith stories of Huang Feng-hua and Bao-ling, two former drug addicts who also battled cancer. 

What to Do with Few Church Workers in Rural Church ?  (June 5, 2019, China Christian Daily)
Most of the urban churches attract young intellectuals, while the number of believers left behind in rural areas is dominated by middle-aged and old people, young and middle-aged women with lower levels of education, and children. Although they appear to be unremarkable, their number, if all added up, also takes a considerable amount of ministry effort.

A Tour of Three-Self Churches: Kunming—Trinity International Church  (June 5, ChinaSource Blog)
In the summer of 2011 I spent about two months traversing China from Kunming in the south to Hegang near the Russian border in the north. The purpose was to visit registered churches in a total of 22 cities and to interview pastors in those churches. I kept a journal in which I recorded information from my interviews and descriptions of what I saw and experienced of China along the way. 

Questions remain despite Vatican-China agreement on bishop appointments  (June 5, 2019, Angelus)
Mosher called on the Vatican to make terms of the agreement public so that it is clear what the Chinese government and Vatican officials have agreed to carry out while revealing the leading role of the Communist Party's United Front Department in naming bishops.

Our Lady of Beijing: China awaiting Christ  (June 5, 2019, Malaysia Herald)
The Church of the Assumption in Beijing is located inside the Russian embassy compound in the Chinese capital, and is the only Russian church in Beijing.

Xinjiang’s vanishing mosques highlight pressure on China’s Muslims as Ramadan ends with a whimper  (June 5, 2019, South China Morning Post)
While Muslims around the world celebrated the end of Ramadan with prayers and festivities this week, the recent destruction of dozens of mosques in Xinjiang highlights the increasing pressure Uygurs and other ethnic minorities face in the heavily policed region.

Society / Life

Why are Chinese workers so unpopular in Southeast Asia?  (June 1, 2019, South China Morning Post)
For decades Chinese migrants have sought refuge from upheavals at home by building new lives and businesses across Southeast Asia. But as a new breed of overseas worker from an ascendant China ruffles feathers, a fresh backlash threatens to derail their immigrant dreams.

Badiucao: Chinese dissident cartoonist revealed  (June 4, 2019, BBC)
After years of anonymity, one of China’s leading dissident cartoonists has revealed his identity to the BBC.

Economics / Trade / Business

What Exactly Is the Story with China’s Rare Earths?  (May 31, 2019, China File)
What does this mean for U.S. industries, and how should American policymakers respond? And what lessons can be learned from the 2010 trade spat between China and Japan?

Want to Keep Your Business in China? Do These Things NOW  (May 31, 2019, China Law Blog)
China today announced that it will be ridding China of unreliable people and companies. What exactly does this mean for your company if it is doing business in China?

China Has Whole Towns Focused Entirely on Making Electric Cars  (June 2, 2019, Bloomberg)
Shunde is one of at least 20 electric-centric versions of Detroit under construction as China goes all-in on a technology projected to sell in record numbers this year. 

Life in the Wake of Hainan’s Clam Shell Clampdown  (June 3, 2019, Sixth Tone)
After a province-wide ban on clam shell sales wiped out a thriving local industry, sellers in one coastal town had to choose: close up shop or move underground.

Your Guide to Starting a Business in China  (June 3, 2019, The Beijinger)
Starting a business in China comes with its own particular challenges, from company designations to management practices. This simple guide is intended as a brief primer on all the elements you’ll need to consider to get your dream business off the ground!

Four charts show how much China's economy has changed in 30 years  (June 4, 2019, CNBC)
In 30 years, China has morphed from having a primarily agrarian population to a nation of city dwellers. This has come about in tandem with the consolidation of a once diverse, small-farm agricultural tradition, and a boom in the number of migrants who have settled in the country's economic centers.

Why Cash Is Quickly Disappearing From China's Economy—Data Sheet  (June 5, 2019, Fortune)
I’m just back from a few days in Beijing where I marveled anew at how modern China is a becoming a post-money society. I don’t mean post-material society; in today’s China, people still care immensely about wealth: who has how much of it, how they got it, how they spend it. But it’s so two-years-ago for anyone to bother with actual money, those little scraps of paper adorned with the portrait of Chairman Mao.

Row over Chinese coal plant near Kenya World Heritage site of Lamu  (June 5, 2019, BBC)
Campaigners in Kenya who fear their country is turning its back on its green goals are hoping to stop construction of a coal plant that would increase greenhouse gas emissions by 700%.

The Age of ‘Chimerica’ Is Coming to an End  (June 5, 2019, The Atlantic)
By cutting off Huawei from U.S. technology, the Trump administration is forever changing the relationship between the world’s largest economies.

Rumors and Facts Regarding Foreign Companies Doing Business in China or With China  (June 5, 2019, China Law Blog)
My panel was mostly tasked with conveying what we were seeing/hearing about how China was treating U.S. companies in response to the US-China Trade War and how U.S. companies were reacting to both China’s treatment and to the Trade War. In my talk, I focused on what our China lawyers were hearing about China’s treatment of foreign companies, true or false. 


How Chinese universities are tackling plagiarism – and is it working?  (June 2, 2019, South China Morning Post)
Tertiary institutions are setting limits on the amount of material that students can duplicate in dissertations. Some academics have doubts, saying there should be a zero-tolerance policy on plagiarism

Pushing For Academic Freedom In China  (June 3, 2019, NPR)
Some people have a foot in the U.S. and China. We visit Duke University's satellite campus in China. The vice chancellor, an American, allows debate — knowing the Communist Party is active on campus.

Chinese Students Are Under Suspicion In China And The U.S.  (June 4, 2019, NPR)
As trade and other tensions mount between the United States and China, some Chinese students studying in America say they feel they're increasingly under suspicion.

Health / Environment

Over a Third of China’s Babies Are Delivered via C-Section – The National Health Commission Wants to Change That  (June 3, 2019, What’s on Weibo)
China’s National Health Commission wants to lower the nation’s high C-section rates. On Chinese social media, many women argue it should be up to the mother to decide how she wants to give birth.

Swine fever to hit pork market for years to come as millions of pigs are culled, say experts  (June 4, 2019, South China Morning Post)
Millions of pigs have been culled as African Swine Fever cuts through China and beyond, devastating global food chains, with pork prices expected to soar from the food markets of Hong Kong to American dinner tables.

Science / Technology

China launches rocket from Yellow Sea platform for first time  (June 5, 2019, The Guardian)
The Long March 11 rocket blasted off from a launch pad onboard a commercial ship in the Yellow Sea off the coast of Shandong province – the 306th Long March rocket launch, but the first one at sea. China is the third country after the US and Russia to master sea launch technology.

History / Culture

Tiananmen Square: What happened in the protests of 1989?  (June 4, 2019, BBC)
Thirty years ago, Beijing's Tiananmen Square became the focus for large-scale protests, which were crushed by China's Communist rulers. The events produced one of the most iconic photos of the 20th Century – a lone protester standing in front of a line of army tanks.

A collection: Shanghai in 1985  (Everyday Life in Maoist China)

Travel / Food

Chinese Tourism To U.S. Is Down After Years Of Booming Growth  (May 31, 2019, NPR)
Nationwide, the number of visitors from China fell in 2018 for the first time since 2003 — down by 5.7%, according to data to be released on Friday by the National Travel and Tourism Office. 

Finger-lickin’ Memories  (May 31, 2019, The World of Chinese)
On November 20, 1987, the world’s largest Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant opened just south of Tiananmen Square, attracting thousands: Even with three floors of seating, there was reportedly a 100-meter line out the door. Beijinger Li Pan was 7 when her parents first took her to the Tiananmen KFC in 1990. After one bite, she was hooked on the crunchy chicken and addictive sauce.

China issues US travel warning over 'shootings'  (June 5, 2019, BBC)
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism warned of threats such as robbery and gun violence, state media said. China's foreign ministry also said US law enforcement agencies have been "harassing" its citizens with interrogation.

Park Life: Everything You Need to Know About Temple of Heaven  (June 5, 2019, The Beijinger)
Not really a single temple, the Temple of Heaven (天坛公园 tiāntán gōngyuán) is an altar complex with a history dating back to the early 15th century. Like most sites in Beijing, it has been remodeled several times. 

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Top 3 Much-Anticipated Chinese TV Dramas (2019)  (May 30, 2019, What’s on Weibo)
Featuring talented directors and popular superstars, these are some much-anticipated Chinese TV dramas to keep an eye on this year.

China’s New World Media Order  (June 3, 2019, Project Syndicate)
Today, the regime is proudly promoting its authoritarian model around the world. The new world media order that it is attempting to build is less well-known than the Belt and Road Initiative, but just as ambitious.

Language / Language Learning

Graded Readers at 150 Characters  (June 1, 2019, Sinosplice)
This is just a quick note that Mandarin Companion has released its “Breakthrough Level,” a series of graded readers requiring only 150 simple characters to read.

Pleco: Review of the English/Chinese Dictionary for iOS and Android Smartphones  (June 1, 2019, Sapore di Cina)
Pleco is an English/Chinese dictionary application available for iOS and Android devices from a company founded in May 2000 by the American Michael Love.

Chinese language jokes  (June 3, 2019, Language Log)
These are jokes circulating on the Chinese internet.  Not all of them have to do with Chinese languages per se in the narrowest sense.


7 Reasons I Liked “China: A History” (and 1 Warning)  (May 29, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
Visually enticing, this book is a page-turner because the maps, graphics, and photos are well laid out, creating a sense of “what is next.”

A Summer Reading List from Our Contributors  (May 31, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
You know what they say . . . summer is for reading. We reached out to some of our friends and contributors and asked for their recommendations on books to read this summer. Here’s the list!

Links for Researchers

Chinese Theological Review 29 available for download  (June 3, 2019, Amity Foundation)
The electronic issue of the Chinese Theological Review Volume 29 is available for download.

New Report on Youth Activists in China  (June 4, 2019, China File)
The China Youth Activists Development Concern Group (中国青年行动者发展关注组) recently released a report detailing the obstacles facing young Chinese who are involved in socially progressive, non-governmental organizations. The report, titled “Report on Current Situation Facing Chinese Youth Activists,” relies on in-person interviews with 36 youth activists conducted in March 2018, and it focuses on “activists who had already experienced some form of suppression.”

Full text: China’s Position on the China-US Economic and Trade Consultations  (June 2, 2019, The State Council of the People’s Republic of China)
China’s State Council Information Office on June 2 published a white paper titled “China’s Position on the Economic and Trade Consultations.”

Image credit: Joann Pittman, Outside-In
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