ZGBriefs | May 12, 2016

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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

China’s Twilight Years (June 2016, The Atlantic)
Not so long ago, conventional wisdom in China held that the country’s economy would soon overtake America’s in size, achieving a GDP perhaps double or triple that of the U.S. later this century. As demographic reality sets in, however, some Chinese experts now say that the country’s economic output may never match that of the U.S.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Uyghur Given 7-Year Prison Term For Viewing Muslim Film (May 9, 2016, Radio Free Asia)
Authorities in northwestern China’s troubled Xinjiang region have handed a seven-year prison term to an ethnic Ugyhur for watching a politically sensitive film on Muslim migration, sources in the region said.

Cultural Revolution concert fuels China power struggle rumours (May 10, 2016, The Guardian)
The Mao-themed extravaganza was held in early May at the Great Hall of the People, a colossal granite edifice in Tiananmen Square that hosts China’s most important political events. Online footage of the spectacular showed giant images of Mao and the current president, Xi Jinping, being projected over the stage as dozens of choristers performed revolutionary “red songs” harking back to the days of Mao.

China scrambles jets as US Navy tests navigation near disputed island (May 10, 2016, Christian Science Monitor)
China scrambled fighter jets on Tuesday as a U.S. navy ship sailed close to a disputed reef in the South China Sea, a patrol China denounced as an illegal threat to peace which only went to show its defense installations in the area were necessary.

Ahead of inauguration, China says Taiwan to blame for any crisis (May 11, 2016, Reuters)
Taiwan's new government will be to blame for any crisis with China that erupts once it assumes office, Beijing said on Wednesday, heaping on the pressure ahead of the inauguration of a new president from a pro-independence party.

WATCH: A Day Of British Diplomatic Honesty Caught On Camera (May 11, 2016, NPR)
First, British Prime Minister David Cameron was caught on camera Tuesday saying, "We've got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain," ahead of this week's anti-corruption summit. […]  Then, in a separate exchange at the palace that day, the queen is taped describing Chinese officials as "very rude."


Business as Mission or Business as Blessing? (May 6, 2016, From the West Courtyard)
Gary and Nora prefer to use the term “business for blessing” to describe how they operate their businesses in China, pointing out that in Chinese the character that is usually translated as “blessing” (福) is not so much a religious term as one that conveys the meaning of benefit. Businesses that are run by Christians should seek, not just to complete a task, but to bless customers, employees, and communities.

House Church Leader Li Tian'en Dies in Shanghai (May 10, 2016, Chinese Church Voices)
On May 5, the mainland news site China Christian Daily reported on the death of Pastor Li Tian’en, one of China’s most famous house church leaders. Here is their article, in full.

Chinese bishop who was persecuted for his faith dies aged 90 (May 10, 2016, Christian Today)
A Chinese bishop who refused to join a government organisation set up to monitor Catholics has died aged 90. […]  According to the Herald Malaysia, locals described him as a "much loved pastor, who managed to keep the faith and fidelity to the Pope, while trying to deal with the government".

Stewardship Resources for China (May 11, 2016, From the West Courtyard)
The growing discussion on this topic within China’s Christian community highlights some of the tensions that have arisen as the church becomes more visible and its members demand greater transparency in financial matters.

Society / Life

Megalophobia (April 30, 2016, The Economist)
The governments of both cities have been deluged with complaints about pressures on transport, schools and hospitals. Their response has been to strike at those most easily displaced: rural migrants whose household-registration papers, or hukou, make them ineligible for urban benefits such as social housing or subsidised health care and education.  

Reinventing China's abortion police (May 4, 2016, BBC)
They caused heartache for millions but now some of China's hated population police – who for years enforced China's one-child policy, ordering families to have abortions or pay huge fines – have a new job.

The Shengnu Dilemma: (Don’t) Marry Before You’re 30 (May 5, 2016, What’s on Weibo)
With best-selling books like ‘Don Not Marry Before You’re 30’ (30岁前别结婚) and ‘You Should Marry Before You’re 30’ (30岁前要结婚) hitting the Chinese market, the dilemma of China’s ‘leftover women’ consistently is a hot topic in China’s current popular culture.

Generational Conflict In Hainan (May 5, 2016, The World of Chinese)
China’s answer to Florida is the Island province of Hainan. As a warm, southern location, it’s particularly popular among elderly during the harsh winter months. As such, it’s spawned the term “migratory bird elderly (候鸟老人 hòuniǎo lǎorén)” to refer to these elderly who often purchase temporary homes where they can spend those winter months.

Ordos Fable (May 7, 2016, The World of Chinese)
Older generations like my grandparents relied on farming and animal husbandry for a living, whereas, traditionally, the Mongolian people lived mainly by ancient herding traditions.

Video: In Sichuan Province, an Artisan Retreats to China’s Past (May 8, 2016, The New York Times)
His answer to China’s materialistic society has been to retreat to this village, Mingyue, on the outskirts of Chengdu, where he cultivates a simple life. Ironically, perhaps, he survives by selling the clothing he dyes to the same people he considers too materialistic.

Window Plummets from 76th Floor of Shanghai Tower, Injuring Tesla Driver (May 9, 2016, China Real Time)
Workers changing a damaged window 76 stories above dropped the 2.4-meter-by-1.2-meter (7.9-foot-by-3.9-foot) pane, which plummeted down and shattered on Dongtai Road, a Shanghai Tower spokeswoman told China Real Time in a statement.

China Fujian landslide: 41 missing under rubble (May 9, 2016, BBC)
At least 41 construction workers are missing after a landslide buried their dormitory under rocks and mud in China, state media report. The landslide hit early on Sunday at a site in Fujian province's Taining county, where a hydropower project was being built, Xinhua news agency said.

60% of career women say no to second child, report finds (May 9, 2016, China Daily)
Nearly 60 percent of working mothers in China don't want to have a second child, according to a report on the nation's career women. It comes as Sunday marked the first Mother's Day following the relaxation of the four-decade family planning policy in January to allow all couples to have a second child.

China's Middle-Class Anxieties (May 10, 2016, The New York Times)
The capital flight is a sign of how the Chinese have become more insecure about their future. Economic insecurity adds to the standing list of worries about daily life that includes pollution and tainted food and water. The recent discovery that millions of compromised vaccines were given to children has further incensed the public.

China’s Booming Wedding Photography Industry (May 10, 2016, What’s on Weibo)
Wedding photography is a thriving business in today’s China. While Chinese celebrity weddings are becoming more extravagant year on year, ordinary couples have now also caught the pre-wedding shoot fever.

Story of cities #39: Shenzhen – from rural village to the world's largest megalopolis (May 10, 2016, The Guardian)
When Leo Houng arrived in Shenzhen in 1974, it was an unremarkable Chinese settlement that ‘smelled of countryside’. Since then, he has witnessed the city rise up at a bewildering rate – with little regard for the families caught in its path.

The great leap upward: China's Pearl River Delta, then and now (May 10, 2016, The Guardian)
The Pearl River Delta has witnessed the most rapid urban expansion in human history – a predominantly agricultural region transformed into the world’s largest continuous city. By revisiting the sites of rare archive images of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Macau from the 1940s through 1990s, our photographers have documented this staggering change

Province seeks 'migratory' seniors (May 10, 2016, China Daily)
China's northeastern province is aiming to position itself as a summer destination for the elderly in a bid to boost tourism income and revive its economy.

Economics / Trade / Business

China’s global economic impact is no longer state-owned (May 4, 2016, East Asia Forum)
But while some of China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are very large and powerful companies at home, China’s private sector has a bigger impact on the global economy.

China Institutes New Student Intern Rules (May 7, 2016, China Law Blog)
This post highlights a few key aspects of these new Measures, with a focus on how they might impact you as a China employer.

Chinese economy: exports fall by 2% and imports by 11% in April (May 8, 2016, The Guardian)
China’s exports slumped nearly 2% in April compared with the same month last year, as imports fell almost 11%, officials said on Sunday, the latest sign of weakness in the world’s second largest economy.

China’s Uber Headache: How Ride Hailing Apps Have Enraged Taxi Operators, Delighted Consumers, And Challenged China’s Government (May 9, 2016, International Business Times)
Using a private car to offer paid rides remains illegal in China. What Charlie Zhang — and hundreds of thousands of other drivers like him — is doing is effectively a form of mass civil disobedience.

Investigation finds Baidu's objectivity compromised by profit model (May 9, 2016, Xinhua)
The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) on Monday demanded an overhaul of China's leading search-engine Baidu following an investigation. The CAC said Baidu relied excessively on profits from paid listings in search results, and did not clearly label such listings as the result of commercial promotion, compromising the objectivity and impartiality of search results.

Whither China’s Economy? Parsing a Twofer From the People’s Daily (May 11, 2016, China Real Time)
Two quick salvos from China’s official People’s Daily newspaper this week have left investors wondering who is steering China’s economic ship and how tight their grip is on the controls.

U.S. Challenges China Over Chicken as Trade Friction Rises (May 11, 2016, China Real Time)
The Obama administration filed a trade complaint against China on Tuesday over access to the Asian giant’s market for U.S. chicken, the latest friction point in an election year that is casting a harsh light on U.S. economic ties with China.


Riot police deployed as teachers in central China stage protest over unpaid wages (May 6, 2016, South China Morning Post)
The protest started on Tuesday after teachers from a county in Hengyang in Hunan province claimed the local government had failed to pay their full wages, subsidies and social welfare insurance contributions, the news website Guancha.cn reported.

China calls for more school sports (May 9, 2016, China Daily)
Chinese students have long complained about a lack of time for sports due to pressure to do well on exams, as parents of the country's one-child generations believe academic success can determine a family's future. That may change thanks to a new guideline on promoting sports on campus. The guideline, released on Friday by the State Council, China's cabinet, explicitly said schools must guarantee students have enough time for sports.

Health / Environment

Breast cancer deaths fall, but cases rising (May 9, 2016, China Daily)
The breast cancer mortality rate has started to fall in China, thanks to improved early detection and treatment, according to a leading specialist – but the disease is still on the rise. […]  Last year, there were 272,000 newly detected cases, according to the cancer registry. If the trend continues, China can expect to have 2.5 million breast cancer patients by 2021, with the incidence rate increasing to 100 people in every 100,000.

Science / Technology

The New York Times vs. The Chinese Authorities (May 7, 2016, Great Fire)
Quietly, the New York Times is helping to enable the end of censorship in China, and preparing to take advantage of a free and open media in a post-censorship China. In this regard, they are unique amongst their peers – no other media organization has shown anywhere near the same level of determination. Some might call it stubbornness.

Say Goodbye to Privacy When Surfing China’s Internet (May 11, 2016, Sixth Tone)
But when it comes to privacy issues, China’s Internet giants are failing. According to the 2015 Corporate Accountability Index by Ranking Digital Rights, a non-profit research initiative, Tencent ranked extremely poorly with regard to user privacy, and placed 13 out of the 16 tech companies surveyed. Baidu and Alibaba weren’t included in the survey.

History / Culture

East Asian art prof documents early Chinese mosques (Penn Currant)
Research by Nancy Steinhardt, chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, shows that mosques, and ultimately Islam, have survived in China because the Chinese architectural system is adaptable.

Newly Released Documents Detail Traumas Of China's Cultural Revolution (May 5, 2016, NPR)
Historian Frank Dikötter says newly opened archives offer fresh details about the chaos China experienced in the 1960s, when Chairman Mao urged students to take to the streets.

Traditional opera in rural China – in pictures (May 6, 2016, The Guardian)

Obituary: Harry Wu: Beyond the wire (May 7, 2016, The Economist)
Americans in the mid-1980s knew almost nothing of mainland China except, increasingly, its trade potential. Stories of the Chinese gulag were the province of right-wing think-tanks, such as the Hoover Institution, and right-wing congressmen. Many thought he was exaggerating the horrors, or being soft on criminals who deserved it.

Fifty years on, one of Mao’s ‘little generals’ exposes horror of the Cultural Revolution (May 7, 2016, The Guardian)
Fifty years after the start of the Cultural Revolution, in May 1966, Yu, who is now 64, has been blogging her memories of the period in a bid to prevent history repeating itself.

Kublai Khan's Palace May Be Underneath the Forbidden City (May 8, 2016, The Beijinger)
Beihai Park and the white dagoba that is the park's main landmark have long been believed to be part of Kublai Khan's palace. But archaeologists digging within the Palace Museum, as the Forbidden City complex is now officially known, have found the foundations of another palatial structure inside what is the world's largest palace complex.

The Cultural Revolution at 50: A Round-up of Resources (May 9, 2016, From the West Courtyard)
To many working in China today—a land of skyscrapers, shopping malls, and high- speed trains—the Cultural Revolution may seem like ancient and irrelevant history. That is not the case, however, since the scars left on Chinese society, politics, and individuals remain today.

‘There Still Linger a Number of Ghosts’: An Interview on the Cultural Revolution (May 9, 2016, Commonweal Magazine)
From my perspective, however, there still linger a number of ghosts. The crimes that were committed in the utopian name of the greater good have not been properly worked through.

We must confront our dark past of the Cultural Revolution to avoid repeating it, says Chinese novelist Yan Lianke (May 9, 2016, South China Morning Post)
“The more we talk about it and the more critical are our reflections on it, the more China will progress for the better. But China will go backwards if we keep avoiding the subject.”

A large collection: The Cultural Revolution in Tibet (May 9, 2016, Everyday Life in Mao’s China)

The Cultural Revolution: all you need to know about China's political convulsion (May 10, 2016, The Guardian)
Fifty years ago one of the bloodiest eras in Chinese history began, in which as many as two million people died. But who started it and what was it for?

Q. and A.: Jeremy Brown on the Cultural Revolution at the Grass Roots (May 10, 2016, The New York Times)
Intellectuals write books and their experiences do matter. But we tend to forget how the majority of people lived.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Video: Tightrope walking contest held in China (May 8, 2016, BBC)
The third International Highline Tightrope Walking Tournament has been taking place in eastern China. Sixteen daredevils from all around the world took part, as Tim Allman reports.

Football in China: Meet the people turning government's dream into reality (May 9, 2016, BBC)
China wants to be a "world football superpower" by 2050 and aims to develop a national team capable of winning the World Cup. So who are the people shaping that government-led vision? And how are they setting about making a bold declaration become a reality? BBC Sport travelled the country to meet them.

Video: Shanghai Disneyland Test Run Ahead of June Opening (May 9, 2016, China Real Time)
Walt Disney’s sixth theme park world-wide and first in mainland China drew large crowds for a test run starting May 7, about six weeks before the official opening.

Travel / Food

Photos: Xinjiang-Tibet Highway: One of the world's highest motorable roads (May 4, 2016, Xinhua)

If China Builds It, Will the Arab World Come? (May 5, 2016, China File)
Yinchuan, situated on the loess-covered floodplain of the Yellow River in the autonomous region of Ningxia, nearly 600 miles west of Beijing and far from China’s booming coastal cities, is a peculiar destination for international tourists. But that remoteness has not deterred Chinese officials from pouring resources into a quixotic plan to turn the city into a “cultural tourism destination” for wealthy Arabs.

Thousands visit birthplace of Chairman Mao – in pictures (May 6, 2016, The Guardian)
Visitors flock to Shaoshan in Hunan province, celebrated as the birthplace of Mao Zedong, founding father of the People’s Republic of China. The small rural town is the centrepiece of ‘red tourism’, which focuses on sites with historical importance to the Communist party.

All Aboard Beijing's 'Flying Saucer' – If You Dare (May 9, 2016, The Beijinger)
If you have a head for heights, then Beijing has a new challenge for you: the world’s largest (and perhaps scariest) glass-bottomed viewing platform has opened at the Shilinxia Scenic Area.

Self-Guided Biking Tour of Dali [Downloadable Map] (May 11, 2016, Wild China Blog)
Grab your camera and get ready to see our favorite parts of Dali on this self-guided biking tour. Download the map to begin your own Dali adventure.

Language / Language Learning

Beginner’s Guide to Chinese History #1: The Periodization of Ancient Chinese History (May 5, 2016, carlgene.com)
I’m creating this podcast for Chinese learners who want to learn a bit about Chinese history. Each podcast provides a concise, easy-to-understand introduction to a particular aspect of Chinese history. It is also a useful resource for listening practice, as I’ve asked my friends to speak clearly and at a slow pace. I promise that no “big words” will be used – all the content is in layman’s terms, and is considered common knowledge in China.

Why you should start blogging in Chinese today (May 10, 2016, Hacking Chinese)
In this article, I’m going to suggest that you start blogging in Chinese. This will make it easier for people who want to help you and you can also use it as benchmarking later. It doesn’t matter how much  you write or what you write about, just do it!

Xinhua Dictionary chronicles China's changes (May 11, 2016, China Daily)
In China, there is a book that is as popular as the Bible in the West, and its popularity has persisted for decades. Last month, the Guinness World Records recognized the Xinhua Dictionary, published by China's Commercial Press, as the "most popular dictionary" and the "best-selling regularly updated book."


The Untold Story of Olympic Champion Eric Liddell (May 6, 2016, The Gospel Coalition)
Since 1981 there have been a handful of biographies of Liddell. All describe the 1924 Olympics. Many also highlight the story after 1924, when Liddell eschewed glory and riches and opted instead to join his father and mother in China as a missionary. Most of these biographies are devotional and intended for an evangelical audience. With Duncan Hamilton’s For The Glory: Eric Liddell’s Journey from Olympic Champion to Modern Martyr, however, we have a full-length, mass-market biography of Liddell.

Writing China: Rob Schmitz, ‘Street of Eternal Happiness’ (May 11, 2016, China Real Time)
In his new book, “Street of Eternal Happiness,” Rob Schmitz delves into the story of the Wangs and others like them whose lives provide a glimpse of the seismic changes taking place in modern China.

Chinese Grammar Wiki BOOK: Elementary (Amazon.com)

Links for Researchers

Mutual intelligibility of Chinese dialects experimentally tested  (Science Direct)
We argue that mutual intelligibility testing is an adequate way to determine how different two languages or language varieties are. We tested the mutual intelligibility of 15 Chinese dialects functionally at the level of isolated words (word-intelligibility) and the level of sentences (sentence intelligibility).

Journal of Chinese Religions (Taylor & Francis Online)

Image credit: by Joann Pittman, via Flickr
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