ZGBriefs | May 14, 2015

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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.

Featured Article

Chinese Province Issues Draft Regulation on Church Crosses (May 8, 2015, The New York Times)
In painstaking detail, the 36-page directive sets out strict guidelines for where and how churches in Zhejiang can display crosses. They must be placed on the facades of buildings, not above them. They must be of a color that blends into the building, not one that stands out. And they must be small: no more than one-tenth the height of the building’s facade.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Xi stands with Putin on 'Victory Day.' Can Russia play a China card? (+video) (May 8, 2015, Christian Science Monitor)
President Xi Jinping is the only major head of state attending Saturday's WWII anniversary celebration in Moscow. And Russia and China increasingly share commercial interests and perspectives. Yet is Xi bringing what Putin wants?

A Slow Death? China’s Draft Foreign NGO Management Law (May 10, 2015, China Law and Policy)
With the proposed layers of government control and final oversight by the China’s Public Security Bureaus (“PSB”), NGO work will become extremely difficult if the law is enacted in its current form.  While foreign NGOs will feel the initial pinch, the true victims will be the Chinese people.

5 Challenges Facing Taiwan (May 10, 2015, China Real Time)
Taiwan has a vibrant democracy, but the island is still regarded by Beijing as a runaway province that should reunite with China. As such, Taiwan’s president faces a balancing act by trying to please an electorate that is wary of China while getting the benefits of economic ties with the mainland without giving in to political pressure. I

One Step Closer to an NGO Law (May 11, 2015, ChinaSource Blog)
As anyone who works in or deals with China on a regular basis knows, so much of life and work operates in a gray area – that space which can often be described as “neither legal nor illegal” since there are not yet laws governing the space or activity. 

The Sleeper Issue of 2016 Is China (May 11, 2015, Politico)
China and Asia more generally have thus far been almost entirely absent from political discourse over the future of American foreign policy. Over the next months this is likely to change on the campaign trail.

The rule of law and China’s one-party state (May 11, 2015, East Asia Forum)
While the world now appears to accept and acknowledge the campaign to entrench the rule of law in China, many outside (as well as inside) China are still struggling to understand the meaning of this campaign and what the implications of President Xi Jinping’s success in achieving this goal might mean for how the Chinese political system works and for the relationship between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Chinese state.

5 Things About the South China Sea Dispute (May 13, 2015, The Wall Street Journal)
Six governments–China, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and the Philippines—claim the waters, islands, reefs and atolls in whole or in part, making the area a potential flashpoint.

Chinese police order Yining residents to hand in passports in latest crackdown (May 13, 2015, The Guardian)
A district of 5 million people in China’s restive far west has demanded that residents hand in their passports to the police for indefinite safekeeping, the latest government crackdown in an area where Beijing has declared a “people’s war” on violent separatists.


Going Deeper: Serious Tools for Serious Study (May 8, 2015, ChinaSource Blog)
Since returning to China after an absence of several years, one of the things that has most impressed me has been the increase in availability of high quality reference tools for serious Bible study in Chinese.

To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice: A Sermon (May 12, 2015, Chinese Church Voices)
Here at Chinese Church Voices, we often highlight articles written by Christians and posted on various websites, blogs, and/or micro-blogs. This week, however, we have translated a sermon by Pastor Chen, of the Fangshan Church in Beijing. 

Chinese church holds pro-life protest (May 12, 2015, World Magazine)
For about 10 minutes on Saturday, young men and women stood in front of major hospitals in Chengdu, China, holding up red pro-life banners and graphic photos of abortion. After snapping a few photos and capturing the attention of a few passersby, the groups quickly left to keep ahead of local police officers who likely would have arrested them.

Society / Life

Picture: The Chinese Art of the Crowd (May 6, 2015, The Atlantic)
After viewing news photographs from China for years, one of my favorite visual themes is "large crowd formations."  Whether the subject is military parades or world-record attempts, mass exercises or enormous performances, the images are frequently remarkable. 

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (May 6, 2015, China File)
Taishi kangyi,” or “carrying the corpse to protest,” is a practice with deep roots in Chinese history. Since late imperial times, people have employed it when judicial systems failed to provide a reliable channel of redress for injustice. These days, corpses are dragged into all manner of disputes involving medical malpractices, forced housing demolitions, vendor’s tussles with local patrols, and compensations for workplace accidents. 

Shanghai Tower: A Crown For The City's Futuristic Skyline (May 11, 2015, NPR)
Shanghai is one of the world's most vertical cities, a metropolis where 50-story buildings are routine. At night, the cityscape is so cinematic, it has been featured in both James Bond and Mission Impossible films. This year, Shanghai Tower, the world's second-tallest building, will open and put an exclamation point on Shanghai's futuristic skyline. The structure, which measures 2,073 feet, is loaded with symbolism.

Internet changes community life in China (May 11, 2015, Xinhua)
The Internet is changing community life in China, making it possible for residents to order fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and even complete meals that are delivered directly to their door steps.

Chinese Billionaire Takes Over 6,000 Employees on a Trip to France (May 11, 2015, Sinosphere)
The 6,400 workers for a China-based Amway-style multinational conglomerate, the Tiens Group, were enjoying a four-day trip to France and Monaco last week courtesy of their multibillionaire boss, who booked 84 airplanes, more than 200 entire hotels and dozens of trains on a vacation to celebrate the company’s 20th anniversary.

Who Is Coming to America? Increasingly, Chinese Students and Indian 20-Somethings (May 12, 2015, China Real Time)
Recent U.S. immigrants from China were more likely to be college-aged in 2011 to 2013 than in 2005 to 2007, according to a Census study presented this month at the Population Association of America’s annual demography conference. 

At The Genghis Khan Grand Prix In China's Most Famous 'Ghost City' (May 12, 2015, Huffington Post)
Riders and drivers have come from around the country to race in the grand prix and party in the city of Ordos, a place where all proportions are a bit off-kilter. 

Banishing Ghosts But Looking for Life: A Chinese Ghost City Two Years On (May 13, 2015, China Real Time)
Old Tieling is a city of about 340,000. Plans for a new Tieling were launched by the local government in 2005. When the Wall Street Journal visited in early 2013, it was the model of a ghost city. Two years later, the city is starting to look more lively.

China Announces Special 3-Day September Holiday to Mark 70th Anniversary of End of WWII (May 13, 2015, The Beijinger)
China's State Council on Wednesday announced a three-day holiday set for September 3-5 to mark the 70th anniversary of the surrender of Japan and the end of World War II. 


Education ministry vows to abolish administrative ranks at universities (May 10, 2015, Xinhua)
The Ministry of Education vowed to abolish administrative ranks at universities and colleges, to cut bureaucracy and guarantee professionalism. It said that administrative power and academic power should be separated to stop intervention by university leadership.

Health / Environment

China to increase health care subsidies, deepen reform (May 9, 2015, Reuters)
China will increase its healthcare subsidies by 19 percent this year as part of efforts to deepen social reforms and strengthen safety nets, the government said on Saturday. Government healthcare subsidies for qualified urban and rural residents will be raised to 380 yuan ($61.21), from 320 yuan last year, the cabinet said in a statement posted on the website of the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

Chinese doctors perform over 300 operations in Nepal (May 13, 2015, Xinhua)
A Chinese medical relief team has performed 321 procedures, and treated 1,832 injured people in Nepal, according to an official with China's health authority. There are 133 Chinese medical relief workers in Nepal offering treatment, training and epidemic prevention, said Song Shuli, spokeswoman for the National Health and Family Planning Commission, at a press conference on Wednesday.

Drug users exceed 14m in China (May 11, 2015, China Daily)
China had 2.95 million registered drug users by the end of 2014, but the actual number is estimated to be in excess of 14 million, according to China National Narcotics Control Commission (NNCC) on Monday. The number of synthetic drug users has seen an average annual rise of 36 percent over the past years, reaching 1.46 million in 2014.

Hotline to help enforce Beijing smoking ban (May 13, 2015, BBC)
The authorities in Beijing have set up a hotline for residents to report anyone flouting a new smoking ban, it's reported. In June, rules come into force which prohibit smoking in all the capital's indoor public spaces, workplaces and on public transport. 

Economics / Trade / Business

The Economic Legacy of China’s One-Child Policy (May 6, 2015, Triple Threat)
The economic legacy of the One-Child policy is an aging population that has reduced the productive base, as fewer working-age individuals are available to support an increasing number of dependents.

Why China's slowdown matters (May 8, 2015, BBC)
After a long period of stunning growth, China's economy is now slowing. The economy grew at an average rate of 10% a year for the three decades up to 2010. It has slowed markedly. Last year, the Chinese economy grew 7.4%. The International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s most recent forecast is 6.8% for this year and 6.3% for 2016. So why is this significant?

Accused of Spying for China, Until She Wasn’t (May 9, 2015, The New York Times)
Mrs. Chen, 59, an adoptive Midwesterner who had received awards for her government service, was now suspected of being a Chinese spy. She was arrested and led in handcuffs past her co-workers to a federal courthouse 40 miles away in Dayton, where she was told she faced 25 years in prison and $1 million in fines.

China Has Become the World’s Biggest Crude Oil Importer for the First Time (May 11, 2015, TIME)
China is now the largest importer of crude oil in the world. In April, it surpassed the U.S., which has traditionally held the slot, with imports of 7.4 million barrels per day (bpd) or 200,000 more than the U.S., according to the Financial Times.

China's smartphone market slows in the first quarter (May 11, 2015, BBC)
Smartphone shipments to the world's biggest market, China, have contracted for the first time in six years, according to market research firm IDC. The number of smartphones shipped fell by 4% from a year ago to 98.8 million units in the January to March period. 

Chinese Maternity Tourists and the Business of Being Born American (May 13, 2015, Bloomberg)
Inside the Homeland Security crackdown on deluxe services helping Chinese women have American babies.

Science / Technology

China to improve Internet speed, cut fees (May 13, 2015, Xinhua)
The State Council, China's cabinet, pledged faster broadband and lower price for Internet services on Wednesday. China will accelerate construction of a high-speed network with cheaper charges so as to improve people's livelihood, support "Internet Plus" and foster new growth impetus, according to a statement released after a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

Harnessing the Mekong or Killing It? (May 2015, National Geographic)
Boontom is the leader of Ban Pak Ing, a scattering of cinder block houses and unpaved streets that reach from the precipitous west bank of the Mekong toward a quiet, well-cared-for Buddhist temple. Twenty years ago, like many of his neighbors, Boontom caught fish for a living. But as China completed one, then two, and then seven dams upstream, the few hundred residents of Ban Pak Ing saw the Mekong change. 

History / Culture

Preserving memories of Shanghai's Jewish occupants (May 9, 2015, Xinhua)
During WWII, Shanghai was one of the few cities in the world to receive large numbers of Jewish refugees from Nazi persecution. Seventy years on, Li can still recall the days when most of her neighbors were Jews and when the fragrance from Jewish cafes soothed the pain brought by Japanese occupation.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

NCAA Basketball Is Coming to China, With Help From Alibaba (May 13, 2015, Bloomberg)
Alibaba is hoping to re-create March Madness in November. The Chinese online shopping giant is teaming up with top leagues in the National Collegiate Athletic Association to stream the first regular-season games played in the country online. 

Travel / Food

Paper Trail: Staying on Top of Chinese Visa Changes (May 9, 2015, The Beijinger)
In China, visas are referred to by a letter code. Recently, both Canada and the US signed reciprocal ten-year multiple-entry visa agreements with China. Under these agreements, Canadian citizens are eligible for long-term L, M, S2, and Q2 visas while US citizens are eligible for long-term L and M visas. 

The New Face of Chinese Dining in the United States (May 11, 2015, Huffington Post)
But in the past five years or so, Chinese dining in the United States has been impacted on an accelerating basis by Chinese nationals who are only transitorily in the United States. 

3 air routes to link Zhengzhou with Japan (May 12, 2015, Xinhua)
Three direct air routes between Zhengzhou, capital of central China's Henan Province and a major transportation hub, and the Japanese cities of Shizuoka, Osaka and Nagoya are expected to launch in June, according to China Southern Airlines on Tuesday. 

Walking Backwards Through Shanghai (May 13, 2015, Outside-In)
I love Shanghai, but I’ve never seen it from this perspective — a backwards walking tour. This short film, “Walk in Shanghai” by JT Singh, will mesmerize you AND make you want to drop everything and head to Shanghai.

Cultural Cuisine: How Food Ties Into the Everyday Life of Liangshan’s Yi Minority (May 13, 2015, The Beijinger)
When it comes to food, the Liangshan Yi are not ones for subtlety. According to China Highlights this minority culture’s dishes usually fall into one of two categories: sour or spicy. The latter is especially prevalent for Liangshan Yi cuisine, because of the prefecture’s location in Sichuan, China’s famous destination for peppercorn and all things fiery.

Language / Language Learning

The 9 best Twitter feeds for learning Chinese (May 12, 2015, Hacking Chinese)
Learning Chinese can feel overwhelming, especially when you’re faced with the infamous Great Wall of Chinese (text). One way of making it easier is to chop it up into many bite-sized pieces. This makes Twitter an excellent place to learn a bit of Chinese without drowning. 

The 18 Funniest Chinese Expressions (And How To Use Them) (May 12, 2015, Matador Network)


A Star in the East: The Rise of Christianity in China, by Rodney Stark and Xiuhua Wang (Templeton Press)
Rodney Stark and Xiuhua Wang offer a different perspective, arguing that Christianity is alive, well, and even on the rise. 

Articles for Researchers

A Tipping Point in U.S.-China Relations is Upon Us (May 11, 2015, US-China Perception Monitor)
Below is Dr. David M. Lampton’s speech “A Tipping Point in U.S.-China Relations is Upon Us” as given at the conference “China’s Reform: Opportunities and Challenges.” This event was co-hosted by The Carter Center and the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences over March 6-7, 2015.

Articles in Chinese

中国的基督教会——先于2007年的回顾 (Pacific Institute for Social Sciences)


ChinaFile Presents: Does Xi Jinping Represent a Return to the Politics of the Mao Era? (China File)
A panel of experts discuss the ways in which Mao's thinking is still ‎embedded in China's world view. EVENT DETAILS: 21 May 2015, 6:30pm – 8:00pm, 725 Park Avenue (at East 70th Street), New York, NY

Image credit: A View from Su Causeway, by b k, 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