ZGBriefs

ZGBriefs | May 23, 2019

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Featured Article

Universities Aren’t Ready for Trade War Casualties (May 19, 2019, Foreign Policy)
Still, despite being sensitive to small fluctuations in visa policies and international application figures, university presidents and others don’t seem to be paying enough attention to the real tail risk: that the Trump administration’s trade war with China could pose a severe, and for some institutions even existential, threat.


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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Podcast: Chinese and Africans are Having Totally Different Conversations About Their Relationship  (May 16, 2019, China File)
Effy Zhang, a Beijing-based global affairs reporter for the privately-run financial news outlet Caixin, joins Eric and Cobus to talk about how she covers China-Africa issues for her readers in China, and about how Chinese news coverage and African and international reports are often starkly different from one another, even when discussing the same issues.

Trade Tensions and National Dignity (May 17, 2019, China Media Project)
The piece, called “There is No Force that Can Impede the Chinese People as They Stride Toward Realization of Their Dream” (没有任何力量能够阻挡中国人民实现梦想的步伐), does seem (I say cautiously) to dial up the nationalist rhetoric just a bit in comparison to previous commentaries, which emphasized the irrationality of American actions and underscored Chinese readiness to endure, whatever comes.

Are Foreign NGO Donations to Domestic Chinese Organizations Subject to the Foreign NGO Law? (May 17, 2019, The China NGO Project)
Yes. Guidance provided by Beijing Normal University’s Charity Law Center states that foreign NGOs wishing to donate funds to an activity or program taking place in China—even one held by another foreign NGO—must do so through a temporary activity filing. 

To China, All's Fair in Love and Trade Wars (May 18, 2019, The Atlantic)
Just how bad are things between the United States and China? Over an evening beer in Beijing this week, a friend and I debated which prominent American company China would whack first. It’s a serious question—and the answer could be the next ugly step in the escalating economic dispute between the two powers.

What Would Amending Hong Kong’s Law on Extradition Mean for International Non-Profits? (May 20, 2019, The China NGO Project)
Could Beijing request the extradition of NGO employees engaged in sectors that Beijing finds politically “sensitive” (for example, LGBT or gender equality issues, which make up only a tiny percentage of foreign NGOs’ approved work in China)? If such groups are accused of criminal activity by mainland authorities, would Hong Kong courts assent to extradition?

Victor Davis Hanson: US-China Confrontation Will Define Global Order (May 20, 2019, Hoover Institution)
The United States is at a crossroads with an increasingly aggressive China, which could define America’s security and the international order for decades to come, Hoover scholar Victor Davis Hanson says.

Australia’s China Challenge (May 20, 2019, The New York Times)
With Beijing pushing as far as it can wherever it can in the era of President Xi Jinping, Australia has become a global case study in Chinese government influence.

How Does My NGO File for a Temporary Activity in Multiple Provinces? (May 21, 2019, The China NGO Project)
There does not appear to be one set answer to this question, despite the fact that a large number of successful temporary activity filings have taken place in multiple provinces. Different provincial Public Security Bureaus (PSBs) have offered differing guidance on this point in the past.

China is paving a Belt and Road 2.0  (May 21, 2019, East Asia Forum)
At the second Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in Beijing held from 25–27 April 2019, China acknowledged the criticisms levelled against the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and pledged reform. We could see a ‘BRI 2.0’ emerge if these reforms are implemented and cooperation with development partners and stakeholder countries increases.

A legacy of lunacy haunts Kenya's old railway. Will China's $3.6B line be different? (May 21, 2019, CNN)
Kenya took on huge debt to buy a modern railway from Beijing that it hopes will boost its economy ... despite the controversy it has attracted.

A Political Economist on How China Sees Trump’s Trade War (May 22, 2019,The New Yorker)
During our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, we discussed the biggest dangers to the Chinese economy, what the Communist Party thinks of President Trump, and whether China has entered a new era of repression.

Video: 2019 Annual Members Program | The State of U.S.-China Relations: A Conversation  (May 22, 2019, National Committee on U.S-China Relations, via YouTube)
The National Committee on U.S.-China Relations (NCUSCR) hosted a conversation with four former White House officials who have served under Republican and Democratic administrations as the senior director for Asian Affairs on the National Security Council (NSC) – Kenneth Lieberthal, Evan Medeiros, Douglas Paal, and Daniel Russel – and Susan Thornton, the former acting assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Religion

From Tiananmen’s Most-Wanted to Followers of Jesus (May 17, 2019, Christianity Today)
To me, I think the most important change is the hope that we have through God. What we couldn’t get in this world, we have from God. It’s so comforting, and it gives me strength to face all the difficulties and challenges in human rights activism.

Cult Activity in China Impacts Churches (May 21, 2019, Chinese Church Voices)
After some discussion, Xiao Qing felt something was off. These men only shared from the book of Revelation, said nothing about Jesus, and made vague statements about their church.  Afterward, she searched online and found that their tracts were the same as those of the Korean Shincheonji "New Heaven and New Earth" cult. She realized that they were members of the Korean cult. 

A Faith without Borders (May 22, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
Have I seen how God works? Were my eyes opened? Was I challenged? Do I still have questions? Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! I haven’t enrolled in a course in comparative religions or intercultural ministries. Rather, I have simply lived in another corner of his world and kept my eyes and ears open.

Pope Francis expresses ‘special affection’ for Chinese Catholics who suffer ‘daily hardships and trials’ (May 22, 2019, South China Morning Post)
Pope Francis paid tribute on Wednesday to Chinese Catholics for holding on to their faith despite “hardships and trials”, an apparent reference to Beijing’s restrictions on religion. His comments to tens of thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly general audience came as the Vatican and China are still in the implementation phase of a landmark deal, signed in September, on the appointment of bishops.

Society / Life

Hotpot Flavored Toothpaste is Selling Out in China  (May 17, 2019, Radii China)
The toothpaste — a viral team up between Leng Suan Ling (冷酸灵) and Chengdu hot pot chain Xiaolongkan (小龙坎) — is advertised in three flavors: “medium spicy,” “very spicy” and “abnormally spicy,” with varying degrees of numbing effect. 

Chinese police expose list of drivers banned from driving for life (March 19, 2019, China Daily)
China's Ministry of Public Security has made public a list of drivers who are banned from driving for life since the beginning of this year to alert drivers of dangerous driving behavior. Ten provincial regions, including Beijing and its neighboring Hebei province, unveiled a list of 1,146 newly added drivers banned from driving for life since January, according to the ministry.

Video: Shen Danxi: Comparing Chinese and American Philanthropy (May 20, 2019,  National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, via YouTube)
As China’s economy continues to develop, and individuals and private companies amass greater wealth, another area of growth is the philanthropic sector. Shen Danxi, a 2018 Richard Rockefeller Fellow and deputy secretary general of the Sany Foundation, talks about how her foundation represents a new generation of Chinese philanthropy, and what she sees as the key differences between American and Chinese foundations.

As a Timber Plantation Flourishes, Village Dissent Takes Root (May 20, 2019, Sixth Tone)
Villagers claim the eucalyptus sucks up water from three mountain springs, leaving little for them to use for cooking and rice farming farther downstream. They hope a court will cancel the company’s contract and pay them compensation…

For Love or Money: What Drives China’s Migrant Mistresses? (May 21, 2019, Sixth Tone)
Some migrant women see these relationships as a way to move up the social ladder, while others simply see them as a way to survive the social displacement and emotional dislocation involved in the rural-urban transition.

'The Economy Is Slipping': China's Slowdown Hits Former Boomtown  (May 21, 2019, NPR)
This is China's blue-collar capital, home to an aspiring middle class and a landscape of factories at the heart of China's industrial sector; a heart whose beat is weakening.

Economics / Trade / Business

A rare look inside Huawei, China’s tech giant (May 20, CNN)
The Chinese company Huawei is one of the giants of the tech industry. It’s the world's largest provider of telecommunications equipment, a leader in next-generation 5G technology, and last year it passed Apple to become the second-biggest smartphone seller in the world. But to many, especially in the West, there’s still an air of mystery around it. And in the United States, suspicion.

The Huawei Sales Ban: Brrrrr.  (May 20, 2019, China Law Blog)
From my view on the front lines, I would revise that to say that this Huawei action means winter has mostly arrived. Put on your overcoats and be prepared for a long winter. Let’s hope it is not a new Ice Age.

China’s iceberg of hidden debt shows the biggest risks in provinces dominated by local authorities and state enterprises (May 21, 2019, South China Morning Post)
In China’s financial system, the bigger the role of the state, the cheaper the funding costs. As a rule. But in one corner of the country’s US$13 trillion bond market, something different has happened. 

China's latest weapon in the trade war: Karaoke (May 21, 2019, BBC)
A Chinese propaganda song about the ongoing Sino-US trade war is getting a lot of interest - and raising a few eyebrows - on Chinese social media. Trade War, written by a former Chinese official, appeared on popular mobile messenger WeChat on Friday and has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. It has also inspired an accompanying music video.

US firms in China fear 'retaliation' against Huawei curbs: AmCham (May 22, 2019, BBC)
A top business lobby group representing American firms in China said they have "real concerns" over how Beijing may respond to US action taken against Huawei. Speaking to the BBC, AmCham China chairman Tim Stratford said its members were worried about Beijing's response.

Boeing 737 Max: China's top airlines seek compensation (May 22, 2019, BBC)
The Chinese airlines are seeking compensation for losses incurred by the grounded fleet, as well as delayed deliveries of the 737 Max jets, according to reports. China operates the largest fleet of Boeing 737 Max aircraft and was the first country to take the jets out of service after the Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8 crash in March.

US 'could blacklist' Chinese surveillance kit firm Hikvision (May 22, 2019, The Guardian)
The US is reportedly considering restricting Hikvision, a Chinese surveillance equipment provider active in Xinjiang, from buying US components, escalating already tense ties between the world’s two largest economies. According to the New York Times, the US commerce department is considering placing Hikvision on a trade blacklist that would require US companies to obtain government approval before supplying it with components.

Education

Hundreds of teachers protest in China over poor pay (May 22, 2019, South China Morning Post)
The teachers, from primary and middle schools in Jianyang, a county-level city in Sichuan province, rallied outside the municipal petition bureau and handed over a letter saying they were paid much less than other public servants in the region.

Health / Environment

The Taiwanese Startups Making China’s Hospitals More Efficient (May 22, 2019, Sixth Tone)
Business incubators are helping Taiwanese entrepreneurs smooth out the problems in the mainland’s overcrowded, poorly managed health care system.

Science / Technology

Which VPNs evade the Chinese Great Firewall? We got inside to find out (May 2, 2019, CompariTech)
After testing, I found pretty mixed results. Most VPN providers can’t beat the Great Firewall; their existing servers have been blackholed and their connections aren’t secure enough to avoid Chinese state detection of new servers. Standard OpenVPN connections, and even dedicated L2TP over IPSec servers, are being detected and shut down.

The internet is dividing, and the choice boils down to China or the West (May 22, 2019, ABC (Australia))
The internet is dividing, and countries and companies will soon be forced to make a stark decision about their online futures: whether to choose the Western approach or a model shaped by the Chinese Communist Party.

History / Culture

My Search for Traces of Shanghai’s Once-Vibrant Jewish Community (May 17, 2019, Sixth Tone)
The sad but inevitable truth is that one day not too long from now, there will be no one left with firsthand accounts of Shanghai’s Jewish refugee community. It’s up to us to protect their history, tell their stories, and ensure that no one ever forgets their struggle — or their eventual triumph.

I. M. Pei: A Chinese Retrospective (May 19, 2019, The World of Chinese)
The death of Chinese-born architect Ieoh Ming Pei (贝聿铭) has been greeted with a flood of tributes and retrospectives from his adopted country of America all across the world to China, where his modernist approach helped bring an end to three decades of Stalinist architecture.

Travel / Food

China's Luckin Coffee Tries To Conquer A Nation Of Tea Drinkers (May 17, 2019, NPR)
In a country identified with one warm beverage – tea – coffee is now hot. Indeed, as China catapults from its traditional past into a global future, java is jumping – and one national company is leading the way: Luckin Coffee.

9 Things You Need to Know About Beijing’s Enormous New Daxing Airport (May 19, 2019, Radii China)
Last week, Beijing’s Daxing International Airport, also known as “Starfish” (due to its shape), undertook its first aircraft tests. Set to open later this year, Daxing will be Beijing’s second international airport, opening just a decade after the celebrated completion of Beijing Capital International Airport’s (BCIA) biggest terminal in an effort to accommodate what will soon be the busiest aviation market in the world.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Surprise Attack: CCTV6 Unexpectedly Airs Anti-American Movies as China-US Trade War Intensifies  (May 18, 2019, What’s on Weibo)
Not all netizens praise the initiative, however, with some commenting: “It seems that there are no new anti-American TV series or movies now, so they’ve come up with these old films to brainwash us.” Others said: “This kind of brainwashing is not useful.”

Chinese Film “Summer of Changsha” Pulls Out of Cannes Festival Citing “Technical Reasons”  (May 20, 2019, Radii China)
There was no further elaboration on what the “technical issues” might be, but the suspicions of many commentators fell on politics as the real reason for the abrupt cancellation of the film’s screening. The movie was originally slated to appear as part of Cannes’ “Un Certain Regard” official selection.

Language / Language Learning

Chinese Radicals: The Basic Unit of Characters (May 17, 2019, Sapore di Cina)
In this article I will try to speak about the “alternative” system to the alphabet, that of radicals: perhaps, after having read it, you too will better understand the logic behind the Chinese language!

Choice Chengyu: Treacherous Turns of Phrase (May 22, 2019, The World of Chinese)
Treachery, though, is nothing new in history, and there are as many chengyu for gratitude as for betrayal. On the 375th anniversary of Wu’s infamous double-cross, why not learn a few?

Living Cross-culturally

The Impact of School Culture (May 20, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
Knowing what the school believes will give you a huge advantage in understanding and navigating the cultural waters. You may need to carefully frame the meeting and your questions, placing yourself as a learner and not a judge—you are not passing judgment on these values, you are trying to learn what they expect your child (and you) to do. 

Books

A Village with My Name: A Book Review (May 17, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
Through his travels, interviews, and interactions with family members and people he met along the way, Tong succeeds in sharing the raw spirit of China’s people through a period of history that is in many ways better left alone. He captures the hopes, joys, sufferings, losses, fears, present realities, hardships, and dreams of the Chinese people. 

Links for Researchers

Report on Current Situation Facing Chinese Youth Activists (May 14, 2019, Matters.news)
It seems that the field of social activism in China has entered a fallow period. Against this backdrop, what difficulties are youth activists facing right now?

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... View Full Bio