ZGBriefs | May 25, 2017

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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

What I Learned From Two Years Traveling China's Belt And Road (May 22, 2017, Forbes)
The markets of Europe and Asia are being drawn more closely together via an array of enhanced land and sea trade routes that are part of a multinational, multi-faceted development that has been vaguely dubbed the New Silk Road.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

In China, Wives Fight Back After Their Activist Husbands Are Jailed (May 18, 2017, The New York Times)
Ms. Chen’s evolution was part of a startling outcome of China’s crackdown on outspoken rights lawyers and advocates that began in July 2015 — the spouses who resisted.

Chinese fighter flew inverted over US Air Force jet, official says (May 19, 2017, CNN)
Two Chinese Su-30 fighter jets intercepted a US Air Force radiation detection plane over the East China Sea Wednesday, according to the US Pacific Air Forces. The US crew aboard the US Air Force WC-135 characterized the move as "unprofessional," according to the statement from Air Force Lt. Col. Hodge.

Efforts In China To Dismantle CIA Operations Were A Setback For The Organization (May 21, 2017, NPR)
NPR's Michel Martin speaks with New York Times reporter Mark Mazzetti about how the Chinese government has been dismantling CIA operations in the country by killing or imprisoning CIA informants.

Chinese paper applauds anti-spy efforts after NY Times report CIA sources killed (May 22, 2017, Reuters)
An influential state-run newspaper applauded China's anti-espionage efforts on Monday after The New York Times said China had killed or imprisoned up to 20 CIA sources, hobbling U.S. spying operations in a massive intelligence breach.

Terry Branstad confirmed as U.S. ambassador to China (May 22, 2017, Des Moines Register)
Gov. Terry Branstad won confirmation as the U.S. ambassador to China on Monday, signaling the end of a five-decade career in Iowa politics and public life and the beginning of a monumental challenge as President Donald Trump’s emissary to the United States’ leading geopolitical rival.


The Key to Chinese Missionary Service—Calling (May 19, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
The principal factor encouraging them to long-term sustainable service is calling. I recently conducted interviews with Chinese missionaries exploring the basis of the Chinese call to missions.

The Church’s One Foundation (May 23, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
During a pre-conference session on Tuesday afternoon, a Chinese pastor was asked what it means to him to be a part of a conference like Reformation 500. 

Evangelism, Reformed Theology, and Church Life, Part 2 (May 23, 2017, Chinese Church Voices)
The second part describes in more detail how the research findings reveal the impact of Reformed theology on Y Church’s evangelism. The third part will give recommendations for Y Church’s evangelism efforts. 

New Church Dedicated in Shaanxi's Zhenba County (May 24, 2017, China Christian Daily)
On May 16, Zhenba Christian Church in Hanzhong City, Shaanxi Province held its dedication ceremony. Zhenba County is located in the spine of the Daba Mountains. According to historical records, Christianity began to take shape in Zhenba County in the 1820s. 

Key Challenges (May 24, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
At the Reformation500 Conference in Hong Kong, we have had the opportunity to chat with believers from around the country about various topics. One of the questions we have been asking is this: What are the key challenges facing believers in China today?

Society / Life

China’s New Megacity: The Anti-Beijing (May 19, 2017, Foreign Policy)
The government will build another metropolis from scratch. But it's not planning on following the old playbook.

China may have 90 million fewer people than claimed (that’s twice of Spain’s population) (May 23, 2017, South China Morning Post)
China’s real population may have been about 1.29 billion last year, 90 million fewer people than the official figure released by the National Bureau of Statistics, Yi Fuxian, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said at a symposium at Peking University on Monday.

Too fast, too soon: how China's growth led to the Tianjin disaster (May 23, 2017, The Guardian)
But the explosion also underscored a dilemma at the heart of China’s unprecedented economic boom: the chemical industry is critical for the country’s growth, but that growth is also fuelling rapid urbanisation. This is pushing residential areas closer to active chemical sites – like in Tianjin.

Discarded mobile phones in China difficult to recycle (May 24, 2017, China Daily)
However, alongside the high replacement rate is a low recycling rate. China now has about one billion unused mobile phones, but only two percent have been recycled with most of the rejected devices improperly handled.

Hangzhou buses first to all use mobile pay (May 24, 2017, China Daily)
By year's end, mobile payment will be accepted on all public buses in Hangzhou, making the city the first in China to do so on all its buses and consolidating its reputation as a mobile application pioneer.

Economics / Trade / Business

China Spins a Global Food Web From Mozambique to Missouri (May 23, 2017, Bloomberg)
Faced with a shrinking area of good arable land and a population of 1.4 billion people who are eating more, Chinese agriculture companies have been buying or leasing farms abroad for decades. After the world food crisis, when grain prices soared from 2006 to 2008, that investment went into overdrive. But many projects were plagued by corruption, mistrust, local resistance and trade restrictions.

China’s Addiction to Debt Now Threatens Its Growth (May 24, 2017, The New York Times)
A major credit rating agency sounded the alarm on Wednesday, saying the steady buildup of debt would erode China’s financial strength in the years ahead. The agency, Moody’s Investors Service, cut the country’s debt rating, its first downgrade for the country since November 1989, five months after the Tiananmen Square crackdown.


Chinese Student's Commencement Speech In U.S. Isn't Going Over Well In China (May 23, 2017, NPR)
A Chinese student who praised the "fresh air of free speech" in the U.S. during her commencement address at the University of Maryland is facing an online backlash from classmates and from people in China who say she insulted her own country.

Science / Technology

The World’s Largest Floating Solar Power Plant Just Went Online in China (May 23, 2017, Digital Trends)
China has announced that the largest floating photovoltaic (PV) facility on earth has finally been completed and connected to the local power grid. Long reviled for its carbon emission record, this is the Chinese government’s latest achievement in its ongoing effort to lead the world in renewable energy adoption.

Microsoft develops Windows 10 version for China’s government (May 23, 2017, Seattle Times)
A China-specific version of the operating system will include greater control for administrators, support for custom data encryption preferences, and have updates and system data administered by a Chinese entity.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Three Quirky Projects Make Art Out Of China's Polluted Air (May 19, 2017, National Geographic)
Dirty air is part of life in China, unavoidable and in your face. It has inspired a tremendous boom in renewable energy, as the Chinese government begins to try to wean the country off coal. It has also inspired a level of citizen action that is unusual in an autocratic country. And some of those active citizens are artists.

Travel / Food

Try These 5 Traditional Beijing Desserts (May 24, 2017, The Beijinger)
While not necessarily desserts in the traditional sense, the five sweet snacks below are certainly steeped in history. 

Language / Language Learning

What’s in a name? Hacking Chinese, 揭密中文 (May 23, 2017, Hacking Chinese)
Fortunately, I’m mostly satisfied with the title Hacking Chinese, which is the topic of this article. I will also explain the Chinese title, 揭密中文, which many people get wrong and I received questions about occasionally.

Putonghua push puts local dialect in spotlight (May 23, 2017, China Daily)
About 1 billion people in China speak Putonghua, the national, standardized form of Mandarin, as their mother tongue. Although those people account for more than 70 percent of the population, the government has decided that the number will be raised to 80 percent by 2020.

The Challenge of Implied Grammar Structures (May 24, 2017, Sinosplice)
I remember struggling with the unspoken “ifs” of the Chinese language. Sometimes what’s said is meant to be understood as a hypothetical, but there’s no “if” word to be found. You just have to get used to it, and it can be quite bewildering at first.

Image credit: Asia Development Bank, 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... View Full Bio