ZGBriefs | November 21, 2019

ZGBriefs is a compilation of links to news items from published online sources. Clicking a link will direct you to a website other than ChinaSource. ChinaSource is not responsible for the content or other features on that site. An article’s inclusion in ZGBriefs does not equal endorsement by ChinaSource. Please go here to support ZGBriefs.

Note: Due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States next Thursday, there will be no ZGBriefs on November 28.

Featured Article

How To Survive an Increasingly Difficult China  (November 20, 2019, China Law Blog)
This New Normal extends to all foreign companies that do business in or with China, but it has hit U.S. and Canadian companies particularly hard. The New Normal has greatly increased the risks for foreign companies that do business in or with China.

Sponsored Link

Webinar Recording: What Is It Like to Be a Christian in China?
Being a Christian in today’s China is challenging in many ways. The difficulties are not just political but social, cultural, and material in nature as well. As the global church, the more we understand the context of Chinese Christians, the better we can support and effectively serve the church in China. This webinar explores the historical, social, and political context for Christians in China, as well as the external and internal challenges they face.
Cost: $5.00

If you or your company/organization would like to sponsor a link in ZGBriefs, please contact info@chinasource.org for more information.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Chinese patriots must also love the Communist Party, new guidelines say  (November 14, 2019, Inkstone News)
Compared to the previous guidelines, published in 1994, the new framework goes a step further in emphasizing the role of the party in the country. The new document explicitly defines patriotism as not just love of the country but also of the ruling Chinese Communist Party and its official political ideology.

5 Takeaways From the Leaked Files on China’s Mass Detention of Muslims  (November 15, 2019, The New York Times)
The documents also show that the government acknowledged internally that the campaign had torn families apart — even as it explained it as a modest job-training effort — and that the program faced unexpected resistance from officials who feared a backlash and economic damage.

Interview: Ex-head of legislature Jasper Tsang says the gov’t is weakest player of four in Hong Kong’s struggle  (November 16, 2019, Hong Kong Free Press)
In a wide-ranging interview last month, he shared with French academic Jean-Philippe Béja his thoughts on the continuing crisis in Hong Kong, why he supported the extradition bill and why the political paralysis persists. 

China threatens Sweden after Gui Minhai wins free speech award  (November 18, 2019, The Guardian)
Sweden’s prime minister has rejected threats from China that Sweden will “suffer the consequences” for awarding a freedom of speech prize to the detained Chinese-born Swedish publisher Gui Minhai. 

Hong Kong Protests: Over 1,000 Detained at a University, and a Warning From Beijing  (November 18, 2019, The New York Times)
The battle at PolyU, in which the police fired more than 1,000 cans of tear gas and rubber bullets, represented the force’s most direct intervention onto one of the city’s university campuses.

As Hong Kong Protests Continue, Businesses And Families See Routines Disrupted  (November 18, 2019, NPR)
As Hong Kong prepares for another week of violent clashes between protesters and police, it's become harder for families and businesses there to go about their daily routines.

No room for compromise with Hong Kong protesters, People’s Daily says  (November 18, 2019, South China Morning Post)
Hong Kong’s future is at a crisis point and there is “no room” for compromise in the “struggle” with anti-government protesters , said a hard-hitting commentary published on the front page of People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece, on Monday.

Video: Hong Kong protests: A city's identity crisis  (November 19, 2019, BBC)
The fabric of the place is unravelling – attitudes are hardening between the demonstrators and the police, between mainlanders and Hongkongers and even down the middle of families. The BBC's Paul Adams explores what's really at stake for this troubled city.

Hong Kong courts have no power to rule on face mask ban, says China  (November 19, 2109, The Guardian)
China’s top legislature has said Hong Kong courts have no power to rule on the constitutionality of legislation under the city’s Basic Law, which includes a proposed ban on face masks. Beijing insisted it held the sole authority to rule on constitutional matters in the region, and analysts say this spells disaster for Hong Kong’s rule of law – a bedrock of its success as an international financial hub.

U.S. Senate passes HK rights bill backing protesters, angers Beijing  (November 19, 2019, Reuters)
Following the voice vote, the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act” will go to the House of Representatives, which approved its own version last month. The two chambers will have to work out their differences before any legislation can be sent to President Donald Trump for his consideration.

Simon Cheng: Former UK consulate worker says he was tortured in China  (November 20, 2019, BBC)
A former employee of the UK's Hong Kong consulate has told the BBC that he was tortured in China and accused of inciting political unrest in the city. Simon Cheng, a Hong Kong citizen who worked for the UK government for almost two years, was detained for 15 days on a trip to mainland China in August. "I was shackled, blindfolded and hooded," the 29-year-old tells me.

Video: Behind the barricades at HK siege university  (November 20, 2019, BBC)
A four-day siege at Hong Kong's Polytechnic University (PolyU) is nearing an end, although dozens of protesters remain inside. At one point hundreds of protesters occupied the university. It became a fiery battleground as they clashed with police. The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes went behind the barricades to examine the scene.


Developments in Registered Church Ministry  (November 15, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
When it comes to relations between registered churches and the state, the old real estate mantra, location, location, location—which has been the default way of explaining most any church/state relationship situation in China—does not necessarily apply today. 

Lottie Moon’s church added to list of protected cultural and historical sites in China  (November 15, 2019, Baptist News)
Wulin Shenghui Church of Penglai in Shandong province, a European-style church house built in 1872 by Southern Baptist missionaries, is one of the earliest Protestant buildings in China.

China Increases Church Surveillance and Monitoring  (November 16, 2019, International Christian Concern)
Facial recognition technology was placed in Three Self Churches in the capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur region. Several other churches reported instances of surveillance in different provinces as well. In early October, Muyang Church in Hubei had facial recognition and fingerprint software installed and were required to have congregants scanned before each entry to the building.

Praying for Hong Kong Can Be Politically Disruptive—Even in America  (November 17, 2019, Christianity Today)
The choice not to publicly comment on the Hong Kong protests is an intentional one, with Chinese Christian leaders fearing repercussions from both their own congregants and external supporters of Beijing.

A Reflection on Leading Bible Study in a Rural Church  (November 18, 2019, China Christian Daily)
It let me to deeply appreciate a story or explanation of a verse from multiple angles. I have concluded that as long as you are willing to dig and think deep enough, you will find truly awesome and profound truth in the gospel message.

Shanghai's Pure Heart Church  (November 18, 2019, China Christian Daily)
A herring bone-shaped church stands at No. 30 Dachang Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai. She is the Pure Heart Church, formerly known as "The First Presbyterian Church of Shanghai".

Collaborating with Nationals in Church Planting, Part 1 – Why Do It?  (November 19, 2019, China Partnership Blog)
After nearly thirty years of ministry experience with Chinese both in the U.S. and China I have seen many people and organizations do well. I have also seen some horrible disasters. 

Those Who Have Served Faithfully  (November 19, 2019, Chinese Church Voices)
Recently, a team of writers from the journal Territory traveled to the remote Nujiang Valley in Yunnan Province to interview veteran missionaries and pastors who are now in their 70s to 100s. These “old soldiers” in Nujiang are from ethnic minority groups that were reached by foreign missionaries in the early 20th century. This article records inspiring stories of gospel warriors who carried the faith to very remote areas despite harsh physical and political landscapes.

A Christian’s Experience in Detention  (November 20, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
Brother Xu Guoyong, co-founder of Oak Tree Press in Beijing, died in January 2016 following a tragic accident that occurred while he was attending a conference in the United States. In this Chinese Church Voices article from the ChinaSource archives, we feature excerpts from an article that Brother Xu wrote reflecting on his experience in prison. Friends of Brother Xu provided the translations. It is well worth reading again. 

Society / Life

Homelessness has become a problem in China’s cities  (November 14, 2019, The Economist)
Migration controls have eased. Most urban housing has been privatised. Villages have been flattened to make way for growing cities. Street-sleepers are still less visible than they are in the centres of some rich-world cities. But they are far more common than before.

Young people drive revival of China’s ancient Hanfu culture  (November 17, 2019, South China Morning Post)
By reviving the clothes of their ancestors, Hanfu lovers say they are showing pride in Chinese culture and recreating a world of respect and nobility. A niche interest has steadily grown to include at least 2 million enthusiasts.

Gender imbalance and the marriage squeeze in China  (November 18, 2019, Asia Dialogue)
The large number of surplus males and shortage of females is leading to the increasing migration of females for marriage from the less prosperous to more prosperous areas.

Renegotiating Devotion and Danhua: Urbanization, Migration and the Everyday Practice of Hui identity  (November 20, 2019, University of Westminster)
Jinan’s experiences hardly stand alone in contemporary urban China. Cities across the country currently struggle to incorporate the millions of in-country migrants who leave home in search of economic opportunity. 

Economics / Trade / Business

China’s great pork shortage: Why it could cost Beijing  (November 13, 2019, Christian Science Monitor)
Cuisine is a window onto a culture – and politics. Decimated hog herds may affect Chinese views on the government’s ability to provide for its people.

Rising pork prices hide a far bigger problem for China’s economy  (November 17, 2019, South China Morning Post)
Pork is the largest item in China’s CPI basket as it is the most important staple food for Chinese citizens. Pork-driven consumer inflation is likely to continue in the coming months as a result of African swine fever, which has ravaged the country’s hog herds.


Doubts Over High-Profile Chinese Academic’s Work Surface Online  (November 18, 2019, Sixth Tone)
The president of Nankai University says he is ‘confident’ about his published papers and has ‘carefully examined’ them following concerns voiced online.

Health / Environment

A rubbish story: China's mega-dump full 25 years ahead of schedule  (November 15, 2019, BBC)
The Jiangcungou landfill in Shaanxi Province, which is the size of around 100 football fields, was designed to take 2,500 tonnes of rubbish per day. But instead it received 10,000 tonnes of waste per day – the most of any landfill site in China. 

The Real Reason to Panic About China’s Plague Outbreak  (November 16, 2019, Foreign Policy)
Rather than being concerned about the germs and their spread, the government seems mostly motivated by a desire to manage public reaction about the disease. Those efforts, however, have failed—and the public’s response is now veering toward a sort of plague-inspired panic that’s not at all justified by the facts.

China records third case of deadly bubonic plague  (November 18, 2019, The Guardian)
China’s Inner Mongolia has reported a fresh, confirmed case of bubonic plague despite an earlier declaration by the country’s health officials that the risk of an outbreak was minimal..

No Need for Plague Panic? China’s Trending Plague Outbreak  (November 20, 2019, What’s on Weibo)
Although Chinese media stress that there is no need to panic over the recent outbreak of the bubonic plague, many netizens still fear an epidemic, making comments such as: “The Year of the Pig brought the [African] swine fever, now the plague is starting just before the Year of the Rat!” (The word for ‘plague’ in Chinese is 鼠疫 shǔyì, literally meaning ‘rat plague’ or ‘mouse plague’).

World's donkeys being 'decimated' by demand for Chinese medicine  (November 20, 2019, The Guardian)
It is estimated that 4.8m donkey hides a year are needed to satisfy demand for a gelatin-based traditional medicine called ejiao, according to a new report from the Donkey Sanctuary. At the current pace, the global donkey population of 44m would be halved over the next five years, the report warns.

History / Culture

Historical Chinese Figures You Should Know: 1,000 Years of Sima Guang  (November 16, 2019, Radii China)
Historian. Writer. Official. Polemicist. Poet. Prodigy. November 17th is the 1,000th anniversary of Song Dynasty scholar Sima Guang, born 1019 in what is today Henan Province. The Song Dynasty (960-1279) produced philosopher-officials at roughly the same rate the early 2000s produced rap-metal bands. But unlike Limp Bizkit, who nobody under 30 remembers today, Sima Guang’s writings still resonate a millennium later.

The New Face of the Terra-cotta Warriors  (November 20, 2019, Sixth Tone)
Innovative archaeological techniques are transforming our understanding of the Qin emperor's ghostly army.

PBS documentary on China from 1983  (Everyday Life in Maoist China)

Travel / Food

Popeyes signs first lease for China market as it seeks to take on KFC  (November 19, 2019, Reuters)
Popeyes signed a lease in Shanghai for its first store in China on Monday, which is slated to open next year. The company outlined plans in July to build 1,500 restaurants in China in the coming decade, becoming the last of Toronto-based Restaurant Brands International Inc’s main brands to enter the country.

Your Ketchup Probably Came from Xinjiang  (November 20, 2019, Far West China)
Next time you squeeze that little packet of ketchup onto your greasy french fry for lunch, think of Xinjiang. There’s a high probability that the tomato used to produce that ketchup came from the massive but little-known region of Xinjiang in China’s far west.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

The Limits of Positivity  (November 16, 2019, China Media Project)
The propaganda stunt pulled today by soldiers from the Kowloon barracks of the Chinese army could be read in many ways, and speculation is now running free across Hong Kong. But in very clear ways, the action underscores the deep divide that separates political cultures and consciousness in China and Hong Kong.

Language / Language Learning

Language vs. Attitude  (November 18, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
As a general rule, a person’s effectiveness in a foreign environment is directly proportional to his/her ability in the language and attitude toward the culture. Ideally, the person should have native-speaker proficiency and unconditional acceptance of people, regardless of the culture.

Why is listening in Chinese so hard?  (November 20, 2019, Hacking Chinese)
In this article, I will explain why listening is so hard. There are some obvious reasons I’m sure most of you realise without me having to point them out, but there are also some less obvious reasons I didn’t realise until grad school and after many years of studying.

Choice Chengyu: Kid Talk  (November 20, 2019, The World of Chinese)
Families prize their child’s education and want to capitalize on their artistic talents. Stories of child prodigies from ancient times are still popular and told in the hope that one’s own children might replicate the achievements of kids past. These hopes placed on youngsters have inspired many chengyu to describe children and childhood:…

Links for Researchers

United Front Work and Mechanisms of Countermobilization in Hong Kong  (November 4, 2019, The China Journal)
This article examines the Hong Kong regime’s mechanisms of countermobilization as a reaction to and preemptive strike against dissent. It reveals how united front work historically rooted in Chinese Communist Party apparatuses has penetrated into Hong Kong. The PRC’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong and the Hong Kong government have established a hierarchical yet dispersed platform to combine repression with outsourced contention. 

Image credit: by Chris, 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