ZGBriefs | November 29, 2018

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Featured Article

How ‘Survivors’ Are Navigating the New Environment (November 27, 2018, The China NGO Project)
U.S.-based non-profit Give2Asia hosted a webinar in October on foreign grant-making in China. University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Mark Sidel joined Give2Asia’s Adam King to discuss the state of play nearly two years after the Foreign NGO Law went into effect.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

The Land That Failed to Fail (November 18, 2018, The New York Times)
The West was sure the Chinese approach would not work. It just had to wait. It’s still waiting.

In China, The Communist Party's Latest, Unlikely Target: Young Marxists (November 21, 2018, NPR)
Young people who belong to Marxist groups have recently become the unlikely targets of a state crackdown due to their zeal to help educate and mobilize China's working class to fight for their rights. The conflict has exposed a paradox between a party founded on Marxist principles and the very young people it has tasked with carrying those principles out.

Karachi attack: China consulate attack leaves four dead (November 23, 2018, BBC News)
Gunmen have killed at least four people in an attack on the Chinese consulate in the Pakistani port city of Karachi. Gunshots were heard at about 09:30 local time (04:30 GMT) outside the consulate in the upmarket Clifton area. Police shot dead three attackers.

China defends holding fugitive businessman's US children (November 26, 2018, BBC News)
Chinese officials have defended their decision to bar three US citizens from leaving the country, saying they are suspected of "economic crimes". Victor and Cynthia Liu, children of a fugitive businessman, and their mother, Sandra Han, have been detained since June, the New York Times reported.

Trade deal or not, the long-range prospects for US-China relations are growing more troubling  (November 26, 2018, Brookings)
Recent trends in the bilateral relationship do not provide cause for optimism. The U.S.-China relationship arguably is more strained now than at any point since the normalization of relations in 1979. In recent months, the relationship has accelerated along a continuum from rivalry toward adversarial antagonism.

The China factor in US-DPRK negotiations (November 27, 2018, East Asia Dialogue)
China may support North Korea’s diversification of relations as it seeks to deflect blame for North Korean provocations that are beyond the scope of its control. It may also see value in slowing or stopping the cross-border black and grey market activity that escapes the enforcement of sanctions and makes Beijing look like a feeble partner in the global pressure campaign on denuclearisation.

China ‘will retaliate’ if US sanctions it over Xinjiang human rights (November 28, 2018, South China Morning Post)
Chinese Ambassador to Washington Cui Tiankai told Reuters in an interview that China’s efforts to combat international terrorism were being held to a double standard, comparing Chinese actions in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region to US troops battling Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.


Chinese bishop ‘missing’ despite historic deal between Beijing and Vatican (November 15, 2018, South China Morning Post)
They fear the repeated disappearance of Bishop Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou diocese in Zhejiang province is one sign of increasing governmental control on religious worship. Shao has not been reachable for at least a week, said a Chinese priest who previously worked in an underground church in China and returned to Rome last year.

Finding the “Pastoral Middle” in the Translations Debate (November 16, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
Thus, the history of the CUV, people’s attachment to it, and the question of change is most of all addressed pragmatically by the Chinese. And at whatever point their leaders feel the Union Version’s deficiencies are too great to bear, the change will be made in a heartbeat.

Giving Thanks in China (November 20, 2018, Chinese Church Voices)
As Americans observe Thanksgiving this week, Christians in northeast China already took the opportunity to celebrate last month. This article from China Christian Daily shows how Christians in that region have much for which to be thankful.

The Uighurs and China’s Long History of Trouble with Islam (November 23, 2018, New York Review of Books)
Abrahamic faiths posed a special challenge to the Chinese religious view. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam claim an exclusive path to salvation: there is only one god, our god, and if you don’t follow him you will go to hell. That’s a rather stripped-down version of these rich and complex faiths, but this monolithic view of truth lies at the heart of these belief systems—and presented a problem to Chinese syncretism.

Advantages and Challenges for Indigenous Researchers (2) — The Challenges (November 23, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
As researchers of the indigenous church in China, one challenge we face is the lack of prior research with which we can dialogue. There are so many important questions to study in the contemporary scene, but very few focused, empirical research papers are being published in the English language.

A Reader Responds to "The Chinese Bible" (November 26, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
From my perspective even if the CUV is not as accurate as it could be, it has done a good job over the past 100 years of communicating God’s truth to the Chinese people. If they decide that they want something better, a Chinese-led effort to spearhead a replacement version can be undertaken by the Chinese themselves. For now, I’m certainly thankful for the CUV and the way God has used it in China!

Speeding Up? Or Slowing Down? — A Study on the Current Church Growth Situation in China  (November 28, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
For those who are involved in China ministry, in order to do practical, strategic planning and to be good stewards of God’s resources, it is essential to find out exactly what changes are affecting church growth and development. 

Society / Life

Rush for rabies shots and dog licences as China cracks down on strays (November 19, 2018, South China Morning Post)
Earlier this month, Hangzhou, the capital of eastern Zhejiang province, became the first of several Chinese cities to revise and enforce strict pet regulations as part of what it said was temporary campaign to “civilise” dogs.

Podcast: Mythbusting China’s social credit system (November 22, 2018, Sup China)
The topic of discussion is the social credit system (SCS) in China, a fiercely debated and highly controversial subject in the West, often construed as a monolithic and Orwellian initiative.

'A community in unbelievable pain': the terror and sorrow of Australia's Uighurs (November 27, 2018, The Guardian)
Despite living thousands of miles from Xinjiang, in the safety of Australia, Arzu fears the long arm of the Chinese state. Primarily she is frightened for her family back in China, and believes four of her relatives have been imprisoned. But she is also frightened for herself. 

Award-winning Chinese photographer Lu Guang detained in Xinjiang, says wife (November 27, 2018, The Guardian)
An award-winning photographer whose work exposed the lives of people on the margins of Chinese society has been taken away by security agents, his wife has said. Lu Guang was travelling in Xinjiang on 3 November when she lost contact with him, Xu Xiaoli said on Tuesday.

Explosion Near Chemical Plant in China Kills at Least 23 (November 27, 2018, The New York Times)
The explosion erupted near the Hebei Shenghua Chemical Industry Company plant in Hebei Province and tore through roughly 50 vehicles, including 38 trucks that had lined up to deliver chemicals and other goods to factories in the zone, Chinese news reports said, citing investigators.

China’s Aging Migrant Workers Are Facing a Return to Poverty (November 28, 2018, Sixth Tone)
However, less than a quarter of Chinese migrant workers pay into so-called social insurance schemes — Chinese pension plans — and few have enough in private savings to live comfortably after retirement. As a result, millions of migrants face futures that seem unnervingly similar to their impoverished pasts.

Economics / Trade / Business

Capital Requirements for Establishing a WFOE in China (November 22, 2018, Sapore di Cina)
In the past, companies could be required to have capital of upwards of 500.000 RMB for consulting and trading WFOEs, with higher requirements for manufacturing WFOEs. However, starting in 2014, there is no minimum capital requirement for a WFOE to be established in China.

A Big New Airport Shows China’s Strengths (and Weaknesses) (November 24, 2018, The New York Times)
Yet the airport also reflects a less glamorous side of China’s rapid change: a reliance on the heavy hand of big infrastructure as a salve for deeper problems in politics and economics.

How Cheap Labor Drives China’s A.I. Ambitions (November 25, 2018, The New York Times)
In China, long the world’s factory floor, a new generation of low-wage workers is assembling the foundations of the future. Start-ups in smaller, cheaper cities have sprung up to apply labels to China’s huge trove of images and surveillance footage. If China is the Saudi Arabia of data, as one expert says, these businesses are the refineries, turningraw data into the fuel that can power China’s A.I. ambitions.

Investing in China’s Education Sector: Starting a Training Center (November 27, 2018, China Briefing)
China permits investments into the delivery of various non-academic training-related services. The recent education policy is especially attractive for providers of vocational training. This is positive when coupled with the increased spending on education by Chinese families.

Party's over: As margins tumble, China steel mills brace for hard times (November 27, 2018, Reuters)
Chinese steel producers ran up losses for the first time in three years this month as prices slid into a bear market on weak demand and near-record supply, ending years of solid profit margins.


Tsinghua University may soon top the world league in science research (November 17, 2018, The Economist)
Tsinghua university was born out of national humiliation. It was founded in the aftermath of the Boxer Rebellion—an anti-foreign uprising in 1900—and paid for with the reparations exacted from China by America. Now Tsinghua is a major source of Chinese pride as it contends for accolades for research in science, technology, engineering and maths (stem).

Health / Environment

As Flu Season Begins, China Grapples With Vaccine Shortage (November 23, 2018,Sixth Tone)
Last year’s deadly outbreak and this year’s pharmaceutical scandal have left China’s flu vaccines high in demand but dangerously low in supply.

Chinese Scientist Defends First Gene-Edited Babies (November 28, 2018, Sixth Tone)
At an international gene-editing conference on Wednesday, the Chinese scientist who claims to have produced the world’s first HIV-resistant gene-edited babies said that hisresearch is aimed at helping millions of children who are at risk of contracting the virus.

Science / Technology

China’s Orwellian Social Credit Score Isn’t Real (November 16, 2018, Brookings)
China’s party-state is collecting a vast amount of information on its citizens, and its social credit system and other developments internally and overseas raise many serious concerns. But contrary to the mainstream media narrative on this, Chinese authorities are not assigning a single score that will determine every aspect of every citizen’s life—at least not yet.

Google workers demand end to censored Chinese search project (November 27, 2018, Reuters)
More than 200 engineers, designers and managers at Alphabet Inc’s Google demanded in an open letter on Tuesday that the company end development of a censored search engine for Chinese users, escalating earlier protests against the secretive project.

How to Be a Chinese Scientist without Being China’s Scientist — A ChinaFile Conversation (November 27, 2018, China File)
As the Chinese government conducts aggressive talent recruitment campaigns overseas while tightening its authoritarian grip at home, how should individual scientists of Chinese origin decide whether to accept lucrative positions in their country of birth? 

History / Culture

Video: US Navy travelogue of Beijing in 1930s (Everyday Life in Maoist China)

Inside China’s test zone: the eyewitnesses to Shenzhen’s rise (November 28, 2018, South China Morning Post)
Wu Tao and his younger brother Wu Ming have seen the rise of Shenzhen under the reform and opening-up policy over the past 40 years. When they first arrived in 1979 and 1983 respectively, the city looked underdeveloped, surrounded by endless hills.

Travel / Food

5 Things You Can Do During Winter in China  (November 14, 2018, China Geeks)
From enjoying the unique icy wonders of Harbin to the snowy wonderland of Shuangfeng to warming up in China’s tropical regions, there’s something for everybody during the winter in this wonderful country.

Winter Vegetables: What ‘Baicai’ Means to Northern China (November 26, 2018, Sixth Tone)
According to the traditional Chinese calendar, winter officially began on Nov. 7 this year. For residents of the country’s vast and frigid north, the day has long meant one thing: It’s time to stock up on baicai, the leafy green and yellow cabbages that for centuries have been a staple of winter diets in northern China.

In China’s Land of Buddhas and Fortresses, Kindness Prevails (November 27, 2018, The New York Times)
A magnificent stretch of desert sandwiched between mountains, Gansu was once China’s Wild West, containing the westernmost structures of The Great Wall, built to ward off attacking nomadic hordes, and legendary shrines dug into cliffs for the westward spread of Buddhism.

China is becoming a serious ski destination. Here’s how. (November 28, 2018, Matador Network)
The rising Chinese middle class is looking for new ways to spend their time and money, and they’ve discovered snow sports. Beijing has also been working overtime to develop its ski industry ahead of hosting the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.


Shandong: The Revival Province — A Book Review (November 19, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
This is a book of credible scholarship and historical mission value and should be translated into Chinese. Both the Western church and the Chinese church will benefit greatly from it. Hattaway’s contribution to China’s church mission history will have long-term impact that will bless the whole church by learning about China’s mission history.

Reflections on the Writings of Louis Cha (November 27, 2018, Chinese Church Voices)
The famed wuxia novelist Louis Cha died on October 30. Tributes to Cha rang out across Chinese social media and news outlets, praising Cha for the influence he had on generations of Chinese readers. Cha’s novels were known for creating intricate fantasies paired with adept allusions to contemporary social conditions.

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