ZGBriefs | November 30, 2017

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Featured Article

Cheering China’s Urbana: Churches Poised to Become Major Exporters (November 27, 2017, Christianity Today)
When 1,200 youth gathered for the first Chinese “Urbana-style” missions conference this fall, 300 pledged to become full-time missionaries. “This is one of those historic moments,” said David Ro, director of the Wilson Center for World Missions at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. “There are lots of challenges ahead, on the mission field and in China. And yet God is doing something—while they are being attacked, they are still moving forward.”

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Overseas NGO Law

Registered Foreign NGO Offices Interactive Map and Sortable Table (The China NGO Project)
The following interactive graphics display information about foreign NGOs’ representative offices in China as provided by the Ministry of Public Security website. The interactive map shows the approximate location of foreign NGOs’ representative offices in China.

The Most Active Chinese Partners for Temporary Activities as of October 2017 (November 15, 2017, The China NGO Project)
Below, we list the CPUs that have filed for four or more temporary activities in 2017, according to Ministry of Public Security data covering through the end of October, as well as the foreign NGOs with which they worked:

Visually Understanding the Data on Foreign NGO Representative Offices and Temporary Activities (November 22, 2017, The China NGO Project)
The representative offices and temporary activities included are based on the lists released by the Ministry of public Security on their website. We have used English names of offices, activities, and organizations where available, and The China NGO Project has translated those for which we were not able to find English names or translations.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

The Chinese connection to the Zimbabwe 'coup' (November 17, 2017, CNN)
But days after Chiwenga returned from a recent trip to meet senior Chinese military leaders, Harare was plunged into political chaos as the Zimbabwean military — led by Chiwenga — seized control and placed President Robert Mugabe under house arrest. In that context, Chiwenga's visit to China has come under scrutiny, with speculation that he had sought Beijing's tacit approval for a possible move against Mugabe.

Podcast: The North Korean Nuclear Threat: The View From Beijing (November 21, 2017, China File)
In this episode of the China in the World podcast, Paul Haenle joined Carnegie Vice President for Communications and Strategy Jen Psaki on the Carnegie Endowment’s DiploPod podcast to discuss Chinese perspectives on North Korea and the outcomes of Trump’s visit to Beijing.

In China, the Brutality of ‘House Arrest’ (November 25, 2017, The New York Times)
Authoritarian regimes shroud their darkest features in euphemism. So it is with China’s “residential surveillance at a designated location.” It sounds like a kind of house arrest, a milder form of detention for those under investigation, perhaps, or awaiting trial. It is not.

For China, a fine line between ‘Great Leader Xi’ and ‘Xi, the Great Leader’ (November 26, 2017, South China Morning Post)
Moreover, it has turned into a source of intense political speculation about how far China will go to build up Xi’s personality cult, and for many elderly Chinese, particularly the intellectuals, merely raising the question has stirred up painful memories of a bygone era.

Beijing Hinders Free Speech in America (November 26, 2017, The New York Times)
The Chinese Communist Party is extending its surveillance of critics abroad, reaching into Western academic communities and silencing visiting Chinese students. Through a campaign of fear and intimidation, Beijing is hindering free speech in the United States and in other Western countries.

“Digital Leninism” (November 27, 2017, ChinaSource Blog)
In other words, the fact that the Party is reverting to a focus on control and obedience should not surprise us. And its ability to harness the latest technologies is a testament to its ability to adapt.

China’s ‘three warfares’ in Xinjiang (November 27, 2017, East Asia Forum)
There has been extensive analysis of China’s use of ‘three warfares’ — public opinion, psychological warfare and legal warfare — in the context of external issues like the South China Sea dispute and the Doklam standoff with India. But China has also deployed elements of the ‘three warfares’ to counter a primarily domestic security challenge: the threat of Uyghur militancy, radicalisation and terrorism in Xinjiang.

After the 19th: Anti-Corruption, Clean Government and the Rule of Law (November 27, 2017, China Policy Institute)
In the report, the term “comprehensively implement the rule of law” marks Xi’s ambition to transform the current campaign-style anti-corruption enforcement into an institutional mechanism. Instead of being merely periodical intensive movements, China’s anti-corruption is developing towards institutionalization.

Former Top Chinese General Commits Suicide As Corruption Probe Looms (November 28, 2017, NPR)
Chinese Gen. Zhang Yang committed suicide last week amid an investigation into his ties with two disgraced military figures caught up in the country's aggressive anti-corruption drive, state media reported Tuesday.

In China, Fears That New Anticorruption Agency Will Be Above the Law (November 29, 2017, The New York Times)
The nation’s current anticorruption watchdog is an arm of the Communist Party, with broad powers but jurisdiction only over the party’s 89 million members. Mr. Xi’s new commission would be a state agency with oversight over China’s entire public sector, which employs as many as 62 million people, many of whom do not belong to the party.

United Front: China’s Most Important ‘Magic Weapon’ (November 29, 2017, Sydney Morning Herald)
If United Front is a by-word for social cohesion to China, to overseas Chinese dissident groups, Tibetan and Taiwanese communities, it instead stands for organised interference in their activities.


Re-balancing the Seesaw (November 17, 2017, ChinaSource Blog)
The forces acting on a Chinese missionary for and against missionary service are a little bit like that seesaw. Pushing the scale down toward not serving are practical realities. Visas in countries of service are difficult to obtain, finances are difficult to find.  Field related difficulties include loneliness, culture-shock, language learning troubles, unusual foods. Some problems are, or at least seem to be, unpreventable. Yet there are factors that set on the opposite end of the seesaw.

Why Do We Have “Missionary Wives” But Not “Missionary Husbands”? (November 21, 2017, Jackson Wu)
Complementarians have long used passages like 1 Tim 2, Titus 1 to argue against women serving as pastors or teaching men in the church. This viewpoint creates a conundrum for those serving in China, where a disproportionate number of house churches are led by women. 

6 Things a Chinese Christian Needs to Learn about Faith and Work (November 21, 2017, ChinaSource Blog)
In this article from China Christian Daily, Jiang Zhou provides Christians with advice on how to bring their faith into the workplace. Jiang Zhou gives “six principles” of workplace life that will help Christians apply biblical principles in a Chinese work context.

China Bans Big-Bucks Buddhism  (November 23, 2017, Sixth Tone)
Twelve government departments issued a joint declaration on Thursday to curb the commercialization of Buddhism and Taoism. The document prohibits temples from being commercially managed and from organizing for-profit activities in the name of religion.

Chinese Christians Look Back, Part 3 (November 28, 2017, ChinaSource Blog)
Each person notes somewhat different but related challenges to Christianity 20 years ago. Robin remarks that there was a lack of Bibles and that believers lacked an overall knowledge of Scripture. Diana shares that back then people saw Christianity as an ignorant and low-class superstition imported from the West. It was very difficult to do evangelism. There was also a clear lack of biblical instruction. Bruce shares that when the churches in his city reopened their doors in the early 1980s, there was a serious shortage of preachers who could preach the “pure” gospel. 

Stephen Tong Calls for “Reformation Fire” in Reformation 500 Convention (November 29, 2017, China Christian Daily)
He exhorted the audiences to preach the gospel in this age because a church without evangelism is dead. Evangelism should be passed on from generation to generation. "If we don't share the gospel, the gospel will stay in our generation. Then there will be no hope in the world."

Memorial Service for Two Chinese Preachers Killed by ISIS hold in Wuhan Church (November 30, 2017, China Christian Daily)
A memorial service for two preachers, Meng Li Si and Li Xinheng, killed in Pakistan by ISIS was held in a Wuhan Church on Nov. 4, according to WeChat account "Horn of Grace and Faith". The attendants packed the church, and including the preachers' families and representatives from churches across China. Representatives from the church in Wenzhou were there and expressed condolences to the families.

Society / Life

In China, an Education in Dating (November 18, 2017, The New York Times)
Now, Mr. Zhang is ready for love — but like many men in China, he doesn’t know where to begin. So Mr. Zhang turned to a dating coach. The “Fall in Love Emotional Education” school, which caters to straight men, has taught him how to groom himself, approach a woman and flirt his way into her smartphone contacts.

Dancing Grandpa (November 20, 2017, Outside-In)
I have long thought that if we, in the US, spent more time dancing with our friends and neighbors, we may be a less violent society. Sometimes I really really miss China!

China: 'ruthless' campaign to evict Beijing's migrant workers condemned (November 26, 2017, The Guardian)
More than a hundred Chinese intellectuals and scholars have decried a “ruthless” campaign to evict thousands of migrant workers from Beijing. […]  The open letter, which was addressed to the country’s leadership and circulated on Chinese social media, called the evictions “a serious trampling of human rights”. Signatories included professors, researchers, poets and artists and more names continued to be added.

“Race Against Time”: Beijing’s 40-Day ‘Safety’ Evacuation Campaign (November 27, 2017, What’s on Weibo)
A week after a major fire killed 19 residents, people in Beijing’s Daxing area are facing a large-scale evacuation campaign – which is also spreading to other parts of the city. The mass evacuations are the talk of the day on Weibo and in WeChat groups.

Two Chinese boys travelled 80km in bus undercarriage (November 27, 2017, BBC)
Pictures of two Chinese boys who travelled 80km (50 miles) in the undercarriage of a bus have sparked an online outcry about the welfare of the country's "left-behind" children. The two, who have not been named by state media, are from a poor village in southern Guangxi, and had been trying to reach their parents, who work in neighbouring Guangdong province. 

Xi Jinping makes China's toilets a number two priority (November 27, 2017, The Guardian)
Xi has stressed the need to upgrade China’s toilets in order to build a more civilised society and improve the hygiene of the masses. He first launched the “toilet revolution” in 2015, initially aimed at building better bathrooms at tourist sites.

China child abuse scandal: Police accuse parents of making claims up (November 29, 2017, CNN)
A child abuse scandal that has rocked China took a shocking turn Tuesday, as police accused two parents for fabricating tales of their children being drugged and molested at a Beijing kindergarten. The police statement claimed that one father coaxed his child into saying they'd been given pills and that one mother, who'd told reporters her daughter was inspected by naked strange men, had made up her story and was ready to clarify her words and apologize to the public.

How to Avoid Getting Evicted in the Latest Round of Housing Demolitions (November 29, 2017, The Beijinger)
But it’s not just Beijing’s poor and migrant communities which are being affected. Many international residents are feeling the pinch as well. Writer and historian James Palmer reported earlier this week on Twitter that he was being evicted from his hutong home in Xicheng.

The Mao Statue at the Center of a Village’s Road to Riches (November 29, 2017, Sixth Tone)
To demonstrate his faith in Liuxianzhuang’s bright future, Bai in September had the bronze Mao statue erected in the village’s Red Culture Square. The statue is a certified replica of the one built in 1993 in Shaoshan, Mao’s hometown in central China’s Hunan province, according to Bao Junli, who manages the village square. Smaller Mao likenesses can be found throughout Liuxianzhuang, including in public places like restaurants.

Economics / Trade / Business

Chinese bike share graveyard a monument to industry's 'arrogance' (November 24, 2017, The Guardian)
Bluegogo’s bankruptcy last week sparked questions about the future of dockless bike sharing in China, amid concerns there are too many bikes and insufficient demand. In an open letter apologising for his missteps, Bluegogo’s chief executive said he had been “filled with arrogance”.

Americans Are Receiving Unordered Parcels From Chinese E-Criminals — And Can't Do Anything To Stop Them (November 27, 2017, Forbes)
Chinese agents shipping ridiculous amounts of hair ties to McGeehan is merely an unscrupulous way for them to fraudulently boost sales and obtain positive feedback for their clients' products on e-commerce sites.


Why a Chinese Communist Party branch at the University of California, Davis, was disbanded (November 20, 2017, South China Morning Post)
A group of visiting Chinese scholars in the United States have dissolved a Chinese Communist Party cell they set up at the University of California, Davis, citing fears about violating US laws.

Fujian Province Cracks Down on ‘Exam Migrants’ (November 21, 2017, Sixth Tone)
Authorities in Fujian are clamping down on students who come to the eastern province for a better shot at the gaokao, China’s national college entrance exams.

Health / Environment

Seven officials sacked over tuberculosis outbreak in central China (November 21, 2017, South China Morning Post)
Seven health and education officials were removed from their posts in central Hunan province on Tuesday over their handling of an outbreak of tuberculosis, according to state media. Some 29 high school and eight vocational school students in Taojiang county were recently confirmed to be infected with the deadly bacterial disease. 

Science / Technology

Internet Censorship in China: How the Middle Kingdom Blocks the Web (November 13, 2017, Cloudwards)
Though there are plenty of excellent resources out there right now on the Great Firewall, the Cloudwards.net editorial team has decided to give a condensed overview of the why and what of how all this works. We’ll also give you an idea on how to circumvent the Chinese censor. 

China to Have 626 Million Surveillance Cameras Within 3 Years (November 24, 2017, The Beijinger)
China had 176 million surveillance cameras in operation last year and the speed of growth is expected to see that figure more than triple to reach 626 million by 2020, and one Chinese company has over a fifth of the world market, according to research by IHS Markit.

History / Culture

A Pivotal Decade (November 29, 2017, ChinaSource Blog)
Writing in 2001, Dr. Carol Lee Hamrin anticipated the major milestones in a decade that in many ways served as a defining period for China. 

Travel / Food

China's most epic high-speed rail journeys (Lonely Planet)
In the decade or so since China put into operation its first high-speed passenger trains, the country has constructed more than 22,000 kilometres of high-speed rail track to create the longest network on Earth.

Chinese hit the red tourism trail as Beijing puts communist sites on the map (November 19, 2017, South China Morning Post)
A combination of official promotion and growing public patriotism is driving more people along the historical revolutionary road, industry sources say.

Cities on the Silk Road (November 20, 2017, ChinaSource Blog)
This video, The Silk Road: Timelapses from Beijing to Samarkand, provides some beautiful images of various cities along the Silk Road, including the Chinese cities of Beijing, Xi’an, and Kashgar.

Traveling to Kunming – The city of eternal Spring (November 24, 2017, Sapore di Cina)
Capital of the green province of Yunnan, Kunming has earned the title of Spring City, the city of eternal Spring, because it enjoys a mild climate all year long. But it’s not just due to the climate that Kunming attracts visitors: among all the large cities, it is the most livable place in China, fully immersed in the country and its culture.

A Photo Trip Along the Ancient Silk Road (November 27, 2017, The Atlantic)
I invite you to come along through the Gobi Desert, past the Flaming Mountains, the Singing Sands, the City of Screams, and other ancient and modern artifacts—and many spectacular vistas—along the main branches of this ancient trade route.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

China’s Top TV Dramas to Watch This Winter (November 21, 2017, What’s on Weibo)
From historical dramas to military series – a list of the latest, most-watched television dramas in China shows that Chinese television dramas are not just hot & happening – they are also diverse when it comes to themes and genres.

Living Cross-culturally

Third Culture Kids and Social Media (November 17, 2017, A Life Overseas)
So how do TCKs, specifically, use social media? Both positively and negatively? How can we help our TCKs navigate this fraught world with wisdom and grace? I did a little unscientific survey and asked some TCKs for their perspectives.

Whom Do You Thank? (November 22, 2017, ChinaSource Blog)
Like so many festivals throughout the world, Thanksgiving includes the sharing of a meal; a Biblical picture of fellowship. The added emphasis on giving thanks hands a powerful opportunity to Christian teachers. “We’re supposed to say thank you on this holiday?” says a puzzled student. “Whom do you thank, Teacher?”


The Book of Swindles: Selections from a Late Ming Collection (November 15, 2017, China File)
The Book of Swindles, compiled by an obscure writer from southern China, presents a fascinating tableau of criminal ingenuity. The flourishing economy of the late Ming period created overnight fortunes for merchants—and gave rise to a host of smooth operators, charlatans, forgers, and imposters seeking to siphon off some of the new wealth. 


Chinese Firewall Test (Cloudwards.net)
The above tool will help you find out whether your favorite sites are blocked in China, pretty handy for anyone looking to visit the Middle Kingdom yet remain active on the Internet.

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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