ZGBriefs | November 5, 2015

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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.

Featured Article

Calling China’s New National Spy Hotline (November 2, 2015, China Real Time)
A man answering the hotline Monday afternoon said he didn’t know why the national hotline was not located in a more central city like Beijing or whether the government planned to set up a toll-free version. So far, he said, no one had called to report any suspicious activity.

Special Section: From a One-Child Policy to a Two-Child Policy

Judging China’s One-Child Policy (October 30, 2015, The New Yorker)
Some of the most tragic consequences of the one-child policy involved parents who lost their only children. Without a social-security system, children take the place of insurance, pension, and retirement plans—a family’s future often rests on the shoulders of one small child.

A look back at slogans and propaganda of the one-child policy (October 31, 2015, Shanghaiist)
With the government moving to abolish China's one-child policy, we decided to take a trip down memory lane and look at some of the propaganda used to encourage patriotic Chinese to help bring down the nation's birth rate.

How Families Were Impacted By China's One-Child Policy (October 31, 2015, NPR)
Since China's three-decade-old one-child policy has been in place, it has impacted countless families both there and in the United States.

The Economic Reasoning Behind China's One-Child Policy Change (October 31, 2015, NPR)
As China starts allowing families to have two children, The Wall Street Journal's China editor Carlos Tejada explains the economic reasons fueling the change.

The impact of China's one-child policy in four graphs (October 29, 2015, The Guardian)
Here are four graphs that show the impact the policy, which was introduced in 1980, has had on China’s population.

Horrors of one-child policy leave deep scars in Chinese society (October 30, 2015, Washington Post)
In 2012, 6.7 million women in China were forced to have abortions under the one-child policy, according to official statistics. Rates in previous decades often topped 10 million a year.

China’s New Two-Child Policy (November 2, 2015, From the West Courtyard)
Most headlines have been along the lines of “China Scraps One-Child Policy,” leaving the impression that the government has decided not to interfere in the matter of how many children a couple can have. That is not the case. There has been no change of heart as to the nature of the relationship between the citizen and the state.

Stories From The First Generation Of The One-Child Policy (November 2, 2015, China Partnership Blog)
Many of my American friends ask me about my feelings as a single child. Most of the time my answer would be “nothing special.” But when our government ended the one-child policy last week, some memories came to mind.

China’s One-Child Policy Will Remain Intact for Now, Government Says (November 2, 2015, TIME)
China’s one-child policy will remain in force until a new recently announced rule allowing couples to have two children is officially adopted early next year, the country’s central family-planning association said on Monday.

China's One-Child Policy an Utterly Useless Exercise in Human Suffering and Social Deformation (November 3, 2015, Reason)
Perhaps the greatest tragedy of all is that all of that human suffering and social deformation were utterly useless.

Are Chinese ‘Too Rational’ for a Second Child? Interview With Mei Fong (November 4, 2015, China Real Time)
China Real Time spoke to Mei Fong, author of the book “One Child: The Past and Future of China’s Most Radical Experiment” and a former Wall Street Journal reporter, about the one-child policy and the unwinding of it.

Video: One-Child’s End Won’t Defuse China’s Population Bomb (November 4, 2015, China Real Time)
Though China is loosening its one-child family policy, the demographic time bomb is still ticking, the WSJ’s Andrew Browne explains: The country is getting old before it gets rich.

Why China needs two (November 4, 2015, From the West Courtyard)
At the same time, the church is a unique opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ in its approach to caring for its older members and for seniors within the society at large.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Beijing’s covert radio network airs China-friendly news across Washington, and the world (November 2, 2015, Reuters)
Behind WCRW’s coverage is a fact that’s never broadcast: The Chinese government controls much of what airs on the station, which can be heard on Capitol Hill and at the White House. WCRW is just one of a growing number of stations across the world through which Beijing is broadcasting China-friendly news and programming.

Chinese newspaper editor sacked for criticising Beijing's 'war on terror' (November 2, 2015, The Guardian)
Zhao Xinwei was removed from the state-run Xinjiang Daily for ‘improperly’ discussing government policy in China’s violence-stricken western region.

US to return to South China Sea after warship visit (November 3, 2015, BBC)
The US has said it plans to return to contested areas of the South China Sea, with a top military commander saying it has conducted similar operations worldwide "for decades".

Dispute Over South China Sea Prompts Asian Officials to Cancel Joint Statement (November 4, 2015, The New York Times)
Differences over the South China Sea forced countries from Southeast Asia, along with China and the United States, to cancel a joint statement at a meeting of defense ministers in Malaysia on Wednesday.

5 Things About the Taiwan-China Talks (November 4, 2015, China Real Time)
China and Taiwan unexpectedly announced their presidents will meet this Saturday, a first since the governments split in 1949 during the decades-long – and to Beijing still unfinished – Chinese civil war. The meeting is freighted with history and comes amid both closer economic ties and fraught politics between the two sides. Here’s a five-point primer for the meeting.

When Leaders of Taiwan and China Meet, Protocol Will Be a Delicate Dance (November 4, 2015, The New York Times)
Xi Jinping has several titles: president of China, general secretary of the Communist Party and sometimes even Dada, a name that is translated as “Uncle” or “Daddy.” When he meets with President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan on Saturday in Singapore, he will simply be “Mr.” So will Mr. Ma.

3 Things China Wants From Taiwan (November 4, 2015, TIME)
Although Beijing regards Taiwan as a breakaway province, it is likely to push for progress on these three issues.


The Chinese Students on Your Doorstep (October 30, 2015, From the West Courtyard)
Through the friendship and witness of local Christians, often as part of campus ministry groups and churches, these students are being exposed to the gospel—some for the first time—and many are coming to faith. But what happens to these new believers when they return home?

How American Christians are Responding to Pluralism (November 3, 2015, Chinese Church Voices)
Writing to an audience of Chinese Christians, the author presents the current religious landscape in the United States, particularly as it relates to issues such as so-called same-sex marriage and religious liberty.

Society / Life

Does China Need Facebook? (October 28, 2015, Bloomberg)
For the moment, Facebook might want to consider reining in its ambitions for China and focus instead on bringing some of WeChat’s social-networking features to markets that Facebook already dominates.

How China Wants to Rate Its Citizens (November 3, 2015, The New Yorker)
According to the planning document, S.C.S. will be used “to encourage keeping trust and punish breaking trust.” Doctors, teachers, construction firms, scientists, sports figures, N.G.O.s, members of the judicial system, and government administrators will face special scrutiny.

Q. and A.: David Bandurski on the Villages Within China’s Cities (November 3, 2015, Sinosphere)
In his new book, “Dragons in Diamond Village,” David Bandurski, editor of the China Media Project at the University of Hong Kong, writes about “urban villages,” formerly rural spaces engulfed by expanding cities.

Economics / Trade / Business

Taking stock of China's five year economic model (October 30, 2015, BBC)
Big changes lie in store for China in the next five years, as the government announces significant policy shifts in its new blueprint for the country. An end to the one-child policy, and a lowered GDP growth goal are the biggest changes to surface so far.

China manufacturing shrinks for third month in a row (November 1, 2015, BBC)
The most recent growth figures showed the country's economy growing at a rate of 6.9%, the weakest rate since the financial crisis. It has been hit by a stock market slump and a global slowdown in demand.

Google services set for 'return' to China (November 2, 2015, BBC)
Google is planning to expand its presence in China, Eric Schmidt, chairman of the search giant's holding company, has said. Google search left the Chinese mainland in 2010, after the company said it would no longer self-censor results.

Video: China unveils passenger jet C919 (November 2, 2015, BBC)
China's first large passenger aircraft to be made in the country was rolled out of the final assembly line in Shanghai on Monday. The C919 aircraft was developed by Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. It is expected to make its maiden flight in 2016 and begin test flights for three years before commercial use.

China warns its citizens: things you buy online might be fake (November 2, 2015, The Guardian)
Items may be counterfeit or of poor quality, says state-run news agency, as government grapples with how to protect its own consumers in ocean of rip-offs.


U.S. Colleges Put China’s Gaokao to the Test (October 30, 2015, Barron’s)
Suffolk joins a tiny number of U.S. schools that allow gaokao scores in admission as Chinese demand for U.S. education surges – the number of Chinese students studying in the U.S. rose 16.5% to 274,439 students in 2013-2014, according to the Institute of International Education. However, the growing acceptance of the test comes amid rising concerns with application fraud and test cheating among Chinese students.

Complex 'character test' facing tardy Chinese students (October 29, 2015, BBC)
A teacher in China has invented a taxing new way of preventing students from turning up late for his classes. Wang Sijun, who teaches at a university in Sichuan province, has been giving tardy students a complex character to write out on paper 1,000 times. The Chinese character for "biang", is made up of 56 pen strokes.

China is losing interest in learning English (November 2, 2015, CNBC)
China is losing interest in learning English, sending its proficiency in the global language of business falling ten places in a worldwide ranking.

Health / Environment

China underreporting coal consumption by up to 17%, data suggests (November 4, 2015, The Guardian)
Official Chinese data, reported by the New York Times on Wednesday after being quietly released earlier this year, suggests China has been burning up to 17% more coal each year than previously disclosed by the government.

China has 'duty to humanity' to curb pollution, premier says (November 4, 2015, The Guardian)
China has used up too much energy and too many resources in its quest for growth, premier Li Keqiang has told visiting French president François Hollande, adding that the country has a “duty to humanity” to clean itself up.

Science / Technology

China Ranks Last of 65 Nations in Internet Freedom (October 29, 2015, The New York Times)
China ranks last in the world for openness among countries studied in a new report on Internet freedom by a prominent American pro-democracy group.

Back-Alley Upgrades: In China, $100 Can Get You an 128GB iPhone Boost (November 4, 2015, China Real Time)
In China’s unbridled marketplace, you can pay $5 for soap made from human breast milk, $800 to take a cosmetics CEO out during Christmas and $430,000 for a purple Bentley convertible once owned by a corrupt official. If you’re an Apple Inc. device user, you can also now boost your iPhone’s storage from the cramped-feeling 16GB standard to a cavernous 128GB for less than a hundred bucks.

Shanghai to lead China's industrial robot development (November 4, 2015, China Daily)
China's industrial robot market will maintain a growth rate of 20 to 25 percent in coming years, and Shanghai will cement its position as it contributes around 70 percent of the nation's output, an official said.

History / Culture

A Small Space Filled with China's Redder Days: The Nostalgia Book Room in Shaoguan, Guangdong (November 2, 2015, Isidor’s Fugue)
Numerous older books, posters, electronics and other memorabilia fill the small store. Many of them are connected to China's Cultural Revolution. Despite all of the upheaval and terror it brought, many in China today look back fondly on those days or part of what they held.

Rare early photographs of Peking (November 2, 2015, BBC)
Photographs of Peking, now known as Beijing, made by Thomas Child in the 1870s and 1880s are to go on show in London's Chinatown as part of Asian Art in London season. More than 30 original photographs from the Stephan Loewentheil Historical Photography of China Collection, the largest holding of historical photographs of China in private hands, are included in the show. During two decades as a resident, Child documented life in the city with his camera.

The Last Time Mao and Chiang Met (November 4, 2015, The New York Times)
In August 1945, Mao Zedong flew from his mountain redoubt in Yan’an to Chongqing, the headquarters of Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists and China’s sweltering wartime capital. It was to be the last meeting between leaders of the Communists and the Nationalists, the rival factions then contending for control of China.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane … It’s the World’s First Chinese Superheroine (November 2, 2015, China Real Time)
A Shanghai-based film studio is joining forces with Stan Lee, the former head of Marvel Comics, to create the world’s first English-language film starring a Chinese female superhero, amid a surge of cinematic girl power at home and abroad.

Travel / Food

China 72 Hour Visa Rules (October 31, 2015, China Law Blog)
The key thing to remember about these visas is that you are not allowed to go outside of your entry city. In other words, if you enter into China on a 72 hour visa in Beijing, you are not supposed to go even to Tianjin. The rules are now clear that you are required to have “a ticket proving an onward flight from the same China city to a ‘third country or region’ (not the originating country and not in Mainland China) with a confirmed date and seat within 72 hours of arrival.

Wokipedia: N (November 1, 2015, The Beijinger)
Wokipedia is a regular magazine column in which we introduce aspects of Chinese gastronomy, one letter at a time. This month, 'N' gets the treatment.

Video: Wu Ling Yuan (November 3, 2015, Outside-In)
There’s more to China than crowded urban spaces, and here’s a fantastic video to prove it! 

Language / Language Learning

Pronunciation (Fluent Mandarin)
Pronunciation is one of the aspects of Mandarin Chinese that many beginners find challenging. That’s why I’ve put together a full video course called Break Through Chinese Pronunciation, divided up into easy to digest parts.


Novelists Against the State (November 19, 2015, New York Review of Books)
In China, the problem of moving beyond the disasters of Mao Zedong’s rule and its consequences (today’s authoritarian capitalism, despite its appearance of being opposite to Maoism in some ways, is one consequence) has been difficult. Chinese readers have not had enough help from their writers.

China's Urban Christians: A Light That Cannot Be Hidden, by Brent Fulton (Amazon)
China's Urban Christians: A Light That Cannot Be Hidden looks at how massive urbanization is redrawing not only the geographic and social landscape of China, but in the process is transforming China's growing church as well. The purpose of this book is to explore how Christians in China perceive the challenges posed by their new urban context and to examine their proposed means of responding to these challenges.

Articles for Researchers

Strategic Asia 2015-16: Foundations of National Power in the Asia-Pacific (National Bureau of Asian Research)
The Strategic Asia annual edited volume incorporates assessments of economic, political, and military trends and focuses on the strategies that drive policy in the region.

Image credit: Nate Steiner, 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 of Northwestern-St. Paul …View Full Bio