ZGBriefs | October 15, 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

Nobel Renews Debate on Chinese Medicine (October 10, 2015, The New York Times)
These contrasts are part of a bigger, century-long debate in China that has been renewed by the award on Monday to one of the academy’s retired researchers, Tu Youyou, for extracting the malaria-fighting compound Artemisinin from the plant Artemisia annua. It was the first time China had won a Nobel Prize in a scientific discipline.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

U.S. Ramps Up Maritime Aid As China Island-Building Tensions Rise (October 9, 2015, China Real Time)
The U.S. says a dramatic increase in funding for maritime law enforcement to Vietnam, the Philippines and other countries in Southeast Asia has nothing to do territorial disputes in the South China Sea. China isn’t buying it.

In a first, Chinese hackers are arrested at the behest of the U.S. government (October 9, 2015, BBC)
The Chinese government has quietly arrested a handful of hackers at the urging of the U.S. government — an unprecedented step to defuse tensions with Washington at a time when the Obama administration has threatened economic sanctions.

Message From China’s Leader, Xi Jinping, to North Korea May Signal Thaw (October 10, 2015, The New York Times)
Relations between China and North Korea showed some signs on Saturday of thawing after a deep chill, as President Xi Jinping of China sent a warm note to the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and sent one of his most senior officials to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Mr. Kim’s ruling party.

Bao Zhuoxuan, Son of Rights Lawyer Held in China, Is Said to Be Under House Arrest (October 12, 2015, The New York Times)
he 16-year-old son of a detained Chinese human rights lawyer is now living under house arrest in northern China after being snatched at a Myanmar border town last week as he was trying to escape to the United States, a family friend said.

Hong Kong Activist Wong: Work Within the System (October 13, 2015, China Real Time)
Defeated in his effort to change the system through street protests last year, Hong Kong student activist Joshua Wong is now trying a new strategy: work within the system. The 19-year-old convener of student group Scholarism on Monday filed a challenge with the Hong Kong judicial system to the city legislature’s minimum age requirement, which is 21. He filed it a day before his birthday.

A Land China Loves and Hates (October 13, 2015, The New York Times)
Many of the same people who are suspicious of America’s intentions are the ones who harbor the most fervent hopes of going to live there.

Chinese activists urge Xi Jinping to learn from Magna Carta (October 13, 2015, The Guardian)
Chinese activists have urged President Xi Jinping to visit a rare exhibition of Magna Carta in Beijing, after the text, which some celebrate as a cornerstone of modern democracy, went on display as part of commemorations of its 800th anniversary.

Russell Leigh Moses: Li Seeks Xi-Style Support As He Raises Profile (October 14, 2015, China Real Time)
Li is being cast to cadres and citizens alike as someone deeply concerned with local conditions and eager to return to locations he visited previously to see what progress has been made and what problems remain. According to this narrative, he is unafraid to push for further change and hold officials accountable for their failings.

Zhou Yongkang Sweep May Signal Break in ‘Tiger’ Crackdown (October 14, 2015, China Real Time)
Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s corruption clean-up crew is taking the broom to allies of fallen former Chinese security czar Zhou Yongkang, in a house cleaning that could signal a coming lull in high-level graft investigations.

China says has not militarized South China Sea (October 14, 2015, Reuters)
China has not militarized the South China Sea, but there are certain countries which keep flexing their muscles who should stop hyping up the issue, China's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

Britain and China to hail 'golden' ties during Xi visit (October 13, 2015, Reuters)
The tone of the state visit, during which Xi will dine at Buckingham Palace, will be in marked contrast to his trip last month to the United States, where pomp and ceremony failed to mask friction over cyber theft and China's moves in Asian maritime disputes.


6 Questions about Mentoring in the Chinese Context (October 9, 2015, From the West Courtyard)
Mark talks with three individuals (Brent, Henry, and Rod) who have extensive experience with leadership development and mentoring in China, raising the following six questions

In China, new signs of increased state control over religion (October 9, 2015, UCA News)
The Chinese Communist Party is sending signals that it will intensify control over the Catholic Church and other religions during its upcoming summit on religion, the first such meeting during the three-year leadership of Xi Jinping. Zhongguo Mingzu Bao, the official newspaper on religious issues, noted in an Oct. 8 commentary that Xi is "serious" on religion.

Official raid pressures Hubei house church to join TSPM (October 12, 2015, China Aid)
Members of the religious affairs bureau and Three-Self Patriotic Movement raided a 70-member house church in China’s central Hubei province on Oct. 4 and threatened to close the gathering place if the Christians did not join a government-sanctioned church.

Wang Mingdao on the Importance of Being Slow to Speak (September 13, 2015, Chinese Church Voices)
In it, he presents multiple scenarios where it is best to be slow to speak, reminding the reader of the importance of making sure that our words are being used for God’s glory. In the era of social media, which demands a comment or opinion or criticism of everything, it remains a good word for us all today.

Teaching Theology in Chinese (October 13, 2015, Jackson Wu)
Yes, I totally get that learning the Chinese language is difficult for foreigners. Yet, how else do missionaries ever expect to do the deep level training that is so critically needed to shape the church’s DNA? Who will provide theological training for the Chinese church? Must all Chinese Christians learn English (or some other language) so they can attend an overseas seminary?

Uninsured clergy face retirement crisis (October 14, 2015, China Daily)
Clergy ill-prepared for retirement and lacking of health insurance is a problem in all five major religions in China, including Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism, according to a June report by Renmin University of China.

Society / Life

Four-year-old boy in China dies in escalator accident (October 9, 2015, BBC)
A four-year-old boy in the Chinese city of Chongqing has died after becoming wedged under an escalator handrail at a metro station, report local media. The boy was playing with the handrail unsupervised when he fell under it.

China's 'Father of Rural Reform' Dies Aged 102 (October 10, 2015, Caixin Online)
One change Du Runsheng pushed for was letting farmers sell the crops they raised and keep the profits for themselves

Restaurant gas explosion in Wuhu, eastern China, kills 17 people (October 11, 2015, The Guardian)
A leaking liquefied gas container exploded on contact with a restaurant fire in eastern China, killing 17 people, authorities said. The explosion happened just before noon on Saturday at a small restaurant in Wuhu city’s Jinghu district, the city government said. Wuhu is in Anhui province, about 350km west of Shanghai.

Photos: The Empty Chinese Amusement Park (October 11, 2015, The Atlantic)
The structures, with faded colors and in various states of disrepair, appear grotesque in their loneliness. They don’t look like they’re having much fun.

China's meth boom: schoolteacher held in latest drug swoop (October 12, 2015, The Guardian)
A secondary school teacher has been arrested by Chinese police following a six-month investigation into his clandestine methamphetamine empire – the latest case in the country to echo the story of Walter White, the main character in the US TV drama Breaking Bad.

Hong Kong Is Slowly Dimming Its Neon Glow (October 13, 2015, The New York Times)
Since the mid-20th century, endless towers of flashing, throbbing neon have defined Hong Kong’s landscape as much as Victoria Harbor and the skyline of densely packed high-rises. […]  But the neon of Hong Kong’s streets is dimming.

A hazing ritual forced Chinese female flight attendants into overhead bins (October 13, 2015, Washington Post)
A “Civil Aviation Tabloid” on Wechat, a popular social networking app in China, has released photos of female flight attendants lying uncomfortably in overhead bins. The initiation ritual, which has been in place for nearly five years, marks the employees’ first 30 to 50 hours of flight service.

Learning skills of a Western-style butler to serve the super rich (October 13, 2015, People’s Daily)
At exclusive Noahs Shanghai Yatch Club, Tang and 13 other students have paid thousands of yuan for a two-week program to learn specialized skills such as valet services and etiquette. The courses are run by The British Butler Institute, a London-based training school, which entered the Chinese market in 2007.

China chain imposes 'filial piety tax' on employees (October 14, 2015, BBC)
An unusual policy by a company in China where employees are made to give part of their salary to their parents has sparked debate online on filial piety. The Guangzhou Daily newspaper reported that the company, an unnamed beauty salon chain, wanted to promote good moral values among its employees.

China’s funeral revolutionaries – Podcast (October 14, 2015, The Guardian)
Inspired by Silicon Valley, two entrepreneurs set out to disrupt China's seedy funeral industry. Could they succeed in the face of decades of corruption and bureaucracy?

12 Weird Buildings In China That Will Amaze You (October 14, 2015, Travel China Cheaper)

Economics / Trade / Business

China’s Didi Kuaidi Gets License to Ride in Shanghai (October 9, 2015, China Real Time)
In the race for legal legitimacy in China’s fast-growing market for private rides, Uber Technologies Inc.’s local rival has become the first to cross the finish line.

China imports slump 20% amid falling commodity prices and weak demand (October 13, 2015, The Guardian)
China’s imports fell heavily in September, official figures said, keeping pressure on policymakers to do more to stave off a sharper economic slowdown. Although exports fell less than expected by 3.7% from the same period last year, the value of imports tumbled more than 20% to register the 11th straight month of falls.


Chinese University Tops MIT in Engineering Rankings (October 8, 2015, China Real Time)
China’s prestigious Tsinghua University has bested the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to become the top school in the world for engineering research, according to a new U.S. News & World Report ranking, in a development that has renewed debate within China over the country’s educational system.

Health / Environment

Three Charts that Clear the Haze on Smoking in China (October 9, 2015, China Real Time)
New research published by the Lancet medical journal shows that the number of deaths in China caused by tobacco will triple by 2050 – and that men are more than 20 times more likely than women to smoke.

Underground Plastic Surgery in China: Paying a High Price (October 9, 2015, What’s on Weibo)
Underground plastic surgery shops are popping up like mushrooms in China, and they bring about more ugliness than beauty.

Q. and A.: Paul U. Unschuld on Reconciling Chinese and Western Medicine (October 13, 2015, Sinosphere)
Paul U. Unschuld, 72, is a leading scholar of the history and ideas that underlie Chinese medicine. […]  In an interview, he discussed Tu Youyou’s Nobel Prize and how Chinese officials view their country’s medical heritage.

Science / Technology

Apple Is Said to Deactivate Its News App in China (October 10, 2015, The New York Times)
Apple has disabled its news app in China, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation, the most recent sign of how difficult it can be for foreign companies to manage the strict rules governing media and online expression there.

History / Culture

Dazhalan: Creative Culture in the Heart of Old Beijing (October 10, 2015, The Beijinger Blog)
From their previous residential importance, Dazhalan (known in the local Beijing dialect as Dashilar) and its hutongs have transformed into a hub of tourism and everything creative-and-art-related.

Photos: Ancient bridges in China (October 13, 2015, China Daily)

Arts / Entertainment / Media

China’s First Soap Opera – A National Craze (October 8, 2015, What’s on Weibo)
China’s first soap opera caused a sensation across the nation. Sales of TV sets surged, and streets were empty when it aired. ‘Yearnings’ was the talk of the town, a 1990 hot topic.

China’s ‘Go Away, Mr. Tumor’ Headed to the Oscars (October 10, 2015, China Real Time)
China woke up on Friday to discover that local film authorities had submitted “Go Away, Mr. Tumor” – a crowd-pleasing romantic comedy that was big at the box office but light on gravitas and rave reviews– the country’s official entry in the Foreign Language Film Award category of the annual Academy Awards.

China’s Next Big Hit Is Guaranteed to Get Stuck in Your Head (October 13, 2015, What’s on Weibo)
The latest song by Chinese pop band Jiuyue Qiji (玖月奇迹), Cai Cai Cai, is taking over China with its “brainwashing melody”.

Travel / Food

A Visit to Xinjiang’s Kanas Lake and Keketuohai (October 7, 2015, Far West China)
Kanas lake is simply stunning. I found myself so many times just sitting, staring at this picturesque scene in awe.

Video: What Are Chinese Tourists’ Favorite Golden Week Destinations? (October 8, 2015, China Real Time)
More than 3.38 million tourists visited 125 scenic spots in China during the first six days of Golden Week. What were some of the most crowded spots?

Photos: Taiwan's Kinmen Islands, Only a Few Miles From Mainland China (October 8, 2015, The Atlantic)
The island of Taiwan, governed by the Republic of China (ROC), lies about 100 miles (161 kilometers) east of mainland China, across the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan also administers a number of smaller islands known as the Kinmen archipelago, or Kinmen County. Great Kinmen Island and its neighbor islets are on the other side of the strait, in a harbor just east of the port city of Xiamen, practically surrounded by the People’s Republic of China (PRC)—in some places barely more than a mile apart.

How Traveling In China Went From Adventure To Ordeal (October 11, 2015, NPR)
China's rapid economic rise means many people now have the money to travel. And that's a good thing. Chinese should get to know their country better. The problem: There are just too many people.

Holiday Traffic Jam (October 13, 2015, Outside-In)
I must admit that I chuckled at some of the headlines which described it as a jam on a 50-lane highway. A 50-lane highway? Really? I can assure you that there is no such thing as a 50-lane highway in China (or anywhere, for that matter).

Language / Language Learning

How to pronounce Xi Jinping, China's president (About.com)
The truly quick and dirty way is to pronounce the name of the president of China is to say SHEE JIN PING. If you want to take a shot at the tones, they should be rising, falling and rising respectively.


A Non-Cook Reviews 3 Chinese Cookbooks (October 12, 2015, From the West Courtyard)
Though I am a self-proclaimed non-cook (in any culture), these books are a must explore because they are more than cookbooks. They are part cultural informant, part memoir, and part cookbook.

Assessing Political Reform in China (October 14, 2015, From the West Courtyard)
More than 35 years after Deng Xiaoping’s ascendancy to power, a sober assessment of the political implications of Deng’s reforms is much needed. China’s Political Development: Chinese and American Perspectives[1] proposes to fill this gap by bringing together the insights of two dozen eminent scholars, twelve each from China and the United States, to address key aspects of governance reform since 1978.

Articles for Researchers

Lenin’s Chinese Heirs (October 14, 2015, Foreign Affairs)
Xi’s recent predecessors tended to view “getting the economy right” as the secret sauce to assure the party’s credibility and its political success. Xi has bet the reverse—that a rejuvenated and more credible CCP is the ticket to implement necessary economic reforms and shepherd China into the role of a great power in the twenty-first century.

Resources in Chinese

与王怡牧师在线对谈中国家庭教会的历史、现状和走向 (1) (Center on Religion and Chinese Society YouTube)

与王怡牧师在线对谈中国家庭教会的历史、现状和走向 (2) (Center on Religion and Chinese Society YouTube)


Christianity And China In The 21st Century
An International Conference
October 22-24, 2015
Emmanuel College, Victoria University

Image credit: Herbal Medicine, by hkpuipui99, 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