ZGBriefs

ZGBriefs | October 17, 2019

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Featured Article

What America Didn’t Anticipate About China  (October 16, 2019, The Atlantic)
Even as policy makers fret that China’s government immunized itself from the baleful influence of Western values, they see that it has begun to turn the tables and is exporting its ideology around the world. In short, China has begun to shape and manage us, not the other way around.


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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

U.S., China Reach 'Phase 1' Of Trade Agreement  (October 11, 2019, NPR)
President Trump has announced the U.S. and China have reached what he describes as "phase one" of a trade agreement. He said that $40 to $50 billion in new agricultural trade is expected.

China’s Political Correctness: One Country, No Arguments  (October 11, 2019, The New York Times)
The Communist Party has spent decades preparing the people to defend a united homeland. Hong Kong’s protests show it has paid off.

Hong Kong: arrest of 750 children during protests sparks outcry  (October 11, 2019, The Guardian)
Hong Kong officials have revealed that 750 of the protesters arrested during four months of unrest are children, sparking outrage in the city, as anger continues to grow over the government’s increasingly hardline measures against demonstrators.

Hong Kong's 2 'Uncles' On The Front Lines  (October 12, 2019, NPR)
Protests in Hong Kong have seen violent escalations in recent weeks. Some older men are now entering the fray as buffers between young demonstrators and police, hoping to prevent bloodshed.

Will China’s revised cybersecurity rules put foreign firms at risk of losing their secrets?  (October 13, 2019, South China Morning Post)
For foreign firms that could mean switching to Chinese equipment, adapting international strategies and exposing their systems to Beijing’s inspectors.

Why China's Brightest Abroad Show Team Spirit for Beijing's Hardball  (October 14, 2019, Real Clear Investigations)
Instead of educating a new generation of leaders who might make China more liberal, U.S. schools may be training an oppositional cadre more interested in acquiring American know-how than American values.

U.S. House Passes Hong Kong Act as Carrie Lam Warns Against Calls For Independence  (October 15, 2019, CNN)
On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and two other acts that support democracy in Hong Kong, in a rare show of bipartisan support. 

Hong Kong lawmakers disrupt Carrie Lam's address  (October 16, 2019, BBC)
Protesting opposition lawmakers in Hong Kong disrupted leader Carrie Lam's state of the union address, forcing her to leave the chamber. […] It was the first time a Hong Kong chief executive had been unable to deliver a policy address in the chamber. It means the extradition bill - the trigger for months of protests - could not be withdrawn formally.

Why China fears sending the tanks into Hong Kong  (October 16, 2019, The Guardian)
If mass arrests or tanks were used to crush a protest movement aimed at securing democratic concessions, members of China’s own large and growing middle class would begin to see this not just as a defeat for Hong Kong, but as a loss for their own society as well.

Chinese lawyer Chen Qiushi, censured over Hong Kong social media posts, vows to keep speaking out  (October 16, 2019, South China Morning Post)
A Chinese rights  lawyer who says he was harassed and silenced by mainland authorities after reporting on the Hong Kong protests in August made his social media return at the weekend in a video in which he vowed to continue to speak out on the issue.

'Think of your family': China threatens European citizens over Xinjiang protests  (October 16, 2019, The Guardian)
In interviews with more than two dozen Uighurs living across Europe and the United States, tales of threats across the world are the rule, not the exception. Uighurs living in Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, and France all complained of similar threats against family members back in Xinjiang, and some were asked to spy for China.

U.S. tells Chinese diplomats to give notice of meetings  (October 16, 2019, Reuters)
Chinese diplomats in the United States must now give advance notice of any meetings with state, local and municipal officials, as well as at educational and research institutions, senior State Department officials said on Wednesday.

Religion

Friday Reflection - Where is the Gospel?  (October 11, 2019, China Partnership Blog)
Whether it is personal or family counseling, or the operations of the church, they cannot depart from this core and focus and are all built from this foundation.

China and Catholicism, an unhappy marriage  (October 14, 2019, Lowy Interpreter)
The real problem for the Vatican remains the continuing split between the official CCPA and the underground Church, as well as the very slow movement by Beijing to recognise
about 30 bishops appointed by the Vatican but not “recognised” by the CCPA.

The Poor Preachers of the Chinese Church  (October 15, 2019, Chinese Church Voices)
Preachers are called by God to export the gospel. It is the most honorable work in the world, and should naturally enjoy honorable treatment. Treating preachers well is the teaching the Bible gives to Christians, and is a duty entrusted by God to the church. And yet the Chinese church, when mentioning preachers, often adds the modifier “poor.”

Xi Jinping’s Plan For Church Growth In The World  (October 16, 2019, China Partnership Blog)
Both in the dispersed community of foreign workers (many that had formerly served in China are relocating to other countries to continue their service) and among China’s local house churches, who are forming small groups, we see the potential for a greater impact for the kingdom. This was not any one person’s particular plan. But isn’t that how we see God working throughout history time and time again?

Society / Life

How a Popular Chinese App Is Turning Clicks Into Connections  (October 12, 2019, Sixth Tone)
Soul says it wants to connect lonely, camera-shy Chinese. But can it keep users hooked without hooking them up?

Beijing's Tallest Tower Opens its Doors, But There's a Lot More to Come  (October 16, 2019, The Beijinger)
Beijing’s tallest skyscraper reportedly opened for business last week, more than two years after it first began to reshape the city's skyline. At a staggering 528m, it is the 10th tallest building in the world and has 20m on its nearest competitor, the Taipei 101.

The China Connection: How One D.E.A. Agent Cracked a Global Fentanyl Ring  (October 16, 2019, The New York Times)
Fentanyl is quickly becoming America’s deadliest drug. But law enforcement couldn’t trace it to its source — until one teenager overdosed in North Dakota.

Economics / Trade / Business

Foreign Companies and the Internalization of Chinese Propaganda  (October 11, 2019, China Digital Times)
As the ongoing controversy with the NBA over a team general manager’s tweet in support of Hong Kong has laid bare, foreign corporations and other entities operating in China face an increasingly erratic environment, where they cannot easily predict how their actions will impact their status in the country.

How a China Slowdown Could Affect Your Business  (October 14, 2019, China Briefing)
All industries do not suffer equally in a slowdown; as consumers cut back on discretionary spending, the expenditure on essential items like food and beverage products, alcohol, cosmetics, education, and healthcare will continue.

Why US businesses should be worried about China’s corporate social credit system  (October 14, 2019, South China Morning Post)
Foreign companies that already encounter difficulties in doing business in China are about to face an even starker reality as Beijing steps up plans for a corporate rating system. In an ambitious undertaking, the Chinese government is building a so-called social credit system  that aims to collect and analyse information on its 1.4 billion citizens and rate millions of corporations both domestic and foreign.

China’s developing country status brings it few benefits in the WTO  (October 15, 2019, East Asia Forum)
In its position paper on WTO reform, China says it ‘will never agree to be deprived of its entitlement to special and differential treatment as a developing member’. At the same time, it ‘is willing to take up commitments commensurate with its level of development and economic capability’. It remains far less developed than traditionally developed countries. In purchasing power terms, its standard of living is about one-third that of the United States.

China’s pork crisis sends consumer inflation rising to the brink of Beijing’s limit, highest level in six years  (October 15, 2019, South China Morning Post)
China’s pork crisis sent prices spiraling to their highest reading since November 2013 as consumer inflation reached 3.0 per cent in September, according to official government data released on Tuesday. The world’s most populous nation has been ravaged by an outbreak of African swine fever that added 1.65 percentage points to its consumer inflation last month.

China’s economy cause of growing concern in Beijing as US-China trade war takes toll on growth  (October 15, 2019 South China Morning Post)
Chinese premier Li Keqiang has urged local government officials to do everything possible to keep economic growth on track, sending a strong signal that Beijing is increasingly concerned about a deeper-than-expected economic slowdown amid a trade war with the United States.

A Different Perspective  (October 16, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
Please allow me to share a very different narrative about both the “on-the-ground” and global realities that these two small companies face each day.  Most of the realities have nothing to do with the current trade tensions between the two countries, but people’s perceptions and emotions on both sides of the ocean have nonetheless been impacted by a number of “myths” that continue to be repeated day-in and day-out. 

Kenya opens $1.5 billion Chinese-built railway linking Rift Valley town and Nairobi  (October 16, 2019, Reuters)
Kenya’s opened a $1.5 billion Chinese-built railway line linking Nairobi to Naivasha on Wednesday, despite delays in building an industrial park in the Rift Valley town to encourage freight.

Education

Capturing Life in China’s Crowded College Dorms  (October 11, 2019, Sixth Tone)
Photographer Zhang Jiayu explores the alienation of life in China’s communal college accommodation.

Is corporal punishment acceptable in Chinese schools? Government edict reopens debate  (October 12, 2019, South China Morning Post)
Corporal punishment – inflicting physical pain – is banned in Chinese schools, but this traditional way of forcing students to be obedient and study diligently still exists, as Haohao has experienced.

Chinese Students and Scholars Association's deep links to the embassy revealed  (October 13, 2019, ABC News (Australia))
Australia's peak Chinese student body reports to and is partly funded by the Chinese embassy, new documents reveal.The Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) promotes itself as an autonomous group under the guidance of the Chinese embassy and has branches at universities across Australia.

The Value of a College Degree? A Shot at a Shanghai High School  (October 15, 2019, Sixth Tone)
I spent seven years and tens of thousands of yuan getting my bachelor’s degree — all so my kid could stay in the Shanghai school system.

Experts Call BS on Training Center’s ‘Quantum Speed-Reading’ Class  (October 16, 2019, Sixth Tone)
The center’s parent company said the course, which claims to help students read 100,000 characters in five minutes, was not authorized.

Health / Environment

China orders winter emissions cuts, with tougher targets for cities that failed last year  (October 16, 2019, South China Morning Post)
China’s northern cities will be required to cut emissions of dangerous PM2.5 particles by an average of 4 per cent this winter, according to a document issued by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment on Wednesday outlining its annual anti-pollution plan for winter.

Science / Technology

Exporting China’s social compliance system  (October 12, 2019, East Asia Forum
As the world order shifts, the CCP has doubled down on authoritarian surveillance and social control mechanisms. It is offering unaligned and developing nations alike an alternative to the current liberal democratic solutions offered by the West — an alternative that is different conceptually, materially and ideologically.

China’s Cloud Computing Market To Reach $42 Billion by 2023  (October 12, 2019, Sixth Tone)
The domestic industry has seen strong growth but still lags behind that of the U.S., according to a white paper from China’s Cabinet.

China's Study the Great Nation app 'enables spying via back door'  (October 14, 2019, BBC)
The Chinese Communist Party has gained the ability to spy on more than 100 million citizens via a heavily promoted official app, a report suggests. Analysis of the Study the Great Nation app found hidden elements that could help monitor use and copy data, said phone security experts Cure 53. The app gives the government "super-user" access, the security firm said.

History / Culture

Video: The PLA enters Beijing in 1949  (Everyday Life in Maoist China)

Chongqing University Museum Closed Over Fake Relics Accusation  (October 16, 2019, Sixth Tone)
City officials say the school hadn’t registered a museum claiming to house hundreds of ancient artworks.

Travel / Food

10 Year Visa for China – The Guide  (October 11, 2019, Sapore di Cina)
Not only is the application process surprisingly easy, you’ll get the visa in around 2-4 days and at a very low cost (more about that later). One misconception is that foreigners are able to stay in China for 10 years in a row. That’s not the case. The 10 year visa allows you multiple entries into the country, with a predefined maximum stay each time.

Hefei!  (October 11, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
Like every other city in China, it has undergone rapid development and growth over the past couple of decades, and is a city teeming with skyscrapers, parks, bridges, and shopping malls. 

Gansu’s Mogao Caves: A Desert Sanctuary a Millennium in the Making  (October 11, 2019, Wild China Blog)
Buddhism came to China in many waves and through many routes. It brought not just a philosophy, but a cultural milieu of art, sculpture, festivals, and literature. Nowhere is the influence of these different strands of Buddhism on Chinese art more visible than in the Mogao Caves on the edge of the Taklamakan Desert in northwestern China. 

Inside Beijing’s new Daxing airport, the world’s largest single terminal  (October 12, 2019, The Points Guy)
This week, I made my first visit to the new airport. Here’s what it was like wandering around the giant starfish.

Beijing Reins in Rental Fraud in Apartment and Home-Stay Markets  (October 15, 2019, The Beijinger)
Thanks to the Internet, renting a room has never been easier. Apparently, it also has never been so easy to swindle unsuspecting renters with misleading posts and shady practices.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

What Just Happened with the NBA in China?  (October 10, 2019, China File)
What happened? And what does this situation mean for American businesses and China?

American Factory -- A Film Review  (October 14, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
As the name indicates, the film is a documentary about an American factory—but it is so much more. It is a tale of two countries. It provides a glimpse into China and Chinese culture, and insight into cultural differences and warm friendships.

Language / Language Learning

Kickstart Your Chinese Character Learning With These 25 Most Common Radicals  (October 14, 2019, The Beijinger)
No matter your mandarin level, memorizing radicals helps you to better understand character definitions as well as how to write and recall them, thus easing the overall learning process.

Links for Researchers

The Vatican and Taiwan: An Anomalous Diplomatic Relationship  (October 13, 2019, Journal of Contemporary China)
The Vatican–Taiwan relationship is an anomalous one, with only a marginal relationship to Cold War issues or questions of the legitimacy of the PRC as a regime. Rather, the rationale for the connection is that the Vatican has an ongoing diplomatic relationship with China, and that Taiwan is the only place in China where it is possible to maintain a nunciature (or embassy). 

Image credit: Tim Riley, 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... View Full Bio