ZGBriefs | October 18, 2018

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Featured Article

How the Foreign NGO Law Has Affected International Adoption (October 16, 2018, China File)
As a result of applying the Foreign NGO Law on foreign adoption agencies, since July 2017 the Chinese government has prevented foreign adoption agencies from legally filing temporary activities in China, and has effectively shut down at least three major official programs that in the past have helped to facilitate international adoption.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Is America Overreacting to the Threat of Chinese Influence? — A ChinaFile Conversation(October 12, 2018, China File)
So are Americans—whether voters, politicians, or editors and reporters—overreacting? Under-reacting? Or is the United States’ collective response getting it just right, given the threat? What are the benefits and the dangers of bringing these issues front and center? 

China's paranoia and oppression in Xinjiang has a long history (October 13, 2018, CNN)
While the strategies Beijing is taking are new — and include a state-of-the-art surveillance regime — they echo a longtime paranoia about Xinjiang and a deep suspicion of its non-Han population among China's rulers which have historically resulted in oppression and rebellion.

The Leaders Who Unleashed China’s Mass Detention of Muslims (October 13, 2018, The New York Times)
But speeches, reports and other documents online offer a clearer account than previously reported of how China’s top leaders set in motion and escalated the indoctrination campaign, which aims to eradicate all but the mildest expressions of Islamic faith and any yearning for an independent Uighur homeland.

Trump Embraces Foreign Aid to Counter China’s Global Influence (October 14, 2018, The New York Times)
With little fanfare, Mr. Trump signed a bill a little over a week ago that created a new foreign aid agency — the United States International Development Finance Corporation — and gave it authority to provide $60 billion in loans, loan guarantees and insurance to companies willing to do business in developing nations.

Chinese Media Slams Bloomberg, Pence for ‘Inciting Sinophobia’ (October 15, 2018, Sixth Tone)
China’s state news agency accused the United States of “inciting Sinophobia” on Sunday, over a week after Vice President Mike Pence delivered a speech warning of a tense new chapter in Sino-U.S. ties, and a bombshell article by Bloomberg Businessweek alleged that the Chinese military had carried out a daring cyberattack against 30 American companies.

Opinion: In Search Of Historical Parallels For China's Rise (October 15, 2018, NPR)
History can be helpful in making sense of what the Chinese Communist Party is doing within and beyond the borders of the People's Republic of China. But when it comes to understanding today's China, history is an imperfect guide.

China’s Great Leap Backward (October 15, 2018, Foreign Policy)
For decades, the country managed to avoid most problems suffered by dictatorships. Now Xi Jinping’s personal power play risks undermining everything that made China exceptional.

Internment camps make Uighurs' life more colourful, says Xinjiang governor (October 16, 2018, The Guardian)
In a rare, detailed interview published by the state-run news agency Xinhua, the Xinjiang governor, Shohrat Zakir, said: “Xinjiang conducts vocational skills education and training according to law. The purpose is to fundamentally eliminate the environment and soil that breeds terrorism and religious extremism, and eliminate the terrorism activities before they take place.”

Signs mount of a fundamental shift in US-China ties (October 16, 2018, Christian Science Monitor)
All eyes are focused on trade as a source of the strains in the US-China relationship. But a much wider range of issues is in play and could affect everything from US diplomatic initiatives to support for foreign aid.

Vancouver society at centre of vote-buying allegations has ties to Chinese government (October 16, 2018, The Star)
RCMP in Metro Vancouver said Friday they were probing allegations that the Canada Wenzhou Friendship Society sent out messages on social media app WeChat, offering voters a $20 transportation subsidy while urging chat group members to vote for certain candidates of Chinese descent…

China disappearances show Beijing sets its own rules (October 17, 2018,BBC)
The recent disappearances of two high-profile Chinese citizens have once again focused international attention on China's legal system and its use of secret detentions.

‘WeChat Is Not a Land outside the Law’ (October 17, 2018, China File)
Relapse is Xi Jinping’s signature. And once you understand this principle, you can apply it to better understand the core features of many of China’s ostensibly “new” policies. Which brings me to one of the newest changes in recent weeks: the introduction in August of the second revision of the Chinese Communist Party’s internal discipline regulations in less than three years.


China’s new door  (October 10, 2018, Angelus)
In his letter to China’s Catholics, the Holy Father said the agreement between the Holy See and the government is aimed at “providing the Catholic community with good shepherds,” not simply religious functionaries.

Chinese Authorities Threaten Pastor Who Signed Statement Vowing to 'Bear all Losses' for Gospel (October 10, 2018, The Gospel Herald)
Persecution watchdog China Aid reports that  Pastor Yan Xiaojie of Shangjiang Church in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, was among hundreds of pastors who signed a public joint statement titled "A Declaration of the Christian Faith." Shortly after signing the statement, Yan posted an "urgent prayer request" online, stating that personnel from three different government offices stopped by his home the previous day to speak with him.

Religion Returning to the Center (October 12, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
He argues that Chinese leader Xi Jinping is trying to construct a “new spiritual world,” and that Christianity and Islam are viewed as challenges to that vision because they are considered to be “foreign faiths.”

To Religious Chinese, Cemeteries Are of Grave Importance (October 12, 2018, Sixth Tone)
To understand why cemeteries can be such hot-button issues in China, it’s important to first understand the powerful, sometimes contradictory role they play in the Chinese religious tradition.

A Tool for Studying the Chinese Bible (October 15, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
Given the general increase in the resources available to the Chinese church over the past two decades—whether in terms of finances, education, or literature—it should not be surprising that more sophisticated biblical study tools are also emerging.

Taiwan invites Pope Francis to visit, following landmark China-Vatican pact (October 15, 2018, Reuters)
Taiwan Vice President Chen Chien-jen met Francis on Sunday and invited him to visit, Tsai’s office said in a statement, adding that the pope had replied he would pray for Taiwan. But it gave no date for the proposed visit.

China bishops on historic Vatican visit invite pope to Beijing (October 16, 2018, South China Morning Post)
Joseph Guo Jincai and John Baptist Yang Xiaoting attended the first two weeks of the meeting of bishops from around the world, known as a synod, and saw Pope Francis daily in the first concrete sign of a thaw between the Holy See and Beijing after last month’s landmark agreement on the naming of bishops China.

Responding in a Time of Testing (October 16, 2018, Chinese Church Voices)
How should Christians respond in the increasingly tense environment? In this article, Brother Liu stresses the need to hold a peaceful rather than confrontational stance toward the government. He also cautions Christians not to promote rumors that stir up agitation. He reminds readers that the church has withstood persecution before and will do so again.

A Look in the Mirror: Research and the Indigenous Church (October 17, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
This week we began a series of blog posts on indigenous approaches to research on the church in China. Our working assumption is that the questions being asked by Chinese Christians themselves are different from those being posed from outside China.

The City Of God On Earth, Part 3: The City Belongs To Jesus Christ (October 17, 2018, China Partnership Blog)
Every day, in each city in China, people flee and re-gather. Meanwhile, each day, in each city in China, the Lord counts his towers, considers his ramparts, and goes through his palaces: his church in that city.

Society / Life

Desperate Chinese middle class take big risks to move money, and themselves, overseas (October 14, 2018, South China Morning Post)
Spurred by a lack of investment options at home and rattled by the sweeping anti-corruption campaign of President Xi Jinping, those with significant assets are looking for ways to move their money overseas, by legal means or otherwise.

Young, Friendly, and Living in a Retirement Home (October 15, 2018, Sixth Tone)
The home matches its lonely residents with budget-conscious young people, who have to spend at least 20 hours a month chatting with the elderly, reading books to them, and helping them navigate their electronics. 

For Chinese Mothers, Even Doing It All Isn’t Always Enough (October 15, 2018, Sixth Tone)
Despite what the stereotypes may say, however, many modern Chinese women don’t have the luxury of committing to just one path or the other; rather, they must figure out how best to juggle their family responsibilities and their careers.

85 more counties removed from China's poverty list (October 17, 2018, China Daily)
They include 25 in the Tibet autonomous region, 15 in Yunnan province and 14 in Guizhou province. The others are spread across the provinces of Hebei, Shaanxi, Gansu and Qinghai and in the Ningxia Hui and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions.

Economics / Trade / Business

China’s plummeting stocks raise fears that market is early casualty in trade war (October 12, 2018, South China Morning Post)
A sell-off in financial exchanges amid rising hostilities with the United States has intensified concerns about whether China’s faltering stock market is heading towards a meltdown.

China Expat Pay: Splitting with Hong Kong is 100% Illegal and 200% Dangerous, Part 2 (October 15, 2018, China Law Blog)
Be careful out there. But be careful not just with the Hong Kong scam involving employment contracts, but be careful any time you are doing any sort of deal with a Mainland China company and a Hong Kong company or component gets tossed into the deal.

Kenyans Say Chinese Investment Brings Racism and Discrimination (October 15, 2018, The New York Times)
As the country embraces China’s expanding presence in the region, many Kenyans wonder whether the nation has unwittingly welcomed an influx of powerful foreigners who are shaping the country’s future — while also bringing racist attitudes with them.

China May Have $5.8 Trillion in Hidden Debt With ‘Titanic’ Risks (October 16, 2018, Bloomberg)
Much of the build-up relates to local government financing vehicles, which don’t necessarily have the full financial backing of local governments themselves.

Why Economists Are Chewing Over China’s Instant Noodle Sales (October 17, 2018, Sixth Tone)
Instant noodle sales are heating up across China, but the rise may indicate an economy in hot water.

Donald Trump to pull US out of postal alliance in latest move targeting China (October 18, 2018, South China Morning Post)
Explaining the decision, the Trump administration said that favourable shipment rates for developing countries have let members like China flood the US with goods, putting US companies at a disadvantage.

Health / Environment

China’s Medical Tourists Are Steering Clear of U.S. Hospitals  (October 17, 2018, Foreign Policy)
In the last few years, a rapidly growing medical tourism market—largely dedicated to relatively simple trips for plastic surgery or routine examinations—has sprung up, geared toward high-end consumers. 

Chinese firm fined $1.3bn for illegal production of rabies vaccine  (October 17, 2018, BBC)
Changchun Changsheng had blended different batches of vaccine fluid and used expired fluid to produce some of the batches, according to state news agency Xinhua. The company also falsified production data for the vaccine.

Science / Technology

As China clamps down, internet users find it harder to scale 'Great Firewall' (October 12, 2018, Christian Science Monitor)
China has more internet users than any other country. And as its online censorship tightens, the consequences may ripple beyond its borders.

Sundar Pichai: Google 'exploring' censored China search app (October 16, 2018, BBC)
Google chief executive Sundar Pichai has said a censored search app in China could serve over "99% of queries," in rare public comments about the controversial proposal.

Chinese city 'plans to launch artificial moon to replace streetlights'(October 17, 2018, The Guardian)
In Chengdu, there is reportedly an ambitious plan afoot for replacing the city’s streetlights: boosting the glow of the real moon with that of a more powerful fake one. […] The “dusk-like glow” of the satellite would be able to light an area with a diameter of 10-80km, while the precise illumination range could be controlled within tens of metres – enabling it to replace streetlights.

History / Culture

His Wife Went Home Too Soon: How God Comforted Hudson Taylor (October 14, 2018, Desiring God)
This was a tragic, heartbreaking loss for Hudson. But God deeply comforted him, as we see from two letters he wrote soon after her passing.

Travel / Food

Xiamen: A Breezy Getaway to China’s Other Historical Harbor Down South (Otober 12, 2018, The Beijinger)
Fujian province’s city of Xiamen, formerly known as Amoy, has long been an important historical site for its role as a harbor for much of the last 800 years as well as a strategic stepping-off point to Taiwan. These days, it’s best known as a popular destination for Chinese tourists because of its mild climate, historic sights, beaches, and fresh seafood.

Traveling to Ningxia, the smallest province in China (October 12, 2018, Sapore di Cina)
Ningxia is in fact the main dwelling place of Chinese of the Hui ethnicity (even though there’s no shortage of Han, especially in the capital). In 1954, Ningxia was incorporated into Gansu (甘肃), but in 1958 it became an autonomous region.

Xinjiang Islam Restaurant: No Hardship, Only Revelry at China’s Official Xinjiang Restaurant (October 15, 2018, The Beijinger)
And while we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to the rustic joys of Xinjiang food in Beijing – the green signs, crescent moons, and picture book menus beckoning many a Mandarin-illiterate foreigner through their restaurant doors, nurturing an early love that lasts long past final departure – this government-run take on Xinjiang cuisine can boast being one of the city’s best.

An Art Lovers’ Guide to Beijing (October 16, 2018, Wild China Blog)
Beijing is home to a flourishing art scene. The city boasts alternative and contemporary districts, as well as traditional architecture and antiques.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Yang Kaili: China live-streamer detained for 'insulting' national anthem (October 15, 2018, BBC)
A Chinese live-streaming celebrity has been detained for five days for "insulting" the country's national anthem. Yang Kaili, a 20-year-old with tens of millions of followers, had appeared on camera singing the anthem while flailing her arms around.

Tom Brady Has His Own Chinese TV Show (October 17, 2018, Radii China)
According to Tencent (link in Chinese), the Chinese tech giant who last year signed a major rights deal with the NFL, there will be 8 episodes in total, the first of which was broadcast in late September and the last of which will be aired in December.


Take & read: New books in global Christianity (October 16, 2018, Christian Century)

Links for Researchers

Shaping the Religiosity of Chinese University Students: Science Education and Political Indoctrination (October, 2018, Religions)
Our study examined the respective relationships between two components of higher education in mainland China—science education and political indoctrination—and the religiosity of university students.


September Data and Some Recommended NGO Articles (October 12, 2018, China File)
The pace at which representative offices are registered and at which new temporary activities are initiated appears to be settling into a steadier rhythm as implementation becomes more regularized.

China Employment Law Webinar: What HR Needs to Know (October 15, 2018, China Law Blog)
Our lead China employment lawyer, Grace Yang, will be leading a 90 minute webinar on what HR departments need to know about China employment law, and boy is that a lot. Go here to sign up.

China Individual Income Tax and Social Insurance Calculator (October 15, 2018, China Briefing)
The International Payroll and Human Resources team at Dezan Shira & Associates has developed a simple calculator to help employers and employees calculate their monthly IIT and social insurance obligations.

Image credit: siping orphanage, The Wu’s Photoland, 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