ZGBriefs | October 20, 2016

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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. Please go here to support ZGBriefs.

Featured Article

Digital Divide: Does the Web Only Benefit China’s Urban Rich? (October 19, 2016, Sixth Tone)
Bai Yansong, a presenter at state broadcaster China Central Television, posed provocative questions to industry representatives at an e-commerce conference held last week in Sichuan province, southwestern China. “If the internet only makes big cities bigger and more convenient, has people rushing in and raising housing prices, while people in small towns just play video games, what is its value?” Bai asked.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Is the Growing Pessimism About China Warranted? (October 6, 2016, ChinaFile)
These long-time China hands unpack the complexities and uncertainties, explore the forces shaping China’s future, and offer several alternative pathways the regime and nation may follow in the years ahead. Is the growing international pessimism about China’s internal and external behavior warranted?

Draft Guidelines for the Overseas NGO Law Announced at Shanghai Forum (October 17, 2016, NGOs in China)
Last Friday, October 14, the Ministry of Public Security and the Shanghai Municipal Public Security Bureau held a forum in Shanghai for overseas NGOs to announce the draft “Guidelines for the Registration and Temporary Activities of Representative Offices of Overseas Non-governmental Organizations within the Territory of China (for comment)."

Hong Kong Legislators Stop Pro-Independence Lawmakers From Taking Oath (October 19, 2016, The New York Times)
Dozens of Hong Kong politicians loyal to the Chinese government prevented three newly elected lawmakers who support greater autonomy from Beijing from being sworn in to the local legislature on Wednesday. Hours earlier, the Hong Kong government, in a rare legal challenge, had tried to block two of the new representatives, who demand outright independence from the Chinese mainland, from taking their seats on the Legislative Council.


Healing the River of Love (October 18, 2016, Chinese Church Voices)
In this article, originally published in Jingjie, author Wang Ming Li examines the very public and famous journey of singer Annie Yi, who ultimately decided that the path to overcoming rejection by her father was to “just be myself.” But is this really a panacea for our life problems? How do we as Christians respond to significant family of origin wounds? Wang first examines Annie’s journey, then shares her own personal experience and reflections.

China’s Church in an Age of Pluralism (October 19, 2016, From the West Courtyard)
In modern societies pluralism has the dual effect of both relativizing faith, forcing religious believers to acknowledge the presence of competing worldviews, and of fostering growth by creating new opportunities for them to live out their faith in the pluralist context. The response of China’s church to the modernization that has characterized the past three-and-a-half decades provides a unique window into this process.

Society / Life

China drops one-child policy, but ‘exhausted’ tiger moms say one is plenty (October 16, 2016, The Washington Post)
Their apartment is too small for a second child, and the cost of moving to a bigger one in Beijing has risen out of their reach. But it is not just money that is preventing them from having a second one: Han says they have also devoted all of their time and energy into their son, and they are simply exhausted.

On The Road: Two Chinese Men Drive Bumper Cars on Shenyang Traffic Lane (October 17, 2016, What’s on Weibo)
A Weibo netizen from the Chinese province of Liaoning recently exposed how two men drove bumper cars in the middle of a street in Shenyang, Liaoning’s capital. According to the young woman, she spotted the two men in the early morning of October 15. The two men were street racing in the city’s Heping district with a green and yellow dashing car.

An insider's guide to Beijing: caged birds, smog and internet satire (October 17, 2016, The Guardian)
China’s capital is home to nearly as many people as the entire population of Australia. Concrete sprawl might be prevalent but so too are buckwheat pancakes, traditional theatres and oases filled with birdsong.

Corrupt Chinese Officials Profiled, Pilloried on New TV Show (October 18, 2016, Sixth Tone)
Chinese media is full of stories about corrupt officials who have been arrested and detained, but specific details about how and why graft became so rampant throughout the country are scant. Now, a new reality show from state broadcaster China Central Television hopes to address this issue. The series consists of eight episodes, the first of which aired Monday, and goes to great lengths to dish the dirt on the fall of some of China’s mightiest men.

Economics / Trade / Business

How To Avoid Getting “Detained” in China and Why Your Odds are Worse than you Think (October 16, 2016, China Law Blog)
Many foreign companies get around China’s laws prohibiting their business by operating all or a large portion of their business outside China. But if you have people working for you (either as employees or otherwise) in China or if you are marketing to China, your people may be at risk for getting “detained” in China. I know I am being vague here, but for many reasons that is deliberate, so sorry.

Economists Question China’s Consistent Growth Numbers (October 19, 2016, The Wall Street Journal)
Fresh doubts emerged over the reliability of Chinese statistics on Wednesday after officials said the economy grew 6.7%—for the third consecutive quarter. It was the first time since Beijing started releasing quarterly figures in 1992 that it had achieved such a feat of consistency.

Starbucks Plans to Double Stores in China in 5 Years (October 19, 2016, ABC News)
Starbucks is pushing ahead with its expansion into China and said Wednesday that it is on track to having 5,000 stores there by 2021, more than doubling the number of coffee shops it currently has in the country.


3 Questions: Dr. Charlie Brainer – Expanding Education Opportunities in China (October 14, 2016, From the West Courtyard)
Recently Dr. Charlie Brainer of Taylor University participated in a ChinaSource Conversations discussion on “Christian Education in China: Inside and Outside the Classroom.” The following 3 Questions interview is based on some of his comments.

Educators Decry Preferential Treatment of Male Trainee Teachers (October 18, 2016, Sixth Tone)
When it was time for Yang Kun to choose a career, he took a pragmatic approach and decided to become a kindergarten teacher. But it wasn’t passion to educate a new generation that drove him so much as the benefits: For young men like 21-year-old Yang, eastern Jiangsu province's teaching universities, or so-called normal universities, waive tuition and accommodation fees in an effort to encourage more men to enroll.

Science / Technology

China's Shenzhou 11 docks at Tiangong 2 space station (October 19, 2016, BBC)
Two Chinese astronauts have arrived at the Tiangong 2 space laboratory, in a mission aimed at developing China's capabilities as a space power. The Shenzhou-11 spacecraft blasted off from northern China on Monday, and docked with Tiangong 2 at 03:24 Beijing time (19:24 GMT Tuesday). Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong will be spending the next 30 days in space conducting experiments.

History / Culture

A Tale Of Two Brothers (October 18, 2016, The World of Chinese)
The emperor turned and asked them both the same question. If you were to succeed me as emperor, what would you do first?

404: China’s Abandoned Nuclear City (October 19, 2016, Sixth Tone)
In the early ’90s, nearly 100,000 people lived in a city that couldn’t be found on any map. It had no name, just a code: 404. 404 City is located on the sandy plains of Gansu province in China’s northwest, some 100 kilometers to the west of Jiayuguan City. Its name comes from 404 Co. Ltd., a company under the China National Nuclear Corporation. When the city was built in 1958, it served one purpose only: to host a nuclear bomb.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

China’s New Media Pushing Political Boundaries (October 15, 2016, China Digital Times)
In a series of interviews with China’s new media content creators, Li Xueqing at Sixth Tone looks at the emergence of content entrepreneurship in the country and the development of “WeMedia” as the latest Chinese media phenomenon shaping the way individuals generate and share stories online.

Netflix admits its plan for China has failed (October 18, 2016, CNN)
Netflix's goal of reaching every country on earth has run into a regulatory buzzsaw in China. The streaming video service, which issued an otherwise sterling earnings report on Monday, acknowledged that its expansion plans have come up short in a market with 1.4 billion potential customers. "The regulatory environment for foreign digital content services in China has become challenging," Netflix said in a letter to shareholders.

Travel / Food

Film: Hong Kong Strong: A Fast-Paced Look at the City and Its People (National Geographic)
Watch this thrilling short film defined by its director as a "deep dive into the many layers of Hong Kong." Filmmaker Brandon Li says it's also an exploration of his own Cantonese heritage.

Hainan On Foot (October 16, 2016, The World of Chinese)
Lindsay and Abram Sopenski have a goal which sounds deceptively simple: they’re walking across China. […]  They picked a south-to-north route, beginning in Hainan—each time starting at the point where the last trip finished. They are aiming to finish the trip in Mohe, Heilongjiang. The first leg of the journey lasted for 18 days in May and June and stretched across 200 miles of Hainan.

Language / Language Learning

English Songs You Need To Know In China (October 12, 2016, To Boldly Go)
I'm not sure if there is some government entity that is responsible for what English songs make it into China or not. But no matter where I am in China everyone knows the same English songs. And they aren't necessarily the most popular ones from the US. Where did these songs come from? How did they get so popular?

Simulating 80% Comprehension in Chinese (October 13, 2016, Sinosplice)
(Before you attempt to read the following, please note that if your Chinese is not at least at an intermediate level, the following exercise is not going to work. Like its English-language counterpart, these examples are most effective with native speakers.)

On The Character: 平 (October 19, 2016, The World of Chinese)
平 has existed in Chinese for more than 2,000 years, originally used to describe a calm, flat, gentle tone. Over the years, 平 has taken on an array of meanings, but they all seem to point back to that original sense of serenity. The character is often associated with “stable” and “peaceful”.


Homesick for Manchuria (October 17, 2016, From the West Courtyard)
Since I lived in Beijing for the last 15 years of my time in China, it’s not often that I get nostalgic for Changchun, the city in northeast China that was my home for most of the 90s. Lately, however, I have found myself thinking of my time there and the experiences I had. I am, dare I say, homesick for Manchuria. I blame (well, give credit to, really) Michael Meyer and his book In Manchuria: A Village Called Wasteland and the Transformation of Rural China.


Asia Society New York Presents China Onscreen Biennial, Nov. 3-Dec. 1 (Asia Society)
From Thursday, November 3, through Thursday, December 1, Asia Society presents the New York edition of the third China Onscreen Biennial, a cultural and physical immersion into China's remarkable plurality through a selection of six films. Several of the films are made within China’s vastly expanding entertainment industry, yet defy commercial formulas with poetry and grace. Others are works of art that bring urgency to pressing societal concerns.

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