ZGBriefs | October 22, 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

University Of Illinois Engages Chinese Students With Mandarin Football Broadcast (October 16, 2015, NPR)
For the first time, Illinois football will have a Mandarin play-by-play and color team calling the game for streaming in China. The University of Illinois has a huge number of Chinese students, and the activity has been getting the community more involved in campus culture.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

US naval chief asserts navigation rights in contested South China Sea (+video) (October 15, 2015, Christian Science Monitor)
China has constructed islands in an area claimed by some of its neighbors. It says it has an exclusion zone around these islands, which is at odds with the US position.

How Contagious is Taiwan’s Democracy? (October 16, 2015, China File)
It was an admittedly small sample, but for these three students experiencing a Chinese democracy was a deeply meaningful experience, even an inspirational one. At the same time, they all doubted whether the example of democracy on Taiwan would have much of an impact either on their own behavior when they returned to China or on the Chinese political future more generally.

The Anatomy of a Crackdown: China’s Assault on its Human Rights Lawyers (October 18, 2015, China Law and Policy Blog)
Instead, Plight and Prospects makes clear that over the past five years, the Chinese government has quietly and methodically used a more effective means to limit the space for cause lawyers: the law.

China’s Antigraft Drive Hits Communist Party Media (October 19, 2015, China Real Time)
Following recent investigations of the party’s mouthpiece daily and top political journal, Chinese antigraft officials said they uncovered a litany of financial and journalistic misconduct, including blackmail and misuse of public funds.

In a Region Disturbed by Ethnic Tensions, China Keeps Tight Lid on a Massacre (October 18, 2015, The New York Times)
Even as Baicheng County remains in a state of siege, with an enormous manhunt underway, the Chinese news media has yet to report on the massacre, and local officials, when asked about it, have denied that it even took place.

In A Remote Seaside Town, China Envisions A New 'Silk Road' (October 20, 2015, NPR)
The Chinese have moved in on Gwadar, viewing it as a valuable part of their strategy of creating a modern variant of the ancient Silk Road, a network of paths linking China to the world's markets and energy reserves.

Ridicule Turns to Affection as Chinese Social Media Embraces Jiang Zemin (October 20, 2015, Sinosphere)
After years of mockery, he has emerged as something of a cult figure, the idol at the center of a tongue-in-cheek subculture known as moha wenhua (膜蛤文化) — “toad worship culture.”

Video: Who is China's President Xi Jinping? (October 20, 2015, BBC)
China Editor Carrie Gracie charts Mr Xi's rise from banished farmer to the country's most powerful leader since Chairman Mao.

By Courting China's Cash, Britain May Be Sacrificing Long-Term Security (October 20, 2015, NPR)
David Cameron lauds the Chinese president's visit as the start of a golden era for Chinese-U.K. relations. U.S. critics say the U.K. is in danger of sacrificing long-term security for short-term cash.

Xi Jinping state visit: China's relationship with Britain in numbers (October 20, 2015, The Guardian)
Chinese president is in the UK this week, the first visit by a Chinese head of state in 10 years. Here we look at the two countries’ ties in charts and figures.

Crowds greet Xi Jinping with flags seemingly brought by Chinese embassy (October 20, 2015, The Guardian)
Thousands line president’s route to Buckingham Palace, but boxes suggest banners were imported to London from China.

Banquets and tiaras: China reacts to Xi UK visit (October 21, 2015, BBC)
The grand arrival of Mr Xi at Buckingham Palace for a state dinner on Tuesday night drew a great deal of interest from China's micro-bloggers. "Look – Xi's arrived in a golden carriage! It feels as if it's something out of a fairy tale. It looks so magical," commented Weibo user Huang Yubo.

Britain 'sucking up' to China is a national humiliation, says PM's former adviser (October 21, 2015, The Guardian)
Steve Hilton denounces lavish treatment of President Xi Jinping, saying UK should consider sanctions on China ‘not rolling out red carpet’.

Xi Jinping: China has ‘room for improvement’ on human rights – video (October 21, 2015, The Guardian)
The Chinese president Xi Jinping discusses China and the UK’s steel industry prospects and comments on China’s human rights situation. The president says China’s investment in British steel saw the creation of 60 million jobs in the UK. He also admits that China has space to improve its human rights, saying that China is prepared to listen to the UK and other countries on a basis of mutual respect.


3 Questions: Dr. Fenggang Yang (October 19, 2015, From the West Courtyard)
Regarding the church, with my limited observation during this short trip, I can only say that I didn’t see any sign that church growth is slowing. I saw that Christians continue to actively respond to the spiritual thirst and social needs of people around them. Indeed, I sensed much creativity among these Christians in building up the church and reaching out to do evangelism.

When the rubber hits the road (October 19, 2015, UCA News)
What we have now learned, thanks to ucanews.com reporters, is that a team from the Vatican's complex apparatus landed in Beijing on Oct. 11, only weeks after Pope Francis revealed it as he flew back from a trip to the United States.

Lessons from the Life of Samuel Pollard (October 20, 2015, Chinese Church Voices)
It is easy for the church to lose sight of her purpose in the face of today’s challenges. During a recent commemoration of Samuel Pollard, a missionary whose life dramatically impacted large pockets of southern Yunnan, Pastor Gai of Kunming preached on the nature of the church and the calling we must not lose sight of.

More tips for teaching theology in Chinese (October 20, 2015, Jackson Wu)
This post gives a number of suggestions for learning and teaching theological concepts in Chinese.

Foundation enacts biblical tenet 'more blessed to give than to receive' (October 20, 2015, China Daily)
Amity Foundation, an independent voluntary organization founded in 1985, used to get most of its funding from overseas churches. But during recent years, with growing donations from the Chinese mainland, the foundation began to extend its helping hand to the world.

Society / Life

Trash Bins with In-built Wi-Fi to be Launched in Chengdu (October 14, 2015, CRI)
A high-tech trash bin will make its debut at the end of this month in Chengdu, the capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province. One of the most striking features of the trash bin is that it has an in-built Wi-Fi antenna.

China's White Elephants: Ghost Cities, Lonely Airports, Desolate Factories (October 15, 2015, NPR)
No country has built so many roads, bridges and airports as quickly as China. Many projects, including the nation's remarkable high-speed rail network, have had big benefits. But Anne Stevenson-Yang, research director at J Capital Research, an economic research firm in Beijing, says the government has simply built too much.

Culture Shock: Chinese Ministry Slammed on Not-so-Social Media (October 16, 2015, China Real Time)
The Ministry of Culture, which is responsible for the protection and promotion of Chinese traditional culture, launched its official account on the popular social-media platform Weibo Thursday and almost immediately it found itself drenched by a firehose of vitriol. Three messages posted to the feed since Thursday afternoon had attracted over 100,000 comments a day later, most of them unfavorable or outright hostile.

Anti-corruption among top buzzwords for Chinese in 2014 (October 16, 2015, China Daily)
"Fanfu", or anti-corruption, has been found to be the most popular word in discussions of domestic issues in 2014 for Chinese, said a language report released by the Ministry of Education on Thursday.

In Charts: Why China’s Low Retirement Age Won’t Last (October 16, 2015, China Real Time)
China has the world’s lowest retirement age. Chinese officials want to shed that distinction. The average retirement age in China is 55, younger age than any other country, a senior social security minister said this week. As a result, he said, officials will soon unveil a plan to push back the country’s retirement age, which is currently 60 for men and as early as 50 for women.

Moving 2 Million People for Beijing’s Urban Reset (October 20, 2015, China File)
Nearly 2 million Beijing residents will be moved to the city’s outlying districts from the center by 2020 as part of a massive urban revamp designed to better control people, traffic, and smog.

Why China is shifting to a 'two-child' policy (October 21, 2015, Christian Science Monitor)
After decades of population control, China looks to implement a new, more expansive policy that will allow parents to have more than one child.

Photos: Lives of left-behind seniors in rural areas (October 21, 2015, China Daily)
The Chongyang Festival, which people traditionally mark by honoring the elderly and paying their respects to them, falls today, or the 9th day of the 9th lunar month. On this special day, let's take a look at lives of some left-behind seniors in rural areas.

Economics / Trade / Business

Best Practices for Doing Business in China: The Two Minute Version (October 17, 2015, China Law Blog)
Make the law your friend. If you operate both legally and with an eye towards the legal ramifications of what you do, you will have greater leverage both with the Chinese companies with which you deal and with the Chinese government.

Why Some Chinese Cities Boom Amid Property Bust (October 19, 2015, China Real Time)
Most of the rest of the world’s No. 2 economy is dealing with a slumping property market that is weighing on the country’s growth. But China’s most economically developed cities have the opposite problem – they have fewer homes available for sale and surging demand from home buyers.

China’s Dreams of Good Soccer Fuel Sports Stocks (October 20, 2015, China Real Time)
President Xi Jinping’s lofty dream of Chinese soccer pre-eminence is helping investors score big on the stock market. Ahead of a state visit this week to Britain, the birthplace of the beautiful game, Mr. Xi pledged to spur the sport’s development in China, where one of the world’s largest soccer fan bases has endured decades of home-field mediocrity.

Powering Down: Chinese Electricity Demand Stalls Amid Slowing Growth (October 20, 2015, China Real Time)
A slowing economy means keeping the lights on in China is getting a whole lot easier. The China Electricity Council, a state-backed industry group, is trimming its estimate of just how much power the country needs, after weak third-quarter economic data on Monday reinforced fears about a slowdown of China’s economy.

Yum Brands to separate China unit amid activist pressure (October 20, 2015, Reuters)
KFC owner Yum Brands Inc  said it plans to spin off its dominant China business, which has been besieged by food scandals and marketing missteps, amid pressure from an activist shareholder who recently joined its board of directors.

Britain rolls out royal treatment for Chinese president Xi Jinping – video (October 21, 2015, China Real Time)
Financial services expanded 16.1% in the third quarter compared with the same period last year, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday. While the pace was a tad down from the 17.4% mark recorded in the first half of the year, it outpaced the rest of the economy, which grew a better-than-expected 6.9%.


China to open 10,000 Confucius Schools (October 10, 2015, China Daily)
The Confucius Foundation of China (CFC) plans to open 10,000 Confucius Schools across China to promote Confucius teachings, the CFC secretary-general Wang Daqian said on Saturday at a Confucianism forum.

China Turns to Online Courses, and Mao, for Soft-Power Mission (October 21, 2015, The New York Times)
As China seeks to extend its global clout, it has gone to great lengths in recent years to promote its culture and values abroad, building vast media operations overseas and opening hundreds of language and cultural outposts. Now it is turning to a new tool: online education, a rapidly growing industry that promises access to millions of students and the endorsement of some of the world’s most renowned institutions.

Health / Environment

Rapid Economic Growth in China Is Chipping Away at Coastal Wetlands (October 19, 2015, The New York Times)
Coastal wetlands in China have vanished at an alarming rate because of the country’s economic development, and current economic plans could diminish them to below the minimum needed for “ecological security,” including fresh water, fishery products and flood control, according to a report released Monday by Chinese scientists and an American research center.

Pearl River Delta sees pollution increase (October 21, 2015, China Daily)
Major cities in the Pearl River Delta have seen a year-on-year increase of fine particulates in air pollution during the third quarter, the national environmental watchdog said on Wednesday.

History / Culture

How Fluent Are You in the Teachings of Mao? (October 21, 2015, The New York Times)
Test your knowledge of the chairman’s philosophy by taking the quiz below.

As Britain Greets Xi With Pageantry, Magna Carta Gets Less-Than-Royal Treatment in China (October 21, 2015, China Real Time)
Just as Britain rolled out the red carpet for Chinese President Xi Jinping this week, England’s most famous constitutional document was being shunted about Beijing and Shanghai like an unwelcome guest.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

As China Cracks Down On Cultural Fringe, Indie Rock Finds A Home In Beijing (October 18, 2015, NPR)
Beijing has had punk bands before, but not enough to coalesce into a scene like the one centered on D-22. Besides straight-up punk, these bands incorporate quite a bit of post-punk dissonance and avant-garde noise into their sound, which clashes violently with the anodyne pop that dominates China's musical mainstream.

Domestic hit 'Goodbye Mr. Loser' rules China's box office (October 18, 2015, China Daily)
"Goodbye Mr. Loser," a domestic romance comedy about a man's journey to find true love, ruled China's box office in the week ending Oct 11, pulling in 632.4 million yuan ($99.5 million).

Hong Kong Bookstores Display Beijing’s Clout (October 19, 2015, The New York Times)
The market for books on Chinese politics, which have long been a fixture in Hong Kong bookstores that cater to mainland visitors, has fallen on hard times. Interviews with booksellers and publishers say that market forces — rising rents and the advent of e-books — play a part. But so does Mr. Xi’s government, which is increasingly intolerant of any dissent and has warned Chinese tourists that they risk being punished if they return from Hong Kong or Taiwan with banned political books.

500 'Star Wars' Stormtroopers march on the Great Wall! (October 21, 2015, Shanghaiist)
A regiment of 500 Imperial Stormtroopers briefly overran the Great Wall of China last night. They were not searching for some droids or a fugitive princess, but looking to drum up some support in China for the latest edition in the Star Wars saga.

Travel / Food

A Surprise Foodie Destination: Macau, China! (October 13, 2015, Roads and Kingdoms)
From Asian delicacies, Portuguese specialties, and savory spices & flavors from all around the globe, Macau is an absolute treat for travelers who are also food lovers!

Hangzhou! (October 16, 2015, From the West Courtyard)
"In the sky there is heaven; on the earth there is Su-Hang." (上有天堂, 下有苏杭.)

China blacklists 10 travel agencies (October 19, 2015, China Daily)
China has named and shamed 10 travel agencies as the country attempts to create a sound environment for tourists, the National Tourism Administration (NTA) said Sunday. The tourist companies, which are based in Yunnan province, Hainan province and Shandong province, have been blacklisted, effective for two years, due to "irregularities."

New Peking Duck Burger Competes Against McDonald’s in China (October 21, 2015, TIME)
It’s hamburger versus duck burger in China’s capital. China’s leading Peking duck chain, Da Dong, is deploying the iconic Chinese dish along with an American twist to take on giant rival McDonald’s.

The UK Grants Free-Spending Chinese Tourists Easier Visas (October 21, 2015, Skift)
The U.K. will extend multiple-entry visas for Chinese visitors to two years from six months as it seeks to build on a boom in free-spending tourists from the people’s republic.

Language / Language Learning

The Case for Zhuyin (October 15, 2015, Sinosplice)
This is a big problem with a lot of Chinese learning materials: pinyin is featured too prominently, making it virtually impossible to ignore even if you really do want to focus on the characters before “cheating.” Zhuyin allegedly solves this problem.


China Face, China Guanxi: The Book (October 20, 2015, China Law Blog)
Unless you have total mastery of Chinese language, symbolism, and social nuances (who even has that of their own country?), you should consider picking up a copy of Anne-Laure Monfret’s Comment ne pas faire perdre la face à un Chinois as this book can help you with all of that. Most importantly, however, it is aimed at helping you make a good impression on your Chinese business contacts, and it succeeds.

Links for Researchers

The Mission Work of the Presbyterian Church in the United States in China, 1867-1952 (Yale Divinity Library)
This a digital version of five unpublished volumes written by James E. Bear (1893-1977), who was a Presbyterian missionary to China and later Royster Professor of Christian Missions at Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, Virginia. Bear wrote these volumes between 1963 and 1973.

China's Ethnic Policy Under Xi Jinping (October 19, 2015, China Brief)
Since assuming power in November 2012, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Secretary General Xi Jinping has sought to put his imprimatur on the contentious realm of ethnic policy.

China, Inside and Out: A Collection of Essays on Foreign and Domestic Policy in the Xi Jinping Era (Rand Corporation)
China today is guided by a few overriding philosophies. Outwardly, it is promoting a "new type of great power relations" between itself and the United States, and a "community of shared interests" within Asia. Inwardly, it is guided by the "Chinese Dream," a vision for increased prosperity, greater social stability, and a higher quality of life for China's people.

Articles in Chinese

老板基督徒”的兴起及其与国家政权的关系 (October 16, 2015, Pacific Institute for Social Science)

Image credit: UIUC Football, by buba69, 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