ZGBriefs | October 4, 2018

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Featured Article

China Unbound: What An Emboldened China Means For The World (October 2, 2018, NPR)
For nearly 30 years, the media have been reporting on a rising China. It's time to say it has risen. But what does an emboldened China mean for the world?

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

U.S.-China relations: Is it time to end the engagement? (September, 2018, Brookings)
Its abandonment would be highly likely to exacerbate hostility between the United States and China, persuade Chinese leaders and citizens alike that a more adversarial stance toward the United States is necessary, and advantage other countries operating in China that will not follow the U.S. path of disengagement.

What is China preparing for Tibet? (September 27, 2018, Asia Dialogue)
The Chinese leadership, from the senior officials within Communist Party in Beijing to their local cohorts in Tibet, is adamant that they will appoint the next Dalai Lama whether or not the Fourteenth Dalai Lama decides in favour of continuing or ending the institution.

For Xi Jinping, Being a Man of the People Means Looking the Part (September 28, 2018, The New York Times)
President Xi Jinping of China this week visited the northeast for what the state-run media called a three-day inspection tour. But the trip was much more than that. It was a chance for Mr. Xi to put himself on a pedestal with Mao Zedong, to rekindle a populist image and to fire back at President Trump and “protectionist” policies.

How China Sidelines NGOs (September 28, 2018, The Diplomat)
Since 2012 NGOs across a variety of fields have encountered increasing barriers to operations, including limiting freedom of expression and mandating foreign NGO registration with domestic partners. 

Signs of China (3) (September 30, 2018, China Change)
Nevertheless, while each individual brush stroke may not be decisive, upon stepping back a fuller picture begins to emerge. China Change catalogues and contextualizes these items so as to keep a growing awareness of changes in China. 

Xi Jinping seeks to strengthen grass roots reach through Communist Party branches (September 30, 2018, South China Morning Post)
A renewed effort has been made to build and strengthen party cells across the country. This is to ensure Beijing’s policies are faithfully carried out at the local level. It is also to strengthen social control as China prepares itself for more clashes with the US, observers said.

China cancels security talks with United States (September 30, 2018, Reuters)
China has canceled a security meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis that had been planned for October, a senior U.S. official said on Sunday, days after a top Chinese official said there was no reason to panic over tensions between the countries.

How China's New Wealth And Power Are Changing The World (October 1, 2018, NPR)
A look at one of the most extraordinary developments in human history: how China's government has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty – in just 40 years.

China’s Young Communists Pose New Challenge (October 1, 2018, China Digital Times)
However, a growing wave of student activists has emerged from the silence left by 1989’s Tiananmen protests, and is now supporting China’s evolving labor movement by citing the very Marxist values they were taught in school.

China mounts publicity campaign to counter criticism on Xinjiang (October 2, 2018, Reuters)
China is mounting an increasingly sophisticated counterattack to criticism of its policies in the restive, heavily Muslim region of Xinjiang, courting foreign media and running opinion pieces abroad as it seeks to spin a more positive message.

American and Chinese Warships Narrowly Avoid High-Seas Collision (October 2, 2018,The New York Times)
The Pentagon accused the Chinese Navy of using “an unsafe and unprofessional maneuver” when one of its destroyers challenged an American destroyer, the Decatur, as it sailed on Sunday near one of the disputed islets that China claims in the Spratly archipelago.

Australia And New Zealand Are Ground Zero For Chinese Influence (October 2, 2018, NPR)
Silent Invasion identifies more than 40 former and current Australian politicians who he says are doing the bidding of China's government, many unwittingly. Several politicians have denied Hamilton's claims.

The Return Of “Socialist Transformation” (October 3, 2018, China Media Project)
As the 40th anniversary of reform and opening approaches in China, we have seen the emergence online in September of quite a number of posts or speeches from various quarters expressing some level of opposition to reform and opening.


Chinese Communist Party: ‘guide, boycott, and prevent' the faith among students and teachers (Video) (September 26, 2018, Asia News)
The Wenzhou Department of Education announces an inspection in the city: teachers cannot be believers, nor can they preach; students must not believe in religions. The ban on entering church and attending catechism for children under 18 has already been applied for a long time.

The City Of God On Earth, Part 1: Young People With Dreams Live In The Cities (September 27, 2018, China Partnership Blog)
This series is created from a talk given by Wang Yi, a pastor and a leading voice in the house church in China. Wang Yi addressed a group of fellow pastors and church members, challenging them to view the gospel as the coming of the kingdom of God on earth, not just a means of individual salvation.

'We are scared, but we have Jesus': China and its war on Christianity (September 28, 2018, The Guardian)
“Before, as long as you didn’t meddle in politics the government left you alone,” he said. “But now if you don’t push the Communist party line, if you don’t display your love for the party, you are a target. 

Vatican deal with Beijing leaves some key questions unresolved (September 30, 2018, Reuters)
Another issue still to be finalised, according to the same three Catholic sources, is the future roles and responsibilities of some of the seven bishops ordained by Beijing’s state-backed church without Vatican approval but legitimized by Pope Francis to clear the way for the deal.

The Guardian view on the Vatican and China: an ideological struggle (October 1, 2018, The Guardian)
Since the death of Mao, religion has revived immensely in China. But who is to be the master of the growing churches?

Two Chinese Catholic bishops to attend synod for first time after Vatican-Beijing deal (October 2, 2018, South China Morning Post)
One of the bishops, Joseph Guo Jincai, was ordained into the government-backed church without papal permission and had been excommunicated by the Vatican. As part of the September 22 agreement, the pope lifted his excommunication and recognised his legitimacy.

Peace and Preparedness (October 2, 2018, Chinese Church Voices)
In this article, Wang Ziyu shares from personal experience about one summer that taught Wang the value of preparedness. Wang likens preparedness for the school year with readiness for the coming of God’s kingdom.

Responding to Restrictions on Children’s Ministry (October 3, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
Rather than relying on trained children’s workers in a church or school facility who provide teaching at a set time using a set curriculum, parents need to take up the baton themselves. 

Society / Life

Jiangsu couples can apply for digital marriage certificate on Alipay (September 29, 2018, China Daily)
The certificate can be used for home loan and property transfer applications, inheritance transfer approvals, and property notarization. It can also be used during applications for digital birth certificates and household registration transfers in the future.

Mid-Autumn Festival Suicide Raises Questions of Elder Abuse (September 30, 2018, Sixth Tone)
On the first day of the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, an elderly couple in southern China’s Guangdong province killed themselves in the home of their eldest son. According to villagers interviewed by online media outlet Red Star News on Friday, the two had been abused and neglected by their adult son, and his own son, for years.

Photos: National Day flag-raising ceremony at Tian'anmen Square (October 1, 2018, China Daily)
On the morning of Oct 1, 2018, 140,000 people from all over the country gathered at Tian'anmen Square in Beijing to watch the flag-raising ceremony, celebrating the 69th anniversary of the establishment of the People's Republic of China.

Economics / Trade / Business

In KFC’s China Ads, Nuggets Are Served With Patriotism  (September 27, 2018, The New York Times)
Last week, KFC introduced an advertising campaign in mainland China celebrating 40 years of “reform and opening up,” the catchphrase that defined the era. A two-minute TV spot that aired on state television showed two Chinese celebrities traveling back in time by railway, seeing streets filled with bicycles and bamboo scaffolding.

Fearing debt trap, Pakistan rethinks Chinese 'Silk Road' projects (September 29, 2018, Reuters)
The rail megaproject linking the coastal metropolis of Karachi to the northwestern city of Peshawar is China’s biggest Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project in Pakistan, but Islamabad has balked at the cost and financing terms.  

China Will Lose Trade War With The Us, Then Things Will Get Really Nasty (September 30, 2018, South China Morning Post)
A really nasty situation will arise when the trade war escalates into an all-out war, spilling into the spheres of economy, technology and geopolitics, between the world’s leading free democracy and the world’s last major Communist-ruled country.

Chinese Companies Get Tech-Savvy Gobbling Up Germany's Factories (October 3, 2018, NPR)
Beijing's "Made in China 2025" policy aims to transform its manufacturing sector into an excellence-driven, global leader in high-end technology. While Germany still has the edge in engineering expertise, a steady increase in the number of Chinese firms buying up key German tech firms has triggered angst in Berlin.


Informants In The Chinese Classroom (September 27, 2018, China Media Project)
The topic of “student informants” was cracked wide open. Who were these classroom spies? How and under what conditions were they deployed? By whom? How long had this been going on?

Why foreign students along the belt and road are jostling to enrol in China’s universities (September 27, 2018, South China Morning Post)
Squeezed out of college places in their home countries and drawn by Chinese scholarships, students from nations along the route of Beijing’s massive infrastructure plan are pouring into China, reshaping regional education.

Are Beijing’s Free After-School Programs Failing Students? (September 28, 2018, Sixth Tone)
But parents are complaining that the new after-school classes are a poor alternative to off-campus services, with some children who attend them doing little more than sitting around and watching cartoons each afternoon.

Censored in China (September 28, 2018, jamiemetzl.com)
The presented views of the Chinese scholars mirrored official Chinese government views more than in any academic conference I’ve ever experienced in China, even if a few of the scholars expressed more nuanced views in private conversations. 

Headmaster punished for ad printed on red scarf (September 29, 2018, China Daily)
The headmaster of a primary school in Heze, Shandong province, was punished for allowing advertisement on students' red scarf, a symbol of the young pioneers.

Shandong promotes future Confucius-centered university (October 1, 2018, China Daily)
Shandong province, the home of Confucius (551-479 BC), is actively promoting the work of founding a university named after the Chinese sage, in a bid to develop the province into a research and study center of Confucianism with global appeal, the top provincial official said on Saturday in Jinan, the capital.

Health / Environment

In Hong Kong, Hepatitis E Strain Jumps From Rats to Humans (September 28, 2018, The New York Times)
A man in Hong Kong has been found to have a strain of hepatitis E that had been seen previously only in rats, researchers said on Friday. While rats have passed on several other illnesses to people, this was the first discovery in humans of the rat variation of hepatitis E, a liver disease. 

HIV/Aids: China reports 14% surge in new cases (September 29, 2018, BBC)
More than 820,000 people are affected in the country, health officials say. About 40,000 new cases were reported in the second quarter of 2018 alone. The vast majority of new cases were transmitted through sex, marking a change from the past.

China’s Health Care Crisis: Lines Before Dawn, Violence and ‘No Trust’ (September 30, 2018, The New York Times)
But the system cannot adequately support China’s population of more than one billion people. The major gaps and inequalities threaten to undermine China’s progress, social stability and financial health — creating a serious challenge for President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party.

Science / Technology

China’s Quantum Future (September 26, 2018, Foreign Affairs)
China’s trajectory in quantum science—which leverages principles of quantum mechanics to create disruptive, perhaps transformative technologies—will be a key test of Xi’s ambitions. 

History / Culture

Red Flag Over China  (September 27, 2018, The World of Chinese)
For a country that likes to emphasize “Chinese characteristics,” China’s national flag appears to be remarkably free of any—with no dragons, plum trees, or pandas in sight. Instead, design of the famous “five-star flag” (五星旗) is rooted in communist ideology and old-fashioned political wrangling. 

Travel / Food

China Knows Potatoes, Yet Doesn’t Appreciate Potatoes (September 27, 2018, Sinosplice)
I like potatoes. I have Polish and Irish blood, so maybe it’s in my DNA. China has a number of good potato dishes, such as the staple 酸辣土豆丝 (sour and spicy potato strips). But it seems like some of the best ones get no love from the local population.

Trade war hurts tourism: Chinese flight bookings to US ‘down 42 per cent for National Day holidays’  (September 28, 2018, South China Morning Post)
Separate report cites 5 per cent decrease in Chinese tourists to the US this year, with August showing 8.4 per cent fall in a downturn mirroring trade tensions.

Watch: Chinese Tourist Attractions Utterly Swamped with People (October 2, 2018, Radii China)
Anyway, the so-called “Golden Week” is a holiday where a combination of more than just a couple of days off and less pressure to return to the family home (often the case for Chinese New Year, for example) result in huge numbers of people inundating tourists attractions across the country. This leads to some hilarious-if-you’re-watching-from-home scenes.

China sees high-speed rail travel rush during National Day holiday (October 3, 2018, China Daily)
According to Ctrip, China's leading online provider of travel services, the number of people traveling by high-speed rail during this year's National Day holiday more than doubled year-on-year.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

New Chinese Laws to Hit Streaming, Broadcasting of Foreign Content (September 27, 2018, China Law Blog)
If implemented in their present form, the provisions will seriously impact the streaming and broadcasting of foreign motion picture and TV content. These provisions are part of a process of increasing regulation of foreign content that began in 2014.

Chinese TV reporter 'slaps delegate at Tory conference' – video (October 1, 2018, The Guardian)
A delegate at the Conservative party conference was allegedly slapped by a reporter believed to work for China's state media. The journalist was held by police after the altercation with the man during a Hong Kong fringe event at the conference in Birmingham.

Ideology for 500: Hunan TV Airs Quiz Show on Xi Jinping Thought (October 2, 2018, Sixth Tone)
Just in time for the National Day holidays in the first week of October, one of China’s largest television networks has debuted a new quiz show about the life and philosophy of President Xi Jinping.

Fan Bingbing: Missing Chinese actress fined for tax fraud (October 3, 2018, BBC)
Chinese mega star Fan Bingbing has been fined around 883 million yuan ($129m; £98.9m) for tax evasion and other offences, authorities said Wednesday. The star, who disappeared in July, posted a long apology on social media.

Living Cross-culturally

Mending the Fractures: Celebrating and Grieving the TCK Story (October 1, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
When I graduated from high school in Beijing, I said "goodbye" to many close friends. It wasn't the kind of graduation where you know you'll see your friends again next summer—it was the kind of graduation where everybody scattered across the globe. Because China wasn't our permanent home, my TCK friends and I weren't sure if we'd ever return to Beijing or if we'd even see each other again.  


10 Books on Culture and Cultural Adjustment (September 28, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)

For Generations of P.R.C. Leaders, a World ‘Alive with Danger’ (September 30, 2018, China File)
An Excerpt from ‘Haunted by Chaos: China’s Grand Strategy from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping’


Registered Foreign NGO Representative Offices Interactive Map and Filterable Table (October 3, 2018, China File)
The following interactive graphics display information about currently-registered foreign NGOs’ representative offices in China as provided by the Ministry of Public Security website. Below these graphics is a list of foreign NGO offices that have de-registered and are no longer formally operating in China.

Image credit: Soldiers Near the Forbidden City, by Jens Schott Knudsen, 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