ZGBriefs | October 5, 2017

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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

10 Chinese Christians the Western Church Should Know (October 3, 2017, Christianity Today)
These saints who played such an essential role in the establishment of an explicitly Chinese church deserve to be recognized for their service. May their stories inspire new generations of women and men in China and beyond to serve God wherever he may lead.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Leaving nothing to chance, China increases security, social control before Congress (September 28, 2017, Reuters)
Thousands of policemen from other provinces have been sent to the Chinese capital to reinforce, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. A second source, with ties to the country’s security forces and citing conversations with senior police officers, said all police leave in Beijing had been canceled starting from early September.

Xi curbs disloyalty as Communist party expels former rising star (September 29, 2017, The Guardian)
China’s Communist party has expelled from its ranks a former contender for a top leadership post for “serious discipline violations” before a major congress due to consolidate President Xi Jinping’s power.

Confident Xi reaches out to trusted colleagues (September 29, 2017, South China Morning Post)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will stay on as head of government for another term while President Xi Jinping’s name will be enshrined in the Communist Party’s charter alongside those of late leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, sources familiar with the situation told the South China Morning Post.

China’s party-led rule-of-law regime (October 2, 2017, East Asia Forum)
The logic here is that since the Party is supreme merely so that it can represent the people, and it is the people who are the masters of the nation, the Party does not need to build legal structures that protect the people from something that is their own manifestation of power (the Party).

A New Zealand Lawmaker’s Spy-Linked Past Raises Alarms on China’s Reach (October 4, 2017, The New York Times)
Revelations that a New Zealand lawmaker had been a member of the Communist Party in China and taught English to spies there have raised alarms about Beijing’s influence in New Zealand — and how well the political parties there vet their candidates.

China’s 19th Party Congress: Political Precedent and the Politburo Standing Committee (October 4, 2017, The Diplomat)
China’s political system has two problems. The first is its secrecy. The second problem, though, is very different: the simplified, hyperbolic caricature often presented in the West, where Chinese politics is usually depicted as a totally unpredictable fight for power. In this view, political events in China are simply the result of a power struggle between different factions and our lack of information makes any guesses all but useless.

Xi Jinping tells Chinese defence firms to aim higher and catch up on weapons technology (October 4, 2017, South China Morning Post)
Documentary aired on state television reveals push to develop supercomputing, ballistic missile defence and satellite navigation systems.

The Chinese World Order (October 12, 2017, New York Review of Books)
Competition, friction, and testing between the United States and China are unavoidable, probably for decades. To navigate this process, the US needs an accurate assessment of China’s interests, but even more of its own.


Traditional Chinese Views of History and Contemporary Chinese Christianity (September 18, 2017, ChinaSource Quarterly)
There are a few things to keep in mind when considering Chinese history and Chinese Christian history.

Why Believers Need to Understand Chinese Church History (September 18, 2017, ChinaSource Quarterly)
For believers, familiarity with history makes it possible to understand scriptural truth more clearly, to better understand God’s will, and to better live out our faith. Chinese Christians generally do not understand Chinese church history, and so we often have no means to properly respond to changes in society.

Women in China’s Protestant Church and Missions (September 18, 2017, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Today on mission fields where mainland Chinese missionaries are active, more than sixty percent of those workers are female, and on some fields the number may exceed ninety percent. Thus, while most senior leaders are men, women make up the majority of workers both in home churches and on the field. 

Audio: Business and the church in China (September 27, 2017, My Faith Radio)
Business and mission leader Dwight Nordstrom gives us an update about their recent business ventures, and explains how his team is working to expand the gospel message in China. God is moving in incredible ways in China, but the reality of spiritual opposition that comes alongside that is not lost on Dwight.

China’s Thriving Underground Churches In Danger (September 28, 2017, The Diplomat)
From college campuses and the the media to the military, churches are just another battleground in President Xi’s efforts to ensure the Communist Party reigns supreme in all walks of life. Religious expression will be allowed to continue in a token form so long as it conforms to the standards set by party officials.

Daoist Emotion (Dao Qing) (September 29, 2017, Ian Johnson, via YouTube)
In this clip, the nuns of Qianyuanguan 乾元观, a nunnery outside Nanjing, play a traditional piece called Dao Qing, 道情, which one can translate as Daoist Emotions, the Feeling of Dao, etc. It's based on a 13th century poem by Bai Yuchan.

The Growing Influence of Islam in China [Photo Gallery] (September 29, 2017, IMB)
Twenty-three million Muslims—23,000,000—live in China, roughly the number of people who live on the entire continent of Australia. Even if some adherents don’t fully understand Islam or follow it as Muslims in other countries do, Islam lies at the core of their identity and way of life. This photo gallery explores their houses of worship, their devotion, and their lifestyle.

“China Is Not Russia” (September 29, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
I did not have much knowledge of China at the time, but I believed China was going to be significant in the next season of world history.  As I look back, I did not know what I was stepping into, but now, nearly 25 years later, I realize that I stepped into a world that was to shape my life.

Churches Prepare for New Regulations (October 3, 2017, Chinese Church Voices)
Some local Chinese churches have started to study the regulations in order to prepare for the changes. China Christian Daily provides insight on how some churches are readying themselves.

China’s Past as Key to the Present (October 4, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
What has been the unique role of women in China’s church development? How can the church’s past struggles aid in our understanding of how it is responding to current challenges?

What Chinese teach me about obligation and love (October 4, 2017, Jackson Wu)
The Chinese church understands obligation in a way that initially made me angry. I saw their advice as intrusive. I took their care and spun it in my mind as nagging. But for them, not to say something would be most unloving because they have an obligation to me as a friend.

Buddhist ritual in south Shaanxi (Stephen Jones Blog)
This outline will be even more sketchy than my articles on some other areas that I haven’t visited, but again I’m hoping to entice people to go and do some serious research.

Society / Life

'My parents say hurry up and find a girl': China's millions of lonely 'leftover men' (September 28, 2017, The Guardian)
In recent years, the patriarchal Chinese state has launched campaigns warning unmarried urban females over the age of 27 of the perils of becoming “leftover women”. But in reality – due to sex-selective abortions, a traditional preference for sons and the country’s one-child policy – there’s a far larger cohort of “leftover men”.

Preparing for Red October (October 2, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
The holiday is called National Day, and it marks the beginning of what has come to be known as “Golden Week.” Basically, the entire nation has a seven-day holiday. The logic behind the holiday is not to give everyone a chance to bask in the glories of Communism, but so they can spend money. Long live Chairman Mao! Now get out there and shop!

Chinese web users make light of Golden Week travel woes (October 2, 2017, BBC)
China's "Golden Week" national holiday is under way, and social media users are making light of travel problems that are dogging the annual getaway. Social media are dominated by video and images of the congestion that is hampering travel to popular destinations such as Beijing.

Video: The architect banishing straight lines from China's cities (October 3, 2017, CNN)
Ma, the founder of the world-renowned MAD Architects, has built a poetic portfolio of buildings that adhere to his "Shanshui City" design philosophy. "Shanshui" which translates to "mountain, water" embraces the integration of organic forms and Eastern design principles, emphasizing nature at the core of urban planning.

Rediscovering My Ethnic Identity in Far-Flung Sichuan (October 4, 2017, Sixth Tone)
Having spent her life isolated from the Yi culture of her ancestors, a young journalist reconnects with her roots in southwestern China.

An exodus of talent: The brain drain in China's northeast (October 4, 2017, Channel News Asia)
In the final part of his 3-part series from China's "rust belt", Jeremy Koh visits Jiamusi to examine the impact of Soviet-style planning on the region's economy.

12 Eerie photos of Enormous Chinese Cities Completely Empty of People (October 4, 2017, The Independent)
These mysterious — and almost completely empty — cities are a part of China's larger plan to move up to 300 million citizens currently living in rural areas into urban locations. Places like the Kangbashi District of Ordos are already prepped and ready to be occupied.

Economics / Trade / Business

China's factories grow at fastest pace in over 5 years as prices surge (September 30, 2017, CNBC)
China's manufacturing activity grew at the fastest pace since 2012 in September as factories cranked up output to take advantage of strong demand and high prices, easing worries of a slowdown before a key political meeting next month.

Facebook Blocks Chinese Billionaire Who Tells Tales of Corruption (October 1, 2017, The New York Times)
The social media network said it had blocked a profile under Mr. Guo’s name and taken down another page associated with him. Facebook said the content on both pages had included someone else’s personal identifiable information, which violates its terms of service.

China accused of flooding Europe with cheap e-bikes (October 2, 2017, CNN)
Imports of Chinese e-bikes to Europe have increased from almost zero in 2010 to an estimated 800,000 in 2017, according to the European Bicycle Manufacturers Association. The industry group has had enough: It filed a complaint with the European Commission on Monday that accuses Chinese manufacturers of dumping e-bikes into the European market at rock bottom prices.

Health / Environment

China diverts 10 billion cubic meters of water from south to north (October 4, 2017, Xinhua)
Some 53.1 million people in northern China have benefited from the country's massive water diversion project which has so far transferred 10 billion cubic meters of water from the south to the draught-prone north, authorities announced Tuesday.

Tidal waves hit Haining, China (October 4, 2017, Al Jazeera)
The surging Qiantang tidal bore has wowed spectators at the Mid-Autumn Festival in Haining, in eastern China's Zhejiang province. The bore travelled 55km from the mouth of the Qiantang River to Daquekou, one of the best observation points along the river.

Science / Technology

Lost in Translation: The Growing Market for Cross-Language Apps (October 1, 2017, Sixth Tone)
As technology advances, translation apps aimed at leveling language barriers proliferate but often fall short.

History / Culture

This 900-year-old Chinese bowl just sold for $38 million (October 3, 2017, The Diplomat)
The auction house touted the blue-green "brush washer" as "a highly important and extremely rare" piece of art. Brush washers are shallow porcelain bowls that were used in ancient China to clean calligraphy and paint brushes.

1949: The Year That Set the Course of Chinese-American Relations (October 4, 2017, The New York Times)
Review of Mao, Truman and the Birth of Modern China, 1949, By Kevin Peraino 
Kevin Peraino’s absorbing book covers that tipping-point year, 1949, when Mao Zedong’s Chinese Communist Party came to power and things not only changed radically within China, but also for Chinese-American relations.

Travel / Food

Why You’ll Never Be Bored In Xinjiang (September 30, 2017, Wild China Blog)
Where else in China can you see both Turkic-looking Uyghurs, blond blue-eyed Tajiks, mosques and Zoroastrian temples, coexisting alongside each other? Every day in Xinjiang will allow you to hear a new language, taste a new cuisine, and meet different people.  

6 Signature Dishes of Authentic Chinese Food (September 30, 2017, Wild China Blog)
When travelling around China it’s important to learn about the country’s culture. One perfect way to do that is to sample some of the food on offer. Eating is a very important aspect of Chinese life and across the vast country, there are many dishes to try. Here are some of our favorites.

Yunnan Food according to Mei Zhang (September 30, 2017, Wild China Blog)
We asked WildChina Founder and Yunnan native Mei Zhang to share some of the province’s culinary secrets. All these photos were taken for her debut book, Travels through Dali: with a leg of ham which chronicles the food cultures of Dali.

Holiday Chaos: China’s Scenic Areas Overcrowded and Dangerous (October 2, 2017, What’s on Weibo)
As millions of people are flocking to China’s most scenic areas during the national holiday, some spots are so chaotic and packed that they form a potential safety hazard to visitors.

Language / Language Learning

On The Character: 棋 (October 2, 2017, The World of Chinese)
棋 (qí, chess) alone can refer to any type of chess—象棋 (xiàngqí, Chinese chess), or 国际象棋 (guójì xiàngqí, lit. “international chess,” the kind with bishops and queens). Go’s English name came from the Japanese pronunciation of the character , a variant of 棋 (qí) in Chinese.


Ecclesiology, History, and the Identity of the Chinese Church: A Book Review (September 18, 2017, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Following a historical approach, this study traces the origin and early stages of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) and Chinese Protestant Christians’ responses to changing church-state relations from 1949-1958.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
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