ZGBriefs | October 8, 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

Population to peak in 2025 (October 7, 2015, China Daily)
A lower-than-expected fertility rate means China's population will peak in 2025, something the country's leadership will have to seriously consider when drawing up its forthcoming national development blueprint, said a senior Chinese demographic expert in Brussels. China's population is expected to peak at 1.41 billion in 2025 and the total population in 2050 will be much lower than it is today, said Zhang Juwei, director of the Institute of Population and Labor Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

The Future of Autonomy in Hong Kong (September 30, 2015, China File)
We asked participants in this Conversation to react to the news and to consider what it means about Hong Kong’s independence more broadly.

China’s Desperate Battle Against Separatist Terrorism (October 2, 2015, China Real Time)
The Uighur connection to the Bangkok blast may be a nightmare for China, but it should not be a big surprise, considering that terrorism knows no national borders. Even if the Bangkok blast had not occurred, terrorism connected to Uighurs likely would have spilled over China’s borders sooner or later.

Fear of Losing Control: Why China Is Implementing an Internet Security Law (October 4, 2015, China Change)
In my view, Internet control is of supreme importance for a totalitarian regime because of the social consequences of marketization and modernization: the regime on the one hand needed to introduce markets in order to keep the country running, but on the other hand, the social fallout of this process could also be subversive. Since the Internet is the most likely space in which this subversive effect would begin, it has become something that the Chinese rulers must control with utter thoroughness.

China surveillance cameras 'a triumph', say police China surveillance cameras 'a triumph', say police (October 5, 2015, BBC)
Every corner of Beijing is now observable on the government's surveillance camera network – all to help prevent crime, say the police. But some worry the cameras will be used to tighten the authorities' control over the population, particularly those who object to China's one-party rule.

Former Hong Kong Leader Is Charged With Misconduct (October 5, 2015, The New York Times)
The prosecution of Mr. Tsang, the highest-ranking official ever to face a corruption trial in this former British colony, once again brought attention to the cozy ties between top government officials and wealthy businessmen.

Will China's $2 billion in UN aid buy international respect? (October 7, 2015, Christian Science Monitor)
President Xi Jinping's announcement of billions of dollars for poverty reduction around the world signals a different approach, one closer to international expectations.

‘Harmonious Demolition’ and Chinese Legal Reform (October 7, 2015, China Real Time)
China’s legal system is slowly changing. Statements by senior prosecutors and judges about the correction of erroneous court decisions, along with new rules to control judicial corruption and dishonesty, are signs of progress. Judicial reform is moving ahead – but very slowly, within limits and as long as it does not threaten Party control.


How Important Is Education for Chinese Serving Cross-culturally? (October 2, 2015, From the West Courtyard)
In recent years Chinese cross-cultural workers have started to be sent out to other countries but there has not been a great amount of effectiveness in their work. One reason for their lack of effectiveness is that many who want to serve cross-culturally do not have formal education, often having not gone to high school, much less to college.

Smugglers to Top Sellers: What Kind of Bookstore is This? (October 5, 2015, CBN)
There was a time when owning a Bible in China was illegal. For decades, missionaries smuggled tons of Bibles and other Christian literature into China. But not anymore.

A Church Without Walls (October 6, 2015, Chinese Church Voices)
Since the time Paul exhorted the Corinthians to stop defining themselves as one who “follows Paul” or “follows Apollos” and to beware of becoming wise in their own eyes, the church has struggled with conflict over secondary issues. 

Pastor Centered Chinese Churches (October 7, 2015, Jackson Wu)
Often, Chinese pastors are very daring in their evangelism; sadly, that boldness does not always serve them well when it comes to shepherding their churches.

Society / Life

Creating a Desert in China (October 1, 2015, Bloomberg)
Local authorities are leveling fines on ethnic Mongols with large herds, pressuring them to give up their way of life in exchange for subsidized housing in resettlement villages built outside urban centers.

China’s Supercity Policy Keeps Ex-Provincial Capital Waiting for Revival (October 1, 2015, The New York Times)
Until now, Baoding had been a fairly typical third-tier city in China’s interior, its downtown a jumble of small shops, chaotic streets and restaurants serving donkey burgers, a local specialty.

On China’s National Day, Hong Kong Protesters Say That They Are Not Part of China (October 1, 2015, TIME)
While many observers thought that the return of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 would see the city become culturally more Sinicized, the reverse has happened, with many Hong Kongers feeling sharply distinct from mainland Chinese.

Communist party theme park sparks ridicule among Chinese internet users (October 1, 2015, The Guardian)
However, China’s sharp-tongued online community has reacted with contempt to the idea of using taxpayers’ money to bankroll what many described as a propaganda park. “What a waste of good land,” one critic wrote on Weibo, the Twitter-like social media site.

Flower power goes viral (October 2, 2015, Reuters)
On the bustling streets of Beijing, nature is taking over – in people’s hair. Plastic hairpins of green clover and multi-coloured flowers are peeking out of hairdos, male and female alike.

Weibo Netizens: Chinese Guys Are Weaker Than Girls (October 2, 2015, What’s on Weibo)
Many of China’s universities have too many girls, professors say, which is not good for the development of male students. ‘Nonsense’, Weibo users argue: Chinese guys are just weaker than girls.

Suspect in Chinese parcel bombings was killed in the blasts, police say (October 2, 2015, The Guardian)
The claim that a 33-year-old quarry worker was responsible for killing 10 people in Guangxi appeared to contradict earlier police statements.

What It's Like To Take Photos Of A Dying Man (October 4, 2015, NPR)
In hopes of showing people just how badly silicosis wreaks havoc on the body, Beijing-based documentary photographer and videographer Sim Chi Yin followed He for four years. She captured his dangerously thin body, his painful gasps for breath and even one of his many attempts at suicide.

China typhoon kills six, knocks out power as tornado snaps trees (October 5, 2015, Reuters)
TV footage showed trees snapped in two by a tornado spawned by the storm and a building at a construction raised from the ground like a toy. A crane toppled from a high-rise under construction.

China Expert? Far from it! (October 5, 2015, From the West Courtyard)
The Chinese dictionary app Pleco gives the following as definitions of zhongguo tong: China watcher; an expert on China; an old China hand. But is there really such a thing as a China expert? 

Beijing Lamborghini Driver Crashes Into 8 Cars and Runs (October 7, 2015, What’s on Weibo)
After a collision with 8 different cars in downtown Beijing, the driver of a Lamborghini fled the scene, leaving one person injured.

Economics / Trade / Business

Can new railways help put China's economy back on track? (September 29, 2015, Christian Science Monitor)
Beijing has lofty ambitions to build the world's railways. But some consider the focus on manufacturing to be a step backwards, despite its focus on billion-dollar trains.

From the Farm to Xiao Feng’s Plate: Making Sense of China’s Economic Turmoil (October 7, 2015, From the West Courtyard)
How is the shifting economy affecting life where you live in China? If you have a story about what China’s financial slowdown means to you, we’d like to hear it.

Putting the Past Behind in China (October 7, 2015, The New York Times)
The days of China’s relying on export manufacturing and infrastructure construction as drivers of economic growth are gone.


China meddles in Hong Kong rejection of top university figure (September 30, 2015, Christian Science Monitor)
Johannes Chan, the former dean of the university's law school, had been picked as its next vice chancellor. A university council rejected his candidacy on Tuesday in what critics say is a blow to academic freedom.

The model minority is losing patience (October 3, 2015, The Economist)
Asian-Americans are the United States’ most successful minority, but they are complaining ever more vigorously about discrimination, especially in academia.

China's young return to traditional roots (October 7, 2015, China Daily)
Dressed in the style of the Han Dynasty that ruled China 1,800 years ago, 6-year-old Chen Quanjin is chanting ancient Chinese classics with several other children about the same age as their heads sway from side to side.

Health / Environment

Do some harm (Aeon Magazine)
Traditional Chinese medicine is an odd, dangerous mix of sense and nonsense. Can it survive in modern China?

Science / Technology

China’s Internet sovereignty (October 2, 2015, China Media Project)
n order to better understand how the Chinese Communist Party understands “Internet sovereignty” — or “cyber-sovereignty” — we can take a look at how its own strategists have discussed the notion.

China’s First Nobel Laureate in Science (October 5, 2015, China Real Time)
Tu Youyou, awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine on Monday, is the first citizen of the People’s Republic of China to win a Nobel for a scientific discipline and the first female Chinese citizen to win any Nobel.

History / Culture

Alexandra David-Néel: The Prima Donna Who Snuck Into Tibet In 1912 To Meet The Dalai Lama (October 3, 2015, Matador Network)
The first western woman to gain an audience with the Dalai Lama, the Belgian-French Buddhist scholar Alexandra David-Néel is best known for her forbidden journey to Lhasa, when, aged 55, she ascended the Tibetan steppes on a trek that saw her so malnourished she had to eat the leather from her boots to stay alive.

How war memory continues to divide China and Japan (October 5, 2015, East Asia Forum)
Japan and China remain divided over how to remember successive wars dating from the Sino–Japanese war in 1894 to World War II (known in China as the War of Resistance against Japan [1937–1945]). Official histories in both countries have been written to serve political needs, not respect historical accuracy.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Ai Weiwei 'finds bugging devices' at his Beijing studio (October 5, 2015, BBC)
Ai Weiwei has posted a number of pictures of what he says are listening devices found in his Beijing studio. The Chinese dissident artist captioned one photo of a bug on Instagram with "There will always be surprises". His friend Liu Xiaoyuan confirmed the bugs were found after the artist returned from a trip to Germany.

Jia Zhangke on Finding Freedom in China on Film (October 7, 2015, China File)
As a filmmaker, the clearest issues have to do with the censors in China, and how I can maintain a certain level of freedom within the limitations and restrictions imposed upon me.

Travel / Food

Dunhuang: a city on the old Silk Road – in pictures (October 4, 2015, BBC)
Dunhuang, on the old Silk Road, was one of the ancient world's most important intersections between East and West.

A Visit to Xinjiang’s Kanas Lake and Keketuohai (October 7, 2015, Far West China)

Cliffside Glass Walkway in China Cracks, but Don’t Worry! (October 7, Sinosphere)
The operators of a glass-bottomed walkway clinging to a cliff 3,500 feet above sea level in central China want to reassure visitors that they are quite safe. Despite the cracks in the glass.

Articles for Researchers

China’s Search for a “Strategic Air Force” (October 2, 2015, China Brief)

Perception and Misperception in American and Chinese Views of the Other (Carnagie Endowment for International Peace)
In-depth analyses of elite and public opinion survey data from the United States and China on a wide range of security issues provide nuanced and far-reaching insights into the potential effects of these attitudes on the U.S.-China relationship.

Image credit: Great Wall, Beijing, China, by Tagosaku, via Flickr
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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