ZGBriefs | September 13, 2018

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Featured Article

China cracks down on 'chaotic' religious information online (September 10, 2018, The Guardian)
China has drawn up new draft guidelines to crack down on the “chaotic” and illegal online promotion of religion, the official Global Times reported on Tuesday, part of a tough state campaign to bring religious worship into line. 

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

China's Jaw-Dropping Family Separation Policy (September 4, 2018, The Atlantic)
Children and parents are being ripped apart on a massive scale. It may rob an entire generation of their Muslim identities.

China’s Little-Noticed ‘New Police Law’ Gives Vastly Expanded Legal Powers to Public Security Apparatus  (September 6, 2018, China Change)
The amendments have essentially written China’s police a blank check allowing them to inspect any IDs they wish, to collect personal information, and intrude on citizens’ privacy at will.

Is the Trade War Hurting Xi Jinping Politically? (September 10, 2018, China File)
What are the domestic politics for Xi Jinping of a trade war? How much is the trade war actually hurting China’s economy? And what other effects is this having on China, and on Xi’s ability to govern?

China Expands Its Footprint in Sri Lanka (September 11, 2018, The Diplomat)
China is moving into new geographical areas of Sri Lanka, where Indian influence has traditionally been strongest.

China urges U.S. to 'abandon prejudice' over Xinjiang (September 12, 2018, Reuters)
China urged the United States on Wednesday to abandon its “prejudice” over Xinjiang, as the Trump administration considers sanctions against Chinese officials and companies linked to allegations of human rights abuses in the Chinese region.


Might the Catholic Church find warm embrace in China? (August 19, 2018, RTE)
At the Salesian House of Studies, in the hills of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen taps the table for emphasis. "The Vatican is selling out and abandoning the faithful of the underground church in China," he says.

Protestant Churches In Henan Hit By Dawn Police Raids (September 5, 2018, Radio Free Asia)
Authorities in the central Chinese province of Henan carried out raids on four Protestant churches in the early hours of Wednesday, sources told RFA.Dozens of uniformed police officers and local officials raided the Glory Church in Henan's Nanyang city, church members said via social media. 

Anecdotes of Hu Shih, Chinese Christian Intellectual (September 6, 2018, China Christian Daily)
Hu Shih kept observing the course of the event. This was the first time he saw the clash of two different cultures, and he was on the side of the missionaries. Eight years later, Hu Shih got the Boxer Indemnity Scholarship to the US, where Hu learned knowledge that would have a remarkable influence in China.

Chinese Authorities Continue to Destroy Mosques in Xinjiang  (September 7, 2018, Radio Free Asia)
Uyghurs in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region say that authorities are continuing a campaign to destroy mosques as part of a wider crackdown on their religion, contradicting a recent comment by a Chinese diplomat that the region has more mosques per capita than other countries.

China Is Detaining Muslims in Vast Numbers. The Goal: ‘Transformation.’  (September 8, 2018, The New York Times)
Inside, hundreds of ethnic Uighur Muslims spend their days in a high-pressure indoctrination program, where they are forced to listen to lectures, sing hymns praising the Chinese Communist Party and write “self-criticism” essays, according to detainees who have been released. The goal is to remove any devotion to Islam.

China outlaws large underground Protestant church in Beijing (September 9, 2018, Reuters)
The Zion church had for years operated with relative freedoms, hosting hundreds of worshippers every weekend in an expansive specially renovated hall in north Beijing. But since April, after they rejected requests from authorities to install closed-circuit television cameras in the building, the church has faced growing pressure from the authorities and has been threatened with eviction.

A Century Later, Still Dominant (September 10, 2018, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Indeed, how fast the CUV rose to dominance and how enduring its dominance has turned out to be are truly mind-boggling and time-honored phenomena. 

The Origins of the Chinese Union Version Bible (September 10, 2018, ChinaSource Quarterly)
The CUV was the summation of the work of several missionary translation teams. Lacking sufficient input from Chinese linguists, the CUV had some inadequacies. Yet, for 100 years it has been treasured by Chinese and has been the source of the remarkable growth of the Chinese church. 

Word Choice Challenges (September 10, 2018, ChinaSource Quarterly)
One example of word choice error was the word used for “sin” (ἁμαρτία in Greek, or “to miss the mark”) which was translated as zui (罪), crime, rather than guofan (过犯), miss the mark, a more accurate translation.

Can the Chinese Union Version Be Replaced in China? (September 10, 2018, ChinaSource Quarterly)
A Chinese lay leader gives his thoughts on the positives and negatives of using just the CUV and the impact of using other translations.

After Chinese Officials Shut Down Chengdu House Church, Members Take the Gospel to the Streets (September 11, 2018, Christian News)
Members of a house church in China recently took the gospel to the streets after the government shut down their unregistered church, video footage reveals.

The Miracle of the Chinese Bible (September 12, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
The story of the Chinese Union Version (CUV), the most commonly used Chinese Bible today, speaks of the complexity, sacrifice and struggle involved in bringing God’s word to the people of China.

Society / Life

What happens when a Chinese factory city seeks a makeover? The workers making iPhones are priced out. (September 9, 2018, The Washington Post)
It’s a struggle of old vs. new that echoes a broader shift across China. The irony is self-evident: the factory workers who were the backbone of China’s stunning industrial growth are now becoming victims of the country’s prosperity.

Melting Away (September 11, 2018, Sixth Tone)
In China’s far north, a once-proud tradition of reindeer hunting breathes its last.

China scraps three family planning offices amid push to boost birthrate  (September 11, 2018, The Guardian)
China has done away with three family planning offices, in another sign the country may soon eliminate birth limits altogether after almost four decades of restricting family sizes.

Shanghai(dailyoverview, via Instagram)
Check out this incredible perspective of Shanghai, China, captured by a @planetlabs satellite at a low angle. 

Economics / Trade / Business

China’s Gig Economy is Driving Close to the Edge (September 7, 2018, Foreign Policy)
Over 110 million freelance writers, cab drivers, petsitters, livestreamers, house cleaners, couriers, and others have become part of China’s gig economy, accounting for about 15 percent of the entire labor force—compared to about 10 percent in the United States.

Daniel Zhang: The New Face of Alibaba (December 11, 2018, Sixth Tone)
Duncan Clark, author of “Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built,” told Sixth Tone that Zhang, who has been credited as the architect of Alibaba’s ever-expanding e-commerce outlets, is a well-respected figure within the company — and that while he might not match Ma’s popularity and high profile, Zhang has demonstrated sufficient expertise to take the reins of the company.

China Can’t Afford a Cashless Society (September 11, 2018, Foreign Policy)
The growing “cashlessness” of Chinese cities threatens to expose underlying issues of economic instability. Mobile payments are carving out lines between young and old, and between the prosperous urban middle class and those left behind by the boom times. 

China puts off licences for US companies amid tariff battle with Washington, says US-China Business Council official (September 12, 2018, South China Morning Post)
The disclosure is the first public confirmation of US companies’ fears that their operations in China or access to its markets might be disrupted by the battle over Beijing’s technology policy.

Trade war takes a heavy toll on Chinese stocks, and investors (September 12, 2018, Reuters)
Besides the headline drop in share values, China’s currency has fallen sharply and share transaction volumes have shrunk. Money managers are preferring cash over investments and investors have dashed into the safety of lower-yielding government bonds.


Chinese Parents Are Paying a High Price for Free Education (September 6, 2018, Sixth Tone)
Desperate to enroll their children at the best public schools, middle-class parents are spending millions on rundown ‘school-district houses.’

Why Donald Trump and the trade war aren’t enough to stop Chinese students coming to America (September 7, 2018, South China Morning Post)
While the number of students from other countries is falling, the inflow of Chinese students is holding up despite the threat of tighter immigration controls.

Xi stresses following path of socialist education with Chinese characteristics (September 10, 2018, Xinhua)
President Xi Jinping has stressed following the path of socialist education with Chinese characteristics to nurture generations of capable young people well-prepared to join the socialist cause. 

Health / Environment

Could Cockroaches Fix China’s Food Waste Problem?  (September 7, 2018, Sixth Tone)
The man behind a warehouse teeming with the much-despised insects claims his new recycling method could be a blueprint for future waste management.

China's small farmers pose huge challenge in swine fever battle (September 11, 2018, Reuters)
The farmer’s lack of awareness of the virus highlights the scale of the challenge Beijing faces in controlling the highly contagious disease, which has spread rapidly among the world’s largest hog herd since it was first detected in early August.

Science / Technology

Meet 'Intrusion Truth,' the Mysterious Group Doxing Chinese Intel Hackers (August 21, 2018, Motherboard)
Since April last year, a group calling itself ‘Intrusion Truth’ has trickled out the real names of hackers working for Chinese intelligence. Recently the group has ramped up its efforts against a Chinese operation targeting governments and businesses.

Google’s China Problem (September 7, 2018, Asia Dialogue)
Dragonfly is the code name for Google’s secret project – a censored mobile search app custom-made for the Chinese market that would blacklist and filter topics including human rights, democracy, religion and peaceful protests. 

History / Culture

Chinese newsreel from 1968 (Everyday Life in Maoist China)

Four Faithful Chinese Emperors (September 7, 2018, The World of Chinese)
Several emperors in China’s long history, though, bucked the trend and remained faithful to one partner ’til death did them part, though this wasn’t always a good choice for the empire. Here are the four best known:

Travel / Food

Face of Chinese Chili Sauce Becomes Fashion Symbol in New York  (September 12, 2018, Sixth Tone)
he hoodie is a fusion of signature Chinese sauce and essential American apparel, splashed with Tao’s vintage-looking portrait along with the Chinese characters for lao gan ma, or “Old Godmother,” emblazoned underneath. 

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Paths of the Soul: A Film Review (September 10, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
Paths of the Soul is a film about a group of devout Tibetan Buddhists that embark on a 1,200-mile pilgrimage from their hometown in Mangkang County to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. But this is not just any pilgrimage.

China Building World’s Largest Indoor Ski and Snow Resort (September 11, 2018, The Points Guy)
Wintastar Shanghai‘s Ski & Snow Park will measure nearly one million square feet — 90,000 square meters, to be exact. Ski Dubai, by comparison, is just 22,500 square meters.

China Channels Iconic ’70s Coke Ad for Belt and Road Remix  (September 12, 2018, Radii China)
Are you excited about the Belt and Road Initiative? Not particularly? Well that’s one key difference between you and China’s State media outlets, who have just rolled out another hot new music video extolling the benefits of overland and maritime trade routes — this time channeling the timeless TV spot “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke.”

Language / Language Learning

How to translate Chinese into English: The complete guide (September 7, 2018, Sapore di Cina)
In this article we’ll look at the options for a balanced translation, which renders the sense of the original text to the reader, seeking to understand how it’s possible to transmit the original sense between two different languages and keeping its form and style as much as possible.

Living Cross-culturally

Learning to Be an Acceptable Outsider (September 7, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
Not being able to become insiders, then, what should we be aiming for? How about acceptability? If I can’t become an insider, can I at least become an acceptable outsider?


Don’t get Chinese internet slang? Now there’s a book for that (September 5, 2018, Technode)
“Straight man cancer (直男癌)”. “Little fresh meat” (小鲜肉)”. “666“. Sometimes popular slang in Chinese, as with other languages, makes you wonder: which remote corner of the internet was this dredged up from, and what could it possibly mean?

Breaking Eggs Against a Rock (September 27 issue, New York Review of Books)
Sustained by her Christian faith, Lin wrote hundreds of thousands of words in prison, but all were confiscated and locked away. Yet her writings somehow survived and slowly spread, despite censorship.

Links for Researchers

Religions & Christianity in Today’s China(China Zentrum)

‘Thoroughly reforming them towards a healthy heart attitude’: China’s political re-education campaign in Xinjiang (September 5, 2018, Central Asian Survey)

The Chinese Cyber Sovereignty Concept (Part 1) (September 7, 2018, Asia Dialogue)
China’s cyber sovereignty concept is based on two key principles: The first is that unwanted influence in a country’s “information space” should be banned. 

The Chinese Cyber Sovereignty Concept (Part 2)  (September 7, 2018, Asia Dialogue)

China’s Campaign of Repression Against Xinjiang’s Muslims (September 9, 2018, Human Rights Watch)
The training has only one purpose: to learn laws and regulations…to eradicate from the mind thoughts about religious extremism and violent terrorism, and to cure ideological diseases. If the education is not going well, we will continue to provide free education, until the students achieve satisfactory results and graduate smoothly.

A Christian Spirituality of Healing: Integrating Neo-Confucian Resources in China (Fuller Studio)
Therefore, the question of how to integrate the rich resources of the healing narrative in Confucian tradition, especially the Neo-Confucianism from the Song to Ming Dynasties (roughly 10th–17th centuries), into the Christian spirituality of healing in China, is important for the development of an indigenized Chinese theology. 

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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