ZGBriefs | September 17, 2015

ZGBriefs is a compilation of links to news items from published online sources. Clicking a link will direct you to a website other than ChinaSource. ChinaSource is not responsible for the content or other features on that site. An article’s inclusion in ZGBriefs does not equal endorsement by ChinaSource. Please go here to support ZGBriefs.

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

How the Piano Became Chinese (September 6, 2015, Caixin Online)
Indeed, though China in the 1600s had numerous rich musical traditions that employed both domestic and imported instruments, it had nothing resembling the clavichord, a stringed keyboard instrument and predecessor of the piano. That's why Ricci chose it, hoping that the unusual instrument would so excite the emperor's curiosity that he would agree to receive Ricci – who could then explain the precepts of Catholicism and, in his wildest dreams, get the emperor to convert, and with him, all of China.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Xi Jinping's portrayal of China's role in World War II reflects present-day aims (September 11, 2015, Sydney Morning Herald)
"For the 60 million overseas Chinese the sentiment is so strong, after being beaten down for 100 years, especially by the Japanese," Yang says. "They don't see this as fascism, or a show of military might, they think 'finally this is our chance to show we have grown up, we are not scared, here is the potential of the Chinese race'."

U.S. to China: Take back your undocumented immigrants (September 11, 2015, Reuters)
They form part of a backlog of nearly 39,000 people Chinese nationals awaiting deportation for violating U.S. immigration laws, 900 of them classed as violent offenders, according to immigration officials.

The US and China: Will it be collision or cooperation? (September 13, 2015, Christian Science Monitor)
On the eve of Chinese President Xi Jinping's first state visit to the US, a China expert lays out how the two great powers can avoid confrontation. 

346 Days in Jail (September 14, 2015, China Media Project)
The following is a translation of a piece from the Chinese-language service of France’s RFI about the long and painful saga Chinese journalist Liu Hu has faced since his detention in August 2013 for blowing the whistle on official corruption.

Assessing the Chinese Government’s Role in the Stock Markets (September 14, 2015, Sinosphere)
Several Chinese analysts recently shared their views with The New York Times on the government’s attempts to manage the market.

Don't return, a Sydney uni student is told after his father 'disappears' in China (September 14, 2015, Sydney Morning Herald)
Xin Hongyu, a Sydney University law student and commerce graduate, has been warned it is not safe to return to China. His father, an important financial patron of liberal intellectuals, disappeared in the middle of the night three weeks ago, amid China's deepening political crackdown. And one distinguishing feature of this crackdown, apart from its severity and duration, is that security forces have been targeting children to put pressure on their parents to confess.

Thailand Blames Uighur Militants for Bombing at Bangkok Shrine (September 15, 2015, The New York Times)
Nearly a month after the deadliest bombing in recent Thai history, Thailand’s national police chief made his most explicit comments on Tuesday about who carried out the attack here and why. The perpetrators, he said, were linked to Uighur militants, radical members of an aggrieved ethnic minority in western China, who struck to avenge Thailand’s forced repatriation of Uighurs to China and Thailand’s dismantling of a human smuggling ring.

The politics of China’s anti-corruption campaign (September 15, 2015, East Asia Forum)
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign has highlighted the seriousness of China’s official malfeasance. The outcome will shape a new era of China’s politics, economy and foreign policy.

China Releases Guo Yushan, Scholar Who Helped Activist Gain Asylum in U.S. (September 15, 2015, The New York Times)
The Chinese authorities on Tuesday released a founder of a research institute who was instrumental in helping the legal activist Chen Guangcheng gain asylum in the United States after he escaped house arrest three years ago. The founder, Guo Yushan, a scholar who led the Transition Institute, was released from custody along with He Zhengjun, the administrative director of the now-closed institute, according to family members and lawyers.

White House Confirms Chinese President Xi Jinping’s First State Visit to Washington (September 15, 2015, TIME)
Chinese President Xi Jinping will make a state visit to the U.S. at the end of the month, the White House confirmed in a statement on Tuesday. The visit, Xi’s first official one to Washington, will take place on Sept. 25 and reciprocates President Barack Obama’s trip to Beijing last November, the statement said.

Corruption in China: This will blow your mind (September 15, 2015, EJ Insight)
Noted China scholar Roderick MacFarquhar, for example, thinks 40 million people — at minimum — should be prosecuted. That’s not a typo. How he got to this astounding number is worth noting.

South China See: Satellite Images Show China’s Continued Island Building (September 16, 2015, China Real Time)
A report published earlier this week by the Center for Strategic and International Studies contains high-definition photos of Chinese-controlled reefs in the disputed Spratly Islands taken in early September. The images suggest China’s island-building efforts are ongoing, and that China could soon have three airfields in the area, according to CSIS.


God’s United Front’ and the Battle Over China’s Crosses (September 11, 2015, Tea Leaf Nation)
Cement barriers, barbed wire, and a clever new legal strategy — how China's Christians are fighting to protect the symbols of their faith from government demolition.

Marriage, a Child, or Both? (September 15, 2015, Chinese Church Voices)
When a child is born in China, the parents must register him/her and obtain a hukou (household registration certificate). When a couple recently went to register their child, they were told that, since they were not married, they would have to pay a 40,000 yuan “social maintenance fee.” 

Don’t Muzzle The Ox – Theological Reflections On Pollution In China (September 16, 2015, China Partnership Blog)
This generation of Chinese Christians cares about the society they live in and the ethical implications of our decisions in business, education, and politics. Nonetheless, Chinese by nature are fiercely pragmatic. That pragmatism can manifest itself in shortsighted decisions that bring about long-term disaster. Thoughtful Christians in this generation have the opportunity to address such problems and live as salt and light by showing non-believers the difference the gospel makes in the way we think and live.

Society / Life

Why those in the Chinese Beverly Hills area are worried (September 10, 2015, BBC)
China's economic challenges have implications far beyond the country's borders. For instance in the United States, wealthy Chinese tourists and immigrants have transformed Los Angeles' San Gabriel Valley. 

One Tip for Effective Communication in China: The Rule of Three (September 1, 2015, From the West Courtyard)
Effective communication requires engagement from both ends of the communication cycle—both the ability to send a message and receive feedback from your audience. Using this cycle to reach a common understanding is more of an art than a science—even when we communicate with others from our home culture. However, it is even more challenging when communicating cross-culturally in China.

China’s Boisterous Social Media: When Beijing’s Online Propaganda Goes Awry (September 11, 2015, China Real Time)
China’s social media users are generally divided between leftists and rightists. The leftists are typically people who combine an emphasis on domestic political stability, sovereignty and national dignity with a strong belief in the leadership of the Communist Party. The rightists, meanwhile, tend to be liberals who favor democracy, rule of law and constitutionalism.

Video: Chinese, looking for quality and new values – Ian Johnson (September 15, 2015, China Herald)
A group of tens of million of Chinese are looking for more than only make money, says journalist Ian Johnson. They look for a better quality of life, including organic food, corporate values and good domestic education for their children.

South Pole Mystery: Did China Bring Hot Pot There? (September 16, 2015, China Real Time)
The Twitter post tagged both #hotpot and #Antarctica was simply too delicious for me to resist. The post from China’s official Xinhua News Agency described a Chinese restaurant operating in the frozen continent of Antarctica to support state-backed expeditions there. According to the post, the restaurant at China’s Great Wall Station serves up Chinese-style hot pot — a bubbling cauldron of broth in which diners cook meat and vegetables themselves.

Chinese farmer burned to death during eviction (September 16, 2015, The Guardian)
A Chinese villager has reportedly burned to death after men hired by the government attacked his rural home in an attempt to evict him. The charred body of Zhang Yimin, a 46-year-old farmer, was found on Monday at his home on the outskirts of Linyi city in Shandong province.


Unsafe harbour? Academic freedom in Hong Kong (September 10, 2015, Times Higher Education)
In a special report from the territory, David Matthews hears concerns that scholars are paying the price for ‘politically incorrect’ talk.

Luck of the Draw: China University Courts Controversy with Major Lottery (September 15, 2015, China Real Time)
Second-year engineering students at the University of South China are now required to enter a lottery to determine their majors to end the “vicious circle” that led to hot engineering majors being overcrowded, the official Xinhua news agency reported over the weekend. 

Economics / Trade / Business

Starbucks Expands Business to Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (September 12, 2015, CRI)
Two Starbucks stores opened Friday in Xining City, capital of northwest China's Qinghai Province, the first of the global coffeehouse chain on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The two stores, close to each other, are in Limeng Business Street in the downtown area.

China unveils plan for partial privatisations as economy cools (September 13, 2015, The Guardian)
Reforms of underperforming state-owned enterprises include introducing ‘mixed ownership’ by bringing in private investment

China’s Economic Slump Continues Despite State Interventions (September 14, 2015, TIME)
China’s economic slowdown continued through August, with both factory output and investment growth in the mainland failing to fulfill forecasts. The slump comes despite numerous state interventions to spur growth, including the repeated slashing of interest rates since last November.

It’s not the Chinese economy that’s on life support (September 14, 2015, The Guardian)
Western markets are only panicking about China because their own economies are so fragile.

Science / Technology

Video: Take a Tour of Neokylin, China’s Challenger to Windows, Apple iOS (September 15, 2015, China Real Time)
Meet Neokylin, China’s fast-growing entrant in the operating-system battle. WSJ’s Rick Carew discusses the software, which Dell and Hewlett-Packard are preloading on PCs sold in China.

Accessing foreign websites in China may soon get a lot less terrible (September 15, 2015, TechinAsia)
When accessing foreign websites on the Chinese internet, things quickly go from bad to worse. Even sites that aren’t blocked by the nation’s extravagant censorship apparatus are still painfully slow, which not only ruins the experience for users, but also discourages foreign firms from coming into the country. But a new partnership between Chinese internet juggernaut Baidu and US internet services company CloudFlare aims to improve internet access on the Mainland.

China begins nationwide nuclear safety checks after Tianjin blast (September 15, 2015, Reuters)
China has begun a nationwide safety inspection into all its existing nuclear facilities in the wake of an explosion at a chemical warehouse at the port of Tianjin last month that killed more than 160 people. 

History / Culture

Photos: Chinese Leaders Visit the U.S. (September 14, 2015, China Real Time)

Remembering Jewish Refugees in Shanghai (September 15, 2015, Outside-In)
Last week, China staged a huge parade to commemorate the end of World War II. While everyone was focused on the pomp and ceremony in Beijing, there were a couple of events in Shanghai to honor the city’s role in taking in Jewish refugees during the war. 

Arts / Entertainment / Media

In China, a Uighur rocker navigates two divided worlds (September 10, 2015, McClatchy DC)
In 1965, Bob Dylan offended folk purists by rocking the Newport Folk Festival. In China’s western province of Xinjiang, Perhat Khaliq is generating a similar stir by electrifying the folk music of his Uighur people.

Chinese Chick Flicks to Watch (Or Not) (September 11, 2015, China Real Time)
Chinese movie studios long catered to male audiences but are now directly targeting women by making more romantic comedies and casting young, male heartthrobs. This year, “Monster Hunt” became the highest-grossing Chinese film ever, helped by a majority-female audience. Here are five others mapping growing chick-flick returns at the box office.

‘I Try to Talk Less’: A Conversation with Ai Weiwei and Liao Yiwu (September 12, 2015, New York Review of Books)
Shortly after Ai’s arrival in Berlin, I accompanied the exiled Chinese writer Liao Yiwu to meet him. Liao, who has made Berlin his home since fleeing China in 2011, had never met Ai in China, and the two men were feeling each other out, the polished, cosmopolitan Ai contrasting with the learned but rougher Liao.

Ai WeiWei exhibition shows what it is like 'to be disappeared' (September 15, 2015, BBC)
The exhibition looks at the last 20 years of his work, including political pieces relating to his time under arrest in China and to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

Hangzhou named as host of 2022 Asian Games (September 16, 2015, Reuters)
The Chinese city of Hangzhou was confirmed on Wednesday as the host of the 2022 Asian Games, the Olympic Council of Asia announced at its General Assembly in Ashgabat. The capital of China's Zhejiang province, Hangzhou, was the sole bidder to stage the 19th edition of Asia's biggest multi-sports event.

Planning on seeing China’s most famous painting? Be prepared to wait. (September 16, 2015, Jottings from the Granite Studio)
Arguably China’s most famous painting, the Qingming Shanghetu (清明上河圖) or “Along the River during the Qingming Festival” is on display at the Forbidden City until October 12. Over five meters long and nearly nine centuries old, the scroll painting depicts life along the streets and waterways of the Northern Song capital of Bianjing (now known as Kaifeng).

Weibo Super Stars: Chinese Celebrities With Most Weibo Followers (September 16, 2015, What’s on Weibo)
They are China’s super stars and have the largest online fan base in the world. What’s on Weibo has compiled a top 10 of people with the most followers on Sina Weibo.

Travel / Food

Eyes on China Project on Instagram (Instagram)
A group of photographers documenting the world's most populated country…from behind the Great Firewall.

Bucolic River in Southern China Seeks a Place Among Busier Rivals (September 14, 2015, The New York Times)
Most Chinese have heard of the Li River, one of the top tourist sites in the country. A row of karst hills along its banks has been immortalized on one side of the 20 renminbi note. Lesser known is the Yulong, which runs to the west and south of the town of Yangshuo. It is a narrower, more bucolic waterway flanked by the same kinds of mountains.

Demands to ban anti-communist films on Chinese tour buses rejected (September 14, 2015, Focus Taiwan)
Taiwan's Tourism Bureau turned down a demand Monday from a Chinese travel agency to ban videos with anti-communist content on tour buses transporting Chinese tourists visiting the island. Any videos can be shown on tour buses as long as they have legal copyright and their content does not violate "good morals," the bureau said. It does not matter if the videos involve anti-communist content or not, it added.

Universal Studios Coming to Beijing to Build a New Theme Park (September 15, 2015, Skift)
Universal Studios has signed a deal with a Chinese state-owned consortium to build a Hollywood theme park in Beijing to open in 2019, state media reported Tuesday. A signing ceremony for the joint venture took place Sunday at the New York headquarters of Comcast NBCUniversal, which owns Universal Studios Hollywood.

Forbidden City to open wider to public (September 16, 2015, Xinhua)
Eighty percent of the site, known in China as the Palace Museum, will be open from 2020, up from the current 65 percent, and the long-term goal is 85 percent, compared with 30 percent 13 years ago, curator Shan Jixiang said at an international eco-city forum in north China's Tianjin City on Wednesday.

Language / Language Learning

11 Compliments Chinese People Give Their Friends (September 14, 2015, Mandarin HQ)
Compliments are a vital part of daily social interactions across the globe. China is certainly no exception…For the video below I asked people to share real examples of compliments they’d recently given a friend.


"Builders of the Chinese Church": A Book Recommendation (September 14, 2015, From the West Courtyard)
If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend reading Builders of the Chinese Church: Pioneer Protestant Missionaries and Chinese Church Leaders, edited by Wright Doyle and Carol Hamrin.

Unmade In China: The Perfect Book For Right Now (September 15, 2015, China Law Blog)
Just finished reading Jeremy Haft’s book, Unmade in China: The Hidden Truth about China’s Economic Miracle. Let me start by saying that I greatly enjoyed it and I learned a lot from it. It made for a fast and easy read. It was just released and its timing could not have been better because one of its main themes is that China’s economy is not nearly as robust as is (was?) so widely believed. It helps explain some of what is going on with China’s economy today.

Articles for Researchers

Fifty shades of Xi – China’s confessional politics of dominance (September 14, 2015, Hong Kong Free Press)
A long-established practice in Communist China, the act of self-confession, or jiantao, is a psychological tool of power, about commanding deference and enforcing docility. In Notes of the Shamed, the essayist Mo Luo wrote that the ritual of self-confession — also known as “self-criticism” or “self-denunciation” — is about “exercising control over the spirit,” and “one of the principal means of [ideological] education and rule employed by those who wield power in China.”

Image credit: piano, by Antony Griffiths, via Flickr
Share to Social Media
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