ZGBriefs | September 20, 2018

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Featured Article

Land of a billion road trips: Chinese tourists are ditching buses for their own steering wheels  (September 18, 2018, The Globe and Mail)
Now, the country’s tourists are embracing what has long been a staple of North American film and summer culture, shunning the bus tour in favour of long distances behind their own steering wheels.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

China Is Buying African Media’s Silence (September 14, 2018, Foreign Policy)
In 1999, China embarked on an economic and social outreach program to the continent, known as its “Going Out” policy, in which it injected millions of dollars of investment into the African media. 

China claims Muslim detention camps are education centres (September 14, 2018, The Guardian)
Chinese officials have pushed back against growing criticism of the detention of Muslim minorities in internment camps, claiming authorities are merely providing professional training and education.

China’s Propaganda Mission in 15 Characters (September 17, 2018, China Media Project)
The text, naturally, is a dense layering of official terminologies, the vast majority of them generally familiar to those poor souls who routinely wade through the tide pools of Party discourse. Everything centers, tellingly, around the figure of Xi Jinping and his defining ideological concept.

US orders Chinese state media to register as foreign agents (September 19, 2018, Asia Times)
Should they comply with the order, Xinhua News Agency and China Global Television Network (CGTN), formerly CCTV, will follow Russia’s RT, which registered last year to avoid prosecution.


Chinese Bible Translation by the Catholic Church: History, Development, and Reception(September 10, 2018, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Even when, in 1615, permission was granted from Rome to translate the Bible into Chinese (not using the vernacular, but rather the “erudite language proper to the literati”), missionaries never engaged in translation work. 

Bibles in China: A Question of Availability (September 10, 2018, ChinaSource Quarterly)
And once again, the “new normal” may have the effect of actually shifting the conversation away from outsiders (to smuggle or not to smuggle) to the church within China itself. Relying less on outside personnel and funding, the church has an increased opportunity to come up with creative solutions for addressing the issue of Bible availability in China.

Hard tests for China’s Christian schools (September 13, 2018, World Magazine)
The emerging Christian school movement in China is battling for its future amid government opposition and administrative troubles.

With wider crackdowns on religion, Xi’s China seeks to put state stamp on faith (September 16, 2018, The Washington Post) (subscription required)
Xi appears to be waging a campaign against religion because he was concerned about ideological rivalry, said Karrie Koesel, a University of Notre Dame expert on religion in China.

Which Chinese Bible Should I Recommend People Read? (September 17, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
Choosing a Chinese Bible involves not only choosing a version, but choosing a script and other factors as well. These are identified by a range of symbols that appear with the abbreviation for the name of the Bible translation.

Source: China and the Vatican to sign historic agreement by end of September (September 18, 2018, America Magazine)
The agreement only deals with the question of the nomination of bishops. It gives each side a say in the selection of candidates, but it recognizes that the pope will have the final word in the appointment of bishops for the Catholic Church throughout mainland China.

Regulating the Internet (September 18, 2018, Chinese Church Voices)
A day after one of China’s largest, high-profile churches was shut down, the State Administration for Religious Affairs released a draft of new regulations that call for strict control over online religious content. China Christian Daily gives a summary of the draft regulations.  

China says has 'effective' contacts with the Vatican (September 19, 2018, Reuters)
China and the Vatican have “effective” contacts, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, after a newspaper report that the Vatican might send a delegation to Beijing before the end of this month, to clinch a deal on the appointment of bishops.

Ownership and the Church in China: From Boss to Steward (September 19, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
Of course, all the members would be quick to affirm that Christ is the Head of the church; it belongs to him. Yet, for those urban congregations that have to rent or buy property, the issue of whose name to put on the lease or the deed can be problematic.

Society / Life

The Man Who Gets Paid to Cry (September 14, 2018, Sixth Tone)
Li’s career as a kusang ren — or “funeral wailer” — is part of a tradition that now blends centuries-old rites with modern-day spectacle to send deceased relatives off in style. Li’s days are filled with mourning, as families hire him to perform melodramatic dirges at ceremonies honoring the dead. 

Cameroon bride and Chinese husband find fame online in China (September 17, 2018, CNN)
Sandra Made and Zou Qianshun are, in many ways, like millions of newly married couples around the world. Made, 27, is a housewife who looks after their 10-month-old baby, while Zou, 43, is a fishing captain and the family breadwinner. But in China, they have become an online sensation. 

Heartbreak and Hormones: A History of China’s TV Matchmaking (September 17, 2018, Sixth Tone)
From flashy hosts to fake romance, the evolving format of China’s televised dating shows reflect changing attitudes toward dating and marriage.

Time Lapse: Yan Wang Preston’s ‘Mother River’ Series (September 18, 2018, Sixth Tone)
Its basin is home to an estimated 480 million people who use the river for agriculture,industry, and transportation. 

VIP Treatments: Why China’s Beauty Salons Need a Makeover (September 18, 2018, Sixth Tone)
Most beauticians in China don’t receive a salary. At the store where I conducted my study, I met 17 beauticians, all of whom were young, unmarried women. They were expected to work 13 hours a day, six days a week — all without a regular paycheck. 

China’s ‘Masculinity Crisis’: The Internet Slang That Stereotypes Chinese Men (September 17, 2018, What’s on Weibo)
This month, a well-known Chinese educational program for children that featured a ‘feminine-looking’ boyband ignited discussions on masculinity in China. What’s on Weiboprovides an overview of Chinese media’s stance on the recent discussion, and an introduction to five popular social media slang terms stereotyping Chinese men.

Leave no dark corner (September 17, 2018, ABC News Australia)
China is building a digital dictatorship to exert control over its 1.4 billion citizens. For some, “social credit” will bring privileges — for others, punishment. 

Economics / Trade / Business

China’s Booming ‘Anti-Foreigner’ Business (August 8, 2018, Asia Dialogue)
It is no longer purely a political process. Rather, it has earned its own economic logic and evolved into a billion-yuan patriotic propaganda industry. 

Beijing Is Foisting a White Elephant on Hong Kong (September 14, 2018, Foreign Policy)
There is nothing wrong with furthering regional cooperation. But just like the Belt and Road Initiative, the true purpose of the Greater Bay Area is not to provide economic benefits to locals but to bind a reluctant Hong Kong closer to Beijing.

China's Bullet Trains Are Coming For Hong Kong's Airlines (September 17, 2018, Skift)
A bullet-train ride can cost less than half the price of a ticket on Cathay to the 11 overlapping destinations, with the biggest savings for routes of less than 800 kilometers. Passengers would also save time on pre-boarding security checks required for flights and travel to and from airports.

China’s Tax Bureau to Collect Social Insurance (September 18, 2018, China Briefing)
The consolidation of responsibilities under a better-equipped tax bureau will increase China’s capacity and willingness to enforce its social insurance regulations more uniformly.

White House Adviser Navarro On Why U.S. Hit China With More Tariffs (September 18, 2018, NPR)
The Trump administration is imposing $200 billion in new tariffs on China, which plans to retaliate. Steve Inskeep talks to White House adviser Peter Navarro about the escalating trade war.

China to penalize $60 billion of U.S. imports in tit-for-tat move (September 18, 2018, Reuters)
China and the United States plunged deeper into a trade war on Tuesday after Beijing added $60 billion of U.S. products to its import tariff list in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s planned levies on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

China tariffs: Wrong weapons, right result? (September 18, 2018, AEI)
It is definitely impossible for trade with China to be reciprocal, because state-owned enterprises are so heavily subsidized, both financially and through regulatory protection. The US should be, but isn’t, concentrating sanctions on these firms for embodying unfair trade practices.

The Reaction To Tariffs In China (September 19, 2018, NPR)
The tit-for-tat trade war is putting pressure on Chinese President Xi Jinping from inside his own country.


Gauging China's 'Influence and Interference' in U.S. Higher Ed (September 12, 2018, Inside Higher Ed)
The study, which is based largely on interviews of more than 180 people, including more than 100 professors, documents alleged attempts to infringe on academic freedom at U.S. universities on the part of both Chinese embassy officials and “a small number” of individual Chinese students over the past two decades.

Chinese Moms Are Stressing Out About Their Kids’ Education (September 13, 2018, Sixth Tone)
Many parents assume that young children are more reliant on their mothers, and that it is therefore more incumbent on the mother to shape their child’s attitudes toward schooling.

Health / Environment

Violent winds, raging water, mudslides: Typhoon Mangkhut’s path of chaos – video (September 17, 2018, The Guardian)
Hong Kong was hit by heavy wind and rain, causing extensive damage as super Typhoon Mangkhut hurtled by. The transport system was clogged, leaving commuters stranded for hours.

Science / Technology

Google's prototype Chinese search engine links searches to phone numbers (September 18, 2018, The Guardian)
This feature would allow the Chinese government to simply associate searches with individuals, thereby putting Chinese citizens at increased risk of government repression if they search for topics that their government deems politically sensitive, according to the Intercept.

Beijing allocates more roads for self-driving vehicle tests (September 19, 2018, Reuters)
China’s capital city has designated 11 more roads for self-driving vehicle testing, state news agency Xinhua said on Wednesday, to try to speed up the technology’s development. The 11 roads are in Beijing’s Fangshan District, Xinhua reported

Travel / Food

The Stories Behind Our Favorite Chinese Alcohols (September 8, 2018, Wild China Blog)
From Qingdao to Guizhou, there are spirits, beers, and wines produced all over the country that intimately tie into their surroundings. 

World’s Largest Terminal: Spectacular Photos of Beijing’s New Airport (September 12, 2018, What’s on Weibo)
Its opening is more than a year from now, but Beijing’s new international airport is already a spectacular sight.

Traveling to Guizhou Province, homeland to a third of China’s ethnic minorities (September 14, 2018, Sapore di Cina)
Located in the southeastern part of China, Guizhou Province is formed by rice paddies, soft hills full of terraces, villages that stand out of the clouds and the songs and colors of the minorities that populate the region.

What is Chinese hotpot and where does it come from? The questions that boiled over into a national controversy (September 15, 2018, South China Morning Post)
With different parts of China all laying claim to the title of hotpot’s hometown, we look back at the history of the dish in all its different varieties.

The Chinese cyclist, 71, who has spent 10 years travelling around the world on his bike (September 18, 2018, South China Morning Post)
Xu Yukun, 71, started his incredible journey in 2007, setting out from his hometown in Nanyang, Henan province in central China, but he didn’t tell his wife where he was going until he was 100km (60 miles) away from home.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

What Happened to Fan Bingbing, China’s Most Famous Actress? (September 13, 2018, The New York Times)
She has more than 62 million followers on China’s equivalent of Twitter, Weibo, and appears in ads for products around the world — from vitamins in Australia to lipstick by Guerlain, the watches of Montblanc and the diamonds of De Beers. Now she is missing.

Living Cross-culturally

Things I Wish I Had Done (September 14, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
This list of “I wish I had” statements deal with areas that may have brought more depth to my service in China, but weren’t possible for me due to lack of maturity, raising children overseas, or because it was not the work God had for me. It's a list of possibilities for you to consider as you prepare for living in China.


Be Amazed, Encouraged, and Challenged for Under $10 (September 10, 2018, ChinaSource Quarterly)
God equipped him with just the right mind, personality, and upbringing; as a result, Morrison had not only the ability but a love for the Lord that provided the will to obey and overcome. This combination gave him an insight into his task that served him well.

Three Sketches of Peter Hessler (September 14, 2018, China Channel)
Put bluntly, more than just admiring the American author, Chinese people worship Hessler. 

James McGregor Reviews Kai-Fu Lee’s Forthcoming Book, ‘AI Superpowers’ (September 18, 2018, SUP China)
Western policymakers and business leaders who focus on the limits of China’s system should pay attention to Kai-Fu Lee’s non-ideological exposition of what he describes as China’s “highly inefficient and extraordinarily effective” system of “mass entrepreneurship and mass innovation.” 

Links for Researchers

A Preliminary Study of PRC Political Influence and Interference Activities in American Higher Education(Wilson Center)

Christianity and Social Activism in Chinese Societies (Center on Religion and Chinese Society)
February 24-26, 2019
Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA
The Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University invites papers that examine the relationship between Christianity and social activism in Chinese societies. We welcome both scholarly research papers of empirical or historical studies and personal reflection papers by Christian social activists.


Obtaining a Chinese Bible (September 10, 2018, ChinaSource Quarterly)
There are numerous ways to obtain Chinese Bibles, both outside of China and inside. Consider this your handy guide.

The Maoist Legacy
Digital archive for The Maoist Legacy: Party Dictatorship, Transitional Justice and the Politics of Truth. A project led by Daniel Leese with funding from the European Research Council

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