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.
The Unprecedented Reach of China’s Surveillance State (September 15, 2017, China File)
The Chinese Party-state is building a social credit system for collecting information about all of its citizens by police, courts, and other institutions. This enables the government to reach into society to a degree unprecedented in history.
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Overseas NGO Law
Ministry of Public Security WeChat Posts—September 19, 2017 (September 19, 2017, China File)
Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs
The Great Hive of Propaganda (September 16, 2017, China Media Project)
On China’s internet today, there truly is no land outside the law. The myriad laws governing cyberspace are designed not to delineate the rights and security of Chinese citizens, but to re-consolidate and legitimize the Party’s dominance over public opinion as a matter of political necessity.
China to amend party constitution at October congress (September 18, 2017, Reuters)
While the Xinhua report did not elaborate, a key measure of Xi’s power will be whether he manages to have his name “crowned” in the constitution, elevating him to the level of previous leaders exemplified by Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory.
China's Xi demands 'strong hands' to maintain stability ahead of Congress (September 19, 2017, Reuters)
Stability is an absolute principle that needs to be dealt with using “strong hands”, Chinese President Xi Jinping has told security officials ahead of next month’s key Congress of the ruling Communist Party. The stability-obsessed party brooks no challenge to its rule and always steps up security ahead of important meetings.
Ruling the Country by Red-letterhead Documents? (September 19, 2017, China Policy Institute)
The “intra-Party rules and regulations” of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are taking on a preeminent role of “law” in China. In China, all levels of Party organizations of the CCP may issue official documents that start with a printed “red-letter head” marking the source of authority.
Hong Kong leader demands end of independence talk, warns ties with Beijing at risk (September 19, 2017, Reuters)
Hong Kong’s leader urged an immediate end to independence debates in the Chinese-ruled global financial hub on Tuesday, warning that the issue was harming the city’s relationship with Beijing’s Communist Party leaders.
Revealed: China's network of influence in New Zealand (September 20, 2017, New Zealand Herald)
A major research paper into China's soft-power campaign in New Zealand has detailed how dairy farms have been used for near-space balloon launches by a Chinese company developing "high-precision monitoring" of Earth from satellites. The study also details extensive links between China and former New Zealand politicians and their families, and also highlights significant political donations.
Wise Financial Partnerships: The Need for a Framework (September 15, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
Financial resource sharing is a controversial issue in international relationships. There is no doubt that organizations and agencies such as the ones in the stories above had good intentions. However, foreign funding, especially if used indiscriminately without the oversight of local Chinese leadership, may cause harm.
Non-Western Missions & Chinese Missions (September 17, 2017, taborlaughlin.com)
I’m praying for the Chinese missionary sending efforts. As I study more about ‘Majority World Missions’, I see that it is not necessarily those majority world countries who have the most Christians who send the most missionaries.
Conversations from Reformation 500, Part 2 (September 19, 2017, Chinese Church Voices)
We’ve selected excerpts of those interviews showing different perspectives on current church life in China.
Understanding the Past, Understanding the Present (September 18, 2017, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Historical awareness ought to be second nature for Christians. Each time God tells Israel to “remember” he is training them to make a habit of recalling how God has cared for his people in the past in order that their faith in his provision for the present would be strengthened.
History: It’s Essential (September 18, 2017, ChinaSource Quarterly)
In China, and indeed in all Confucian-influenced societies, arguments from history carry special weight. Where the Westerner might be impressed by the novelty of an idea, it is the antiquity of an idea that commends itself to the Chinese mind.
Fragmented and Complacent: The Chinese Church that Lacks Historical Consciousness (September 18, 2017, ChinaSource Quarterly)
The present Chinese church’s lack of historical consciousness longstanding. This is related to the form of the Chinese church. Organizationally, the Chinese church is fragmented; temperamentally, the church is complacent.
Society / Life
How Rich Chinese Use Visa Fixers to Move to the U.S. (September 14, 2017, Bloomberg)
Have a spare $500,000 to invest in an economically distressed American area (that actually isn’t distressed at all)? China’s EB-5 fixers will help you every step of the way.
Marrying Out, Marrying Up, and Not Marrying (September 18, 2017, China Policy Institute)
Marriage, then, is never just a matter between two people but usually involves heavily both families if not both communities. The mate-selection process continues to be deliberate, pragmatic and transactional.
China’s Leftover Men (September 20, 2017, China Policy Analysis)
We estimated that more than 41 million Chinese boys have already been born in China who, when they reach their mid-twenties and are looking for brides, will not be able to find Chinese girls to marry. Our number does not take into account the likelihood of some daughters at birth being under-reported, so the figure of over 40 million may be a little high.
China’s ‘most beautiful’ library ordered to shut over claims it provided pirated material and obscene content (September 20, 2017, South China Morning Post)
Readers have complained recently online that the collection in Liyuan Bookhouse in suburban Beijing largely consisted of pirated books, which included printing errors, incomplete translations, forged publisher details and “uncensored and elaborated erotic descriptions”.
Economics / Trade / Business
China’s Dockless Bike-Share Scheme Lands in DC (September 21, 2017, The Diplomat)
On Wednesday morning, lines of orange bikes appeared in several key downtown locations in Washington, DC. The new bikes belong to Mobike, China’s largest public bike-sharing operator. DC is the first American market to see a test-run of the Chinese dockless bike-share scheme.
China is refusing to cede ground as US issues trade threats (September 20, 2017, CNBC)
China refuses to be ruffled by what the U.S. has to say, as Beijing is more keen than ever to maintain stability ahead of a major leadership shuffle in a few weeks' time.
China in Africa: Clues to the Future of “Belt and Road?” (September 20, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
Chinese engagement in Africa to date may provide some clues as to how China will impact the "belt and road" nations in the future.
'Farewell': Qiao Mu, dissenting academic, leaves China for US (September 14, 2017, The Guardian)
Qiao Mu had always insisted he would not be forced to leave China. “We must change our nation, not our nationality,” the outspoken academic told the Guardian over lunch in the summer of 2015. Last Friday morning, however, Qiao and his family set off for Beijing’s international airport to catch a Boeing 777 bound for the United States.
Finding Middle Ground Between US and Chinese Classrooms (September 15, 2017, Sixth Tone)
Chu spoke to Sixth Tone about navigating the Chinese school system as a Chinese-American parent, the future of educational reform in the nation, and what Chinese and American schools can learn from each other.
China is retaliating against a US university for inviting the Dalai Lama to speak at graduation (September 19, 2017, Quartz)
Beijing has a lesson for overseas universities: Don’t invite speakers who oppose the Communist Party to big events. A branch of the Chinese government has barred Chinese scholars from receiving state funding to study at the University of California, San Diego, according to people at the school.
Chinese students question Australian education sending chills through industry (September 20, 2017, Brisbane Times)
The plight of a Chinese student whose parents sold their home to pay for an Australian university education but only found a job handing out product samples has sparked debate in China questioning the value of overseas education.
Science / Technology
China’s Communist Youth League opens Twitter account amid crackdown on internet access (September 17, 2017, South China Morning Post)
The Communist Youth League of China set up the account – CYL @ccylchina – earlier this month and published the first of its 10 tweets to date on Thursday. The message said the aim of the account was to “deliver information about the league and on issues of interest to young people”.
WeChat confirms that it makes all private user data available to the Chinese government (September 19, 2017, Money Control)
WeChat has confirmed what has been rumoured all along i.e. it gives all user information to the Chinese government. The popular app in a privacy statement is now informing the users that virtually all the private user information will be disclosed to the authorities.
Facial recognition debuts at China's banks (September 20, 2017, ecns.cn)
At the Agricultural Bank of China's (ABC) three outlets in Jinan City, cards are no longer needed to withdraw money. A quick scan of the face will do. ABC has introduced facial recognition technology at its automatic teller machines (ATM). Other banks, such as the China Merchants Bank and the Construction Bank of China, have also introduced similar technology in their ATMS.
Arts / Entertainment / Media
Ranting and Rapping Online in China, and Raking In Millions (September 15, 2017, The New York Times)
With his crude jokes and rat-a-tat riffs on modern life, Mr. Li has become a hero to a generation of disaffected young people in China’s smaller cities and rural areas. Many of them are spiteful toward elites, skeptical of authority and eager for an escape from menial work.
Hip-Hop Gives Chinese Dialects Fresh Expression (September 18, 2017, Sixth Tone)
On his recent track “Stupid Foreigners,” rapper Cai Zhenhong — better known as “Xie Di” or “Fat Shady” — rails against arrogant and entitled expatriates living in his homeland. Although it drew attention primarily for its provocative subject matter, the track is also notable for being entirely in the Chengdu dialect, part of the family of Sichuan dialects spoken by over 100 million in China’s southwest.
History / Culture
A Call for Photos: China through the Years (September 18, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
I love going back through the photos (and slides—remember those?) I have taken in China over the years, particularly the ones I took long, long ago in the 80s and 90s. They bring back fond memories of my life in China—the people, the places, the adventures. They are all there in the photos.
Why a Leaky Old Temple Has the Chinese Internet in an Uproar (September 19, 2017, Sixth Tone)
News of a dilapidated Tang-era holy site sheds light on the country’s complex relationship with its cultural heritage.
Travel / Food
Is the 'Hawaii of China' taking design cues from Dubai? (September 18, 2017, CNN)
Increasingly, rather than Hawaii, parts of Hainan bring to mind the unashamed extravagance of Dubai, the wealthy United Arab Emirates city state that once built a man-made island in the shape of a map of the world. The huge, curved towers of Phoenix Island catch the eye the moment you walk down to Sanya Bay.
China’s best e-book apps (September 18, 2017, The World of Chinese)
Over 333 million people in China are reading digital publications according to the White Paper of China Digital Reading in 2016. Most of them, 83.7 percent, are used to reading books on their smart phones. So to celebrate the International Read an eBook Day today, TWOC compiled a list of the biggest and the most popular Chinese platforms for you to enjoy the latest digital reading experiences.
China’s Great Migration (September 20, 2017, China File)
China’s rise over the past several decades has lifted more than half of its population out of poverty and reshaped the global economy. What has caused this dramatic transformation? In China’s Great Migration: How the Poor Built a Prosperous Nation, author Bradley Gardner looks at one of the most important but least discussed forces pushing China’s economic development: the migration of more than 260 million people from their birthplaces to China’s most economically vibrant cities.
Joann Pittman is Senior Vice President of ChinaSource. She is the editor of ZGBriefs and Chinese Church Voices, as well as a regular contributor to ChinaSource publications. Prior to joining ChinaSource, Joann spent 28 years working in China, as an English teacher, language student, program director, and most recently,... View Full Bio