ZGBriefs | September 28, 2017

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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. Please go here to support ZGBriefs.

Featured Article

The Fast-Fading Memories of Harbin’s Migrant History (September 26, 2017, Sixth Tone)
The construction of the Chinese Eastern Railway saw the arrival of a wave of Russian immigrants in northeastern China. At first, most were rail workers and their families, but later, merchants who had caught wind of the enormous commercial potential raced to open stores in the northeast. By 1917, Russian immigrants made up more than a quarter of residents in Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province.

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Overseas NGO Law

How are NGOs in China Faring under the New Law? (September 27, 2017, China File)
How have these laws affected the ability of non-profit organizations and charitable enterprises to operate in China? How are these laws changing the dynamics of civil society in China? And how are they likely to shape the future of civil society in the coming years?

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

China, Global Peacemaker? (September 24, 2017, China File)
Beyond this, Belt and Road will, Xi says, create a “road for peace” and a spirit of “win-win cooperation” with partners across large swaths of Asia, Europe, and Africa. China’s leaders seek to present an ostensibly economic and strategic vision—and one that serves Chinese interests first and foremost—as a much larger normative project to advance “friendship, shared development, peace, harmony and a better future” for all involved.

Rap and the Party: China taps youth culture to hook millennial cadres (September 25, 2017, Reuters)
The party’s modernizing push also comes as a significant number of educated Chinese millennials, faced with a tough job market and high housing costs in big cities, have grown disillusioned about their career and life prospects.

China jails former Tianjin mayor for 12 years over graft (September 25, 2017, Reuters)
China on Monday jailed former Tianjin mayor Huang Xingguo for 12 years, after he took more than 40 million yuan ($6 million) in bribes to push through promotions and land approvals, a court in the northern province of Hebei said.

There’s One North Korea Taboo China’s Leaders Won’t Talk About (September 26, 2017, Bloomberg)
In discussions between the U.S. and China about reining in North Korea, one topic remains taboo: What would happen if Kim Jong Un’s regime collapses?

China says Taiwan not a country, Taiwan says China needs reality check (September 27, 2017, Reuters)
China warned self-ruled Taiwan on Wednesday that it would “reap the consequences” of promoting formal independence, a red line for Beijing which claims the island as its own. Taiwan’s government hit back, saying it was a reality that the Republic of China, the island’s formal name, was a sovereign country and that no matter what China said it could not change this fact.

Prison is an inevitable part of Hong Kong's exhausting path to democracy (September 27, 2017, The Guardian)
In the first of a series of columns for the Guardian from his cell, the political activist says his detention is shining a light on China’s authoritarianism.


How the top-heavy Catholic Church is losing the ground game in China (September 18, 2017, America Magazine)
Dongergou is symptomatic of many challenges facing Catholicism in today’s China. The religion is still predominantly rural, but Dongergou and much of rural China are emptying out, with faith sometimes not making the leap to the big city.

Divine to divided: how occupy central split Hong Kong’s Christian leaders (September 24, 2017, South China Morning Post)
While most of the soul-searching analysis of the past three years has focused on the political significance of Occupy Central – specifically, the future of democracy in Hong Kong – religion’s role in the protests throws up troubling questions for the territory’s Christian leaders, not only regarding the influence of their religion on politics, but questions of a deeper, more personal and philosophical nature.

There is Going to be an Explosion of Christianity in China (September 25, 2017, China Partnership Blog)
This is the first of a two-part series in which a pastor involved with CP explains why he became involved and why he believes the Chinese church matters for the global church today. 

Religious Cults Feel the Heat from Revamped Website (September 25, 2017, Sixth Tone)
People whose relatives are believed to have fallen under the control of religious cults can now turn to a recently updated online official platform for assistance, a report in Party newspaper People’s Daily said Sunday.

Chinese Christians Look Back (September 26, 2017, Chinese Church Voices)
We have surveyed a range of people from around China and in various contexts who have been Christians for about 20 years or more. We have asked them to reflect on the same five questions related to changes in faith, life, and ministry in China.

Anticipating Urban China (September 27, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
While the legal issues facing unregistered churches at the turn of the millennium remain unresolved, these congregations would nonetheless experience an era of unprecedented growth, visibility, and influence as a new type of church emerged in China’s cities.

Society / Life

How to Check Your Work Permit Classification and Visa Application Status via WeChat (September 22, 2017, The Beijinger)
On Thursday, the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs launched their newfangled WeChat platform, allowing visa applicants to check the status of their applications as well as a nifty calculator that spits out your work permit classification.

Chinese Seniors Slowly Catch Up to WeChat (September 22, 2017, Sixth Tone)
Elderly users are still underrepresented online, but many make use of voice and video features to leap learning barriers.

How an Architect’s Legacy Inspired a New Face for Datong (September 24, 2017, Sixth Tone)
More than eight decades after Liang Sicheng’s visit, the heavily industrialized city is finally embracing its imperial past.

Casual Sex and Late Marriage: Chinese Young People in the Era of Living Alone (September 26, 2017, China Policy Institute)
As lifestyles have seemingly sped up, time and indeed opportunities to meet have become scarcer. As a result, premarital sex has become more prevalent and marriage is no longer an essential safety shelter for sexual behaviour. Unmarried men and women increasingly affirm and pursue one-night stands and more individual sexual behaviour.

68 Things You Cannot Say on China’s Internet (September 26, 2017, The New York Times)
While China has long sought to block access to political material online, a flurry of new regulatory actions aims to establish a more expansive blockade, recalling an earlier era of public morality enforced by the ruling Communist Party.

Snapshots Along the River Where China Meets North Korea (September 26, 2017, The New York Times)
A narrow ribbon of river, and in many spots barbed wire, separates China from North Korea. But politically the two countries are further and further apart.

For Some Chinese Uighurs, Modeling Is A Path To Success (September 27, 2017, NPR)
But there's another difference many Uighurs possess that the rest of China is attracted to: their appearance.

Weibo Recruits Online Porn Police (September 27, 2017, Sixth Tone)
Chinese microblogging platform Sina Weibo said on Wednesday that it wants to hire a team of social media vigilantes to help identify and stamp out inappropriate online content.


One in three Chinese children faces an education apocalypse. An ambitious experiment hopes to save them (September 21, 2017, Science)
Factoring in the 15% or so of urban kids who fall at the low end of IQ scores, Rozelle makes a stunning forecast: About 400 million future working-age Chinese, he says, "are in danger of becoming cognitively handicapped."

China Steps Up Ideology Drive on College Campuses (September 25, 2017, The Wall Street Journal)
In a drumbeat that has accelerated ahead of October’s twice-a-decade Party Congress, President Xi Jinping’s campaign to rein in civil society, online media and speech has extended to the classroom.

Health / Environment

China’s Mekong Plans Threaten Disaster for Countries Downstream (September 27, 2017, Foreign Policy)
Beijing is building hydroelectric dams and dredging to allow bigger boats as worries of environmental devastation grow.

In Fight Against Diseases, China to Open Top-Safety Biology Lab (September 27, 2017, Sixth Tone)
A new research institute in Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei province, will later this year join the global community of elite laboratories that study the world’s most dangerous infectious diseases, reported the state-owned newspaper Science and Technology Daily on Tuesday.

Science / Technology

China Says WhatsApp Should Stop Spread of ‘Illegal Information’ (September 27, 2017, Bloomberg)
China has hit out at Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp, saying the messaging service should act to stop the spread of “illegal information” as the country seeks greater scrutiny over the internet in the run-up to its once-in-five years Communist Party congress.

History / Culture

Red All About It (September 23, 2017, The World of Chinese)
The appeal, half-desperate and half-defiant, appeared at the start of the 2008 fall semester at Nanchang Aviation University. “Do you think it’s possible to start a Dream of the Red Chamberassociation at a school like ours?” a student posted online. “I think if a university doesn’t even have a ‘Red Chamber Association,’ then it cannot be called a university.”

Class of ’78: Studying in the US Post-Cultural Revolution (September 25, 2017, Sixth Tone)
More than 300,000 Chinese nationals now study at American universities, and most are millennials. But Liu Baicheng was 45 years old when he traveled to the U.S. to study in 1978 as part of that first group of state-sponsored students after the Cultural Revolution.

Living Cross-culturally

What’s the Question? (September 25, 2017, From the West Courtyard)
I wanted my audience to meet my friends and neighbors, to come into my classroom, to eat a dinner my students prepared, to see hope shared in another culture—basically to join me! I wanted them to see and hear my life. How could that happen?

Language / Language Learning

HSK Exams – The Official Chinese Level Exam (September 22, 2017, Sapore di Cina)
If you’re studying Chinese, you will have already heard of the HSK exam, which is a nightmare for many people. In this article, I’ll explain what it consists of, what it’s useful for, where you can write it, and how much it costs.

Chinese reading challenge, October 2017 (October 27, 2017, Hacking Chinese)
Hacking Chinese Challenges are about building language skills through daily practice and friendly competition. By focusing on one specific area of learning over a limited period of time, you will be able to learn more!


Chinese Theology (Reading Religion)
Overall, Starr’s text is a masterful introduction to the important relationship between text and context in the shaping of indigenous theologies and comes highly recommended for readers seeking to build a greater sense of diversity and context in their knowledge of Chinese Christianity. 

Image credit: Harbin St. Sophia’s, by Joann Pittman, via Flickr

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