ZGBriefs | September 6, 2018

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Featured Article

China’s lost little emperors... how the ‘one-child policy’ will haunt the country for decades  (September 2, 2018, The Guardian)
Endings matter. They herald a reckoning, something that doesn’t come about very often in a place like China. While there has been very little official stocktaking over painful aspects of the country’s recent history, private citizens are free to do their own assessments and there has been an enormous amount of public venting on the shortcomings of the one-child policy in recent years.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Does China Have What It Takes to Be a Superpower?  (August 30, 2018, Bloomberg)
While the country has deep pockets, there are economic and financial challenges at home, and if things go belly up domestically it could put strains on President Xi Jinping’s ambitions.

U.S. accuses China of 'super aggressive' spy campaign on LinkedIn  (August 31, 2018, Reuters)
The United States’ top spy catcher said Chinese espionage agencies are using fake LinkedIn accounts to try to recruit Americans with access to government and commercial secrets, and the company should shut them down.

Why is China pouring money into Africa?  (September 3, 2018, BBC News)
The Chinese government has ramped up investment in the continent but some are worried that China is just exporting industries it no longer wants.

Hong Kong cedes part of rail station to China in secretive ceremony  (September 4, 2018, The Guardian)
The West Kowloon terminus in the heart of the city will officially open on 23 September, linking Hong Kong with cities in southern China. About 1m sq ft will be under the control of Chinese police and customs officials, allowing for immigration checks before departure.

China's Xi to send top ally to North Korea anniversary  (September 4, 2018, ABC News)
Chinese President Xi Jinping will not attend celebrations of the 70th anniversary of North Korea's founding this weekend but will send a top ally to represent him instead, the ruling Communist Party announced Tuesday. Speculation had swirled over whether Xi would attend the celebrations following three visits to China this year by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

What to say when you’re a Party Official  (September 4, 2018, China Media Project)
But yesterday’s edition of the People’s Daily was a stark illustration of how the Chinese Communist Party ultimately finds it impossible to escape the bonds of its own discourse and the normative operation of power.

Peak Xi Jinping?  (September 4, 2018, China File)
The new leader’s unlimited tenure, coupled with absolute titular authority, means that China Watchers, both in- and outside the People’s Republic, will henceforth be on a deathwatch for Xi Jinping, just as their predecessors were for Mao over four decades ago. Every appearance, or absence, every trip or statement, every handshake and costume change will be fodder for analysis.


For a 'house church' in Beijing, CCTV cameras and eviction  (August 30, 2018, Reuters)
The Zion church, which occupies an office building floor that was previously a nightclub, is now being evicted despite previous verbal assurances from its landlord that it could rent the location until 2023, Jin said. The landlord could not be reached for comment.  Jin does not expect to be able to find a landlord that would rent the church another suitable location.

Persevering churches  (August 30, 2018, World Magazine)
Ying Fuk-Tsang directs the Divinity School of Chung Chi College, part of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I asked him in April how churches were faring 2½ months after Beijing implemented new regulations that restrict religious activities. Here are parts of our interview edited and translated from Mandarin.

Cross demolitions continue  (August 31, 2018, World Magazine)
As the Communist Party tightens religious rules yet again, Chinese Christians document ongoing persecution.

Interview with a Xiaman Pastor – Everyone has his Idols  (September 1, 2018, China Partnership Blog)
But now I think it’s not easy to share the gospel, because people are in contact with so many things; a lot of things draw their attention and make it hard for them think about faith or the purpose of life. I think people are focusing more on making money.

116 Chinese Pastors Sign Joint Statement on the New Religious Regulations (September 2, 2018, China Partnership Blog)
This is an interesting and important document for the ongoing development of the house church’s response to the new regulations, as the church continues to reflect on and articulate its theology of the gospel and the kingdom, rather than resorting to language of liberty and rights.

Regrets in Ministry  (September 3, 2018, ChinaSource Blog)
One of my greatest regrets in China ministry is that I did not spend time early on memorizing scripture verses from the Chinese Bible.

China's Repression Of Muslim Uighurs Is Apparently Growing More Intense  (September 4, 2018, NPR)
one of the big things that's happened is that last month, there was an U.N. hearing where China was kind of forced to address in a public, international setting these re-education centers for the first time. China's line has been they're not for political re-education; they're for vocational training.

A Chinese “Screwtape” Dealing in Real Estate  (September 4, 2018, Chinese Church Voices)
Real estate plays a vital, yet consuming role in the lives of Chinese today. It is a popular topic of conversation among both Chinese Christians and non-Christians.

A New Tool for Suppressing Churches?  (September 5, 2018, Chinese Church Voices)
In this article posted on The St. Charles Institute, “Grace,” who is very familiar with the situation, fills in details surrounding why Zion is being forced out of its meeting space. She also explains how Zion’s situation fits in the larger context of recent government pressure against Christians in China and why Christians must respond to such pressure.

Society / Life

Why China’s Migrants Can’t Just Leave Poverty Behind  (September 1, 2018, Sixth Tone)
The poor treatment and lack of legal rights faced by migrants has created the conditions for sustained urban poverty.

The Pressure to Get Married is Tearing China’s Families Apart  (September 3, 2018, Sixth Tone)
What Chinese parents want for their children is a mixture of lifelong companionship and a support system — someone with a good job, a good family, and good connections — but not necessarily good looks or a sense of romance. Their children, however, increasingly aspire to love matches, and view their parents’ criteria as unromantic and utilitarian.

Interactive: Even at Shanghai’s Marriage Market it’s Hard to Find a Date (Sixth Tone)
What data analysis of hundreds of personal ads says about Chinese views on relationships.

Interracial marriages on the rise in China  (September 3, 2018, Al Jazeera)
Interracial marriages between Chinese and Africans are on the rise as a direct result from China's increasing investment in, and trade with, Africa .More than a million Chinese migrants now work and live on the African continent, while the number of Africans in China is thought to be around half that. 

China's Jaw-Dropping Family Separation Policy  (September 4, 2018, The Atlantic)
Under state care, isolated from their relatives, the children are cut off from Uighur culture and language. Ultimately, some Uighurs and experts told me, such assimilationist policies may enable China to reshape the identity of an entire generation of Uighurs.

Economics / Trade / Business

China August manufacturing growth slows to 14-month low  (September 3, 2018, Reuters)
China’s manufacturing activity grew at the slowest pace in more than a year in August, with export orders shrinking for a fifth month and employers cutting more staff, a private survey showed on Monday.


New Policy Envisions Better Eyesight for Chinese Children  (August 31, 2018, Sixth Tone)
Eight central government agencies have committed to slashing the myopia rate in screen-struck young people.

Why China’s overseas students find things aren’t always better back home  (September 1, 2018, South China Morning Post)
A recent survey by a Beijing-based think tank of more than 2,000 Chinese returnees found that about 80 per cent said their salaries were lower than expected, with around 70 per cent saying what they were doing did not match their experience and skills.

China’s children ordered to watch Saturday night television … and then made to sit through 12 minutes of advertising  (September 2, 2018, South China Morning Post)
Notices were sent to pupils and their parents instructing them to watch a government-made programme called The First Lesson before school classes resumed on Monday. But the programme on China Central Television, the state broadcaster, began with 12 minutes of advertising – prompting an outcry from parents.

The Other Political Correctness: Why are America's elite universities censoring themselves on China?  (September 4, 2018, The New Republic
There is an epidemic of self-censorship at U.S. universities on the subject of China, one that limits debate and funnels students and academics away from topics likely to offend the Chinese Communist Party. 

Health / Environment

China slaughters 38,000 pigs to stop spread of swine fever  (September 2, 2018, South China Morning Post)
The Ministry of Agriculture said 134 hogs had died from African swine fever in Xuancheng in the eastern province of Anhui, bringing the total number of outbreaks in China over the past month to six, across five provinces. Xuancheng is around 70km (45 miles) southeast of Wuhu, also in Anhui, where another African swine fever case was reported last week.

How China's giant solar farms are transforming world energy  (September 3, 2018, BBC News)
China is not only home to some of the biggest solar farms; its technology looks set to influence energy policy across the globe. But how feasible are these grand plans?

History / Culture

The Forgotten Chinese Labour Corps  (September 1, 2018, China History Podcast)
In commemoration of the American Labor Day Holiday, Laszlo brings you a rather forgotten tale from the annals of Chinese modern history.  Discussed in previous CHP episodes, the Chinese Labour Corps played a thankless but critical role in the allied victory over Germany in WWI. 

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Movie madness: Why Chinese cinemas are empty but full  (August 31, 2018, BBC News)
For a country which will soon assume the mantle of the world's largest cinema audience, China comes out with a surprising number of big budget B-grade flops.

Language / Language Learning

Study of Portuguese and Spanish explodes as China expands role in Latin America  (September 2, 2018, The Guardian)
Many of China’s Portuguese graduates still end up in African countries such as Angola, Mozambique or Cape Verde, where Beijing has a well-established presence. But as Beijing’s Latin American footprint grows, they are increasingly looking further west.

Living Cross-culturally

Things I Wish I’d Known  (August 31, ChinaSource Blog)
Support development, job training, vaccinations, visas, and packing luggage to precisely 50 lbs. a piece are merely the tip of the iceberg when preparing for life in China. These tasks, though necessary, often don’t prepare you for what to expect in the day-to-day life in China.

Links for Researchers

Valedictory: Analyzing the Chinese Leadership in an Era of Sex, Money, and Power (Hoover Institute)
This article, my last as Monitor general editor and contributor, offers perspectives on the methods of analyzing Chinese leadership politics today.

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