Each week I “scan the Internet so you don’t have to,” looking for interesting stories from China to include in ZGBriefs. This ZGBriefs is a bit different today. Not only is it time for our annual look back at the most clicked articles in 2019, we also have an end-of-year opportunity for you to support ZGBriefs and help keep it freely available in the coming year.
So first our giving challenge and then the articles that you, dear readers, clicked on the most in 2019.
End-of-year Matching Grant Challenge
We are in the middle of a US$75,000 Matching Grant Challenge. From now until the end of December, every gift donated to the work of ChinaSource will be matched dollar for dollar up to US$75,000. Would you consider making a $10.00 donation? It would go a long way to helping us reach our matching grant challenge.
- Kevin and Julia Garratt on their experience as detainees in China (January 29, 2019, BBC)
Canadian couple Kevin and Julia Garratt were detained in China in 2014 and accused of spying. Amid an escalating feud between Canada and China and allegations of retaliatory detentions, the pair tells the BBC about what it was like – and how they ever made it home.
- WeChat Knows You Really, Really Well (January 10, 2019, Sixth Tone)
The Chinese social app’s 2018 report includes detailed profiles of five generations of users, impressing some and creeping out others.
- Visa-Free Travel to China is Now a Piece of Cake (February 9, 2019, China Law Blog)
This 6-day visa free travel is relatively new (for most cities and provinces) and it has not gotten much publicity. But since the start of this year you can enter into and stay in the following Chinese cities for 144 hours:
- Chinese authorities shut down the Shouwang Protestant church in Beijing (March 27, 2019, Asia News)
After years of repression, Chinese authorities last Saturday shut down the Shouwang Church, one of Beijing's largest Protestant congregations for failing to register as a "social organisation". Government officials also closed down all of the Church’s subsidiary organisations, seized its assets and questioned more than 20 of its members.
- Chinese city offers US$1,500 reward to help snare foreign religious leaders (March 29, 2019, South China Morning Post)
Guangzhou has become the first major city in China to offer financial rewards to people who report “illegal religious activities”, as authorities continue to crack down on underground gatherings.
- No Shenfenzheng, No Problem: China to Roll out Real-Time Passport Authentication for Foreigners (September 17, 2019, The Beijinger)
Whether you hold a B-grade work visa or are just coming to China for a lark, your name and passport information will soon be added to a national expat ID authentication platform, according to a release from the Ministry of Public Security.
- Five Things to do to Avoid Getting Arrested in China (January 13, 2019,China Law Blog)
There is no one way to calculate the risk of getting arrested in China, but the following are what can change that calculus one way or the other.
- How the State Is Co-Opting Religion in China (January 7, 2019, Foreign Affairs)
Today’s China seeks not to marginalize competing groups and belief systems, the way Beijing did during the Mao era, but to co-opt them. Indeed, the events of the past two years show that for the first time in a century and a half, religion is firmly ensconced in the center of China’s social and political life.
- How Rich Chinese Parents Get Their Kids Into U.S. Colleges (March 20, 2019, Foreign Policy)
Thousands of international students, particularly from China, have been gaming the college application process with intensive coaching that sometimes tips over into fraud. Tutoring is common in American families as well, but the wealth and determination of many Chinese families can take this approach to a new level.
- China’s religion problem: Why the Chinese Communist Party views religious belief as a threat (October 17, 2019, Asia Dialogue)
The CCP’s efforts to subvert religion and force believers to adopt versions of their faiths that narrowly equate them with Chinese patriotism have clearly failed to achieve their objective. However, the Party is an authoritarian organisation, and its leaders have seldom demonstrated an ability to change course when policies fail.
See you next year!
Image credit: Joann Pittman, via Flickr
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