Brent Christensen in court for Illinois kidnap of Yingying Zhang
China / July 4, 2017

A former PhD student has appeared in court in the US state of Illinois charged with kidnapping a Chinese student, who remains missing. Hundreds of people gathered outside court in the city of Urbana as Brent Christensen, 28, was arraigned in a nine-minute hearing on Monday morning. He was arrested on Friday in connection with last month’s disappearance of Yingying Zhang. Ms Zhang, 26, has not been found, and authorities say she is presumed dead. Surveillance video filmed her climbing into a black Saturn Astra car on 9 June at the University of Illinois campus. Investigators say Mr Christensen was behind the wheel.  Image captionYingying Zhang was late to sign a lease for an apartment when she accepted a lift The video shows Ms Zhang – who had been in the US barely two months and was late to sign a lease for an apartment – speaking to the driver before getting into the car. The Champaign News-Gazette reports that Mr Christensen attended a rally held last Thursday evening in support of Ms Zhang on the University of Illinois campus in Urbana. He was under police surveillance at the time. According to court documents, there were only 18 four-door Saturn…

What makes China special may become the strong reasons you stay!
China / July 3, 2017

Most people are probably aware of the fact that industries are huge in China. I mean that because of the products with “Made in China” that we see everywhere in the world. If we were to think of particular booming industries, though, I think most of us would probably mention technology and food. Several tech companies such as Alibaba, Baidu, Huawei and Xiaomi, among others, are very relevant in China and in the world. Food wise, I know that Chinese cuisine is the bomb in America, because of the box take-aways and meals such as noodles and dumplings. However, for the foreigners that actually live in China, they are aware that the TEFL industry is booming. In some cases speaking perfect English is not even necessary, because what schools and parents really want is for the students to contact foreigners. Another common exchange program is au pairing – this one is probably more common in Europe but it is starting to be common here especially for young people with few formal qualifications. There is also the possibility to do internships in China and work at actual businesses, but I would say that as a foreigner you are almost guaranteed to…

South China Sea: China calls USS Stethem warship ‘a provocation’
China / July 3, 2017

Beijing has called the presence of a US warship near a disputed island in the South China Sea “a serious political and military provocation”. The USS Stethem sailed within the territorial limits of Triton Island, part of the Paracel Islands, claimed by China and others. China responded by sending ships and fighter jets to the island. It happened hours before US President Donald Trump and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping spoke on the phone. But a White House statement about their call did not say if they had discussed the incident. The US has repeatedly warned China against its occupation and aggressive reclamation of islands in disputed waters, but Beijing says it is within its sovereign rights to do so. Why is the South China Sea contentious? Satellite photos ‘show weapons’ built on islands Mr Trump and Mr Xi instead “reaffirmed their commitment to a denuclearised Korean peninsula”, the White House said. Mr Trump also discussed North Korea with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a separate call. What happened near Triton Island? In a statement late on Sunday, China’s foreign ministry confirmed reports that the USS Stethem had entered waters claimed by China. The warship had sailed within 12 nautical…

Xi Jinping warns Hong Kong over sovereignty ‘red line’
China / July 2, 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned against “impermissible” challenges to Beijing’s authority over Hong Kong. Mr Xi was speaking at the swearing-in of the territory’s new leader Carrie Lam, as Hong Kong marked 20 years since its handover to China from Britain. On Saturday afternoon, after Mr Xi had left Hong Kong, thousands of people took part in an annual march calling for greater democracy. During Mr Xi’s visit there was little opportunity for protest. An earlier protest had led to clashes with pro-Beijing demonstrators. Mr Xi’s visit to the city – his first since becoming Chinese leader in 2013 – came amid tight police security. Several people were detained in the morning, when a small group of pro-democracy activists clashed with pro-Beijing demonstrators close to the site where the lavish ceremony took place. Organisers said 60,000 people took part in the later pro-democracy march, though police said the figure was much lower. Heavy rain affected the march, which started at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay. Some protesters carried yellow umbrellas, a symbol of the demonstrations which gripped the city in 2014. Lam Wing-kee, one of the five Hong Kong booksellers who went missing in 2015 and re-surfaced in detention…

The Banned Things in China
China Banned / July 1, 2017

In mainland China, the following list of things are banned or blocked by the administration: All forms of pornography. All forms of gambling. All forms of prostitution. Over 3,000 websites. For the detailed list, see here, to see if a certain website is blocked or censored, check here. Most major and popular websites in the West are banned in China since early 2010s. Many films, both Chinese and foreign, for various reasons. Usually because of depictions of religious figures (Ben-Hur, Noah), homosexuality (Farewell my Concubine, later relieved), explicit contents (Deadpool), or politically or socially sensitive contents (Devils on the Doorstep, To Live, The Blue Kite). Some of the bans were temporary while others indefinite. Many books, both Chinese and foreign, usually for political, religious, or social reasons. Famous examples including Big River Big Sea, Zhuan Falun, Shanghai Baby, China’s Best Actor: Wen Jiabao, etc. (One would expect that all works by Chinese dissidents be banned by the Chinese government) As with the films, some of these bans were temporary while others indefinite. Many other types of artworks, for various reasons. (Usually political or religious) For instance, almost all works of Gao Xingjian, a Nobel laureate in literature and a famous…