ZGBriefs by 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 of Northwestern-St. Paul (MN), and Chinese Culture and Communication at Wheaton College (IL) and Taylor University (IN).

Joann has a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul (MN), and an MA in teaching from the University of St. Thomas (MN).

She is the author of Survival Chinese Lessons and The Bells Are Not Silent: Stories of Church Bells in China.

Her personal blog, Outside-In can be found at joannpittman.com, where she writes on China, Minnesota, traveling, and issues related to "living well where you don't belong."

You can find her on Twitter @jkpittman.com and on Facebook at @authorjoannpittman.

She makes her home in New Brighton, Minnesota.


ZGBriefs | September 21, 2023

The Root of China’s Growing Youth Unemployment Crisis (September 18, 2023, Council on Foreign Relations) Young Chinese look overwhelmingly to the service sector, which employs half the national workforce, for jobs. And so new stimulus-driven opportunities in fields such as carpentry and bricklaying hold no interest for graduates in areas such as literature and computer science.


ZGBriefs | September 14, 2023

From Streets to Pages: Inside the Life of a Beijing Courier (September 13, 2023, Sixth Tone) In his latest book “Beijing Courier,” Hu Anyan recounts challenges and heartwarming encounters from his days working as a courier that helped him discover the true value of life.


ZGBriefs | September 7, 2023

Is China's economy a 'ticking time bomb'? (September 1, 2023, BBC) The past six months has brought a stream of bad news for China's economy: slow growth, record youth unemployment, low foreign investment, weak exports and currency, and a property sector in crisis. US President Joe Biden described the world's second-largest economy as "a ticking time bomb", predicting growing discontent in the country.


ZGBriefs | August 31, 2023

Measuring Religion in China: Christianity (August 30, 2023, Pew Research Center) There is a range of estimates for the number of Christians in China, partly because different researchers use varying sources and methods, and partly because some analyses make adjustments to account for limitations in survey and government data.


ZGBriefs | August 24, 2023

Peter Hessler’s World of Words (August 19, 2023, Sixth Tone) Yet Hessler continues to believe in the importance of nonfiction as a window into the wider world. This spring, he sat down with Sixth Tone for a wide-ranging email interview covering his experiences teaching two very different generations of Chinese, the importance of people-to-people exchanges, and his approach to writing.


ZGBriefs | August 3, 2023

Beijing records heaviest rainfall in at least 140 years, causing severe flooding and 21 deaths (August 2, 2023, AP)

Beijing and the surrounding province of Hebei were hit by severe flooding because of the record rainfall, with waters rising to dangerous levels. The rain destroyed roads and knocked out power and even pipes carrying drinking water. It flooded rivers surrounding the capital, leaving cars waterlogged, while lifting others onto bridges meant for pedestrians.


ZGBriefs | July 27, 2023

WeChat Pay now accepts foreign credit cards for payment in China (July 20, 2023, Technode)

Chinese tech giant Tencent said on Thursday that it now allows foreign tourists to link their international credit cards to its payment service WeChat Pay. With the rise of digital payments in China, foreign visitors have sometimes encountered difficulty in the country as many shops and restaurants only accept digital payments.


ZGBriefs | July 20, 2023

'Fragile Cargo' chronicles the quest to save China's Forbidden City treasures from war (July 15, 2023, NPR) On the eve of Japan's invasion of China in the early 1930s, a group of museum curators at the Forbidden City in Peking (now Beijing) gathered together and asked themselves: What would happen to the country's vast collection of imperial art when the inevitable all-out war between Japan and China begins?


ZGBriefs | July 13, 2023

New Musical Honors Shanghai’s Legacy of Welcoming Jewish Refugees (July 11, 2023, Sixth Tone) A compelling new performance is set to debut in November at Shanghai’s Jewish Refugees Museum, shedding light on how the city welcomed Jewish refugees in World War II. Conducted by award-winning musicians, the oratorio narrates the story of two Jewish brothers who arrived in Shanghai as refugees in 1938 and their struggle to adapt to a foreign land.


ZGBriefs | July 6, 2023

Chinese social media users are not impressed with your ham sandwich (July 3, 2023, NBC News) The plain ham sandwiches, simple salads and other American-style packed lunches that fill office refrigerators don’t exactly scream “Instagram.” But they’re a social media sensation in China, where they have their own hashtag: #WhitePeopleFood.