Blog EntriesContemporary Society

ZGBriefs The Weeks Top Picks, November 14 Issue


In a post titled Jesus Preached a Chinese Gospel, missiologist Jackson Wu highlights what he believes to be three ways in which Jesus was preaching a Chinese gospel:

First, he makes clear that having "eternal life" has significant moral thus communal implications for the present life.

Second, Jesus focuses on guanxi (relationship).

Third, Jesus' gospel does not hide the fact that we will lose face, fortune, and family.

These, and other ideas are explored further in Wu's book, Saving God's Face: A Chinese Contextualization of Salvation through Honor and Shame.

Last month, a car driven by ethnic Uighurs exploded just off Tiananmen Square in Beijing, killing five and injuring 40. The Chinese government has labeled the incident as a "terrorist attack" carried out by Uighur separatists. In this excellent article in the Christian Science Monitor, "China's Uighurs: Who are they, and why are they unhappy?", correspondent Peter Ford provides an excellent overview on the Uighurs and the issues that drive their discontent. In response to the question, 'what are their grievances,' he writes:

Uighurs complain that the influx of Han settlers over the past 50 years has made them strangers in their own land, where they now make up less than half the population. Most of the good jobs created by economic growth go to Han, not to Uighurs who mainly do menial tasks. Uighurs fear that their culture is being stifled and their Muslim religious practice curtailed as the Chinese government fights to stamp out separatism; young men under age 18 are banned from mosques, for example, and essential school classes are taught in Mandarin, not Uighur. Economic development is all very well, a Uighur trader once told me, but it comes at a price: "They give us bread," he said, "but they take away our hearts."

The environment for foreign correspondents has become increasingly tight over the past few years. This past week, one of China's veteran reporters, Paul Mooney, was denied a visa to return to China. On November 12, the Committee to Protect Journalists posted an email interview with Paul about this denial, as well as his thoughts on foreign reporting in general:

Q: We're getting lots of questions along the lines of "Is China cracking down on foreign media?" The FCCC (Foreign Correspondents' Club of China) released a report in mid-2013 that things were either bad or getting worse for foreign correspondents. Have you noticed a disintegration, or has it just been as difficult for years? Has it gotten worse under the Xi government?

A: I left China in September 2012, before Xi Jinping came to power, so I can't speak from personal knowledge. However, based on what I mentioned above about people being forced to wait long periods to get visa approvals, my own situation, and based on the steps China has taken to retaliate against media organizations that they don't like, I feel the situation has gotten much worse. One can also see this in the crackdown on freedom of expression among Chinese citizens. In the past few months, some 300 Chinese rights lawyers, activists, dissidents and others have been detained or arrested, including a 16-year old middle school student who was briefly detained for several days under the new law prohibiting the spread of so-called rumors.

One of the best Chinese sources of news on social issues is Caixin. In addition to writing great in-depth stories, they often post evocative slide shows to highlight contemporary social issues. This week, they posted a slide show titled "One Child Family: A Look at the Effects of China's Family Planning Program Throughout Society."

Image credit: Shanghai Xujiahai, by Jonas, via Flickr

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