ZGBriefs | April 11, 2024

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Featured Article

As China’s economy falters, so does middle class confidence (April 10, 2024, NBC News)
The slowdown means middle-class Chinese can no longer assume continuous economic gains, or that their children’s quality of life will be better than theirs.

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True Son of Heaven: How Jesus Fulfills the Chinese Culture, by David Marshall. Book club facilitator Joann Pittman will be joined by author, David Marshall. From the book: “Confucious spoke of a holy man who would bring a blessing to mankind. Chinese rulers, borrowing the ancient name of god, acted out the climactic scenes of his life every year in the Altar of Heaven. Tiananmen, China’s “town square,” is an allegory in stone to his great sacrifice. The saga of Jesus, the True Son of Heaven, touches one paradox after another that lies within the Great Wall of China….” 
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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Chinese Migrants Face Perilous Journeys En Route To The U.S. (April 5, 2024, China Digital Times)
Last week, the bodies of eight Chinese nationals were discovered off the coast of Oaxaca, Mexico, after their boat capsized along a route often used by migrants attempting to reach the U.S. This is the latest example of an ongoing wave of Chinese emigration, and it highlights the perilous conditions that Chinese migrants face in pursuit of a better life in the U.S.

Russia, chopsticks, oversupply: Everything you want to know about Janet Yellen’s China visit (April 8, 2024, CNN)
Despite the overall positive tone of Chinese state media coverage, Yellen had a tough message for Beijing: China’s surging exports of state-subsidized electronic vehicles (EVs), solar panels and batteries are threatening American jobs and businesses, and must be reined in.

The fallacy of China as a policy-monolith (April 8, 2024, East Asia Forum)
Efforts to understand China’s global engagement need to consider how its complex domestic landscape qualifies the conception of a single, monolithic ‘China’, a fallacy that fails to recognise the role of subnational governments and players in its increasingly global state capitalism.

Winning Hearts on a Korean Island (April 8, 2024, China Media Project)
A recent series of events on South Korea’s remote Jeju Island offers a glimpse in miniature of China’s vast global media diplomacy campaign to paint the most pleasant picture of Xinjiang, where the country has been accused of serious human rights abuses.

VIDEO: CHINA Town Hall: U.S. Deputy Secretary of States Kurt Campbell (April 9, 2024, National Committee on U.S.-China Relations)

Why Xi Jinping Is Meeting With Taiwan’s Ex-President (April 10, 2024, The New York Times) (subscription required)
China is using talks between its top leader and Ma Ying-jeou to signal a willingness to engage with Taiwan — but only on its terms.

China’s Xi says nobody can stop ‘family reunion’ with Taiwan (April 10, 2024, Reuters)
Chinese President Xi Jinping told former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou on Wednesday that outside inference could not stop the “family reunion” between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, and that there are no issues that cannot be discussed.  Since the defeated Republic of China government fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war to Mao Zedong’s communists, no serving Taiwanese leader has visited China.

Zambia uncovers ‘sophisticated’ Chinese cybercrime syndicate (April 10, 2024, BBC)

A “sophisticated internet fraud syndicate” has been uncovered in Zambia, leading to the arrest of 77 people, including 22 Chinese nationals. It was a “significant breakthrough in the fight against cybercrime”, the authorities said after a multi-agency raid on a Chinese-run company. The firm employed Zambians who believed they were to be call-centre agents.


Qingdao: Good Soil for the Gospel (April 4, 2024, China Partnership Blog)
This April, we are praying for Qingdao. Qingdao is a city of about 9 million, and is a well-known tourist spot and important seaport in northern China. To help us pray for their city, several Qingdao pastors shared some of their thoughts on the people and culture of Qingdao, as well as the needs of the local church.

Reflections on the Pew Report (April 5, 2024, ChinaSource Blog)
Bearing in mind the cultural and political contexts impacting Chinese Christianity, I want to call attention to three final key dimensions to be considered in future sociological surveys for Chinese religion and Chinese Christianity.

How “Runology” Is Changing Ministry to Diaspora Chinese (April 8, 2024, ChinaSource Blog)
We are in the midst of another wave of immigration from China. With all that has gone on in relationship to missions in China this presents a great opportunity to impact China from the outside in. There are several issues that we need to be aware of related to this new wave of immigrants landing on our shores.

Christian School Education in China (April 9, 2024, ChinaSource Blog)
The suppression of Christian school education, combined with a law that restricts children under 18 from attending Sunday school, severely curtails the ability of the church to disciple its children. This is a strategic space to watch.

The Chinese Bible: History, Challenges, and Recommendations (April 10, 2024, ChinaSource Blog)
We can thank God for giving Chinese the Bible in their own language, to strengthen and grow what is now one of the largest Christian churches in the world, and one with the potential to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Society / Life

Taiwan earthquake: How the island’s two-decade preparation saved it (April 5, 2024, BBC)
A hundred metres away beyond the police cordon, the streets of Hualien look entirely normal. Shops and cafés are open, traffic is flowing. Drive through the city and if you didn’t know a big quake had struck days ago, you wouldn’t guess it. The fact that this city has survived largely unscathed has sparked immediate discussion of how and why.

Do China’s ‘Left-Behind’ Children Have a Delinquency Problem? (April 8, 2024, Sixth Tone)
A number of high-profile incidents have shined a spotlight on minor misbehavior in China’s countryside. But a closer look at the data suggests that kids aren’t the problem.

Economics / Trade / Business

China pushing to break down payment barriers for visitors, with 90,000 overseas buyers set to flock to Canton Fair (April 6, 2024, South China Morning Post) (subscription required)
Tackling payment issues of foreign traders is a small, but important part of Beijing’s broader efforts to bring down barriers for foreigners in a bid to attract global tourists and businesses, as it is closely related to China’s trade prospects and post-pandemic rebound amid a set of economic headwinds.

For China’s Factories, the Paris Olympics Have Already Started (April 9, 2024, Sixth Tone)
Merchants in Yiwu — a city in eastern China famous for its massive wholesale goods markets — are reporting a surge in orders from France, with local factories rushing to churn out everything from tricolored inflatable thunder sticks to novelty Eiffel Tower ornaments.

Drum Tower: Xi’s doomed economic plan (April 9, 2024, Drum Tower, via player.fm)
The Economist’s editor-in-chief Zanny Minton Beddoes was recently in Beijing for the China Development Forum, an annual gathering where senior Chinese officials meet foreign business bosses. She joins our Beijing bureau chief David Rennie to assess Xi Jinping’s new plan to escape economic stagnation. Plus, what is the outlook for China’s relationship with America?


Falling births trigger calls for reallocating preschool resources (April 9, 2024, China Daily)
With enrollments falling, China’s excess kindergartens could be transformed into daycare centers to make up for a shortfall in the nation’s childcare resources and to relieve burdens on parents, according to an education expert. There were 274,400 kindergartens in China last year, with 40.93 million children enrolled, the Ministry of Education said at a news conference last month.

Homework circuit breaker sparks debate (April 10, 2024, China Daily)
The introduction of a homework circuit breaker by a primary school in southern China, which told students to stop working on assignments after 9:30 pm to ensure they have enough sleep, has sparked debate on the best way to reduce academic pressure.

Pray for China

April 12 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Apr. 12, 1964, pastor and theologian Jia Yuming (贾玉铭牧师) rested in the Lord at age 84. Rev. Jia was born in Shandong in 1880 and came to Christ while studying at a missions school. He was one of China’s leading evangelical voices in the first half of the 20th century. Jia served as a pastor in Shandong for 12 years and then for 20 years taught in seminaries in Shandong and Jiangsu. In 1936 he founded a retreat center that provided training for countless Christians for more than a decade. During this time he spoke at churches across the country and authored a number of books and hymnals that were foundational for a church that would soon face its severest trial. In 1954, the 74-year-old Jia responded to calls for unity and became one of the six Vice Chairmen of the Three Self Movement. He spent the last decade of his life with little public involvement. Pray for seminary professors and pastors to seek first the kingdom and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

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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 …View Full Bio