ZGBriefs | April 20, 2023

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Featured Article

Young people in China struggle to find jobs as the country’s youth unemployment rate rises (April 19, 2023, ABC News (Australia))
Mr Bie is one of about 30 million unemployed young people in China. Data released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics this week showed the situation was getting worse. The national unemployment rate for 16-to-24-year-olds is now 19.5 per cent, nearly 3 per cent higher than in December.

Sponsored Link

Public Lecture | Spreading the Gospel: Christian Posters in Early 20th Century China (ChinaSource)
Between 1919 and 1949, posters were the most common Christian visual imagery in China. They were printed by the millions and hung in tea rooms, on city walls, and on temple gates. Posters were put up in houses and churches; they were unfolded for street evangelism. They were extremely popular because they were aesthetically pleasing and symbolically rich, yet easy to understand. Unlike theological treatises written by Chinese theologians, these images were designed by laypeople and intended for popular consumption. In this lecture, Daryl Ireland of Boston University will showcase some of the 700 Chinese Protestant and Catholic posters he has located and explain why they are changing the way we think about Chinese Christianity.

April 26, 2023, 7:00pm
Barrows Auditorium – Billy Graham Hall
Wheaton College
here to register for this free event 

(in-person or to receive link to post-event recording)
You can also just show up! We won’t turn anyone away! 

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Beijing’s Campus Offensive (April 14, 2023, Council on Foreign Relations)
Chinese-supported student groups in the West are being used to control discussion about China, censor critics, and lead protests against invited speakers.

Laos-China Railway Launches Crossborder Passenger Service (April 14, 2023, The Diplomat)
The 1,000-kilometer line reflects the growing economic integration of southern China and mainland Southeast Asia.

Determined to Flee China, Thousands Take a Long, Dangerous Route to the Southern U.S. Border (April 16, 2023, The Wall Street Journal) (subscription required)
Mr. Huang is part of a huge upsurge of Chinese under Xi Jinping’s rule who have risked arrest, drowning and robbery as they pass through some eight nations to reach the southern U.S. border, following in the footsteps of hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans, Cubans and others.  “I could no longer see hope” in China, he said. “If there was any other way, who would be willing to leave their family?”

2 Chinese nationals charged with operating a secret police station in NYC (April 17, 2023, NBC)
Two Chinese nationals were arrested Monday on charges of operating an illegal police station in New York City to “monitor and intimidate” critics of the Chinese government, the Justice Department said. Lu Jianwang, 61, of the Bronx, and Chen Jinping, 59, of Manhattan, are accused of setting up the first overseas police station in the U.S. on behalf of the Fuzhou branch of China’s Ministry of Public Security.

Chinese man accused of blasphemy in Pakistan taken into custody (April 19, 2023, Al Jazeera)
A court in Pakistan has ordered a Chinese national accused of blasphemy to be remanded into judicial custody for two weeks, police say. The man, identified only as Mr Tian in the official police complaint, denied the accusation levelled by his co-workers during his court appearance in the city of Abbotabad on Monday evening.

Germany’s foreign minister: Parts of China trip ‘more than shocking’ (April 19, 2023, Reuters)
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Wednesday described parts of her recent trip to China as “more than shocking” and said Beijing was increasingly becoming a systemic rival more than a trade partner and competitor.

China has ramped up construction on its new Antarctic station, new report reveals (April 19, 2023, CNN)
New support facilities and groundwork for a larger structure have appeared at the site following several years of dormancy after construction began in 2018, the Washington-based think tank said in a report released Tuesday. The findings were based on satellite imagery taken in recent months by Maxar.

Why China Is Building Africa’s New Parliaments (April 19, 2023, VOA)
Despite the African design elements, the imposing buildings aren’t that different from China’s own brutalist architecture, and stand out in developing countries, some of which, like Malawi, are among the poorest in the world.


Hong Kong bishop visits Beijing in historic trip amid Sino-Vatican tension (April 17, 2023, Reuters)
The visit by Bishop Stephen Chow and several of his senior priests at the invitation of Bishop of Beijing Joseph Li Shan comes weeks after the Vatican announced that China had unilaterally installed a new bishop to Shanghai, an appointment that took the Vatican by surprise.

Messy Choices in Messy Situations (April 17, 2023, ChinaSource Blog)
Brother Yang’s story is not crisp and clean. His is the story of messy choices in messy times. Did he make the “right” choices? That most definitely could be debated.

Society / Life

‘Era has passed’ as Beijing subway drops mandatory COVID mask rule (April 16, 2023, Reuters)
Beijing’s subway has dropped mandatory mask requirements for travellers, local media reported on Sunday, days after a Chinese health expert said the threat of COVID-19 to humans is no longer at a serious level. The mask move is in line with broader measures by China, which said last week it was now no longer mandatory to wear face masks when using public transport, according to state media.

Beijing Moves to Ban “Elderly Scooters” From Roads (April 17, 2023, The Beijinger)
Dubbed 老年代步车 lǎonián dàibùchē (elderly scooter), or, more simply 老头乐 lǎo tóu lè, in Chinese, these mini cars are tolerated as a legitimate transportation option for Beijing’s seniors. In truth, though, the vehicles are far from legitimate. 

12 are arrested after a Beijing hospital fire killed 29 people (April 19, 2023, NPR)
A dozen people have been detained after a hospital fire in Beijing killed 29 people, Chinese authorities said on Wednesday. The fire broke out at around 1 p.m. on Tuesday local time at Beijing’s Changfeng Hospital. 

Economics / Trade / Business

Covid: China economy rebounds after pandemic measures lifted (April 18, 2023, BBC)
China’s economy grew faster than expected in the first three months of the year, as the country emerged from its tough Covid restrictions. Compared to the same period last year, gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 4.5%, official figures show. The key measure of economic activity was driven up by a boost in household spending and rising factory activity.

Unsafe at the top: China’s anti-graft drive targets billionaires and bankers (April 18, 2023, The Guardian)
This year more than 50 senior figures from major banks and state-owned enterprises have either been investigated or disciplined by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the anti-graft watchdog. The party sees financial risks as a matter of national security.

Science / Technology

Why Chatbot AI Is a Problem for China (April 18, 2023, The Atlantic)
If the technology is only as good as the information it learns from, then state censorship is not a recipe for success.

History / Culture

A Master Architect’s Love Affair With a Small Chinese Town (April 19, 2023, The World of Chinese)
Hebei province’s Zhengding city is a treasure trove of preserved ancient Chinese wooden structures, thanks to the efforts of master architect Liang Sicheng.

Travel / Food

Chinese tourists are back, but numbers still far from pre-COVID levels (April 18, 2023, Reuters)
Bookings in China for trips abroad during the upcoming May Day holiday point to a continued recovery in travel to Asian countries, but the numbers remain far off pre-COVID levels with long-haul airfares soaring and not enough flights available.

Post-Zero Covid Travel & Flight Updates (April 18, 2023, The Beijinger)

An Industrial Town Is Now China’s Hottest Barbecue Spot (April 19, 2023, Sixth Tone)
The eastern Chinese city of Zibo, mostly known for its manufacturing industries, has emerged as one of the country’s most popular tourist spots — thanks to its barbecue. Favored by swarms of so-called internet influencers, the city in Shandong province has gone viral on Chinese social media platforms. 

Language / Language Learning

A Numbers Game (April 14, 2023, ChinaSource Blog)
I’m not the tidiest or most organized person in the world, so the expression luan qi ba zao (乱七八糟) was one I learned and took to heart early. A direct translation is “chaos seven eight in a wretched state.”

Pray for China

April 26 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
The Centenary Conference of the Protestant Missionaries of China was convened in Shanghai on Apr. 25, 1907. The Conference—with 1,170 attendees, including 10 Chinese—celebrated the arrival of the first Protestant missionary to China, Robert Morrison (马礼逊). Pray for foreign Christians to effectively partner with Chinese Christians in the Mission China 2030 goal of commissioning 20,000 cross-cultural missionaries from China by the year 2030. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

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Image credit: Joann Pittman
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