ZGBriefs | April 22, 2021

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Featured Article

“The Six,” a Film About Chinese Titanic Survivors, is Getting Rave Reviews in China (April 19, 2021, Radii China)
The 102-minute film uncovers a little-known part of the story of the huge maritime disaster by digging into the real lives of six Chinese men on board — Lee Bing, Fang Lang, Chang Chip, Ling Hee, Ah Lam and Chung Foo. The six were professional sailors onboard the Titanic, heading to New York to transfer to their next destination.

Sponsored Link

Women with a Harmonious Purpose—The Missio Dei
 (Spring 2021, ChinaSource Quarterly)
In this issue of ChinaSource Quarterly, all the articles are written by women who share a common purpose—making disciples in China. Their paths may have never personally intersected, but there is harmony in their purpose. Their collective experience represents married women, married with children, single women, Chinese and Westerners. In their writings we can see what happens when women are located in the midst of the missio dei. They show us the beauty of God’s diverse peoples who make up his church, in particular the women in the body of Christ.

If you or your company/organization would like to sponsor a link in ZGBriefs, please contact info@chinasource.org for more information.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Beijing Revises ‘Correct’ Version of Party History Ahead of Centenary (April 15, 2021, Radio Free Asia)
To help those who may be unsure of which opinions are the “correct” ones, the CCP has also published a handy guide in the form of a book titled A Brief History of the Communist Party of China. Published to mark the party’s centenary this year, the revised history plays down the cautious diplomatic approach of late supreme leader Deng Xiaoping in the wake of international sanctions following the 1989 Tiananmen massacre, instead highlighting his comments to former U.S. president Richard Nixon in November 2019.

Jimmy Lai, Others Sentenced For Protests Against Government (April 16, 2021, NPR)
Hong Kong publisher Jimmy Lai and eight other activists were sentenced for their role in anti-government protests nearly two years ago. They are the latest to be imprisoned as Beijing cracks down.

When Diplomacy Is Lost in Translation (April 19, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Diplomatic translation is never easy, but the task is all the more challenging when established protocols begin to fray.

Analysis: Beijing huddles with friends, seeks to fracture U.S.-led ‘clique’ (April 19, 2021, Reuters)
China is shoring up ties with autocratic partners like Russia and Iran, as well as economically dependent regional countries, while using sanctions and threats to try to fracture the alliances the United States is building against it.

‘China is not a cow’: embassy chief accuses Australia of working with US to ‘illegally’ hamper Huawei(April 21, 2021, The Guardian)
A senior Chinese diplomat has accused the Australian government of triggering a downward spiral in the relationship by “conniving with the United States in a very unethical, illegal, immoral suppression” of Chinese telco Huawei. Wang Xining, the deputy head of the Chinese embassy in Canberra, told the National Press Club that China had “done nothing intentionally to hurt this relationship”, despite the Australian government’s complaints about Beijing trade actions against a range of export sectors over the past year.

Federal government tears up Victoria’s Belt and Road agreements with China (April 21, 2021, The Guardian)
The Morrison government has used its sweeping new foreign veto laws to tear up Victoria’s Belt and Road agreements with China. The foreign minister, Marise Payne, said she would cancel those two deals, along with two older agreements between the Victorian government and Iranian and Syrian entities, because they were “inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy or adverse to our foreign relations”.


Missional Mothering in China (April 12, 2021, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Women have a unique and influential role in ministry, in marriage, as singles, in their families. Add missional engagement in unexplored frontier areas of China and the results are an adventurous journey following God and relying on his grace and strength. In this article, Rachel Wood shares her personal encounters with God’s guidance, grace, and power throughout her experiences in pioneer church planting and raising a family in China.

Lives Transformed and Treasured (April 12, 2021, ChinaSource Quarterly)
During our family’s eight years of serving among an unreached people group in China, we often felt lost, bewildered, lonely, and discouraged; nevertheless, we never stopped learning about Christ’s way of using every opportunity to train his disciples to know, believe, and understand him.

Single Women Ministering in China (April 12, 2021, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Despite some unique challenges, serving God as a single woman in China is a journey of experiencing God’s faithfulness. By looking at the background and situations of Chinese female ministers, we can clearly see God’s sufficient grace and inexpressible joy which keeps them going and bringing glory to God. Knowing more details will hopefully inspire each one of us to pray for these women and encourage us to walk in fuller obedience.

China closes Catholic orphanage amid stricter controls on religious activities (April 17, 2021, Apple Daily)
A Catholic-run orphanage caring for disabled children in China’s Hebei province has reportedly been forced to close down, raising fears of a more severe crackdown on religious institutions in mainland China. The Liming Family orphanage closed on the order of the local authorities, according to a report by the Catholic media organization Asia News.

The Inconvenience of Incarnational Ministry (April 19, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
One of my great concerns with the panacea of social media among Christians, and WeChat in particular in a Chinese context, is that it trades on the assumption that the gospel and discipleship to Christ is merely information that needs to be transferred.

“Forced Marriage” and Spring Festival: A Christian Film Maker Explores the Pressure on Young People(April 20, 2021, Chinese Church Voices)
More than 70 percent of adults have been forced to get married by their parents, and 86 percent of those between 25 and 35 years old who are single are under the greatest pressure, according to a survey by the Health and Sports Developmental Center of the Working Committee for the Care of the Next Generation.

Society / Life

China’s births may fall below 10 million annually in next five years – expert quoted (April 19, 2021, Reuters)
China could see its number of births slide below 10 million annually in the next five years if the government does not quickly abolish its policy of limiting families to two children, an expert was quoted in domestic media as saying. The number of babies born in China fell by 580,000 to 14.65 million in 2019 and the birth rate of 10.48 per thousand was the lowest since 1949 when present methods of collating data began, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Pipe suspended between mountains brings fresh water to villagers (April 20, 2021, China Daily)
A water pipe stretching over 1,480 meters between two lofty mountains that is suspended 600 meters above the ground has brought safe drinking water to 305 households in a village in Hubei province.

Young and in Debt (April 20, 2021, The World of Chinese)
The proliferation in recent years of easy-access online lending platforms has introduced a growing number of Chinese consumers to the joy of buying on credit—and the despair of living with debt. As of January 2019, Chinese have collectively racked up an outstanding balance of 9.3 trillion RMB (about 1.4 trillion USD) in consumer loans, excluding mortgages and auto loans. This is almost triple the 3.5 trillion RMB (563.1 billion USD) they owed in January 2015.

It Takes a Village (April 21, 2021, The World of Chinese)
Despite her best efforts, word of Lin’s savings got out, and a relative came to ask for a loan. This is normal among Lin’s acquaintances and in rural regions all around China, where bonds of kinship and mutual obligation have sustained informal networks of borrowing and lending for thousands of years.

Economics / Trade / Business

China facing economic crisis as population peak nears, PBOC adviser says (April 18, 2021, South China Morning Post)
China’s population is set to peak in just four years’ time and the milestone will be marked by a significant downturn in consumer demand, an adviser to the central bank has warned. “When the total population enters negative growth [after 2025], there will be a shortage of demand,” Cai Fang, a member of the monetary policy committee of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), was quoted as saying in a report by Shanghai Securities News on Friday. (subscription required)


Shenzhen to Become Biggest City Offering 12 Years of Free School (April 15, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Education authorities in Shenzhen want to make primary and secondary education free for all by 2025, extending national policy that calls for the first nine years of a child’s education to be fully funded. According to a report Wednesday by local news outlet Shenzhen Special Zone Daily, policymakers said that given Shenzhen’s economic strength, the city has the resources to extend its free education period and become a leader in national education reform.

What Not To Do: China’s Practical Guide for Educators (April 18, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Using real previous cases, authorities outlined eight unacceptable interactions between teachers and students, ranging from sexual harassment to discrimination.

Health / Environment

U.S., China Agree To Cooperate On Climate Crisis With Urgency (April 18, 2021, NPR)
The United States and China, the world’s two biggest carbon polluters, agreed to cooperate to curb climate change with urgency, just days before President Joe Biden hosts a virtual summit of world leaders to discuss the issue. The agreement was reached by U.S. special envoy for climate John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua during two days of talks in Shanghai last week, according to a joint statement.

Sinovac supplied 260 mln COVID-19 vaccine doses globally (April 20, 2021, Reuters)
The company is producing more than 6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine per day, Yin said at the annual Boao Forum for Asia, the region’s answer to Davos. “We plan to select 10 countries for technology transfer as soon as possible,” Yin said, adding that current cross-border joint production is insufficient.

China’s vaccine nationalism softens as country signals it may approve foreign-made shots (April 21, 2021, CNN)
China’s embassy in Washington finally provided some clarity in a recent statement, outlining what tests travelers to China who have received one of the US-approved vaccines — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — should get in order to be approved to enter the country.

Science / Technology

In China’s Restaurants, Data-Hungry Apps Will Take Your Order (April 18, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Profitable to businesses and convenient for diners, the mass collection of personal information still has some feeling queasy.

China may test its digital currency with foreign visitors at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics (April 18, 2021, CNBC)
China is trying to make it possible for foreign athletes and visitors to use its digital currency during the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022, a top central bank official said on Sunday. It could be the first test for China’s digital currency with international users.

Travel / Food

How China Saved More than 20,000 Jews During WW2 (April 5, 2021, BBC)
One of the most extraordinary stories in Shanghai’s history took place the neighbourhood of Tilanqiao, which served as “a modern-day Noah’s Ark” for Jews during WW2. 

How to Hot Pot on a Shoestring Budget Is Trending in China (April 16, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Some are stirring up anger by boasting of spending less than $3 on meals while gorging themselves on free snacks at famously generous hot pot chain Haidilao.

China to recognize Western shots for its vaccine passports, as it seeks to reopen (April 20, 2021, The Washington Post)
China has begun accepting U.S. coronavirus vaccination records in travel applications to the country, as it seeks to negotiate mutual recognition of vaccine passports with other nations. The Chinese Embassy in Washington said in an online notice late last week that ­Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine records can be submitted as part of an application for a coronavirus QR “health code” — China’s version of a vaccine passport and a requirement to enter the country. (subscription required)

China’s 10 proposed new national parks will be epic (April 21, 2021, Matador Network)
China announced in 2015 a pilot program to develop a series of national parks. Although COVID-19 slowed down the implementation, the process took major steps forward last year with the opening of Giant Panda and Sanjiangyuan national parks — with eight more to follow. The 10 parks will cover 12 Chinese provinces and protect the habitats of dozens of endangered species.

Language / Language Learning

Learning the second tone in Mandarin Chinese (April 20, 2021, Hacking Chinese)
But what’s the second hardest tone to learn in Mandarin? Based on more than a decade of teaching, much of which has been focused specifically on pronunciation, my answer is clearly the second tone, at least if we’re considering people coming from a non-tonal language such as English.

Noodle-Noodle-Noodle Noodle Shop (April 21, 2021, Sinosplice)
The Chinese name is 麵麵麵麵館 which is written in traditional characters. (Sometimes shops do that because they simply prefer the traditional character aesthetic.) The simplified characters would be 面面面面馆.


Poetry in Blood: A Book Review (April 12, 2021, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Xi’s book about Lin Zhao is far more than a biography, although it is a somber, unsparing, and ultimately inspiring account of her life. Xi recounts the story of Lin Zhao’s life from her time as a student at the Laura Haygood Memorial School for Girls—a Southern Methodist mission school for girls from upper class families (p. 16)—through her years as a proponent, and sometime member, of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), into her disillusionment with the CCP and its leaders, leading to her denouncement as a Rightest and her subsequent arrest, years of imprisonment, conviction, and execution.

A History of Christian Missions: Book Review (II) (April 20, 2021, Global China Center)
Finally, we note the pattern of progression, “conquest,” and then retrogression, as formerly “Christian” nations and peoples were conquered from without or fatally compromised from within.

As Many as the Stars: A Book Review (April 21, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
For those of us who have slogged in the trenches this past year, perhaps feeling that very little progress was to be made during lockdown, this book is a chance to raise one’s head and enjoy a quick eagle-eye view of God’s hand still at work in the big picture.

Links for Researchers

White Paper: China’s International Development Cooperation in the New Era (January 10, 2021, The State Council of the People’s Republic of China)

Transcript of Vice Minister Le Yucheng’s Exclusive Interview with the Associated Press of the United States (April 14, 2021, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China)

NPC Standing Committee Releases 2021 Legislative Plan (April 21, 2021, NPC Observer)
The NPCSC’s annual legislative plans serve two primary purposes: listing bills that are scheduled for review or research each year, and laying down guiding principles for all facets of the NPCSC’s annual legislative work.

Marquand and East Asian Libraries collect Chinese COVID-19 posters (Princeton University Library)
Recently, Marquand Art and Archaeology Library and the East Asian Library jointly acquired a collection of 32 Chinese COVID-19 posters. The posters cover a range of topics, from public health information to political propaganda, during the COVID-19 epidemic in China. These posters not only document the Chinese Communist Party’s reaction to the pandemic, but also showcase how political slogans and public health efforts are going hand in hand.


CMC Global 2020—On Demand (April 16, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
CMC recently announced that all the sessions are now available to watch on demand here. Registration is required but is free (click “watch here” to begin registration process). 


Transforming Your World Global Online Conference (Transformation Leeds)
“Transforming Your World” is a global online conference helping Christians be godly influencers in their workplace and culture. Hear fantastic Bible teaching from our keynote speaker Dr. Krish Kandiah on how Daniel served God through his work. Discover how Jesus is inspiring cultural transformation around the world from our international seminar speakers. Explore building God’s kingdom through different professions in our workplace seminars and enjoy meeting Christians from every continent through the discussion groups! 
24TH & 25TH APRIL 2021

Pray for China

April 25 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Apr. 25, 1959, Helen Willis became the last Protestant missionary to be expelled from China. The Christian Book Room in Shanghai had been opened in 1924 by Helen’s brother Christopher and his wife Jean, Brethren missionaries from Canada. They also operated a printing press to supply gospel literature in English and Chinese to missionaries all over China. The original location of the book room was in Kunshan Gardens, but it had moved to Yuanmingyuan Road by the time the communists came to power and Helen was the manager. She worked unobtrusively under the new regime for ten years but was then put under house arrest and expelled after being found guilty of subversive activities. Several of her Chinese associates were sent to prison. In 2018, the government imposed a ban on Internet sales of the Bible and much other Christian literature. Pray for Christians to be creative in providing Christian resources and training through bookstores, the Internet and social media. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
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