ZGBriefs | April 25, 2024

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Featured Article

Hot and Spicy: How the Once Humble Malatang Conquers the Country (April 24, 2024, The World of Chinese)
Malatang (麻辣烫) is one of China’s most ubiquitous dishes, found on streets across the country. The ingredients can consist of almost anything the diner chooses, from various meats, vegetables, and noodle varieties. These are all boiled in broth and then served with soup and a choice of sauces.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Surge of Chinese migrants crossing Southern border into the U.S. (April 22, 2024, NBC News)
The number of migrants from China has soared from under 1,000 a few years ago to more than 37,000 last year. NBC News’ David Noriega reports on what’s behind the increase and how the U.S. says it’s addressing the issue.

Germany spying: Three suspected Chinese agents arrested (April 22, 2024, BBC)
German authorities say they have arrested three people on suspicion of spying for China. The main suspect, named as Thomas R, is accused of spying for the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS). Prosecutors allege his network operated a front company which co-operated with German research organisations.

Blinken begins key China visit as tensions rise over new US foreign aid bill (April 24, 2024, AP)
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has begun a critical trip to China armed with a strengthened diplomatic hand following Senate approval of a foreign aid package that will provide billions of dollars in assistance to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan as well as force TikTok’s China-based parent company to sell the social media platform -– all areas of contention between Washington and Beijing.


China’s City, Wenzhou, Has More Christians Than Any Other – How it Happened Will Surprise You! (March 25, 2024, Back to Jerusalem)
With the continuing growth of Christianity in China, it seems that it will soon be home to the world’s largest Christian population, but of all the major cities in China, one stands out for having more believers than any other – Wenzhou. The incredible testimony how the metropolitan city of Wenzhou became synonymous with Christianity in China is due to God using a man with only one leg!

The Internal Cross: A Pastoral Letter (April 18, 2024, China Partnership Blog)
This pastoral letter, from February of this year, encourages and commends believers for the way they have borne up under the outward persecution of recent year. Yet, in the second half, he urges them to take up and bear their “inner” cross: to die to themselves and lay down their lives in their interactions with friends and family. Li reminds his congregation to rely on Christ’s grace, not their own goodness.

A New Round of Restrictions Further Constrains Religious Practice in Xinjiang (April 19, 2024, China File)
Authorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region rang in 2024 by announcing an update to the region’s strictures on religious practice. Changes include new rules to ensure that sites of religious worship, like mosques, look adequately “Chinese,” and to mandate the cultivation of “patriotic” religious leaders.

Your Freedom Is Not My Kind of Freedom (April 22, 2024, Chinese Church Voices)
Only by accepting Jesus can we know the truth and accept the truth, and only then can we be free, and live above the law and under grace. If we do not…accept the freedom of Jesus but continue living in the so-called freedom under the law, then we are simply taking joy in our sin.

Jingjiao—Not Nestorian (April 23, 2024, ChinaSource Blog)
In AD 635 Christian missionaries whose worship language was Syriac traveled thousands of miles down the Silk Road to plant a church in China. The imperial officials examined their teaching and issued a decree (preserved in the stele) allowing the church to be established.

Filling the Need to Care for Workers: Training Member Care Providers for Chinese Missionaries (April 24, 2024, ChinaSource Blog)
We believe that member care is an integral part of missions sending and we want to see Chinese senders better equipped in this area… The sent and the senders will fulfill the Great Commission together.

Society / Life

Southern China is inundated by floods – video report (April 22, 2024, The Guardian)
Floods have swamped a number of cities in the densely populated Pearl River delta after record-breaking rains. Precipitation records for April have already been broken in many parts of Guangdong, leaving large areas of the province underwater. State media have released footage showing rescue and cleanup operations under way. Further footage shows a car getting swept away by rushing water and a bridge in Guangdong province collapsing

Shades of Yellow (April 24, 2024, China Media Project)
In its latest two-month campaign against public accounts on domestic social media platforms, China’s cyberspace control body is targeting falsehood and sensationalism. The ugly truth is that the country’s state-run media, which are not to be touched by the purge, are some of the worst culprits.

The Sexual Revolution Behind China’s Demographic Crisis (April 24, 2024, The Diplomat)
The “one-child policy” didn’t just artificially limit births; it dramatically reshaped the way Chinese society – particularly women – thinks about sex.

Economics / Trade / Business

How Chinese firms are using Mexico as a backdoor to the US (April 21, 2024, BBC)
The reclining armchairs and plush leather sofas coming off the production line at Man Wah Furniture’s factory in Monterrey are 100% “Made in Mexico”. They’re destined for large retailers in the US, like Costco and Walmart. But the company is from China, its Mexican manufacturing plant built with Chinese capital. The triangular relationship between the US, China and Mexico is behind the buzzword in Mexican business: nearshoring.

Apple’s iPhone sales in China plunge 19%, as Huawei grows smartphone sales by nearly 70% (April 24, 2024, South China Morning Post)
Apple lost its throne as China’s bestselling smartphone brand, after sales declined 19.1 per cent in the first quarter amid rising competition from Huawei Technologies and other local rivals, according to market research firm Counterpoint.


Chinese students in US tell of ‘chilling’ interrogations and deportations (April 20, 2024, The Guardian)
Many western scholars are nervous about travelling to China in the current political climate. But lately it is Chinese researchers working at US universities who are increasingly reporting interrogations – and in several cases deportations – at US airports, despite holding valid work or study visas for scientific research.

South Korean international students turn away from China (April 22, 2024, East Asia Forum)
This decline aligns with a major trend of decreasing South Korean international students overall, aggravated by population decline and diminished value of overseas degrees in the local labour market. This drop in outbound students to China likely to persist under the current conservative government in South Korea.

Only 700 Americans are studying in China. Will the US lose a generation of experts? (April 23, 2024, Christian Science Monitor)
Persistent restrictions on U.S.-China travel have put would-be American study-abroad students in a tight spot – and they also risk robbing the United States of its next generation of China experts.

Harsher Recess Rules in China Turn School Toilets Into Social Hubs (April 24, 2024, Sixth Tone)
Schools fearful of accident liability are clamping down on recess activities. Critics say the trend could condemn a generation’s childhood memories to be defined by time spent in restrooms.

Science / Technology

How the internet has transformed China in the past 30 years, and vice versa (April 23, 2024, South China Morning Post)
Since China officially connected to the internet in April 1994, its economy has grown explosively, along with the popularity of domestic web services. While Beijing’s efforts to tame the internet were initially ridiculed, it has pushed ahead with its own model of internet governance.

China to send three astronauts to Tiangong space station, part of its ambitious program (April 24, 2024, AP)
China’s space agency is making final preparations to send a new crew to its space station on Thursday as part of its ambitious program that aims to put people on the moon by 2030. The three-member crew of the Shenzhou-18 spacecraft will relieve the current team who have been manning China’s Tiangong space station since last October.

History / Culture

The Scholar Bringing Marco Polo Back to China (April 19, 2024, Sixth Tone)
Historian Rong Xinjiang has spent the past 13 years trying to produce the definitive Chinese edition of “The Travels of Marco Polo.”

Massive 2,200-year-old tomb with grand interior unearthed in China. See its treasures (April 24, 2024, Miami Herald)
In an otherwise relatively normal-looking field of eastern China’s Anhui Province sits a large mound. When covered with grass and trees, the mound looks quite natural. But, when archaeologists began digging, they quickly realized this wasn’t a normal hill. It was a massive 2,200-year-old tomb filled with treasure.

Travel / Food

China’s stressed and overworked youth skip the tea and reach for coffee (April 20, 2024, NBC News)
Lattes drizzled with pork sauce or spiked with the liquor baijiu pop up on menus as coffee companies battle for dominance in the surging Chinese market.

Airlines add intl flights, resume other routes (April 24, 2024, China Daily)
Air China, the national flag carrier, will launch or resume four international routes in the next few months to better serve the Belt and Road Initiative and promote opening-up, the company said on Tuesday. The new routes are Beijing-Riyadh and Beijing-Dhaka, while two others, Beijing-Madrid-Sao Paulo and Beijing-Madrid-Havana, will resume.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Chinese swimmers won Olympic medals despite failed doping tests (April 21, 2024, NBC News)
The drug at the center of this case was also the medication that led to the suspension of Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva at the Winter Olympics in Beijing in 2022.

Language / Language Learning

Explaining the politics behind Chinese language translation: The year of “Loong” (April 22, 2024, Global Voices)
After mainland Chinese official media outlets started calling 2024 “the Year of Loong”instead of the Year of the Dragon, the word “loong” and its homophones have become a popular meme among Hongkongers on social media, representing the government’s shift toward nationalistic policies and language.


The Earliest Chinese Christianity Brought Back to Life (April 19, 2024, ChinaSource Blog)
In his Jingjiao: The Earliest Christian Church in China, Glen L. Thompson, professor emeritus of New Testament and historical theology at Asia Lutheran Seminary in Hong Kong, offers by far the most up-to-date, balanced, accessible, and thorough history of Jingjiao, the first Christian church in Tang China.

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

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Image credit: Luna Wang, via Unsplash
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