ZGBriefs | April 28, 2022

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Featured Article

Hong Kong’s iconic Star Ferry may launch its final journey after 142 years in service (April 25, 2022, The Points Guy)
After 142 years of service, Hong Kong’s iconic Star Ferry may sail its last trip between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island — unless it gets help from big-bucks business investment. First launched in 1880 as the Kowloon Ferry Company, the Star Ferry Hong Kong has provided service for tourists, commuters and leisurely locals since before Hong Kong’s transformation into a commercial and financial hub. 

Sponsored Link

Webinar Recording: Chinese Christianity in the Modern Era: Making Sense of the Present in Light of the Past, by Dr. Easten Law (ChinaSource)
In this webinar, Dr. Law provided a historical overview of the different threads running through Chinese Christianity’s modern development including themes of folk religiosity and healing, ethical living, familial belonging, and national salvation. He discussed what can these historical themes tell us about the church’s role amidst China’s current inward, nationalistic turn and how we should orient ourselves in response. Knowing that many foreign workers are mourning the changes that have come about in China’s sociopolitical environment over the past decade, this presentation also contained a pastoral undercurrent, affirming the reality that the Chinese Church in all its forms has been and will continue to be in God’s hands. Also available directly on YouTube.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

How China lost Central and Eastern Europe (April 22, 2022, MERICS)
Central and Eastern Europe’s attention is currently fixed on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, the perception of China has been shifting as well. If China is regarded as supporting Russia, Beijing risks falling into the category of an explicit threat alongside Moscow.

Video: Chinse Media Coverage of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine (April 22, 2022, National Committee on U.S. China Relations)
Xiaoyu Pu and Maria Repnikova discuss China’s international and domestic media coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the system behind this coverage, and its implications for U.S.-China relations during an interview conducted on April 18, 2022.

Pakistan attack: Chinese tutors killed in Karachi university bombing (April 26, 2022, BBC)
Three Chinese language teachers and their Pakistani driver were killed in a suspected suicide bombing in the southern city of Karachi, police say. The blast ripped through their minibus, injuring at least four others near the university’s Confucius Institute. The separatist Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) said it attacked the vehicle carrying the Chinese staff, and that the suicide bomber had been a woman. The group opposes Chinese investment in Pakistan, saying locals do not benefit.

China grapples with political challenges as Covid death toll mounts (April 27, 2022, CNN)
Reporting death figures is “something of a two-edged sword for the authorities,” according to health security expert Nicholas Thomas, an associate professor at City University of Hong Kong. “If the numbers are too low, not only is there a problem of trust, but also it will make the quarantine restrictions seem excessive. If the numbers are too high, then the lockdowns are justified but the authorities have failed to contain the virus.”


May They Dream of Jesus – Know Thy Hui Neighbor (6) (April 25, 2022, Chinese Church Voices)
Hui people have spiritual dreams all year round, not only in their month of fasting. But this is the time of year when Muslims are most in tune with spirituality and when Christians who love Muslims pray most fervently for God to reveal himself to them in the person of Jesus the Messiah.

Responding to Tragedy (April 26, 2022, Chinese Church Voices)
The world is full of tragedy, some arising from human causes, others from natural causes. Both result in suffering. In this article from the Christian Times published following the air disaster in China last month, the author reflects on how Christians should respond to the tragedies that impact them and others.

Rediscovering the Plot (April 27, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
In the decades since it reemerged out of the chaos of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, China’s church has often been compared to the early Christian community portrayed in the book of Acts. Indeed, the characteristics of the early church—signs, wonders, miracles, extraordinary growth, and loving Christian community set against a backdrop of suffering and state-sponsored persecution—have all been on display in the modern miracle that is the resurrection of the Chinese church.

Society / Life

Aerial View Photos of Shanghai Office Spaces Turned Into Covid-19 Quarantine Site (April 21, 2022, What’s on Weibo)
One photo is a nighttime exterior shot of an office building that is now being used as a quarantine location, showing at least twelve stories of office space where people are staying in brightly lit rooms, their beds placed closely together.

WeChat wants people to use its video platform. So they did, for digital protests. (April 24, 2022, MIT Technology Review)
A video protesting the Shanghai lockdown spread quickly on the app, as Chinese users raced to outwit censors and keep it alive.

A Shanghai resident shares her views on the city’s lockdown (April 26, 2022, NPR)
NPR’s Rob Schmitz talks with a former nanny from Shanghai about what life has been like since returning to the city during pandemic restrictions.

Shanghai Lockdown Diary: The Quest for Food Brings an Apartment Complex Together (April 26, 2022, The Diplomat)
Shanghai residents have become the digital equivalent of ancient hunter-gatherers.

Finding Home and Hope for China’s Autistic Adults (April 27, 2022, The World of Chinese)
And after a lifetime of providing care, parents are still haunted by the question—what will happen to their adult children when they are no longer around?

China’s Covid Lockdown Outrage Tests Limits of Triumphant Propaganda (April 27, 2022, The New York Times) (subscription required)
Public anger and grief over the bungled lockdown in Shanghai is creating a credibility crisis for the country’s leader, Xi Jinping, and his zero Covid policies.

Rural Chinese Cycle Between Mechanization and Migration (April 27, 2022, Sixth Tone)
As a result of urbanization, the abandonment of rural fields, and the diversion of rural land for industrial purposes, the total area sown with rice in China decreased by nearly 13% between 1978 and 2020; the total area sown with wheat declined by almost 20% over the same period. In spite of this, the use of new farming technologies has allowed grain yields to rise.

Economics / Trade / Business

China’s Xi calls for ‘all-out’ infrastructure splurge to rescue economy (April 27, 2022, CNN)
China is about to embark on a new infrastructure spending spree in a bid to fix an economy nearing breaking point because of Covid lockdowns. President Xi Jinping told a meeting of senior economic officials Tuesday that “all out efforts” must be made to boost construction to increase domestic demand and promote growth.


China’s international schools face dire fate if zero-Covid drives away teachers, BritCham warns (April 22, 2022, South China Morning Post) (subscription required)
International schools across China may not survive the loss of teachers resulting from lockdowns and strict Covid-19 measures that are driving away foreign talent, according to the head of the British Chamber of Commerce (BritCham) in China.

China Raises Status of Vocational Education (April 26, 2022, Sixth Tone)
China is scrapping the distinction between high schools and secondary vocational institutions, as well as offering occupational courses at the former, in a bid to improve the social perception toward vocational education under a newly revised law that goes into effect May 1.

Health / Environment

Beijing kicks off mass testing after spike in Covid cases (April 25, 2022, BBC)
The Chinese capital Beijing has kicked off mass testing for millions of residents after a spike in Covid cases. The Chaoyang district reported 26 cases over the weekend – the highest number so far in Beijing’s latest surge. Long queues outside supermarkets and shops were seen despite government assurances there is sufficient food.

Travel / Food

Snack Attack: Do These Meat Pies Bring Good Luck? (April 26, 2022, The Beijinger)
A roubing is a good snack indeed. And while they come in a variety of sizes – from flat as a pancake to puffed and tall – Beijing is known for one roubing in particular, the Mending Roubing. Named mending – doornail in English – for its similarity to the large ornamental doornails that decorate imperial buildings in Beijing, the pie can be traced to the Qing Dynasty. 

Language / Language Learning

Why China is turning away from English (April 16, 2022, The Economist) (subscription required)
Two decades on, amid a surge of nationalism, English seems to be falling out of favour. Metro-riders in Beijing, the capital, will notice that the language has been removed from some station placards and maps (often replaced with pinyin, the romanised form of Mandarin).

Are authentic texts good for learning Chinese or is graded content better? (April 27, 2022, Hacking Chinese)
The main focus of this article is to first compare authentic and learner-oriented texts written with comprehensibility in mind, then expand the discussion to show that this distinction is not always relevant. 

Memes and Slang From the Shanghai Lockdown (April 26, 2022, The World of Chinese)
Group-buying chiefs, vegetable storing guides, the Covid calendar, and “hard currency” cola—learn the internet slang inspired by the Shanghai lockdown.

Pray for China

April 29 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Apr. 29, 1968, Christian dissident Lin Zhao (林昭姐妹) was executed before a firing squad in Shanghai’s Tilanqiao Prison at age 35. A graduate of Peking University, Lin was arrested in 1960 and given a 20-year sentence. While in prison she wrote using her own blood as ink, and her parents did not learn of her death until presented with a bill for the bullet used to kill her. Pray for Christian prisoners to cherish the truth that they have been ransomed by the precious blood of the Lamb. Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 1 Peter 1:18-19

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