ZGBriefs | April 29, 2021

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Featured Article

US Relaxes Entry Restrictions on Students Traveling From China (April 28, 2021, Sixth Tone)
After more than a year in limbo, Chinese international students may soon be able to attend American universities by traveling directly from their home country. In a notice published Monday, the U.S. State Department said students from China and several other countries and regions, as well as certain academics participating in visitor exchange programs, can now qualify for a National Interest Exception (NIE) allowing them to travel to the United States. 

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

China tells UK to ‘right its wrong moves’ after parliament’s Xinjiang motion (April 22, 2021, Reuters)
China said on Friday that Britain should “immediately right its wrong moves” in response to the UK parliament’s motion calling on its government to take action to end what the lawmakers described as genocide in China’s Xinjiang region.

China’s national security office to open permanent base in Hong Kong (April 23, 2021, Reuters)
Hong Kong is to grant a site on the western Kowloon peninsula, close to the high-speed railway to the mainland, to Beijing’s national security office for its permanent base in the city, the government said on Friday. The office, which operates beyond the scrutiny of local courts or other institutions, will oversee the Hong Kong government’s enforcement of sweeping national security legislation that Beijing imposed on the city in June.

‘I Stand the Law’s Good Servant, but the People’s First’ (April 23, 2021, China File)
Former legislator and prominent lawyer Margaret Ng was given a suspended sentence of 12 months. In her sentencing statement, which she read out in open court, Ng recounted her career in law and politics, interweaving her own story with the decades-long fight for democracy and the rule of law in Hong Kong.

China orders companies to step up monitoring of foreigners in anti-spying push (April 28, 2021, The Guardian)
State security will provide ‘guidance’ to organisations deemed to have anti-espionage responsibility as hostilities with western governments deepen.

‘Australia is sick’: China blasts Australia for ‘sabotaging’ relations (April 28, 2021, Yahoo! News)
A Chinese official has described Australia as “sick” amid an ongoing war of words between the two countries largely being played out in the media. In the latest barb to come from the Chinese government, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin again laid the blame for the frosty relations at the feet of the Australian government. 

Beijing considers China-US exchange after America declares easing of pandemic entry rules (April 28, 2021, South China Morning Post)
China said it was willing to resume a travel exchange with the United States following an announcement by the US it was easing some coronavirus travel bans. The US has announced it will allow students and professionals in various categories and from various countries, including China, to enter the country


Police in China’s Chengdu Detain Children in Early Rain Church Raid (April 22, 2021, Radio Free Asia)
Authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan have made another raid on the Early Rain Covenant Church in the provincial capital, Chengdu, RFA has learned. Seven church members and 12 children were taken away by police following a raid on a study session run by the church at around 10.30 a.m. local time on Wednesday.

Video: CantoSense – Ep 2 – Celebrating QingMing (or not?) (April 22, 2021, CantoSense)
Can Christians celebrate QingMing (Tomb Sweeping) Festival? This episode, we’re talking about the roots and undergirding values of this age-old celebration and how we as Christians can take part in ways that don’t compromise our faith while still honouring our family. 

The Song of Joy Behind the Song of Lamentation (April 26, 2021, China Partnership Blog)
Living in a large city in eastern China, this author is married to a pastor. This is the story of how her personal experience of suffering following miscarriage led her to see and rejoice more deeply in Christ. 

The Ministry of Women in the Chinese Church (April 26, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
We can only hope to hear the countless more testimonials of how women are shaping the church in China. For example, in many cases, men are away from home preaching in churches and conducting pastoral visits. I’ve known many Christian marriages and families that struggle with the stress of ministry. How are women responding to protect their families? How are married women discipling single women? How might we encourage churches to empower women to serve cross-culturally?

The Increasing Role of the Laity (April 27, 2021, Chinese Church Voices)
For decades, the church in China has relied on lay people to shoulder the brunt of grassroots ministry. Some would say this is an ideal situation in the church. Others would say that the phenomenon points to deeper problems within the Chinese church. To be sure, the pros and cons of the rise of laypeople are debated within the Chinese church. 

Taking Ourselves (and the Gospel) Seriously (April 28, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
This is the very real danger of rhetoric that allows others to be seen as something less than fellow human beings created in God’s image. They become scapegoats or, in the case of the tone-deaf politician on Twitter, they become a byword and a surrogate for one’s political enemies.

Society / Life

China’s largest ‘ghost city’ booms again thanks to education fever (April 19, 2021, Nikkei Asia)
Kangbashi, a town in the middle of barren Inner Mongolia deserts, once found itself stuck with rows of newly built-but-vacant apartment buildings, earning a nationwide reputation as a guicheng, or ghost town. Now the district in the city of Ordos is back. Having sold previously empty apartments, Kangbashi town is building more high-rise complexes. “We’re not a ghost town anymore,” a local property sales manager said with a laugh.

China Announces Insurance Overhaul, a Boon to Aging Population (April 23, 2021, Sixth Tone)
The central government says companies should pay into large public health insurance pools managed by local authorities instead of into their workers’ personal insurance funds.

Chinese Resent Public Holiday System That Steals Their Weekends (April 25, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Because of the upcoming five-day Labor Day holiday in early May, Su and millions of Chinese workers like her have to work two weekend days to compensate. With the second makeup work day scheduled for Saturday, May 8, the Saturday-to-Wednesday holiday yields just one “free” day off.

On a Chinese Mountaintop, a Community Just for People With Autism (April 28, 2021, Sixth Tone)
In China, care facilities to support people with autism are scarce. So families are banding together to build their own.

Young Chinese Share Outrage Over Crazy Hiring Practices in Viral Posts (April 28, 2021, Radii China)
A post about unfair employment practices in some Chinese companies has gone viral on social media, sparking yet another wave of online complaints around China’s sometimes toxic work culture.

One Dead, 17 Injured in Guangxi Kindergarten Knife Attack (April 28, 2021, What’s on Weibo)
The incident occurred on the afternoon of April 28, when a man stormed into the school with a knife and started stabbing the pupils and teaching staff. The man attacked at least 16 children and 2 teachers. Blurred videos of the scene showed injured children in the playground area, some sitting up and some lying on the floor.

Economics / Trade / Business

Western brands tested by China in backlash over forced labor allegation (April 25, 2021, NBC News)
With 1.4 billion people, China, home to the world’s second-largest economy,commands vast purchasing power, making it a lucrative market for retailers. But socially conscious young shoppers in Western countries have also looked for brands to take a stand on ethical issues linked to their products, from climate change to labor conditions.


The Long Haul: The Lives of China’s Trucker Wives (April 27, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Behind the millions ferrying goods across the country are as many nameless wives sharing the load. Some stay put running the household, but some go along for the ride.

The Right Way to Bring Chinese STEM Talent Back to the U.S. (April 27, 2021, China File)
While the United States is right to counteract illicit technology transfer and protect work opportunities for Americans, it must do so in a way that avoids inflicting unnecessary harm on its own science and innovation base by disrupting one of its most important international STEM talent sources.

Health / Environment

Oil Spill Reported Off China Coast After Tanker, Bulk Carrier Collide (April 27, 2021, NPR)
A collision between an oil tanker and a bulk carrier off China’s east coast port city of Qingdao on Tuesday has resulted in an oil spill in the Yellow Sea, China’s maritime safety authority and the ship’s Singapore-based operator said.

What’s the difference between Chinese pronunciation and Pinyin? Does it matter? (April 27, 2021, Hacking Chinese)
Something that I have noticed is that people often fail to distinguish between pronunciation and Pinyin. This might look like an innocent and rather small mistake, but as I’m going to show in this article, it can be a real problem.

China offered Covid aid to India while US dragged its feet, but Delhi isn’t that keen (April 28, 2021, CNN)
And as the crisis has rapidly spiraled out of control in India, Chinese leaders have repeatedly expressed a desire to help, pledging to “offer support and assistance to the best of our capability if the Indian side informs us of its specific needs.”

History / Culture

The Jesuit Library at the Crossroads of East and West (April 23, 2021, Sixth Tone)
he Bibliotheca Zi-Ka-Wei’s collection of Chinese-language Catholic books is one of the best in the world. How it attained that status is a long story.

Travel / Food

China’s Communist Party pilgrims mark centenary in wave of Red tourism at historic sites (April 27, 2021, South China Morning Post)
The cradle of the Chinese revolution is drawing tourists and party faithful, boosted by 2021 party celebrations and China’s post-pandemic rebound. Party leaders, historians and educators are pushing to reach young people, to boost their interest in modern Chinese history

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Chloé Zhao: Her Journey from Beijing to the Heart of Hollywood (April 23, 2021, Radii China)
How did Beijing-born director Chloe Zhao re-invent the Western drama, and where does she go from here?

Beethoven in Beijing: A Film Recommendation (April 23, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
On Sunday night, April 16, PBS aired the documentary film Beethoven in Beijing on their Great Performances show. On the surface, this film tells the story of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s decades-long relationship with China, beginning with its first tour in 1973.

Russian man ‘trapped’ on Chinese reality TV show finally voted out after three months (April 27, 2021, The Guardian)
A Russian man who joined a boyband competition show on Chinese TV on a whim but quickly regretted his decision has finally been released from his ordeal after making it all the way to the final. Vladislav Ivanov, a 27-year-old part-time model from Vladivostok, was working on the show Produce Camp 2021 as a translator when producers reportedly noticed his good looks and asked him to sign up as a contestant.

Language / Language Learning

On the Character: 借 (April 24, 2021, The World of Chinese)
Confusingly, 借 means not only to borrow, but to lend. 

Pray for China

April 30
On Apr. 30, 2016, Pastor Han Zhonglie (韩忠烈牧师-Han Chung-Ryeol) was brutally murdered by North Korean agents in Changbai County, Jilin. Pastor Han planted a registered church there in 1993. He was known for helping North Korean refugees with food and clothing, and for training them to return to North Korea for ministry. Pray for Pastor Han’s widow, their two children and other Christians in Jilin to experience the care of the Lord and His people. For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.” And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. 1 Kings 17:14-15

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