ZGBriefs | August 11, 2022

ZGBriefs is for those who want and need to keep up on what is happening in China, but don’t have the time to monitor and track it all. We monitor more than 50 different news sources and curate the most relevant and interesting stories out of China each week. Topics include government, religion, society, economics, education, travel, and language, and books.


Featured Article

The Major Questions About China’s Foreign NGO Law Are Now Settled (August 8, 2022, China File) The Foreign NGO Law offered some concrete guidelines but left plenty of room for individual authorities’ discretion. This was a feature, not a bug, of the system. Local officials could enforce unspoken protocols—limiting which foreign NGOs would be allowed to register, and in which geographical or issue areas those NGOs would be permitted to work—without Beijing’s enshrining those limitations in law.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

China halts climate and military dialogue with the U.S. over Pelosi’s Taiwan visit (August 5, 2022, NPR)
China’s Foreign Ministry said dialogue between U.S. and Chinese regional commanders and defense department heads would be canceled, along with talks on military maritime safety. Cooperation on returning illegal immigrants, criminal investigations, transnational crime, illegal drugs and climate change will be suspended, the ministry said.

In Turbulent Times, Xi Builds a Security Fortress for China, and Himself (August 6, 2022, The New York Times) (subscription required)
Taiwan, Covid, “color revolutions,” the classroom: everywhere, China’s leader sees threats that foreign forces can exploit, and he has enlisted the whole nation to defend against them.

After China’s Military Spectacle, Options Narrow for Winning Over Taiwan (August 7, 2022, The New York Times) (subscription required)
The exercises were designed to deter Taiwan from moving further away from Beijing, but they also indicated how few policy carrots China has.

Building Capacity Through Procedure (August 8, 2022, NPC Observer)
The Rules are a national law that governs how the NPCSC conducts business. They regulate the convening and conduct of sessions, the submission and deliberation of bills and reports, debate and voting procedures, and other technical procedural matters.

China-Taiwan: What we learned from Beijing’s drills around the island (August 9, 2022, BBC)
US politician Nancy Pelosi’s visit has set off fresh tensions between self-ruled Taiwan and China, which claims the island as part of its territory. BBC correspondents weigh in on the significance of China’s main response – its live-fire military drills around the island – and how the two sides see them.

China’s New White Paper Lays out Vision for Post ‘Reunification’ Taiwan (August 8, 2022, The Diplomat)
The paper outlines, in detail, Beijing’s approach to Taiwan under the “new era” of Xi Jinping’s leadership, and serves as an update to previous white papers on Taiwan issued in 1993 and 2000.

Hot Words Heat Up for Xi (August 10, 2022, China Media Project)
One of the key Xi Jinping power phrases to watch in the weeks ahead of the CCP’s 20th National Congress is the “Two Establishes.” The term is trending red hot right now in the People’s Daily. 

China halts military drills around Taiwan but ‘war preparation’ continues (August 10, 2022,  The Guardian)
Beijing has announced an end to its military drills surrounding Taiwan but said further “training and war preparation” would continue. It made the announcement shortly after reaffirming its commitment, in a major policy paper, to use force against Taiwan if it could not take control “by peaceful means”.

Ambassador’s fiery speech was the sound of China laying out terms that Australia has already declined(August 10, 2022, The Guardian)
China’s rules of rapprochement unveiled in Canberra were: don’t squabble outdoors, don’t pick sides and don’t humiliate Beijing by failing to respect red lines.


A Conversation from Down Under: 3 Questions Video Interview with Peter Anderson (August 5, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
I recently connected with Peter via Zoom and asked him three questions to learn more about this topic and to hear his thoughts on how we can pray for the Chinese diaspora community in New Zealand. 

The Vital Role of Chinese Women in Evangelism (August 8, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
The history of Christianity in the world’s largest country can’t be told without acknowledging the female evangelists and pastors who built its church.

God’s Grace in the Life of a Peking University Grad (August 10, 2022, Chinese Church Voices)
Through a period of increased study and consideration, and through joining fellowships and studying the Bible, I came to conclude that “the world was created” was the most reasonable answer to be found. I could no longer deny God’s existence.

Society / Life

Mass Red, Yellow Health Codes Confuse Henan County Residents (August 5, 2022, Sixth Tone)
Authorities in central China have backtracked on a controversial policy that allowed a county government to arbitrarily change the health code status of residents and curtail their movements following an online backlash over harsh COVID-19 control measures.

Nevertheless, Chinese Civil Society Persisted (August 8, 2022, China File)
He called this kind of existence—an existence without striving or competition, in which one simply ensures one’s basic needs are met—“lying flat.” “Lying flat-ism” immediately went viral, receiving an especially warm reception among Chinese youth.

Analysis: More Chinese women delay or give up on having babies after zero-COVID ordeal (August 8, 2022, Reuters)
But, particular to China, its uncompromising “zero-COVID” policy of promptly stamping out any outbreaks with strict controls on people’s lives may have caused profound damage on their desire to have children, demographers say.

In ‘Zero-COVID’ China, the Elderly Are Becoming Ever More Marginalized (August 9, 2022, Sixth Tone)
In China’s major cities, residents now have to use “digital health codes” to do pretty much anything: from entering a restaurant to using a public restroom. For the many seniors who don’t have smartphones, that’s a big problem.

Economics / Trade / Business

China’s Low-Growth Zero-COVID Policy Signals Transition Away From Reform Period (August 8, 2022, The Diplomat)
If it wasn’t clear before COVID-19 hit, it is now apparent that Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, does not prize economic growth above social and political factors. In fact, growth appears to be further down on China’s agenda than it has been in several decades.

China property crisis: Why homeowners stopped paying their mortgages (August 9, 2022, BBC)
“Construction stops, mortgage stops. Deliver homes and get repaid!” That was one of the chants disgruntled apartment buyers in China used at a protest in June. But their ire over unfinished homes didn’t stop at signs and chants. Hundreds of them stopped paying their mortgages – a radical step for China, where dissent is not tolerated.

China’s Regional Governments, Long Divided, Are Building Bridges (August 10, 2022, Sixth Tone)
China’s regional governments are not known for working together well, especially across provincial lines. It can be so hard for them to get along that when Jiangsu province and Shanghai, a province-level autonomous city, had to share a lake, they decided the best way was to cut it in two with an enormous net.


Chinese Province to Kill Majors With Low Employment Rates (August 5, 2022, Sixth Tone)
Education authorities in the eastern Anhui province ordered universities to “halt enrollment” for majors with employment rates below 60% for three consecutive years, according to the higher education reform plan published July 20. Based on the 2021 employment trend, the decision would put a wide range of majors at risk, including finance, law, languages, and broadcast journalism.

Netizen Voices: University Warns Against “Universal Values,” “Civil Society,” and “The West’s Idea of Journalism” (August 9, 2022, China Digital Times)
A screenshot of a university lecture warning of “seven false tides of thought” within higher education demonstrates the Chinese Communist Party’s continued fear that students do not ascribe to its ideology. The screenshot seems to stem from a Shaanxi University of Science and Technology lecture on “Issues and Challenges Confronting Ideological-Political Work in Higher Education.”

History / Culture

Video: CCTV spring festival gala in 1988 (Everyday Life in Maoist China)

Travel / Food

Chinese Tourist Hotspot’s Covid Lockdown Strands 80,000 Travelers (August 7, 2022, Skift)
Sanya, the island’s main tourist hub, imposed a lockdown on Saturday and restricted transport links to try to stem the outbreak, even as some 80,000 visitors were enjoying its beaches at peak season. Many are now stuck inside hotels until next Saturday, if not longer.

Hong Kong to roll out Chinese-style COVID-19 traffic light system for new arrivals (August 9, 2022, Radio Free Asia)
Authorities in Hong Kong are rolling out a “traffic-lights” COVID-19 system already in use in mainland China this week, sparking concerns that the system could be used to target critics of the government. From Friday, anyone arriving in the city will be required to stay in a designated quarantine hotel for three days, before being allowed to leave with an amber code for a further four days while taking “multiple” COVID-19 tests, the government announced on Aug. 8.

China, UK agree to resume direct passenger flights – British embassy (August 10, 2022, Reuters)
China and Britain have agreed to resume direct passenger flights between them, the British embassy in China said on Wednesday. Direct flights would initially be provided by Chinese airlines, and the resumption of flights by British Airways is still under progress, the embassy said in a statement on its official social media account.

Links for Researchers

Full Text: The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era (August 10, 2022, Xinhua)
The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council and the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China published a white paper titled “The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era” on Wednesday. The following is the full text of the white paper

Pray for China

August 14 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Aug. 14, 1900, the armies of the Eight Nation Alliance (八国联军) seized Beijing from the Empress Dowager’s government. This effectively ended the Boxer Uprising (义和团运动) during which over 32,000 Chinese Christians had been killed—mostly Roman Catholics. Following a great influx of missionaries, the number of Protestant Christians increased ten-fold to about 700,000 during the next half century. After foreign missionaries were expelled and the Cultural Revolution ended, the Lord brought about another revival in China that Operation World has called “without precedent in history.” Pray for the Lord Jesus Christ to be glorified as Chinese missionaries raise up a church among unreached minority groups. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing! Revelation 5:1

Image credit: tefl Search, via Flickr
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