Video: Worship Music for the Chinese Soul (August 5, 2021, CantoSense)
Do the worship songs we sing reflect our cultural values? This episode, we are joined by our guest, Ruth Chen, as we discuss the significance of culturally relevant music and lyrics in a worship experience.
Webinar | Learning about China: Sipping from a Fire Hose (ChinaSource)
China is complicated. It is both a 5000-year-old civilization and a 72-year-old nation. It has a free-wheeling capitalist economy presided over by a Communist party. Traditions run deep and change happens at a dizzying pace. Where do you go to make sense of it all? On Thursday, August 26, we will hold an online webinar titled Learning about China: Sipping from a Fire Hose, presented by Joann Pittman. In this webinar, we will explore ways to learn about China, from language and culture to history and contemporary society. What books to read? What online resources to dip into? The goal is not to point you to facts and figures, but to provide tools that will set you on a path of life-long learning.
Go here to register.
If you or your company/organization would like to sponsor a link in ZGBriefs, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs
How a fake network pushes pro-China propaganda (August 5, 2021, BBC)
A sprawling network of more than 350 fake social media profiles is pushing pro-China narratives and attempting to discredit those seen as opponents of China’s government, according to a new study. The aim is to delegitimise the West and boost China’s influence and image overseas, the report by the Centre for Information Resilience (CIR) suggests.
US to allow visitors from Hong Kong to stay for 18 months (August 6, 2021, BBC)
Thousands of Hong Kong residents are to be offered a temporary “safe haven” in the US, President Joe Biden says. Mr Biden said that because Hong Kong’s freedoms were being violated by China, the US would allow visitors to stay for a period of 18 months. Thousands of Hong Kong residents already in the US may benefit.
Michael Spavor: Canadian jailed for 11 years in China on spying charges (August 11, 2021, BBC)
A court in China has convicted a Canadian businessman of espionage and sentenced him to 11 years in prison. Michael Spavor has been detained since 2018, after being arrested with fellow Canadian ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig. The verdict will test a strained relationship between the Canadian and Chinese governments.
Canada athletes may not be safe at 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, opposition leader says (August 11, 2021, The Guardian)
The leader of Canada’s Conservative opposition party has warned that it may soon be too dangerous for Canadians to travel to China for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Speaking at a news conference on Ontario on Tuesday, leader Erin O’Toole said: “We are approaching a point where it won’t be safe for Canadians, including Olympic athletes, to travel to China.”
Taiwan, US agree to hold regular talks on coastguard cooperation (August 11, 2021, South China Morning Post)
Taiwan and the Taiwan and the Taiwan and the Taiwan and the United States on Wednesday agreed to hold regular talks on cooperation between their coastguards, which could include joint drills near the self-ruled island , according to local media reports. At their first meeting on coastguard-related issues since agreeing to form a working group in March , the US said it would back Taiwan to extend its global reach, including through maritime security cooperation.
China: Swiss embassy urges media to remove scientist fake news (August 11, 2021, BBC)
The Swiss embassy in China has urged Chinese media to take down articles and posts it says contain “false” news. In a Twitter post, the embassy said an alleged Swiss biologist who had been quoted in Chinese media in recent days likely did not exist. State media outlets were among those that carried articles with comments from “Wilson Edwards” on the origins of Covid-19 and the WHO’s independence.
China’s Presence in Africa Is at Heart Political (August 11, 2021, The Diplomat)
Beijing’s outreach to Africa is largely driven by the desire for support on the international stage from the continent’s 54 countries.
Police in China’s Shanxi Detain Nine Protestant House Church Members (August 9, 2021, Radio Free Asia)
Authorities in the northern province of Shanxi have detained nine members of the Golden Lamp Protestant church in the provincial capital, Taiyuan, after it refused to join the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-backed Three-Self Association of churches.
Too Much to Do Alone (August 9, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
Reading the 2021 summer issue of ChinaSource Quarterly brought back fond memories of my time with college students in China and reminded me of the strategic nature of campus ministry—both in China and around the world. In addition, as I will share below, the articles highlighted the need for an integrated approach to student ministry in China.
Congolese Churches In China: How The BRI Changes Chinese Cities (August 10, 2021, Eurasia Review)
“While on the first floor, retailers are selling clothing, electric devices and African drapery, on the tenth floor the Sunday worship starts at 11 am. About 100 churchgoers were attending the worship,” said Dr. Heck, describing her visit to the church, “a Congolese pastor and trader from Kinshasa, who frequently visits the church on his business trip, was preaching.”
China Christian Council and Luis Palau Association Meet Virtually (August 10, 2021, Chinese Church Voices)
For reasons apparent to all, there have not been many in-person communications between the China Christian Council and overseas ministries since the pandemic. This article from the China Christian Council indicates that, via virtual conference, overseas ministries can still have contact and cooperation with CCC and other organizations inside mainland China.
From the Middle East to the Middle Kingdom (2) (August 11, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
As we will see, each stage of Hui history has significant implications for gospel ministry among the Hui because each stage has shaped the Hui people’s foundational worldview.
Society / Life
Inside the Subway Disaster That Killed 14 in Central China (August 6, 2021, Sixth Tone)
As floods struck the city of Zhengzhou, hundreds of commuters were left trapped inside a subway train as the waters rose. Fourteen died. Sixth Tone investigates how the tragedy unfolded — and how it could have been prevented.
Capital encourages bigger families (August 6, 2021, China Daily)
In addition to the extra 30 days of maternity leave that mothers in the city with a third child were awarded from the end of May, the Beijing Municipal Health Commission said on Thursday that they can also enjoy a further one to three months of additional leave if their workplace agrees, and their spouses will be eligible for 15 days of paternity leave.
Beijing tightens travel restrictions to keep Delta variant at bay (August 7, 2021, South China Morning Post)
In Beijing, eight cases were confirmed last week, but none have been reported in the past three days. The capital is a top travel destination during the summer holidays, putting it at risk of spread from elsewhere. As a result, city authorities have banned travellers from areas with recent cases and suspended plane, train and long-haul bus services from those centres.
China elephants: 150,000 evacuated from path of trekking herd (August 10, 2021, BBC)
More than 150,000 people have been evacuated from the path of a herd of migrating elephants, Chinese officials have said. Authorities in south-western Yunnan province feared conflict between residents and the 14 Asian elephants which have been on the move for months. More than 25,000 police officers using vehicles and drones have monitored the herd, state media report. The protected animals left a nature reserve in Yunnan about 17 months ago.
How China’s Elderly Built an Internet of Their Own (August 10, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Not only are many elderly Chinese avid and adept users of digital technology, they have also found ways to make the online experience pleasurable and even meaningful. Between 2018 and 2020, my research team and I interviewed nearly 200 “silver surfers” nationwide, all of them aged 60 or older. We found significantly higher levels of happiness among older people who used the internet compared with those who don’t.
The Chinese Government’s Forgettable COVID Slogans (August 11, 2021, Sinosplice)
The Chinese government has been big on slogans for quite a while, and when it goes all out, you see those things everywhere. Perhaps it is starting to feel like the “era of slogans” is over, but these red banners no longer feel as effective as they once did.
China to ban karaoke songs with ‘illegal content’ that endangers national unity (August 11, 2021, The Guardian)
China will establish a blacklist of karaoke songs to ban those containing “illegal content” from karaoke venues across the country starting from 1 October, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The ministry said banned content would include that which endangers national unity, sovereignty or territorial integrity, violates state religious policies by propagating cults or superstitions, or which encourages illegal activities such as gambling and drugs.
149 major cities see populations shrink (August 12, 2021, China Daily)
The cities with shrinking populations were scattered across 23 of the 31 provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland, with most of them in northeastern, central and western China.
China’s Embattled For-Profit Tutoring Sector is Fueled by Anxious Parents (August 10, 2021, Radii China)
China’s new education reforms aim to free students from chronic academic stress, but some parents are likely less than thrilled with the changes.
Chinese Tutoring Platforms End Classes With Foreign-Based Teachers (August 10, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Some teachers abroad say the changes will affect their personal finances, while students and parents in China are concerned over its impact on learning English.
Health / Environment
Why China’s climate policy matters to us all (August 9, 2021, BBC)
China’s carbon emissions are vast and growing, dwarfing those of other countries. Experts agree that without big reductions in China’s emissions, the world cannot win the fight against climate change.
After Floods, China’s Zhengzhou Hit by Surge in Delta Coronavirus Cases (August 9, 2021, Radio Free Asia)
The flood-hit provincial capital Zhengzhou announced partial lockdown measures after reporting more than 100 confirmed local cases, including a doctor from the Zhengzhou No. 6 People’s Hospital, which has been under lockdown due to a cluster of cases from July 31, state media reported.
China weighs whether to abandon Covid zero-tolerance approach (August 10, 2021, NBC News)
Chinese officials have kept a lid on the pandemic by deploying a zero-tolerance playbook that would be considered extreme in the West: sealing off entire cities and enforcing mandatory testing on tens of millions of people.
Science / Technology
China is working on a lander for human moon missions (August 9, 2021, Space News)
China’s main spacecraft maker is developing a human landing system for lunar missions, according to an account of an official academic visit. The brief news report from Xiamen University School of Aeronautics and Astronautics July 1 (Chinese) names individuals leading projects pertinent to China’s human lunar landing plans and notably refers to the landing project as a “national strategy”.)
History / Culture
Video: Beijing in 1986 (Everday Life in Maoist China)
In Memoriam — Pierre Ryckmans (Simon Leys) (August 11, 2021, China Heritage)
Today, 11 August 2021, marks the seventh year since Pierre Ryckmans passed away. The following essay was composed to honour his memory and published in The China Story on 30 November 2015. Pierre’s influence on my efforts and aspirations remains undiminished, and I am reissuing the modest tribute to him in China Heritage as the original is buried in the archive of The China Story site.
Bird view of Xi’an city, in NW China’s Shaanxi Province, 1938. (August 11, 2021, Tong Bingxue, via Twitter)
Art of Shaanxi storytelling honored (August 11, 2021, China Daily)
At 9 am, he drives to primary schools and middle schools in Xi’an, Shaanxi province, to teach students about Shaanxi kuaiban, a form of Chinese traditional form of storytelling in the Shaanxi dialect to the rhythm of bamboo clappers, after which the art form is named. Sometimes, the classes involve rehearsals for performances and competitions.
Travel / Food
Largest airport terminal in Tibet operational (August 7, 2021, China Daily)
The new terminal of Lhasa Gonggar Airport looks like a lotus flower from above. It will help the airport meet the target of handling 9 million passengers and 80,000 tonnes of cargo and mail by 2025, according to the airport. Located in Gonggar county of Shannan city and close to the regional capital of Lhasa, Lhasa Gonggar Airport is the largest airport in Tibet.
A Fusion Mosque in the Hinterlands (August 7, 2021, The World of Chinese)
The Xichengyao (西城窑, lit. “Western City Kiln”) Temple stands on the southwestern edge of a village by the same name in Shangyi county, Zhangjiakou, giving a spectacular view over a dried riverbed. It’s a remarkable edifice to stumble on this far in the sticks—a mosque fusing Chinese and Islamic architectural styles.
Photographer Captures the Beauty of China’s Landscapes with a Drone (August 11, 2021, PetaPixel)
Photographer Florian Delalee has been exploring and sharing the beauty of China’s landscapes from the air using a camera drone. His aerial photos feature a dazzling diversity in colors and textures seen across the world’s 3rd largest country.
Arts / Entertainment / Media
Winter is coming: The Beijing 2022 Olympics start in less than 6 months (August 5, 2021, NPR)
We’re still in the final days of the Tokyo Summer Olympics — but thanks to the one-year delay of these Games, the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are now less than six months away. “All venues and facilities for Beijing 2022 are close to complete,” organizers said in a recent update.
10 Chinese Athletes that Won Our Hearts at Tokyo 2020 Olympics (August 6, 2021, Radii China)
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is nearing its conclusion, with the closing ceremony scheduled for 8 PM local time (Tokyo) on Sunday, August 8. With the end now in sight, we’ve rounded up 10 athletes from Team China that wowed us and viewers worldwide — from Sunisa Lee’s best friend, 16-year-old Chinese gymnast Guan Chenchen, to the first Chinese man to enter the men’s 100-meter final at the Olympics, Su Bingtian.
Is China Gaming the System or Playing the Game? (August 6, 2021, Council on Foreign Relations)
For many, a quick glance at the Olympics medals table reinforces the idea of China as a threat—a country pursuing victory at any cost.
Tokyo’s Olympic Bubble? Wait Till You See Beijing’s. (August 9, 2021, The New York Times) (subscription required)
For the Winter Games, just six months away, China plans far more elaborate Covid-19 precautions than were taken at the Summer Olympics.
Language / Language Learning
Faster, Higher, Stronger Chengyu (August 6, 2021, The World of Chinese)
Perhaps in these TV sports commentaries and Olympics-related conversations, you have heard some poetic chengyu used to describe the athletes’ skills and their dramatic victories and defeats. Many of these stem from ancient poetry and military history, and were later applied to sports and other competitive contexts.
New Slang Coined by the Tokyo Olympics (August 8, 2021, The World of Chinese)
The Tokyo Olympic Summer Games has just wrapped up, but in China, it will probably live on in the plethora of new slang terms coined by the competition.
Podcast: Why is Chinese so Damn Hard? (August 9, 2021, Sup China)
John and Jared are going to revisit and unpack this classic question posed by Dr. David Moser three decades ago and identify what is hard about Chinese, what is easier now, and whether Chinese really is harder than other languages.
Podcast: Safe Harbors: Stories from an International and Intergenerational Friendship (July 26, 2021, The Rectory)
We are thrilled that our “sound guy” David has brought his dear friend Anne Packevicz to the Rectory this week. They met 14 years ago in Beijing, and David was immediately incorporated into the Packevicz family who were working as English teachers. Through throwing impromptu musicals, connecting over their shared faith, and lots of joy their friendship solidified to the point where David calls Anne his “American mom.”
A Tale of Two Stories: Amos Yong’s Mission after Pentecost and T’ien Ju-K’ang’s Peaks of Faith (August 10, 2021, The Gospel Coalition)
This article contrasts two books on missiology: Amos Yong’s Mission after Pentecost and T’ien Ju-K’ang’s Peaks of Faith. The author argues that Yong’s approach, shaped by a post-colonial hermeneutic, dismisses the urgency of verbal witness, the significance of eschatological judgment, and the need for conversion. Thus, Yong falsely asserts the modern missions movement is dead. However, in Peaks of Faith T’ien Ju-K’ang offers a well-documented account of the powerful impact of the gospel in Southwest China from 1880 to 1985. The story of missions that T’ien tells is radically different from the caricature produced by Yong’s post-colonial critique.
Webinar: Preparing your TCK for College (Global Trellis)
Does the thought of helping your TCK apply to college send shivers up your spine? Do you feel overwhelmed and unsure where to even start? In this workshop, Kristi Steele will provide you a four year road map starting with 9th grade. She will guide you through what you and your TCK need to focus on in 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade to be ready for college.
Job Opening at Christianity Today: Asia Editor (Christianity Today)
Christianity Today is hiring a full-time regional editor to assign and edit formative and informative news and opinion articles focused on evangelical Christians in Asia.
Pray for China
August 12 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Aug. 12, 1866, Gao Chang (高长牧师-Ko Tiong) was baptized in Tainan. Gao was discipled by James L. Maxwell (马雅各), the first English Protestant missionary to reside in Taiwan (1865-85). After initially working as a cook, Gao became the first Taiwanese preacher and served for 38 years. Pray for Christians in Taiwan to be nourished by God’s Word and minister to the largely unreached blue-collar workers. Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:1-3
Image credit: Guzheng, by Neil Bryan Sietereales
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