ZGBriefs | August 18, 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

5 Truths We Must Defend: Lessons from China (August 11, 2022, The Gospel Coalition)
On the basis of my experience in China over the past 30 years, I want to highlight five theological truths that inevitably emerge as crucial battleground issues for Christians living in a hostile, totalitarian environment. Although the experience of Christians in the U.S. is vastly different, we can learn from the faithfulness of our brothers and sisters in China.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Xi Jinping faces stumbling blocks, as crucial Communist party meeting looms (August 13, 2022, The Guardian)
At a time when he wants to project stability, China’s president is grappling with a long-term crisis over Taiwan, a faltering economy and ongoing Covid outbreaks.

Telling China’s Story, Poorly (August 15, 2022, China Media Project)
Why did four Chinese propaganda documentaries of questionable quality and dubious provenance win awards at minor, as well as fake, international film festivals? 

China’s Xi makes first public appearance in two weeks (August 16, 2022, Reuters)
Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the northeastern province of Liaoning on Tuesday, state media reported, as he and other leaders emerge from a two-week absence from public activities, suggesting they had been at their annual summer conclave. Xi visited a museum in the Liaoning city of Jinzhou that commemorates a key 1948 battle, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.

(Identity) Politics in Command: Xi Jinping’s July Visit to Xinjiang (August 16, 2022, The China Story)
In that way, then, the official Xinhua images and readout of Xi’s remarks at various venues project an air of normalcy. But the situation is not normal. 

Chinese navy vessel arrives at Sri Lanka port to security concerns from India (August 16, 2022, The Guardian)
On Tuesday morning, the Yuan Wang 5 sailed into the Hambantota port, which was built by Beijing, and was welcomed by senior Sri Lankan and Chinese officials in a traditional ceremony that involved red carpet and a massive banner that read: “Hello Sri Lanka, Long Live Sri Lanka-China Friendship.”

China to send troops to Russia for joint military exercise (August 17, 2022, NBC News)
Chinese troops will travel to Russia to take part in joint military exercises led by the host and including India, Belarus, Mongolia, Tajikistan and other countries, China’s defense ministry said Wednesday. China’s participation in the joint exercises was “unrelated to the current international and regional situation,” the ministry said in a statement.

China Warns the U.S. Against Sailing Warships Through the Taiwan Strait (August 17, 2022,  TIME)
China’s ambassador to Washington, Qin Gang, said Tuesday that China viewed such Taiwan transits as an escalation by the U.S. and an effort to support the “separatist” government in Taipei. He delivered the warning after Senator Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, wrapped up the second trip to the island in less than two weeks by a U.S. congressional delegation.


Lu Bohong, the “Forgotten Saint” of Shanghai (July 2022, Zentrum)
Whoever is Lu Bohong? In 1938 one would have been more likely to know the answer than today, because the Catholic entrepreneur and active “apostle of charity” was internationally known; in fact alongside Ma Xiangbo (1840–1939), Joseph Lu Bohong (1875–1937) was probably the best known Chinese Catholic of his times, but due to the war with Japan (1937–1945), the civil war (1945–1949) and subsequent developments (Communist power take-over) he sank into oblivion.

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, Chinse Church Voices)
When I graduated from college and was preparing to study in America, a church near my future school sent me a letter, welcoming new students, and mentioning that they could help with shopping and settling in. I threw the letter resolutely in the trash, thinking to myself, I really need to keep my distance from such people. At the time, I thought that anyone who believed in God was surely out of his or her mind.

Internet Regulations Six Months On (August 12, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
Recently the Christian Times, an online newspaper in China, interviewed three Christian IT workers about the impact they are having, as well as suggestions for how churches and believers can respond. The article was translated and published in China Christian Daily.

Police in China’s Chengdu raid Sunday meeting of banned church members, detain one (August 15, 2022, Radio Free Asia)
Authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan have once more raided a gathering of Early Rain Covenant Church members in the the provincial capital, Chengdu, detaining one of them, RFA has learned. Christian writer and translator Xing Hongwei was detained in Chengdu on Sunday after a teahouse gathering of church members was raided by around 30 uniformed officers and plainclothes state security police, church members said on Monday.

Society / Life

Photographer’s Intense Near-Daily COVID Testing Regimen in China (August 15, 2022, Petapixel)
Documentary photographer Francois Nadeau lives in Beijing, China, and has to have a COVID test almost every 48 hours. This gave him an idea for a project. The resulting photo series, Another Day, Another Test, gives viewers a first-person, up-close view of what it is like to be swabbed on a regular basis by Chinese officials who pursue a zero-COVID policy.

Shanghai Covid: Ikea shoppers flee attempt to lock down store (August 15, 2022, BBC)
There were chaotic scenes at an Ikea store in Shanghai on Saturday, with shoppers trying to escape as authorities tried to quarantine them. Health officials were attempting to lock the store in Xuhui district down as a customer had been in close contact with a positive Covid case. Videos show the guards closing the doors at one point, but a crowd forced them open and made their escape.

China’s Youth Unemployment Rate Sets a Record, Again (August 16, 2022, Sixth Tone)
With one out of every five young urbanites out of work, China is facing a new kind of epidemic: joblessness. The official jobless rate for urban youths aged 16 to 24 rose 0.6 percentage points to 19.9% in July, the highest figure since China’s National Bureau of Statistics started publishing youth employment data in 2018.

China to discourage abortions to boost low birth rate (August 16, 2022, Reuters)
China will discourage abortions and take steps to make fertility treatment more accessible as part of efforts to boost one of the world’s lowest birth rates, its National Health Authority said on Tuesday. Support measures from taxation and insurance to education and housing would be improved and implemented, with local governments encouraged to boost infant care services and family friendly workplaces, according to guidelines published on the authority’s website.

Economics / Trade / Business

Coronavirus lockdown at China’s export showroom Yiwu clouds Christmas order outlook (August 12, 2022, South China Morning Post)
A coronavirus lockdown in the Chinese manufacturing hub of Yiwu – home to the world’s largest small commodities market – is clouding the outlook for the country’s biggest export season ahead of Christmas. The city in eastern Zhejiang province was put under a three-day lockdown on Thursday, the local government said on its official WeChat account at 3am.

‘Ticking time bomb’—China’s real estate bust deepens as housing prices fall for 11th straight month(August 15, 2022, Fortune, via Yahoo!)
That real estate market, which propelled China’s rapid growth ever since the 2008 financial crisis, is in the midst of a housing bust that has now recorded its 11thstraight month of price declines.

China’s No.2 admits economic recovery is at ‘most difficult point’ (August 17, 2022, CNN)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has urged China’s wealthiest provinces to “bravely take the lead” to bolster growth and employment, a day after official data painted a gloomy picture for the world’s second largest economy. Li — the No. 2 in the hierarchy of China’s ruling Communist Party — has been vocal this year about China’s sputtering economy, and has repeatedly stressed the need to stabilize the “complex and grave” job situation.

Health / Environment

China is seeding clouds to replenish its shrinking Yangtze River (August 17, 2022, CNN)
Chinese planes are firing rods into the sky to bring more rainfall to its crucial Yangtze River, which has dried up in parts, as swaths of the nation fall into drought and grapple with the worst heat wave on record. Several regions on the Yangtze have launched weather modification programs, but with cloud cover too thin, operations in some drought-ravaged parts of the river’s basin have remained on standby.

China cuts power to factories, homes as reservoirs fall (August 17, 2022, AP News)
Companies in Sichuan province including makers of solar panels, cement and urea closed or reduced production after they were ordered to ration power for up to five days, according to news reports Wednesday. That came after reservoir levels fell and power demand for air conditioning surged in scorching temperatures.

Science / Technology

China overtakes the US in scientific research output (August 11, 2022, The Guardian)
China has overtaken the US as the world leader in both scientific research output and “high impact” studies, according to a report published by Japan’s science and technology ministry. The report, which was published by Japan’s National Institute of Science and Technology Policy (NISTP) on Tuesday, found that China now publishes the highest number of scientific research papers yearly, followed by the US and Germany.

History / Culture

Ancient wooden bridge engulfed by blaze (August 8, 2022, China Daily)
One of the longest ancient wooden bridges in China, located in Fujian province, collapsed on Saturday night after a fire broke out. No casualties or injuries were reported. Wan’an Bridge, which has a history of more than 900 years, in the village of Changqiao in Pingnan county caught fire at around 9:10 pm. The blaze was put out by 10:45 pm, according to the local emergency management bureau. The local authorities are looking into the cause of the incident and the public security bureau has started an investigation.

Travel / Food

Travel By Planes vs Trains in China During Covid (August 17, 2022, The Beijinger)
When it comes to travel, most families would opt for the fastest way to get from point A to point B. That usually means flying by plane. But I’m here to share my family’s decision and experience taking the train from Beijing to Shanghai and back, and why this can be a great decision, especially during Covid.

Living Cross-culturally

An Unwelcomed Journey Out of China (August 15, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
I offer here a few insights into the circumstances that led to our permanent departure from China, our undesired exit from our company, and our unexpected re-settlement in our passport country. I pray this helps others in similar circumstances navigate the complexities they face as they make decisions.

Links for Researchers

The China Journal (July 2022, University of Chicago Press)

News Update on Religion and Church in China March 30 – July 5, 2022 (China Zentrum)

Pray for China

August 23 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Aug. 23, 1888, Shanghai missionary educator Francis Lister Hawks Pott (卜舫济校长) married Susan Huang Su’e (黄素娥女士), daughter of China’s first Episcopalian priest. They had four children and were married until her death in 1918. She was the founding principal of St. Mary’s School for Girls; along with Yan Yongjing (颜永京), he was a founder of St. John’s University. He died in Shanghai in 1947 at age 83 after serving in China for 56 years. Pray for Christian educators in Shanghai to walk by the Spirit and daily crucify the flesh with its passions and desires. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh… And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:16, 24

Image credit: 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