ZGBriefs | August 25, 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

China issues alert as drought and heatwave put crops at risk (August 24, 2022, The Guardian)
Local authorities told to take measures and ‘use every unit of water carefully’ in effort to save autumn harvest.

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Book Release: Becoming More Fruitful in Cross-Cultural Work: How to Be Free in Christ and Rooted in Reality as you Fulfill Your Call, by Amy Young

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Podcast: The Taiwan Crisis: Reaching Critical? A View from Taipei (August 16, 2022, The Pacific Century)
A special mid-summer Pacific Century as Misha talks to the Financial Times’ Kathrin Hille about the Taiwan crisis, the “new normal” in cross-Strait tension, how China is trying to pressure Taiwan, and if Nancy Pelosi just made war more likely.

The Face of China: A Globetrotting Diplomat Armed With U.S. Admonitions (August 21, 2022, The New York Times) (subscription required)
While Xi Jinping hasn’t visited another country in the pandemic, his foreign minister, Wang Yi, has been to dozens, extolling Beijing’s vision for the world.

Podcast: Latin America, China, and the United States: A Triangular Relationship (August 22, National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, via player.fm)
China’s engagement and influence in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) have grown with the expansion of the Belt and Road Initiative into the region. Increased American attention suggests changes in a complex triangular relationship. What is China’s ambition in the region? What would LAC countries stand to gain from more robust partnerships with China? Will they feel pressure to choose between China and the United States?

Podcast: The new great game: how China replaced Russia in Kazakhstan and beyond (August 22, 2022, China Whispers, via player.fm)
On this episode, I talk to Raffaello about China’s relations with the five ‘Stans that sit cushioned between China (to their east) and Russia (to their north). As with China’s relationship with any developing region, Beijing is motivated by access to its significant oil and mineral resources. But there’s something special about Central Asia – Raffaello argues that it’s an extension of Beijing’s Xinjiang strategy…

China warns of ‘forceful measures’ if Canada interferes in Taiwan (August 24, 2022, Reuters)
China warned it will take “forceful measures” if Canada interferes in Taiwan, a week after it emerged that a delegation of Canadian parliamentarians was planning to visit the island later this year to explore trade opportunities.


Mildred Cable: A Missionary Who Made The Right Choices (August 16, 2022, Field Partner)
Mildred Cable was another remarkable missionary to China. The easiest way to introduce her is to focus on a quality that was invaluable to her and is invaluable to any missionary – the capacity to make the right choices.

What if Christianity Is No Longer Successful? (August 22, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
But what about the decades when China was closed to all outside involvement? What about today, when many foreign workers have had to leave and new restrictions are making life increasingly difficult for those who stay? Is “God’s hour” limited only to those snippets of history when foreign believers have free and unfettered access to China?

Like the Power of Water (August 22, 2022, China Partnership Blog)
While theological education is not the only type of learning Chinese Christians are pursuing, it is an important area which CP has covered extensively in the past. This reflection gives an important window into the impact on-the-ground theological learning is having on modern Chinese believers as it shapes their worldview and outlook.

Protecting Children from Abuse: What Can the Church Do? (August 24, 2022, Chinese Church Voices)
So, what can the church do in the face of the sexual abuse of girls? First, the church should fully understand the many barriers that exist to talking with young people about sex, in order to get a handle on what’s really going on so as to prescribe the right remedies and avoid fighting battles unprepared.

Society / Life

China says COVID has exacerbated decline in births, marriages (August 22, 2022, Reuters)
China’s National Health Commission said COVID-19 has contributed to the decline in the country’s marriage and birth rates that has accelerated in recent years due to the high costs of education and child-rearing. Many women are continuing to delay their plans to marry or have children, it said, adding that rapid economic and social developments have led to “profound changes”.

Shanghai’s skyline will be dark for 2 days due to power shortages caused by heat wave (August 23, 2022, NPR)
The skyline of the Chinese city Shanghai will not be lit up for two nights. It’s part of a string of measures nationwide as China deals with power shortages caused by its worst heat wave on record.

Economics / Trade / Business

Podcast: China’s Role in Sri Lanka’s Debt Crisis (August 18, 2022, China File)
In this episode of the China in the World podcast, Paul Haenle speaks with Anushka Wijesinha about the ongoing political and economic crisis in Sri Lanka. The discussion covers the domestic and international causes of Sri Lanka’s debt crisis, Beijing’s role in the Sri Lankan economy, and the path forward for debt restructuring negotiations between Colombo and Beijing. 

China’s property market is in freefall. What does this mean for the world economy? (August 23, 2022, The Guardian)
The sector is dangerously overheated – but unlike the 2008 financial crisis, the global ripple effect is likely to be limited.

China exerting growing pressure on foreign companies, study finds (August 24, 2022, Reuters)
China is exerting increasing pressure on foreign companies doing business in its markets to bring them into line with its political agenda, broadening the “red lines” for issues to which it is allergic, a German study seen by Reuters shows.

Meet the American in China who revitalises historic villages by turning them into cultural and economic magnets(August 24, 2022, South China Morning Post) (subscription required)
Be they a friend or stranger, vendor or tourist, Brian Linden tries to greet everyone he encounters in the little Chinese village that he has had a hand in revitalising for nearly two decades. He uses his Chinese fluency to ask how businesses and lives are going, and if tourists are enjoying themselves. They respond with familiar warmth. Many call him Yang Cunzhang, or foreign village head.


How Toddler Tutoring Preys On Anxious Chinese Parents (August 22, 2022, Sixth Tone)
New Chinese parents often feel intense pressure to adopt a “scientific” approach to childrearing.

Gradual reopening of Chinese border underway (August 24, 2022, ICEF)
The Beijing-based student service platform China Admissions is reporting a partial opening of the Chinese border for international students. The news follows a 21 July statement by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who said at the time that, “All international students can return to China to continue their studies according to their own wishes, and overseas business activities and cross-border labor travel will be promoted in an orderly manner.”

Health / Environment

On Dialysis in China? Pray There Isn’t a Lockdown. (August 18, 2022, Sixth Tone)
Across China, kidney disease patients still routinely have to travel long distances to access hemodialysis. For many, the lack of treatment options can be fatal — especially during an era of sudden lockdowns.

Floods Kill 17 in Northwest China (August 19, 2022, Sixth Tone)
While torrential rain is flooding a normally dry part of China, usually wet areas are drying out amid an extended drought.

Photos: China’s Heat Waves, Droughts, and Power Cuts (August 22, 2022, Sixth Tone)

What China’s worst drought on record looks like (August 23, 2022, BBC)
A month-long heatwave and record low rainfall have resulted in an unprecedented drought along the Yangtze, China’s longest river. Lakes and tributaries have receded as a result of the drought, exposing riverbeds and even a 600-year-old Buddhist stone carving and rocks below the famous Guanyin Pavilion, in Wuhan, Hubei province.

China issues alert as drought and heatwave put crops at risk (August 24, 2022, The Guardian)
Local authorities told to take measures and ‘use every unit of water carefully’ in effort to save autumn harvest.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Not so Despicable: China changes ending of Minions movie (August 23, 2022, BBC)
The latest movie in the Despicable Me franchise premiered in China on Friday – albeit with a different ending, as local viewers discovered.

Language / Language Learning

50 beginner questions about learning Chinese (August 23, 2022, Hacking Chinese)
Below, I will provide answers to the most common questions beginners have about learning Chinese. For each question, I provide a short and direct answer whenever possible, as well as links to further information.

Speaking Up: Can Social Media Save China’s Dialects? (August 24, 2022, The World of Chinese)
Content in dialects is booming on social media, but is that enough to save them from extinction?


The Culture Tree: Culture Learning: A Book Review (August 19, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
Dr. Mark Hedinger is the president of CultureBound, an intercultural training organization based in Portland, Oregon, whose mission is to “increase the effectiveness of gospel ministry by facilitating intercultural understanding.” This book is written primarily for Christians serving cross-culturally, either abroad or in their home countries.

Why do China books all look the same? (August 23, 2022, Sup China)
The color red, dragons, cropped Asian faces…when it comes to presenting China, book publishers often rely on a set of familiar tropes — to the detriment of the authors and the genre.

The Translation of the Bible into Chinese – Book Review (August 24, 2022, Global China Center)
This book represents a milestone in the history of the translation of the Bible into Chinese. Building on earlier research, it fills in some gaps and provides us with a comprehensive account not only of the history of the Chinese Union Version (CUV), but also some of the reasons for its continued unique prominence as the Bible of choice for Chinese Christians around the world.


New Open Doors Prayer App Connects American Believers with Persecuted Christians Around the World (August 23, 2022, Missions Box)
A new mobile prayer app developed by Christian persecution watchdog, Open Doors USA, gives users the ability to connect with persecuted Christians suffering for their faith. Available for free in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, the Open Doors Prayer App was created to help strengthen and support Christian communities facing high levels of persecution with prayer and encouragement.

Pray for China

August 25 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Aug. 25, 1984, Christiana Cai Sujuan (蔡苏娟姊妹) went to be with Lord. Cai wrote Queen of the Dark Chamber, a book recounting her amazing transformation from pampered daughter of a high government official in Jiangsu to nearly-blind Christian prayer warrior and ministry partner with missionary educator Mary Leaman (李曼姊妹). Cai wrote, “How can we (disabled) still be useful? Maybe you think people only pay attention to the educated – those with Ph.D.’s? Never mind. The Lord loves us. We can have a degree, too – a P.D. – a doctorate in prayer. If we will be faithful in our corner, praying for those who are on the front lines of battle, we will have a reward, too. …There is not a day that I have not prayed for China, my homeland, and the millions there who need Christ.” After leaving China, Cai and Leaman played key roles in the ministry of Ambassadors for Christ (基督使者协会-AFC). Pray for people with disabilities to see the Lord Jesus in His beauty and His kingdom that has no end. Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty; they will see a land that stretches afar. Isaiah 33:17

Image credit: Couleur, via 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