ZGBriefs | August 4, 2022

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Featured Article

Confucius through Christian Eyes: Kenneth Scott Latourette and Charles E. Farhadian (August 2, 2022, Global China Center)
Whether Confucianism is, or has ever been, a religion is a consideration that has been hotly debated for centuries, with evidence for and against its religious nature presented by those who answer either “Yes” or “No.” Anna Sun states that this is indeed a question “the West has never been able to answer, and China never able to ask.” She continues, however, that Confucianism is a civil religion. In this section, we shall present the findings of two outstanding American writers, Kenneth Scott Latourette and Charles E. Farhadian, both of whom identify Confucianism as a world religion.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Chinese leader Xi Jinping sets out five-year strategy ahead of bid for third term (July 28, 2022, Radio Free Asia)
Ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping has set out his political strategy for the next five years ahead of his bid for an unprecedented third term in office at the 20th party congress later in the year. Xi told a high-level political symposium in Beijing this week that the CCP should “focus on deploying strategic tasks and major measures for the next five years.”

Biden and China’s Xi discuss tensions over Taiwan (July 28, 2022, NPR)
President Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping had a “direct and honest” conversation about tensions over Taiwan, according to the White House, as part of a call on a number of issues that lasted for over two hours on Thursday. The White House says the leaders also discussed making plans for a future face to face meeting, which would be their first since Biden took office.

For America’s next generation of China experts, the challenges go beyond language and country access(August 1, 2022, South China Morning Post, via Yahoo!)
Fewer foreigners these days want to pursue China studies, despite expertise in the country arguably more needed than ever. But Beyrer faces a more prosaic challenge: he cannot enter China. “It has become a challenge to understand China without the prism of face-to-face interactions,” said Beyrer, an American who visited the country in 2016 and 2019, each time for weeks-long programmes through the US State Department.

Pelosi in Taiwan: A ChinaFile Conversation (August 2, 2022, China File)
We asked contributors for thoughts on the trip’s significance ahead of Pelosi’s arrival.

Putting Pelosi in the Corner (August 3, 2022, China Media Project)
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is headline news all over the world today, and China has voiced its “strong condemnation.” So why is the story pushed into fifth place on the front page of the CCP’s official People’s Daily newspaper?

Pelosi’s Taiwan visit sparks furious reaction from China – video report (August 3, 2022, The Guardian)
Beijing demonstrated its anger by launching live fire ‘targeted military operations’ in six locations surrounding the self-ruled island, while the Chinese foreign minister called the visit ‘an outright farce’.

China summons US ambassador over Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan (August 3, 2022, China Daily)
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng urgently summoned the US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns late Tuesday night and lodged stern representations and strong protests over Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s visit to China’s Taiwan region. Noting that Pelosi risks universal condemnation to deliberately provoke and play with fire, Xie said that this is a serious violation of the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques.


Interview: Christian Music Producer Says Chinese Music Worship Can Be Better (July 15, 2022, China Christian Daily)
Christian Times, an online Chinese Christian newspaper, invited Nai Yaguang, a Chinese music producer, to have an interview on which themes of “How to Understand Worship and Praise”. Brother Nai, a Generation Y from Kaifeng, Henan Province, is a father of two. He has been engaged in music ministry for 14 years and trained many church workers who worship and serve many churches. 

Book Published: Thirty Years’ Research on History of Christian Colleges in China (July 21, 2022, China Christian Daily)
The book was edited by Zhang Kaiyuan, Ma Min, and Pei Yili. At the end of the 1980s, Professor Zhang introduced the study of the history of Chinese Christian colleges to China from abroad. 

Panel: Three IT Technicians Discuss How Churches Should Respond to Online Challenges Under the Administrative Measures for Internet Religious Information Services (July 26, 2022, China Christian Daily)
Brother Xie, Hu, and Liu are all Christian professionals who have been engaged in IT technology for many years. A few days ago, they had a technical dialogue and explained their understanding of some terms in the Measures, and gave suggestions on how the churches should be responded to the Measures with the Christian Times, an online Chinese Christian newspaper.

Story of 94-Y-O Pastor Who Still Preach (July 11, 2022, China Christian Daily)
In Flower Lane Church, Fuzhou, Fujian Province, on July 3, the 94-year-old Rev. Chen Yiping from Trinity Church in Xiamen was invited to give a sermon titled “Running Out of Wine”, with hymns of “Jesus Lord, My Best Love Thou Art” and “The Eternal Love — The Seven Last Words” from a choir in Xiamen.

A Grace God Has Given Us: Gospel-Centered Legal Practice (August 1, 2022, China Partnership Blog)
As Chinese house churches try to respond to the current challenges in the Chinese climate toward religion, knowledge and understanding are in great need. In a 2021 seminar for Chinese Christians, “Gabriel,” a Christian attorney, shared about how and why house churches should adopt a gospel-centered legal framework, and what that means practically for believers and their church communities. He admonished believers to think about why they are suffering, and to use their suffering to make Christ’s gospel known through their suffering. 

Society / Life

China’s City Dwellers Endure ‘Extreme Commutes,’ Report Says (August 1, 2022, Sixth Tone)
More than 70% of the surveyed cities saw an increase in the percentage of people traveling for more than an hour to get to work.

Let’s Have a Picnic Downstairs: Shanghai Neighbors Film Lockdown Life (August 1, 2022, Sixth Tone)
What will a doctor, a therapist, a group-buy coordinator, a young idealist, a writer, and a journalist do when they find out they are neighbors in a lockdown? They set out to make a documentary. This short video essay is about an impossible relationship formed in a once-in-a-lifetime setting. By making it, a group of young neighbors in Shanghai remember their lost spring.

China has over 640,000 ‘road chiefs’ to take care of rural roads (August 2, 2022, China Daily)
China has built an extensive network of “road chiefs” across the country to take care of roads in rural areas. By the end of June, the country had 641,000 “road chiefs,” people in counties, townships, and villages who are in charge of local rural roads’ maintenance and management, according to the Ministry of Transport.

Economics / Trade / Business

They Flocked to China for Boom Times. Now They’re Thinking Twice. (July 28, 2022, The New York Times)
Global businesses and industries that rode the China growth wave for years are bracing for the fallout of a slowing economy.

China’s top leaders have gone silent on the country’s economic goals (July 29, 2022, The New York Times) (subscription required)
China’s top leadership has gone quiet on the growth targets it had set for the year, as the world’s second-largest economy continues to battle a largely self-inflicted economic slowdown. In early March, China’s government had said that the country would target gross domestic product growth of about 5.5% this year. While that would be China’s lowest official target for economic growth in three decades, economists have said that it is looking increasingly impossible to reach.

The Devastating Human Cost of the Henan Banking Crisis (July 29, 2022, Sixth Tone)
In April, thousands of bank depositors in central China’s Henan province lost access to their life savings. Four months later, their lives have descended into a Kafkaesque nightmare.

China’s economy could be dragged down by loss of confidence in property sector (August 1, 2022, CNBC)
The loss of confidence in China’s property sector could feed into a contagion that would further drag down the Chinese economy, analysts warned.

Hong Kong’s Q2 GDP shrinks 1.4% y/y, recovery seen slow (August 1, 2022, Reuters)
Hong Kong’s economy contracted 1.4% in the second quarter from the same period a year earlier, advance government data showed on Monday, as exports and investments remained sluggish, and COVID-19 weighed on a wide range of economic activity. The contraction was worse than the 0.6% drop forecast by DBS and a 0.5% decline seen by Standard Chartered. The city’s economy shrank a revised 3.9% in the first quarter.


China’s vocational education woes (August 2, 2022, East Asia Forum)
In China, many students choose to go to a vocational school because of their low academic performance or their rural-to-urban migration status.  But data indicates there is still an oversupply of university graduates and an undersupply of skilled workers. China’s youth must grapple with the reality that education no longer guarantees prosperity.

History / Culture

INTERVIEW: Hong Kong Chronicles is CCP’s bid to rewrite city’s history (August 1, 2022, Radio Free Asia)
A veteran journalist calls on historians and ordinary people to take steps to preserve the historical record.

Travel / Food

No Need to Pack for a Dream Trip to China (August 3, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
It’s August, which means all the stores are putting out their back-to-school displays, reminding us that summer is almost over. But the weather is still warm, and the days are long, so there’s just time to squeeze in one more trip before we bid farewell to summer. Unfortunately, due to continuing COVID-19 travel restrictions, that trip probably couldn’t be to China…unless you’re willing to take a fantasy vacation.

Snack Attack: The Five Smelliest Snacks to Be Had in Beijing (August 3, 2022, The Beijinger)
There are snacks you can find in Beijing that smell so good they make your mouth water and tummy rumble with excitement. Then there are snacks that smell so stinky they’ll make you want to plug your nose and run before even trying them. But the truth is that sometimes, smells can be quite deceiving. 

Living Cross-culturally

Is the Door Slowly Opening? (July 29, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
In recent weeks there have been encouraging (even exciting to some) signs that the door to China is beginning to open, just a crack. It’s not at the scope and pace that many of us want, but hey, at this point we’ll take anything.


Chinese Christian History 101: Darkest Before the Dawn: A Book Review (August 1, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
This book is terrific, not because the author wrote a book to compete with scholars in an academic world, but as a teacher and missionary eager to learn about Christian missions in China and carefully show how today’s church can learn from the past. His book is written like a case study, and readers are invited to leap into more in-depth thinking about the future of Christianity in China.

Pray for China

August 8 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Aug. 8,1928, Liu Jingwen (刘景文女士), a pastor’s daughter, married Wang Mingdao (王明道先生) in her father’s church in Hangzhou. In 1955, following accusation meetings organized by the Three Self Patriotic Movement, they were arrested at gunpoint in Beijing. During their years in separate prisons and labor camps, they were tortured repeatedly. She was released in 1973, blind in one eye, and he in 1979, nearly blind and deaf. They lived in Shanghai with their son, and regularly held meetings with Christians in their small apartment until Mr. Wang went to be with the Lord on July 28, 1991. Mrs. Wang joined him on April 18, 1992. Their ashes are buried in the Dongshan Cemetery beside Lake Tai, about 30 miles southeast of Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. Pray for pastors in Beijing and Suzhou to stand firm in Christ—living by faith, working through love, and escaping the snare of legalism. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. Galatians 5:6

Image credit: Piqsels
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