ZGBriefs | December 1, 2022

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Featured Article

Amid China’s Rare Protests, Christians Wrestle With Their Role (November 30, 2022, Christianity Today)
Two areas all these Chinese Christians agreed on: The importance of prayer for the country, the government, and its people, as well as the urgency of evangelism in a time of crisis.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Rishi Sunak says UK’s ‘golden era’ with China is over – video (November 28, 2022, The Guardian)
Rishi Sunak has signalled the end of the ‘golden era’ of relations between Britain and China, using his first major foreign policy speech to warn of the creeping authoritarianism of Xi Jinping’s regime.

China in Protest: A ChinaFile Conversation (November 28, 2022, ChinaFile)
We asked ChinaFile contributors for initial thoughts on the protests’ origins and significance.

Shanghai protests turn political | Live with Lizzi Lee (November 29, 2022, The China Project)
Freelance journalist Simon Leplâtre, who is based in Shanghai, talks about the brewing frustrations that erupted into anti-COVID-zero protests this past weekend.

Jiang Zemin: Former Chinese leader dies aged 96 (November 30, 2022, BBC)
China’s former leader Jiang Zemin, who came to power after the Tiananmen Square protests, has died at 96. State media said he had died just after 12:00 local time (04:00 GMT), in Shanghai, on Wednesday. Jiang presided over a time when China opened up on a vast scale and saw high-speed growth.

Protests in China (November 30, 2022, MERICS)
The protests didn’t come out of thin air. Despite general acceptance of the government’s mission to keep the virus in check and prevent high death tolls, public support has been eroded by the arbitrary nature and collateral damage of government policies. Discontent over months of restricted movement, a lack of income, increasing food prices and the rising death-toll of strict Zero-Covid rules has built up over past year – and is now erupting. 

Russian, Chinese bombers fly joint patrols over Pacific (November 30, 2022, AP)
Russian and Chinese strategic bombers on Wednesday flew a joint patrol over the western Pacific in a show of increasingly close defense ties between the two countries. The Russian Defense Ministry said that the Tu-95 bombers of the Russian air force and the Chinese H-6K bombers flew over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea during an eight-hour mission.

Xi Versus the Street (November 30, 2022, Foreign Affairs)
Of course, given Beijing’s powerful tools of surveillance and control, it seems unlikely that these events pose a direct threat to the regime. Xi may well stay in power another five or ten years, and perhaps even longer. But in challenging the government, the protests have raised far-reaching questions about how Xi’s second decade in power will play out.


Missiological Reflections on Money (November 18, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
I have seen encouraging and fruitful partnerships between Chinese nationals and foreign Christians, but I’ve also seen well-meaning Christian expats “trampled” and “attacked” in China. I’m sure it happens all over the world, but let’s zoom in on China for now.

Bonhoeffer: An Exemplar for Facing Challenges (November 21, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
Untold thousands of Chinese Christians currently studying outside of China in dozens of nations face similar questions. Many ask for prayer for their decisions and actions surrounding the questions “Shall I return to China?” and “When I return to China, what shall I do to live out my faith?”

Giving Thanks in the Darkness (November 23, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
At many Thanksgiving tables this year (like last year and the year before) there will be those who find themselves back in their country of origin, but their hearts are still in China. While they undoubtedly have much to be grateful for, many are also grieving a loss of purpose, questioning God’s direction, struggling to process what seems an abrupt ending to a significant chapter in their lives.

The Lord’s Prayer (November 25, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
I recently had the chance to attend a Catholic service here in the Twin Cities during which we recited the Lord’s Prayer. It struck me that I had not recited it since the last time I was in a church service in China.

China’s COVID-19 conundrum (November 25, 2022, World Magazine)
Yet as the country grapples with rising cases and seemingly never-ending restrictions, Anderson said Chinese Christians have a hope their nonbelieving neighbors lack. And because believers are assured of their afterlife, Anderson thinks, “Chinese Christians have an opportunity to reach out in ways that weren’t obvious before.

Beijing, Holy See test Sino-Vatican deal (November 28, 2022, UCA News)
While pessimistic commentaries multiply, several aspects must be highlighted to understand that Beijing is not breaking its agreement with Rome. Rather, it is testing it. And so is the Vatican.

The Paradigm Shifts as the Pendulum Swings (November 28, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
The word “missions” is not based on a biblical Hebrew or Greek word. We need not call ourselves missionaries. Instead, we are emissaries with the aspiration to bless others wherever we may go. This is not just a matter of nomenclature. Considering our terminology renews our legitimate identity and mindset.

Examining Patterns in Chinese Religiosity: Reflecting on “Chinese Christianity in the Modern Era” (2) (November 30, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
In this second of a series of posts exploring my understanding of modern Chinese Christianity, I delve into some historical patterns in Chinese religiosity that play important roles in shaping the many ways Chinese Christians have negotiated and lived out their faith amidst the ups and downs of the modern era. 

Society / Life

In lockdown or preparing for lockdown: Beijing life under zero-Covid (November 30, 2022, The Guardian)
Life in Beijing these days is spent either in lockdown or preparing for lockdown. Stockpiling food at home, just in case, has become the new norm. Meeting friends is hard because every few weeks one of us is sealed inside their home for days.

China Covid: Unrest continues in Guangzhou as lockdown anger grows (November 30, 2022, BBC)
People in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou have clashed with police overnight in the latest protest against the country’s strict Covid rules. Footage online showed police in white hazmat suits clutching riot shields to protect themselves from debris and glass thrown at them by protesters. Another video showed people being taken away in handcuffs.

Health / Environment

In China, Dementia Cases Are Soaring. The Care System Can’t Cope. (November 18, 2022, Sixth Tone)
As China’s population rapidly ages, the number of people developing Alzheimer’s disease is growing faster than the care system can handle. That’s placing an enormous burden on millions of families across the country.

Brutal Winter Freezes Livestock, Traps Herders in Northwest China (November 29, 2022, Sixth Tone)
At least seven people have died, as Xinjiang region issues a red alert for cold wave for the first time in 14 years.

China to Boost COVID Vaccination for the Elderly Amid Outbreak (November 30, 2022, Sixth Tone)
China plans to accelerate its COVID-19 vaccination drive among the vulnerable older population, especially those over the age of 80, in an effort to ramp up the lagging inoculation progress amid record-high infections since the pandemic started.

Science / Technology

Shenzhou-15: China sends new crew to Tiangong space station (November 29, 2022, BBC)
Three Chinese astronauts have taken off for the Tiangong space station to make its first in-orbit crew handover. It will be the second permanently inhabited space outpost, after the Nasa-led International Space Station from which China was excluded in 2011. The fresh crew will live on the station for six months, taking over from three colleagues who arrived in June. There will be a week-long handover period, in part to trial the station’s ability to house six astronauts.

Travel / Food

Land of Milk and Honey: The Story of China’s Most Profitable Milk Tea Brand (November 22, 2022, The World of Chinese)
Yet amid this industry-wide carnage, with consumers tightening their belts and rolling lockdowns suppressing street commerce, one budget milk tea brand with garish marketing, almost no fresh ingredients, a bizarre snowman called the Snow King as its brand ambassador, and 2 yuan ice cream is expanding at around 6,000 new stores a year.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

On the Trail of China’s Last Reindeer Herders (November 20, 2022, The World of Chinese)
Renowned documentary director Gu Tao recounts his journey into indie filmmaking and his years living with Ewenki herders in northern China.

Language / Language Learning

Video: How Many Languages Are There in China? (November 17, 2022, Language Log)


Online Book Club (ERRChina)

Dive Deep into Chinese Worldviews Anywhere in the World 

Next Session Wednesday, January 11 — 5pm pacific/7pm central

We’ll be discussing the book “The Souls of China” by Ian Johnson. Grab a copy, read it, and then join us online for a lively and in-depth discussion of this important book. The book club facilitator will be Joann Pittman, of ChinaSource. 


U.S. Mission China Statement To American Citizens (November 28, 2022, US Embassy in China)
We encourage all U.S. citizens to keep a 14-day supply of medications, bottled water, and food for yourself and any members of your household.

Pray for China

December 2
Zhang Guotao (张国焘先生) was a founding member of the Chinese Communist Party and a leading figure for many years before losing a power struggle to Mao Zedong during the Long March. He then defected to the Nationalist government, but moved to Hong Kong after the Civil War ended in 1949. He and his wife Yang Zilie (杨子烈女士) moved to Canada in 1968; the year before Zhang’s death, they were visited twice by old acquaintances—acclaimed Christian scholar Zhang Lisheng (章力生先生) and his wife Guo Lingyi (郭令宜女士). On the second visit, Zhang Guotao and Yang Zilie were baptized into the Christian faith. Zhang died on Dec. 3, 1979. Pray for China’s current leaders to learn as the king of mighty Assyria did—to repent and humbly accept that God’s ways are right and just.

The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. Jonah 3:6

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