ZGBriefs | December 29, 2022

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China says it will resume issuing passports and visas as virus curbs ease (December 28, 2022, NPR)
The agency said it will take applications for ordinary visas and residence permits. It said the government will “gradually resume” allowing in foreign visitors and gave no indication when full-scale tourist travel from abroad might be allowed.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

‘A sea change’: Biden reverses decades of Chinese trade policy (December 26, 2022, Politico)
The White House and Congress are quietly reshaping the American economic relationship with the world’s second-largest economic power, enacting a strategy to limit China’s technological development that breaks with decades of federal policy and represents the most aggressive American action yet to curtail Beijing’s economic and military rise.

Russia and China hold naval drills, practise submarine capture (December 28, 2022, Reuters)
Russia and China have completed naval drills in the East China Sea, after a week of joint exercises which included practising how to capture an enemy submarine with depth charges and firing artillery at a warship, Russia’s defence ministry said.


Mary and Jesus in the Eyes of Chinese Painters (December 23, 2022, Sixth Tone)
Since the late Ming dynasty, artists have been finding ways to depict the Virgin Mary and Jesus with Chinese painting techniques.

This Changes Everything (December 23, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
For Christians in China, a significant chapter in this unfolding story began on September 4, 1807, with Robert Morrison’s arrival in Macau. Today’s Chinese Protestants look back on this day as the one that changed everything, the humble beginning of a gospel movement that would one day reverberate across China.

An Interview with a Missions Leader in China (3) (December 26, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
In this final installment of the interview series, TT lays out some of the challenges faced by Chinese churches wanting to send workers into the field. He also discusses the need for training for workers and ways foreigners can assist, both by teaching online and by teaching in-person in other countries, such as Thailand. Finally, TT emphasizes Chinese workers’ need for long-term mentors, which is another important role foreigners can take on.

Society / Life

Staying Negative: New Covid Policies Bring Memes Aplenty (December 22, 2022, Sixth Tone)
The Chinese internet has exploded with people sharing their positive COVID-19 tests, and joking about what to do next.

More than 200 vehicles collide in fog on bridge in China – video (December 28, 2022, The Guardian)
One person has been killed after more than 200 vehicles were involved in a pile-up on a bridge in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou in heavy fog, according to rescuers and CCTV footage from the state broadcaster. Many of those injured were trapped in their vehicles and the fire department sent 11 fire trucks and 66 fire rescue personnel to help, state media reported.

Economics / Trade / Business

China’s Workforce Is Aging, New Report Finds (December 22, 2022, Sixth Tone)
China’s workforce is growing older and shrinking faster, a new report has found, adding pressure to the recovery of the world’s second-largest economy three years into the pandemic.

Behind the Scenes at China’s Christmas Factories (December 24, 2022, The World of Chinese)
It’s always holiday season in Yiwu, a “fourth-tier” Chinese city where migrant workers churn out two-thirds of the world’s Christmas decorations.

Beijing, Shanghai residents back to work as China limps towards living with COVID (December 26, 2022, Reuters)
Mask-wearing Beijing and Shanghai commuters crowded subway trains on Monday as China’s two biggest cities edged closer to living with COVID-19 even as frontline medical workers scrambled to cope with millions of new infections.

China’s Covid surge hits factories and consumer market (December 26, 2022, CNN)
China’s economy is under severe strain as a wave of Covid cases sweeps across the country. Since the world’s second largest economy drastically eased its Covid restrictions earlier this month, there has been no clear data on the extent of the virus’ spread on the national level. But several cities and provinces have said they were seeing tens of thousands of new cases per day.

Health / Environment

China has stopped publishing daily COVID data amid reports of a huge spike in cases (December 25, 2022, NPR)
China’s National Health Commission said in a statement that it would no longer publish the data daily beginning Sunday and that “from now on, the Chinese CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) will release relevant COVID information for reference and research.” The NHC did not say why the change had been made and did not indicate how often the CDC would release data.

China hospitals ‘extremely busy’ amid surging wave of Covid infections (December 27, 2022, The Guardian)
Chinese hospitals were under intense pressure as a surging wave of Covid-19 infections strained resources in the last major country to move towards treating the virus as endemic. In an abrupt change of policy, China earlier this month began dismantling the world’s strictest Covid regime of lockdowns and extensive testing, putting its battered economy on course for a complete re-opening next year.

Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules (December 28, 2022, BBC)
Hong Kong is dropping almost all its Covid restrictions this week, following a similar move by mainland China. From Thursday, people arriving in the city – a special administrative region of China – will no longer have to do mandatory PCR tests. The vaccine pass system will also be scrapped – but compulsory masks in public places will continue.

Science / Technology

China unveils plans for the largest optical telescope in Asia (December 28, 2022, Space)
Peking University wants to build the largest optical telescope in Asia and close the gap in astronomy capabilities with the rest of the world.

Travel / Food

House of Mao: How Consumerism and Patriotism Collide in the Chairman’s Hometown (December 26, 2022, The World of Chinese)
Shaoshan, Chairman Mao’s birthplace in Hunan province, is now a top tourist site where people burn incense to the revolutionary hero while selling T-shirts printed with his face.


China’s New Civil Religion: A Challenge and Opportunity for Engagement 
(U.S.-China Catholic Association)
Presented by: Ian Johnson 
Journalist, Author, Professor 
When outsiders think of religion in China, they tend to focus on persecution–for example Muslims in Xinjiang or Christians in many big Chinese cities. While that is true for some faiths, China is also in the midst of a religious boom, which the government is trying to use to further its grip on power. That includes rebuilding ancient temples, subsidizing pilgrimages to holy mountains, and endorsing Confucian philosophers.  But can authoritarianism and religious life coexist? What are the risks as the government in Beijing embraces some religions while opposing others?
Wednesday, January 25, 2023 
Fordham University, Lincoln Center Campus 
113 W 60th Street 
New York, NY 10023 

Go here to register.

Pray for China

December 31 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Dec. 31, 1946, the Marine Lynx arrived in Shanghai with 408 missionaries, the largest number of missionaries ever to sail from America at one time. Within a few years, they were all expelled or in prison. At that time, there were about 700,000 Protestants in China and 3.3 million Catholics. With no missionaries working in-country and under great persecution, those numbers grew exponentially—especially for Protestants. Pray for our Omnipotent God’s glory to fill the land as His children lean on His strength to accomplish what is impossible for them to do. Then the Almighty will be your gold and your precious silver. For then you will delight yourself in the Almighty and lift up your face to God. Job 22:25-26

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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