ZGBriefs | February 22, 2024

ZGBriefs is a compilation of links to news items from published online sources. Clicking a link will direct you to a website other than ChinaSource. ChinaSource is not responsible for the content or other features on that site. An article’s inclusion in ZGBriefs does not equal endorsement by ChinaSource. Please go here to support ZGBriefs.

Featured Article

China’s VPN Usage Nearly Doubles Amid Internet Censorship (February 15, 2024, VOA)
Last year, VPN usage in China nearly doubled, according to data from IT education news outlet Techopedia, this despite the country’s strict regime of internet controls of everything from overseas websites to online games. China’s “Great Firewall” is one of the world’s most comprehensive internet censorship regimes, preventing citizens from accessing websites like Instagram, Wikipedia and YouTube, as well most major news organizations including VOA.

Sponsored Link

Free Public Lecture | Human Flourishing in Confucian Thought: A Christian Response, by I’Ching Thomas (ChinaSource)
I’Ching Thomas will explore the notion of human flourishing in Chinese thought, focusing especially on Confucius’ teaching on self-cultivation and benevolence as keys to achieving the ideal of the Noble Man. Then, drawing on parallels with the biblical faith, she proposes that the Christian Gospel holds relevance to the aspirations of Cultural Chinese concerning human flourishing as defined by Confucian ideals. 
Date: April 5, 2024
Location: Nazareth Hall, University of Northwestern-St. Paul, 3003, N. Snelling Ave, Roseville, MN 55113
Time: 6:15 pm – light refreshments
           7:00 pm – lecture

This event is part of our ongoing collaborative lecture series cohosted by ChinaSource, the US-China Catholic Association, and the China Academic Consortium
It is co-sponsored by the University of Northwestern-St. Paul.

Go here to register. 

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Taiwan: Two Chinese fishermen die after sea chase with coastguard (February 15, 2024, BBC)
Two Chinese fishermen have drowned while being chased by the Taiwanese coastguard off Taiwan’s northernmost Kinmen archipelago. Taipei said the fishing boat trespassed into Taiwanese waters on Wednesday. The four fishermen on board resisted an inspection and the boat capsized when authorities gave chase.

How Hunan’s new African trade hub could help landlocked Chinese province ‘catch up’ with coastal powerhouses(February 17, 2024, South China Morning Post)
Hunan province, the birthplace of Mao Zedong, has never been a front-runner in China’s economic development, but it may soon find a niche as a hub for trade with Africa thanks to a plan approved last month by the State Council, the country’s cabinet.

China coast guard boards Taiwan tourist boat in escalation of tensions (February 19, 2024, The Guardian)
The Taiwanese sight-seeing ferry King Xia was carrying 11 crew and 23 passengers on a tour around Kinmen’s main island on Monday when it was intercepted by two Chinese coast guard patrol vessels.

Taiwan: The Future of the ‘Republic of China’ (February 20, 2024, The Diplomat)
In January, the vice president of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), William Lai was elected the next president of Taiwan. His inauguration will be held on May 20. Lai’s election victory has put the focus on what the incoming president has said about Taiwan’s relations with China and how to frame the 1992 Consensus, which China repeatedly has asked Taiwan to affirm.


Florence Li Tim-Oi: The First Woman Priest in the Anglican Communion (February 14, 2024, Christianity Today) (subscription required)
The Western church regards her highly, but some Chinese Christians struggle with her affinity for socialist ideology and betrayal of coworkers in Mao’s era.

Praying for China’s Cities (February 16, 2024, ChinaSource Blog)
One of the most important ways we are encouraging people to partner with China is by praying with and for China. This year, we are systematically praying for cities across China.

Urban Churches Expand Into Rural Areas to Care for Left-Behind Elderly, Children (February 18, 2024, China Christian Daily)
Children are heirs of the gospel, yet left behind, one rarely experiences the companionship and warmth of their parents and lacks the opportunity to hear the gospel in many remote rural areas without churches. How will they carry on the gospel inheritance in the future?

Chinese Bible, 1924 newspapers: Church unearths time capsule, offering glimpse into life of early Chinese Methodists in Singapore (February 19, 2024, Channel News Asia)
A Chinese Bible presented by the British and Foreign Bible Society, meeting minutes, and copies of local newspapers from 1924. These are some items that the Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church found when a 100-year-old time capsule was pulled from the church’s wall, giving a glimpse into the life of early Christians in Singapore. Over the years, churchgoers had heard that the church’s Telok Ayer building, which was completed in 1925, contained a time capsule. 

Faith Stories of Two Elderly Sisters (February 19, 2024, China Christian Daily)
The article tells the stories of two devout female believers: one, an illiterate woman who became a Christian and learned to read the Bible, and the other, a Christian woman who encountered divine “pursuit” on three occasions.

Jesus Is My Face (February 19, 2024, China Partnership Blog)
This is a firsthand account of Tan Jian’s experience in a Chinese prison cell, where he was interred because of his religious activities. In this account, he talks about the concept of face, which is very important in Chinese society. 

Lighting the Future: A Candle in the Dark: Individual Life Stories from Chinese Christian Families (February 19, 2024, ChinaSource Blog)
As a Christian mother living in China with three children, I often experienced the indescribable, unbearable conflict of having to decide between adhering to the communist social norms or staying true to my Christian faith. The memories of those struggles and frustrations during each decision-making process are still vivid, but upon reflection, it has become apparent to me that making the right choices in challenging circumstances contributed to my spiritual growth and has strengthened my faith.

Yearning (February 20, 204, ChinaSource Blog)
The poem “Yearning” speaks of the deep groaning out of a longing to be in communion with the creation in wonder and awe. It is an invitation to embrace the beauty and sacredness of the creation with the very life God has given us—eyes, ears, lungs, and hands. 

A Social Scientific Study of the Chinese Christian Community in Britain (1): Key Characteristics and Trends(February 21, 2024, ChinaSource Blog)
Approximately 191,000 individuals from Hong Kong submitted applications for the visa program between its initiation in January 2021 and September 2023. The UK Home Office’s Impact Assessment of the BN(O) visa initiative forecasts that between 258,000 and 322,400 Hong Kong residents will migrate to the UK during the initial five years of the program. 

Society / Life

Street Stall Craze Continues as Young Chinese Make the Most of Spring Festival (February 16, 2024, Sixth Tone)
The revival of the street stall economy has continued into Spring Festival, with young Chinese entrepreneurs making the most of their extended breaks.

China’s Biggest Spring Festival in Years, by the Numbers (February 19, 2024, Sixth Tone)
The Year of the Rabbit didn’t go quietly, as a rare blizzard struck central China in early February, freezing many travelers in place. But by the time the holiday officially kicked off on Feb. 10, the weather had cleared and conditions were set for a record box office and travel period.

Pigs and Party Games: Celebrating Lunar New Year, Dongbei Style (February 19, 2024, The World of Chinese)
Whatever circumstances went into the development of the unique character of Dongbei’s people, you can rest assured that if you are ever lost, or need any assistance on your trip through Jilin, the hospitable locals will not hesitate to extend a helping hand. 

Lionel Messi defends HK absence as China backlash continues (February 20, 2024, BBC)
Lionel Messi has highlighted his “special” ties with China, as he continues to face anger from Chinese fans for missing a game in Hong Kong. In a video on social media site Weibo, Messi maintained an injury had led him to sit out the match on 4 February.

Uptick in Marriages After Years of Decline Sparks Hope in China (February 20, 2024, Sixth Tone)
While nationwide data is yet to be released, Shanghai and multiple cities in Jiangsu, Hunan, Shanxi, and Anhui provinces have reported increased marriage rates in 2023.

Cars or Scooters? China’s Small Cities at the Crossroads (February 20, 2024, Sixth Tone)
Residents of smaller cities are embracing the personal automobile. But there’s still time to reverse this trend.

Economics / Trade / Business

China’s Chronic Zero COVID Trauma (February 15, 2024, The Diplomat)
More than a year after China scrapped its zero-COVID policy, it has become clear that most analysts underestimated the adverse impacts on business and consumer sentiment. 

It’s Grim out There: China’s Economy in the Year of the Dragon (February 16, 2024, China File)
Some observers have been predicting an economic collapse in China for decades. Others have long predicted that China would be stuck in a middle-income trap or some other type of economic stagnation. Might some of these predictions come true this time? What does the Year of the Dragon have in store for consumers, companies, and markets? What should we look out for this year to understand both China’s real economy and its financial sector?


In Chengdu, a Two-Week Buffer to Ease Students Back to School (February 21, 2024, Sixth Tone)
The new policy also grants students a two-week extension to submit homework, ensuring they can return to school without penalties.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Podcast: Sinica comes roaring back in the Year of the Dragon: A chat with Jeremy Goldkorn (February 15, 2024, PlayerFM)
Sinica is back, and on this first post-China Project show, Kaiser chats with TCP’s ex-editor-in-chief and Sinica’s co-founder and former co-host, Jeremy Goldkorn. They chat about the Beijing that was, their theories as to why things changed as they did, and share some of their favorite precepts for understanding contemporary China.

‘Little by little, the truth is being discovered’: the archive rescuing China’s forbidden films (February 20, 2024, The Guardian)
A golden era of Chinese cinema was brought to a halt by Xi Jinping’s regime, but now, thousands of miles away, a rich world of banned documentaries and dramas is being studied and celebrated

Living Cross-culturally

Video: What it’s Like to Study in China as a Black Man (February 16, 2024, National Committee on U.S.-China Relations)
Explore the transformative journey of a Black American student in Beijing, China. Venturing abroad in 1997, Dr. Marketus Presswood navigates the complexities of identity and race, confronting stereotypes and discovering a new sense of self beyond American racial dynamics.

Pray for China

February 22 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Feb. 22, 1906, a dispute between Chinese officials and Roman Catholic missionaries in Nanchang, Jiangxi led to a riot in which Plymouth Brethren missionaries Harry and Octavia Kingham (金汉姆) and their older daughter Grace were killed along with six French Roman Catholics. Pray for officials in Jiangxi to follow God’s plan for government by protecting those who do good and punishing those who do evil. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor as supreme authority, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 1 Peter 2:13-14

Share to Social Media
Image credit: by Danny144 via Pixabay
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