ZGBriefs | February 23, 2023

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Featured Article

China declares ‘decisive victory’ over COVID-19 (February 16, 2023, Reuters)
China’s top leaders declared a “decisive victory” over COVID-19, claiming the world’s lowest fatality rate, although experts have questioned Beijing’s data as the coronavirus tore across the country after largely being kept at bay for three years. China abruptly ended its zero-COVID policy in early December, with 80% of its 1.4 billion population becoming infected, a prominent government scientist said last month.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Co-producing with the CCP (February 17, 2023, China Media Project)
As China has pursued greater influence over public opinion globally, responding to Xi Jinping’s call to “tell China’s stories well,” foreign media have been crucial channels for the state to reach audiences overseas.

Xi’s Chinese-style modernization: tactical flexibility and ideological steadfastness (February 20, 2023, MERICS)
Xi Jinping’s recent policy reversals turn out to be tactical compromises and reactions to crises. China’s party and state leader still sticks to his strategic targets and is pushing China’s rise as an alternative world power, says Johnny Erling.

China continues to walk a fine line in Russia’s war in Ukraine (February 22, 2023, NPR)
A year into Russia’s war in Ukraine, China is treading a fine line in the conflict. The Biden administration says it’s concerned China might give Russia “lethal support” for its campaign in Ukraine.

China’s Clouded Future in Afghanistan (February 22, 2023, The Diplomat)
ISKP’s campaign against China could lead to several possible developments, none of which augur well for Afghanistan. More than a year after the Taliban takeover, China’s economic presence continues to fall short of promises.

Canada’s military tracked Chinese surveillance in the Arctic (February 22, 2023, BBC)
Canada’s military has said it recently discovered evidence of Chinese surveillance efforts in the Arctic. The discovery, first reported by Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, has raised questions about China’s activities in the far north. It comes after a suspected Chinese spy balloon floated through US and Canadian airspace before it was shot down by the US military.


When the Aroma of Christ Smells Like Oolong (February 13, 2023, Christianity Today)
The shop exemplifies the ways ministries are using bubble tea to open doors for evangelism in the United States and Canada. From Toronto to Chicago to New York, Asian church leaders are sitting down with young adults, in particular, over cups of the colorful beverage.

Chinese Missionary Says He Is Also ‘Shaken’ After Earthquake in Türkiye (February 17, 2023, China Christian Daily)
The Christian Times, an online Christian newspaper in China, recently interviewed Rev. Apollos Zhang (pseudonym), a millennial Chinese missionary who has served in Türkiye for two years. Although his city, Istanbul, was unaffected by the earthquake, it was a great shock to him and the people around him.

Are You in Conflict? (February 20, 2023, ChinaSource Blog)
Essentially, Confucius indicated that only weak, petty people who are self-interested and fail to control or discipline themselves—who fail to live in accord with natural laws—have conflicts with others. So, if you are in conflict with someone else, this indicates weakness and selfishness.  Since no one wants to be seen as weak, petty, selfish, and undisciplined, people subconsciously avoid any outward demonstrations of conflict as much as possible.

Living As Sojourners (February 20, 2023, China Partnership Blog)
Today Pastor Zeng, a church planter who now lives in Southeast Asia, wrote about how he and his family held fast to Christ even as they left their homeland. Pastor Zeng said that, although moving is difficult, a Christian’s true home is in heaven. Earthly uprootings can take their proper perspective when we remember that Christ is with us wherever we go.

Pressure on the Church, Pressure on the Party (February 22, 2023, ChinaSource Blog)
When pressure comes, Christians generally respond in one of three ways: fight, flight, or somewhere in the middle. When “fight” Christians and “flight” Christians fellowship in the same local church, it is not difficult to imagine the kind of conflict that results. When praying for the Chinese church, we must not fail to pray, perhaps above all, for the unity of Christians under pressure.

Society / Life

How the Pandemic Left China’s Migrant Kids Behind (February 16, 2023, Sixth Tone)
This Spring Festival, many of China’s migrant workers returned home for the first time in three years. For some, it was their first time seeing their kids since 2020.

The protesters who’ve gone missing as China deepens crackdown (February 18, 2023, BBC)
Thousands rallied against restrictive Covid policies in the so-called White Paper protests, holding up blank white sheets in the dark. It was a rare show of criticism of the ruling Chinese Communist Party and its leader Xi Jinping. Police made few arrests at the time. Now, months on, scores of those protesters are in police custody, say Chinese activists, with one group estimating there have been more than 100 arrests.

Are China’s Architects Out of Touch? (February 21, 2023, Sixth Tone)
Garish attempts to recreate traditional Chinese aesthetics through upturned eaves sat uncomfortably next to European villas complete with verandas and Greco-Roman columns. The urban property market may have stagnated, but villagers in this part of the country are apparently still willing to invest in their homes.

China mine collapse: 2 dead, 50 trapped in Inner Mongolia region (February 22, 2023, Al Jazeera)
At least two people have been killed and more than 50 trapped after a coal mine collapsed in Alxa League in northern China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region, according to state media. “The accident happened on Wednesday afternoon, and a preliminary investigation showed that more than 50 people were trapped under the mine,” state news agency Xinhua said.

Economics / Trade / Business

China sees first net capital outflow in more than 2 years (February 22, 2023, Nikkei)
China experienced a net outflow of funds in the last quarter of 2022 for the first time in 27 months, as exports declined and investments from abroad waned.

Health / Environment

Manipulating Water in China (February 14, 2023, Made in China Journal)
A Water, it is said, comes in three modes: too much, too little, or too dirty. China’s floods, droughts, and high levels of pollution reflect this adage. 

In China’s COVID Battle, Medical Students Bear a Punishing Burden (February 19, 2023, Sixth Tone)
As COVID surged in China last December, hospitals drafted in medical students to prop up understaffed wards. Many were unprepared for what awaited them.

Science / Technology

NASA Mars orbiter reveals China’s Zhurong rover has not moved for months (February 21, 2023, Space News)
The images show that the solar-powered Zhurong—which landed in May 2021—has not moved since at least September 2022. It had entered a planned hibernation state in May 2022 to ride out the low solar radiation levels of winter in Mars’s Utopia Planitia region. 

History / Culture

The ‘Empress of China’ and the beginning of U.S.-China trade (February 22, 2023, The China Project)
On a wintry day in 1784, a schooner docked in New York set sail for Guangzhou. This journey halfway around the globe would take half a year; it marked the beginning of the largest trading relationship that the world has ever known.

Travel / Food

Can I Travel to China Now? (February 17, 2023, ChinaSource Blog)
Like so many others who have wondered the past few years if returning to China might ever be possible again, the news that travel restrictions were being lifted gave me a glimmer of hope that it might actually be doable. Perhaps even this year. I began asking, along with almost everyone I know who has been stuck outside of the country for the past three years, “can I really travel to China now?”

Air Travel Is Roaring Back Everywhere – So Why Not Between The U.S. And China? (February 21, 2023, View From the Wing)
This month the number of non-stop commercial flights between the U.S. and China totals 48. That’s not per day, across all airlines. That’s for the entire month, according to schedule data from Cirium Diio Mi.

Pray for China

February 23 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Feb. 23, 1951, Christian educator Zhang Boling (张伯苓先生) died in Tianjin after serving for many years as the founding president of Nankai University—then and now one of China’s top schools. Zhang’s faith was on display in his weekly talks to students and in his support of Bible translation and distribution ministries. Pray for Christian administrators, faculty, and students in Tianjin to deepen their walk with the Savior. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. Hebrews 11:15-16

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
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