China’s population falls for first time since 1961 (January 17, 2023, BBC)
The population in 2022 – 1.4118 billion – fell by 850,000 from 2021. China’s birth rate has been declining for years, prompting a slew of policies to try to slow the trend. But seven years after scrapping the one-child policy, it has entered what one official described as an “era of negative population growth”.
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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs
The 6 Horsemen of the Apocalypse for China (January 14, 2023, The Diplomat)
The struggles of 2022 highlighted six crises China will have to face now and into the future.
China’s pessimistic Gen Z poses challenge for Xi post-COVID (January 17, 2023, Reuters)
Pacifying a generation faced with near-record youth unemployment and some of the slowest economic growth in nearly half a century presents a policymaking challenge for Xi, who is just beginning a precedent-breaking third term. Improving young people’s livelihoods without abandoning the country’s export-led growth model poses inherent conflicts for a government that prioritises social stability.
China’s Decline Became Undeniable This Week. Now What? (January 17, 2023, The New York Times) (subscription required)
As of 2018, there were an estimated 34 million more males in China than females — the result of a one-child policy that led couples to abort girls at a higher rate than boys. China’s working-age population has been shrinking for years; a government spokesman estimated that it will fall to 700 million by the middle of the century.
Sharing Eternal Truth on Shortwave Radio (January 13, 2023, ChinaSource Blog)
What if I told you there was a safe, secure way in which information can be received by people in China? It cannot be easily turned off or blocked, it cannot be traced, it leaves no digital footprint, and best of all, it cannot be censored or edited.
Thoughts in Response to the End of the “Golden Age” (January 16, 2023, ChinaSource Blog)
If Christian workers, foreign or local, were aware of the cyclic historical pattern, they might be less surprised by the recent retightening of religious policy after four decades of reform. It was just a matter of time.
Power Should Be Used to Serve (January 16, 2023, China Partnership Blog)
At the beginning of December, China experienced highly unusual protests. Many people protested harsh Covid restrictions, students at prestigious universities foremost among them. As the protests gathered steam, a university professor began to gather his thoughts on the role of power in society, and how the church might approach power differently than the culture around it. This essay began with the professor’s online discussion with other believers at the time of the protests, but later evolved to include further thoughts and examples.
Consider the Rabbit: Applying the Bible to the Chinese Zodiac (January 17, 2023, Christianity Today)
It is not unusual for Chinese preachers to give a sermon about the lunar New Year around Spring Festival. But older generation Christians in conservative Chinese house churches would regard the Chinese zodiac as a superstition that is harmful to the spiritual life of believers. Therefore, sermons mentioning the Chinese New Year would typically not touch on the animal of the year.
Society / Life
China’s authorities are quietly rounding up people who protested against COVID rules (January 11, 2023, NPR)
Her gaze is steady and her voice barely quivers in the video as she remembers what brought her out onto the Beijing streets in late November, and the consequences she knew she likely faced for her decision. “I have delegated some friends to publicize this video after I disappear. When you see this video, I will have been arrested too,” the 26-year-old woman states calmly.
China’s Downturn Fuels a Worrying New Trend: a Surge in Foreclosures (January 18, 2023, Sixth Tone)
China is seeing a surge in home repossessions amid the economic downturn, as falling housing prices, plunging business revenues, and widespread layoffs place household finances under severe pressure.
China population: 7 takeaways from 2022 figures (January 18, 2023, South China Morning Post)
China’s population fell by 850,000 to 1.4118 billion in 2022 as mothers had 9.56 million babies last year, compared with 10.41 million total deaths. China’s national birth rate fell to a record low of 6.77 births for every 1,000 people in 2022, down from 7.52 in 2021
Economics / Trade / Business
China’s population drop is expected to have global economic consequences (January 18, 2023, NPR)
NPR’s Steve Inskeep talks to Yun Zhou, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Michigan, about China announcing its first population decline in decades.
Davos 2023: China recovery could be very quick -IMF’s Gopinath (January 18, 2023, Reuters)
Economists polled by Reuters see Chinese growth in 2023 at around 4.9%, with some of them recently upgrading forecasts to around 5.5%. Gopinath said that a growth rate “in the 4%-plus ballpark” would likely mean that any global inflationary pressures would be counter-balanced by the slowdown in demand elsewhere.
Health / Environment
Podcast: China’s deadly coronavirus wave (January 16, 2023, The Guardian)
Having spent much of the last three years with some of the world’s most strict Covid restrictions, China’s relaxing of its rules has coincided with a massive wave of infections just as the country prepares to celebrate the lunar new year. Tania Branigan reports.
Reporter’s Notebook: How Rural China Is Grappling With COVID (January 17, 2023, Sixth Tone)
In early January, Sixth Tone video reporter Fu Beimeng traveled to remote villages in the southwestern province of Sichuan, where she witnessed firsthand how the virus surge has inundated local hospitals. Doctors there are now grappling with how to treat severely ill patients.
Drawing lessons from China’s healthcare development (January 18, 2023, East Asia Forum)
China has translated its economic development into improved social welfare. China’s quest for Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for all while lifting 800 million people out of poverty is an example. Its experience in healthcare development provides transferrable lessons for developing countries in making progress towards UHC.
Travel / Food
The Breakfast Ties That Bind (January 17, 2023, The World of Chinese)
Wenzhou sticky rice, a staple morning meal from the southern city known for its entrepreneurship, is the glue that holds a global diaspora together.
Arts / Entertainment / Media
China: Fans rejoice as Marvel films return after apparent ban (January 17, 2023, BBC)
Chinese officials have never explained why Marvel movies were blocked from screening in the country. But the apparent ban began at a time when tensions between the US and China reached a high amid a trade war. There was also no reason given by Marvel for the turnaround, in its brief announcement on Chinese social media network Weibo on Wednesday about the film release dates.
Language / Language Learning
The All-Too Complicated History of Simplified Chinese (January 16, 2023, Sixth Tone)
Often portrayed as the result of a revolutionary pro-literacy movement, many “simplified” characters have existed for hundreds of years.
Mike Chinoy’s Assignment China – American Journalists in the PRC (January 18, 2023, China Rhyming)
This book tells the story of how American journalists have covered China—from the civil war of the 1940s through the COVID-19 pandemic—in their own words. […] Journalists detail the challenges of covering a complex and secretive society and offer insight into eight decades of tumultuous political, economic, and social change.
Links for Researchers
Research explores regulatory reform of foreign NGO management in China (January 17, 2023, China Development Brief)
Based on the framework of regulatory theory, a new research from the Institute for Philanthropy Tsinghua University (IPTU) analyzes the regulatory dilemma of China’s regulations concerning overseas NGOs, explains the core concept of regulatory governance, builds an analytical framework for regulatory governance of overseas NGOs, and proposes possible paths for the regulatory governance of overseas NGOs.
Pray for China
January 22 (Pray for China: A Walk Through China)
On Jan. 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court (7-2) legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade, handing population control advocates a victory and foreshadowing China’s One Child Policy. Chengdu Pastor Wang Yi (王怡牧师) was one of the most outspoken opponents of that policy. He pastored the Early Rain Covenant Church, which was notable for passing out pro-life literature at abortion facilities and for establishing a ministry for pregnant women until the church was closed in Dec. 2018 and Pastor Wang received a 9-year prison sentence a year later. Pray for Chinese Christians to manifest God’s love and truth in protecting the sanctity of life. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:13-16
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