ZGBriefs | January 30, 2020

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Featured Article

The Truth About “Dramatic Action”  (January 27, 2020, China Media Project)
I am now one of 11 million people in Wuhan who are living through this grand experiment, a measure that, Galea also said, shows “a very strong public health commitment and a willingness to take dramatic action.” From inside the curtain that now encloses my city, I wish to offer my thoughts on this “dramatic action,” and to judge what we have actually seen and experienced in terms of commitment to public health.

Sponsored Link

Webinar: Contemporary Narratives about the Church in China
What we fundamentally believe about China’s church goes a long way toward determining how we will choose to engage, how we view what is desirable and what is possible. This webinar will explore four narratives about the church in China that have dominated Western Christian perceptions over the past four decades. How has our understanding of China’s past and present shaped our expectations for the future? What have been the consequences? In what ways have we become victims of our own narratives? Our stories may say as much about ourselves as they do about the church in China.

Date: February 10, 2020
Time: 7:00-8:00pm, US Central Time
Presenter: Dr. Brent Fulton
Cost: $10.00

If you or your company/organization would like to sponsor a link in ZGBriefs, please contact info@chinasource.org for more information.

Special Section: Coronavirus Live Updates

The New York Times
CNN International
The Guardian
Live Science

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Coronavirus Exposes Core Flaws, and Few Strengths, in China’s Governance  (January 25, 2020, The New York Times)
Its rigidly hierarchical bureaucracy discourages local officials from raising bad news with central bosses whose help they might need. And it silos those officials off from one another, making it harder to see, much less manage, the full scope of spiraling crises.

China’s “Biblical” Appeal to Shame Against the Coronavirus  (January 28, 2020, Jacksonwu.org)
“Anyone who deliberately delays and hides the reporting of cases out of his or her own self-interest will be nailed on the pillar of shame for eternity…”

Hong Kong’s Perfect Crisis (January 29, 2020, The Atlantic)
Still, while the sets of demonstrations—one running for months to demand comprehensive universal suffrage; the other, more recent expressing anger over the official response to the outbreak—are clearly different, their overlaps are significant, with both building on common complaints.

An Outbreak Of Slogans  (January 29, 2020, China Media Project)
And as communities across China mobilize against the spread of the disease, they are naturally exercising one very creative (and often revealing) aspect of the country’s political culture – the ubiquitous “slogan,” or biāoyǔ (标语). 

Angry Chinese Ask Why Their Government Waited So Long To Act On Coronavirus  (January 29, 2020, NPR)
The first reports of a mysterious pneumonia-like illness began to trickle in on New Year's Eve. Online, people in the city of Wuhan began reporting suspected cases in their neighborhoods and asking for help. Wuhan's police responded quickly.

Coronavirus: Denmark in cartoon bust-up with China over flag  (January 29, 2020, BBC)
A Danish newspaper has rejected China's demand for an apology after it published a satirical cartoon of a Chinese flag with the five gold stars replaced by the deadly coronavirus.


Where Did They Get That Idea?  (January 27, 2020, ChinaSource Blog)
Is it possible that in antiquity, God revealed some inkling of spiritual truth to the Chinese? Is it possible that a profound understanding of that truth has been lost, leaving only a footprint of it in ancient preserved culture and customs? We don’t know, but it’s an intriguing thought. 

Wuhan Pastor: Pray with Us  (January 28, 2020, Chinese Church Voices)
The situation is so critical, yet [we are] trusting in the Lord’s promises, that his thoughts toward us are of peace, and not evil (Jeremiah. 29:11), and that he allows for a time of testing, not to destroy us, but to establish us. Therefore, Christians are not only to suffer with the people of this city, but we have a responsibility to pray for those in this city who are fearful, and to bring to them the peace of Christ. 

Society / Life

PHOTOS: What It's Like Living Through An Outbreak  (January 25, 2020, NPR)

Video: China coronavirus: Road blocks and ghost towns  (January 26, 2020, BBC)
Authorities in China are intensifying travel restrictions in an attempt to limit the spread of the deadly new coronavirus. The BBC's Stephen McDonell and his team travelled into Hubei province, where the outbreak originated.

Wuhan people keep out: Chinese villages shun outsiders as virus spreads  (January 28, 2020, Reuters)
In a village in Beijing’s far northeastern Shunyi district, residents have set an informal rule: “If you’re here, don’t leave. If they’ve left, don’t let them come back.”

'My anxiety is increasing day by day': the voices of Wuhan – video  (January 29, 2020, The Guardian)
Wuhan, the Chinese city identified as the origin of the coronavirus outbreak, has been on lockdown since 23 January. The Guardian spoke to residents, expats and tourists currently in the city about what it's like living in quarantine.

Public Anger Swells Over Official Opacity On Coronavirus  (January 29, 2020, China Digital Times)
Local authorities’ slow initial response to the outbreak, first discovered in late December and initially reported as viral pneumonia, has stoked widespread public anger, evoking memories of the official response to the 2003 SARS crisis that originated in China before killing over 800 in Asia (the total number infected with coronavirus in China has now surpassed that of SARS).

Economics / Trade / Business

China’s Coronavirus Impacts Everything: What Your Business Should Do NOW  (January 26, 2020, China Law Blog)
If your company has its widgets made in China, you need to realize that your Chinese factory might shut down tomorrow or next week or next month. If your Chinese factory is within or near ground zero for the virus, it has probably already shut down.

Economic Impact of Coronavirus Will Likely Be Modest  (January 29, 2020 Macropolo)
It is tempting to speculate that the rapidly evolving epidemic will be hugely disruptive to the Chinese economy. This is largely driven by broad fears about the extent and lethality of the epidemic, which directly affects economic activity. Yet, a more careful analysis of the available data to date suggests that such fears may be exaggerated.


University of Minnesota student jailed in China over tweets  (January 22, 2020, Axios)
A Chinese student at the University of Minnesota has been arrested in China and sentenced to six months in prison for tweets he posted while in the United States, according to a Chinese court document viewed by Axios. Some of the tweets contained images deemed to be unflattering portrayals of a "national leader."

Acclaimed Harvard Scientist Is Arrested, Accused Of Lying About Ties To China  (January 28, 2020, NPR)
The Justice Department says Lieber, 60, lied about his contact with the Chinese program known as the Thousand Talents Plan, which the U.S. has previously flagged as a serious intelligence concern. He also is accused of lying about about a lucrative contract he signed with China's Wuhan University of Technology.

Health / Environment

Schools urged to spread pneumonia control know-how  (January 22, 2020, China Daily)
Amid the ongoing viral pneumonia outbreak, the Ministry of Education has asked schools nationwide to disseminate epidemic control and prevention knowledge through social media platforms and chat groups to students who have left school for winter vacation.

Scientists race to find out how Wuhan victims became ill  (September 25, 2020, The Guardian)
If this outbreak is still caused mainly by animals, it can be controlled. But all-out human transmission could spell disaster.

Confusion and lost time: how testing woes slowed China's coronavirus response  (January 27, 2020, Reuters)
Despite the lack of reliable data and testing capacity in Wuhan, Chinese authorities assured citizens in the days after the virus had been identified that it was not widely transmissible. In previous weeks, it had censored negative online commentary about the situation, and arrested eight people it accused of being “rumor spreaders.”

Gallery: Doctors Mobilize in Wuhan to Fight Virus  (January 28, 2020, Caixin Global)

Leading Expert on Epidemic Outcomes, ‘Psychological Intervention’  (January 29, 2020, Sixth Tone)
Zhang Wenhong, the infectious disease expert tasked with managing Shanghai’s response to the novel coronavirus, spoke to Sixth Tone about the epidemic’s present state and possible future.

History / Culture

Entire collection of the Museum of Chinese in America likely destroyed in fire  (January 29, 2020, Matador Network)
On Thursday, January23, 2020, a fire destroyed much of the collection of the Museum of Chinese in America in New York City. The fire broke out at 70 Mulberry Street, a Chinatown building where the museum’s archives were kept. Museum officials worry that few items from the 85,000-piece collection made it out safely.

Travel / Food

China coronavirus: thousands left Wuhan for Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore or Tokyo before lockdown (January 27, 2020, South China Morning Post)
Thousands of people from Wuhan, the epicentre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, had flown to Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore and Japan before the mainland Chinese city was locked down last week, mainland media reported – although the five most popular destinations of those leaving Wuhan were in neighbouring Henan province.

Airlines around the world are suspending flights to China as the coronavirus spreads  (January 29, 2020, CNN)
British Airways, United Airlines, American Airlines, Air Asia, Cathay Pacific, Air India, IndiGo, Lufthansa and Finnair have announced plans to slash the number of flights they are operating to China or stop flying to the country entirely. Other airlines are offering customers refunds.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Tribute to Medical Staff Steals the Show at Spring Festival Gala  (January 25, 2020, Sixth Tone)
Performances for the world’s most-watched television event are usually planned months in advance, but the most memorable one this year was a last-minute addition in light of the ongoing public health crisis.

The Many Faces of the Monkey King: How the Legend of Sun Wukong Lives on in Popular Culture  (January 26, 2020, Radii China)
Behind the magic is a monkey whose stories of adventure and transformation resonate with audiences of all cultures.

China Mourns the Death of Basketball Legend Kobe Bryant  (January 27, 2020, Sixth Tone)
The death of the NBA superstar in a helicopter crash Sunday has devastated basketball fans in China, where Bryant’s fame was unparalleled.

A Billion Homes: Chinese Dinner Table Talk Tells Universal Story  (January 28, 2020, Sixth Tone)
In “Another Year,” 13 family meals show the personal side of China’s urbanization.

Living Cross-culturally

An Expat in China’s Response to the Coronavirus  (January 29, 2020, The Culture Blend)
I’m just an expat in China who is getting his news from the same sources you are. The point of this post is not information or education . . . just a glimpse at what it going on here from one perspective. There are a billion and a half others. 

Serving Effectively in the Face of a Pandemic  (January  29, 2020, ChinaSource Blog)
During a pandemic, each person will have to decide whether they will write the songs, speak the truth, and live God’s love in the face of such darkness. The sum of these choices will add up to the intensity of God’s light in that particular community. 

Flight with Americans evacuated from China over coronavirus lands at military base in California (January 29, 2020, Fox News)
A team dressed in white protective suits could be seen gathered near the airplane after it landed, and three charter buses were parked nearby. A statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said the team was made up of CDC medical officers who were deployed to again assess the health of passengers.


Second-Tier China: A photography essay from the urban peripheries (January 25, 2020, China Channel)
The most banal clichés attached to China describe it as unknown, inaccessible, remote and exotic. But the world of second-tier cities, small towns, and villages in Rian Dundon’s Changsha is unknown not because it is inaccessible or remote, but because no one has thought to look; not because it is exotic, but because it is full of ordinary people piecing together lives in a vibrant, scarred, unstable social landscape. 

The Art of Political Control in China  (January 27, 2020, China File)
This book is about the channels beyond direct repression through which China’s authoritarian state controls protest and implements ambitious policies from sweeping urbanization schemes that have displaced millions to family planning initiatives like the one-child policy. 


The Mao Era in Objects (maoeraobjects.ac.uk)
Our website introduces twenty-four different objects that were made, used, talked and written about during the Mao Era. Some of these are famous, others less so. Some are large decorative objects, others solely intended for everyday use. Some might seem a more obvious object to examine than others. 


The Honor-Shame Conference: Reconciling the Nations
June 8–10, 2020, Wheaton College (Chicago area)
Join us for the 2020 Honor-Shame Conference to explore how honor and shame influence the gospel, the Church, and various other disciplines, including theology, missiology, pastoral ministry, and counseling.

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