ZGBriefs | January 5, 2022

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Featured Article

Confucius, the Buddha, and Christ – Book Review (January 4, 2022, Global China Center)
In this book, Covell tries to analyze outstanding attempts to “bring the Christian faith and Chinese culture together,” and the focus “is on the shape and nature of the message that has been preached in China – the gospel in Chinese.

Sponsored Link

Public Lecture: China’s New Civil Religion: A Challenge and Opportunity for Engagement (US-China Catholic Association)
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? .
Presenter: Ian Johnson
Wednesday, January 25 @ 6:30 PM
Fordham University, Lincoln Center Campus
McNally Amphitheater
140 W 62nd Street, New York, NY 10023
Go here to register (in-person or online)

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

How Well Is China Advancing Its Interests in Southeast Asia? (December 16, 2022, China File)
As China continues to grow its role in the region, how well is Beijing advancing its interests and what and where do its interests diverge most acutely from those of China’s neighbors?

China’s warplane incursions into Taiwan air defence zone doubled in 2022 (January 1, 2022, The Guardian)
The military ramped up sorties and launched the largest war games in decades to protest against a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August.

Why Xi Jinping Reversed His Zero-Covid Policy in China (January 4, 2022, The Wall Street Journal) (subscription required)
A wave of protests coupled with urgent pleas from many corners of the government finally prodded the leader to scrap the strict lockdown system he had touted throughout the pandemic.


The Church, The Gospel, and Politics (January 2, 2022, China Partnership Blog)
In the last month, China has been roiled by highly unusual protests as many people fought harsh Covid restrictions throughout the Mainland. In a secure group of house church leaders, ministry leader Zhang Muxi shared some thoughts on the future of China and the role of the Chinese church in a turbulent time for society.

Opening the Eyes of My Heart (January 3, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
 was once a lost person but was bought by God at great price. I had been a confused Christian for many years, and there was no change in my life until God opened my spiritual eyes and made me see.

Society / Life

The Photos That Defined 2022 (December 30, 2022, The World of Chinese)
From climate change to picnics to testing kiosks, these were the photos that captured the mood around China in 2022.

Some in China return to regular activity after COVID infections (January 2, 2022, Reuters)
“After the end of this lockdown, we don’t have to scan the health code anymore, nor do we have to check the travel code,” said one of those in the park, Yang, who gave only one name. “So we are free now.”

Chinese Cities Allow Spring Festival Fireworks Amid COVID Blues (January 3, 2022, Sixth Tone)
Local governments have prohibited fireworks for years due to safety and environmental concerns.

Love Is in the Cards: Young Chinese Turn to Tarot for Guidance (January 4, 2022, Sixth Tone)
Such tarot reading videos have lately surged on platforms such as streaming site Bilibili and lifestyle platform Xiaohongshu, where prophecies about romance, or lack thereof, are never short of an audience — even though they come with a disclaimer saying “for entertainment only.”

Economics / Trade / Business

Just How Badly Does Apple Need China? (December 28, 2022, The Atlantic)
The most important and complex component in each iPhone can be manufactured only in Taiwan. But almost all iPhones are assembled just across the strait in China. A Chinese blockade or a war would drive Apple’s production volume very close to zero.

Foxconn’s COVID-hit China plant close to resuming full production, sources say (January 2, 2022, Reuters)
Foxconn’s COVID-hit iPhone plant in China’s Zhengzhou city is almost back to full production, with its December shipments reaching about 90% of initial plans, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Health / Environment

China Covid: WHO warns about under-representing Covid deaths (January 4, 2022, BBC)
The World Health Organization has warned that China is under-representing the true impact of Covid in the country – in particular deaths. The removal of most restrictions last month has led to a surge in cases. But China has stopped publishing daily cases data, and has announced only 22 Covid deaths since December, using its own strict criteria.

China promises more medicines in rural areas amid COVID surge (January 4, 2022, Reuters)
China’s cabinet said it will step up medicine distribution and meet the demand from medical institutions, nursing homes and rural areas, state media reported on Wednesday, amid a surge in COVID-19 infections.

Science / Technology

How China is building a parallel generative AI universe (December 31, 2022, Tech Crunch)
As generative AI takes the world by storm toward the end of 2022, let’s look at how this explosive technology is shaking out in China.

History / Culture

How Did China End Up Celebrating Two New Years? (January 1, 2022, The World of Chinese)
In the early 20th century, China tried to ban its millennia-old lunar calendar in the name of modernity—with mixed success.

Travel / Food

As Chinese Tourists Prepare to Travel Again, Some Countries Close Their Doors (January 2, 2022, TIME)
As COVID-19 infections in China continue to rise, and as concerns grow over the reliability of the country’s reporting and sequencing of cases, more than a dozen countries have announced new entry restrictions on travelers arriving from China at a time when they’re largely on the way out.

China threatens ‘countermeasures’ over other countries’ Covid travel restrictions (January 3, 2022, The Guardian)
“We believe that the entry restrictions adopted by some countries targeting China lack scientific basis, and some excessive practices are even more unacceptable,” foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at a briefing.

China’s Surreal Wave Valley Is a Glimpse Into Another World (January 3, 2022, Matador Network)
Located at the foot of Tianmen Mountain, China, Wave Valley is one of the most picturesque places on Earth. Also known as Langshan Mountain, the valley is a hidden gem located in the Hunan Province of China, known for its towering cliffs, lush green foliage and crystal-clear waters.


Chipperdämmerung (January 3, 2022, Law & Liberty)
Chris Miller’s Chip Wars tries to combine a chatty history of the chip industry with a strategic assessment of Sino-American tech rivalry and fails at both.

Links for Researchers

Internet Censorship 2023: A Global Map of Internet Restrictions (October 12, 2022, Comparitech)
Interested in learning how your country compares to the rest of the world on internet censorship? We’ve broken down every country’s online restrictions into an easy-to-read guide.

Status of Global Christianity 2023 (International Bulletin of Mission Research)

Pray for China

January 11 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Jan. 11, 1941, Zhang Yongsheng (张永生弟兄), the Apostle of the Dabie Mountains, was born in Jinzhai County, Anhui. His father was a local farmer who instilled a great love for learning into his son. Zhang was also a resistance leader allied with the Guomindang during World War II. He was imprisoned by the new communist government, and the family lived a difficult life for three decades. During the three famine years (1959-62), young Zhang prayed to the unknown God for help and promised he would serve him after age 45 if his family survived. The call came earlier. In 1981, Zhang dreamed that a book from heaven fell into his hands; he thought it might be a Buddhist scripture. Then he met an old Christian woman who had a Bible, and he realized this was God’s call to him. He became a Christian and began to study the Bible and listen to gospel programs on the radio. Soon he was evangelizing throughout Jinzhai and other areas in the Dabie Mountains, where the gospel had never been preached. Then he began to preach and train others. Within a decade, he had planted over 400 fellowships. His son, Zhang Yuanlai (张远来牧师), graduated from seminary and became a pastor and prolific author. Pray for Christians in the Dabie Mountains to follow the Lord, who contends with their foes and saves their children. …for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children. Isaiah 49:25b

Image credit: cdd20, 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