ZGBriefs | July 1, 2021

ZGBriefs is for those who want and need to keep up on what is happening in China, but don’t have the time to monitor and track it all. We monitor more than 50 different news sources and curate the most relevant and interesting stories out of China each week. Topics include government, religion, society, economics, education, travel, and language, and books.


Featured Article

China’s CCP celebrates centennial by looking back – and ahead (June 30, 2021, Christian Science Monitor)
Celebrating its 100th anniversary, China’s ruling party again uses a selective picture of history to justify its rule. The party’s goal – global Chinese leadership and prosperity for all its citizens – may also be its biggest challenge, scholars say.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

The Chinese Communist party: 100 years that shook the world (June 27, 2021, The Guardian)
As China marks the centenary of its ruling party, we examine key episodes in its tempestuous history, including the Long March, Mao’s purges and Xi Jinping’s rise to the top of an emerging superpower.

The Party Works to Ensure Nothing, Especially Not History, Will Spoil 100th Anniversary (June 28, 2021, China Digital Media)
On July 1, the Chinese Communist Party will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its founding. The Party was actually founded on July 23 but the mixup, although acknowledged, has never been rectified—perhaps because the date has a certain numerical symmetry with other important anniversaries: August 1, the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, and October 1, the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Hong Kong: How life has changed under China’s national security law (June 29, 2021, BBC)
On 30 June 2020, China introduced the National Security Law (NSL) in Hong Kong in response to massive pro-democracy protests that had swept through the city the previous year. The controversial law reduces Hong Kong’s judicial autonomy and makes it easier to punish demonstrators and activists. It criminalises secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces and carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Since it was enacted more than 100 people – including protesters, pro-democracy politicians and journalists – have been arrested under its provisions.

Crossing the Red Line: Behind China’s Takeover of Hong Kong (June 29, 2021, The New York Times) (subscription required)
One year ago, the city’s freedoms were curtailed with breathtaking speed. But the clampdown was years in the making, and many signals were missed.

Hong Kong’s courts should reflect China’s will, says official (June 30, 2021, The Guardian)
Hong Kong’s judicial system should reflect the will and interests of the Chinese nation, a senior official overseeing the national security law has said. The comments have been interpreted as a clear instruction from Beijing that Hong Kong’s once-vaunted court system is now expected to operate in the interests of the central government in Beijing, rather than the rule of law.

Chinese Communist Party Centennial—Struggle and Flexibility (June 30, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
As the CCP celebrates its centennial, we should seek to understand how the party views and defines itself. Party identity has grown strong in the forges of struggle and conflict, yet paradoxically, it is also rooted in remarkable ideological flexibility.

Video: The CCP at 100: How the Party Tells its Story | Denise Ho, Karrie Koesel, Maria  (June 30, 2021, National Committee on US-China Relations)
The July 2021 centennial of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will be an important milestone in China, accompanied by media fanfare and celebration. As the Party promotes the story of its successes and accomplishments to its people and the world, what does it choose to minimize or ignore? Through the lenses of museums, traditional and new media, and political education in schools, we examined how China projects its image in a rapidly shifting global landscape.

From Mao to Xi: how China’s Communist Party leaders have shaped its ideology (June 30, 2021, South China Morning Post)
While Marxism-Leninism was influential in the foundation of China’s Communist Party 100 years ago , the party has always adapted the ideology for the Chinese context and developed its own ideas. As the needs of the country changed, each party leader has had his own thoughts about how to interpret the teachings of predecessors and develop new ones.

Why China’s Communist Party celebrates anniversary on July 1, earlier than first official meeting (June 30, 2021, South China Morning Post)
Here, Jane Cai explains why the anniversary is celebrated on July 1, even though the first national congress was held in late July, 1921, and how that particular meeting did not go according to plan.

Raising the Banner High (June 30, 2021, China Media Project)
Amid the flood of news and speculation about what the festivities will bring, we focus here today on just one key aspect to observe tomorrow as Xi Jinping takes the stage, and as media across China respond, online and offline, to what he has to say. Our question: How will Xi’s banner term, or qizhiyu (旗帜语), appear in coverage in the Party-state media, and what will that tell us about his present status?

Infographic: 100 years of China’s Communist Party (June 30, 2021, Al Jazeera)
Many analysts say CCP is at the peak of its power on its centenary, but the party faces a new host of challenges, both at home and abroad. They include economic inequality, environmental degradation, and tensions with the United States and other developed nations over trade, politics and human rights.


Finding Themselves in China (June 23, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
It has been said that for the person who has a hammer, everything looks like a nail. For foreigners who go to China, it is often the case that what they find depends on what they’ve come looking for. Bringing with them their assumptions—based on who they are and what they do—their discoveries in China can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Webinar Recording: Christian Theology in a Chinese Idiom (June 25, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
On June 10, our joint lecture series with the US-China Catholic Association and the China Academic Consortium continued with a lecture by Dr. Jesse Ciccotti titled, “Christian Theology in a Chinese Idiom.” The video recording of the event is now available here and on YouTube.

WeChat and Chinese Christians, Part 2: The Challenges (June 28, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
Should this media platform be used by Christians? Should believers share spiritual things so openly through it? Should they stay up late into the night checking their friends’ postings? Should they allow it to be their super-app used for most things in life? Those are completely different questions and are all worth thinking about. But it is the Chinese  believers themselves who will answer those questions and navigate what it means to be a disciple of Christ in China.

Prayer, Suffering, and The Church: Union With Christ is a Call to Die (June 28, 2021, China Partnership Blog)
Over the past ten years, some observations have struck me as I’ve watched men and women grow in their calling to ministry. For the sake of brevity and space, I chose three which are significant factors in the growth of believers in China and throughout the world, as well as in my own spiritual growth.

Six Early Rain Church Members Granted Political Asylum in US (June 29, 2021, Radio Free Asia)
A family of six linked to the Early Rain Covenant Church in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan has been granted political asylum in the United States after fleeing China for the democratic island of Taiwan, RFA has learned. Early Rain member Liao Qiang and five family members traveled to Taiwan while on a trip to Thailand in 2019, and were temporarily settled in Hsinchu while their U.S. asylum application was processed, Liao’s daughter Ren Ruiting told RFA.

How China is turning religion into another state-controlled tool to support its Communists ideals (June 30, 2021, The Globe and Mail)
What’s happening in religion forms part of a much larger state effort, Prof. Madsen said. He cites a phrase in Chinese: zhongguohua means tinghua – or, Sinicization means obedience. It is an attempt to “homogenize the culture. Xi Jinping wants everybody on the same page, no matter what background they come from, what ethnicity – and flatten it out.” Prof. Madsen has doubts about what can be achieved. “I think China is too diverse and complicated to actually do that,” he said.

Society / Life

As Gaokao Scores Roll Out, Netizens Wonder if There’s More to Life Than the Hustle (June 24, 2021, Radii China)
Two weeks ago, over 10 million Chinese high school seniors walked out of the testing site for the Gaokao, China’s National College Entrance Exam. Their scores on the test will largely determine their future.

The Last Days of Old Hongkou (June 29, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Shanghai is redeveloping swaths of traditional “shikumen” housing in one of its most historic districts. For local residents, it’s the end of an era.

Beijing Braces For Centenary as Ruling Party Hits 95 Million Members (June 30, 2021, Radio Free Asia)
Authorities in Beijing have banned sales of natural gas canisters and knives, as the city began to fill up with military personnel on the eve of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s centenary celebration on July 1. Internet connections in the capital have also been intermittent in recent days, local residents told RFA.

China’s ‘one-child policy’ left at least 1 million bereaved parents childless and alone in old age, with no one to take care of them (June 30, 2021, Yahoo! News)
A child’s death is devastating to all parents. But for Chinese parents, losing an only child can add financial ruin to emotional devastation. That’s one conclusion of a research project on parental grief I’ve conducted in China since 2016.

Economics / Trade / Business

Video: American Business Owner on Opportunities and Challenges in China | Ron Bracalente (June 29, 2021, National Committee on US-China Relations)
Third-generation business owner Ron Bracalente shares the story of expanding his company, Bracalente Manufacturing Group, into China, and discusses how current bilateral trade relations can impact existing ties.

How A Chinese-Built Highway Drove Montenegro Deep Into Debt (June 29, 2021, NPR)
The section of highway that threatens to cripple Montenegro’s economy begins in the foothills outside the capital Podgorica, where scaffolding lines a multi-lane expressway closed off to the public. The highway ends, for now, in the remote mountainous terrain east of the city.

China is facing its worst power shortage in a decade. That’s a problem for the whole world (June 30, 2021, CNN)
China is in the middle of a huge power crunch as extreme weather, surging demand for energy and strict limits on coal usage deliver a triple blow to the nation’s electricity grid. It’s a problem that could last for months, straining the country’s economic recovery and weighing on global trade.


The Chinese student protests putting ‘independent’ college merger plans on hold (June 27, 2021, South China Morning Post)
At first the students petitioned local governments for information about the future of the colleges they attended. With no clarification from the authorities, thousands of the students mounted protests on campus earlier this month, clashing with police and security guards, according to footage and accounts posted online. The students attend “independent” colleges in China’s wealthiest provinces and were concerned that their degrees would be “downgraded” with plans to merge the institutions and overhaul a lucrative sprawling branch of the country’s education system.

Chinese Provinces Curb Private Schools, Encourage Public Education (June 29, 2021, Sixth Tone)
While Hunan and Jiangsu will cap the number of students attending private academic institutions, Sichuan has stopped approving such facilities altogether.

China pressure ‘undermining Australian universities’, report says (June 30, 2021, BBC)
Chinese pro-democracy students in Australia experience harassment and fear punishment if they speak out on sensitive issues, a new report says. Human Rights Watch found such students feel surveilled in Australia, leading many to self-censor in classrooms. Academics teaching China courses in the country say they have also felt pressure to censor themselves.

Health / Environment

Sinovac’s COVID-19 Vaccine Found Safe for Children, Study Suggests (June 29, 2021, Sixth Tone)
The trial showed that 3- to 17-year-olds had an immune response against the virus after the two-dose shot.

China certified malaria-free after 70-year fight (June 29, 2021, AFP, via Yahoo! News)
China was certified as malaria-free on Wednesday by the World Health Organization, following a 70-year effort to eradicate the mosquito-borne disease. The country reported 30 million cases of the infectious disease annually in the 1940s but has now gone four consecutive years without an indigenous case.

Science / Technology

China Shares More Photos, Video, and Audio from its Mars Zhurong Rover (June 28, 2021, PetaPixel)
China has recently shared more photos, video, and audio of its Mars rover, and at least one clip has a rather unique perspective. 

History / Culture

The Endangered Sound of ‘Suona’ (June 26, 2021, The World of Chinese)
The suona is a traditional Chinese wind instrument similar to the oboe that is customarily played alongside gongs, drums, and the sheng mouth organ at weddings and funerals in rural northeastern China. In Shandong province, where the suona is sometimes known by the onomatopoeic name “wulawa,” the instrument is an integral part of traditional culture. But in Shandong’s Pingyi county, where Wang hails from, suona performances have been banned from funerals since October 2016 as part of local government reforms aiming to curb lavish, showy ceremonies.

All Is Well (June 27, 2021, The World of Chinese)
Photographer Li Guochao digs deep in order to understand the history of his native Wuping county. The predominantly Hakka cultural region of southern Fujian province is dotted with ancient stone wells that used to serve as the main water source for isolated villages. “Every well has a different story,” he says.

The Jewish Refugees Who Fought for China (June 30, 2021, Sixth Tone)
In the 1930s, Shanghai took in thousands of Jewish refugees from Europe. Some of them would stand with China in its own battle against fascism.

Video: Everyday life in Chengdu in 1940 (Everyday Life in Maoist China)

Travel / Food

‘Red Tourism’ Flourishes in China Ahead of Party Centennial (June 25, 2021, The New  York Times) (subscription required)
New and improved attractions dedicated to the Communist Party’s history, or a sanitized version of it, are drawing crowds.

China’s latest mega-airport is officially open (June 28, 2021, CNN)
China’s long-awaited Chengdu Tianfu International Airport has officially begun operations, offering travelers a new gateway to the home of giant pandas. Its inaugural flight, operated by Sichuan Airlines, took off at 11:10 a.m. on Sunday, bound for Beijing. Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, is now the third city in the country to have two international airports, joining Shanghai and Beijing.

China opens the world’s highest hotel with floors two times higher than the Eiffel Tower (June 29, 2021, USA Today)
A hotel in Shanghai claims to have opened China’s highest hotel in the world’s second tallest skyscraper: The J Hotel Shanghai Tower.The hotel has top floors inside the Shanghai Tower around 2,000 feet – two times the height of the Eiffel Tower – and is the tallest building in China. 

Hong Kong bans all incoming flights from UK over Covid concerns (June 29, 2021, BBC)
Hong Kong is to ban all flights from the UK to curb the spread of the Delta variant of Covid. The UK is to be classified as an “extremely high-risk” country, the highest rating Hong Kong has for pandemic travel. The ban will come into effect on 1 July and affect all incoming passenger flights from Britain.


China’s Harvest Fields: Book Review (June 27, 2021, Global China Center)
Edited by Tabor Laughlin and composed of topical essays by contributing experts in fields ranging from business to minority people groups, the book offers socio-historical perspective and practical ideas to in-country laborers and all Christians invested in the continued growth of God’s church in Asia. As the introduction clarifies, the book aims to look at “the numerous factors involved with reaching China, and the factors of a ‘strong’ Chinese body standing up for the years to come.”

Pray for China

July 6 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On July 6, 1842, John Ross (罗约翰) was born in Scotland. Ross served over forty years as a missionary in China’s three northeastern provinces—an area with many ethnic Koreans. He founded the Dongguan Church in Shenyang and worked with Seo Sang-ryun (徐相仑) to produce the first Protestant translation of the Bible into Korean. Pray for Korean-Chinese Christians to see the glory of the Lord and to be spiritual multipliers. Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:17

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