ZGBriefs

ZGBriefs | July 15, 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.

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Featured Article

Why China Is Going After Its Tech Giants (July 10, 2021, China File)
To understand why, it is best to try to think from the perspectives of China’s leaders. Their intended messages are aimed at different audiences: domestic Internet firms and the domestic public at large, as well as those outside of the country.

Sponsored Link

China, Christianity, and the Dialogue of Civilizations
28th International Conference of the US-China Catholic Association
Co-sponsored by the Departments of Sociology, History, Political Science, Modern Languages, and the Center for Global Engagement of Santa Clara University.
August 6-8, 2021, Santa Clara University
The 2021 conference is an event spanning three days, four keynote speakers, a range of pastoral reflections, academic panels, practical workshops, and many other events to foster a deeper conversation surrounding Christianity, culture, and the friendship between the Church in China and in the U.S.
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If you or your company/organization would like to sponsor a link in ZGBriefs, please contact info@chinasource.org for more information.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

China Isn’t That Strategic (July 1, 2021, The Atlantic)
The Chinese government’s botched population policy is more than just an outlier, or a nuancing of a broader narrative: It tells us about how the Communist Party governs and exposes weaknesses that not only counter its reputation for strategic genius but also imperil China’s climb to global greatness. 

Xi’s new slogan for China’s trajectory: “Time and momentum are on our side” (July 9, 2021, MERICS)
The CCP’s leader has hailed the country he leads as the sole global champion and staked a claim to being the sole eternal helmsman in the party’s history. All the while, says our guest author Johnny Erling, Xi is steering the People’s Republic into ever-greater isolation.

Strategies for the China Story (July 9, 2021, China Media Project)
China’s strategic thinkers expend a lot of time and a lot of ink these days on the question of how the country can project a positive image across the world. The basic idea is that if China can strengthen its “discourse power” (话语权) by “telling China’s story well” – Xi Jinping’s catchphrase in the arena of public diplomacy and soft power – then its strategic priorities globally can move ahead smoothly.

China’s 100-Year-Old Communist Party Has More Members Than Most Countries Have People (July 10, 2021, NPR)
China’s ruling Communist Party is now a century old. One of the biggest political parties in the world, it has more members than most countries have people, which poses a challenge for leadership.

How Should the U.S. Approach Climate Diplomacy with China? A ChinaFile Conversation (July 12, 2021, ChinaFile)
As China continues to emerge as a superpower and move forward with its colossal Belt and Road Initiative amid the climate crisis, American climate engagement with China is more critical than ever. What would an effective climate diplomacy for the U.S. and China look like? 

The Party’s Party: A Reading Roundup (July 12, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
Its 70+ year rule has been marked by periods of consolidation and relaxation, harsh political campaigns and economic growth, isolation and engagement. For the current leadership, this anniversary provided a chance for them to remind the people (and the world) that China is and can only be great 在共产党领导下 (under the leadership of the Communist Party).

China bans pro-democracy candidates in Macau elections (July 13, 2021, The Guardian)
China’s crackdown on pro-democracy politicians in Hong Kong appears to have spread to Macau, where 21 candidates, including veteran legislators, have been disqualified from forthcoming elections. Most of those disqualified have vowed to challenge the ruling by the territory’s electoral commission, warning that Beijing and pro-Beijing authorities are “changing the deal” they have with Macau, despite its “stability”.

Pakistan bus ‘blast’ kills at least 12, including nine Chinese (July 14, 2021, Al Jazeera)
Bus plunges into a ravine in northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province after explosion, with Pakistan citing ‘mechanical failure’ but China referring to an ‘attack’.

Biden administration looks to set up ‘red phone’ to China for emergency communications (July 14, 2021, CNN)
While the concept is still in its infancy and has yet to be formally raised with the Chinese, the Biden administration wants to develop a rapid communication tool that could be folded into a broader effort to reduce the risk of conflict between the US and China, according to a US official and another source familiar with early conversations about the device.

‘They’re watching us’: Australia tracking Chinese surveillance ship heading towards Queensland (July 14, 2021, The Guardian)
The Australian government says it is “keeping a close eye” on a Chinese surveillance ship that is heading towards Queensland in an apparent attempt to monitor a joint military exercise with the United States. Amid ongoing tensions in the relationship with China, the Australian government cited the ship’s presence as evidence Australia and its allies should also be afforded freedom of navigation in the contested South China Sea.

Religion

Student Ministry—Too Much for One Issue (July 7, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
For instance, I did not know that the first Christian student conference held in mainland China predated the start of the North American-based Urbana Conference1 by one year and the second mainland conference which was organized by China InterVarsity took place in Nanjing the following year in 1947. 

Video: Mental Health Matters (July 8, 2021, CantoSense)
Why is discussion of mental health taboo within the Chinese culture? This episode, we look into the cultural Chinese view on mental health and how as Christians, we can be challenged to think about it differently. 

Marriage and the Promises of the Covenant (July 8, 2021, China Partnership Blog)
Marriage is used by God to display on earth his covenantal promises of faithfulness and love. Likewise, marriage problems are a microcosm of the problems experienced within the church and society. Here, four Chinese pastors (and two of their wives) talk about marriage as a reflection of God’s covenants, about how they have experienced God’s faithfulness in their own relationships, and about their struggles and victories in marriage.

100 Years of God’s Protection and Guidance (Part 2): Policies and Plans in Favor of Christianity (July 9, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
In my previous post, I highlighted many of the adversities Christianity faces in China due to its limited religious freedom. But God has used those unfavorable conditions to accelerate church growth. In this section we see that thistles and thorns are not the only plants on the path of evangelism. We have simply ignored the little daisies growing along the way. I believe history did not simply happen, but it was controlled by the Master’s hand.

Campus Ministry within Mainland China (July 12, 2021, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Most of us have heard stories about rapid church growth in mainland China. But what about campus ministry? With all the stories about Chinese church growth, it is harder to find stories about the dynamic campus ministry that has developed within mainland Chinese churches.

History of Student Ministry in China (July 12, 2021, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Broadly speaking, the history of student ministry in China is nearly as long as that of modern Protestant missions in China. Robert Morrison founded the Anglo-Chinese College in Malacca in 1818 to educate and influence Chinese youth and children. This was the first school of Western education for Chinese people. Thereafter, Western mission agencies coming to China focused on expanding missions and furthering the influence of the church through education. 

Recent Student Ministry in China: Adapting to Present Realities (July 12, 2021, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Campus ministry in mainland China developed along two tracks: through the work of international organizations, and through Chinese church networks. During the 1990s and the 2000s, one particular international organization played a major role in reaching huge populations on campuses over all the major cities across China.

Ministry Among Minority Students (July 12, 2021, ChinaSource Quarterly)
In 1921, Shu Qingchun started attending English evening classes at the London Missionary Society West City New Church (Gangwashi) in Beijing. These classes were part of a program of activities supporting the poor and disadvantaged Manchu residents in that area.

A City Of Living Souls: Loving The City That Hates You, Part 1 (July 12, 2021, China Partnership Blog)
As we pray for and learn about ministry within China’s many cities, Sister He Kewang returns to share how her church reaches out to and loves their city. From city leaders in the halls of power, to the impoverished children of powerless migrant workers, the good news of the gospel brings hope and love to souls on any rung of society’s ladder.

Prepping for the Olympics (July 14, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
To help our readers in their Olympic-watching prep, here is a story from Chinese Church Voices about a legendary Olympian—Li Yan, a short-track speed skating athlete and coach, who happens to be from China and happens to be a Christian. Li Yan recently stepped down as head coach of the China’s national short-track skating team but her story is timeless.

Society / Life

The reality of China’s fertility decline (July 8, 2021, East Asia Forum)
Very low levels of fertility can have profound implications. A shrinking working-age population and a declining national population could affect China’s future socioeconomic development and its international influence. Changing age structure, especially rapid population ageing, will bring unprecedented challenges.

‘Who Are Our Enemies?’ China’s Bitter Youths Embrace Mao. (July 8, 2021, The New York Times) (subscription required)
The chairman’s call for struggle and violence against capitalists is winning over a new audience of young people frustrated with long work hours and dwindling opportunities.

In One Collapsing Village, the Other Side of China’s Rise (July 10, 2021, Sixth Tone)
When Liang Hong returned to her village after spending a decade away, she discovered that the small truths at home painted a larger picture of China’s economic and societal trends.

Heavy Rains Trigger Evacuations in Beijing and Sichuan (July 12, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Around 15,000 people were evacuated from their homes in Beijing as heavy rainfall hit a large swath of northern China on Sunday, China’s state broadcaster CCTV reported. The capital also canceled hundreds of flights, halted certain public bus lines, and closed scenic spots. School classes are suspended and companies have been asked to allow employees to work from home.

Women in firing line for living alone (July 13, 2021, China Daily)
Living alone should be a personal choice, but many people in China find it strange that women, especially younger women, would make such a decision, particularly as it may result in a barrage of criticism.

Why the Three-Child Policy Is Just a Start (July 13, 2021, Sixth Tone)
The government is unveiling new policies to make it easier for women to juggle their family and work responsibilities. But what about women who don’t fit neatly into the career woman-housewife dichotomy?

This family’s 24-year search for their abducted son inspired a movie. They’ve just been reunited (July 14, 2021, CNN)
Police in Liaocheng City, Shandong province, said Monday they had found Guo, now an adult living in neighboring Henan province — and had reunited him with his parents. Video footage of the reunion on Sunday, released by police, shows the family in tears and embracing tightly, crying out, “We found you, you’ve come back.” Police said they had arrested two people who confessed to kidnapping and trafficking Guo.

Hotel collapse in China’s Suzhou kills 17, injures five (July 14, 2021, BBC)
Some seventeen people have died after a hotel collapse in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou. After 36 hours of search operations, rescue workers found 23 people buried in the rubble – six of whom were found alive. A preliminary investigation found the collapse was caused by the owner altering the structure of the building, according to the Global Times.

To Improve Governance, China Ups Control Over Its Grassroots (June 14, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Taking lessons from how villages and neighborhoods managed the pandemic, the government is drawing them closer to their superiors.

Hong Kong exodus gathers pace as thousands vote with their feet (July 14, 2021, The Washington Post) (subscription required)
The ritual unfolds daily. In an otherwise near-deserted airport terminal, hundreds line up to check in for a one-way journey. Elderly parents on walking sticks see off their adult children and grandkids, who hug and cry as they snap photos with loved ones they might not see for years. Their destination: Britain.

Podcast: China’s population conundrum, with UNC demographer Yong Cai (June 24, 2021, Sup China)
This episode — the first in-person interview since February 2020 — looks at the results of China’s 2020 census, the announcement of the much-maligned “three-child policy” that the Chinese government proclaimed shortly after the results of the census were released, and other measures the Chinese leadership is considering to avoid the demographic crisis it now faces.

Economics / Trade / Business

U.S. warns businesses connected to China’s Xinjiang region run ‘high risk’ of violating law (July 13, 2021, CNBC)
The updated advisory strengthens previous U.S. warnings to companies by highlighting potential violations of U.S. law if their operations are linked even “indirectly” to the Chinese government in Xinjiang.

Education

US visa restrictions ‘necessary but don’t affect many Chinese students’ (July 8, 2021, South China Morning Post)
A spokesman for the US embassy in Beijing said Washington still welcomes Chinese students who do not further China’s efforts to modernise its military. He said the visa restrictions relate to less than 2 per cent of the overall number of Chinese students and exchange visitor visa applicants. He gave no further details on numbers.

Chinese City Shuts All Tutoring Schools for Young Children (July 14, 2021, Sixth Tone)
In an apparent move in China’s nationwide effort to reduce over-competitive practices in the education system, Yulin, a city in northwestern Shaanxi province, has announced a blanket ban on certain kinds of training schools. All extracurricular institutes that teach first-graders to ninth-graders core school subjects will have to shut their doors, a local news portal reported Wednesday. Many parents sign their children up for such classes so they don’t fall behind their peers, creating a lucrative market.

Health / Environment

Covid: What do we know about China’s coronavirus vaccines? (July 13, 2021, BBC)
Both Sinopharm and Sinovac, which have been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use, are already being used in China and dozens of countries around the world. But what do we know about China’s vaccines and how do they compare to those being developed elsewhere?

People in Some Chinese Cities Will Soon Need to Be Vaccinated to Enter Certain Public Places (July 13, 2021, Radii China)
An official notice from the government in Ninghai county in Eastern Chinese city Ningbo, located in Zhejiang province, states that, “Starting from July 25th, unvaccinated people (exemptions for medical contraindications) are not allowed to enter inpatient department in hospitals, nursing homes, schools (kindergartens, nurseries, off-campus training institutions), libraries, museums, prisons and other key locations.”

Science / Technology

China tightens control over cybersecurity in data crackdown (July 14, 2021, NBC News)
Tech experts in China who find a weakness in computer security would be required to tell the government and couldn’t sell that knowledge under rules further tightening the Communist Party’s control over information.

History / Culture

Video: Japan surrenders Beiping in 1945 (Everyday Life in Maoist China)

Video: National Day 1970 (Everyday Life in Maoist China)

Travel / Food

You Say Mandu, I Say Jiaozi! Food Doppelgangers From Around the World (July 10, 2021, The Beijinger)
Neighboring countries and regions have a tendency to share their cultures, especially when it comes to food. But what about two countries on different continents, with multiple oceans and mountains between them? Will we still be able to spot any doppelgangers? With this question in mind, I asked a few Beijing expats about their hometown foods and the closest Chinese versions.

CPC museum to open to public (July 12, 2021, China Daily)
In three days, a landmark architecture and also a “spiritual home” in tribute to the epic history of the Communist Party of China (CPC) will be available on the general public’s list of destinations, adding to the festivity of this year that marks the CPC’s centenary. Located in the Chaoyang District of Beijing, the Museum of the CPC will open to the public from July 15 and accept online appointments for free visits from 9 am to 5 pm, according to an official announcement Monday.

The Hong Kong Dessert with an Immortal Name (July 13, 2021, The World of Chinese)
the dessert, known provisionally as “pomelo mango sago,” failed to stand out against Hong Kong’s other liquid sweet treats, like sago and red bean soup (红豆西米露), or mango cream jelly (芒果凉粉). And so, the quest for a more attractive name began.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

The Slow Ascent of China’s Most Famous Female Director, Jia Ling (July 8, 2021, Radii China)
In China’s male-dominated film industry, Jia Ling has been pushing the status quo, establishing her place at the forefront of the Chinese movie scene after she smashed records with her debut directorial effort Hi, Mom.

The foreigners in China’s disinformation drive (July 11, 2021, BBC)
Foreign video bloggers denouncing what they say is negative coverage of China on highly controversial subjects such as Xinjiang are attracting large numbers of subscribers on platforms like YouTube.

Links for Researchers

Turning Over a New Leaf: The British Government, the Cultural Revolution, and the Ethnic Chinese Community in Britain, 1967–1968 (British Journal of Chinese Studies)
This article seeks to explain the transnational development of Maoism in the attempt to legitimise the Cultural Revolution and the 1967 Hong Kong Riots to Britain’s ethnic Chinese populace. 

Full text: Respecting and Protecting the Rights of All Ethnic Groups in Xinjiang (July 14, 2021, The State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China)

Will America Defend Taiwan? Here’s What History Says (June 30, 2021, Hoover Institution)
Even barring a major political-military crisis, it seems probable that the years ahead will see the U.S. government improve its early-warning intelligence via regular ship, submarine, and aircraft patrols of the Taiwan Strait; more frequent overhead passes of space and near-space platforms; and expanded intelligence sharing arrangements with the Taiwanese security services. It also seems probable that the U.S. will make significant enhancements to its diplomatic, trade, intelligence, and military presence in Taiwan.

Pray for China

July 16
On July 16, 1814, Robert Morrison (马礼逊) baptized the first Chinese Protestant Christian in mainland China, Cai Gao (蔡高弟兄). Cai Gao had been hired to help print the New Testament. In 1812, he asked to be baptized— Morrison not only refused, but fired him, regarding him as too quarrelsome. Cai continued to attend Morrison’s Sunday services for many months and was faithful in prayer and conduct. When Morrison finally baptized Cai, Morrison wrote prophetically in his journal, “May he be the first-fruits of a great harvest, one of millions who shall come and be saved on the day of wrath to come.” Pray with Morrison for millions more to be saved in China. After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands…Revelation 7:9

Image credit: by michael Davis-burchat, via Flickr
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