ZGBriefs | July 2, 2020

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Featured Article

International flights to China resume as coronavirus restrictions ease  (June 27, 2020, South China Morning Post)
International airlines are starting to resume flights to China after a loosening of aviation restrictions brought in as part of the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Lufthansa, part of Europe’s largest airline group, restarted flights to the mainland this week, flying once a week between Frankfurt and Shanghai in the first regular scheduled flights operated by the German carrier since the pandemic began.

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New ChinaSource Quarterly: Doing Missions with Chinese Characteristics: Developments in the Indigenous Missions Movement from China

This issue of the ChinaSource Quarterly features some significant breakthroughs in the development of the Indigenous Mission Movement (IMM) from China. May all the articles in this issue stretch the minds of readers, challenge each one to look at China from a fresh angle, and give everyone a renewed commitment towards enabling the church in her effort to reach the world.

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

In limbo: thousands of Chinese citizens stuck in US illegally, and Beijing won’t take them back  (June 26, 2020, South China Morning Post)
Atop the long list of US-China problems, add one more: the thousands of Chinese citizens illegally in the US that Beijing refuses to take back. China’s failure to cooperate has seen it labelled “recalcitrant” by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS); it is one of some dozen such countries and special regions, including Eritrea, Iran, Pakistan and Cuba.

US restricts visas for Chinese officials over HK  (June 27, 2020, Asia Times)
The United States said Friday it was restricting visas for a number of Chinese officials, accusing them of infringing on the autonomy of Hong Kong. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States would restrict visas for unspecified current and former officials of the Chinese Communist Party “who were responsible for eviscerating Hong Kong’s freedoms.”

Communist Party of China has nearly 92 million members  (June 30, 2020, Xinhua)
The Communist Party of China (CPC) had more than 91.91 million members as of the end of 2019, representing a net increase of 1.32 million from the previous year, the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee announced Tuesday. 

China Enacts Security Law, Asserting Control Over Hong Kong  (June 30, 2020, NPR)
Beijing’s top legislative body has unanimously passed a sweeping national security law for Hong Kong, a controversial move that could effectively criminalize most dissent in the city and that risks widening the rift between China and Western countries that have criticized the law.

Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong steps down from pro-democracy group  (June 30, 2020, DW)
Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong on Tuesday announced he is stepping down as leader of his pro-democracy group Demosisto, hours after reports emerged that Beijing has passed a controversial national security law on the territory’s behalf. The group announced later that it would dissolve over the new law.  “After much internal deliberation, we have decided to disband and cease all operation as a group given the circumstances,” Demosisto said on Twitter.

U.S. delays diplomats’ return to China amid concerns over coronavirus testing, quarantine  (July 1, 2020, Reuters)
Five months after the coronavirus epidemic forced the evacuation of some 1,300 U.S. diplomats and family members from China, Washington and Beijing remain locked in negotiations over conditions for their return, according to more than a dozen internal State Department emails seen by Reuters and people familiar with the matter.

In Hong Kong, Arrests and Fear Mark First Day of New Security Law  (July 1, 2020, The New York Times)
Protesters deleted social media accounts, as formerly allowed speech suddenly became a potential crime. The chill over the city has booksellers, professors and nonprofits questioning their future.

Hong Kong: First arrests under ‘anti-protest’ law as handover marked (July 1, 2020, BBC)
Nine people were held accused of violating the law, including a man with a pro-independence flag. More than 300 others were detained at a banned rally. The national security law targets secession, subversion and terrorism with punishments up to life in prison.

Two Systems, One “Original Intention”  (July 1, 2020, China Media Project)
“What people wish for, and what everyone hopes.” It is with this cryptic line that today’s official commentary in the People’s Daily on Hong Kong’s new national security law begins.

China hits back at US with new media restrictions as tensions rise  (July 1, 2020, CNN)
China has hit back at what it calls Washington’s “suppression of Chinese media” by demanding that four US news organizations declare details of their finances and staffing in the country. The Associated Press, United Press International, CBS News and NPR News must submit relevant paperwork to the Chinese government within seven days, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Wednesday at a regular press briefing.

Hong Kong: Dominic Raab announces citizenship pathway as China imposes security law – video  (July 1, 2020, The Guardian)
Up to 3 million people in Hong Kong could be eligible to live, work or study in the UK under a bespoke immigration system announced by Dominic Raab in response to the imposition of national security legislation on Hong Kong by China. The foreign secretary accused China of a ‘clear and serious violation’ of the joint declaration signed with the UK, and pledged the government would ‘honour’ its commitment to citizens of the former British colony 


New Hong Kong laws will have ‘no effect’ on religious freedom says cardinal  (June 24, 2020, Catholic News Agency)
Cardinal John Tong Hon, the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Hong Kong, has rejected concerns that new security and sedition laws for the province pose a risk to religious freedom. “I personally believe that the National Security Law will have no effect on religious freedom, because Article 32 of the Basic Law guarantees that we have freedom of religion, and we can also openly preach and hold religious ceremonies, and participate in religious activities,” Tong Hon told the diocesan newspaper Kung Kao Po this week. 

In-Person vs Online Church Gatherings (2) (June 30, 2020, Chinese Church Voices)
In this article from OC Behold, Pastor Zhong Rongkai talks about the importance of online church gatherings during quarantine. Pastor Zhong says Christians should take advantage of this time to “practice readiness” for future outreach and ministry. Zhong gives practical advice on how churches can prepare for such future opportunities.

Weathering the COVID Storm  (July 1, 2020, ChinaSource Blog)
Insights from a conversation about the effects of the Covid-19 crisis on the church in China.

Society / Life

China cuts Uighur births with IUDs, abortion, sterilization  (June 28, 2020, AP)
The Chinese government is taking draconian measures to slash birth rates among Uighurs and other minorities as part of a sweeping campaign to curb its Muslim population, even as it encourages some of the country’s Han majority to have more children.

Why China’s Cities Need Wet Markets  (June 30, 2020, Sixth Tone)
They might make a convenient scapegoat, but wet markets are one of the pillars of Chinese urbanization.

Economics / Trade / Business

Kweichow Moutai: ‘Elite’ alcohol brand is China’s most valuable firm  (June 30, 2020, BBC)
Kweichow Moutai is a luxury spirit favoured by Chinese politicians and businesspeople looking to impress. The company’s share price has risen dramatically this year, pushing its value to new highs. Despite producing one of China’s most prestigious brands, few people will have heard of it outside of the country until now.


Try, Try Again: The Students Who Keep Retaking the ‘Gaokao’  (June 30, 2020, Sixth Tone)
China’s notoriously grueling college entrance exam can make or break careers before they even begin. But specialist cram schools say they can help students rewrite their destinies — if they can handle the pressure.

The silencing of mainland Chinese international students  (June 30, 2020, Lausan)
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic where Sinophobic rhetoric is already on the rise, the blowback Chen received signals a climate of increased geopolitical polarization, making it extremely difficult to have open political discussions about China.

Shandong Investigating 242 Cases of ‘Gaokao’ Score Theft  (July 1, 2020, Sixth Tone)
In a majority of the cases, teenagers who did well on China’s rigorous college entrance exam had their scores stolen by others who then attended university under their victim’s identity.

Health / Environment

Flood alert at Three Gorges Dam  (June 24, 2020, Asia Times)
Heavy rains over the past three weeks have led to disasters being declared in 24 provinces and municipalities, especially near the upper reaches of the Yangtze River and the Three Gorges Dam. This is reportedly the largest flooding since 1949 and a serious challenge for the world’s largest dam. It has affected more than 85 million people and led to the collapse of at least 7,300 homes, with damage put at 20.7 billion yuan (about US$3 billion) so far.

Swine flu strain with human pandemic potential increasingly found in pigs in China  (June 29, 2020, Nature)
What the world doesn’t need now is a pandemic on top of a pandemic. So a new finding that pigs in China are more and more frequently becoming infected with a strain of influenza that has the potential to jump to humans has infectious disease researchers worldwide taking serious notice. 

Hebei: China locks down 400,000 people after virus spike near Beijing  (June 29, 2020, BBC)
Officials announced on Sunday that Anxin would be “fully enclosed and controlled”. Only essential workers are allowed to leave their homes, while one member of a household is allowed to go out once a day to shop for necessities.

Beijing approves experimental Covid-19 vaccine for use in Chinese military  (June 30, 2020, CNN)
The Chinese government has approved the use of an experimental Covid-19 vaccine for the country’s military — the latest step in a global race to stop the deadly disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The vaccine, known as Ad5-nCoV, was jointly-developed by the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology — part of the Chinese government’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences — and vaccine company CanSino Biologics.

Coronavirus: WHO to send second team into China to seek source of Covid-19  (June 30, 2020, South China Morning Post)
As number of cases tops 10 million and WHO warns that the pandemic is far from over, an investigative team will go to China next week. Experts are sceptical that an inquiry more than six months after first outbreak can find definitive answers about the origin of the virus.

Science / Technology

Mars mission would put China among space leaders  (June 25, 2020, Science)
NASA’s Perseverance rover may have company on the Red Planet. China aims to leap to the front ranks in planetary exploration with an ambitious Mars mission, its first independent bid to reach the planet. Tianwen-1—“quest for heavenly truth”—consists of not only an orbiter, but also a lander and a rover, a trifecta no other nation has accomplished on its first Mars bid. “A successful landing would put China among elite company,” says Mason Peck, an aerospace engineer at Cornell University.

China’s influence via WeChat is ‘flying under the radar’ of most Western democracies  (June 29, 2020, ZDNet)
China’s WeChat, like most social networks, is a haven for disinformation and “fake news”. Less well-known, at least in the West, is its role in mobilising Chinese diaspora communities to support particular political policies or people. These activities are coordinated through a system known as the United Front, a network of party and state agencies that are responsible for influencing purportedly independent groups outside the Chinese Communist Party.

India bans TikTok, WeChat and dozens more Chinese apps  (June 29, 2020, BBC)
India’s government has banned TikTok and dozens more Chinese-made apps it says are a danger to the country. In a statement, it said the apps were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”. In total, 59 apps were banned – among them popular messaging app WeChat. It follows escalating tensions along the disputed border between the two powers.

History / Culture

Brick by Brick: Inside the Mammoth Project to Restore the Great Wall of China  (Sixth Tone)
Despite being one of China’s national icons, the Great Wall fell into terrible disrepair during the height of the country’s economic boom. Construction and tourism projects chipped away at the ancient fortifications, with hundreds of kilometers of wall lost forever. In recent years, however, things have changed dramatically. As Beijing pursues a policy of “national rejuvenation,” making the Great Wall great again has become a central objective.

Podcast: The An Lushan Rebellion  (June 29, 2020, Barbarians at the Gate, via China Channel)
The inaugural episode – cohosted by Jeremiah Jenne and James Palmer – looks at An Lushan, the Göktürk general who charmed his way into the court of the Tang Dynasty in the 8th century, then almost succeeded in bringing down the empire from 755-763. It’s a story made for imperial slash fiction: the aging emperor Xuanzong, his concubine Yang Guifei, and the outsider who came between them.

From the Qing Empire to the People’s Republic, China’s worries about separatism run deep  (June 29, 2020, CNN)
A key tenet of Xi’s rule has been his pledge to restore the country to greatness, undoing the “century of humiliation” during which the Qing Empire and later the Republic of China were laid low by foreign powers, with territories including Hong Kong, Manchuria and much of Shanghai shaved off into colonies and concessions.

Non-Current Currency: The Five Sets of RMB Used in Chinese History  (June 30, 2020, The Beijinger)
As such, the RMB has undergone five major iterations in its 72 years of use, with the most recent redesign affecting the 50 yuan, 10 yuan, and one yuan banknotes, as well as one yuan, 50 cent, and 10 cent coins.

Video: Shanghai, 1992 (Everday Life in Maoist China)

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Excavating Chinese History, One Harrowing Film at a Time  (June 28, 2020, The New York Times)
The work of Hu Jie, who has made more than 30 movies, is little known even in China. The release of “Spark” and “The Observer” should make him better known abroad.

Debuting to Rave Reviews, Chinese Drama ‘The Bad Kids’ Cuts Deep  (June 29, 2020, Sixth Tone)
Directed by a former punk rocker, the wildly popular psychological thriller is driven by complex characters, including three children who inadvertently film a cold-blooded murder.

Language / Language Learning

A Cheat Sheet for Ordering in Mandarin for Newbies  (June 29, 2020, The Beijinger)
Some of us local Chinese and grizzled expat veterans of many a Mandarin class forget that a significant portion of the expat population recognizes so few Chinese characters that rocking up at a restaurant without an English menu can be a real challenge. While this quickie guide won’t give you access to the deeper, darker corners of every Chinese menu, it’s a start to at least make sure you don’t accidentally order the Spicy Lung Slices or Large Intestine Soup.

Living Cross-culturally

Chinese vs American Family: Don’t Tell Me What to Do!  (June 29, 2020, ChinaSource Blog)
When I was a teenager, I wondered why my American friends would brag about disobeying their parents—at home or in public. I sometimes disagreed with my parents, but I would never disagree with them face-to-face, much less in public.


Dreams and Disillusionment: Shanghai Free Taxi: A Book Review  (June 26, 2020, ChinaSource Blog)
Shortly after arriving in Shanghai as the NPR China correspondent in 2014, Langfitt decided that a good way for him to meet people and find stories would be to be a taxi driver. Of course he couldn’t be hired by a taxi company, so he bought a car, slapped on door stickers that read (in Chinese) “Make Shanghai Friends, Chat about Shanghai Life” and offered free rides in exchange for conversations. 

The Board of Rites and the Making of Qing China  (June 29, 2020, New Books Network)
Bringing attention to the importance of li (an articulated system of social domination and political legitimization, consisting of rituals, ceremonies, and rites) as the foundation of the Qing political system, Macabe Keliher’s book The Board of Rites and the Making of Qing China (University of California Press, 2019) challenges traditional understandings of state-formation and helps us rethink how we tell the story of the founding of the Qing.

Links for Researchers

IFJ Report – The China Story: Reshaping the World’s Media  (June 23, 2020, International Federation of Journalists)
A global survey of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) measuring China’s global media outreach by surveying journalism unions worldwide, found clear indications of the wide-ranging impact of China’s moves to extend its influence through global journalism unions and individual journalists.

English translation of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region  (July 1, 2020, Xinhua)

Pray for China

July 4, 2020 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On July 4, 1813, pioneer missionaries William Milne (米怜) and his wife Rachel Cowie Milne arrived in Macau after a 10-month voyage. China’s first Protestant pastor, Liang Fa (梁发牧师), came to Christ under Milne’s ministry and was baptized by him on Nov. 3, 1816. While working with Liang Fa, Milne published Two Friends, a tract that Prof. Daniel Bays described as “the most famous of all nineteenth century Christian tracts” in China. Bays estimates that as many as two million copies may have been distributed. Milne wrote that “Learning the Chinese language requires bodies of iron, lungs of brass, heads of oak, hands of spring steel, eyes of eagles, hearts of apostles, memories of angels, and lives of Methuselah.” Rachel died in 1819 and William in 1822 at age 37. Pray for Chinese and foreign Christians to partner effectively in reaching the world for Christ. Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. 2 Timothy 4:11