ZGBriefs | July 21, 2022

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Featured Article

What inflation? China’s peppercorn purveyors are feeling the heat (July 15, 2022, The New York Times) (subscription required)
The Sichuan peppercorns are ripe here in southwestern China, with a spicy, minty fragrance emanating from the rows of scrubby trees. But farmers are worried. Prices for the pods — which give chili crisp and other Chinese spicy foods that special kick — have plummeted this year, as coronavirus lockdowns and a resulting economic chill have kept diners at home pinching pennies.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Xi Jinping’s Vision for Xinjiang (July 13, 2022, Interpret)
Jude Blanchette analyses a translated article from a CCP scholar in Xinjiang that explains Xi Jinping’s vision for the region.

Beijing seeks to block the UN rights report on Xinjiang (July 20, 2022, Sup China)
Beijing is trying to stop the publication of a United Nations report on Xinjiang that is expected to be critical of China’s human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other minorities.

China’s Collapsing Global Image (July 2022, Council on Foreign Relations)
China’s slipping reputation provides a host of challenges and opportunities for the United States. Collaboration on international issues such as climate change and pandemic response are likely to suffer, particularly given the continued distrust over the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Pastoring the Chinese Heritage Church: An Interview with Hanley Liu (July 12, 2022, Sola Network)
SOLA Network had the privilege of speaking to Pastor Hanley Liu, English Lead Pastor of First Chinese Baptist Church of Walnut, a Chinese heritage church. He is also a SOLA Council member. Hanley talked to Aaron Lee, social media manager at SOLA Network and a member at his church. Listen to this fascinating interview where they discuss: The hope and calling of the Chinese heritage church, Hanley’s journey of faith and becoming a pastor, how to minister to a Chinese heritage church, and encouragements to young pastors.

To Bless the City, Not Consume It (July 18, 2022, China Partnership Blog)
As we pray this July for cities, we share this guide from a Chinese prayer warrior on how to develop a heart for your city through prayer walks. She encourages us not to view our city with a consumerist mentality, but to see the city with God’s eyes and to seek to bless the place where we live.

Three Trends in the Post-Pandemic Church in China (1) (July 19, 2022, Chinese Church Voices)
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the tightening of religious regulations have resulted in significant changes in the form and function of the church in China. This article from Christian Times speaks of three trends of the Chinese church—“More small groups, more household-oriented, more online.” 

Society / Life

China’s Lockdowns Are Fueling Record Growth — in Inequality (July 13, 2022, Sixth Tone)
In China’s cities, middle-class consumers are feeling anxious and making painful cuts to their household budgets. The wealthy, not so much.

Yinchuan! (July 15, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
Most of China’s Hui people live in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous region of northwest China, the capital of which is the city of Yinchuan. I thought it would be good to follow up Julie Ma’s series with a post/video about Yinchuan in my “Cities of China” series. 

Bridesmaids Go Professional (July 18, 2022, Sixth Tone)
If you’re single, shorter than the typical bride, and enjoy frequent travel, there’s a growth industry looking to hire.

China has an unemployment problem. Why nearly 20 percent of young job-seekers can’t land a job (July 18, 2022, Grid)
New national data shows that recent graduates in China are having a hard time finding work. Experts say that’s likely to be a lasting challenge for the Chinese government.

Outbreaks in China prompt lockdowns and fears of more economic woes (July 19, 2022, The New York Times) (subscription required)
The emergence of more infectious subvariants of the coronavirus has triggered mass quarantines, including 2,000 tourists stranded in a popular beach resort town.

Anger in China after officials break into homes in hunt for Covid contacts (July 19, 2022, The Guardian)
Authorities in southern China have apologised for breaking into the homes of people who had been taken to a quarantine hotel, in the latest example of heavy-handed virus-prevention measures that have sparked a rare public backlash. State media said that 84 homes in an apartment complex in Guangzhou city’s Liwan district had been opened in an effort to find any “close contacts” hiding inside and to disinfect the premises.

‘Run philosophy’: the Chinese citizens seeking to leave amid Covid uncertainty (July 20, 2022, The Guardian)
Many disillusioned urban Chinese citizens have started planning to leave the country. Online, “run philosophy”, or “run xue” – a coded way of talking about emigrating – has become a buzzword. On Zhihu, a post explaining the phenomenon has been read more than 9m times since January.

Economics / Trade / Business

China’s economic growth slows following COVID lockdowns (July 15, 2022, NPR)
The world’s second-largest economy shrank by 2.6%, down from the January-March period’s already weak 1.4%, official data showed Friday. Compared with a year earlier, a measures that can hide recent fluctuations, growth slid to 0.4% from the earlier quarter’s 4.8%.

Health / Environment

China’s Community Health Centers Are Losing Public Appeal (July 15, 2022, Sixth Tone)
More people are visiting bigger hospitals despite it costing more to do so, citing better health care services behind choice.

Science / Technology

Weibo vows to regulate homonyms, ‘misspelt’ words if they are used to evade China’s strict censorship (July 14, 2022, South China Morning Post)
China’s popular social media platform Weibo is cracking down on the use of homonyms and deliberately misspelt words to evade the country’s strict online censorship. The Twitter-like service said in a Weibo post on Wednesday that it would launch a campaign to regulate “the illegal behaviour of using homophone characters, variants of words, and other ‘misspelt words’ to spread harmful information”.

Data-hosting in China hampers U.S. law enforcement -prosecutor (July 20, 2022, Reuters)
U.S. companies are hosting customer data more often on servers in China, complicating U.S. authorities’ ability to get information for criminal investigations, a senior federal prosecutor said on Wednesday. Carolyn Pokorny, the top deputy U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn, said at a cybersecurity conference at New York’s Fordham University that U.S. service providers have told prosecutors they cannot respond to some search warrants because the data being sought is held by a China-based entity.

History / Culture

What if the U.S. had backed Mao during World War II? It almost happened (July 20, 2022, Sup China)
The Dixie Mission remains a tantalizing “what if” moment. Did politics and personalities lead to a tremendous missed opportunity? Might an American alliance with the Chinese Communists have fundamentally reshaped the 20th century, with implications for not only China and the United States, but for global conflicts like the wars in Korea, Vietnam, and the Cold War?

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Ascension: A Film Review (July 18, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
Ascension, a documentary by Jessica Kingdon, is a brilliant snapshot of contemporary, urban life in China today. So brilliant, in fact, that it was an Academy Award nominee in 2022 for best documentary feature. The film shows the pursuit of the “Chinese Dream” across social classes and how the Chinese people are responding to wealth and progress, or even just the idea of it.


Global China as Method (July 15, 2022, Cambridge Publishing)
Either implicitly or explicitly, China is generally depicted as an external force with the potential to impact on the ‘normal’ functioning of things. This core assumption, of China as an orientalised, externalised, and separate ‘other’, ultimately produces a distorted image of both China and the world. This Element seeks to illuminate the ways in which the country and people form an integral part of the global capitalist system.

Pray for China

July 23 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On July 23, 1969, well-known Zhejiang pastor Hu Zhenqing (胡振庆牧师) was released after 11 years in prison. He was re-arrested in 1973 and finally released 7 years later at age 62. For the next 15 years he evangelized in Anhui and Zhejiang, including many trips to off shore islands. He went to be with the Lord in 1995. Pastor Hu taught, “Christians: Spend more time with God and less with people; Young people: Have a rich prayer life; Parents: Read a verse or two of the Bible to your children each day.” Many rural pastors receive little or no pay. Pray for them to be adequately supplied. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Image credit: 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