ZGBriefs | July 28, 2022

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Featured Article

China approves Genuine Biotech’s HIV drug for COVID patients (July 25, 2022, Reuters)
China on Monday gave conditional approval to domestic firm Genuine Biotech’s Azvudine pill to treat certain adult patients with COVID-19, adding another oral treatment option against the coronavirus. The availability of effective COVID vaccines and treatments is crucial in laying the groundwork for China’s potential pivoting from its “dynamic COVID zero” policy, which aims to eliminate every outbreak – however small – and relies on mass testing and strict quarantining.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

China Targeted Fed to Build Informant Network and Access Data, Probe Finds (July 26, 2022, The Wall Street Journal) (subscription required)
The investigation by Republican staff members of the Senate’s Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs found that Fed employees were offered contracts with Chinese talent-recruitment programs, which often include cash payments, and asked to provide information on the U.S. economy, interest-rate changes and policies, according to a report of the findings released Tuesday.

Can a New U.S. Law Prevent Uyghur Forced Labor? – A ChinaFile Conversation (July 26, 2022, ChinaFile)
The U.S. imports around U.S.$300 million from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, making it only the region’s eighth largest partner. Are the law’s investigative mechanisms sufficient to root out forced labor? What is the ultimate goal of such a law, and how might its efficacy be measured?

‘A dangerous moment’: China warns of consequences if Pelosi visits Taiwan (July 27, 2022, The Guardian)
Reported plans for the US House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to visit Taiwan could spark one of the most perilous moments in cross-strait relations for decades, analysts have warned. Pelosi’s visit has not been confirmed but there is speculation it could occur in the coming weeks. She would be the highest-ranked US official to visit since Newt Gingrich in 1997. China has warned that a visit by Pelosi would have “consequences”.

For Hong Kong’s Beijing-Backed Officials, Xi’s All That (July 27, 2022, The New York Times) (subscription required)
The city’s leaders are rushing to embrace Xi Jinping, China’s leader, a performance of devotion that is a jarring shift for Hong Kong’s once rambunctious political culture.

Hong Kong should ditch China-imposed national security law: UN panel (July 27, 2022, Reuters)
Chinese and Hong Kong officials have repeatedly said the law, imposed by Beijing in 2020, was vital to restore stability after the city was rocked for months by sometimes violent anti-government and anti-China protests in 2019. The committee, which monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) by state parties, released its findings on Hong Kong following a periodic review. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is a signatory to the ICCPR but China is not.

What Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan Trip Says About China (July 27, 2022, The Atlantic)
The rancor over the House speaker’s potential visit reveals how badly Xi Jinping needs a new strategy.


Three Trends in the Post-Pandemic Church in China (2) (July 26, 2022, Chinese Church Voices)
Arguably one of the biggest changes in recent years is that the emphasis on venue size and congregational numbers is changing. Instead, more churches are emphasizing the internalization of faith and personal relationship with God. Thus, churches are gaining a deeper understanding of their view of the church.

How I Prayed for Cities (July 27, 2022, China Partnership Blog)
Yet God is good, God loves the city, and God loves his precious children. I pray that he will give Chinese believers strength to bring his hope to their families, their neighborhoods, their companies, and their cities. 

A COVID-Fatigue Antidote (July 27, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
One common symptom of COVID is fatigue. But I think most of us, regardless of testing positive or negative, have a bit of COVID-fatigue. We would just like it to end. I thought we could all use some encouragement, so I looked back and found a ChinaSource Blog post from just about two years ago. It reminded me of a pandemic blessing I’d forgotten. And it encouraged me.

China to Rectify Religious Sites After Temple Honors War Criminals (July 27, 2022, Sixth Tone) Chinese authorities have launched a nationwide rectification campaign of religious venues after reports of a woman enshrining World War II criminals in a Buddhist temple sparked outrage and fueled anti-Japanese sentiment.

Society / Life

China’s population expected to start to shrink before 2025 (July 24, 2022, Reuters)
China’s population has slowed significantly and is expected to start to shrink ahead of 2025, the state-backed Global Times reported, citing a senior health official. Birth data released late on Sunday showed that the number of new births in 2021 was the lowest in decades in several provinces.

A Visit to Shaoshan and What I’ll Not Forget (July 25, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
But most of all I remember that day in Shaoshan, sweaty, hot, uncomfortable, looking around myself and realizing: these people remember Mao in a different way—in a glorious way. For these people, Mao is a national hero.

Unreal Estate: How Duped Homeowners in Henan Flipped the Script (July 26, 2022, Sixth Tone)
he campaign highlights the frustration construction delays cause and the urgent need for better oversight.

China’s Wuhan shuts down district of 1 million people over 4 asymptomatic Covid cases (July 27, 2022, CNN)
The Chinese metropolis of Wuhan has shut down a district of almost a million people after detecting four asymptomatic Covid cases, as the original epicenter of the pandemic takes no chances in preventing another outbreak under China’s stringent zero-Covid policy. Authorities in Wuhan’s Jiangxia district, home to more than 970,000 people, announced Wednesday its main urban areas would enforce three days of “temporary control measures.”

Don’t You Dare Say “WeChat” (July 27, 2022, China Media Project)
Facing strict curbs on social media, Chinese users have long used creative wordplay such as homonyms and intentionally misspelled words to tiptoe around censorship. Now, as platforms enforce their own word restrictions to hold on to traffic and hold off rivals, content creators have a whole new set of words to avoid. And for some, frustrations are mounting. 

China’s Moms Are Banding Together and Speaking Out (July 27, 2022, Sixth Tone)
When Chinese women leave the workforce to take care of their families, they are often severed from their connections with women on different life tracks. But events like the Wednesday Salon offer an opportunity, not only to meet and share experiences with other mothers their own age, but also network with and draw inspiration from women on other paths.

Economics / Trade / Business

In China, the banking scandal is causing some to lose faith in the Communist Party (June 25, 2022, NPR)
The rough treatment of bank protesters in China has cast a spotlight on an under-regulated corner of the banking system. Some depositors are questioning their faith in the ruling Communist Party.

China’s property sales are set to plunge 30% — worse than in 2008, S&P says (July 27, 2022, CNBC)
China’s property sales will likely drop by about 30% this year — nearly two times worse than their prior forecast, S&P Global Ratings said, citing a growing number of Chinese homebuyers suspending their mortgage payments. Such a drop would be worse than in 2008 when sales fell by roughly 20%, Esther Liu, director at S&P Global Ratings, said in a phone interview Wednesday. 

Health / Environment

Scientist at forefront of China’s early investigations into Covid-19 steps down (July 27, 2022, CNN)
George Gao, head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, has stepped down after five years at the helm of the health body, ending a tenure that placed him at the fore of early investigations into the first outbreak of Covid-19 in central China and the country’s rapid development of Covid-19 vaccines. 

Travel / Food

Traveling in Beijing With Covid Protocols (July 22, 2022, Jing Kids)
In this confusing pandemic era where rules and restrictions are set on everything, what are the protocols for traveling around Beijing? Here is a guide to making your journey around China’s capital as easy as possible.

Hong Kong’s iconic Star Ferry is in jeopardy of closing (July 24, 2022, NPR)
Hong Kong’s Star Ferry has been crossing Victoria Harbor for well over a century. Now, political turmoil and the pandemic have hurt its finances, threatening the cultural icon.

China Reopens Beijing For International Flights (July 27, 2022, Simply Flying) China is one of the most important markets within the Asia-Pacific region. Unlike the majority of its peer markets, the country has continued to impose the world’s strictest pandemic border regime. It is only just starting to gradually reopen, perhaps signifying a time for finally moving on from the pandemic. And for the first time in over two years, Beijing is welcoming back scheduled international commercial flights.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Summer Watch List: A Film Review Roundup (July 22, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
Whether you are in summer mode or not, below is a handy list of the top films we’ve reviewed over the years. All of the films on this list are easily accessible through online streaming platforms.

Language / Language Learning

7 ways to write Mandarin tones (July 22, 2022, Hacking Chinese)
When it comes to tones, there’s one standard way to write them for each system, but there are also many other ways of writing down the tones in Mandarin. In this article, we will look at seven different ways of writing tones and discuss what pros and cons they have for learners of the language.


Xinjiang: China’s Gateway to the World (The China Chronicles: Book 6) (Asia Harvest)
In this book, the sixth in the series, Hattaway focuses on the heroic efforts to reach the Uyghurs and other Muslim groups who remain largely untouched by the gospel.

Minjian: The Rise of China’s Grassroots Intellectuals (Columbia University Press)
Who are the new Chinese intellectuals? In the wake of the crackdown on the 1989 democracy movement and the rapid marketization of the 1990s, a novel type of grassroots intellectual emerged. Instead of harking back to the traditional role of the literati or pronouncing on democracy and modernity like 1980s public intellectuals, they derive legitimacy from their work with the vulnerable and the marginalized, often proclaiming their independence with a heavy dose of anti-elitist rhetoric. They are proudly minjian—unofficial, unaffiliated, and among the people.

Links for Researchers

China Historical Christian Database (Center for Global Christianity and Mission)
The China Historical Christian Database (CHCD) quantifies and visualizes the place of Christianity in modern China (1550-1950). It provides users the tools to discover where every Christian church, school, hospital, orphanage, publishing house, and the like were located in China, and it documents who worked inside those buildings, both foreign and Chinese. Collectively, this information creates spatial maps and generates relational networks that reveal where, when, and how Western ideas, technologies, and practices entered China. Simultaneously, it uncovers how and through whom Chinese ideas, technologies, and practices were conveyed to the West.

Pray for China

July 30 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On July 30, 1964, house church Christian Wu Weizun (吴维僔弟兄-Epaphras) was summoned by Tianjin police for interrogation. He later wrote that he was determined “to give no explanation, confess to no crime, not repent, but only to trust in the Lord and put all things into his hand.” The infuriated authorities gave him a life sentence in remote Ningxia. He refused to accept release after 20 years in prison because the documents said he had made a confession. He lived out his life fasting five days a week in a simple hut at the prison gate. In many letters and interviews, he always testified to the Lord’s goodness. Pray for officials in Tianjin and Ningxia to know, as did King David, the blessing of the Rock of Israel that falls upon just rulers. The God of Israel has spoken; the Rock of Israel has said to me: When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God, he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth. 2 Samuel 23:3-4

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