ZGBriefs | July 29, 2021

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Featured Article

Canadian swimmer’s success throws spotlight on China’s one-child policy (July 28, 2021, CNN)
Margaret MacNeil shot to international fame Monday after winning the women’s 100-meter butterfly at the Tokyo Olympics, setting an Americas continental record at her very first Games. In China, however, the 21-year-old was drawing wide attention for another reason, as news spread that the Canadian girl who beat China’s top woman swimmer, Zhang Yufei, by 0.05 seconds was actually born in China and adopted as a baby by a Canadian couple.

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ChinaSource Quarterly: Student Ministry in China (Summer Issue, 2021)
In this edition of ChinaSource Quarterly, we hear from several writers who have been intimately involved in the campus ministry there. Two of the writers (including myself) are foreigners who have lived in mainland China for many years, partnering with local believers in the campus ministry there. The other three writers are all mainlanders who are key leaders within campus ministry networks there. For security reasons, all the writers have used pseudonyms. I am grateful that these writers have shared their perspectives about the campus ministry that has been happening in mainland China for more than one hundred years. 
(downloadable PDF version available)

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

How to understand Chinese politics through data (July 22, 2021, Sup China)
The political scientist Yiqing Xu explains his “new-ish” methods for studying the dynamics of politics in China, including ways to map public sentiment and public opinion in authoritarian states.

First Chinese presidential visit to Tibet in 30 years (July 23, 2021, BBC)
President Xi Jinping has visited the politically troubled region of Tibet in the first official visit by a Chinese leader in 30 years. The president was in Tibet from Wednesday to Friday, but state media reported the visit after it ended.

First person charged under HK security law found guilty of terrorism, inciting secession (July 27, 2021, Reuters)
Former waiter Tong Ying-kit, 24, was accused of driving his motorcycle into three riot policemen while carrying a flag with the protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times,” which prosecutors said was secessionist. The widely anticipated ruling, much of which has hinged on the interpretation of the slogan, imposes new limits on free speech in the former British colony, activists say. 

China’s New U.S. Ambassador Pioneered The Foreign Ministry’s Brash Tone (July 28, 2021, NPR)
As a spokesperson, he delivered excoriating one-liners and helped pioneer a brash, more sharply confident communication style from the Chinese foreign ministry’s pulpit. Now, as the new Chinese ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, 55, will need to straddle two sometimes-contradictory priorities: satisfying an increasingly nationalistic audience back home while being placatory and diplomatic toward an American political landscape that has become increasingly hostile to China.

China Discovers the Limits of Its Power (July 28, 2021, The Atlantic)
Beijing’s confrontation with Australia should have been an unequal contest. That’s not how it worked out in practice.

What message was Xi Jinping trying to send on his visit to Tibet? (July 28, 2021, South China Morning Post)
The president’s latest policy edict on Tibet – summarised in eight Chinese characters that translate as “stability, development, ecology and border-area consolidation” – and the stage-management of the event were meant to send a clear message to domestic audiences and to India and the Dalai Lama.

Risking China’s anger, Blinken meets representative of Dalai Lama in India (July 28, 2021, Reuters)
Blinken met briefly with Ngodup Dongchung, who presented him with a scarf from the Dalai Lama, a senior State Department official said. Dongchung serves as a representative of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), also known as the Tibetan government in exile.


Video: Polite Fight (July 22, 2021, CantoSense)
We’ve all witnessed or participated in one, but what exactly is a ‘polite fight’? In this highly anticipated episode, we explore this dramatic custom and discuss the implications on our perception of grace and generosity. 

Confucius through Christian Eyes: W.A.P. Martin (July 24, 2021, Global China Center)
W.A.P. Martin (1827-1916) was one of the most influential missionaries in China from the 1850s to the early years of the nineteenth century. His almost continuous residence in China, varied activities, and many publications earned the respect of missionaries and Chinese leaders alike. Here we shall focus on his views of Confucius and Confucianism.

Learning from China about Student Ministry (July 26, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
I have been privileged to be involved in making disciples among university students in several countries for many years. Without spoiling the well-written article for those who haven’t read it yet, let me say that the author’s key principles for making disciples among minority students in China apply to making disciples among minority students anywhere.

The Church Depends On Christ: Family Life And Ministry Balance (July 26, 2021, China Partnership Blog)
In this discussion, Pastors Cheng and Wu talk about the struggle to serve both their families and their churches. Although pastors face the very real temptation to sacrifice their families on the altar of service to God, Pastor Wu concludes that he must teach his congregation to look to Christ to meet their needs—not to him.

Vatican says 5th Catholic bishop consecrated under China agreement (July 28, 2021, Catholic News Agency)
A Vatican spokesman confirmed Wednesday that the fifth bishop to be created under the 2018 Vatican-China deal has been ordained. Anthony Li Hui was appointed coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Pingliang by Pope Francis on Jan. 11, according to spokesman Matteo Bruni. Bruni said that Bishop Li was ordained in the Cathedral of Pingliang, in the province of Gansu, on July 28.

Society / Life

72 Hours in Henan’s Floods (July 23, 2021, The World of Chinese)
The following collection of photos and quotes from Henan residents illustrate what life has been like in the last 72 hours since the floodwaters hit.

Foreign journalists harassed in China over floods coverage (July 26, 2021, The Guardian)
Foreign journalists reporting on the aftermath of China’s flooding disaster have faced hostile confrontations in the street and been subjected to “vicious campaigns”, amid increasing nationalistic sensitivity to any negative portrayals of China.

Weibo’s Keyboard Warrior Olympics: Online Attacks against Chinese Athletes (July 28, 2021, What’s on Weibo)
China’s success at the Tokyo Olympics is all the talk on Weibo. But it’s not all praise for Chinese athletes, as perceived flaws in their behavior can soon lead to online attacks by angry trolls.

China’s WeChat Suspends New User Registrations Amid Tech Crackdown (July 28, 2021, Radio Free Asia)
Online sources indicated that several other Chinese apps are also pausing new registrations. A person familiar with internet regulation told RFA that the shutdowns were likely linked to fresh security requirements being imposed across the industry by the government.

As Slowly Receding Floodwaters Pose Risks, Henan City Evacuates (July 28, 2021, Sixth Tone)
A week after torrential rains hit the central province of Henan, increasingly foul water is still clogging Weihui, a small city whose residents have been without electricity or running water and where local officials fear the situation might further deteriorate. As of Tuesday, the majority of Weihui’s 150,000 urban residents had been evacuated, disaster response officials said.

How Yunnan Became China’s Immigration Frontline (July 28, 2021, Sixth Tone)
The foreign population of the southwestern Yunnan province has multiplied over the past decade, thanks in part to strong demand for laborers from nearby Southeast Asian countries.

Chinese Billionaire Sun Dawu Is Sentenced To 18 Years For ‘Provoking Trouble’ (July 28, 2021, NPR)
The billionaire pig farmer was found guilty of eight charges by the Gaobeidian District People’s Court in Hebei province. The charges included gathering crowds to attack state agencies, illegal fundraising and “provoking trouble.”

Economics / Trade / Business

Chinese stocks are now among Asia’s worst-performing as Beijing crackdown spooks investors (July 27, 2021, CNBC)
The declines come as Chinese regulators continue to step up their oversight in sectors spanning from technology to education and food-delivery. The increased scrutiny spooked investors and sent many scrambling for the exit.


Chinese parents fret after government bans for-profit tutoring firms (July 26, 2021, Reuters)
New rules, to be implemented immediately, ban companies from making a profit from teaching core school subjects and offering classes on weekends or holidays.

Health / Environment

Nanjing Tests 9 Million Residents, Again, After 88 COVID-19 Cases (July 26, 2021, Sixth Tone)
As of Sunday, the capital city of Jiangsu province had logged in 88 COVID-19 cases in a fresh outbreak that has been linked to an airport cluster discovered last week, authorities said. The city tested its entire population for the virus after workers at the Nanjing Lukou International Airport tested positive for the coronavirus Tuesday during a routine check.

Ancient Ways to Beat the Summer Heat (July 27, 2021, The World of Chinese)
Given the hazards of hot temperature, ancient Chinese thought it was best to rest during the hottest days. One old saying stated: “A true man never makes money in the scorching sixth lunar month.” 

Sandstorm swallows western Chinese city in dramatic footage – video (July 27, 2021, The Guardian)
A sandstorm has swept across Dunhuang City in China’s Gansu Province, reducing visibility to just five metres, according to the regional meteorological department.

Science / Technology

China launches classified satellites, tests landing nose cone with parachute (July 26, 2021, Space)
The satellites, according to Xinhua, “will survey the electromagnetic environment and verify relevant technologies by adopting multi-satellite network mode.”

Chinese tech giants are snapping up gaming studios around the world (July 28, 2021, CNBC)
Questions are being asked about whether the Chinese owners of U.S. and European studios will try to influence the games they make, or indeed use them to promote Chinese values. It remains to be seen but subtle changes could happen in the coming years, according to some experts.

History / Culture

The Trip that Changed the World: Commemorating Henry Kissinger’s 1971 Secret Visit to China (July 21, 2021, National Committee on U.S.-China Relations)
On July 8, 2021, The Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA), with assistance from the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, organized a multi-part event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Henry Kissinger’s secret trip to China. The event took place at Beijing’s Diaoyutai State Guest House and featured live remarks by Dr. Kissinger and Vice President Wang Qishan.

Video: The very first CCTV New Year’s Gala in 1956 (Everyday Life in Maoist China)

Flood Defense in Ancient Times (July 27, 2021, Sixth Tone)
How the 2,000-year-old Dujiangyan irrigation system solved flooding in Sichuan.

The sinking of the Kowshing and China’s catastrophic first war with Japan (July 28, 2021, Sup China)
At the end of the 19th century, Qing China and the Empire of Japan collided in Korea when the sinking of a steamboat marked the descent into the first Sino-Japanese War.

Travel / Food

Local Gem: Stinky Yet Tasty, The Temptation of Smelly Snail Noodles And Why I Fell For It (July 24, 2021, The Beijinger)
Compared to stinky tofu, the smelly snail noodle dish is a fairly young member of the Chinese culinary family, having been invented only about 40 or 50 years ago in Liuzhou, a city in Guangxi, where it quickly gained a reputation as a favorite of local street cuisine. But over the past few years its stinky reputation has spread across the vast land of China like an unstoppable tornado, especially among the younger generations. 

Ancient Chinese City of Quanzhou Added to World Heritage Site List (July 26, 2021, Sixth Tone)
UNESCO described the coastal city as a “maritime emporium” during the Song and Yuan dynasty periods.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

China’s diving domination has Olympic rivals in awe but also wary (July 28, 2021, Yahoo! News)
China’s unrelenting domination of Olympic diving has rivals in Tokyo wondering not just how they can beat them, but also whether the country’s approach is desirable or even healthy.

Links for Researchers

China and the Taliban Begin Their Romance (July 22, 2021, Rand)
Going forward, assuming the Taliban retake Afghanistan, the nature of China-Taliban ties will be geostrategically significant. A sustained positive relationship may further enable Beijing to make broad economic and security inroads into Afghanistan and Central Asia.


An Invitation from a Friend (July 28, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
Fr. Michael Agliardo is the executive director of the US-China Catholic Association. You may have seen him at one of our virtual ChinaSource events. The USCCA, ChinaSource, and ERRChina’s China Academic Consortium collaborate on a free public speaker series that focuses on the role of Christianity in the cultural dialogue between China and the West. In this video, he has a special invitation for ChinaSource readers.

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   

Image credit: Piqsels.com
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