ZGBriefs | July 7, 2022

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Exclusive: Pope hopes China deal on bishops will be renewed soon (July 5, 2022, Reuters)
Pope Francis said that while the Vatican’s secret and contested agreement with China on the appointment of Roman Catholic bishops is not ideal, he hopes it can be renewed in October because the Church takes the long view. Relations with China was one of the many Church and international topics the 85-year-old pontiff discussed in an exclusive interview with Reuters in his Vatican residence on July 2.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

25th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong – in pictures (June 30, 2022, The Guardian)
Protests, pandemic and political unrest in the 25 years since the former British colony was handed back to mainland China.

Hong Kong’s Dismantled Society (June 30, 2022, The Diplomat)
The remaking of Hong Kong includes weakening or disbanding political representation down to the neighborhood level.

‘Everything in Hong Kong Has Changed’: A Road to Reinvention (June 30, 2022, The New York Times) (subscription required)
In the 25 years since the handover to China, life on Queen’s Road, the first thoroughfare built by the British after they seized the territory, has been transformed.

Hong Kong: Xi Jinping defends China’s rule at handover anniversary (July 1, 2022, BBC)
China’s “one country two systems” model of ruling Hong Kong has worked in protecting the city and must continue long term, says Xi Jinping. The Chinese leader mounted a stern defence of the political system in a speech in Hong Kong, following recent international criticism.

The Hong Kong handover turns 25. So does an entire generation. (July 1, 2022, NPR)

With this turbulent backdrop, the “handover babies” who inherited this political arrangement that they never had a say in, now turn 25 this year.

John Lee: Who is Hong Kong’s new hardline pro-Beijing leader? (July 1, 2022, BBC)
The 64-year-old was chosen by an election committee staffed mostly by Beijing loyalists, who voted in what was basically a rubber-stamp election. His 21-member cabinet too largely comprises pro-Beijing leaders, including three who, like him, were sanctioned by the US for suppressing freedom in Hong Kong.

Video: Hong Kong: Life Under the Crackdown (July 1, 2022, BBC)
Reporter Danny Vincent follows those who have lived through Hong Kong’s street protest movement, both as activists and reporters, many of whom are now in prison.

Foreigners are leaving China in droves. Does the nation want or need them any more? (July 5, 2022, South China Morning Post) (subscription required)
The exodus is a sign not only of the heavy toll exacted by China’s zero-Covid policies, but also of the country’s turn inwards as it focuses on domestic expansion. Foreigners are no longer considered vital to the nation’s progress. But the loss of the very people with knowledge, experience and connections to China is significant.

China Opens Its First Political Party School in Africa (July 5, 2022, Eurasia Review)
The school provides a platform for China to enhance exchanges with leaders as a form of “party-to-party” diplomacy. Like many countries in southern Africa, Tanzania was greatly influenced by Maoism and the Communist Party during the 1960s and 1970s under founding president Julius Nyerere.

China’s anniversary deal for Hong Kong: Conform and prosper (July 6, 2022, Christian Science Monitor)
China is increasingly sacrificing diversity for unity and ideological conformity. As Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Hong Kong reveals, this approach comes with steep costs.

China: MI5 and FBI heads warn of ‘immense’ threat (July 6, 2022, BBC)
The heads of UK and US security services have made an unprecedented joint appearance to warn of the threat from China. FBI director Christopher Wray said China was the “biggest long-term threat to our economic and national security” and had interfered in politics, including recent elections. MI5 head Ken McCallum said his service had more than doubled its work against Chinese activity in the last three years and would be doubling it again.


Second-Generation Chinese Youth—Kiwi and American: A Reader Responds (July 1, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
My immediate reaction to reading about the second-generation Chinese in New Zealand in the 2022 summer issue of ChinaSource Quarterly1 was that it shares numerous similarities with the experience of second-generation Chinese in America, especially from the 1960s to the 1980s. 

How Can God Reach These People? (2): A Look at the Chinese Diaspora in Southern Africa (July 4, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
There are opportunities for Chinese people to come as English language students and receive visas for several years. Coming as students gives them time to understand the Southern African context, and partner with one of the churches or projects for longer-term placement.

The Testimony of a Third Generation Believer at Peking University (July 5, 2022, Chinese Church Voices)
I was born into a Christian family, but that did not mean that I naturally believed in God. In middle school, I started to have a strong self-awareness, so I slowly began to resist the faith of my parents. A busy school life also made me believe that going to church was a waste of my time.

Vatican envoy in Hong Kong warns Catholic missions to prepare for China crackdown (July 5, 2022, Reuters)
In four meetings held over several months, starting in October last year, the 54-year-old Mexican prelate told Catholic missionaries in Hong Kong to prepare for a tougher future as China tightens its control over the city and he urged his colleagues to protect their missions’ property, files and funds, according to four people familiar with the private sessions…

Sober Optimism: Opposition and Opportunity (July 6, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
This conversation did raise for me, two important questions. How do we view the world around us, and particularly its political and social institutions? And how will God’s redemptive plan, God’s kingdom, be ushered in in all of its fullness? The Miao Christians who have withdrawn by living on that remote mountain challenged me to carefully consider these questions.

Society / Life

Shanghai Offers Hassle-Free ‘Hukou’ to City’s Postgraduates (July 30, 2022, Sixth Tone)
Fresh postgraduate students from Shanghai’s 30 colleges and universities, as well as all research institutions, with full-time employment contracts from qualified employers will be offered a Shanghai hukou without any conditions, local authorities announced Tuesday. Previously, only those with a master’s degree from elite Chinese universities were able to immediately obtain a hukou in the megacity.

Shanghai’s Newest Tool for Preserving Its History: Coffee Shops (July 1, 2022, Sixth Tone)
In Shanghai, historic preservation has often focused on sprucing up well-known landmarks. But the city is now experimenting with a new, more holistic approach.

For Rural Chinese Women, a Plot of Land Is Too Much to Ask (July 2, 2022, Sixth Tone)
Traditional notions that brides should move in with their in-laws leaves countless women without fields to farm.

Hacker claims to have stolen 1 bln records of Chinese citizens from police (July 5, 2022, Reuters)
A hacker has claimed to have procured a trove of personal information from the Shanghai police on one billion Chinese citizens, which tech experts say, if true, would be one of the biggest data breaches in history. The anonymous internet user, identified as “ChinaDan”, posted on hacker forum Breach Forums last week offering to sell the more than 23 terabytes (TB) of data for 10 bitcoin , equivalent to about $200,000.

China Offers Women Perks for Having Babies. Single Moms Don’t Qualify. (July 6, 2022, The New York Times) (subscription required)
Beijing is giving incentives to stem a demographic crisis, but its control over childbirth and its suppression of women’s rights are making it difficult for some aspiring parents to start a family.

Economics / Trade / Business

Henan displays China’s economic cracks all at once (July 6, 2022, Reuters)
China’s central province of Henan is showing all the country’s economic cracks at once. It is home to nearly 100 million people, hosting a vast Foxconn factory that assembles most of the world’s iPhones. It also churns out embarrassing headlines.

How the Kindle Lost China (July 6, 2022, Sixth Tone)
The popular e-reader seemed poised to dominate the Chinese market, but mounting competition and a decade of questionable business decisions ultimately spelled its doom.

Health / Environment

China tiptoes towards living with Covid-19 under evolving ‘dynamic zero’ policy (July 5, 2022, South China Morning Post) (subscription required)
Last week, the country halved its quarantine period for inbound travel and allowed the resumption of many international flights. China is not abandoning its ‘dynamic zero’ strategy, but related policies will be open to more flexible implementation.

Xi’an shuts back down as China finds first cases of new Omicron subvariant (July 6, 2022, CNN)
China’s northwestern city of Xi’an, home to 13 million people, was partially shut down on Wednesday after it reported the country’s first outbreak of a highly transmissible new Omicron subvariant that is fast dominating the United States and Europe. The city recorded 18 Covid infections from Saturday to Monday, all of which are of the Omicron BA.5.2 subvariant, according to local disease control officials.

China Allows AstraZeneca’s COVID Preventive Drug in Southern City (July 6, 2022, VOA News)
AstraZeneca Plc’s AZN.L antibody cocktail for COVID-19 prevention has been cleared for use in a medical tourism zone in China’s southern province of Hainan ahead of national approval, local media said on Tuesday. China allows early use of new medical products in the special zone in Qionghai city as a part of several preferential policies granted to the area to promote medical services to visitors from both home and abroad.

Science / Technology

US politicians call for investigation into TikTok over data security (July 6, 2022, TechNode)
Two senior US senators have called on the federal government to investigate TikTok concerning data security requirements in the country. This development follows a Buzzfeed report which said that “US user data has been repeatedly accessed from China,” where TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is headquartered. 

History / Culture

Anything Flies: How Kiting in China Reached New Heights (July 5, 2022, The World of Chinese)
Backed by international competitions, a 2 billion yuan industry, and complex tricks and designs, kiting in China is no child’s play.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

PGA Tour, LPGA Tour cancel upcoming golf tournaments in China due to COVID-19 concerns (July 6, 2022, CBS)
Due to China’s ongoing battle with the COVID-19 pandemic, the PGA Tour announced on Wednesday the cancellation of the WGC-HSBC Champions scheduled for Oct. 27-30. This marks the third straight season in which the event has been axed from the playing schedule. Rory McIlroy remains the reigning champion of the event, having won at Sheshan Golf Club in Shanghai in 2019.


The Church Under the Cross: Volume I Taiwan – The Cross of Fascism (Amazon.com)
In preparation for this conference, I was asked to write a memoir of my experiences during what had become known as the “White Terror” period in Taiwan’s history. […]  Although this volume on Taiwan includes my story, it focuses as well on the wider church I served as my colleagues and the Christians for whom they were responsible struggled to come to terms with the sometimes terrible challenges they faced under the cross of fascism.

The Church Under the Cross: Hong Kong: The Cross of Colonialism (Amazon.com)
Although for a time it seemed as though progress in the ministry of the church and in the quest for democracy and human rights in Hong Kong was being made, and that the cross that my colleagues had to bear for many years was growing lighter, at the time of writing, the People’s Republic of China has quashed all hope for the maintenance of Hong Kong as a free and vibrant city. This turn of events has not only impacted the life of the people of Hong Kong, but has affected the ministry and mission of the church there as well.

Links for Researchers

2021 (Most Recent) Official PRC Place Name Data Available for Download (July 5, 2022, China File)
For the last few years, ChinaFile has collected and hosted the list of official names of all the places (political units) in China. 

Pray for China

July 10 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On July 10, 1970, 79-year-old Roman Catholic missionary James Walsh (华理柱) was released by the PRC government after serving 12 years of his 20-year prison sentence. He was the last western missionary to leave China after the communist takeover in 1949. Bishop Walsh lived in China for 40 years and died in 1991 at age 90. Pray for elderly Chinese Christians to fight the good fight, to finish the race, and to keep the faith. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons