ZGBriefs | June 10, 2021

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Featured Article

China is vaccinating a staggering 20 million people a day (June 9, 2021, Nature)
For more than a week, an average of about 20 million people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 every day in China. At this rate, the nation would have fully vaccinated the entire UK population in little more than six days. China now accounts for more than half of the 35 million or so people around the world receiving a COVID-19 shot each day.

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Christian Theology In A Chinese Idiom: Reframing The Conversation (ChinaSource)
The Christian theological conversation spans two millennia. Recently, however, more and more scholars have begun to recognize that, in the words of Andrew Walls, “the theological agenda is culturally induced; and the cross-cultural diffusion of Christian faith invariably makes creative theological activity a necessity.” What does that look like in practice? Doesn’t that lead to syncretism? Can’t we just teach a pure gospel? In this webinar, Dr. Jesse Ciccotti will investigate theologizing in Chinese contexts by first discussing theology as an “idiomatic activity,” that is, an activity by which Christian thought is expressed in ways that are natural to a cultural native. 
Thursday, June 10, 7PM (US CDT)
Go here for more information and to register.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Women hold up half the sky, but men rule the party (June 3, 2021, MERICS)
Beyond just birthrates, the latest policy is also a reflection of a fundamentally patriarchal political regime in China which views women as inferior to men and treat women’s reproductive rights as tools of the state, as Valarie Tan explains.  

Hong Kong finds new ways to remember Tiananmen Square amid vigil ban (June 4, 2021, The Guardian)
Hong Kong has long been the traditional home of public remembrance of the Tiananmen Square massacre, with an annual vigil in Victoria Park, attended by tens, sometimes hundreds of thousands of people. But amid a deepening crackdown on resistance, opposition and freedom of assembly, the city’s police banned the 2021 event.

Japan takes aim at China-backed Confucius Institutes (June 6, 2021, Nikkei Asia)
Japanese authorities will conduct a review of a Beijing-funded educational organization known as the Confucius Institutes that operates on university campuses in light of concerns that the group is a propaganda tool of China.

Hong Kong universities ‘penetrated by foreign forces’ intent on ‘indoctrinating’ students, claims Chief Exec. Carrie Lam (June 8, 2021, Hong Kong Free Press)
Lam said those who run Hong Kong’s universities should make sure their students are not “easily indoctrinated.” Her remarks came after pro-Beijing media slammed a group of US researchers who paid local students to count the turnout for a 2017 march as “incentivising violence” in the city.

China Shows Off Army, Navy Landing Capabilities After U.S. Senators Visit Taiwan (June 9, 2021, Newsweek)
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) drill took place at an unspecified time and place off the coast of Fujian province in southeastern China, according to separate reports published Monday by the PLA’s Eastern Theater Command and China’s state broadcaster CCTV. […] While the exercise may have taken place days or even weeks before, China’s decision to publish the images on Monday was not a coincidence, according to Chinese Communist Party-owned newspaper Global Times.

Can Xi Jinping make China look ‘credible, lovable and respectable’? (June 9, 2021, Christian Science Monitor)
But China’s growing power is making a lot of people elsewhere in the world increasingly nervous, and Mr. Xi signaled last week that he understands that. At a Politburo meeting, he urged a shift in the tone of Beijing’s messaging abroad in order to convey an image of China as “credible, lovable and respectable.”

Chinese Police Detain Maoist Leftists Ahead of Ruling Party Centenary (June 9, 2021, Radio Free Asia)
Authorities in the eastern province of Shandong are detaining Maoist activists ahead of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) centenary celebrations on July 1, Taiwanese media reported. Police in Shandong’s Jining city are running a nationwide operation targeting leftwingers in a bid to “maintain stability” ahead of the politically sensitive anniversary, Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) quoted sources as saying.

Joe Biden Worries That China Might Win (June 9, 2021, The Atlantic)
Now he worries that they are competition for America, and not only that—they might win. This belief underpins the Biden doctrine.


CCP issues Administrative Measures for Religious Institutions, effective September 1 (May 19, 2021, China Aid)
The three-prong administrative measures cover the education and teaching of religious institutions, their opening curriculums, with requirements for aspects of admissions and training. The real rationale ratifying the measures, however, aims to protect the interests of the CCP—not those of religious groups and institutions.  

Contextual Theology: The Voice of the House Church Must Be Heard (May 24, 2021, China Partnership Blog)
Theology that answers contextual questions is important—but who gets to pick which questions are important? Are they being answered within the contextual “soil” by those who grew up in that soil? Those inside the soil may choose to converse with different theological voices abroad based on the needs that face them.

Fears rise over China’s growing crackdown on Christian religious leaders (June 2, 2021, National Catholic Reporter)
The recent arrest of a Vatican-approved bishop, priests and seminarians in north-central China came as a shocking development, if not surprising, as religious persecution in the communist-led country has continued to intensify under President Xi Jinping. 

Zooming to New Frontiers (June 2, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
But with the lockdown came a sudden thaw of ecclesiological ice, an opportunity—an exceedingly rare one indeed—to use new forms of doing church. Wise leaders quickly jumped to use Zoom technology. In a matter of weeks Christian leaders went from having almost nothing to do during the lockdown, to being in Zoom meetings every day of the week.

Discipleship Distinctives in the Chinese Context (June 7, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
This is an age when students are paid to report religious activities on Chinese campuses, when neighbors to Christians are often threatened under police intimidation to report large gatherings, and employers have complete liberty to fire Christians for any representation of Christ (public or private). How are disciple makers among Chinese people to throw a fishing line into discipleship waters in such an environment?

Reaching the Next Generation of the Chinese Diaspora: A New Resource for Youth Ministry (June 9, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
To reach Chinese youth with the gospel, we at the Youth Awakening Movement (青少年唤醒) created the world’s first Chinese language youth ministry website (www.chinayouth.org).

Society / Life

Why this “Involuted” Generation of Young Chinese Are “Laying Flat” (June 2, 2021, Radii China)
With the rise of involution, and facing the exhausting and unrewarding rat race, millennials and Gen Z are beginning to choose “laying flat” — a new trending phrase popularized within the last few weeks, meant to reflect the resigned, unresisting and unbothered attitude that has been adopted by burnt out workers.

The Puzzling Issue of Abandonment of Children with Disabilities (June 4, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
Child abandonment in China (or anywhere for that matter) remains a disturbing reality. Children need parents. Children with disabilities need their parents even more. They are more vulnerable and need more care. Also, as a Christian, I believe that the Bible teaches quite clearly that every life counts, that every person has been created in God’s image, and that children are gifts from God entrusted to parents to care for. So, how can we understand the phenomenon of abandonment of children with disabilities in China?

China policies could cut millions of Uyghur births in Xinjiang (June 6, 2021, Reuters)
Chinese birth control policies could cut between 2.6 to 4.5 million births of the Uyghur and other ethnic minorities in southern Xinjiang within 20 years, up to a third of the region’s projected minority population, according to a new analysis by a German researcher.

Still There for You: China’s Enduring Obsession With ‘Friends’ (June 7, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Nearly 30 years after its first season, the New York-based sitcom still has a huge following around the world. But in China, the passion the show continues to inspire among millions of fans borders on obsession. 

Video: Millions of people in China can’t stop watching a pack of wandering elephants (June 9, 2021, CNN)
At least a dozen buzzing drones monitor them around the clock. Wherever they go, they’re escorted by police. And when they eat or sleep, they’re watched by millions online. For more than a week, China has been gripped by a new internet sensation: a herd of 15 marauding elephants, who are large, lost and wrecking havoc in the country’s southwest.

Despite three-child policy, many in China can’t afford more kids (June 9, 2021, Al Jazeera)
As China moves to allow couples to have up to three children, it is increasingly clear that the government will need to address the needs and concerns of people like Ling who would like to start families and have children but are pressured by a lack of education, living costs and barriers to movement such as the hukou system – realities of life in China that are dissuading many working couples from contemplating the idea of having more than one child, let alone two or three.

China Mulls Longer Parental Leave to Encourage More Births (June 9, 2021, Sixth Tone)
The State Council, China’s Cabinet, said the government will improve policies to support families, while providing extended child care leave, according to domestic media. Officials made the announcement during a press conference Tuesday, without giving detailed information on the plan.

What If China’s Migrant Data Was Wrong? (June 9, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Surveys suggested the country’s migration trends were beginning to reverse themselves. Then came the 2020 census.

Economics / Trade / Business

US Senate passes sweeping bill to counter China tech reach (June 9, 2021, BBC)
US Senate lawmakers have approved a massive spending plan to boost technology research and production. The proposed measures come in the face of growing international competition, particularly from China. A Beijing official hit back at the bill on Wednesday, saying it “exaggerated the ‘China threat'”. The bill, which must pass the House of Representatives before being signed into law, is a rare point of agreement between Republicans and Democrats.

The price of goods leaving China’s factories is rising at its fastest pace in 13 years (June 9, 2021, CNN)
China is getting pummeled by rising costs that have pushed producer price inflation to its highest level in nearly 13 years. Surging inflation in the world’s factory threatens to spill over into the rest of the globe and drive prices that were already ballooning even higher. But economists also say the pressure could begin to ease soon.


The Overseas Schools Training China’s Next Generation of Leaders (June 3, 2021, Sixth Tone)
From the Andes to Harvard, the CPC sends thousands of cadres abroad each year to learn from the best teachers in the world.

Testing for Devotion – China Media Project (June 8, 2021, China Media Project)
The demand for competence and allegiance increasingly commingle in Xi Jinping’s China, where education has become a process not just of gaining knowledge and skill, but of signaling and instilling the image of the Chinese Communist Party as benevolent and capable.

‘Gaokao’ 2021 in Photos (June 8, 2021, Sixth Tone)

Fudan University Party Secretary’s Murder Rocks Chinese Academia (June 8, 2021, Radio Free Asia)
Police in Shanghai are investigating the murder of a ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) official at the city’s prestigious Fudan University, as he was firing a colleague in the School of Mathematics. Fudan’s School of Mathematical Sciences confirmed on Tuesday the death of Wang Yongzhen, who was party secretary for the School, official media reported.

China students hold principal hostage in rare protest (June 9, 2021, BBC)
Protesting students held a school principal hostage over fears their degrees would be devalued, Chinese police said on Tuesday. The protests were over a plan to merge a Nanjing college in Jiangsu province with a vocational institute – which are seen as less prestigious. Some of the students were reportedly injured as police allegedly used batons and pepper spray on them.

Health / Environment

In China’s new Covid hotspot, police detain those who violate virus prevention measures (June 9, 2021, CNBC)
Police in Guangzhou detained people who have fallen foul of Covid prevention laws, as the southern Chinese city deals with an outbreak of the Delta variant first identified in India. Authorities in the city of over 15 million people have moved swiftly to introduce mass testing and lockdown local areas since detecting the first local case of the Delta variant in China on May 21 in Guangzhou.

History / Culture

Video: Beijing, 1960 (June 5, 2021, Tong Bingxue, via Twitter)
Primitive Scenes in Beijing ,1960, by William (Billy) Darbyshire, an amateur cameraman, with his handy 8mm home movie camera, filming his World travels in the 1960s.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Sleepless in Chengdu (June 8, 2021, Sup China)
In the Middle Kingdom, Chengdu has become the heartland for Chinese electronic music. During the New Year holiday break especially, the Sichuan capital can feel like the Ibiza of the East, popping off with music events, world-class DJs, and jam-packed nightclubs for the entirety of the break.

Language / Language Learning

On the Character: 探 (June 8, 2021, The World of Chinese)
From a personal adventure to a national expedition to outer space or the deep sea, 探 (tàn) is the word for the exploration of any unfamiliar or little-known field. In picto-phonetics, the left “hand” radical represents its meaning and the right originally gave the character its pronunciation, although this changed over time.


Zhang Lisheng 章力生 (1904-96): A Chinese Theologian for Today (June 5, 2021, Global China Center)
Daniel T. Chan, “Quest for Certainty: The Life and Though of Lit-sen Chang.” PhD diss, Boston University, 2000. A full biography of Zhang Lisheng by Daniel Chan has been published in Chinese. […] A non-Christian scholar with a doctorate in Chinese religions said, “China needs this man, because Christianity still has a foreign flavor to most Chinese people, and Chang is so thoroughly and authentically Chinese; he understands us and can speak to our hearts and our minds.

Links for Researchers

The CCP at 100 (June 10, 2021, Mercator Institute for China Studies)

Pray for China

June 10 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On June 10, 1821, Mary Morton Morrison died in Macao at age 29 while giving birth. She married Robert Morrison (马礼逊), first Protestant missionary to China, in Macao in 1809. Mary’s ill health forced her back to England with their two children in 1815, and they were separated from Robert until 1820. Those two surviving children both became missionaries to China. Pray for the children of Chinese Christian parents to follow the Lord Jesus. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14

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