ZGBriefs | June 16, 2022

ZGBriefs is for those who want and need to keep up on what is happening in China, but don’t have the time to monitor and track it all. We monitor more than 50 different news sources and curate the most relevant and interesting stories out of China each week. Topics include government, religion, society, economics, education, travel, and language, and books.


Featured Article

China is encouraging college graduates to work in the countryside (June 13, 2022, CNN)
China is urging college graduates to seek jobs in the countryside as youth unemployment in urban areas soars to the highest level in history. Local governments should attract college graduates to work as village officials, according to a joint statement issued last week by the ministries of education, finance, civil affairs, and human resources and social security.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Has China Lost Europe? (June 10, 2022, Foreign Affairs)
How Beijing’s economic missteps and support for Russia soured European leaders.

China warns Taiwan independence would trigger war (June 11, 2022, BBC)
China has warned the US that any attempt to make Taiwan independent from China will trigger military action by Beijing’s forces. Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe met his US counterpart Lloyd Austin on the sidelines of an Asian security summit in Singapore. Splitting Taiwan from China would leave the Chinese military with no choice but to “fight at any cost”, Mr Wei said. Mr Austin later called Chinese military activity “provocative, destabilising”.

Core (June 13, 2022, China Media Project)
In the context of Chinese political discourse, the word “core,” or hexin (核心), is a term with a history spanning decades that aggrandizes the top leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and emphasizes their singular power and legitimacy. The label is not applied casually by party-state media, and when used in official documents and reports by central-level media, points clearly to claims of power by the top leader and their acolytes. Since 2016 the term has been applied on a regular basis to refer to Xi Jinping.


The Chinese Diaspora in New Zealand and the Gospel (June 10, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
There is a renewed sense that God is calling the Chinese church in New Zealand to be part of the global advancement of the gospel. They may be geographically isolated, but they have a key role to play in what God is doing worldwide.

Sharing the Good News with Hui (June 13, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
So, from the moment we enter a community, we should already be asking ourselves questions like these: “What sort of worshipping community might be appropriate for these people?” “When these people become followers of Jesus, who will they fellowship with?”

We Cannot Stay in the Ivory Tower: Gospel-Centered Legal Practice (June 13, 2022, China Partnership Blog)
In a 2021 seminar for Chinese Christians, a Christian attorney shared about how and why house churches should adopt a gospel-centered legal framework, and what that means practically for believers and their church communities. 

“Lying Flat” for Those Who Follow Jesus (June 14, 2022, China Christian Daily)
A popular trend among the younger generation in China today is “lying flat.“ An article in ChinaSource Quarterly last year, “Meet China’s Gen Z,” mentioned the phenomenon. In this article from OC福音 we are reminded of another “lying flat” available to followers of Jesus.

Can My Church and I Really Impact the People of China? (June 15, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
There are various entry points that local churches and campus-based ministries, often in partnership, use to connect with students from China at nearby campuses. Though reaching these students is a different ballgame in some ways than it was a decade ago, there are still several effective approaches. The key is meeting their felt needs and offering opportunities that facilitate relationships. 

Walking With God in the Last Days (Center for House Church Theology)
The Bible says that Enoch “walked with God” after the birth of his son, even as he prophesied about the coming judgment, the Flood. Today we dream of providing a good life for our children; in fact we are often more committed to this world than the next. Walking with God means staying focused on the age to come, even if it means greater difficulty in this life.

Society / Life

What Returning To China Taught Me About China (June 14, 2022, The Atlantic)
My fear—the fear of the millions experiencing harsh lockdowns in Shanghai and elsewhere in China—is the fear of the arbitrary.

‘Zero covid’ has many in China dreaming of leaving (June 15, 2022, The Washington Post) (subscription required)
Sick of their lives being dictated by pandemic measures — the frequent and sudden lockdowns, never-ending rounds of mass testing and constant uncertainty — Zhu hopes to move her family to Thailand as soon as possible and eventually immigrate to Europe or the United States.

China’s bank run victims planned to protest. Then their Covid health codes turned red (June 15, 2022, CNN)
Depositors accused Zhengzhou authorities of tampering with the health code system to prevent them from returning to the city — and thus thwarting their plans to fend for their rights. “The health code should have been used to prevent the spread of the pandemic, but now it has deviated from its original role and become something like a good citizen certificate,” said Qiu, a depositor in eastern Jiangsu province.

Young Chinese Have Shunned Marriage. Now, They Want Singles’ Rights. (June 15, 2022, Sixth Tone)
The Chinese government is desperate for millennials to get married and start families. Young women have another agenda entirely.

Economics / Trade / Business

What Do Chinese Consumers Want? Walmart Can’t Figure It Out. (June 11, 2022, Wall Street Journal) (subscription required)
The hypermarket model is losing ground, local rivals do better on fast delivery, and geopolitics gives the company headaches.

Chinese Economy Continues to Sputter Post-Lockdown (June 14, 2022, Macro Polo)
While the Covid-19 situation is looking up in Shanghai, the Chinese economy’s outlook is just the opposite. At this point, we are revising down China’s second-quarter growth to roughly 0%, with full-year growth of around 4%.

Podcast: How Western companies are dealing with China’s corporate laws  (June 15, 2022, Sup China)
Art Dicker, a senior attorney at R&P China Lawyers, talks about how firms are handling China’s new data regulations, how the laws governing the VC sector in China have evolved over time, and more.

China’s New Oriental education giant finds new life in English live streaming (June 15, 2022, Reuters)
In one video that went viral on Chinese social media, the New Oriental host, after promoting a set deal for steaks, pulls out a small whiteboard where he wrote words including “steak” and “seasoning” in English, explaining how to use them in sentences before encouraging viewers to buy.

Congress may regulate U.S. investor activity in China (June 15, 2022, Axios)
Congress is hammering out final details of a bill that some refer to as “reverse CFIUS.” It would be included in a massive domestic semiconductor production bill, known as the CHIPS Act, that may be passed before the August recess.


4 Wild Stories From China’s 2022 College Entrance Exam, ‘The Gaokao’ (June 14, 2022, Radii China)
Given the gaokao’s significance, it has understandably been one of the most discussed topics on Weibo as of late. This exam season, we bring you four wild gaokao-related stories that shed light on one of the most intense periods of China’s academic calendar.

New Hong Kong school history textbooks say the city ‘never was a British colony’ (June 15, 2022, Radio Free Asia)
A nationalistic program of Moral, Civic and National Education brought in to replace Liberal Studies in Hong Kong’s primary and secondary schools has removed references to the city’s status as a former British colony, local media reported.

Science / Technology

China says it may have received signals from aliens (June 15, 2022, Live Science)
Astronomers at Beijing Normal University have discovered “several cases of possible technological traces and extraterrestrial civilizations from outside the Earth,” according to a report published Tuesday (June 14) in Science and Technology Daily, the official newspaper of China’s Ministry of Science and Technology.

History / Culture

Newly found Chinese artifacts illuminate mysterious ancient kingdom (June 15, 2022, NBC News)
A bronze altar and a dragon with a pig’s nose are among a trove of items discovered in sacrificial pits that shed new light on the buried secrets of an ancient Chinese civilization. Archaeologists on Monday announced the “significant” series of finds at the Sanxingdui ruins in China’s southwestern Sichuan province, according to the team behind the dig and the state-run Xinhua news agency.

Travel / Food

How glamping became China’s hottest new travel trend (June 9, 2022, CNN)
With the hustle and bustle of city life left behind, travelers are exposed to an authentic, contemporary northwest China. Song says glamping here, surrounded by farms and pastures, offers travelers a chance to sow, harvest and taste locally-grown dates and wine grapes. Goats, yaks and sheep come by the tents from time to time.

Shanghai Disney to partially reopen (June 14, 2022, China Daily)
Shanghai Disney Resort said on Tuesday it will resume operations for its shopping and entertainment complex and one hotel starting Thursday. The reopening of Disneytown and the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel would come in time to mark the sixth anniversary of the resort, which opened on June 16, 2016, according to a company statement.

New train schedule sees more lines, faster speeds (June 15, 2022, China Daily)
The national railway network will adopt a new train schedule starting June 20, with new lines opening and current lines increasing their speed, China State Railway Group said on Wednesday. At that time, bullet trains will be operated at the increased maximum speed of 350 kilometers per hour along the high-speed railway line linking Beijing and Wuhan, Hubei province—part of the railway linking Beijing and Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

Language / Language Learning

Do you have to learn to write Chinese characters by hand? (June 13, 2022, Hacking Chinese)
Considering how much time it takes to learn to write characters by hand, it’s only natural to ask if it’s worth it: Do you have to learn to write Chinese characters by hand? Or to make it a bit more interesting: Should you learn to write Chinese characters by hand?


Video: Kingdom of Characters: The Language Revolution That Made China Modern | Jing Tsu (June 9, 2022, National Committee on U.S.-China Relations)
Less than a century ago, China faced myriad challenges in catching up to a world that had passed it by technologically. In her new book, Kingdom of Characters, Jing Tsu breaks down how the monumental and transformative task of bringing the Chinese language into the modern era also modernized China itself. Jing Tsu joined the National Committee on June 1, 2022 to discuss the visionaries, reformers, and revolutionaries whose linguistic innovations made China’s ascent to its global role today possible.

Chinese ‘Harry Potter’ Fans All Ears for First Audiobook Release (June 15, 2022, Sixth Tone)
Domestic audio-streaming heavyweight Ximalaya is offering all seven volumes of the fantasy fiction series, with “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” the first to be released on June 21, the platform announced Tuesday. The official English audiobooks will be released simultaneously.

Pray for China

June 19 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
James M. Menzies (明义士) served as a missionary in China for 26 years, departing on June 20, 1936. He was the first to scientifically excavate, study, and decipher the Shang dynasty oracle bone script that had been identified by Wang Yirong (王懿荣先生) in 1899. Pray for many to see in the ancient characters and rituals that their ancestors knew the Lord and the Genesis history. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. Psalm 86:12

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