ZGBriefs | June 18, 2020

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Featured Article

Dear China: A note from a thankful expat  (June 16, 2020, The Culture Blend)
You have changed me China. Deeply. Profoundly. Beautifully. You have put things in me that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. You have challenged me in ways that have made me stronger. You have stretched me further than I ever imagined possible.

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New ChinaSource Quarterly
Doing Missions with Chinese Characteristics: Developments in the Indigenous Missions Movement from China

This issue of the ChinaSource Quarterly features some significant breakthroughs in the development of the Indigenous Mission Movement (IMM) from China. May all the articles in this issue stretch the minds of readers, challenge each one to look at China from a fresh angle, and give everyone a renewed commitment towards enabling the church in her effort to reach the world.

If you or your company/organization would like to sponsor a link in ZGBriefs, please contact info@chinasource.org for more information.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Hong Kong to establish new police unit to enforce new security laws  (June 11, 2020, The Guardian)
‘Action arm’ will have intelligence-gathering capabilities, security chief says, as state media says legislators are working ‘day and night’ on new laws.

How China’s heavy steps in Hong Kong reverberate in Taiwan  (June 12, 2020, Christian Science Monitor)
The Taiwanese are fervently democratic. In polls, a resounding majority oppose a “one country, two systems” formula for relations with China, à laHong Kong. But how do they walk that path?

After the National Security Law: What Next for Hong Kong?  (June 13, 2020, China Law Blog)
Though the language of the national security law seems to promote Hong Kong’s autonomy and the One Country, Two Systems (OCTS) arrangement, many politicians and business leaders are reading between the lines and wondering what the new law will mean for the future of Hong Kong.

Foreigners in China worry about their future as Beijing, Washington clash  (June 13, 2020, South China Morning Post)
Expatriates in China and others with ties to the country have been getting increasingly rattled in recent months as the hostility between the US and China – over trade , geopolitics, technology and, most recently, the coronavirus – has steadily increased.

Is Hong Kong about to Get Its Own Foreign NGO Law in the Name of ‘National Security’?  (June 13, 2020, China File)
Still, the NPC’s Decision points to another potential concern: that the new law will seek to criminalize contacts and collaboration between Hong Kong-based NGOs and their counterparts in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere.

Why Are India and China Fighting?  (June 16, 2020, Foreign Policy)
Despite their early friendship in the 1950s, relations between India and China rapidly degenerated over the unresolved state of their Himalayan border. The border lines, largely set by British surveyors, are unclear and heavily disputed—as was the status of Himalayan kingdoms such as Tibet, Sikkim, Bhutan, and Nepal.

Soldiers fell to their deaths as India and China’s troops fought with rocks  (June 17, 2020, The Guardian)
The hand-to-hand combat lasted hours, on steep, jagged terrain, with iron bars, rocks and fists. Neither side carried guns. Most of the soldiers killed in the worst fighting between India and China in 60 years lost their footing or were knocked from the narrow Himalayan ridge, plunging to their deaths.

China hits back at Australia’s ‘rubbish’ accusations of spreading disinformation  (June 17, 2020, The Guardian)
Chinese embassy in Canberra accuses Australian media of ‘rumours, lies and malicious slanders against China’ that has been picked up by politicians.

Chinese human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng sentenced to four years in prison  (June 17, 2020, South China Morning Post)
Chinese human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng  has been sentenced to four years in prison after being found guilty of inciting subversion of state power after being tried in secret in May last year, his wife said on Wednesday. Xu Yan said she received a call on Wednesday morning from the Xuzhou City Prosecutor’s Office telling her the news.

China says it has agreed with India to de-escalate border situation  (June 17, 2020, Reuters)
China and India have agreed to de-escalate the situation at their border as soon as possible following a clash between the their troops, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Wednesday.


Churches in China Begin Reopening  (June 16, 2020, Chinese Church Voices)
For the past several months, most churches in China have not been able to hold in-person services due to concerns over COVID-19. However, some churches in China have recently begun to reopen. This article from China Christian Daily describes the reopening process for some Three-Self churches. 

Missions from China Today (January 17, 2020, ChinaSource Blog)
When we learn about the spread of the gospel in the history of modern China, it is a challenge to our faith. More than once, when I have heard stories or met leaders, I have asked myself if I am really trusting the Holy Spirit to work in and through me. 

China Orders Prayer Flags Taken Down in Tibet in an Assault on Culture, Faith  (June 17, 2020, Radio Free Asia)
Chinese authorities in Tibet have ordered the destruction of prayer flags in many parts of the region in one of China’s most direct assaults to date on visible symbols of Tibetan culture and religious belief, sources in the region say.

Society / Life

Inkstone Index: China is getting very old very fast  (June 11, 2020, Inkstone News)
By 2022, China will become an aged society with one in seven people in the country over the age of 65. Experts warn this could tip the country into an economic decline.

South China Floods Now Affecting One-Third of Country  (June 12, 2020, Sixth Tone)
Nearly one-third of China has been impacted by severe flooding resulting from continuous rainfall across the southern part of the country. According to the latest report Wednesday, over 2.6 million people in 11 provincial-level regions have been affected by the inclement weather, and some 220,000 have had to take shelter.

20 Killed in Zhejiang Gas Tanker Explosion  (June 15, 2020, Sixth Tone)
A gas tanker explosion in eastern China’s Zhejiang province has killed at least 20 people and seriously injured about two dozen others, local authorities said Monday. The tanker carrying liquefied petroleum gas was en-route to the city of Wenzhou from Ningbo when it exploded along a highway Saturday afternoon, authorities said in an earlier statement. Local officials had previously put the death toll at 19, with 172 injuries.

Billionaire’s Sentence for Child Abuse Prompts Anger in China  (June 17, 2020, The New York Times)
Wang Zhenhua, a real-estate developer and former Communist Party member, was jailed for five years for child molestation. Many criticized the sentence as too lenient.

Economics / Trade / Business

Under COVID-19, China’s Mask Market Surged. Now It’s Gone Bust.  (June 12, 2020, Sixth Tone)
While most businesses were closed to prevent the disease from spreading, demand for personal protective equipment, including face masks, was sky-high. Entrepreneurs like Pan seized on the opportunity to cash in on the mask business. Now, some four months later, things have changed. “I’ve lost 1 million yuan,” Pan told Sixth Tone.

Twitter removes more than 170,000 pro-China accounts  (June 12, 2020, BBC)
Twitter has removed more than 170,000 accounts it says were tied to an operation to spread pro-China messages. Some of those posts were about the coronavirus outbreak, the social media platform has announced. The company said “a core network” of 23,750 highly active accounts had been deleted, along with another 150,000 “amplifier accounts”.

Foreign Partners In China Crime do the Time  (June 12, 2020, China Law Blog)
If anyone in your home country were to suggest you issue a fake receipt, forge a contract or commit fraud, you would almost certainly say “no” and terminate your relationship. So why believe things are any different in China?

China confirms more than 40 per cent of population survived on just US$141 per month in 2019  (June 15, 2020, South China Morning Post)
Last year, the bottom 40 per cent of Chinese households ranked by income, totalling more than 600 million people, had a per capita disposable income of 11,485 yuan (US$1,621). The data confirmed the surprising claim made by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the end of the National People’s Congress in May.

In Guangzhou, Migrants Return to a Harsh New Labor Market  (June 15, 2020, Sixth Tone)
As COVID-19 receded, a migrant worker rushed back to the garment factories of southern China. But she found the city utterly changed.


International students: Chinese universities told to tighten scrutiny of applicants to plug exam loophole (June 11, 2020, South China Morning Post)
Across China, students must sit a gruelling entrance examination known as the gaokao to get a university place, while those from overseas do not have to take the exam. It means the university assessment process is considered less competitive for international students, spurring some wealthy parents to acquire overseas passports for their children through investment immigration schemes. That has seen students gaining international places when they have never lived overseas, or even left China.

US military ban locks two Chinese universities out of popular software  (June 12, 2020, South China Morning Post)
Two Chinese universities with close ties to the military have been banned from using a US-developed computer software platform amid tensions between China and the United States over technology. The US Department of Commerce added the Harbin Institute of Technology and Harbin Engineering University to its “entity list” late last week, barring them from access to products subjected to US Export Administration Regulations.

China’s Kindergartens Cook Up Creative Ways to Survive Lockdown  (June 17, 2020, Sixth Tone)
With private schools facing a cash crunch, teachers are converting campuses into makeshift restaurants and delivery hubs to make ends meet.

Health / Environment

Chinese firm says its vaccine candidate passes phase two clinical trials  (June 17, 2020, South China Morning Post)
A potential Chinese Covid-19 vaccine, which has completed phase one and phase two human trials, is generally safe and can generate immune response in test subjects, the vaccine’s developer, China National Biotec Group, said on Tuesday. The vaccine candidate, developed by a CNBG subsidiary, the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, began human trials in Henan province in April. 

Beijing coronavirus outbreak: city raises emergency level and grounds hundreds of flights  (June 17, 2020, The Guardian)
Hundreds of flights were cancelled, schools suspended and all residential compounds ordered to reinstate strict screening after authorities raised the city’s four-tiered Covid emergency response level from three to two on Tuesday evening. All movement in and out of the city will be “strictly controlled”, officials said at the briefing.

China Is Collecting DNA From Tens of Millions of Men and Boys, Using U.S. Equipment  (June 17, 2020, The New York Times)
Even children are pressed into giving blood samples to build a sweeping genetic database that will add to Beijing’s growing surveillance capabilities, raising questions about abuse and privacy.

Science / Technology

Zoom Acknowledges It Suspended Activists’ Accounts At China’s Request  (June 12, 2020, NPR)
Teleconferencing company Zoom acknowledged it shut down the accounts of several activists and online commemorations of the Tiananmen Square massacre at China’s request. The revelation followed media reports, citing Hong Kong and U.S.-based activists, who found their accounts suspended.

China’s Zoom Bomb: A ChinaFile Conversation  (June 16, 2020, China File)
What is the right way to ensure that companies following China’s laws don’t violate the rights of consumers using their products outside of China’s borders? Is it possible for foreign companies with a presence in China to maintain their stated commitments to norms and values that China’s government rejects?

History / Culture

How well do you think you know Chinese people, culture?  (June 13, 2020, China Daily)
If we really want to understand China better, we must ask the question: Can we imagine a way of looking at the world that does not take a Western preconception as its starting point?

The Risky Journey That Saved One of China’s Greatest Literary Treasures  (June 15, 2020, TIME)
Across China, students, professors and staff crammed as much as they could into carts, wheelbarrows and their own backpacks. They packed up supplies, books, lab equipment and machinery. Some even brought along valuable imported livestock from animal husbandry programs.

A Pox on the House of Aisin-Gioro  (June 16, 2020, The World of Chinese)
In the 17th century, the Great Qing Empire of the Manchus subjugated the Mongols, waged war against the Joseon dynasty in Korea, and took over the territory of the Ming dynasty in China. But there was one enemy that terrified even these fearsome conquerors: smallpox.

The Modernity of Cholera  (June 17, 2020, The World of Chinese)
In 1870, a mysterious illness swept through Tianjin. As bodies piled up on the streets and filled the canals of the city, residents’ suspicions soon focused on an orphanage run by foreign missionaries, where nuns seemed keen on taking children in—but from which nobody ever saw the children leave, except in the coffins buried in a small cemetery behind the Catholic church. Could the missionaries be practicing black magic? 

Travel / Food

Hong Kong’s Disneyland to reopen on June 18 after coronavirus break  (June 14, 2020, Reuters)
The majority of the park’s shopping and dining locations will restart operations with “controlled capacity,” while social distancing measures will be implemented in queues, restaurants and other facilities. Hotel services will also resume gradually.

Coronavirus might change how Chinese families eat together  (June 15, 2020, Inkstone News)
Using chopsticks to both serve and eat is an important part of Chinese culture, but the Covid-19 pandemic may be changing that.

Lay’s China Ups its Snack Game With a New Range of Unique Localized Chip Flavors  (June 15, 2020, The Beijinger)
For example, the new flavors include salted duck egg and roast pork zongzi from Wu Fang Zhai, marinated duck neck from Zhou Hei Ya, Beijing duck from what is seemingly an endorsement from the Beijing tourism administration, and the strangest of the lot, crisps the flavor of White Rabbit candy. 

U.S., China to each allow four weekly flights for airlines; Delta to fly next week  (June 15, 2020, Reuters)
The U.S. government still hopes China will agree to restore full U.S. flight rights under their bilateral aviation agreement, the Transportation Department said Monday in its revised order on China flights. “As the Chinese government allows more flights by U.S. carriers, we will reciprocate,” it said.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

‘Middle-Aged’ Celebs Are Vying to Become China’s Next Girl Group  (June 17, 2020, Sixth Tone)
Some viewers praise “Sisters Who Make Waves” for being inclusive, while others say the show does little to address the real issues older women in China’s entertainment industry face.

A 37-Year-Old Mandarin Song is Now a Global TikTok Sensation  (June 17, 2020, Radii China)
The emergence of the meme was, like most TikTok sensations, random and weird. It all began with Zhang Aiqin, a livestreamer on Chinese short video platform Kwai, who recorded himself singing the tune in heavy snow back in January. With an egg-shaped head, Zhang’s unusual appearance has landed him a career in acting, as well as the nickname Duck Egg — or as he calls himself, Brother Egg. 

Language / Language Learning

Pinyin for ABCs  (June 14, 2020, Language Log)
If you didn’t know it already, “ABC” means “American-born Chinese”.  There’s no reason why ABCs should necessarily speak Chinese, no more than why ABGs (American-born Germans) should speak German or why ABVs (American-born Vietnamese) should speak Vietnamese, etc.  In this video, ABCs explain for themselves why they can’t speak Chinese. 

New novel coronavirus market  (June 15, 2020, Language Log)
Those who followed the origins of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will remember that it was often connected with a Wuhan “wet market” called Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.  Now another wholesale market is suspected of being the point of origin for a second wave of the coronavirus, this time in Beijing.  Here is a report on the different interpretations of the name of the market from a born-and-bred Beijinger:

How to Learn Cantonese: Best Courses and Apps  (June 17, 2020, Sapore di Cina)
Cantonese is spoken in Macau, Hong Kong, and in the Guangdong province, including cities like Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Also, you’ve probably noticed that many Chinese communities overseas also speak the language in cities like San Francisco and London.


Off We Go: A Book Review  (June 10, 2020, ChinaSource Blog)
Off We Go: An Activity Book for Children (Ages 3-8) Going Overseas is a must-have resource for those with young children.  Written by Polly Ho and Pwee Hwai Bing this downloadable PDF, available below, is designed to help parents prepare their children to move overseas.

A Response to Richard Cook  (June 15, 2020, ChinaSource Blog)
Few things are more meaningful to a scholar than to have their work read carefully by respected authorities in their field. I am deeply honored that Richard Cook chose to devote his time and attention to such a close reading of my research on the Protestant missionary to China Timothy Richard.

Links for Researchers

Scholars and Spies: Experiences from the Soviet Union, Communist Romania, and China  (June 17, 2020, Made in China Journal)
In response to the renewed emphasis of the central government on national security, in November 2015 the authorities of Jilin province, in northeast China, introduced a hotline to report possible spies. The dilemma was how to recognise a spy. 


China: Should I Stay or Should I Go? (China Law Blog)
Dan Harris, creator of the popular China Law Blog, and Mike Billman, SVP Marketing & Sales for D-Terra Solutions, will share their persectives on whether US firms should continue putting their eggs in the China basket. Spoiler alert: “it depends.”
Jun 26, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT / Online event

Pray for China

June 21, 2020 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On June 21, 1870, a riot inspired by allegations of mistreatment of orphans resulted in 60 deaths in Tianjin, including 52 Chinese and foreign Catholics. A nearby newly built cathedral was destroyed, rebuilt in 1897, destroyed again in 1900 by Boxers, and rebuilt yet again three years later. Pray for orphans who have been adopted into Christian families to become mature disciples of the Lord with lives built on God’s Word. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:4

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