ZGBriefs | June 2, 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

“Runology:” How to “Run Away” from China (June 1, 2022, Council on Foreign Relations)
China’s forever lockdowns have caused some to look for a radical solution: to emigrate, or run away from what they see as a lost future in China. 

Sponsored Link

Free Online Lecture: Where are the Churches in China? And Why? Geographical Patterns of Church Development, by Dr. Fenggang Yang (ChinaSource)
Why are there so many Catholic churches in Hebei Province? And why so many Protestant Churches in Anhui? On Thursday, June 16, 2022, Dr. Fenggang Yang will give a lecture entitled, “Where Are the Churches in China? And Why? Geographical Patterns of Church Development.” In it, he will present the geographical distribution of Catholic and Protestant churches in China, discuss several distinctive characteristics of the churches and their locations, and trace some of the historical and social patterns of church development.
Date: Thursday, June 16, 7:00 PM US (CDT)
Register on Eventbrite

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

Secretary of State Blinken spells out the Biden administration’s approach to China (May 26, 2022, NPR)
In a long awaited speech, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called China the most serious long term challenge to the international order and a test for U.S. diplomacy.

Curious Signals (May 26, 2022, China Media Project)
Are we witnessing cosmic shifts in the politics of the Chinese Communist Party? For now, we have rarities, but few certainties.

Xi Jinping is Poised to Become “Leader for Life” in Exchange for Sharing Politburo Seats with Rivals (May 27, 2022, Jamestown Foundation)
Xi’s continuation in power looks set to continue despite widespread speculation that he has been severely criticized by party elders such as former premier Zhu Rongji, or that current Premier Li – who will serve as head of government until next March – may be scheming to undermine his powers.

China sends 30 warplanes into Taiwan air defence zone (May 31, 2022, BBC)
Taiwan says it deployed fighter jets to warn off 30 warplanes sent by China into its air defence zone. The incident on Monday marked the biggest incursion since January. It came days after US President Joe Biden warned China against invading Taiwan, and on the same day as a US official visited the island to discuss security with leaders.

Why China Is Miles Ahead in a Pacific Race for Influence (May 31, 2022, The New York Times) (subscription required)
To many observers, the South Pacific today reveals what American decline looks like. Even as Washington tries to step up its game, it is still far behind, mistaking speeches for impact and interest for influence.

Have China’s Pacific ambitions been thwarted? (June 1, 2022, BBC)
The ambitious deal – which covered a wide range of issues, from cybersecurity to a Chinese-funded police training academy and setting up more Chinese cultural links across the Pacific nations – was meant to tie the region much closer to Beijing. But it was revealed this week that the deal had been shelved after many of the countries declined to sign, expressing concerns over certain aspects of the agreement.

Is New Zealand shifting its tone on China? (June 1, 2022, Sup China)
At a meeting in the White House yesterday, U.S. President Joe Biden and New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern reaffirmed ties and discussed the growing tensions in the Pacific region.

China slams Biden, Ardern comments on Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan (June 1, 2022, Reuters)
China’s foreign ministry on Wednesday slammed a joint statement by the leaders of the United States and New Zealand that expressed “grave concerns” on human rights violations in Xinjiang and the erosion of freedoms in Hong Kong.

An anonymous letter from a Uyghur in China (June 1, 2022, Sup China)
A citizen in eastern China describes how Uyghur “mouths have been sealed” over the past five years.


Hui Disciples of Jesus: Know Thy Hui Neighbor (8) (May 30, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
In this post I will outline three threats to Hui disciples and three paths they might take as they follow the Lord.

Cardinal Zen and Rising Religious Persecution in China (May 31, 2022, Heritage)
The dire situation embodied by Zen’s arrest and growing repression against the church has elicited mixed responses. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni expressed “concern” over the cardinal’s arrest. Parolin said that he didn’t want Zen’s arrest to affect the Vatican’s deal with China, which is expected to be renewed this fall. 

Society / Life

China’s ‘White Guards’ gain reputation for brutal enforcement of Shanghai lockdown (May 29, 2022, Radio Free Asia)
Many are under huge political and psychological pressure to toe the line and act as enforcers for the government.

Some Shanghai Residents Worry About ‘Post-Lockdown Social Anxiety’ (May 31, 2022, Sixth Tone)
Hours after local authorities announced the city’s reopening plan Monday evening, thousands of people have shared the possible uneasiness that may emerge while interacting with people face-to-face. And many online are using a catchphrase to express that feeling or a state of mind: jiefeng shi shekong, which loosely translates as “post-lockdown social anxiety” in English.

Shanghai reopens after two months of Covid lockdown – in pictures (June 1, 2022, The Guardian)
Restrictions have eased and more than 22 million people are allowed to move around the city again.

Economics / Trade / Business

As Shanghai eases restrictions, small businesses count the cost (June 1, 2022, BBC)
China’s economic hub, Shanghai, has encouraged businesses to open again after significantly easing coronavirus measures in the city. For many firms, such restrictions have come at a great cost. Martin Li, a 24 year old hairdresser in Shanghai, has been forced to close his salon after it was locked down for over two months. He spoke to the BBC about his experience.

The Secrets of China’s Economic Statecraft in Africa (June 1, 2022, The Diplomat)
Beijing has succeeded by responding to African governments’ precise needs and capitalizing on the continent’s lingering mistrust of the West.

Health / Environment

China Plans for Years of Covid Zero Strategy With Tests on Every Corner (May 31, 2022, Bloomberg)
A network of tens of thousands of lab testing booths are being set up across the country’s largest and most economically vital cities, with the goal of having residents always just a 15 minute walk away from a swabbing point. The infrastructure will allow cities like Beijing, Shanghai, tech hub Shenzhen and e-commerce heartland Hangzhou to require tests as often as every 48 hours, with negative results needed to get on the subway or even enter a store. 

Travel / Food

Discover China’s Many Forms of Barbecue (May 26, 2022, The World of Chinese)
From fresh oysters in Guangdong to lamb skewers in Xinjiang, China’s barbecues come in countless sumptuous varieties.

12 Sweet, Savory, and Delicious Chinese Desserts You Have To Try (May 31, 2022,  Matador Network)
Dessert in China can be either sweet or savory, and many times, it’s both, making for a delicious combo that satisfies both kinds of cravings. These are eight Chinese desserts you need to try on your next visit.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

New Licensing System for Online Dramas (June 1, 2022, China Media Project)
Beginning today, June 1, 2022, a new system of administrative licensing (行政许可) will be implemented for online drama films, which will now have their own version of the coveted “Dragon Label” – the “Online Label,” or wangbiao (网标). 

Language / Language Learning

Why you should use more than one Chinese textbook (May 31, 2022, Hacking Chinese)
For something to be meaning-focused, the language and content need to be familiar to a high degree, preferably 95% or more. This disqualifies the texts in all major textbooks series available, as they contain far more new content than that.

Living Cross-culturally

Nothing New under the Sun (May 25, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
There really is nothing new under the sun. Should we be surprised therefore by this current season? Not really. There have been seasons in China’s history when the sky seemed the limit. 


Book Review: Faith in the Wilderness: Words of Exhortation from the Chinese Church (June 1, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
In this collection of nine meditations from modern Chinese pastors, editors Hannah Nation and Simon Liu invite the reader to “hear something about walking with Jesus that we have been missing” (p. 5). China is not simply “the mission field,” but a country that has theologically rich and faithful churches. 

Pray for China

June 3 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On June 3, 1905, pioneer English missionary James Hudson Taylor (戴德生) died in Changsha after 50 years of service. Taylor founded the China Inland Mission with the vision of taking the gospel beyond the coastal ports into China’s interior provinces. Historian Kenneth Scott Latourette wrote that, “Hudson Taylor was…one of the greatest missionaries of all time, and…one of the four or five most influential foreigners who came to China in the nineteenth century for any purpose….” Pray for Chinese and foreign missionaries to remember that the Lord will provide for them. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” Genesis 22:14

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