ZGBriefs | June 20, 2019

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Featured Article

"Sing Hallelujah to the Lord" an unlikely anthem of Hong Kong protests (June 18, 2019, Reuters)
For the past week, the hymn has been heard almost non-stop at the main protest site, in front of the city’s Legislative Council, and at marches and even at tense stand-offs with the police. It started with a group of Catholic students who sang several Christian songs at the main protest site, with “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord” catching on among the crowd, even though only about 10 percent of Hong Kong people are Christian.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

China Now Has the “World’s Largest Social Credit System” (June 14, 2019, Radii China)
China’s sprawling credit system is now the “world’s largest”, State media outlet Xinhua just reported. The People’s Bank of China deputy governor Zhu Hexin told Xinhua that the system has information on “990 million individuals and 25.91 million enterprises and organizations, accumulatively”, all of whom have involved themselves in credit activities in some way.

'Deep concerns': US objects to UN counterterrorism chief's visit to Xinjiang (June 14, 2019, The Guardian)
Other countries joined the US in objecting to the trip in a region where China detains 1 million Uighurs and Muslims.

Hong Kong protests: Scale of the march in photos (June 16, 2019, BBC)
Organisers say two million people have turned out for a demonstration in Hong Kong, the latest large protest against a controversial extradition bill. But what did the protests look like on the ground? We collated images taken within a short time of each other that show the extent of the crowds in Hong Kong on Sunday.

Hong Kong is not China yet, but that feared day is coming ever nearer (June 16, 2019, The Guardian)
Hong Kong has become a place whose present is unresolved and whose future is unimaginable. After the unexpected violence of the last week, no one can predict how the events of this afternoon, tomorrow, this week will play out. The only certainty is that Hong Kong’s way of life is under immediate threat and its people are coming out in force to defend it.

Communist Party journal lays out China’s trade war stance ahead of possible Xi-Trump talks (June 16, 2019, South China Morning Post)
In the essays, the journal sought to clarify the party’s position on the trade war with the United States, laying out arguments that portray China as occupying the moral high ground in the conflict, while repeatedly questioning Washington’s logic for starting the dispute. While China wishes to avoid a prolonged conflict, which would be in no one’s interest, it is prepared for one, the journal made clear.

Sound of Hong Kong's defiance reverberates in Beijing (June 17, 2019, The Guardian)
The show of political power by Hong Kong’s population, and Lam’s humiliating climbdown over a controversial extradition law, are a major headache for Xi, a ruler who has pursued an increasingly nationalist, autocratic agenda since becoming premier of China.

Hong Kong Activist Joshua Wong Is Freed, Says He Will Join Mass Protests (June 17, 2019, NPR)
Newly released from prison, Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong immediately called for Chief Executive Carrie Lam to resign from office. His remarks came as thousands of Hong Kong residents demanded that the government permanently shelve a controversial extradition bill.

Inside China’s 'thought transformation' camps (June 17, 2019, BBC)
The BBC has been given rare access to the vast system of highly secure facilities thought to be holding more than a million Muslims in China’s western region of Xinjiang.

Beijing’s Dilemma Over Hong Kong Protests (June 17, 2019, China Digital Times)
Even some local lawmakers who supported the initial legal amendments have become sharply critical of Lam. Beijing, however, is standing by her. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement on Saturday.

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam’s puzzling apology: Did Beijing blink? And, if so, why? (June 18, 2019, The Washington Post)
The position of the chief executive of Hong Kong is an almost impossible one. The job fundamentally reports to Beijing authorities, who pre-select a pool of candidates. And yet the chief executive has to serve the Hong Kong people. Often, the views of two are diametrically opposed.

Protests Spotlight Hong Kong's 1 Country, 2 Systems Model With China (June 18, 2019, NPR)
Recent protests are a reminder that Hong Kong has long been considered a thorn in Beijing's side. NPR's Noel King talks to David Rennie of The Economist about Hong Kong's relationship with Beijing.

Hong Kong in Protest: A ChinaFile Conversation (June 19, 2019, China File)
What do the protests mean for the future of Hong Kong? And what do they say about Hong Kong’s relationship with the mainland? 

Xi Jinping visits N Korea to boost China's ties with Kim (June 19, 2019, BBC)
China's President Xi Jinping is heading to North Korea for a meeting with Kim Jong-un, in the first Chinese state visit to the North since 2005. The two, who have met in China four times, are expected to discuss the stalled talks over the North's nuclear programme as well as economic issues.


Interview With A Changchun Pastor – The Struggles Of The Chinese Christian Professional  (June 1, 2019, China Partnership Blog)
At the beginning of my ministry, I mainly served college students. But in recent years God has called me to serve professionals. It is a critical ministry. Now I minister mainly to this group of people. They are close to my heart since I worked in business before I became a full-time minister. This group includes young professionals, people from the middle class, and workers from other cities. 

Not Ruling Over but Feeding the Sheep: Thoughts on the Boundaries of Authority and Power in the Chinese Church (June 10, 2019, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Although the Chinese church faces the same challenge of a modern environment as the Western church, the Chinese church manifests some unique traits. This process can be viewed as a movement opposite to that of the West. Unlike the Western church in its modern situation, the Chinese church is attempting to build a formal structure of authority and power from an informal structure of authority and power.

Being on Guard against “Spiritualized Political Correctness” in the Church (June 10, 2019, ChinaSource Quarterly)
What are the behavioral norms for Christians? The Ten Commandments and Jesus’ teachings are the guides for Christian behavior. The church should encourage believers to live out their faith as testimony, but we need to be on guard against the following phenomenon: turning living faith into dogma that leads to the development of rigid, spiritualized, political correctness in the church.

5 with Hearts to Serve (June 18, 2019, Chinese Church Voices)
"Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." In different places, there are many Christians who, in different ways, are trying to live out the truth of "a kernel of wheat."

Honoring Our Parents According To God’s Will, Part 2: Discerning The Needs Of Elderly Parents (June 18, 2019, China Partnership Blog)
This is the second in a three-part essay examining how Christians ought to care for their aging parents. In this second part, the author reflects on the particular needs of elderly parents. 

A Church in Guiying (June 19, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
The pastor told me that Guiyang has seventeen churches. This one is by far the largest, with about 20,000 members, out of a total of about 30,000 believers in Guiyang.

Faith in ruins: China's vanishing mosques (June 19, 2019, BBC)
The BBC has found new evidence of the increasing control and suppression of Islam in China's far western region of Xinjiang – including the widespread destruction of mosques.

Society / Life

The Livestreamer Thriving in a Desolate Liaoning Coal Town (June 12, 2019, Sixth Tone)
A native of China’s northeast has found unlikely success with online videos broadcast from his desiccated hometown.

Chinese raids hit North Korean defectors' 'Underground Railroad' (June 16, 2019, Reuters)
At least 30 North Korean escapees have been rounded up in a string of raids across China since mid-April, according to family members and activist groups. It is not clear whether this is part of a larger crackdown by China, but activists say the raids have disrupted parts of the informal network of brokers, charities, and middlemen who have been dubbed the North Korean “Underground Railroad”.

Is China’s new payment system the future? (June 16, 2019, Brookings)
Leapfrogging the card-based system, two new payment systems have come to dominate person-to-person, retail, and many business transactions. China’s new system is built on digital wallets, QR codes, and runs through their own big tech firms.

Someplace Like Home: Xu Xiaoxiao’s Quest to Capture ‘Wenzhou’ (June 17, 2019, Sixth Tone)
In 2009, for her graduation project at The Photo Academy Amsterdam, Xu traveled back to Wenzhou for the first time since moving to the Netherlands. There, she was confronted with both familiarity and disorientation.
China Updates Social Credit Blacklist Figures (June 17, 2019, Sixth Tone)
China has blocked the sale of over 25 million plane tickets and almost 5.9 million high-speed rail tickets to individuals on an official “loss of trust” list, the country’s powerful National Development and Reform Commission announced Monday.

Deadly earthquake hits China's Sichuan province (June 18, 2019, BBC)
At least 12 people have been killed and more than 100 injured in a strong earthquake which shook the south-western Chinese province of Sichuan. The 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck near Yibin in Changning County, south-east of the provincial capital Chengdu, late on Monday, officials said.

Capitol Hill: China’s buildings drop their Western names (June 18, 2019, Inkstone)
Cities across China are starting to get rid of foreign-sounding names on buildings, roads, shopping malls and commercial centers, choosing new ones to represent Chinese culture and adhere to the requests of the Communist Party. At the moment, it’s unclear whether this will become a full-fledged national phenomenon.

Sweep Black, Eliminate Evil (June 19, 2019, Sinosplice)
If you live in China and can read some of the Chinese around you, you’ve probably noticed this phrase of late: 扫黑除恶.Literally, “sweep black, eliminate evil.” It refers to the current ongoing crackdown on “crime” and “vice.”

Economics / Trade / Business

China Trade: Huawei & Why it Matters: Huawei Audiocast: Expert Cal (May 24, 2019, Bank of America / Merril Lynch)
The call covers topics like the history of Huawei, how it changed the landscape of the telecom equipment industry over the past decade, and what the US government fears the most about this company in the future.

Rare earths give China leverage in the trade war, at a cost (June 15, 2019, The Economist)
America can hobble Chinese tech giants by stopping American firms from selling them components such as semiconductors. But China could, in return, cut off their supplies of rare-earth products.

Debt-Saddled China Railway Announces Restructure (June 18, 2019, Sixth Tone)
China’s massive state-owned national railway network operator has given itself a shiny new coat of paint. China Railway Corp. (CRC) has renamed itself China State Railway Group Co. Ltd. (CR) and adopted a more market-oriented corporate structure, the company said in a statement on its website Tuesday.


From Africa and across Asia, students follow the belt and road map to an education at Chinese universities (June 16, 2019, South China Morning Post)
Muthoni is one of thousands of students from less-developed countries along the routes of the Belt and Road Initiative flocking to China, lured by full scholarships, brighter career prospects and the chance to gain valuable insight into how Chinese businesses work. But along the way, many come up against cultural and social divides which show that Chinese society still has a way to go when it comes to welcoming other cultures.

Do NOT Teach English in China and Why EVERYONE Should Read This (June 19, 2019, China Law Blog)
The Global Times article says the big takeaway from what happened to these two teachers is that “employers have no qualms about hiring foreigners illegally” and “when the illegality is discovered, it is the foreign worker who gets the blame.”

Health / Environment

To Ease Health Care Burden, China Promotes Private Clinics (June 13, 2019, Sixth Tone)
A new guideline aims to make private medical facilities more accessible to patients and more widely covered under the national health insurance scheme.

Giving Birth in China: The Complete Guide (June 14, 2019, Sapore di Cina)
As an expat, before you decide to have a family, or maybe before you decide where to have a baby, you need to consider a number of issues and how that will work out for you and your future. Things like whether or not you have a support network in place or whether or not you can afford to give birth in an international clinic, may have a drastic effect on your planning.

Infographic: African Swine Fever Outbreaks in China (June 19, 2019, Sixth Tone)
African swine fever has spread widely since the first recorded outbreak earlier this year.

History / Culture

'Throughline' Examines An American Who Became A Chinese Revolutionary (June 13, 2019, NPR)
NPR's history podcast Throughline, profiles Sidney Rittenberg, an American who became a Chinese revolutionary and encountered both acceptance and suspicion from Chinese leaders.

China’s Muslims with Kelly Hammond (June 15, 2019, The Hour of History Podcast)
Dr. Kelly Hammond received her Ph.D. in East Asian history from Georgetown University. She is an assistant professor in the department of history at the University of Arkansas. Her work specializes in the history of Islam in East Asia, particularly focusing on the political, social and cultural history of Chinese Muslims from the Qing Dynasty through into the People’s Republic of China.

Hong Kong's Winding History (June 16, 2019, NPR)
Victoria Hui, a Hong Kong native and political scientist at the University of Notre Dame, explains Hong Kong's political history as protests continue there.

Travel / Food

Top Chinese hotpot chain aims to win over New York (June 17, 2019, Inkstone)
Xiaolongkan is named for a major road that used to connect two major cities in southwestern China. Legend has it that hotpot was popular on that well-traveled road. The chain plans to add nine more restaurants outside of China in the next two years, including in Los Angeles, Houston, Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur. 

Chinese tourists flood North Korea as Beijing remains Pyongyang’s key ally (June 18, 2019, South China Morning Post)
Ordinary Chinese pay travel companies around 2,500 yuan (US$360) for a standard three-day trip, arriving overland by train in Pyongyang to tour the capital’s highlights, from the Arch of Triumph to Kim Il-sung Square.

Video: What's it like to walk the entire length of China's Great Wall? (June 18, 2019, CNN)
There they contemplated the journey ahead of them — a walk of 17 months and 8,850 kilometers (5,500 miles) that would test their endurance, but also take them into the record books as the first people ever to walk the length of the wall.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Why the first Chinese Imax war film The Eight Hundred was pulled from Shanghai film festival (June 17, 2019, South China Morning Post)
The film, telling the story of the defence of the Sihang Warehouse against the Japanese army, was cancelled for ‘technical reasons’. The cancellation led to online anger with some saying the film was cancelled for glorifying the Chinese Nationalist army.

Living Cross-culturally

How to Welcome Her Back (June 19, 2019, Velvet Ashes)
Your loved one is coming back! After time in a place you couldn’t pinpoint on a map before she fell in love with it, she’s coming home. You will pick her up at the airport, feed her good home cookin’, take her shopping to update that…ummm…wardrobe. Man, is it going to be great to have her back! Is she happy to be home? Absolutely! She is so glad to be back with you. And honestly? No, she’s also not glad to be back. The problem is, her “normal” changed.


When a Celebrity Pastor Falls, Will There Be Apostates? – A Book Review (June 10, 2019, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Shi Wei’s The Apostates uses the medium of a novel to describe a period of history in China’s churches in the latter half of the 20th century during Maoist campaigns. This novel describes the church experiencing an environment of instability and persecution. The protagonist, Li Yesheng, a pastor and author of sermons and spiritual books, faces morality issues; the impacts and results of his choices are tracked.

The 3D Gospel Is Now in Mandarin (June 17, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
The subtitle captures the book’s essence. The 3D Gospel is a concise introduction to guilt, shame, and fear cultures. It specifically reflects on the way these three dimensions influence theology and ministry across cultures. […]  I highly recommend  三维福音 (The 3D Gospel)—Chinese readers will gain much insight and it could be used to stimulate fruitful discussion within their teams and churches.


Listen to the Chinese Bible (June 14, 2019, ChinaSource Blog)
I recently ran across one called the 1 Year Daily Audio Bible Chinese . Each episode has a reading of an Old Testament passage, a New Testament passage, a Psalm and a Proverb. Oh how I wish I had had this available to me when I was studying Chinese!

Changchun Prayer Guide(China Partnership Blog)

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman is senior vice president of ChinaSource 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 of Northwestern-St. Paul …View Full Bio