ZGBriefs | June 24, 2021

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Featured Article

Will I Return to China? (June 22, 2021, China File)
We asked respondents how likely they were to travel to China once COVID restrictions were lifted. We provided five choices: “Definitely Will Visit,” “Probably Will Visit,” “Unsure,” “Probably Won’t Visit,” and “Definitely Won’t Visit” and asked them to choose one response and then to elaborate on their choice if they wished. 

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

MERICS Web Seminar: Presenting the latest MERICS Paper on China (June 15, 2021, MERICS)
In the latest MERICS Paper on China“The CCP’s next century: expanding economic control, digital governance and national security” our experts cover three key aspects of CCP governance: the integration of the economy under politics, the role of digitalization and the new foreign policy paradigm that puts China’s national security first. In this web seminar the authors presented their analysis and were joined by seasoned China experts for an inspiring discussion.

LinkedIn blocks profiles from view in China if sensitive topics mentioned (June 18, 2021, The Guardian)
LinkedIn is blocking profiles from being viewed inside China if they mention politically sensitive topics such as the Tiananmen Square massacre, including benign references to academic study. In recent weeks, the professional networking site has written to several China analysts, alerting them to “prohibited content” on their profile pages.

Taiwan recalls trade officials from Hong Kong over ‘one-China’ clash (January 21, 2021, The Guardian)
Taiwan says it has pulled back all but one staff member from its Hong Kong trade office after they refused to sign a commitment to the one-China principle required for visa renewals. The officials returned from Hong Kong on Sunday, leaving just one colleague at the office, which acts as Taiwan’s diplomatic presence.

Pakistan PM Imran Khan refuses to condemn China’s Xinjiang crackdown (June 22, 2021, CNN)
When pressed on reports of widespread detention and abuse of Uyghurs, Khan said China had been “one of the greatest friends to us in our most difficult times,” and any conversations with Beijing on Xinjiang would happen “behind closed doors.”

Influencers, Activists and Diplomats – China Media Project (June 22, 2021, China Media Project)
The bottom line here is that CCP planners are strategizing about how to better reach younger media consumers globally, designing external propaganda for the next decade. And that means that China’s external messaging, even as it strictly adheres to political “red lines,” must learn to be youthful and viral.

China issues furious response after Canada condemns human rights record  (June 22, 2021, The Guardian)
Canada has led more than 40 countries in expressing serious concerns over Beijing’s repressive actions in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet, prompting a furious response from Beijing over Canada’s colonial history. The exchange at the UN human rights council on Tuesday marks the latest downturn in relations between Canada and China, which have deteriorated steadily as the two countries clash over human rights, trade and allegations of “hostage diplomacy”.

Apple Daily Publishes Final Issue Amid Tears, Applause, And Fears For Hong Kong’s Future (June 23, 2021, China Digital Times)
Following last week’s arrest of five Apple Daily executives on national security charges and the freezing of the company’s bank accounts, Hong Kong’s last pro-democracy newspaper published its final issue early Thursday morning with a million copy run, before shutting down its social media accounts. Ryan Law, the chief editor, and Cheung Kim-hung, the CEO of parent company Next Digital, have been denied bail, and the founder Jimmy Lai is currently in jail and faces additional national security charges.

China Mounts Massive Security Operation in Beijing Ahead of Centenary (June 23, 2021, Radio Free Asia)
Authorities in the Chinese capital have stepped up security measures ahead of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s centenary celebration on July 1, while rights activists and dissidents are being forced to leave town by state security police, RFA has learned. One video clip uploaded to social media showed more than 200 buses filled with People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers in full camouflage with weapons driving into Beijing’s iconic Bird’s Nest stadium.

Soon, neither the US nor China will have ambassadors in each other’s capitals. Will it make a difference?(June 23, 2021, CNN)
China’s longest-serving ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, has announced he is standing down after eight years, adding another layer of uncertainty in the relationship between the two great powers. […]  The former US ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, left Beijing last year before the November election. Nicholas Burns, a former diplomat, is a top contender to fill the role, but the Biden administration has yet to make a formal announcement.

The push to revamp the Chinese Communist Party for the next 100 years (June 26, 2021, The Economist) (subscription required)
The world’s most powerful political party was founded a century ago. James Miles says it is projecting ever greater confidence, while fortifying itself against collapse.


Making Christ Present in China: Some Notes and Comments (June 16, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
As part of his project, Chambon visited Protestant churches in several provinces of China (Zhejian, Guangdong, Nanjing, Bejing, Shanghai) and Catholic churches in Fuan, Fuzhou, and Guangzhou. Nanping, the community of his specific research, was a town of roughly 300,000 inhabitants situated near the headwaters of the Min River. It is a key city of Fujian province in southern China. The province is subdivided into nine prefectures, Nanping being the capital of one of them.

Video: CantoSense – Ep 10 – Does Shared Food Taste Better? (June 17, 2021, CantoSense)
Why do Chinese people value eating together so much? This episode, we discuss the communal aspect of Chinese food culture and how it ties into what the Bible teaches on food and fellowship. 

The Future of the House Church (June 18, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
If the religious law passed in 2018 sounded an alarm, the termination of Zion church in Beijing began the movement of closing unregistered megachurches in China. However, the megachurch issue has been problematic since the beginning of the house church movement in 1980 even though there seemed to be some success in the past decades. 

Concerns Grow Over Health of Jailed Protestant Pastor in Sichuan’s Chengdu (June 18, 2021, Radio Free Asia)
Concerns are growing over the health of the Protestant pastor of the banned Early Rain Covenant Church in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan, RFA has learned. […] “It looks as if Pastor Wang Yi is being treated very badly in prison right now,” Bob Fu, president and founder of the U.S.-based Christian rights group ChinaAid, told RFA in a recent interview.

Prayer Is The Most Incredible Thing In This World (June 21, 2021, China Partnership Blog)
Sister He Kewang and some believers in her church participated in a recent, intensive prayer training for believers across China. She shares here about that experience, as well as how prayer has sustained, changed, and directed her throughout her Christian life.

The Midwives of Egypt (June 21, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
It was in 2010 that I first met with 75 pastors in Beijing for two days to help them think through something none of them had addressed before: a Christian response to abortion according to the Bible. 

Finding Themselves in China (June 23, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
It has been said that for the person who has a hammer, everything looks like a nail. For foreigners who go to China, it is often the case that what they find depends on what they’ve come looking for. Bringing with them their assumptions—based on who they are and what they do—their discoveries in China can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Society / Life

The China Challenge: A Demographic Predicament Will Plague the Mainland for Decades (June 9, 2021, Discourse Magazine)
Faced with a rapidly aging population, a shrinking workforce and a falling fertility rate, there’s little the country can do.

Economics / Trade / Business

He Warned Apple About the Risks in China. Then They Became Reality. (June 17, 2020, The New York Times) (subscription required)
Doug Guthrie, once one of America’s leading China bulls, rang the alarm on doing business there. He spoke about his time at Apple.

Biden administration to ban solar components from Chinese company over forced labor (June 23, 2021, Politico)
The move, which comes a day after the company and four others were placed on a trade blacklist, is another sharp rebuke by the U.S. against China, which dominates the supply chain for the renewable energy equipment, and comes amid a rising international outcry over the treatment of the Uyghur Muslims, which the State Department has labeled a genocide.


China’s Overseas Students Unsure How to Boost COVID-19 Immunity  (June 22, 2021, Sixth Tone)
As university students head back abroad for the fall, they wonder whether to get booster shots months after first getting vaccinated.

Health / Environment

China’s Dongguan is latest southern city to be hit by COVID-19 (June 21, 2021, Reuters)
The manufacturing hub of Dongguan in China’s most populous province Guangdong launched mass coronavirus testing on Monday and cordoned off communities, after the city detected its first infections of a flare-up in the province.

Elephants’ 500km-trek across China baffles scientists  (June 22, 2021, BBC)
Elephants are by nature fiercely intelligent beasts and experts who study them day in day out already know a great deal about them. And yet a herd of endangered elephants in China has completely dumbfounded scientists globally, while captivating an entire nation in the process. It’s not unusual for elephants to move small distances. But this herd has been lumbering its way across China for more than a year now. The elephants have now strayed almost 500km (310 miles), a mammoth trek from their original habitat.

A Scientist Tracked Down Chinese Coronavirus Sequences That Had Disappeared Online (June 23, 2021, Buzzfeed)
Thirteen genetic sequences — isolated from people with COVID-19 infections in the early days of the pandemic in China — were mysteriously deleted from an online database last year but have now been recovered. Jesse Bloom, a computational biologist and specialist in viral evolution at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, found that the sequences had been removed from an online database at the request of scientists in Wuhan, China. But with some internet sleuthing, he was able to recover copies of the data stored on Google Cloud.

Record Rainfall Raises River Levels, Flood Risk in Northeast China (June 23, 3021, Sixth Tone)
According to the Ministry of Water Resources, 13 rivers, mostly in Heilongjiang province, have experienced above-normal water levels, with five exceeding historical highs last witnessed decades ago. Flash flooding in some areas has swept away bridges and inundated farms along the banks.

Science / Technology

Everything You Need to Know About Shenzhou-12 (June 18, 2021, The World of Chinese)
The Shenzhou-12 launch is the first crewed Chinese space mission since 2016, and represents the latest development in China’s manned space program, an initiative which began in 1992 and put the first Chinese citizen into orbit in 2003.

China’s space station launch – in pictures (June 18, 2021, The Guardian)
A Chinese spaceship carrying a three-person crew has docked with the country’s new space station at the start of three-month mission, marking a milestone in its ambitious space programme. The mission is China’s first manned spaceflight in almost five years

History / Culture

Modern China’s First Diplomats (June 19, 2021, The Atlantic) (subscription required)
Chinese diplomats knew they were out of place. “To Americans, the arrival of the Chinese delegation seemed like the sudden appearance of aliens,” another wrote.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

100 Rappers, 100 Years: China Drops 15-Minute Revolutionary Rap  (June 22, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Titled “100%,” the 15-minute, autotune-drenched single is an ode to the country’s past and present, praising China’s hard-won peace and peppered with a chorus of “China Rising” in English. The song was released Sunday on popular streaming platform NetEase Cloud Music but has yet to make it to any music charts.

Language / Language Learning

Esperanto, China’s Surprisingly Prominent Linguistic Subculture is Slowly Dying Out (June 23, 2021, Radii China)
It’s probably difficult nowadays to picture a Shanghai where Esperanto is spoken in lieu of Mandarin Chinese, but that was a future that some Chinese radicals had once envisioned. Today, the constructed language of Esperanto is likely unknown to most young Chinese people, but the country is home to one of the world’s few Esperanto radio stations, publications, and museums. Esperanto has a long, complicated history in China, leaving it an active present-day community. 

Pray for China

June 27 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On June 27, 2002, Christian activist Wang Bingzhang (王炳章博士) was kidnapped by Chinese agents in Vietnam. Dr. Wang was given a life sentence, and his health has been damaged by times in solitary confinement in a Guangdong prison. Pray for Dr. Wang and others in Guangdong who are suffering for doing good. But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. 1 Peter 3:14-17

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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