ZGBriefs

ZGBriefs | June 25, 2020

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Featured Article

There is no “post-COVID-19” era in China. There is only the COVID-19 era to adapt to  (June 23, 2020, China Briefing)
It is imperative that businesses involved in global trade rapidly accept the need that the only possible outcome over the next two-three years is living in a COVID-affected world. The term “Post-COVID” is redundant and far too optimistic to carry any weight. Instead, right now it increases business risk as it implies things are about to get better. They are not.

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

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Ties That Bind: Xi’s People on the Politburo  (June 17, 2020, Macro Polo)
The foremost finding is that, since becoming CCP General Secretary in November 2012, Xi has been remarkably successful in elevating politicians with whom he has professional, educational, or personal ties. 

The ‘Father of Democracy’ Caught Between Hong Kong’s Extremes  (June 19, 2020, The New York Times)
Martin Lee, 82, has dedicated his life to bringing democracy to the Chinese territory while working within the system. Now he is under fire from both sides.

Censoring the UK on Hong Kong  (June 19, 2020, China Media Project)
The CCP’s massive project of engineering public opinion, and thereby securing the regime, is now more personal and more international than ever before. Just ask the British Embassy Beijing.

China Fumes Over US Xinjiang Bill  (June 19, 2020, China Media Project)
While the US has steadily been the subject of official ire in China’s party-run press over the past two years, as tensions have rankled over such issues as trade and Hong Kong, a series of tough-worded commentaries and responses today are the best illustration in recent memory of what apoplectic rage looks like in the pages of the CCP’s usually dry and jargon-filled People’s Daily.

Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor: China charges Canadians with spying  (June 19, 2020, BBC)
Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Michael Spavor, a businessman, have been held in China since December 2018. Their arrests came just days after Meng Wanzhou – an executive of the Chinese giant Huawei – was detained in Vancouver, at the request of the US. Canada called the arrests “arbitrary”, but China denies they were retaliation for Ms Meng’s detention.

Beijing steps up presence in ‘military grey zones’ to pressure Taiwan  (June 20, 2020, South China Morning Post)
The mainland is using various indirect tactics to intimidate the island without engaging in conventional combat, observers say. The strategies range from deploying sand dredgers in Taiwanese-controlled waters to using fishing boats to ram coastguard vessels, they say

How Activists Are Fighting Back Against China’s Controversial Hong Kong Security law  (June 20, 2020, NPR)
As Beijing debates a new national security law for Hong Kong that critics say would undermine the territory’s autonomy, worried activists wonder what their best options might be.

Xi plays tough, but can China afford to make an enemy of India?  (June 21, 2020, The Guardian)
The brutal ambush in the Himalayas is the latest aggressive move from Beijing by a nation battling crises on several fronts.

US designates 4 more Chinese media organizations as foreign diplomatic missions  (June 23, 2020, CNN)
David Stilwell, the State Department’s assistant secretary for east Asia and Pacific affairs, said Monday that China Central Television, China News Service, People’s Daily and the Global Times would have to report details of their US staffing and what their US real estate holdings are to the State Department.

Chinese Police Formally Arrest Dissident Who Told President to Step Down  (June 23, 2020, Radio Free Asia)
China’s state security police have formally arrested dissident Xu Zhiyong for subversion after he called publicly on President Xi Jinping to resign. Xu, who has already served jail time for his spearheading of the New Citizens’ Movement anti-corruption campaign, penned an open letter to Xi while in hiding following a gathering of pro-democracy activists and lawyers in December 2019, calling on him to step down.

Release Of Details On Hong Kong Security Law Raises More Questions  (June 23, 2020, China Digital Times)
On Saturday, the National People’s Congress released a summary of proposed controversial national security legislation for Hong Kong. Among other things, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Law on the Preservation of National Security will assert that Beijing “has basic responsibility for matters of national security and for the constitutional responsibility of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to preserve national security.”

How to Watch for Freedom Disappearing in Hong Kong  (June 24, 2020, Foreign Policy)
The following are six possible effects to watch for after the law’s implementation, which will probably come before the end of the summer. If some or all of these scenarios actually unfold, then Hong Kongers’ fears will have been justified.

China names undersea canyons and knolls in East China Sea amid rising tension with Japan over islands  (June 24, 2020, South China Morning Post)
The new names for the 50 underwater features – including canyons, sea knolls and terraces – were announced in an online notice published by China’s Ministry of Natural Resources on Tuesday night. The purpose of the naming was “to standardise topographical names”, the notice said. A number of the newly named features are near what China calls the Diaoyu archipelago.

Beijing suffers light casualties in China-India border skirmish but keeps quiet to avoid conflict escalation (June 24, 2020, South China Morning Post)
Beijing has been reluctant to comment publicly on any casualties from the incident. On Tuesday, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian dismissed as “fake news”  Indian media reports which claimed 40 Chinese soldiers had been killed. Three separate sources told the South China Morning Post that only a small number of PLA officers were injured during the brawl.

Religion

Where to Get a Bible in China  (June 19, 2020, ChinaSource Blog)
In sum, while getting Bibles has become more difficult since 2014, printed ones are still sold in registered churches and electronic versions remain available.

In-Person vs Online Church Gatherings (1)  (June 23, 2020, Chinese Church Voices)
In this article from OC Behold, Pastor Zhong Rongkai talks about the importance of online church gatherings during quarantine. Pastor Zhong says Christians should take advantage of this time to “practice readiness” for future outreach and ministry. Zhong gives practical advice on how churches can prepare for such future opportunities.

Stopping the Spread  (June 24, 2020, ChinaSource Quarterly)
While short-term teams and reliance on foreign support and training may appear to shorten the journey, there are no quick fixes for enabling China’s church to bridge the distance from mission vision to a sustainable missions ecosystem.

Society / Life

New Vans Short Film Documents Beijing’s Growing Skateboarding Scene  (June 19, 2020, The Beijinger)
Shot largely in emulation of ’80s home video, complete with glitchy graphics and blown-out colors, and through the all-seeing fisheye lens, the short film is roundly nostalgic, but it also asks questions about the future of skating in China.

Video: Inside Wuhan: Life after coronavirus lockdown  (June 20, 2020, BBC)
The lockdown in Wuhan has now been lifted, and the city is trying to recover. But just how normal is daily life in Wuhan now – and how are its people adjusting to a new world?

Reconstructing Chinese Fatherhood  (June 21, 2020, Sixth Tone)
Chinese conceptions of fatherhood are as much a product of 20th century policy and practice as Confucian cultural norms.

Wuhan Buddhist Temple Tried to Give Away Free Vegetables but Accidentally Became a Meme  (June 23, 2020, Sixth Tone)
The monks of Wuhan’s Lingquan Temple, which is over 1,300 years old, posted on their Weibo page last week that they had accidentally planted too many vegetables and needed the public’s help in picking some. However, it seems that they underestimated Wuhan’s enthusiasm for communal activity after 11 weeks of staying inside. 

Weibo and the Decay of China’s Public Sphere  (June 23, 2020, Sixth Tone)
Not having kids doesn’t mean a woman is a “failure.” So why can’t China stop arguing about it?

Civil Code strengthens adoption law  (June 24, 2020, China Daily)
In its marriage and family section, the code raises the upper age limit for adoptees from 14 to 18, thereby extending eligibility to all Chinese minors. It also removes hurdles that bar one-child families from adopting. The move complies with the relaxed family planning policy, introduced in 2013, that allows couples to have two children.

Economics / Trade / Business

The Silence of the Looms: A Textile Hub Grinds to a Halt (June 19, 2020, Sixth Tone)
As demand dwindles in a post-pandemic world, Guangzhou’s migrant workers clamber to return home.

How to Close a Business in China: Common Questions Asked  (June 19, 2020, China Briefing)
Business leaders who have reached a consensus about leaving the country need to review their options with a local legal advisor. To start that conversation in the right direction, it is important to understand how to legally close a business, how long the process takes, and some of the most basic procedures for closing a business.

Foreign firms snap up Chinese companies despite political tensions as Beijing opens its doors  (June 21, 2020, CNBC)
As global uncertainty escalates, more foreign businesses are buying into China, including deals in the more sensitive industries of finance and technology.

China’s banking system begins to crack at its grass roots as two bank runs take place within a week  (June 23, 2020, South China Morning Post)
Local governments and police in both Baoding city in Hebei province and Yangquan, a coal mine town in Shanxi province, last week pleaded with customers not to withdraw cash from local banks despite various unsubstantiated rumours.

Education

Trapped Abroad, China’s ‘Little Pinks’ Rethink Their Country  (June 24, 2020, The New York Times)
Young and patriotic, overseas students often defend their nation against its critics. But when many tried to return home during the pandemic, they became targets themselves.

Health / Environment

COVID-19 vaccine reaches phase-2 trials in China  (June 21, 2020, China Daily)
The institute started the phase-1 clinical trials in May. Nearly 200 volunteers aged between 18 and 59 received the vaccine in West China Second University Hospital in Sichuan Province. The study was randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled.

COVID-19 Catch-Up: New Risk Areas, Lay’s Factory Infections, Delivery Drivers Tested  (June 22, 2020, The Beijinger)
With Beijing in the thralls of a new outbreak, it can be hard to keep up with all the news. Here’s what you might have missed over the weekend.

Worst Floods in Decades Submerge Chongqing, South China  (June 24, 2020, Sixth Tone)
Parts of China are experiencing torrential rainfall, affecting millions of people and causing over 20 billion yuan in damage.

Science / Technology

BeiDou: China launches final satellite in challenge to GPS  (January 23, 2020, BBC)
China has successfully put into orbit the final satellite in its BeiDou-3 navigation system, further advancing the country as a major power in space. Tuesday’s launch will allow China to no longer rely on the US government-owned Global Positioning System (GPS). The $10bn (£8bn) network is made up of 35 satellites and provides global navigation coverage.

History / Culture

Medicine, Missionaries, and Manchu Princes: The founding of the Peking Union Medical College: The founding of the Peking Union Medical College (June 20, 2020, The World of Chinese)
In central Beijing, a small cluster of European-style villas is set apart both in style and by a stout wall from the crowded courtyards of the surrounding hutongs. A century ago, these were the residences of faculty and researchers attached to the Peking Union Medical College.

Li Zhensheng, photographer of China’s Cultural Revolution, dies  (June 23, 2020, The Guardian)
The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press, which in 2018 published the first Chinese-language edition of Li’s book Red-Color News Soldier – a compilation of photos he had hidden from the period – said Li, 79, had died after spending several days in hospital following a brain haemorrhage.

The Common Tongue (Part 2)  (June 23, 2020, Barbarians at the Gate, via China Channel)
In this episode, Barbarians at the Gate returns to the contentious topic of language reform in China and the fate of fangyan, the various local speech forms referred to as “dialects.”

Travel / Food

Delta to resume China flights as US-China aviation spat cools  (January 22, 2020, The Points Guy)
Delta Air Lines will restart service to China on Thursday, adding flights between Seattle and Shanghai Pudong (PVG) with a crew stop at Seoul Incheon (ICN). The Atlanta-based airline will become the first U.S. carrier to return to China since flights were halted at the early onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in February. The Seattle-Shanghai flights will operate twice a week in June. Starting in July, Delta plans to operate one flight a week from Seattle and Detroit on Thursdays and Fridays respectively — also via Seoul.

Requiring reservations to visit sites may remain widespread  (June 22, 2020, China Daily)
More than 80 percent of China’s top 5A-rated tourist sites required visitors to make reservations via the internet, WeChat accounts or third-party platforms, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism said.

Living Cross-culturally

Cultural Identity—East vs West  (June 22, 2020, ChinaSource Blog)
As a third generation Japanese American who grew up with mainly white Americans, I thought I was thoroughly American until I served as a cross-cultural worker in Asia. In Asia I experienced a lot of cultural stress but didn’t know why. Not only was I trying to adjust to a different culture, but I was also dealing with unconscious American and Japanese cultural values.

Books

2020 China Books (Part 2): Shanghai and Borderlands  (June 20, 2020, China Channel)
This is part two of a series we’re calling 2020 China Books, showcasing new or forthcoming books about China’s past and giving their authors an opportunity to suggest why readers might be interested in them at this current historic moment. 

Links for Researchers

Three Reports On China’s Foreign Interference  (June 19, 2020, China Digital Times)
These and other tactics, their goals, and execution, were examined in three recent reports, from Alex Joske at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute; Matt Schrader at the German Marshall Fund of the United States‘ Alliance for Securing Democracy; and Amnesty Canada and the Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China.

Pray for China

June 30, 2020 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On June 30, 2011, house church patriarch Moses Xie Moshan (谢模善牧师) went to be with the Lord from Beijing at age 93. Xie and his wife Zhang Peikun (张家坤姊妹) endured years of persecution—he in prison for 23 years and she under house arrest in a 65 square foot room with no daylight. Their legacy lives on in Living Water, a beloved devotional which she authored and he edited. Pray for Chinese Christians to rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, and continue in prayer. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

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