ZGBriefs

ZGBriefs | June 6, 2024

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Featured Article

The Long History of Government Oversight and China’s Church (May 31, 2024, ChinaSource)
When studying the current state of Christianity in the People’s Republic of China, Western observers often quickly fixate on the controls imposed by the current government. Only one Protestant church is legally recognized—the Three Self Patriotic Movement—and therefore many Christians have chosen to worship in house churches that are underground. The government regulates baptisms and prohibits or closely monitors contact with foreign Christians and churches. All of this seems so foreign to our Western concepts of religious freedom. But is it China or America that is the anomaly?

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Don’t Talk to Media, Tiananmen Massacre Families Warned Ahead of June 4 Anniversary (May 28, 2024, Radio Free Asia)
Chinese authorities have ordered relatives of those who died in the 1989 Tiananmen massacre not to give media interviews, while veteran activists who took part in the pro-democracy movement that year are slapped with restrictions as part of a nationwide “stability maintenance” operation ahead of the 35th anniversary of the bloodshed

Zelensky Accuses Russia and China of Undermining Summit (June 2, 2024, BBC News)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia and China of attempting to undermine his upcoming global peace summit in Switzerland.

He said Russia was trying to dissuade other states from attending the event, and that China was working to do this as well.

China, Japan Agree to Restart Ruling Party Talks After Six-Year Hiatus (May 29, 2024, Reuters)
China and Japan have agreed to resume regular talks between their ruling parties for the first time in six years, officials from Japan’s coalition government said on Wednesday.

Rare Spat Shows China, North Korea Still at Odds on Nuclear Weapons (May 29, 2024, Reuters)
North Korea’s rare swipe at China this week underscored how Beijing and Pyongyang do not entirely see eye-to-eye on the latter’s illicit nuclear weapons arsenal, despite warming ties in other areas, analysts and officials in South Korea said.

Pro-Democracy Advocates in Hong Kong Press on as Beijing Seeks to Make Example of Them in Court (May 30, 2024, The Christian Science Monitor)
For decades, Hong Kong’s activists have been fighting for democracy. The Hong Kong court on May 30 convicted 14 pro-democracy activists in the city’s biggest national security case under a law imposed by Beijing that has all but wiped out public dissent.

Meet the Chinese Army’s Latest Weapon: The Gun-Toting Dog (May 30, 2024, The Guardian)
The Chinese army has debuted its latest weapon: a gun-toting robotic dog.

The mechanical canine, which has an automatic rifle on its back, was front and centre of recent joint military drills with Cambodia, according to footage from the state broadcaster CCTV.

Religion

The Light of the Bible (June 4, 2024, Chinese Church Voices)
After the Bible arrived in China, it underwent a long and arduous journey from translation to publication, and eventually into the hands of every believer, transforming their lives and impacting society. Like a transplanted tree, it had to adapt, integrate, and withstand the harsh winds and rains. Despite countless hardships, this tree continued to grow, bloom, and bear fruit.

Understanding Wang Yi: A Response to Glenn Moots (May 31, 2024, Ad Fontes)
To understand Wang Yi’s political theological thought, one must recognize that no event shaped his generation like the 1989 democracy protests and subsequent government crackdown by the military, more commonly known in America as the Tiananmen Square Massacre. This event led many of the intellectuals of Wang’s generation to become even more deeply devoted to Western liberal democratic ideals than before the protests.

The Long History of Government Oversight and China’s Church (May 31, 2024, ChinaSource)
When studying the current state of Christianity in the People’s Republic of China, Western observers often quickly fixate on the controls imposed by the current government. Only one Protestant church is legally recognized—the Three Self Patriotic Movement—and therefore many Christians have chosen to worship in house churches that are underground. The government regulates baptisms and prohibits or closely monitors contact with foreign Christians and churches. All of this seems so foreign to our Western concepts of religious freedom. But is it China or America that is the anomaly?

A Chinese Model of Theological Education? (June 3, 2024, ChinaSource)
Our brothers and sisters from China have plenty of passion and new inspiration for theological training, and their passion and energy are about to burst. When a new, Chinese way of doing theological training is coming on the horizon, are you there to cheer Chinese Christians on and walk with them shoulder to shoulder?

Society / Life

My Child Spent a Fortune on a Chinese Video Game. What Now? (May 29, 2024, Sixth Tone)
Under Chinese regulations, it should already be difficult for minors to spend huge sums on online games. But children have found ways to bypass these restrictions, leading to a number of cases involving minors draining their parents’ bank accounts gaining public attention in recent months.

Exploring Trends in China Today (May 9, 2024, OMF International)
China is a vast nation of diverse people and places and so the saying “everything you’ve ever heard about China is true somewhere” is apt. However, here are four major trends that should inform how we think about and pray for China and its people.

Heavy Security in China and Hong Kong on 35th Anniversary of Tiananmen Crackdown (June 4, 2024, NPR News)
Checkpoints and rows of police vehicles lined a major road leading to Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on Tuesday as China heightened security on the 35th anniversary of a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests.

In Shanghai, a Café Blends Life, Death—and Coffee (May 30, 2024, Sixth Tone)
At the Ferryman café, operated by a Shanghai funeral service company, patrons share personal stories about mortality over coffee. The café seeks to break down societal taboos and encourage open dialogue about life and death.

Economics / Trade / Business

China Lifts Ban on Five Australian Beef Exporters (May 29, 2024, Reuters)
China has lifted bans on imports from five major Australian beef processing facilities, the Australian government said on Thursday, in the latest sign of improving relations between the two nations.

Krugman Says China Is “Bizarrely Unwilling” to Boost Demand (June 2, 2024, Bloomberg News)
China’s leaders are “bizarrely unwilling” to use more government spending to support consumer demand instead of production, according to Nobel laureate in economics Paul Krugman. The comments come amid renewed concern in the US and Europe over what is viewed as Chinese overproduction and the dumping of heavily subsidized products overseas.

Chinese “Botnet” Admin Arrested in Singapore (May 30, 2024, Radio Free Asia)
A Thailand-based Chinese man who created a cybercrime operation that seized control of Americans’ computers and led to $5.9 billion in fraudulent claims from the US COVID-19 relief program was arrested in Singapore, according to the Justice Department.

Education

“Immeasurable Trauma”: China is Trying to Solve School Bullying, but is it Ready to Face the Causes? (June 3, 2024, South China Morning Post)
Government says juvenile offenders “endanger social harmony,” but bullying is a society-wide mental health issue, experts warn. Solutions must go beyond policy, discipline and punishment so delinquents “understand that their actions are crimes.”

Health / Environment

Chinese Parents Falling Prey to Dubious Myopia “Miracle Cures” (May 30, 2024, Sixth Tone)
With half of Chinese children now near-sighted, vendors are flooding the market with questionable eye treatments — from “AI glasses” to “miracle drugs.”

China Faces Another Blisteringly Hot Summer, Experts Warn (June 4, 2024, Sixth Tone)
This will be China’s third consecutive summer of exceptionally hot weather, following two years marked by historic floods, droughts, and wildfires that claimed lives and pushed the country’s infrastructure to the limit.

Science / Technology

China’s Lunar Probe on Way Back to Earth from Far Side of the Moon (June 1, 2024, The Guardian)
China’s uncrewed Chang’e-6 probe is on its way back to Earth carrying the first samples from the far side of the moon, in a major achievement for Beijing’s space programme.

Talking Tiananmen with a Chinese Chatbot (June 4, 2024, China Media Project)
As China strives to surpass the United States with cutting-edge generative artificial intelligence, the leadership is keen to ensure technologies reach the public with the right political blind spots pre-engineered.

He Found the American Dream on China’s TikTok. The Reality was More Complicated (May 31, 2024, The Guardian)
Videos on Douyin give people step-by-step instructions on how to get to the US—and then leave them stranded upon arrival.

Culture / History

The Double-Edged Sword of Modernisation (May 29, 2024, Made in China Journal)
Over the past decades, China has witnessed the world’s largest internal labour migration, with approximately 300 million people leaving their hometowns to look for jobs elsewhere. Labour migration has become a significant factor in China’s social development, serving both as a reflection of profound changes in the country’s social structure and as a driver of social transformation.

“We’ll Never Forget,” Tiananmen Massacre Families Write to Xi Jinping (May 31, 2024, Radio Free Asia)
The relatives of civilians killed by Chinese troops who crushed pro-democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square with machine guns and tanks on the night of June 3–4, 1989, have written to President Xi Jinping calling for an official reckoning with the bloodshed on the 35th anniversary of the crackdown.

The Scenic Garden that Became China’s Secretive Seat of Power (May 25, 2024, CNN)
As the seat of power, Zhongnanhai is often thought of as China’s equivalent to the White House, or the Kremlin. Synonymous with China’s communist party elite, and among the country’s most secretive places, it is ringed by a centuries-old red ochre wall, with countless CCTV cameras periscoping above it—and patrolled assiduously by security forces in both plain clothes and uniform.

Travel / Food

From Pop-Tarts to Happy Meals, a Food Writer Recreates American Classics with an Asian Flavor (May 29, 2024, NPR News)
Toasted sesame flavored Cheerios. A Pop-Tart topped with strawberry lychee frosting. And a Lunchable that includes a fried pork gua bao, cucumber salad and a Yakult.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

It’s China’s Biggest New Sitcom. It’s Also 5 Minutes Long. (June 3, 2024, Sixth Tone)
The comedy “Take Me Home,” produced by Douyin, China’s version of TikTok, isn’t just the biggest show in China right now. Its producers believe it could change the way the country—and, one day, perhaps even the world—consumes TV.

Links For Researchers

Video—Lost Decade: The US Pivot to Asia and the Rise of Chinese Power (June 1, 2024, National Committee on US-China Relations)
In an interview conducted on May 14, 2024, Ambassador Robert D. Blackwill and Richard Fontaine discuss the recent shift to Asia-centric geopolitics and its implications for America’s present and future.

Pray for China

June 4 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On June 4, 1989, the PRC government killed thousands who had been peacefully protesting in Tiananmen Square. Among those imprisoned longest were Miao Deshun (苗德顺先生, the last released in 2016), Chen Yong (陈勇先生), Luan Jikui (栾吉奎先生), Deng Wenbin (邓文斌先生), Sun Guanghu (孫广虎先生), and Yu Rong (余蓉先生). Pray for the healing that can be supplied only by Jesus, the Great Physician.

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. Hebrews 13:3

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Image credit: Markus Winkler via UnSplash.

Jon Kuert

After his first trip to China in 2001, Jon Kuert served as the director of AFC Global for seven years and was responsible for sending teams of students and volunteers to China and other parts of Asia. After that, he and his wife Elissa moved to Yunnan province where they …View Full Bio