ZGBriefs | June 8, 2023

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Featured Article

China’s ‘Parachute Generation’ Grows Up (June 2, 2023, Sixth Tone)
Prior to the pandemic, tens of thousands of Chinese kids left home every year to attend high school in the United States. Was it worth it?

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

The Trouble With China’s Global Civilization Initiative (June 1, 2023, The Diplomat)
The GCI is an attempt to win global buy-in for China’s principle of non-interference by conflating modern-day regimes with traditional culture.

China and U.S. defense chiefs compete for influence in the Asia Pacific (June 2, 2023, NPR)
China’s new defense minister made his first international appearance on Sunday at an annual defense summit, where he delivered a speech full of thinly-veiled barbs at the U.S., calling on it to “mind your own business” after two close encounters between the country’s militaries.

US releases video showing close-call in Taiwan Strait with Chinese destroyer (June 5, 2023, AP)
The United States military released video Monday of what it called an “unsafe” Chinese maneuver in the Taiwan Strait on the weekend, in which a Chinese navy ship cut sharply across the path of an American destroyer, forcing the U.S. vessel to slow to avoid a collision.

A Tale of Two Junkets (June 5, 2023, China Media Project)
Given a strong propaganda and censorship culture and the leadership’s constant emphasis on discipline, one might assume that Chinese journalists are already well primed — unlike their international counterparts — to “tell China’s story well,” focusing on the positives of local and national leadership. Notwithstanding, themed propaganda tours offer a further opportunity for authorities to “guide” coverage at media across the country.

Nationalist Carnival And Detentions Meet Hong Kong June 4th Commemorations (June 5, 2023, China Digital Times)
Sunday marked the 34th anniversary of the 1989 June 4th crackdown. In Hong Kong, in a stark sign of the city’s political trajectory over the past several years, authorities stifled the formerly traditional public and private commemorations. 

South Korea scrambles jets after Russia, China incursion (June 6, 2023, DW)
South Korea says Russian and Chinese warplanes entered its air defense zone without advance notice. Moscow and Beijing are carrying out joint operations to coincide with an increase in drills by the US and its allies.

Britain says China has closed unofficial police stations in UK (June 6, 2023, Reuters)
British Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said on Tuesday China had closed reported “police service stations” at sites across the UK, and that an investigation had not revealed any illegal activity by the Chinese state at these sites. Britain has previously said reports of undeclared police stations in the country were “extremely concerning” and that any intimidation on British soil of foreign nationals by China or other states was unacceptable.

Great Era (June 7, 2023, China Media Project)
There have been repeated references in China’s state-run media in recent years to the present time as a “Great Era” (伟大时代). Under Xi Jinping, the term has appeared in 64 headlines in the pages of the People’s Daily, representing over half of its total headline appearances in the paper and nearly three times that of his two predecessors combined. How has this phrase been used through China’s political history, and what does it signify?


Law Is Not Greater Than Heaven: Light in the Darkness (June 1, 2023, China Partnership Blog)
When Tan Jian was released from jail, in the fall of 2022, he made a personal statement before the court. This is the second half of his statement before the court.

Getting to Know China’s Pentecostal Churches (June 5, 2023, ChinaSource Blog)
The common thread that unites Pentecostals in China with other Pentecostals around the world is their sense of connection with the apostolic church as reflected in the book of Acts. Chinese Pentecostals pray for the sick, worship with joyful abandonment, speak in tongues, and seek the enabling of the Spirit for bold witness in the face of persecution because they find all these experiences described in the New Testament. The message and methods of the early church are models for their lives and ministry.

A New Wave of Immigration from China to the US (June 7, 2023, ChinaSource Blog)
Chinese Christians reflect on the challenges and opportunities that the new immigration trend presents for evangelism.

Society / Life

Tech Addiction is Leaving China’s Rural Youth Wired for Distraction (June 5, 2023, Sixth Tone)
Studying far from home and without parental supervision, millions of “left-behind” students in rural China are staring at an escalating tech addiction crisis that demands urgent attention.

Can Rural Vloggers Make China’s Countryside Cool? (June 5, 2023, Sixth Tone)
Rural vloggers are breaking out of the highly curated Li Ziqi mould to show the countryside as it really looks. Audiences are responding.

How Scooters Caught China’s Urban Planners Off Guard (June 6, 20203, Sixth Tone)
Despite heavy investment in mass transit, car ownership has skyrocketed over the past 20 years, contributing to lengthy commutes and leading some cities to restrict their use. But planners’ myopic focus on cars led them to miss the rise of another equally important form of transportation that would take over China’s streets: the electric scooter.

Economics / Trade / Business

How exit bans are harming China’s push to welcome foreign business (June 5, 2023, South China Morning Post)
Beijing is rolling out the red carpet for top overseas executives to show it is open for business again. Yet it is also expanding its ability to stop people from leaving the country – sometimes just because they are on the wrong side of a business dispute or work for the wrong people.

China trade tumbles in May, adding to signs economic recovery is slowing (June 6, 2023, AP)
China’s exports fell 7.5% from a year earlier in May and imports were down 4.5%, adding to signs an economic rebound following the end of anti-virus controls is slowing as global demand weakens under pressure from higher interest rates.


Chinese universities raise tuition fees by as much as 54% (June 5, 2023, Reuters)
Chinese universities are drastically increasing tuition fees this year, with some making their first rises in two decades, hurt by a reduced national budget for tertiary education and tight local government finances.

Health / Environment

China’s wheat growers face ‘disaster’ after heavy rain batters crop (June 7, 2023, Reuters)
About one-third of China’s wheat is grown in Henan province, earning it the nickname the granary of China. With roughly 30 million metric tons expected to be affected nationally by the rains, out of a forecast bumper crop for all of China of 137 million metric tons, the losses may mean rising grain imports into the world’s biggest wheat consumer.

Science / Technology

China begins drilling one of world’s deepest holes in hunt for discoveries deep inside the Earth (June 6, 2023, The Guardian)
China has begun digging its deepest borehole in an effort to study areas of the planet deep beneath the surface. The drilling of the borehole began on Tuesday in a desert in the Tarim basin in China’s north-western region of Xinjiang, according to the Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency. With a planned depth of 11,100 metres, the narrow shaft will penetrate more than 10 continental strata and reach the cretaceous system in the Earth’s crust – a series of stratified rocks dating back 145m years.

The U.S. May Be Overstating China’s Technological Prowess (June 7, 2023, China File)
George Washington University Assistant Professor of Political Science Jeffrey Ding published a recent article that explains why measuring a state’s scientific and technological power should include not only how many innovations a country can check off, but also the degree to which new technologies are integrated into the economy and society.

History / Culture

How Did Ancient Chinese Scholars Prepare for Exams? (June 6, 2023, The World of Chinese)
From cram academies to meeting academic celebrities, preparation for ancient China’s civil service exams was both similar and different to today’s exam-prep.

Travel / Food

Closure of Russian airspace ‘single biggest factor’ stopping foreign airlines from boosting service to China, global industry body says (June 7, 2023, South China Morning Post)
The closure of Russian airspace following its invasion of Ukraine would continue to dissuade American and European carriers from ramping up service to China, he predicted. “The single biggest factor that will play into China will be the closure of Russian airspace, because many airlines that would serve China cannot fly through Russian airspace,” Walsh said.


3 Questions: Chinese through Scripture (June 2, 2023, ChinaSource Blog)
Last month I had the opportunity to meet Shuguang Wang, the author of a new textbook called Chinese through Scripture. I looked at the book and my first thought was, “I sure could have used this in 1990!” Let’s just say we’ve come a long way from both versions of The Good News Reader.


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Pray for China

June 8 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On June 8, 2017, Islamic terrorists announced that they had executed two Chinese Christians working in Quetta, Pakistan: Li Xinheng (李欣恒弟兄) and Meng Lisi (孟丽斯姊妹). Pray for the Father’s kingdom, power, and glory to be manifested by Chinese missionaries in Pakistan and elsewhere. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen. Matthew 6:13

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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