ZGBriefs | March 10, 2022

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Featured Article

Who are the Chinese Diaspora in Ukraine? (March 4, 2022, The World of Chinese)
The trade, education, and human connections between China and Ukraine—in infographics.

Sponsored Link

Public Lecture: The Rise of China and What it Means for the Church
China’s transformation since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 has been dramatic. What have been the implications of this transformation for the Church in China? How has this affected relations with the Vatican and the wider Christian community? Rev. Paul Mariani will provide an overview of leadership policy in China, then focus on how its current leaders see their “historical mission.” How does this backdrop help us to better understand the developments of the past ten years leading up to today?
Wednesday, March 16, 2022
5:00 pm PT
Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA

A collaborative public lecture series hosted by the US-China Catholic Association, ChinaSource, and the China Academic Consortium​, and co-sponsored by SCU History Department and SCU Sociology Department.

If you or your company/organization would like to sponsor a link in ZGBriefs, please contact info@chinasource.org for more information.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

China’s Calculus on the Invasion of Ukraine: A ChinaFile Conversation (March 2, 2022, China File)
One week in, what does Russia’s invasion of Ukraine mean for China? Where are the places to look for a clearer picture of how China’s position on the war is likely to evolve?

Xi Jinping calls for China’s ethnic groups to ‘stick together like pomegranate seeds’ (March 6, 2022, South China Morning Post)
President Xi Jinping has told Inner Mongolian deputies at the country’s annual legislative session that unity is the “lifeline” for all ethnic groups in China, calling on them to “stick together like pomegranate seeds”. Speaking on Saturday, Xi said unity was necessary to build the country, and that the northern autonomous region had a responsibility to maintain the stability of the country’s border, according to official news agency Xinhua.

‘It came too late’: Chinese students who fled Ukraine criticise embassy response (March 8, 2022, The Guardian)
While Chinese state media praises efficiency of diplomatic mission, stranded citizens tell a very different story.

Xi says China is willing to play role in mediating Ukraine crisis, in call with European leaders (March 8, 2022, CNN)
President Xi Jinping said Tuesday that China is willing to “work actively” with the international community to mediate the war in Ukraine, but did not offer details and reiterated his opposition to Western sanctions against Russia. During a virtual call with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron, Xi said the situation in Ukraine was “worrisome” and China was “deeply grieved by the outbreak of war again on the European continent,” according to a statement from China’s Foreign Ministry.

China hacked at least six U.S. state governments, report says (March 8, 2022, NBC News)
Hackers working on behalf of the Chinese government broke into the computer networks of at least six state governments in the United States in the last year, according to a report released Tuesday by a private cybersecurity firm.

Beijing to ‘improve’ system for ruling Hong Kong, devise ‘legal weapons’ to counter foreign forces (March 8, 2022, South China Morning Post)
Li Zhanshu, chairman of the National People’s Congress, pledges to ‘implement the legal system and enforcement mechanism’ by which the city could safeguard national security. He also lauded Beijing’s ‘patriots-only’ overhaul of Hong Kong’s electoral system as having ‘heralded a new age in which the city’s prosperity and stability is secured.’

China’s Russia Risk (March 9, 2022, The Atlantic)
How Beijing manages its relations with Moscow will help define it as a great power.

What keeps China from stopping Russia’s war (March 9, 2022, CNN)
These ideas all make good sense — but are likely to fail. That’s because China, far from being able to act decisively on the world stage, suffers from a chronic leadership void that leaves it paralyzed to act in the face of global crises.

China to provide 5 million yuan worth of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine (March 9, 2022, Channel News Asia)
The Chinese Red Cross will provide a batch of humanitarian assistance worth 5 million yuan (US$791,540) to Ukraine, consisting of daily necessities, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday (Mar 9).

China lawmakers have West’s decline on their minds at ‘two sessions’ (March 9, 2022, South China Morning Post)
While discussions are predominantly focused on domestic affairs, deputies at this year’s National People’s Congress tend to see the West as in decline, according to meeting minutes made available to journalists. The lawmakers, some of them senior Chinese officials themselves, also see Washington as a main source of domestic and international uncertainties.


Can China’s New Regulations Really Stop Evangelism on the Internet? (March 3, 2022, Christianity Today)
While some church leaders are concerned that online religion restrictions may scare off Christians, others hope Chinese believers will continue to sow the digital mission field.

One Message at a Time: Gospel Strategies for the Post-Pandemic Era (March 7, 2022, China Partnership Blog)
Brother Luo encourages the Chinese church to boldly move forward and share the gospel, despite difficulties. Although Western sources often focus on the restrictions faced by Chinese believers, Brother Luo focuses on the great freedom Chinese believers still have to share their faith on an individual basis. 

I Was Cornered but God Heard My Prayer (March 8, 2022, Chinese Church Voices)
Although I had always thought of myself as an atheist, I was deeply shaken that summer. All my past education and knowledge were now like “the emperor’s new clothes,” and I felt that I was a walking corpse—lying to myself and to others. All my past pursuits: an enviable position, satisfying income, good benefits, prizes, and medals were now all mere illusions mocking me.

Society / Life

The Annihilation of Hong Kong’s Civil Society (March 8, 2022, Made in China Journal)
A great purge has been going on in Hong Kong. At the time of writing in November 2021, 153 people have been prosecuted under Hong Kong’s National Security Law (NSL), which was imposed by Beijing in July 2020 (Stand News 2021d). The threat from Beijing has prompted many organisations to disband. Between January and the end of September 2021, 49 civil society organisations chose to shut in the face of intimidation or potential repression. 

The Crazy World of Livestreaming in China (March 8, 2022, The Beijinger)
Seeing as WeChat’s zhibo feature and the livestreaming app Kuaishou saw more than 900 million and 700 million viewers in 2021 respectively, I wanted to understand why people were flocking to such a platform, so I took a deep dive and got to watching.

The Russia-Ukraine Conflict in Chinese Online Media (March 9, 2022, Leiden Asia Centre)
Recent themes surrounding the Russia-Ukraine conflict in Chinese online media show how the war is framed by news outlets and bloggers when it comes to China’s role in it, shifting the narrative from Beijing’s responsibility to Washington’s irresponsibility.

Empty Stores and an Exodus: Hong Kong’s Covid Crackdown Stirs Panic (March 9, 2022, The New York Times) (subscription required)
A surge in cases has alarmed many residents. But the government’s mixed messaging about whether it will impose a lockdown has also been destabilizing.

Getting to Know China’s Migrant Workers (March 9, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
Now, fifteen years later, much in China has changed. Factories have closed due to increasing wages and decreasing demand, and construction has slowed. Movement into the major cities has also slowed considerably, and migrants are beginning to move out to smaller cities, often in their home provinces. 

Economics / Trade / Business

How China’s Ambitious Belt and Road Plans for East Africa Came Apart (March 5, 2022, The Diplomat)
As China draws back from large-scale infrastructure investments in Africa, it is worth considering why so many major Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects in the region, unveiled with great fanfare, have ultimately struggled. A connecting thread across such cases has been China’s inability to manage the political complexities associated with infrastructure development.


China’s education reform is resulting in overworked teachers (March 8, 2022, Sup China)
The country banned for-profit tutoring in core school subjects last summer, and not long afterwards began rolling out government-funded supplemental education. But these sweeping policy changes have resulted in over-taxed teachers, and hasn’t actually lessened the expectations that parents have for their children.

Health / Environment

Mainland China daily local COVID cases climb to 2-year high (March 7, 2022, Reuters)
China reported 214 domestically transmitted cases with confirmed symptoms for Sunday, the majority in the provinces of Guangdong, Jilin and Shandong.

Hong Kong to focus COVID resources on elderly, no date set for mass tests (March 9, 2022, Reuters)
Hong Kong announced plans to devote more medical resources to elderly people on Wednesday as COVID-19 infections swept through care homes and deaths climbed rapidly among the mainly unvaccinated seniors. The government will strengthen medical treatment and resources and set up more isolation and temporary care facilities for elderly coronavirus patients, Chief Executive Carrie Lam told a media briefing.

History / Culture

Video: Shanghai Communiqué 50th Anniversary Celebration (March 8, 2022, National Committee on U.S.-China Relations)
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Shanghai Communiqué, the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, the National Committee on United States-China Relations, and the Committee of 100 welcomed members to attend a half-day forum held on February 24, 2022.

Three Ancient Chinese Banquets that Changed History (March 9, 2022, The World of Chinese)
Mao Zedong may have famously written that “revolution is not a dinner party,” but banquets and feasts have nonetheless been at the center of many significant moments in Chinese ancient history. For centuries, nobles and warlords settled feuds and conducted diplomacy over lavish dinners featuring copious drinking, sword dances, and assassination attempts.

Travel / Food

Weekend Walk: The Basics of the Forbidden City (March 6, 2022, The Beijinger)
For over 600 years, the high vermillion walls of Beijing’s Forbidden City hid the secrets of 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Built between 1406 and 1420, the Forbidden City took over one million laborers and approximately 100,000 architects, engineers, artisans, and craft people to complete. 

Construction continues on Sichuan-Tibet Railway (March 9, 2022, China Daily)
Upon completion, the Sichuan-Tibet Railway will cross eight mountains, and more than 93 percent of the line will consist of bridges and tunnels, Lu said. The line will include six tunnels stretching more than 30 kilometers, with the longest tunnel 42 km, he said, adding that the tunnels will not only be long, but also buried deep underground.

Sideways in China’s Southwest (March 9, 2022, Sixth Tone)
With international travel restricted, Chinese wine lovers are lapping up boutique tours of domestic wine-growing regions.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

How Weibo Became a Diplomatic Battlefield (March 5, 2022 Sixth Tone)
Diplomats and lobbying groups from around the world are increasingly active — and combative — on the platform.


Invisible China: A Book Review (March 4, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
Scott Rozelle and Natalie Hell published Invisible China in 2020 as the pandemic began. The book arrived just before a wave of new policy trends that emerged throughout 2021, and it offers important context for those trends. It serves as a useful window to readers who want to move beyond the cities of China and begin to explore the vast and complex rural interior of the country.

3 Questions: The Transitions Workbook (March 7, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
I recently came across The Transitions Workbook by Ardath Smith and wondered if it should be added to your personal library. It should!

Links for Researchers

Building the New Era: 2022 NPC and the CPPCC National Committee annual two sessions (China Daily)

Report on the Work of the Government, Delivered at the Fifth Session of the 13th National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China on March 5, 2022 (an unofficial translation)


Sichuan Religions Online Lecture Series – Lars Peter Laamann (SOAS-University of London)

Lars Peter Laamann (SOAS, University of London)
“Catholic Smalltown Life in Late-Qing Sichuan”

Mar 19, 2022 02:00 PM in London


Post-Doctorate Research Associates (Purdue University)
The Center on Religion and the Global East at Purdue University invites applications for four one-year postdoctoral research positions: 

  1. Post Doctoral Research Associate — Japanese Christianity
  2. Post Doctoral Research Associate — Korean Christianity
  3. Post Doctoral Research Associate — Social Survey in East Asia
  4. Post Doctoral Research Associate — GIS and Spatial Studies

These positions start as early as July 1, 2022, and are renewable for a second year. Review of applications will begin on March 15, 2022 and will continue until the position is filled.

Pray for China

March 14 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
As a child, Gu Ren’en (顾仁恩先生) attended missionary schools in Shanghai but had no love for the missionaries or their gospel. However, though he had become a famous movie star in Shanghai, after hearing Song Shangjie (宋尚节博士-John Sung) preach, Gu gave his life to the Lord. Without attending seminary, he became a well-known independent evangelist with a ministry of prayer and healing. In Mar. 1951, he was one of the first church leaders to be arrested at the instigation of the new Three-Self Movement and was sentenced to 15 years at hard labor in Qinghai. Pray for the oppressed in Shanghai and Qinghai. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Psalm 37:7

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