ZGBriefs | March 17, 2022

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Featured Article

Pandemic postcard: COVID outbreak leaves Hong Kong in limbo (March 16, 2022, AP)
Pandemic restrictions have sucked much of the energy out of a cosmopolitan city known for its neon lights and dense crowds. The latest closure, announced Wednesday, is public beaches. An overburdened health system means those who get infected often have to fend for themselves. And the death toll, particularly among the elderly, keeps rising.

Sponsored Post

New ChinaSource Quarterly: Reaching Migrant Workers in China (March 14, 2022, ChinaSource Quarterly)
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. This issue of the ChinaSource Quarterly looks at the lives and trends of China’s migrant population.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang highlights his caring side as he bows out (March 11, 2022, South China Morning Post)
Unlike his predecessors, there was no grand gesture in his last big set piece. Instead there was an emphasis on his efforts to protect people’s livelihoods. Li steered clear of controversy in his final press conference, but focused on the plight of trafficked women, migrant workers, and delivery drivers.

A Chinese Student’s Escape From War-Torn Ukraine (March 11, 2022, Sixth Tone)
A 23-year-old Anhui native describes his journey from Kharkiv to the Romanian capital Bucharest amid bombings and uncertainties.

The Most Controversial Proposals from this Year’s “Two Sessions” (March 11, 2022, The World of Chinese)
As this year’s “Two Sessions” political meetings come to a close in Beijing on March 11, netizens are left with a number of innovative, significant, and downright odd delegate proposals. Some, appear at least well-considered, like plans to reduce the academic burden of students and developing vocational education, or measures to boost the nation’s birth rate and introduce stronger punishments for human traffickers.

Wang Jixian: A Voice from The Other China, but in Odessa (March 12, 2022, China File)
“Hello, everyone. This is Jixian in Odessa. Just checking in to let you know that I’m okay; I’m still alive.” This is the way that Wang Jixian, a 37-year-old software engineer originally from Beijing, starts most of his daily vlog updates posted from Odessa, the third-largest city in Ukraine and a famous seaport located on the Black Sea. 

When War Isn’t War (March 12, 2022, China Media Project)
To examine China’s framing of “Russia’s war” more closely, the China Media Project studied a randomized sample of reports over the past seven days. 

Video: Ian Johnson on the Russia-China Alliance (March 13, 2022, CSPAN)
China expert Ian Johnson from the Council on Foreign Relations discusses China and Russia’s growing alliance and what it means for the Russia-Ukraine conflict and relations with the West.

Saudi Arabia Invites China’s Xi to Visit Kingdom Amid Strained U.S. Relations (March 14, 2022, The Wall Street Journal) (subscription required)
The trip is expected to happen after Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, which begins in early April this year, the people said, in what could be Mr. Xi’s first foreign travel since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

Trends in Global Attitudes toward China (March 15, 2022, Stanford Center on China’s Economy and Institutions)
Despite China’s focused expenditure of resources to enhance its soft power, research reveals that, overall, between 2005 and 2018, the percentage of people who held favorable opinions of China at the country level has been declining over time.

Ukraine invasion leaves China uncomfortably on the fence (March 16, 2022, Christian Science Monitor)
China is fence-sitting, not criticizing the invasion but insisting that it is not party to the conflict. At the same time, Mr. Xi has a clear interest in the success of his autocratic ally – or at least the avoidance of failure.

‘I’m on the frontline in Mariupol’: the Chinese reporter embedded within Russian troops – video (March 16, 2022, The Guardian)
Lu Yuguang is one of the rare – if not the only – foreign news correspondents embedded within Russian troops as they continue the brutal invasion of Ukraine. His extraordinary access has fuelled questions about the extent of cooperation between Moscow and Beijing.


2 Years In: COVID Reflections from China (March 11, 2022, The Gospel Coalition)
In the past two years, I think we as a church and we as elders learned three lessons that we wouldn’t have thought through without the pandemic.

Wahhabi-Inspired Islam in China (March 14, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
Having learned a little about Islam with Chinese characteristics, you might wonder if there is any point in studying “orthodox” Islam to help you understand your Hui friends. The answer is yes and no. 

Humbly Striving for Growth—Li Yan (March 15, 2022, Chinese Church Voices)
This article from Jingjie (Territory) shares more of Li Yan’s personal experience and the humility that is key to her success as a world-class coach.

Society / Life

China’s Human Trafficking Problem Goes Far Beyond the ‘Chained Woman’ (March 12, 2022, Sixth Tone)
A Sixth Tone analysis of Chinese census data has revealed a series of troubling migration patterns, which underline the need for a thorough investigation into the human trafficking trade.

Gone Ashore: The Vanishing Livelihoods of China’s “Sea Nomads” (March 16, 2022, The World of Chinese)
How three generations of a “boat family” gradually gave up riding the waves off Hainan’s coast.


One Hundred Thousand Students Likely Locked Down in Shanghai (March 16, 2022, Sixth Tone)
As the city battles an outbreak of COVID-19, at least 18 colleges and universities have confined students to campuses.

Health / Environment

China locks down a city of 9 million amid a new spike in COVID-19 cases (March 11, 2022, NPR)
China on Friday ordered a lockdown of the 9 million residents of the northeastern city of Changchun amid a new spike in COVID-19 cases in the area attributed to the highly contagious omicron variant. Residents are required to remain home, with one family member permitted to venture out to buy food and other necessities every two days. 

China shuts down city of 17.5m people in bid to halt Covid outbreak (March 14, 2022, The Guardian)
China’s government has locked down Shenzhen, a city of 17.5 million people, as it tries to contain its worst ever Covid-19 outbreak across multiple provinces, with case numbers tripling from Saturday to Sunday.

Attention America: Gua Sha is so Much More Than a Skincare Routine (March 16, 2022, Radii China)
Asian communities have been under attack in many Western nations during the pandemic, yet the traditional Chinese practice of gua sha has been simultaneously embraced.

China Updates Quarantine Rules, Treatments for COVID-19 Patients (March 16, 2022, Sixth Tone)
The country’s top health authority said that patients with mild symptoms will now be sent to centralized quarantine facilities instead of designated hospitals for COVID-19 treatment. Previously, individuals who tested positive for the virus were admitted to hospitals regardless of their condition.

History / Culture

Chinese Trees and Their Meanings (March 12, 2022, The World of Chinese)
Just as an olive branch stands for peace in Western cultures, various trees in China have special meanings, symbolizing everything from family and romantic love to political status and divine power.

Language / Language Learning

How to start learning Chinese again after a break (March 14, 2022, Hacking Chinese)
So you’ve learnt some Chinese, but then you took a break. Maybe you become too busy, maybe you lost interest, maybe something else, it doesn’t matter, but now you want to get started again. So how do you get back into Chinese after a break?


Tibet: The Roof of the World – Book Review (March 5, 2022, Global China Center)
This powerful book, with dozens of wonderful stories, shows how God has used courageous, self-sacrificing missionaries, Chinese Christians, and Tibetan believers to call out for himself a Tibetan people.

Three Little Pandas in a Pandemic: A Book for Families (March 11, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
A friend and former colleague, Samodi Tang, has written a children’s book, Three Little Pandas in a Pandemic, telling the story of shepherding three young children through the disruptions of pandemic life.

The Search for Home: Resonances between Heaven and Earth (March 16, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
A Reflective Review of Xiaoli Yang’s A Dialogue Between Haizi’s Poetry and the Gospel of Luke. 

Links for Researchers

China Leadership Monitor, Spring 2022 (China Leadership Monitor)

Pray for China

March 23 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Mar. 23, 1996, Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) became the first popularly elected president of the Republic of China and the first to be born on Taiwan. Lee was baptized in the Presbyterian Church in 1961 at age 38 and has made it a practice to regularly deliver sermons at church services. Pray for government officials on Taiwan and the Mainland to use their God-given powers to justly protect the innocent and punish wrongdoers. For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Romans 13:4

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