ZGBriefs | March 24, 2022

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Featured Article

China’s Population to Peak as More Provinces Report Declines (March 20, 2022, Bloomberg)
China’s population will likely peak this year, a central bank adviser said, with several provinces already reporting declines in the population growth rate.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Video: The World According to China (February 28, 2022, National Committee on U.S.-China Relations)
In an interview conducted on February 28, 2022, Elizabeth Economy describes China’s strategy to recover the country’s past glory and reshape the geostrategic landscape. 

Sinica Podcast: China’s soft power collides with Russia’s war on Ukraine (March 16, 2022, Sup China)
Maria Repnikova, an assistant professor at Georgia State University, joins the Sinica Podcast to discuss China’s media coverage and response to the war in Ukraine, and the impact of China’s pro-Russian tilt on Beijing’s soft-power ambitions.

National People’s Congress 2022: A Reading Roundup (March 18, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
I once had a professor explain to me the relationship between the Party, the NPC, and the NPPCC by means of a popular ditty that described what each does with their hands: 共产党动手 – The Communist Party extends its hands (does the work). 人大举手 – The Congress raises its hands (approves the work). 政协拍手 – The Consultative Conference claps its hands (praises the work).

China has fully militarized three islands in South China Sea, US admiral says (March 20, 2022, The Guardian)
China has fully militarized at least three of several islands it built in the disputed South China Sea, arming them with anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile systems, laser and jamming equipment and fighter jets in an increasingly aggressive move that threatens all nations operating nearby, a top US military commander said Sunday.

Podcast: Main take aways of the National People’s Congress 2022, with Nis Grünberg (March 23, 2022, MERICS)
The “two sessions”, the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), wrapped up in Beijing on March 11. In this episode, MERICS Lead Analyst Nis Grünberg discusses the main outcomes of these important annual meetings, which generally offer a window into the central government’s priorities.


Despite Censorship, Chinese Christians Speak Out for Xuzhou Chained Woman (February 26, 2022, Christianity Today)
Millions of Chinese netizens expressed concern for her, wondering if she was a victim of human trafficking and abuse, and criticized the local government ’s inaction.

The Struggles and Strengths of China’s Migrant Workers (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.

Thinking about Multiplying Migrant Worker Churches in Urbanizing China (March 14, 2022, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Like many other migrant worker pastors in first-tier cities, I have been serving full-time at migrant churches for many years, and I hope that these churches will be able to break through the current dilemma and continue planting churches during this wave of urbanization.

The Unfinished Story of Living Waters (March 14, 2022, ChinaSource Quarterly)
The world of China’s migrants is constantly changing, which means the state of migrant churches and the strategies of church planters are also in flux. The twenty-year story of Living Waters churches can help us understand some of the changes, as well as the current challenges.

Reflections from a Foreign Friend: My Years with China’s Migrants (March 14, 2022, ChinaSource Quarterly)
In 2010, for the first time in history, China’s urban population surpassed that of its rural counterpart. It is expected that the historical rural/urban divide of 80% to 20% respectively will be reversed by the year 2030, all in line with the central government’s aggressive urbanization strategy. The unprecedented demographic shift and rapid urbanization have been accompanied by deep social pressures, dividing millions of families across the nation, and depriving an untold many of adequate education and health care.

Humbly Striving for Growth—Li Yan (2) (March 22, 2022, Chinese Church Voices)
Chinese Church Voices first featured Li Yan, the “Iron Lady on Ice” in 2014 in the wake of the Sochi Winter Olympics. She has continued to coach speed skating and this year was the head coach of the Chinese speed skating training team for the Beijing Winter Olympics. 

Society / Life

The Sky’s the Limit: How China Fell Out of Love With Skyscrapers (March 18, 2022, The World of Chinese)
Plagued by over-construction, safety issues, and environmental concerns, China’s skyscraper boom may be finally coming to an end.

‘I’ve Forgotten How to Kneel in Front of You!’ (March 21, 2022, China File)
Following that, in a stream of short videos posted daily over the following weeks, Wang offered a personal on-the-ground record of what was going on around him. His version contradicted the messaging coming from Beijing; soon, Wang was being subjected to taunts, verbal assaults, and threats. 

China is searching for clues to explain the mysterious trajectory of passenger plane before it crashed(March 22, 2022, Fortune, via Yahoo!)
Flightradar24 data suggests flight MU5735 hurtled toward earth at a rate of over 30,000 feet per minute. In a still unexplained twist, Flightradar24’s data shows that, after falling for over 40 seconds, the plane halted its nosedive and began to climb again, regaining 1,000 feet in roughly 10 seconds, before plunging once more.

Chinese Woman Quarantined in Hotpot Restaurant for Three Days: “Can’t Eat Another Bite” (March 23, 2022, What’s on Weibo)
In line with strict measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Ms. Wang and all others who were still at the restaurant were required to stay there. Three of Wang’s friends had already gone home early, but for Wang and one other friend their hotpot Friday night would turn into a three-day hotpot marathon.

Shanghai’s Lifeline Amid COVID-19: Delivery Workers and Volunteers (March 23, 2022, Sixth Tone)
As many parts of the city are still under lockdown, residents join frontline workers to help the city battle the coronavirus outbreak.

Divorce Is Down in China, but So Are Marriages (March 23, 2022, The New York Times) (subscription required)
While officials say a new law has helped save marriages, the bigger challenge in the country’s demographic crisis is that fewer people are getting married in the first place.

China says black box from crashed plane is a cockpit recorder (March 23, 2022, Reuters)
China’s aviation authority said on Wednesday the black box retrieved from the site of the China Eastern Airlines plane crash is a cockpit voice recorder according to an early assessment.

Economics / Trade / Business

U.S. reinstates 352 product exclusions from China tariffs (March 23, 2022, Reuters)
The list released by USTR includes industrial components such as pumps and electric motors, certain car parts and chemicals, backpacks, bicycles, vacuum cleaners and other consumer goods.

Health / Environment

What Keeps China’s Zero-COVID Policy Going (March 22, 2022, The Diplomat)
The CCP’s approach to pandemic management incentivizes officials to double down on extreme measures without regard for the costs.

China locks down city of 9 million and reports 4,000 cases as Omicron tests zero-Covid strategy (March 22, 2022, The Guardian)
Health authorities reported 4,770 new infections across the country on Tuesday, the bulk in the north-eastern province of Jilin, as the city of Shenyang in neighbouring Liaoning province was ordered to lockdown late Monday.

History / Culture

How Ancient Chinese Seniors Spent Their Retirement (March 23, 2022, The World of Chinese)
In ancient times, however, retirement was mainly a luxury—or a curse for those who wanted to maintain their influence and keep working—afforded to officials. Ordinary folk, if they made it anywhere close to what’s considered old age today, rarely made enough money to stop working, and simply toiled until they physically wore out and had to be cared for by their children.

Travel / Food

Hong Kong to lift flight bans and cut quarantine for arrivals (March 21, 2022, NPR)
The city’s chief executive Carrie Lam announced during a press conference Monday that a ban on flights from nine countries — Australia, Canada, France, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Britain and the U.S. — would be lifted from April 1.

The living, breathing sauce that’s at the heart of China’s regional cuisines (March 21, 2022, NPR)
One of the great cornerstones of Chinese culture is its food. And at the heart of China’s many regional cuisines is one, secret sauce: Lu.

PHOTOS: Here’s Why China’s Pu’er Tea Is So D*** Expensive (March 22, 2022, Radii China)
Some of my most memorable conversations in China have happened over the elegant ballet of a Chinese tea ceremony.

Living Cross-culturally

An Invitation to Lament (March 21, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
And I am learning to grieve. For many months I did not allow myself to grieve because returning to China always seemed imminent. How could I grieve something that wasn’t lost yet? But upon further introspection, I see that there have been so many losses.


Video: Americans in China: Encounters with the People’s Republic (National Committee on U.S.-China Relations)
“Americans in China: Encounters with the People’s Republic,” tells the stories of a diverse assortment of men and women who have engaged with China as adversaries and emissaries, mediators and advocates, interpreters and reporters, soldiers, scientists, entrepreneurs, and scholars.” […] In an interview conducted on March 4, 2022, Terry Lautz discusses some of the figures in his book and what they suggest about American engagement in China in a conversation with Helena Kolenda of the Henry Luce Foundation.

The Church in China – Book Review (Revisited) (March 21, 2022, Global China Center)
This special issue of a prestigious academic journal contains ten major articles (including the editorial preface by Dr. Hancock) and seven substantial book reviews. The articles and reviews span both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism from the sixteenth century to the present, and they touch upon history, theology, evangelism and social action, the impact of Christianity upon Chinese society, and challenges facing the Chinese church today. 

Pray for China

Praying through the Quarterly (March 23, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
Pray with us as we seek to faithfully pray together for China.

May 23 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Mar. 27, 1993, Brother Lai Manping (赖弟兄-age 22) and Sister Xu Fang (许姊妹-age 21) were among a group of house Christian evangelists in Shanxi Province who were brutally beaten by police officers. Lai died a few days later. Pray for courage for those in Shanxi who have peace with God through the blood of His Son Jesus. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility…Ephesians 2:13-14

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