ZGBriefs | March 26, 2020

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Featured Article

Life on Lockdown in China  (March 23, 2020, The New Yorker)
Anybody who arrived at the main gate was greeted by an infrared temperature gun to the forehead. The gun was wielded by a government-assigned volunteer in a white hazmat suit, and, behind him, a turnstile led to a thick plastic mat soaked with a bleach solution. A sign read “Shoe Sole Disinfecting Area,” and there was always a trail of wet prints leading away from the mat, like a footbath at a public swimming pool.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

U.S., China Accuse Each Other Of Mishandling COVID-19 Outbreak  (March 23, 2020, NPR)
In Washington D.C., China hawks are using the coronavirus pandemic to argue that the U.S. needs a tough economic and geopolitical stance against China. President Trump is echoing those views.

The Politics of Gratitude  (March 23, 2020, China Media Project)
This month, as China has moved into a new phase in the fight against the novel coronavirus epidemic, and as CCP leaders have been keen to claim victory, the question of gratitude has become a contentious one – both inside and outside China.

China Is Trying to Rewrite The Present  (March 23, 2020, Foreign Policy)
And while the traditional revisionism has largely been aimed at a domestic audience, this time it has a global one in mind. 

China's premier warns local officials not to 'cover up' new Covid-19 cases as Hubei reopens  (March 25, 2020, The Guardian)
Chinese premier Li Keqiang has warned local governments not to cover up new cases of Covid-19, as low daily rates of infection prompted the relaxing of travel restrictions in Hubei province, where the pandemic started. Li’s comments came as analysts questioned the veracity of China’s claims that the nation has had several days with no new domestic cases.

China set to indict Australian academic Yang Hengjun on espionage charges  (March 25, 2020, The Guardian)
China is preparing to formally indict Australian academic Dr Yang Hengjun with espionage, a charge that potentially carries the death penalty, as concerns grow over his isolation and treatment in prison. Yang, 54, has been imprisoned for more than 432 days, and, for the last three months, has been held in total isolation, allowed no contact with the outside world.


Books for Wuhan  (March 20, 2020, ChinaSource Blog)
At present they are not allowed to conduct services at their church, so they are doing online worship. Even though their on-site worship services normally attract approximately 2000 people, a recent online Sunday sermon was viewed by 100,000 people. 

Mission Ministry in Hong Kong, Part 2 --Sunset or Sunrise?  (March 23, 2020, ChinaSource Blog)
In view of the world trend of increasing religious restriction, we should adjust our approach to spreading the gospel. I would suggest the following alternatives as a way to stimulate thinking about better alignment with God’s plan for unreached peoples in the current environment.

Seminary Student Copies Christian “Prayer” Posters at Home  (March 23, 2020, China Christian Daily)
The Haikou Lu Church in Changchun, Jilin province, will place posters with Christian prayers in the corridors of the church. Brother Xia Bo, head of the church's youth fellowship and an undergraduate at Nanjing Union Theological Seminary, copies century-old Chinese Christian posters in color.

Wuxi International Church Donates Fund and Masks  (March 23, 2020, China Christian Daily)
Even though it has been closed since the coronavirus outbreak in late January, Wuxi International Church of China's eastern-coastal Jiangsu Province demonstrates its love through good deeds. 

YouVersion Releases Prayer for "Protection and Healing for China"  (March 23, 2020, China Christian Daily)
Recently the popular YouVersion Bible app launched a prayer for China to its global community amidst the coronavirus outbreak. The prayer starts with gratitude for "our brothers and sisters in China" and "the One who overcomes the world - even this current pandemic" as "there is a lot of uncertainty in their world".

Concerns of a Three-Self Pastor for 2020. . . before the Covid-19 Crisis  (March 24, 2020, Chinese Church Voices)
Before news of COVID-19 broke into their lives, what were Chinese Christians concerned about? What were the top issues to monitor going into 2020? In this article, Chen Shengfeng, a Three-Self pastor, gives 20 concerns facing the Chinese church. 

The Coronavirus: A Shared Narrative  (March 25, 2020, ChinaSource Blog)
The COVID-19 crisis and the response of China’s church shatter the comfortable categories of traditional Christian narratives about China. In doing so they create the opportunity for a new narrative based in the reality of China’s evolving role in the world community.

Society / Life

Wuhan Police Apologize for Punishing Coronavirus Whistleblower  (March 19, 2020, Sixth Tone)
The move came hours after investigators announced that local authorities who had punished Dr. Li Wenliang for “spreading rumors” should correct their error.

A Visual Diary From the Heart of the Pandemic  (March 23, 2020, Sixth Tone)
In our little family of three, we are all Wuhanese, born and raised. Though we have not been infected during the COVID-19 pandemic, our two-month imprisonment in our home has been a roller coaster of emotions.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus: How Quarantine Led to a Divorce Rate Bump in China  (March 24, 2020, Radii China)
Could a recent spike in China's divorce rates be teasing out deeper-rooted issues in modern day relationships and marriages?

Wuhan to ease lockdown as world battles pandemic  (March 24, 2020, BBC)
The lockdown in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the global coronavirus outbreak began, will be partially lifted on 8 April, officials say. Travel restrictions in the rest of Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, will be lifted from midnight on Tuesday - for residents who are healthy.

Economics / Trade / Business

Virus had 'eye-popping' impact on China's economy: Beige Book  (March 23, 2020, Reuters)
China’s economy suffered through an “eye-popping” first quarter as a coronavirus epidemic hammered business activity, with deterioration even as firms were supposed to be going back to work, a private survey showed on Tuesday.

China braced for second economic shock wave as Covid-19 controls kill demand  (March 23, 2020, South China Morning Post)
The initial supply shock left large swathes of China’s manufacturing engine  idling, but economists are now more worried about a double-headed demand shock that is set to rock the economy further over the coming months.

China’s largest trade expo postponed as Canton Fair spring session falls foul of pandemic  (March 23, 2020, South China Morning Post)
The announcement comes amid reports that regular foreign buyers were scrapping plans to attend the event, which was due to open on April 15. The fair has held its spring session in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, between mid-April and early May since 1957.

Coronavirus: global lockdown to hit China’s supplies of steak, lobster and fine wines  (March 24, 2020, South China Morning Post)
Just over a month ago, supply chains in China were thrown into chaos as trucks and planes delivering goods to the world came to a standstill. Now, China’s economy is moving back towards capacity, while the supply shock from the coronavirus pandemic is beginning to affect many Western countries, as they look to contain the virus’ spread.


Western Universities Rely on China. After the Virus, That May Not Last.  (March 21, 2020, The New York Times)
In Britain, the United States and Australia, the coronavirus could blow huge holes in the budgets of universities that have “become addicted to one source of income.”

China’s US$4.6 billion overseas study tour market halted by coronavirus  (March 22, 2020, South China Morning Post)
Education tourism is hugely popular among wealthier families, but health concerns, travel restrictions and uncertainty about school holidays mean that this year most youngsters will be staying at home.

Law Professor’s Quirky Lectures Attract Millions of Online Fans  (March 23, 2020, Sixth Tone)
Viewers appreciate that behind Luo Xiang’s ridiculous stories and anecdotes is someone who reveres the sanctity of his profession.

Wuhan Grapples With ‘Silent Carriers’ Absent From Official Data  (March 23, 2020, Sixth Tone)
As doctors and nurses head home from the province at the center of China’s coronavirus outbreak, disease control officials are being asked to stick around to help with a final — and potentially formidable — challenge.

Health / Environment

Chinese Fear COVID-19 Rebound as Overseas Students Rush Home  (March 20, 2020, Sixth Tone)
High-profile cases of people traveling while infected with the coronavirus and flouting mandatory quarantine orders upon arrival have not improved the Chinese public’s perception of returnees.

Wuhan Residents Take 'Zero Cases' Claim With Pinch of Salt  (March 20, 2020, Radio Free Asia)
Wuhan resident Zhang Ruyi said public trust in the government is at a low ebb, because of attempts by local health officials to cover up the emergence of the new pathogen in December, partly by suppressing information and partly by classifying the surge of new cases as "pneumonia."

Doctors at a Distance  (March 24, 2020, The World of Chinese)
Faced with such difficulties, and increasingly anxious that they may have contracted Covid-19 themselves, thousands have flocked to medical apps and websites to get their care remotely. 

The Blood, Sweat, and Fears Behind Wuhan’s Pop-Up Hospital  (March 24, 2020, Sixth Tone)
Though many construction workers worried about contacting the coronavirus after Huoshenshan quarantine hospital began admitting patients, official figures for infected laborers have not been released.

History / Culture

Video: View from car of drive through Beijing, 1970s  (Everyday Life in Maoist China)

After the Fire, a Chinatown Museum Sifts Through What Survived  (March 23, 2020, The New York Times)
Families are celebrating hundreds of boxes of heirlooms that were unloaded from the scorched interior of 70 Mulberry Street.

Mythical Mulan  (March 25, 2020, The World of Chinese)
With the release of a live-action Disney remake of Mulan postponed amid coronavirus concerns, here are the most well-known versions of the ‘true’ Mulan, a mythical warrior woman from the Northern Wei Dynasty (386 – 535) who spared her aging father from military conscription and served her country with distinction.

Travel / Food

Great Wall of China's Badaling section reopens to visitors  (March 24, 2020, CNN)
A small section of the Great Wall of China has reopened to visitors as of March 24, a sign that life in China is slowly returning to normal following the coronavirus epidemic. The Badaling section of the Great Wall, which stretches from Bei Liu Lou to Nan Wu Lou Ban, will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Despite Rejections, No Citywide Policy Prevents Foreigners From Staying in Hotels  (March 25, 2020, The Beijinger)
Despite only a tiny fraction of imported cases of COVID-19 in China actually originating from non-Chinese nationals, foreigners continue to report facing extra scrutiny. Certain apartment rental agents are refusing to extend leases to foreigners, and now others appear to be facing discrimination at the hands of China's hotels.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

500 Cinemas Reopen in China, Earn $10,000 in First Weekend  (March 25, 2020, Sixth Tone)
China’s cities are creaking back to life as businesses resume normal or near-normal operations. For the country’s movie theaters, however, there’s little light at the end of the tunnel.

Language / Language Learning

Mandarin Monday: Mastering 儿 so That You Too Can Speak Like a True Lao Beijinger  (March 23, 2020, The Beijinger)
Běijīng huà is probably best known for its iconic 儿话音 er huàyīn – that unmistakable and guttural growl that adds to the pirate-esque drawl to the capital's citizens. While the city's hutong residents (胡同儿串子 hútòng'r chuànzi) can rap with it as deftly as spitting a freestyle, 儿 can turn a simple sentence into a tongue twister for the rest of us.

Boring Bangongshi: the Chinese Office Comic for Learners  (March 24, 2020, Sinosplice)
So the team here at AllSet Learning has created a new thing! It’s an office-centric comic strip giving learners little bite-sized chunks of office language, and it’s called Boring 办公室 (Bàngōngshì). It was not originally intended to be COVID-19-focused, but it kind of turned out that way (for now).

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman is senior vice president of ChinaSource 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