ZGBriefs

ZGBriefs | May 12, 2022

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Featured Article

A Teacher in China Learns the Limits of Free Expression (May 9, 2022, The New Yorker)
How had the country experienced so much social, economic, and educational change while its politics remained stagnant?

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

China’s Troubling New Military Strategy Is Coming Into View (May 5, 2022, The Atlantic)
Beijing’s deal with the Solomon Islands has sparked concern among the United States and its allies.

Beijing loyalist John Lee elected as Hong Kong’s next leader (May 8, 2022, NPR)
John Lee was elected as Hong Kong’s next leader Sunday, after winning over 99% of votes cast by a largely pro-Beijing election committee. Lee received 1,416 votes in the chief executive election, far exceeding the 751 votes he needed to win and the highest support ever for the city’s top leadership position. The Election Committee’s nearly 1,500 members cast their votes in a secret ballot Sunday morning.

China rebukes U.S. for changing Taiwan wording on State Department website (May 10, 2022, Reuters)
The State Department website’s section on relations with Taiwan has removed wording on not supporting Taiwan independence and on acknowledging Beijing’s position that Taiwan is part of China. Washington said the update did not reflect a change in policy.

A Swiss army knife app: what is WeChat and how is it being used in Australia’s 2022 federal election? (May 10, 2022, The Guardian)
WeChat has become a key arena for Australian politicians, media and party faithful to communicate election messaging, but among the usual campaign fare, unauthorised attack ads and wildly enthusiastic “news” articles about candidates have become commonplace. There are also signs that WeChat could again be weaponised with fake news and misleading content, as it was in 2019. There are about three million users of WeChat in Australia.

China says warned U.S. warship as it transited Taiwan Strait (May 11, 2022, Reuters)
China’s military said on Wednesday that it had monitored and warned a U.S. warship that had sailed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait, a mission that happened shortly after China carried out drills near the island. The U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet said the guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal conducted a “routine” Taiwan Strait transit through international waters “in accordance with international law” on Tuesday, the second such mission in two weeks.

US intel chief warns China ‘working hard’ to prep Taiwan invasion (May 11, 2022, New York Post)
Top US intelligence officials warned Tuesday that China is “working hard” to ​carry out a military takeover of Taiwan — and Beijing is closely watching Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to gauge the level of America’s potential opposition. D​irector of National Intelligence Avril Haines told lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee that the threat to Taiwan is “acute.”

Religion

Next Generation Missions: Indigitous Serve (May 6, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
For many Asian Americans in the church, very few see a place for themselves in global missions. Furthermore, even fewer are ever encouraged to pursue global missions full time. What if there was another way for Asian American young adults to be involved in global missions?

China-Vatican Relations in the Xi Era (May 7, 2022, The Diplomat)
Nearly four years after reaching a provisional arrangement, are the two sides moving closer to a formal agreement on bishop appointments?

The Changing Religious Landscape in Modernizing China: The Great Awakening in China (1) (May 9, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
I personally lived through those bad old days. I grew up in rural China in the 1960s and 1970s. During the so-called Cultural Revolution, all religions were banned. Religious buildings were shut down, holy scriptures were burned, sacred statues were smashed, monks and nuns were forced to return to the secular life, and many religious leaders and staunch believers were sent to prisons or labor camps.

Easter in Shanghai during the Lockdown (May 10, 2022, Chinese Church Voices)
Easter in Shanghai this year was unusual and difficult. Yet Christians found ways to celebrate Easter and serve others during the lockdown. This article from Christian Times tells the stories of several believers in Shanghai during the COVID-19 lockdown that still continues.

Hong Kong national security police arrest Cardinal Joseph Zen (May 11, 2022, The Guardian)
Hong Kong’s national security police have arrested 90-year-old Cardinal Joseph Zen, one of Asia’s most senior and outspoken Catholic clerics, along with three others who helped run a now-disbanded humanitarian charity for protesters, according to local media reports.

Spiritual Awakenings and Reawakenings: The Great Awakening in China (2) (May 11, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
The spiritual awakening or re-awakening happened not only to older people who grew up before the Communist Revolution. More and more young people who have been indoctrinated with atheism have turned to religion as well. An important turning point was the 1989 student movement for democracy and the Tiananmen Square Massacre on June 4. That was a watershed. It was like a dam burst, the atheist dam broke open. People began to pour into churches and temples.

Society / Life

‘I’m Very Anxious’: China’s Lockdowns Leave Millions Out of Work (May 5, 2022, The New York Times)
Migrant workers and recent college graduates have been hit hardest by shuttered factories, closed construction sites and an anemic job market.

China razes Kashgar’s iconic Grand Bazaar (May 6, 2022, Radio Free Asia)
An RFA analysis of satellite images of the Grand Bazaar provided by PlanetLabs Inc. shows dramatic changes in the market, including the removal of buildings and the roofs of stalls, between photos taken on April 4 and May 4. According to one local official, a new tourist attraction will arise in its place.

Eventually, China’s Borders Will Reopen. Will Foreigners Return? (May 7, 2022, Sixth Tone)
Many left because of China’s travel restrictions, which, more than two years into the pandemic, still make it nearly impossible for foreigners to enter the country — or, for those already in China, to visit family and return. The net result has been a drastically reduced expatriate population. Though the government has not published its own figures, Jörg Wuttke, president of the European Chamber of Commerce in China, reportedly said at a recent forum that the number of foreigners in China has halved. It “could halve again this summer,” he said.

China’s ‘Sheep People’: The Stigmatization of Covid Patients (May 8, 2022, What’s on Weibo) (registration required)
As many people face Covid-related discrimination in China after testing positive, social media users are now speaking out against popular (online) language that refers to Covid patients as ‘sheep,’ saying the way people talk about the virus is worsening existing stigmatization. 

Shanghai Tightens Lockdown After Politburo Standing Committee Warning (May 11, 2022, China Digital Times)
On Thursday, May 5, the Politburo Standing Committee decreed that there is no place for those who would “distort, doubt, or deny” China’s “dynamic zero-COVID” policy. In response, Shanghai’s already-stringent lockdown immediately intensified as city officials rushed to pursue victory in “the Battle to Defend Shanghai.”

After 65 days in limbo, American finally waves goodbye to China’s COVID lockdown (May 11, 2022, Reuters)
For the last 65 days Laura Hudson has been on a mission to leave China, navigating through all of its COVID restrictions to get back to the United States. On Wednesday, she finally boarded an Air China plane at Beijing’s international airport that would take her home.

Economics / Trade / Business

What Is The Impact Of Covid-19 On British Businesses In China? (April 30, 2022, China Britain Business Council)
two years into the covid-19 pandemic, how are China’s covid-19 control measures affecting British businesses in China? If the zero-covid approach remains in place, how will it affect operations, revenue and hiring for British businesses? A new survey published by the British chambers of commerce in China finds out.

China’s economy is going backwards (May 5, 2022, CNN)
China’s gigantic services sector just contracted at the second sharpest pace on record as Covid lockdowns hit businesses hard. […] The services sector accounts for more than half of the nation’s GDP and over 40% of its employment. And with survey data showing China’s manufacturing sector also shrinking last month, the world’s second biggest economy went backwards in April.

More U.S. companies in China cut forecasts, scale back investments as Covid persists (May 10, 2022, CNBC)
Between late March and late April, the share of respondents reporting an impact from Covid restrictions rose by 4 percentage points to 58%, according to an American Chamber of Commerce in China survey released Monday. AmCham China President Michael Hart said he expected foreign investment in China would drop sharply in coming years because people are not able to easily enter the country and plan projects. If Covid controls persist for the next year, 53% of respondents to AmCham’s latest survey said they would reduce investment in China.

Health / Environment

China labels WHO remarks on ‘zero-COVID’ ‘irresponsible’ (May 11, 2022, AP)
China on Wednesday defended sticking to its strict “zero-COVID” approach, calling critical remarks from the head of the World Health Organization “irresponsible.” The response from the Foreign Ministry came after WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he had been discussing with Chinese experts the need for a different approach in light of new knowledge about the virus.

Behind China’s Nurse Shortage, a Lack of Respect (May 11, 2022, Sixth Tone)
Nurses have played a crucial role in the country’s anti-pandemic campaign, but they’re often overlooked, both inside and outside hospitals, in favor of doctors.

History / Culture

When Was The First British Airways Flight To China? (May 2, 2022, China Britain Business Council)
The first British Airways flight to Beijing was a key moment for the airline and for British business in general, writes Paul French. This is just one of the many key events that have taken place during the 50 years since the establishment of ambassadorial relations between China and the UK.

The Rise and Fall of Shanghai’s City Wall (May 6, 2022, Sixth Tone)
Hundreds of years ago, pirate attacks made Shanghai decide to build fortifications. Today, few traces remain.

The Qinzong emperor’s banishment and the messiness of dynastic China (May 11, 2022, Sup China)
The story of the last emperor of the Northern Song Dynasty is a reminder of not only the perils of royalty in the 12th century, but also of the turbulence often obscured by the labels of imperial and dynastic succession.

Books

Culture Learning, The Art of Understanding What No One Can Teach You (April 27, 2022, Missions Catalyst)
This book is directed toward people, and cross-cultural workers in particular, who are living and working within the context of another culture (or who soon will be). It could also be helpful for those whose ministry is geared toward welcoming migrants.

Links for Researchers

British Business in China: Covid-19 Impact Report (April, 2022, British Chamber of Commerce)

AmCham China Flash Survey on Covid-19 Business Impact (May 9, 2022, American Chamber of Commerce in China)

Events

Zoom Webinar: Raising a Resilient Generation in a Fragile World (Family First Global
Our upcoming Zoom webinar “Raising a Resilient Generation in a Fragile World” – happening this May 27, 10 PM EST (US) / May 28, 10 AM (Singapore) – will be a great platform to get insights on how we can emerge victorious over personal and societal issues, all while keeping the family intact. One of our esteemed speakers is Dr. Sandra Tsang, an Associate Professor from The University of Hong Kong’s Department of Social Work and Social Administration.

Pray for China

May 12 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On May 12, 2008, a massive earthquake centered on Wenchuan County, Sichuan, left over 88,000 people dead or missing. Churches from across China sent relief workers and many stayed until forced to leave by the government. Dancer Liao Zhi (廖智姊妹) lost her family and both legs. She came to Christ after Christians ministered to her and helped her learn to dance again with prosthetic limbs. Liao Zhi re-married and now has two children. Pray for Christian women in Sichuan to have the wisdom of Huldah, as they minister to women in troubled circumstances. So Hilkiah and those whom the king had sent went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tokhath, son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe (now she lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter) and spoke to her to that effect. 2 Chronicles 34:22

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
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