ZGBriefs | May 19, 2022

ZGBriefs is a compilation of links to news items from published online sources. Clicking a link will direct you to a website other than ChinaSource. ChinaSource is not responsible for the content or other features on that site. An article’s inclusion in ZGBriefs does not equal endorsement by ChinaSource. Please go here to support ZGBriefs.

Featured Article

Here’s What Thousands of Christian WeChat Accounts Reveal About Chinese Internet Evangelism (May 13, 2022, Christianity Today)
WeChat is a powerful digital media outlet with more than 1.2 billion users worldwide and tens of millions of “public accounts.” Over the past decade, WeChat accounts have been an important platform for Chinese Christians to speak about their faith and communicate the gospel. Prior to 2018, these accounts offered discipleship materials, inspirational messages, and apologetics resources, attracting followings of millions of Christians and seekers.

Sponsored Link

Free Online Lecture: Where are the Churches in China? And Why? Geographical Patterns of Church Development, by Dr. Fenggang Yang (ChinaSource)
Why are there so many Catholic churches in Hebei Province? And why so many Protestant Churches in Anhui? When thinking about missions, we don’t always consider geography, yet the five official religions in China are very geographically concentrated. On Thursday, June 16, 2022, Dr. Fenggang Yang will give a lecture entitled, “Where Are the Churches in China? And Why? Geographical Patterns of Church Development.” In it, he will present the geographical distribution of Catholic and Protestant churches in China, discuss several distinctive characteristics of the churches and their locations, and trace some of the historical and social patterns of church development.
Date: Thursday, June 16, 7PM US (CDT)
Register on Eventbrite

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

Video: Americans’ Negative Views on China: Latest Pew Survey Results (May 10, 2022, National Committee on U.S.-China Relations)
According to a Pew Research Center report released in April, Americans view China’s partnership with Russia as a serious problem for the United States, amid concerns over China’s growing superpower status and economic might. […] Pew Research Center Senior Researcher Laura Silver discusses the survey findings in an interview conducted on May 10, 2022.

Failed suicide bombing in Pakistan sends more chills down Beijing’s spine (May 16, 2022, Sup China)
A foiled suicide bombing against Chinese nationals in Pakistan is yet another attack that rattled Beijing, but will probably also strengthen its resolve.

Protests at Peking University as China’s Xi moves to silence ruling party elders (May 16, 2022, Radio Free Asia)
Hundreds of students protested at the weekend on the campus of Peking University (Beida) after a fence was put in place segregating them from the rest of the university, which continues to move around freely. […] In a video clip sent to RFA, Beida party secretary Chen Baojian appealed to the students to disperse, and photos shown by RFA showed part of the fence on the ground. It was unclear who had dismantled it.

China’s Communist Youth League: Eternally young at a hundred (May 18, 2022, MERICS)
China’s Communist Youth League is huge, but not a force distinct from the Communist Party. MERICS Senior Fellow Charles Parton says Xi sees it as crucial for winning the hearts and minds of the young. 

Speaking Loud for Xi Jinping (May 18, 2022, China Media Project)
The shrill call of the loudspeaker, once a staple of political and economic life in pre-reform China, is a sound now returning to the countryside.


The Tricolor Religious Market and the Growth of Christianity: The Great Awakening in China (3) (May 13, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
In short, repressive regulations have not reduced religions, but have complicated the religious market and resulted in the tricolor religious markets. In other words, the spiritual awakening and religious revivals are not containable or controllable, even though the party-state has been trying very hard to suppress them.

Hong Kong churches no longer off-limits as Beijing tightens grip on dissent (May 13, 2022, The Washington Post) (subscription required)
Hong Kong’s wide-ranging crackdown on all forms of social protest is now being felt by its churches, a backbone of the city’s once vibrant activism, and its religious spaces are now being brought under state control much the way they are in the rest of China.

Hui Weddings, Funerals, and Other Rites of Passage: Know Thy Hui Neighbor (7) (May 16, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
Marriage is a social and religious obligation. To marry is to obey God’s command and imitate the prophet, Mohammed. The unmarried are seen as a burden to parents and cursed by God. Marriage is the coming-of-age rite. There’s no debutante ball or prom, no twenty-first birthday party, and no other way to show your parents you are “not a kid anymore.”

We Will Follow (May 16, 2022, China Partnership Blog)
Although in recent years the situation in China has become more difficult for Christians, the pastors at this gathering talked about their desire for God to raise up more believers who can minister in the church and plant more believing communities. They are scattered across China, but united in their common identity as those who belong to the kingdom of God.

More on Thriving in Lockdown (May 17, 2022, Chinese Church Voices)
In this article from China Christian Daily we learn more about Brother Jiang and additional advice and encouragement from him for those facing the rigors and restrictions of lockdown.

Video: From Matteo Ricci to Pope Francis: Jesuits and Christian Dialogue in China (U.S.-China Catholic Association)
Though centuries apart, both Ricci and Francis are Jesuits who represent an astonishing continuity in how the Society of Jesus has theoretically and operationally actualized its religious and diplomatic mission regarding China. In his reflections, Dr. Anthony Clark examined how Jesuits have maintained Christian dialogue with China from 1582 until the present. As representatives of this uniquely Jesuit approach, Matteo Ricci and Pope Francis frame that exchange.

Society / Life

China Restricts Citizens From ‘Non-Essential’ Foreign Travel (May 12, 2022, Sixth Tone)
China’s top immigration authority announced on Thursday it will strictly restrict citizens from traveling abroad for “non-essential reasons,” as the country expands its stringent virus-control measures under the “zero-COVID” policy.

The Last Train to Canton? (May 13, 2022, Sup China)
Despite competition from rail, road, and river, the through train remained the most comfortable and efficient means of getting between Hong Kong and Guangzhou, bridging the two major Cantonese-speaking cities.

The Best of Beijing in Readers’ Photos, Pt. 1 (May 16, 2022, The Beijinger)
“Best of Beijing in Photos” showcases photos from readers from across Beijing, in hopes of showing the capital as it’s seen through different eyes, all in one place.

The Best of Beijing in Readers’ Photos, Pt. 2 (May 17, 2022, The Beijinger)
Best of Beijing in Photos showcases photos from readers from across Beijing, in hopes of showing the capital as it’s seen through different eyes, all in one place.

China air crash that killed 132 may have been deliberate, says US report (May 17, 2022, The Guardian)
A China Eastern Airlines plane that crashed in March, killing 132 people, appears to have been intentionally flown into the mountainside below by someone at the controls, according to reports. Analysis by US officials of the black box flight recorders found amid the wreckage suggests deliberate input from the cockpit forced the Boeing 737-800 plane into its catastrophic dive.

“We’re The Last Generation” Becomes A Slogan For China’s Disenchanted (May 17, 2022, China Digital Times)
A Shanghai resident’s defiant response to a local police officer’s warning that non-compliance with the city’s COVID policy would have a deleterious impact on the man’s future offspring went viral across Chinese social media—until it was censored. “After we punish you, it will influence your next three generations,”  the officer, swaddled in full PPE, warned while standing in an apartment hallway. The man’s response, “We’re the last generation, thanks!”, has become a viral meme on the Chinese internet used to express despair about the state of the world and the country’s political trajectory. 

The Collateral Damage in China’s Covid War (May 17, 2022, Foreign Affairs)
For all countries, COVID-19 of course remains a public health problem. But for China, the chief risks of the virus have become less epidemiological than political and economic. As the experience of other countries has shown, with appropriate strategies in place the Omicron variant can be managed and contained. But the Chinese government insists on maintaining policies that are unsustainable and have little grounding in science. In doing so, it has shown an increasing willingness to put China’s economy, and even its social stability, at risk.

Leaving Locked-Down Shanghai Is Hard. Returning Is Harder. (May 18, 2022, Sixth Tone)
When Yu Xiao left Shanghai for a vacation in the Tibet Autonomous Region, little did she know it would stretch for two months and she would be locked out of her hometown.

A Distinctive Soul: Hailun Ma’s Diverse Portraits of China (May 18, 2022, Vogue)
There is a common preconception about what Chinese people look like, but the country’s population—which includes 56 different ethnic groups—is far from monolithic. For photographer Hailun Ma, a desire to showcase the melting pot of cultures that make up her native Xinjiang, in northwestern China, has informed some of her most compelling work.

Economics / Trade / Business

Top Chinese leaders meet with tech firms, stress support for platform economy (May 18, 2022, Technode)
On Tuesday, China’s top political advisory body held a consultation session to discuss digital economy development with leaders from the country’s private sector firms. Baidu CEO Robin Li and NetEase CEO Ding Lei attended the meeting and made proposals. Vice Premier Liu He emphasized support for a healthy platform economy, the country’s private sector, and overseas listings. 

Goldman Sachs cuts its China GDP forecast to 4% on Covid controls (May 18, 2022, CNBC)
Goldman Sachs analysts on Wednesday cut their forecast for China’s GDP to 4% after data for April showed a slump in growth as Covid-19 controls restricted business activity. The new forecast is even further below the “around 5.5%” growth target the Chinese government announced for the year in March.

China’s stay-at-home economy is here (May 18, 2022, Sup China)
Omicron outbreaks and lockdowns are hitting the Chinese economy hard, but these are boom times for makers of fitness equipment, pre-prepared meals, and work from home gear.


The Larger Meaning of China’s Crackdown on School Tutoring (May 16, 2022, The New Yorker)
In curtailing private tutoring, the government seemed to have multiple goals: rein in unchecked capital in the educational system, relieve pressure on overworked students and parents, address the sluggish birth rate (under a premise that less money spent on tutoring would mean a greater incentive to have babies), and impose greater ideological control on students in general. 

History / Culture

Why the Soviet Union’s 20th Party Congress Continues to Haunt China (May 14, 2022, The Diplomat)
A lesson from 1956 continues to affect China’s understanding of political security — especially as the CCP’s own 20th Congress draws near.

How a Daoist Movement Emerged Out of Han Dynasty Chaos (May 17, 2022, The World of Chinese)
As the Han empire crumbled and the Yellow Turban Rebellion sought to overthrow imperial rule, the “Way of the Five Pecks of Rice” quietly planted the roots of a durable Daoist movement.

The Yangzhou massacre of 1645 (May 18, 2022, Sup China)
“The ground was stained with blood and covered with mutilated and dismembered bodies. Every gutter and pond was filled with corpses lying one upon the other.” This was the scene in Yangzhou in the spring of 1645, as the Manchu conquest of China took a grisly turn.

Travel / Food

Coronavirus: flying to China from the US will no longer involve 7-day RT-PCR or antibody tests (May 19, 2022, South China Morning Post) (subscription required)
Travellers flying to China from the US will no longer be required to provide three negative RT-PCR test results as of Friday. The previous requirement of showing a negative RT-PCR test result from seven days before the flight has been scrapped, according to a notice posted by the Chinese mission in the United States on Tuesday. Antibody test results will also no longer be needed.


In Hong Kong, the Search for a Single Identity (May 18, 2022, The New York Times) (subscription required)
Louisa Lim’s “Indelible City” dismantles the received wisdom about Hong Kong’s history and replaces it with an engaging, exhaustively researched account of its long struggle for sovereignty. And in her pulsing debut memoir, “The Impossible City,” Karen Cheung writes eloquently about what it means to find your place in a city as it vanishes before your eyes.

Pray for China

May 22
The first Protestant missionary to take up residence in Hainan was Carl C. Jeremiassen (冶基善), who moved there in 1881. Jeremiassen was a Danish sea captain who came to China in 1869 and worked for the Chinese Customs Service for a decade. He studied medicine in Guangzhou for two years under renowned medical missionary Dr. John Kerr (嘉约翰医生) before moving to Hainan. Medical missions on Hainan got another boost in 1885 when Dr. Kerr’s daughter Olivia moved there with her husband, Dr. Henry McCandliss (康兴利医生). Jeremiassen spent the remaining 20 years of his life in Hainan, and the McCandliss’s were there for 40 years with service that included a hospital for lepers. Pray for the lost in Hainan to receive the gospel as the Word of God and not as mere human words. And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. 1 Thessalonians 2:13

Image credit: CDD20, via Unsplash

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