ZGBriefs | May 30, 2024

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Featured Article

Everything You Need to Know about Sight (March 7, 2024, Angel Studios)
Sight, starring Terry Chen and Greg Kinnear, follows the true story of Dr. Ming Wang, a Chinese immigrant who defies all odds to become a world-renowned eye surgeon. Drawing upon the grit and determination he gained from a turbulent uprising in his upbringing, Dr. Wang sets out to restore the sight of a blind orphan.

Find more details about the movie and local showtimes on the official Sight website.

Sponsored Links

God Pods: An Online Listening Prayer Gathering

Discover how to develop a practice of conversational prayer with a community of believers. The vision for God Pods is to help a new generation to discover a way to connect with God by hearing his voice.

Monday, June 3rd | Online via Google Meet
7:30-9pm PDT
Hosted by Victor Quon & John Lai of Prayer24

Click here to learn more about God Pods and listening prayer.

Webinar: The Three Phases of the Globalization of Catholicism in Asia

With special focus on developments in China
(US-China Catholic Association)
Dr. José Casanova will speak for about 30 minutes, followed by about 30 minutes for questions from the audience. The event will be moderated by Dr. Richard Madsen, USCCA board member and author of 15 books on China and China-US relations.
Monday, June 10, 2024 | Online via Zoom
7:30pm EDT
Learn more about the speaker and find a link to register and submit questions here.

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

China’s Premier Hails “New Beginning” with US-Allied South Korea, Japan (May 27, 2024, Reuters)
Chinese Premier Li Qiang praised what he called a restart in relations with Japan and South Korea as he met their leaders for the first three-way talks in four years on Monday, agreeing to revive trade and security dialogues hampered by global tensions.

China Practices Military Exercises Off Coast of Taiwan as “Punishment” for Elections (May 23, 2024, Christian Science Monitor)
Taiwan scrambled jets and put missile, naval, and land units on alert May 23 over Chinese military exercises being conducted around the self-governing island democracy where a new president took office this week.

Online Conversation—Divided Paths: Europe’s Divergent Approaches to China (May 25, 2024, National Committee on US-China Relations)
President Xi’s recent visits to France, Hungary, and Serbia have underscored the divisions within the European Union regarding China policy, leaving the path forward uncertain. At this critical juncture, on May 15, 2024, Jason Kelly sat down with Noah Barkin and Janka Oertel to unpack recent developments, key issues, and the road ahead for China and the European Union. 

Xi Jinping’s Recipe for Total Control: An Army of Eyes and Ears (May 24, 2024, New York Times)
Reviving a Mao-era surveillance campaign, the authorities are tracking residents, schoolchildren, and businesses to forestall any potential unrest.


The Next Decade of the Church in China (May 28, 2024, Chinese Church Voices)
The church is beginning to enter a bottleneck period, and the next long phase will be one of consolidation, with the cultivation and nurturing of excellent church talent being a key priority.

Who’s in Charge? (May 27, 2024, ChinaSource)
When Christians from China take the gospel to other nations, they encounter a double-edged cultural challenge. Not only do they need to adjust to the language and customs of their new host country; they must also negotiate relationships with Christian workers from other parts of the world with whom they will be serving.

Diaspora Missions Today (May 24, 2024, ChinaSource)
For overseas Chinese churches, today’s diaspora mission indeed contains both opportunities lying within challenges and challenges lurking within opportunities.

Shanghai: Gospel Power (May 27, 2024, China Partnership)
“I might not have noticed, but my mother did. When I trust God, I can overcome many of my deepest sins that control me. Perhaps my family of origin left an indelible imprint. But the power of Christ, the power of the gospel, can deliver me from darkness.”

Society / Life

What’s Wrong with Traditional Weddings? Everything, Say Young Chinese. (May 24, 2024, Sixth Tone)
Young Chinese are increasingly ditching the trappings of conventional weddings and embracing more minimalist, personalized ceremonies—a practice that appears to be driven by both changing social values and a desire to save money.

“Our Parents Did All the Hard Work. We Don’t Have To”: China’s Seaside Haven for the “Lying Flat” Generation (May 24, 2024, The Guardian)
On a chilly morning, just a little way south along the coast, the windswept beach is teaming with style-conscious twentysomethings. Crowds of young tourists, wrapped in thick down coats, queue up to take photos in sub-zero temperatures—not next to statues of Mao, but in front of striking works of contemporary architecture.

Wu Yanni: The Trials and Triumphs of China’s Star Athlete (May 24, 2024, Sixth Tone)
Since making a splash on the track, Wu has attracted just as much interest for her results as for her tattoos, use of makeup, and choice of running outfits, with no shortage of voices accusing her of caring more about her appearance than her finishing time.

China’s Tightening Grip on Islam (May 28, 2024, Sky News)
Sky News has spent months investigating the impact of that policy on the ancient Hui community of Chinese Muslims. We have witnessed the widespread de-Islamification of buildings, the creep of Communist Party ideology into religious spaces, and gradual moves to restrict religious teaching, language, and cultural practices.

Zhang Zhan Finally Released from Prison, but Real Freedom Remains Uncertain (May 24, 2024, China Digital Times)
Citizen-journalist Zhang Zhan finally reappeared on Tuesday, over a week after she was scheduled to be released from prison. Zhang was among the first and most prominent individuals to report from the ground in Wuhan at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Economics / Trade / Business

WTO Struggles with US-China Clean Energy Competition (May 26, 2024, East Asia Forum)
US–China competition in clean energy technologies and industries, which are integral to global decarbonisation, has ramped up drastically in recent years. The US–China trade battle in the clean energy sector reached a significant legal milestone when China initiated action over the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in March.

China Has Threatened Trade with Some Countries after Feuds. They’re Calling “The Firm” for Help (May 26, 2024, AP News)
The eight-person team at the State Department is leading Washington’s efforts to ease the economic blowback for countries targeted by China.

It emerged in the scramble to help Lithuania during a spat with China over Taiwan two years ago. Today, “the firm” is helping growing numbers of nations cope with what diplomats call economic coercion from Beijing.


Former China Politics Lecturer Slams Curbs on University Research (May 27, 2024, Radio Free Asia)
Since he published an open letter criticizing “Cultural Revolution-style” ideological controls of China’s higher education system, former Tsinghua University politics lecturer Wu Qiang has found it a little harder to move around Beijing.

Why Aren’t South Korean Students Studying in China Anymore? (May 24, 2024, East Asia Forum)
In December 2023, the Ministry of Education in South Korea announced a dramatic 78 per cent decline in the number of students venturing abroad to study in China. This revelation raised more than a few eyebrows, considering South Koreans were long the largest cohort of international students in the country.

China Censors Clip of Children Dancing to Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” (May 21, 2024, Radio Free Asia)
China’s internet censors have deleted a video in which children at a private performing arts school in the southwestern province of Sichuan dance to British rock band Pink Floyd’s 1979 hit “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2” which featured a choir of schoolchildren protesting overbearing authority and “thought control” in education.

Health / Environment

China’s Food Security Dream Faces Land, Soil, and Water Woes (May 23, 2024, Reuters)
China, the world’s biggest agriculture importer, has set targets to drastically reduce its reliance on overseas buying over the coming decade in line with its push for food security, but they will be exceedingly difficult to meet, experts say.

Science / Technology

China’s Latest Answer to OpenAI Is “Chat Xi PT” (May 22, 2024, Financial Times)
The country’s newest large language model has been learning from its leader’s political philosophy, known as “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era,” as well as other official literature provided by the Cyberspace Administration of China.

Striking a Balance: China’s AI Ambitions and the Quest for Safety (May 25, 2024, The Diplomat)
Can China’s push for rapid AI development be reconciled with rising calls for safety guardrails?

Goldfish Memories (May 27, 2024, China Media Project)
In a post to China’s popular WeChat platform last week, one writer bemoaned the shocking loss of nearly a full decade of information from the early days of the country’s domestic internet. Within hours the writer’s reflections had vanished too.

Culture / History

In China, a “Good Death” Still Means Putting the Family First (May 21, 2024, Sixth Tone)
In China, there is a common saying: “May the five blessings descend upon this home,” meaning longevity, wealth, health, virtue, and a “good death.” The last usually refers to dying from natural causes after a long life, with minimal suffering—for Chinese people, a good ending to one’s life is considered an important blessing.

Travel / Food

In China, Starbucks Tries to Avoid Price War but Gets Dragged into Discounting (May 26, 2024, Reuters)
As Starbucks faces stiff competition for its brew in China from fast-growing, low-cost rivals who have chipped into its market share, the coffee chain is increasingly being dragged into a price war it says it wants to avoid.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

“Funny and Kind of Sad”: How Clarkson’s Farm Has Captured Chinese Viewers (May 24, 2024, The Guardian)
Clarkson’s Farm, the former Top Gear presenter’s beguilingly popular reality television show about his pivot from petrolhead to farmer, has been hugely successful on his home turf, becoming the most watched show on Amazon Prime in the UK. It is also a hit in China.


Book Review—Private Revolutions—The Women Who Tried to Carve a Path in a New China (May 26, 2024, The Guardian)
In this intimate study of a period of upheaval, a Chinese-born writer uncovers the stories of four young citizens whose lives were transformed by Deng Xiaoping’s reforms—and the obstacles they strove to overcome.

Language / Learning

Chinese Character Learning for All Students (May 27, 2024, Hacking Chinese)
Learning to write Chinese characters by hand takes a lot of time. In today’s digital era, is it necessary to learn handwriting? Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages for second-language learners and discuss what an effective curriculum that caters to all students might look like!

Pray for China

May 28 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On May 28, 1938, John Kuhn (杨志英) and his wife Isobel Miller Kuhn (宓贵灵) opened their first Rainy Season Bible School for Lisu Christians in Oak Flat Village (麻栗坪村), Yunnan. Over 50% of the 200,000 Lisu in China are now Christians, but legalism has infected many. Pray for Lisu Christians to be free from legalism and live as grace-filled lovers of Christ.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace…1 Peter 4:10

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Image credit: Sight trailer screenshot, Angel Studios.

Jon Kuert

After his first trip to China in 2001, Jon Kuert served as the director of AFC Global for seven years and was responsible for sending teams of students and volunteers to China and other parts of Asia. After that, he and his wife Elissa moved to Yunnan province where they …View Full Bio