ZGBriefs | May 4, 2023

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Featured Article

Should you be frightened by China’s revision to the anti-espionage law? (May 2, 2023, The China Project)
Last week, Beijing broadened the scope of its anti-espionage law. Some fear that it will create a more hostile environment for foreign individuals and organizations operating in China.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

China’s Updated Espionage Legislation: A Massive Risk to Western Companies (April 26, 2023, AEI)
The amended legislation covers not just state secrets but all documents concerning national security—and it doesn’t define what constitutes national security. That, in combination with China’s willingness to weaponize globalization, makes it extremely dangerous for Western businesses to remain in China.

What China’s growing role on the world stage means for the U.S. (April 30, 2023, NPR)
NPR’s Ayesha Rascoe talks with analysts Yun Sun and Ryan Hass about the implications of China’s growing diplomatic role worldwide.

Speak Plainly, Mr. Chairman (May 2, 2023, China Media Project)
China is signaling to the world that it is ready to be a responsible global leader and peacekeeper. But to play this role effectively and credibly, its leaders and media will need to stop talking in code.

Modernization 现代化 (May 2, 2023, China Media Project)
According to the CCP, however, modernization includes the advancement of industry, agriculture, defense, and science and technology — while precluding political liberalization or democracy.

U.S. ambassador to China says the U.S. is ready for high-level talks with Chinese (May 2, 2023, NBC News)
The United States is ready to hold high-level talks with China and wants to forge better communication channels between the two countries, the U.S. ambassador to China said Tuesday. The U.S. relationship with China remains “complicated” and competitive, but Washington does not seek conflict with Beijing and believed more dialogue would be constructive, said U.S. Ambassador Nicholas Burns.

China ‘barring thousands of citizens and foreigners from leaving country’ (May 2, 2023, The Guardian)
Scores of Chinese nationals and foreigners have been ensnared by exit bans, according to the report from the rights group Safeguard Defenders, while a Reuters analysis has found an apparent surge in court cases involving such bans in recent years. […] The group estimates “tens of thousands” of Chinese citizens are banned from leaving at any one time. It also cites a 2022 academic paper that found 128 cases of foreigners being exit-banned between 1995 and 2019, including 29 Americans and 44 Canadians.


Reopening of shrines after 3 years. Chinese Catholic communities are preparing for the Marian month (April 25, 2023, Agenzia Fides)
With these words, the Archdiocese of Beijing embraces and accompanies the enthusiasm with which many Chinese Catholic communities are preparing to experience the gestures and practices of Marian devotion during the month of May, which is traditionally dedicated to Our Lady.

How Should the Church Respond to Government Control? (April 28, 2023, ChinaSource Blog)
A few articles in the Quarterly have painted a gloomy picture of the tightening government control on church and evangelizing activities. However, we must not forget that government control is just one factor. Social hostility is another key component affecting religious freedom. Yes, government control in China is on one extreme end. But social hostility against Christianity leans towards an extremely low end at the same time. We need not feel too pessimistic.

On Being Present for Hungry Hearts (May 1, 2023, ChinaSource Blog)
So, for those who are willing to be patient and circumspect and to give a stellar example in the way they live, we can trust that doors will open for a new generation of China workers to walk the land and bear careful witness to God’s name. 

Faith-Based Nursing Home Runs in Fujian (May 2, 2023, China Christian Daily)
Run by the Tabitha volunteer service center of Beimen Church in Zhangzhou City, the Jiale Nursing Home opened in May 2021 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the church’s founding of the church, which was established on Easter. The church registered the volunteer service center at the Xiangcheng District Civil Affairs Bureau in March 2016, launching diversified elderly care services, such as rehabilitation care, dementia care, and hospice care.

The Extraordinary Path of a Pastor Healed from Paralysis (May 3, 2023, China Christian Daily)
Pastor Shen experienced sudden paralysis overnight at the age of 21. When doctors were unable to provide a cure and even expressed doubt that he would ever wake up again, his family sought the assistance of a local healer. However, miraculously, Shen regained movement the following morning. Within three days, he was able to descend the stairs and purchase breakfast. This remarkable event marked the beginning of his challenging journey of ministry.

Society / Life

Back in Beijing, without big white suits (April 26, 2023, ChinaSource Monitor)
Freed from harsh COVID-19 restrictions, Chinese people are living normal lives again. And discovering the possibilities to be found in an unmasked smile.

Young Chinese Love Everything About Sweden. Except Living There. (April 28, 2023, Sixth Tone)
Young Chinese are moving to Sweden in record numbers, seeking better labor conditions and a more tolerant society. Many are underwhelmed by what they find.

Fang Bin: China Covid whistleblower returns home to Wuhan after jail (May 3, 2023, BBC)
Mr Fang is one of several so-called citizen journalists who disappeared after sharing videos of scenes in Wuhan, the epicentre of the pandemic. After disappearing in February 2020, he was sentenced to three years in jail at a secret trial in Wuhan, sources said. He was released on Sunday and is in good health, they added.

Economics / Trade / Business

One in 5 young people in Chinese cities are out of work. Beijing wants them to work in the fields (April 30, 2023, CNN)
Guangdong, the manufacturing powerhouse that abuts Hong Kong, said last month it will help college graduates and young entrepreneurs to find work in villages. It also encouraged rural youth to return to the countryside to look for jobs there.

May Day holiday supercharges China’s economy (May 2, 2023, Axios)
Local governments and businesses across China are hoping to tap pent-up demand from Chinese consumers who are enjoying their first big holiday since the end of COVID restrictions and the resulting surge in cases in December and January that kept many at home.

Chinese tourists return with lighter wallets (May 3, 2023, Reuters)
More than 240 million people are visiting mainly domestic spots like Shanghai and Hong Kong during the almost week-long Labour Day festivities. It’s slightly more than pre-Covid levels, but spending is lower as many find cheaper ways to have fun.

Science / Technology

In just 3 months, China’s internet censor has closed over 4,000 websites and removed 55 apps (May 2, 2023, South China Morning Post)
China’s internet watchdog shut down more than 4,200 sites and removed 55 apps from app stores for various breaches, including providing unauthorised news services, in the first quarter of the year alone. The Cyberspace Administration of China said in a statement on Sunday it had also summoned people in charge of more than 2,200 websites and told them to rectify their content.

History / Culture

Ancient meets modern, the XiZhiMen Railway Station, Peking, 1909. (May 2, 2023, China in Pictures, via Twitter)

Living Cross-culturally

When Your Mission Hopes Are Blocked: Finding Plan B (May 3, 2023, ChinaSource Blog)
Let’s pray that the Belt and Road Initiative and the wide diaspora of Chinese throughout the world, including the West, will be an expansion of opportunity to reach them, since the restrictions in China have become so limiting.


The Peking Express: A train heist for the ages (May 3, 2023, The China Project)
China’s greatest train hijacking, by a band of outlaws calling themselves the Autonomous Army, changed the Republic of China.

Pray for China

May 4 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On May 4, 1919, Chinese students in Beijing took the streets to protest against the Chinese government for accepting unfavorable terms under the Treaty of Versailles. As part of the May 4th Movement (五四运动) and a heightened sense of nationalism, many Chinese intellectuals turned away from democratic values and embraced Marxism. Pray for those Chinese intellectuals who have rejected Marxism and embraced Christ to serve the people with God’s love. And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus. Acts 18:27-28

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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