ZGBriefs | May 6, 2021

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Featured Article

Will Easing of Student Visa Restrictions Rekindle China-US Exchanges? (May 5, 2021, The Diplomat)
Any students with valid F-1 or M-1 visas for programs starting on August 1 will be automatically considered for an exemption to travel and may enter the United States no earlier than 30 days prior to the start of their studies. This move will likely have the most significant impact on Chinese students and scholars as the top source of international students in the United States.

Sponsored Link

Beijing Brief Consultation
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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 carrier group conducts exercises in South China Sea (May 2, 2021, AP)
China’s Shandong aircraft carrier group has recently conducted routine annual exercises in the South China Sea, the People’s Liberation Army said Sunday, after Beijing criticized the U.S. for sending Navy ships into the strategic area.

Backlash after China Weibo post mocks India Covid crisis (May 2, 2021, BBC)
A social media post from an account linked to the Chinese Communist Party has sparked controversy for appearing to mock India over its coronavirus crisis. The post on Chinese site Weibo showed an image of a rocket launch in China alongside a photo of the bodies of Covid victims being cremated in India. Text with it read: “Lighting a fire in China VS lighting a fire in India.” The post, which appeared on Saturday afternoon, has since been deleted.

China Is a Paper Dragon (May 3, 2021, The Atlantic)
U.S. policy makers should look to the future with a little more confidence and a lot more trust in trade, markets, and the superior potential of a free people.

New Data Show Hong Kong’s National Security Arrests Follow a Pattern (May 3, 2021, China File)
A closer look at the arrests under the NSL or conducted by the newly-created National Security Department (NSD) of the Hong Kong Police paints a clearer picture of how authorities in Hong Kong have implemented the new law, and what they might hope to achieve. 

Chinese man seeking ‘freedom and equality’ says he travelled to Taiwan in dinghy (May 4, 2021, The Guardian)
A Chinese man seeking “freedom and equality” has said he travelled undetected to Taiwan in a dinghy through the heavily patrolled Taiwan strait, according to authorities. Taichung Port police officers detained the man, surnamed Zhou, after they received reports of a man behaving suspiciously near the docks. A police spokesperson said Zhou told officers he had travelled from Quanzhou in Fujian province, in a 2.6m long rubber dinghy he’d bought online, powered by an outboard motor.

Australia Draws a Line on China (May 4, 2021, Foreign Policy)
Canberra’s more muscular posture, coupled with an increase in defense spending even amid the pandemic, spells an unusually confrontational approach toward China for a country that once tried to balance its economic relations with its largest trading partner against its decades-old defense commitments to the United States. 

Coalition faces calls to cancel investment deal between Western Australia and China (May 5, 2021, The Guardian)
The Morrison government faces calls to cancel an agreement between Western Australia and the same Chinese government agency that was the partner in the now-vetoed Victorian belt and road deals. Under the agreement, originally struck by previous Liberal premier Colin Barnett, WA and China’s National Development and Reform Commission pledged to work together to find investment opportunities, including infrastructure and in the state’s significant resources sector.


ChinaAid Releases 2020 Annual Persecution Report (April 30, 2021, Missions Box)
The report covering January-December 2020 points to an ongoing escalation of harassment of Christians by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). 

Acknowledging and Managing the Tension: A Reader Responds to “Women and the Missio Dei in China”(April 30, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
Women and the Missio Dei in China is an important issue to read and discuss. Spend time with your coworkers discussing these articles and noting where you see these five tensions. How are you personally and your organization doing at accepting these tensions and creating space for both sides to exist? As a woman, I am honored to stand amongst such faithful servants and inspired to keep pressing onward in the Missio Dei in China.

Adoption: “God’s Calling For Our Family” (May 3, 2021, China Partnership Blog)
his is the personal story of how God worked in the life and family of one Chinese woman, who works in full-time Christian ministry, leading her and her husband to adoption. 

Chinese Province Launches Gold ‘Health Code’ for Vaccine Recipients (May 4, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Now, eastern China’s Shandong province plans to integrate an extra feature into its health code system, which will show whether a person is fully vaccinated, local authorities announced Monday. Those who have completed their course of shots will have a golden border placed around their green code, as well as a small icon showing a needle and shield in the upper left corner.

Authorities Shut Down Ethnic Minority Church in China’s Yunnan (May 5, 2021, Radio Free Asia)
Authorities in the southwestern province of Yunnan have shut down a Protestant church attended by an ethnic minority community, while pastors and church elders have been detained in Beijing and Guiyang. Officials shut down the Bulai Protestant church, ostensibly to prevent COVID-19 transmission, in Lao Muden village in Yunnan’s Fugong county on April 30, according to photos of the notices plastered to its doors.

Society / Life

China’s 2020 Census Data Expected To Show Declining Fertility Rate (April 29, 2021, NPR)
China is poised to release once-a-decade census information that experts say will highlight a shrinking fertility rate — one of the country’s biggest long-term economic challenges.

People Mountain, People Sea: China’s Labor Day Holiday, in Photos (May 3, 2021, Sixth Tone)
A selection of photos from the annual travel rush by Sixth Tone’s visual editors.

China’s Rural Men Want to Get Married. Women, Not So Much. (May 4, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Young men in small-town China still hold traditional views on marriage, but their prospective partners now have other priorities, a new report has found.

Honoring Mothers—In China (May 5, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
Mothers are celebrated on many different days around the world. In every month of the year, except January and September, Mother’s Day—or Mothering Sunday in the UK—is celebrated in some country somewhere in the world. In many countries, including China, mothers are celebrated on the second Sunday of May.

Economics / Trade / Business

Government report documents migrant worker struggles in 2020 (May 5, 2021, China Labour Bulletin)
China’s rural migrant worker population fell by 5.2 million last year as the Covid-19 pandemic and attendant economic slowdown led to job losses and wage stagnation. It was the first time since records began in 2008 that numbers had declined, although growth had been slowing in recent years due to an ageing population and fewer younger migrants entering the workforce. 


Chinese students: US embassy, consulates resume visa processing (May 1, 2021, South China Morning Post)
The US embassy and consulates in China will resume visa appointments for students on Tuesday, but restrictions on those with a “hi-tech” background will remain in place, according to a senior official. William Bistransky, acting consul general at the US embassy in Beijing, told a press briefing on Friday that more than 3,000 online applications were submitted in the first hour of opening. 

International Students See Visa Struggles As Colleges Return To In Person Learning (May 2, 2021, NPR)
NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro asks California State University, Long Beach administrator Jeet Joshee about the challenges foreign students face getting visas.

Liu Yu on the Arms Race in Chinese Education (Reading the China Dream)
As is widely known, China’s educational system is fiercely competitive, an “every moment counts” Long March that begins…at birth, and continues through years of homework and cram schools, culminating in the university entrance exam which decides the fate of most Chinese students by sorting them into universities of varying degrees of quality and prestige.     

Health / Environment

Shanghai Offers Locals Cash, Groceries to Get COVID-19 Vaccine (April 29, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Some districts in Shanghai are now offering a variety of incentives, including cash rewards, to encourage more residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as China ramps up its mass inoculation campaign. Residents who got the vaccine have also been receiving handouts ranging from money to rice to cooking oil, according to screenshots of the campaign circulating on social media this week.

EU regulator begins real-time review of first Chinese COVID-19 vaccine (May 4, 2021, Reuters)
This is the first Chinese vaccine the EMA is studying in real-time, and the fourth COVID-19 vaccine under such a review, including those from CureVac , Novavax Inc (NVAX.O) and Russia’s Sputnik V.

History / Culture

These Posters from Mao’s China Taught Public Health Awareness (May 5, 2021, JSTOR Daily)
A series of reforms known as the Patriotic Health Campaign brought colorful posters depicting good hygiene and workplace safety practices.

Travel / Food

Palace Museum to open ceramics gallery (May 1, 2021, China Daily)
After about two years’ preparation, the Palace Museum’s new ceramics gallery is to open to the public in Beijing on Saturday. The new gallery, in the Hall of Martial Valor (Wuying Dian), on the west side of the museum, is displaying over 1,000 highlighted Chinese ceramics ranging from 8,000 years ago to the early 20th century.

May Day domestic trips up 119.7% over 2020 (May 5, 2021, China Daily)
The just-ended May Day holiday has embraced a robust and ever stronger recovery in the tourism market, boosting confidence for the future development of the sector, which once weathered hard shocks amid the novel coronavirus epidemic.


Fiction: The Stranger on the Train (May 1, 2021, The World of Chinese)
Writer Wu Shangwei explores the chance encounters that inspire yearnings and misunderstandings on a long train ride. 

Bamboo in Mist: A Book Review (May 3, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
There are so many gems that the contributors bring to their chapters that deserve not just reading but proper reflection. Bamboo in Mist is another great addition to the growing number of resources on the culture and worldview of the Chinese as we seek ways to share the gospel in a relevant and appealing way in their context.

Podcasts / Online Events

China’s new youth, with Alec Ash and Stephanie Studer (April 8, 2021, Sinica Podcast)
This week on Sinica, Kaiser chats with Stephanie Studer, China correspondent for The Economist, who recently published a special report in the magazine about China’s “Post-90s” generation; and with Alec Ash, author of the book Wish Lanterns, which looks at a cohort of Chinese youth born between 1985 and 1990. The two explore the apparent contradictions between, on the one hand, the cosmopolitanism and socially progressive attitudes of young Chinese today and, on the other, their increasingly assertive national identity. 

U.S.-China Climate Cooperation: The Path Forward (April 29, 2021, National Committee on US-China Relations, via YouTube)
On April 22, 2021, the National Committee held a virtual program with Angel Hsu, Jonas Nahm, and Alex Wang to discuss the future of U.S.-China climate cooperation in a conversation moderated by China energy expert Joanna Lewis. 

Do China’s intellectual elite support the government? (April 19, 2021, China Whispers)
You might think that in a country as tightly controlled as China, diversity of opinion is hard to come by in written form. But as I find out in this episode, there is a vibrant conversation going on with vastly different views, especially in the intellectual elite amongst professors and journalists. So what do these intellectuals think, and how much can they get away with saying?

Links for Researchers

China Aid’s Annual Persecution Report 2020 (April 22, China Aid Association)

Vaccine narratives in Chinese state media (May 22, 2021, Swedish Center for China Studies)
This report identifies and scrutinizes the main narratives that the Chinese propaganda apparatus is spreading about vaccines from China. It is a software- empowered analysis of 12,000 articles in Chinese state media, fact-checking of prominent stories, and decoding of the Communist Party’s terminology. 

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: lulu, 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