ZGBriefs | November 10, 2022

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Featured Article

Hong Kong relaxes COVID rules for inbound tour groups (November 7, 2022, Reuters)
Hong Kong’s government said on Monday it was relaxing COVID-19 restrictions on inbound tour groups including allowing them to enter theme parks and museums after arriving in the financial hub. Hong Kong has relaxed many of its stringent coronavirus policies in recent months, including hotel quarantine for international arrivals as of Sept. 26.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Podcast: How Xi commands the guns | Live with Lizzi Lee (November 1, 2022, The China Project)
Dan Mattingly, an assistant professor of political science at Yale, draws from data on the PLA’s military appointments to analyze how China picks commanding officers to counter domestic and foreign threats.

The Ideological Shift Behind Xi’s Clean Sweep (November 3, 2022, The Diplomat)
These events have made the 20th Party Congress a sort of requiem for China’s post-Mao “collective leadership” structure. In place of turnover norms and power sharing, Xi has resurrected a system of unified, strongman rule.

Xi Jinping’s pilgrimage to ‘red Mecca’ brings back the Mao factor (November 4, 2022, The Guardian)
Yan’an is where Mao Zedong definitively – and brutally – stamped his supreme authority on China’s Communist party. Experts explain how Xi continues to shape himself as today’s embodiment of the ‘great leader’.

The 20th Party Congress: A Roundup (November 4, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
Party Secretary Jiang Zemin served for two terms, then stepped down. Party Secretary Hu Jintao served for two terms, then stepped down.

‘A brazen intrusion’: China’s foreign police stations raise hackles in Canada (November 7, 2022, The Guardian)
Beijing says Toronto locations are ‘services stations’ to renew licenses – but China watchers say they monitor and pressure country’s diaspora.

A New Slogan Rises from the Past (November 8, 2022, China Media Project)
In defining the period ahead for China and the CCP as a road of many twists and turns, requiring historic resolve, Xi Jinping has borrowed from the language Mao Zedong used ahead of the Party’s victory in the Civil War in 1949.


Why Do Chinese People See Christianity as a Cultural Invasion? (November 7, 2022, Christianity Today)
Although Christianity is not identical to Western imperialism, they were synonymous in the perception and memories of the Chinese. As a result, the encounter between Christianity and Chinese culture in the modern missionary era came with struggle between nationalism (and patriotism) and imperialism.

Why Denominations? – Responding to “When the ‘Golden Age’ Is Over” (November 7, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
Specifically, Chen raises a number of important questions for consideration. Although all of the questions posed have merit, I would like to respond to one in particular, “Why should American denominations be re-introduced into China…and promoted,” especially in the early twenty-first century?

Linfen House Church Faces Ongoing Persecution (November 8, 2022, International Christian Concern)
A house church in southwest Shanxi province continues to face an ongoing crackdown, as church leaders and members are slapped with trumped-up charges and detained by the authorities. Linfen Holy Covenant Church already had its leaders taken away on Aug. 19 and charged with “fraud” in late September. Now, even the members of the house church are targeted.

An Aesthetic Dance: When the Poet Haizi Meets with Jesus (November 9, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
Some Christian leaders told me I ought to throw away those poetry books written by non-Christians. I hardly heard anything that had to do with Chinese poetry in theology classrooms, nor did I find anything in that regard in seminary libraries. Yet, that deep sense of poetic nostalgia and yearning to belong to “home” continued to linger and remain, even on my journey of faith.

Society / Life

In China, Millions of Women Never Learned to Read. Can TikTok Help? (November 4, 2022, Sixth Tone)
Decades of inequality have left millions of Chinese women unable to read — and shut out of society in myriad ways as a result. Now, many of them are turning to social media to get the education they were denied.

China’s Zero-COVID Policies Are Stirring Xenophobia (November 7, 2022, Foreign Policy)
“Good thing I’m uncultured—I’m not going to make any contact with foreigners,” another user from Chongqing sniped. The warning, which went viral on social media, points back to a pattern of xenophobic and ethnonationalist language that’s increasingly being used by Chinese government officials—something that foreigners, who remain in China after two years of stringent pandemic policies, are struggling to make sense of.

China’s manufacturing hub Guangzhou partially locked down as Covid outbreak widens (November 9, 2022, CNN)
China’s southern metropolis of Guangzhou has locked down a third district, as authorities rush to stamp out a widening Covid outbreak and avoid activating the kind of citywide lockdown that devastated Shanghai earlier this year. Guangzhou reported 2,637 local infections on Tuesday, accounting for nearly one third of new cases across China, which is experiencing a six-month high in infections nationwide.

Economics / Trade / Business

China’s troubled property market: A slow burn rather than a flameout? (November 3, 2022, The China Project)
Rather than a big bang collapse, China’s property sector is experiencing a slow-burn deflation. And, over the course of the next five to 10 years, it will be transformed into a humdrum, low-profit sector, argues financial analyst Taylor Loeb.

Apple: iPhone shipments delayed over China Covid lockdown (November 6, 2022, BBC)
Apple has warned shoppers to expect delays in receiving its products after a strict Covid lockdown forced the world’s largest iPhone factory to shut. The tech giant said its assembly plant in Zhengzhou, China is now operating at a significantly reduced capacity. Officials locked down the district that is home to the factory, run by Foxconn, on 2 November for seven days.

China’s Business Elite See the Country That Let Them Thrive Slipping Away (November 7, 2022, The New York Times) (subscription required)
The business class, which shunned politics, is now questioning if there is still a place for it in a system dominated by one ruler, Xi Jinping.

China’s Covid controls are hurting more of the economy (November 8, 2022, CNBC)
As of Monday, China’s Covid controls negatively affected 12.2% of national GDP, up from 9.5% a week ago, according to Nomura’s model. The heightened impact came during a week in which many investors speculated that China would soon relax its stringent Covid policy.

Health / Environment

China’s Local Governments Are Ending Free COVID Tests (November 3, 2022, Sixth Tone)
Several cities and counties in China have now decided to pass on the cost of COVID-19 tests to individuals after providing free but relentless tests over the past few months to curb local outbreaks.

China vows to continue with ‘dynamic-clearing’ COVID strategy (November 5, 2022, Reuters)
China will persevere with its “dynamic-clearing” approach to COVID-19 cases as soon as they emerge, health officials said on Saturday, adding that measures must be implemented more precisely and meet the needs of vulnerable people. The country’s strict COVID containment approach is still able to control the virus, despite the high transmissibility of COVID variants and asymptomatic carriers, an official from the China National Health Commission told a news conference.

BioNTech executive says it is too early to predict China vaccine approval (November 7, 2022, Reuters)
A BioNTech executive on Monday confirmed that the company is in discussions with Chinese authorities over regulatory approval of the German biotech firm’s COVID-19 vaccine for use by expatriates in China but the outcome was uncertain.

Chinese health ministry won’t release lockdown suicide statistics amid COVID-19 surge (November 8, 2022, Radio Free Asia)
The Chinese health ministry says statistics on suicides under the country’s zero-COVID policy of rolling lockdowns and electronic tracking “are not for release,” after reports that a woman threw herself from a building under lockdown in Inner Mongolia.

History / Culture

James Adam: Missionary to China’s Miao People (November 4, 2022, Field Partner Blog)
James Adam was a Scottish missionary who arrived in China in 1887 aged 23 and served there for the next 28 years. Adam worked among the Miao minority people. From his base in Anshun, he visited 250 different Miao villages and built relationships with many community leaders. 

Pray for China

November 11 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
Nov. 11 is the unofficial Singles Day (光棍节) holiday in China. The name comes from 11/11 being a representation of four individuals. Young Chinese, particularly in urban areas, are staying single longer, and retailers have seized upon this day to promote buying a present for oneself. In 2017, shoppers spent US$44.5 billion with just two major online retailers. The day also highlights the profound gender disparity brought about by the One Child Policy sex-selection abortions that will leave many men with no prospect of ever being married. One study showed that the killing of 1.3 million unborn girls annually in sex-selection abortions have left China with nearly 34 million more boys than girls. This is expected to create a culture where lonely men without families fill their lives with pets, video games and anime. Pray for healing in the land. [I]f my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

Image credit: Wonderlane, 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