ZGBriefs

ZGBriefs | November 11, 2021

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Featured Article

Xi Jinping cements his power with resolution on history (November 10, 2021, MERICS)
In contrast to what the name suggests, the “Resolution on History” is not an exposition of facts in party history. Rather, it is a propaganda document that contains interpretations of events in the CCP’s past, carefully selected to serve a political agenda. Meticulously worded and politically charged, it is a powerful document that determines the official narrative of party history and is to be used as an ideological guide for policies in the future.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Who is the real Wang Huning? (November 4, 2021, Sup China)
Wang Huning is the most important political theorist in Xi Jinping’s China. But what kind of ideology does this man, who ascended to the Politburo Standing Committee after decades of advising different CCP leaders, actually believe in?

Propaganda Success Stories (November 6, 2021, China Media Project)
Years after its global release on the Discovery channel, a documentary series extolling the virtues of Xi Jinping’s leadership is still avidly studied inside China as an instance of unvarnished success in “telling China’s story well” and furthering its external propaganda goals. 

China says Taiwan independence backers will be blacklisted (November 6, 2021, The Guardian)
For the first time, China has spelled out the punishment that awaits people deemed to back independence for Taiwan – top officials of the self-ruled island among them.

A historic plenum — and what it means for U.S.-China relations (November 8, 2021, Sup China)
Each Central Committee of China’s Communist Party holds seven plenary sessions over its five-year term, with the sixth plenum of any given Central Committee usually focusing on ideology and party-building. The meeting this year will be no different, but is notable for a resolution on Party history.

The World Is Fed Up With China’s Belligerence (November 9, 2021, The Atlantic)
Where the word Beijing once conjured the image of a confident, rising power, today it represents a frowning, finger-pointing, never-erring crank, its constant stream of vitriol diminishing the effectiveness of Chinese anger. One of the implications of this hyperinflation of hurt feelings has been the effective removal of the deterrent against democracies’ improving their unofficial relations with Taiwan. 

China holds combat readiness patrol as U.S. lawmakers visit Taiwan (November 9, 2021, Reuters)
China’s military said on Tuesday it had conducted a combat readiness patrol in the direction of the Taiwan Strait, after its defence ministry condemned a visit to Taiwan by a U.S. congressional delegation it said had arrived on a military aircraft. The patrol was aimed at the “seriously wrong” words and actions of “relevant countries” on the Taiwan issue and the activities of pro-independence forces in Taiwan, a Chinese military spokesperson said in a statement.

Religion

My Heart Aches for Shanxi but with Hope (November 5, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
Of course, we’re just two of many facing this dilemma—including many Chinese nationals who are also “stuck” with no reasonable way to return to their homeland. The one thing we haven’t lost, however, is Christ’s heart of compassion and love for China and its more than 1.44 billion people. But why have our hearts—especially during this past month—been aching for Shanxi in particular?

Serving Believers in Flooded Shanxi (November 9, 2021, Chinese Church Voices)
Torrential rains and flooding in Shanxi province were described in a post in the ChinaSource Blog last week. In this article from the Gospel Times, we hear of how a church in Jie Xiu responded to the needs of believers in the affected area.

Society / Life

How a warning about food supply sparked panic buying in China (November 5, 2021, CNN)
In part, that appears to be because it includes rare language about the need for local authorities to encourage families to stockpile “daily necessities.” Even if the notice wasn’t intended for the average household to read, many online have seized on it as a personal warning.

China sees marriage rates fall all year, despite plan to boost births (November 10, 2021, Radio Free Asia)
Evidence suggests the numbers are continuing to show a long-term downward trend that can’t just be linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, and have more to do with a lack of trust in the government’s promises to ease the burden on couples who choose to raise children.

Economics / Trade / Business

China’s coal imports in October nearly doubled from a year ago (November 8, 2021, CNBC)
China imported nearly twice as much coal in October as it did a year ago, despite signs the country’s power shortage is easing, according to customs data released Sunday.

Volkswagen plans farewell to legendary Santana model in China (November 9, 2020, Reuters)
Volkswagen plans to stop making Santana cars in China, bidding farewell after over three decades to its first Chinese-made model that became a symbol of the country’s rising middle class and helped fuel the German carmaker’s popularity.

Education

New Oriental Is Switching From Teaching English to Selling Vegetables (November 10, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Battered by China’s after-school tutoring clampdown, the country’s leading private education provider is moving into uncharted territory — the agricultural sector. Yu Minhong, CEO of New Oriental Education and Technology Group, said Sunday the company will set up an online marketplace for agriculture products to make up for losses from the closure of its tutoring services.

Health / Environment

China’s Silent Epidemic: HIV/AIDS Patients’ Struggle to Live Life Out of the Shadows (November 6, 2020, The World of Chinese)
Since the world’s first case of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) was diagnosed in San Francisco in 1981, the lives of people with HIV have become increasingly visible—even shown on TV, as in the BBC series It’s a Sin. In China, however, the disease remains a socially taboo subject.

As many try living with virus, China keeps up zero tolerance (November 10, 2021, AP)
But for authorities in Beijing, control over the virus has become a point of pride, a potent tool of propaganda — and proof, they say, of a superior form of governance. They often trumpet their success at keeping deaths relatively low, especially in contrast to the United States, whose COVID-19 response the Foreign Ministry spokesman has called a “total failure.”

Parts of northeast China hit by record snowfall (November 10, 2021, Reuters)
Traffic in Liaoning province has been severely disrupted, with the majority of expressway toll stations shut as of Tuesday. Train and bus stations were also closed, except those in the cities of Dalian and Dandong.

China and the US announce plan to work together on cutting emissions (November 10, 2021, The Guardian)
China and the US announced a surprise plan to work together on cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the crucial next decade, in a strong boost to the Cop26 summit, as negotiators wrangled over a draft outcome.

Science / Technology

Chinese Female Astronaut Wins Praises — and Sexist Press Coverage (November 10, 2021, Sixth Tone)
While China’s first female astronaut involved in the country’s space station-building mission made international headlines for breaking the glass ceiling, she couldn’t break away from the patriarchy at home. Though Wang Yaping has been hailed for her achievements, some commentators and domestic media outlets haven’t been able to see past her gender, often commenting on her appearance or her motherly duties.

History / Culture

Video: Bo Yibo, Wang Dongxing, and others discuss the overthrow of the Gang of Four (Everyday Life in Maoist China)

Travel / Food

The True Price of China’s Most Expensive Teas (November 4, 2021, Sixth Tone)
How much would you pay for a cup of tea? For most people, the answer is probably not much, but for a few ultra-wealthy Chinese, a handful of the country’s most exclusive tea leaves can be worth more than its weight in gold — 38 times more, to be exact.

PHOTOS: Global Award-Winning Wines Come from This Chinese Region (November 8, 2021, Radii China)
China’s winemakers are now putting that reputation to the test, though, and producing some fantastic wines. In China’s most renowned wine region in Ningxia Hui autonomous region, along the Helan Mountains, I spent a few weeks capturing the harvest that just wrapped up for the year.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

The Unforgotten Victory: Why ‘The Battle at Lake Changjin’ Is One of China’s Biggest Films Yet (November 4, 2021, What’s on Weibo)
Chinese war movie The Battle at Lake Changjin became a social media sensation this fall. Why did this particular movie become so successful in Chinese cinemas and on social media?

Wild, Creative, Disturbing: Inside China’s ‘Hyperpop’ Music Scene (November 5, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Young Chinese are creating a thriving underground scene for fast-paced, emotionally charged “hyperpop.” The music industry is baffled.

Language / Language Learning

Keeping a Cow: Practical Language Learning, Then and Now (November 8, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
A few years ago, a friend of mine, while researching for a book about a missionary to China in the 1920s, stumbled upon a digitized version of a Chinese language textbook used by foreign missionaries working in Sichuan Province in the 1920s. It was titled, Chinese Lessons for First Year Students in West China, by Omar L. Kilborn. A glance through the table of contents reveals some of the important situations that language learners needed to navigate in the 1920s.

Canton’s Unease: As Mandarin Spreads, Locals Face Identity Crisis (November 10, 2021, Sixth Tone)
For the Guangfu people predominantly from the southern Guangdong Province, Hong Kong, and surrounding areas, Cantonese is more than just a language. It is an important tenet of Guangfu culture and history, from which stems their identity. But such challenges and interviews point to a changing trend. Fewer and fewer people born in Guangdong speak the language in the absence of a Cantonese-speaking environment. What’s more, some are even reticent about engaging with the language.

Living Cross-culturally

20 for 20: Education Entrepreneur Jennifer Hyde Sachs (November 10, 2021, The Beijinger)
Jennifer Hyde Sachsarrived in Beijing more than 30 years ago to teach and from those humble origins, she would go on to found both The Learning Center and Hyde Education, where over the course of her career she has sheparded hundreds of families on their childrens’ educational journeys, both here and abroad.

Lingering COVID: I’m Fine but Sometimes I Don’t Feel That Way (November 10, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
This is what many have experienced recently in various locations across China as new cases of COVID-19 have appeared. Often the first reaction is: “oh no, not this again. I thought life was back to normal.”

Pray for China

November 12 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Nov. 12, 1894, a copy of the New Testament Delegates’ Version* was presented to the Empress Dowager (慈禧太后) for her 60th birthday. The financing for this printing of the Delegates’ Version included donations from over 10,000 Chinese Christian women. Less than six years later, she unleashed Boxer and Imperial soldiers on Christians, with over 32,000 Chinese Christians being murdered. Pray for Christian women to glorify the Lord Jesus with abundant lives rooted in His Word. *A Chinese translation completed primarily by the work of English missionaries Medhurst, Stronach, and Milne about 1850. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10b

Image credit: Joann Pittman
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