ZGBriefs | November 17, 2022

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Note: Due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States next Thursday, there will be no ZGBriefs on November 24.

Featured Article

‘This job is urgent’: Chinese team hopes AI can save Manchu language from extinction (November 14, 2022, South China Morning Post)
A research team in northeastern China say they are using artificial intelligence to save the language of the Manchu people, an ethnic minority group that ruled China for more than 200 years until the early 20th century. […] But fewer than 100 people – all of them elderly residents of remote villages – can speak and write Manchu with native fluency today, according to government data.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Video: China’s Direction under Xi Jinping: What We Learned from the Party Congress (November 10, 2022, U.S.-Asia Law Institute)
Fordham Law Professor Carl Minzner will share his analysis of what we can expect for the next decade (or more) of Xi Jinping rule, based on the speeches and documents from the party congress and other recent messaging. He also will discuss what all this could mean for foreign scholars trying to conduct research in China and engage with peers there.

Bao Tong: Champion of Chinese political reform dies at 90 (November 10, 2022, BBC)
Bao Tong, the most senior Communist Party official imprisoned over the Tiananmen protests that shook Beijing in 1989, has died at 90. He championed political reform in the 1980s during pro-democracy protests. But after crushing the movement, the Communist Party expelled Bao and jailed him for seven years.

Five key takeaways from Biden and Xi’s first meeting as leaders (November 14, 2022, The Guardian)
At the G20 summit in Bali, Joe Biden and Xi Jinping held their first ever face-to-meeting as leaders, in an attempt to reduce tensions over Taiwan and trade that have sent US-China ties to their lowest level in decades. Here are the five key takeaways:

Video: A Washingtonian in Beijing (November 15, 2022, Center for Strategic and International Studies)
Hear from Trustee Chair in Chinese Business & Economics Scott Kennedy, who will discuss the takeaways from his recent extended research trip to China, the first by someone from the Washington think tank community since the outbreak of the pandemic. 

Rishi Sunak’s G20 meeting with Chinese president cancelled (November 16, 2022, BBC)
A planned meeting between Rishi Sunak and Chinese President Xi Jinping has been cancelled after a missile blast in Poland. The encounter, at the G20 summit in Indonesia, was due to be the first in-person meeting between a British PM and Chinese leader since 2018. […] A No 10 spokesperson blamed “scheduling issues” for the cancellation.

Xi angrily rebukes Trudeau over ‘leaks’ to media about Canada-China relations (November 16, 2022, The Guardian)
In a clip recorded by the media pool at the G20 summit in Indonesia, a visibly frustrated Xi pulls the Canadian prime minister aside and says it was “not appropriate” for details about a previous conversation between the two leaders to have been shared with media, suggesting Trudeau lacked “sincerity” in his approach.


Ancient Stone Marks China’s First Encounter with Christianity (November 11, 2022, Christianity Today)
The Nestorian Church had a high level of zeal for foreign mission. Throughout the sixth century, they sent missionaries across Central Asia, the Mongolian desert, China, and what is now India, establishing a large number of churches in these areas. 

Blessing Asia (November 11, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
From Bible exposition to K-pop worship, through seminars and workshops, the participants were encouraged by the stories of what God is doing in countries all over Asia. Clearly, God is on the move.

On the Streets of China, the Cross Shone Bright (November 15, 2022, Christianity Today) (subscription required)
Between 1927 and 1949, millions of Christian posters appeared on the streets of China. These posters challenged, co-opted, and subverted political messages in circulation and daringly portrayed an alternative vision of national salvation. Chinese Christian artists used familiar techniques and symbols to proclaim that the kingdoms of this world, whether Nationalist or Communist, would fade before the kingdom of Christ.

Where to Work in the Diaspora? (November 14, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
Just because there are large numbers of the migrating group in a locale does not guarantee God is working there. While God may clearly lead global workers to resistant locations, I believe, when possible, we should seek to find those diaspora contexts where the gospel is being received.

Impact of COVID-19 on Elderly Believers (November 15, 2022, China Christian Daily)
Many elderly believers are trying to use WeChat for the first time without understanding how to follow the official church account or how to make an appointment. Even basic operations can be very difficult for them. Consequently, they can’t attend worship or even some have even left the church.

Commending God’s Works to the Next Generation in China (November 16, 2022, Christianity Today)
While Americans talk about millennials and Gen Z, people in China refer to the post-90 (those born after 1990) or post-00 generation. Chinese Christians have found that much like in the United States, churches need to find new ways to relate to this generation of believers who have grown up in the digital age.

Foreign Services Resume in Shanghai (November 16, 2022, China Christian Daily)
In-person English-speaking service was restarted in Hongqiao Street, Changning District, and Cantonese-speaking service at Xinjing Church in Changning District on November 13.

Society / Life

The Beginning of the End for Zero COVID? (November 11, 2022, China File)
In recent days, Guangzhou has seen what officials have described as a “dire and complicated” outbreak, while rising COVID across the country has led to further lockdowns like the one in Zhengzhou. Meanwhile, on Nov 10 China recorded more than 10,000 new cases. What are necessary preconditions for a true softening of the zero-COVID policy? How will it end? And what are likely to be its consequences?

Hong Kong calls for probe after rugby match protest song (November 14, 2022, BBC)
Hong Kong officials have demanded an investigation after a rugby game where a protest song was played instead of China’s national anthem. The city said it “strongly deplores… the playing of a song associated with ‘violent protests'”. The song, Glory to Hong Kong, is considered the unofficial anthem of the 2019 pro-democracy movement.

Residents ‘revolt’ over oppressive Covid lockdowns in China’s Guangzhou (November 15, 2022, CNN)
Residents under Covid lockdown in China’s southern manufacturing hub of Guangzhou have torn down barriers meant to confine them to their homes, taking to the streets in defiance of strictly enforced local orders, according to video and images circulating on social media.

Economics / Trade / Business

China’s home prices see biggest fall in 7 years, recovery bumpy (November 15, 2022, Reuters)
China’s new home prices fell at their fastest pace in over seven years in October, weighed down by COVID-19 curbs and industry-wide problems, reflecting a deepening contraction that prompted authorities to ramp up support for the sector in recent days.

For locals, a China-funded port in Pakistan brings fears of being erased (November 15, 2022, The China Project)
The Gwadar seaport was supposed to develop the local economy, connect Pakistan to the world, and give China access to the Indian Ocean. So why aren’t locals happy with it?


The Rise of China’s Universities (November 15, 2022, Chronicle of Higher Education) (registration required)
Chinese universities continue to rise in the various rankings tables, and two of them, Tsinghua and Peking, will surely be among the world’s top 10 in short order.

Despite Long Odds, Rural Chinese Continue to Bet on Education (November 15, 2022, Sixth Tone)
Contrary to popular belief, rural Chinese still see education as a viable path to social mobility.

History / Culture

How China’s Imperial Treasures Became a Public Exhibit (November 10, 2022, The World of Chinese)
Fire, thieving eunuchs, military invasions: the Forbidden City’s journey from imperial palace to public museum was anything but smooth.

Travel / Food

China Travelogue Series #1 (November 2, 2022, Center for Strategic and International Studies)
Traveling to China is beyond daunting and still impossible for tourists, but I decided that I couldn’t stay away any longer. And so, I planned out my trip, worked with colleagues in China to obtain a visa (pre-pandemic visas have been suspended), and set off in early April to fly to Shanghai and after quarantining there, on to my final destination, Beijing.

What do China’s new Covid rules mean for international travellers? (November 11, 2022, South China Morning Post)
Although the announcement made clear that the country was still committed to its “dynamic zero-Covid” policy and should not be interpreted as a relaxation of controls, the new rules should make it easier to travel both to China from overseas and inside the country. Here is how things stand at present.


Colin Thubron on The Value of the Amur River To Russia and China (November 12, 2022, China-Britain Business Focus)
The author of In Siberia and Shadow of the Silk Road is back with another brilliant portrait of Russia and China, this time using the Amur River as a jumping off point.

Links for Researchers

Congressional-Executive Commission on China Annual Report, November 22

Pray for China

November 23 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
In Nov. 2005, Pastor Cai Zhuohua (蔡卓华牧师) and his wife Xiao Yunfei (肖云飞姊妹) were given three and two-year sentences respectively for printing Bibles without a permit. While defending Pastor Cai, human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng (高智晟律师) first read a Bible and became a Christian. After Gao was arrested and severely tortured on many occasions, his wife Geng He (耿和女士), and their children, daughter Geng Ge (耿格) and son Gao Tianyu (高天宇), fled to the U.S. in 2009. Gao himself remains under a form of house arrest at remote location and is in poor health. Pray for the Lord to be the comfort and strength of the Cai and Gao families. As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Genesis 50:20

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Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
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