ZGBriefs | November 18, 2021

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Note: Due to the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States next Thursday, there will be no ZGBriefs on November 25.

Featured Article

Weibo Discusses: How Has the Covid Epidemic Changed Your Life? (November 11, 2021, What’s on Weibo)
The impact of this strategy and the epidemic at large was the topic of one trending topic this week titled “How Big is the Difference in Your Life Before and After the Epidemic?” (#疫情前后的生活差别有多大#), a hashtag that drew in over 320 million views on social media platform Weibo. The topic triggered thousands of comments from people sharing their thoughts and experiences, but the post that started the discussion (@人间投影仪) simply said: “I’d like to go back to a world where we don’t need to wear masks.”

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

China’s Global Network of Vocational Colleges to Train the World (November 11, 2021, The Diplomat)
China is so serious that it is setting up a network of vocational colleges around the world, called Luban Workshops after Lu Ban, a mythical figure revered as an inventor. The workshops train students in dozens of countries in technical areas such as industrial sensors, control and robotics technologies, machinery equipment manufacturing, and high-speed rail technologies.

Early Warning Brief: Did Xi Jinping Secure “Leader for Life” Status at the Sixth Plenum? (November 12, 2021, China Brief)
The words “leader for life” do not appear in the communique summarizing the Resolution on History passed at the Sixth Plenum of the 19th Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee held in Beijing from November 8 to 11 (CPC, November 11). Nevertheless, there is little doubt that President Xi Jinping has won the approval of the ruling Central Committee to stay in office for one, if not two more five-year terms.

Xi’s China is closing to the world. And it isn’t just about borders (November 15, 2021, CNN)
In a sense, the closed borders have almost become a physical extension of that insular-leaning mentality taking hold in parts of China, from top leaders to swathes of the general public., 2021, CNN)

Podcast: What’s New?: A Discussion of the CCP Sixth Plenum (November 16, 2021, National Committee on U.S-China Relations)
In an interview conducted on November 12, 2021, Jude Blanchette and Diana Fu discuss the implications of what was and was not announced at the Sixth Plenum.

China, US agree to ease restrictions on journalists (November 16, 2021, BBC)
Under this, both governments will increase the validity of journalist visas from three months to one year, provided they are eligible under all applicable laws and regulations. Both countries have also pledged to allow journalists to freely depart and return, which they had previously been unable to do.

Takeaway From the Biden-Xi Meeting: Jaw Jawing as Success (November 17, 2021, Council on Foreign Relations)
Even though it resulted in little, Monday’s video meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping at least took place.

Top military leader says China’s hypersonic missile test ‘went around the world’ (November 18, 2021, CNN)
“They launched a long-range missile,” General John Hyten, the outgoing vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told CBS News. “It went around the world, dropped off a hypersonic glide vehicle that glided all the way back to China, that impacted a target in China.”


A Chinese Brother Wants to See the Vastness of the World With Us (November 11, 2021, China Partnership Blog)
Chinese Christians live in one of the most religiously diverse countries on earth. They can speak to the global Church about their own experience, sharing good practices and lessons in living in religiously diverse settings.

A Way Forward (November 12, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
They call it “church 3.0. While new models of church in China are still adapting and evolving, this is an interesting glimpse into what one church is doing.

From the Middle East to the Middle Kingdom (Part 9): The First Missionaries to China’s Hui (November 15, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
The 19th century CIM pioneers teach us about patience, the need to focus on one people group and the role of suffering. Later innovators like Harris teach us the value of contextualizing our language and lifestyle. Read their records. Learn from their examples. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

Practical Tips for Pastoral Enrichment (1) (November 16, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
Once a pastor is involved in full-time pastoral ministry it can be challenging to continue learning and growing in God’s word and effective ministry methods. This article from ChurchChina shares the insights of several pastors who participated in a forum on how to continue learning. Due to length, we will post it in two parts. This is part one.

Opportunities in the Light of Kingdom Identities (November 17, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
As a Christian in Hong Kong, I am not only interested in the economic aspects of consolidation with our neighboring city, I am also interested in cross-border and cross-cultural exchanges of spiritual life between the communities. While the government creates synergy through conjoining the strengths of the two cities, we should explore whether the interaction between the Christians of the two locations can give rise to new opportunities for kingdom ministries.

Society / Life

Shanghai’s 20-Million-Person Social Experiment (November 12, 2021, Sixth Tone)
In 2019, Shanghai became the biggest Chinese city to date to require residents sort their trash before disposal. For more than 20 million residents, the move represented a major lifestyle change: trash had to be sorted, and in many cases, disposed of at set times each day. For the city, it posed a different kind of challenge: How to push residents to comply without souring them on the initiative? And what measures were most likely to produce positive results?

For Chinese Men, Starting a Family Now Comes at a Price (November 16, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Women have long paid a steep penalty for starting a family, but this used to be offset, at least partially, by a “fatherhood premium.” Those days are over.

The Bathing Cultures Dividing North and South China (November 17, 2021, The World of Chinese)
Northern bathhouses are famous for their vigorous scrubbing, while gentle massages in the South lull bathers to sleep.

People in China Are Going Wild Over Disney’s New Pink Fox Character (November 17, 2021, Radii China)
People in China are going bananas over a pink fox called LinaBell, who was recently introduced to the Duffy and Friends plush toy line at Shanghai Disneyland. The new Disney character has since been dubbed the ‘national daughter’ by her enthusiastic fans.

Economics / Trade / Business

China property: New home prices see biggest fall since 2015 (November 15, 2021, BBC)
Sentiment in China’s property market, which accounts for about a quarter of the country’s economic activity by some measures, has been rocked as major property developers grapple with huge debts.

Off the grid: Chinese data law adds to global shipping disruption (November 17, 2021, Reuters, via Yahoo!)
Ships in Chinese waters are disappearing from tracking systems following the introduction of a new data law in China, frustrating efforts to ease bottlenecks that are snarling the global economy, according to three shipping sources directly impacted. […] Although there are no specific guidelines on shipping data in the regulations some domestic providers in China have stopped giving information to foreign companies as a direct consequence of the new rules, the sources told Reuters on Wednesday.

Health / Environment

Why China is still trying to achieve zero Covid (November 15, 2021, BBC)
“The zero-tolerance strategy is also part of the official narrative, to claim the success of the Chinese pandemic response model, the superiority of the Chinese political system. So if you give up that strategy, and then you saw the cases increasing significantly, you know that would lead people to question the model.” Add to the mix that Beijing has some big events coming up and there is great desire amongst officials to hold them in an environment free of any Covid outbreak.

Coronavirus: China tightens entry rules for Beijing ahead of Winter Olympics (November 17, 2021, South China Morning Post)
All visitors to the capital must now show a negative Covid-19 test result from the past 48 hours, while flights from higher risk areas within China will be cancelled or limited to one a day at reduced capacity. “Beijing is the capital and has strong regional and international connections … The virus must not be introduced into Beijing and it must not spread in Beijing,” city spokesman Xu Hejian said at a press conference on Tuesday.

History / Culture

Video: Shanghai TV’s 1981 Spring Festival Show (Everyday Life in Maoist China)

The Changing Face of Yingge Dance (November 13, 2021, The World of Chinese)
 In Puning, Yingge is still danced during holidays such as the Lunar New Year, and the performers are generally amateurs—farmers who have put down their tools and put on costumes.

Travel / Food

Can China’s Other National Drink Make a Comeback? (November 12, 2021, Sixth Tone)
For thousands of years, a kind of wine known as “huangjiu” was the default drink of choice for most well-to-do Chinese. Then came the baijiu revolution.

How Boba Became a Symbol of ‘Asian Cool’ (November 15, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Initially dismissed as having no appeal outside of Asia, bubble tea has become a sleek, fashionable drink in countries around the world.

Hot Enough For You? (November 16, 2021, Outside In)
Last week I ran across this amazing video clip on Twitter of spicy hot pot base soup being made. If you like spicy food, it will be mesmerizing (and mouth-watering); if you don’t, you may run screaming from the room.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

China’s hockey team is stacked with Canadians, but could be pulled from Olympics (November 17, 2021, CBC)
The president of the International Ice Hockey Federation is warning that China’s men’s ice hockey team could be pulled from the Beijing Olympics because it is not competitive enough and would be beaten badly if forced to face off against powerhouse teams like the United States and Canada, which will be stacked with NHL stars.  

Language / Language Learning

6 challenges students face when learning to read Chinese and how to overcome them (November 13, 2021, Hacking Chinese)
If you think that learning to read Chinese is like learning to read most other languages, you’re going to be both frustrated by the slow progress and constantly confused since reality doesn’t meet your expectations.

Links for Researchers

Document: Resolution on history: Chinese-English bilingual side-by-side (November 16, 2021, Neican)
The full text of the Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century 《中共中央关于党的百年奋斗重大成就和历史经验的决议》was released on Tuesday, November 16.

Survey on Life and Faith of the Chinese Community in Britain (London School of Theology)
This survey is carried out by the London School of Theology (LST) to learn more about the social life, attitudes, and spirituality of Britain’s ethnic Chinese population. The study seeks respondents of ethnic Chinese origin aged 18 and above. 

Pray for China

November 24
Dr. Xu Yonghai (徐永海医生), a prominent Christian psychiatrist, was baptized a Christian in Dec. 1989 after the Tiananmen Massacre. He was discipled by house church patriarch Allen Yuan Xiangchen (袁相忱牧师) and was part of a Bible study group that became the Holy Love Fellowship. Dr. Xu was first arrested in 1995 for human rights activism and spent two years in a labor reform camp. He received a second two-year-sentence after his subsequent arrest on Nov. 9, 2003, for revealing information in a Yahoo email account about the persecution of Christians in Hangzhou. Dr. Xu was ordained an elder of the Holy Love Fellowship in 2012. In 2017, he joined seven other ex-prisoners in suing Yahoo for mismanaging a $17 million trust fund established to help them and other tortured human rights activists. Pray for the Lord to revive the hearts of Dr. Xu, his wife, Li Shanna (李姗娜女士), and other Christians in Beijing. When the humble see it they will be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive. For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners. Psalm 69:32-33

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