ZGBriefs | October 12, 2023

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Featured Article

Video: Mapping Religions Webinar Series 3 — Mapping the Global East (October 10, 2023, Center for the Global East, via YouTube)
Creating a Digital Atlas of Buddhism in Hangzhou China. Using the Regional Religious Framework, by Philip Stoker Mapping Temple Amalgamation with Historical GIS: A Spatial Interpretation of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang’s Institutional Reform, by Jeffery Wei Liu Measuring the Prestige Index in a Regional Religious System, by Jiang Wu.

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Digital Engagement (October 9, 2023, ChinaSource Quarterly)
This autumn 2023 ChinaSource Quarterly invites leaders to share various digital strategies being used to engage the church body in action, reaching Chinese people online, and digital evangelism and discipleship. The authors of the lead article, both from Indigitous, share the need for innovation and digital transformation for the 99 percent not in professional ministry to find their place in the Great Commission. Through innovation and using their digital, creative, and marketplace skills, the whole church body can be activated and engaged in digital missions.

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

Reading China’s Media Counter-Attack (October 5, 2023, China Media Project)
China responded with fury and indignation to a report alleging that it has invested billions to build a “global information ecosystem” to spread propaganda and disinformation. A media analysis of the country’s response, which paints the US as an “empire of lies,” only substantiates the report’s main thesis.

China Tiananmen critic stuck in Taiwan transit lounge granted asylum in Canada (October 8, 2023, The Guardian)
A Chinese dissident who was stuck inside a Taiwanese airport transit area after he refused to fly on to China says he has arrived in Canada after being granted asylum. Chen Siming arrived in Taipei on 22 September, after travelling through Thailand and Laos. When he landed at Taipei’s international airport he refused to reboard, requesting assistance to resettle in a third country.

Taiwan seeks ‘peaceful coexistence’ with China, president says (October 10, 2023, Reuters)
Taiwan seeks “peaceful coexistence” with China with free and unrestricted interaction but the island will be democratic for generations to come, President Tsai Ing-wen said in her last national day speech on Tuesday. Taiwan, claimed by China as its own territory, has come under increasing military and political pressure from Beijing, including two major sets of Chinese war games near the island since August of last year, heightening fears of a conflict which would have global ramifications.

Middle East crisis tests limits of China’s diplomatic push (October 10, 2023, Reuters)
After the March Saudi-Iran agreement, which China brokered, Chinese media hailed Beijing’s rising profile in a region long dominated by Washington. Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, said the country would continue to play a constructive role in handling global “hotspot issues”. But after the killings of more than 900 Israelis in coordinated assaults by the Islamic group Hamas, China’s response was muted.

Australian journalist Cheng Lei back home after China release (October 11, 2023, Reuters)
Australian journalist Cheng Lei, who had been detained in China on national security charges for more than three years, returned home on Wednesday after being released, Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said. Cheng, 48, was a business television anchor for Chinese state television when she was detained in August 2020 for allegedly sharing state secrets with another country.


Transformative Relationships: Self-Control, Prayer, and Reflection (October 6, 2023, ChinaSource Blog)
This combination of pausing, recognizing, and controlling her emotions, practicing self-reflection, and considering her husband’s concerns all have contributed to an improved relationship. Praise God for his Spirit who grows fruit such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in us, making new responses to others possible.

Keeping Pace in Our Digital Age (October 9, 2023, ChinaSource Quarterly)
As the reach of the internet expands among unreached people groups, the opportunity for digital evangelism and discipleship also grows. Where physical access may be limited, digital spaces open a door for the whole church to rethink how they might spend their time online to be part of global missions.

The Need for Innovation and Digital Transformation (October 9, 2023, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Despite a world with over half the population online, the gospel has still not reached about a third of the world, and the percentage of Christians compared to the global population is projected to see little growth by 2050.1 Just as missions work was accelerated in the past with innovation and technology, the church needs to innovate and transform digitally to make disciples of all nations.

Using New Media for Digital Evangelism on Chinese Cyberspace (October 9, 2023, ChinaSource Quarterly)
In 2010, in an official Chinese Communist Youth League journal article, the author listed me as one of the most dangerous internet missionaries to whom Chinese youth should be alerted.1 For me, however, my personal experience of Chinese Christian internet mission has always made me marvel at the leading of God behind it.

Online Theological Training (October 9, 2023, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Liangyou Theological Seminary (hereafter referred to as Liangyou Seminary) is a training program developed by the Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC) in 1982. Starting as a broadcasting program, Liangyou Seminary is now an educational institute with over twenty thousand students registered and four thousand graduates. Its forty years of development have witnessed God’s guidance and work.

Faith Tested, Faith Strengthened (October 11, 2023, ChinaSource)
Even during the epidemic, we planted new churches, building on the growth of the existing churches. So we can see that God was working. During the pandemic, God protected his church from being affected by the virus, not only in terms of numbers, but also in terms of the lives of the brothers and sisters.

Society / Life

China to hold nationwide survey on population changes as birthrate plummets (October 10, 2023, The Guardian)
The survey’s scope on population changes will focus on urban and rural areas throughout the country, according to state media reports on Tuesday. The plan will help to “accurately and timely monitor China’s population developmental changes and provide a basis for the Communist party and the government to formulate national economic, social development and population related policies,” the bureau said.

Economics / Trade / Business

China’s economy is so uncertain that the wealthy are turning to an underground network to secretly move cash out of the country (October 9, 2023, Business Insider, via Yahoo! News)
According to a Bloomberg report on Sunday, wealthy Chinese citizens have been finding unusual, sometimes illegal ways to move money overseas to keep their cash safe amid the uncertainty.

Is the Chinese economy headed for Japan-style lost decades? (October 9, 2023, East Asia Forum)
But fears of a Japanification of the Chinese economy are misguided. For starters, almost any society would welcome Japanese-style economic ‘failure’ of prosperity, stability, resilience, longevity and a safe, clean and peaceful society. Living standards have stagnated and there are big challenges in Japan, but the comparisons with China are unhelpful. The structural challenges and circumstances that face the two economies are different.

China was hoping for a Golden Week consumption boom. It didn’t happen (October 10, 2023, CNN)
China has concluded its Golden Week holiday on a muted note, with key travel and spending data showing weaker-than-expected recovery in consumption amid a wider economic slump.

China touts its Belt and Road infrastructure lending as an alternative for international development (October 10, 2023, AP)
China is touting its 10-year-old Belt and Road Initiative as an alternative model for economic development, releasing a government report that praises the program while glossing over criticism that it has saddled poor countries with too much debt. The program championed by Chinese leader Xi Jinping has financed construction of ports, power plants, railroads and other projects around the world.

China’s Economic Stake in the Middle East: Its Thirst for Oil (October 11, 2023, The New York Times) (subscription required)
China is the largest oil importer by far from Saudi Arabia and from Iran, highlighting the risk it faces if the war in Israel and Gaza were to broaden.

Health / Environment

Rains Revive Poyang Lake, Offering Hope After Record Dry Season (October 8, 2023, Sixth Tone)
The turnaround is attributed to the heavy autumn rainfall in and around western China, signaling a bright season for migratory birds.

History / Culture

Wukang Mansion: Shanghai’s ‘Pearl’ Before Its Online Fame (October 11, 2023, Sixth Tone)
Local historians and residents share the rich, glamorous history of the Wukang Mansion, as the Shanghai landmark approaches its 100th birthday.

Travel / Food

China just had a museum building spree. Here are 6 of the best. (October 11, 2023, National Geographic)
China is amid an extraordinary museum boom, constructing more than 20 new cultural facilities since 2020. Set in cities, towns, and even mountain villages, they variously showcase archaeology, astronomy, science fiction, and imperial history.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

“Squid Fleet” Takes You Into the Opaque World of Chinese Fishing (October 11, 2023, The New Yorker)
A film by Ed Ou and Will N. Miller uses a fictional narrative based on investigative reporting, and real footage, to capture gritty work at sea.

Pray for China

October 13, 2023 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Oct. 13, 2010, Christian author Yu Jie (余杰先生) was placed under house arrest shortly after writing a candid biography of former premier Wen Jiabao (温家宝). Yu wrote that he nearly lost his life due to the severe torture inflicted upon him. Following more than a year of house arrest, Yu moved to the U.S. with his family in Jan. 2012. Pray for China’s exiles to be like Ezra and to return home one day to deliver the truth of God’s Word. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. Nehemiah 8:2

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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