ZGBriefs | October 14, 2021

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Featured Article

Changing China: How Xi’s ‘common prosperity’ may impact the world (October 9, 2021, BBC)
And while this “common prosperity” drive is squarely focused on people inside the country it has the potential to have huge repercussions for the rest of the world. One of the most visible consequences of common prosperity has been the refocusing of corporate China’s priorities to the domestic market. 

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

China-Taiwan tensions: Xi Jinping says ‘reunification’ must be fulfilled (October 11, 2021, BBC)
China’s President Xi Jinping has said that “reunification” with Taiwan “must be fulfilled”, as heightened tensions over the island continue. Mr Xi said unification should be achieved peacefully, but warned that the Chinese people had a “glorious tradition” of opposing separatism. In response, Taiwan said its future lay in the hands of its people.

China says it held beach landing drills in province opposite Taiwan (October 11, 2021, CNN)
The official People’s Liberation Army Daily newspaper, in a brief report on its Weibo microblogging account, said the drills had been carried out “in recent days” in the southern part of Fujian province. The action had involved “shock” troops, sappers and boat specialists, the Chinese military newspaper added. The troops were “divided into multiple waves to grab the beach and perform combat tasks at different stages,” it added, without providing further details.

The Triumph and Terror of Wang Huning (October 11, 2021, Palladium)
Yet Wang Huning is arguably the single most influential “public intellectual” alive today. A member of the CCP’s seven-man Politburo Standing Committee, he is China’s top ideological theorist, quietly credited as being the “ideas man” behind each of Xi’s signature political concepts, including the “China Dream,” the anti-corruption campaign, the Belt and Road Initiative, a more assertive foreign policy, and even “Xi Jinping Thought.”


We Do Not Have to Worry (October 7, 2021, China Partnership Blog)
Little Ai, a Chinese Christian who is married to a house church pastor, recently wrote this reflection as she prepared for a hearing about fines levied against her and her husband for organizing religious activities. 

I Was All Prepared to Share—Or So I Thought! (October 11, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
There’s nothing more important to me than understanding the emotional signals of those I am sharing my faith with. Do they feel angry, upset, scared, grumpy, sad, tired, lonely, satisfied, calm, joyful, excited, or a mixed combination?

China’s Aging Population and the Church (October 12, 2021, Chinese Church Voices)
Part of the impact of the pandemic in Yangzhou was felt among the elderly gathering in mahjong halls. This has prompted the Christian Times to consider the ways that the elderly are spending their free time and how the church might contribute positively to their well-being.

Exploring the Academic Field of Chinese Christianity (October 13, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
There is always some gap between the academy and the field, especially when it comes to scholarship on Christianity and missions studies. During the best of times, that gap is small with scholars and practitioners regularly hopping from one side to the other, exchanging insights that both deepen our understanding of God and advance God’s work in the world. At its worst, to the detriment of both parties, the gap becomes a chasm with increasingly irrelevant scholarship on one side and uninformed, often harmful, action on the other.

Society / Life

China’s noisy ‘dancing grannies’ silenced by device that disables speakers (October 8, 2021, The Guardian)
Many people are too scared to confront the groups of middle-aged and older women who take over public parks and sports grounds to exercise along to music.

China floods: Nearly 2 million displaced in Shanxi province (October 11, 2021, BBC)
More than 1.76 million people have been affected by severe flooding in China’s northern Shanxi province, according to local media. Torrential rain last week led to houses collapsing and triggered landslides across more than 70 districts and cities in the province.

Fishing Has ‘Hooked’ China’s Youth, Reconnecting Them with Nature  (October 12, 2021, Radii China)
For a very long time in China, fishing carried the reputation of being a low-key, modest, and somewhat unfashionable recreational activity. Seemingly a popular hobby for retirees only, recently, it has become trendy among China’s Gen Z and millennial demographics in an astonishing culture shift.

China’s Factory Children and Their Splendid, Closed-Off Youth (October 13, 2021, Sixth Tone)
A generation of Chinese people grew up on socialist-era compounds that formed their own little societies.

More Chinese cities to issue digital driver licenses (October 13, 2021, China Daily)
China will soon allow drivers in 110 more cities to apply for e-licenses, the Ministry of Public Security said Wednesday. Starting as early as Oct 20, drivers in the 110 cities including Taiyuan, Shenyang and Harbin can apply for a digital license through an official mobile app, according to the ministry. The digital licenses are valid across the country.

A Hong Kong university orders the removal of a memorial to the Tiananmen massacre (October 13, 2021, NPR)
A 26-foot-high sculpture commemorating the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre is set to be removed from the campus of the University of Hong Kong in what activists see as the latest sign of Beijing’s suppression of freedom in the territory.

Shanxi heritage rescue mission underway (October 14, 2021, China Daily)
A rescue mission is underway after continuous torrential rainfall earlier this month threatened ancient architecture in Shanxi province. The National Cultural Heritage Administration told a media briefing on Tuesday that 1,783 heritage sites across Shanxi had been damaged as of Monday.

Economics / Trade / Business

China orders coalmines to raise production to address power crunch (October 8, 2021, The Guardian)
Chinese officials have ordered more than 70 mines in Inner Mongolia to increase coal production by almost 100m tonnes, with the country battling its worst power crunch and coal shortages in years. The move is the latest attempt by Chinese authorities to boost coal supply amid record high prices and shortages of electricity that have led to power rationing across the country, crippling industrial output.

Washington Is Getting China Wrong (October 11, 2021, The Atlantic)
A crisis at a property company exposes deep, dangerous, and often unrecognized weaknesses in the Chinese economy.

China exports up 28% in September; surplus with US grows (October 13, 2021, AP)
China’s exports rose at a slightly faster pace in September while demand for imports of iron ore and other commodities eased as a property construction boom cooled and authorities enforced curbs on energy use.


Beijing Schools to Include Compulsory Mental Health Education (October 11, 2021, Sixth Tone)
All public and private schools in the Chinese capital must conduct mental health screenings and employ dedicated psychological counselors.

Tutoring Companies Stop Taking Payments as Nonprofit Deadline Looms (October 13, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Major tutoring companies have stopped enrolling students and are on track to leave industry by end of the year.

Harvard language program relocates from China to Taiwan (October 13, 2021, AP, via Yahoo! News)
An intensive summer language program hosted by Harvard University in Beijing will relocate to Taiwan in summer of 2022, as the U.S.-China relationship remains strained. The program is moving to Taipei and will kick off next summer with about 60 students who will take eight weeks of classes, National Taiwan University confirmed Wednesday. The decision was in part “due to a perceived lack of friendliness from the host institution” in Beijing, according to The Harvard Crimson student paper, which first reported the move.

Health / Environment

China clears all COVID-19 high-risk areas (October 12, 2021, China Daily)
China has cleared all its COVID-19 high-risk areas, as Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province downgraded its last two high-risk areas on Monday. Starting at midnight on Monday, two towns in Bayan county of Harbin were downgraded to low-risk, according to the municipal epidemic prevention and control headquarters.

China to test thousands of Wuhan blood samples in Covid-19 probe (October 13, 2021, CNN)
The move comes amid increasing calls for transparency over the emergence of the virus. The store of up to 200,000 samples, including those from the closing months of 2019 were pinpointed in February this year by the World Health Organization’s panel of investigators as a possible source of key information that could help determine when and where the virus first crossed into humans.

History / Culture

Things Confucius Never Said (October 9, 2021, The World of Chinese)
But the sayings quoted by your teacher, grandma, and “spiritual” friends may well never have actually been uttered by Confucius; or if they were, they could have been wildly misrepresented since his death. Combat these mistaken words of wisdom with our guide to some of Confucius’s most commonly misused and misinterpreted quotations:

Walking storyteller begins historic trek through China’s heartland (October 13, 2021, National Geographic)
Writing from Yunnan Province in southern China, Paul Salopek resumes his 24,000-mile foot journey across the world after a long pandemic delay.

Travel / Food

Bejing’s Other Wall: What’s Left of the Capital’s Defenses at Ming City Wall Park (October 8, 2021, The Beijinger)
Beijing was once a city of walls and gates. Take Line 2 or Line 7 and you’ll hear the names of some of these gates. In fact, Line 2 runs along a loop route more or less tracing what used to be the city wall. Besides a few gates still standing – Zhangyangmen and Deshengmen are notable examples – only one section of wall remains, residing in Ming City Wall Relics Park. 

A Guide to China’s Fruit Culture (October 12, 2021, The World of Chinese)
China’s vast territory provides the climate for all kinds of fruits, including rare and exotic species, and the cultural significance behind them is just as broad. But knowing when and where to find the best fruits requires some specialist knowledge. Our guide introduces the best fruits for each season, and tells the stories of the cultural significance that make each juicy morsel taste all the richer.

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Korean War Epic’s Massive Success in China Should Worry Hollywood (October 8, 2021, Radii China)
The movie chronicles the experiences of Chinese troops during the 17-day Battle of Chosin Reservoir — one of the significant battles of the Korean War, better known in China (and this may come as a surprise to some Westerners) as the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea. 


Surviving the State, Remaking the Church (Revisited) (October 4, 2021, Global China Center)
In specifically defining the uniqueness of the Chinese church and what it has endured – or perhaps more so what God has preserved it through – it gives powerful and public voices “for all the saints” who have staked their lives on the Gospel through the turbulence of the cultural revolution and Mao era, the progress and temptations of an increasingly consumerist-materialist society, and the lamentable breakdown of shared social fabric in China in recent decades. 

Reaching Chinese Worldwide (Revisited) (October 11, 2021, Global China Center)
A handbook that is as nuanced, socio-historically sensitive and practical as the very culture and people it seeks to affect, Reaching Chinese Worldwide offers principles for effective Christian witness and culturally sensitive involvement in the life of Chinese people.

Why the Ex-Husband of a Missing Chinese Billionaire Is Risking All to Tell Their Story (October 13, 2021, TIME)
It rang and she picked up, pleading with the former tycoon to abandon publishing the book he’d written, ed Roulette: An Insider’s Story of Wealth, Power, Corruption, and Vengeance in Today’s China, which details Duan’s disappearance and the shady business deals involving some of top Chinese Communist Party (CCP) figures that propelled her to become a billionaire and reportedly China’s richest woman.


5 Prayer Resources for China (October 8, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
As we all know, there is much to pray about when it comes to China and churches in China, but sometimes it’s hard to know specifically how to prayer. While there are many resources to help people in their desire to pray, I want to highlight five in this post.

Pray for China

October 14 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Oct. 14, 1925, influential missions leader Thomas Wang Yongxin (王永信牧师) was born into a Christian family in Beijing. He came to Christ through evangelist Dr. Song Shangjie (宋尚节博士- John Sung) and was discipled by Mr. Wang Mingdao (王明道先生). Thomas left China in 1949, became a pastor in Taiwan, and then moved to the U.S. in 1959. His passion was the Great Commission and mobilizing Christian involvement in key social issues. Before his death at age 93 on Jan. 4, 2018, Rev. Wang played key leadership roles in a number of mission mobilization efforts, e.g. the Chinese Coordination Centre of World Evangelism (CCCOWE), the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, the Intercessors for China 1 Million Prayer Warriors by 2007 movement, and the Internet Mission Forum. Pray for Overseas Chinese Christians to follow Thomas Wang in answering the Lord’s call to fulfill the Great Commission, especially in internet missions and prayer for China. And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”  Isaiah 6:8

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