ZGBriefs | October 26, 2023

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Featured Article

What Is the Future for International Students in China? (October 24, 2023, China File)
Considering these challenges and changes, are foreign students who study in China still able to form meaningful relationships with their Chinese counterparts, despite a tightening on educational channels? Are these students able to freely pursue their chosen areas of research? Are they experiencing a version of the country that best represents it? And how can China shape a more stable environment for international students and encourage greater student exchange, beyond that of senior scholars?

Sponsored Link

Lecture: Salvation in a Chinese Context (China Academic Consortium)
As part of our ongoing joint lecture series with China Academic Consortium (ERRChina) and the US-China Catholic Association (USCCA), China Academic Consortium will be hosting the autumn lecture on Saturday, November 11. Dr. Brad Vaughn (formerly known as Jackson Wu) will present the lecture, entitled “Salvation in a Chinese Context.”

Saturday, November 11, 2023
First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley
2407 Dana St.
Berkeley, CA 94704
5–6 pm: light meal and fellowship
6–7:30 pm: lecture and Q&A
8 pm: Closing

Register by November 5—email to: operations@errchina.com
A video link will be provided to registered guests unable to attend in person.

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

Empires of lies (October 20, 2023, The China Project)
You know things are getting Orwellian in Beijing when the Chinese Foreign Ministry appropriates an aphorism originally attributed to George Orwell — as channeled through Russian authoritarian Vladimir Putin, a freelance Russian cartoonist named Vitaly Podvitski, and two American libertarians, namely Ron Paul and his son Rand Paul, to disparage the U.S. as an “empire of lies.”

The Visual Language of China’s Official Press (October 20, 2023, China Media Project)
In the official Party-state media in China, design is driven by politics — and it is a crucial aspect of the political discourse. Want to see this principle in action? Today’s edition of the People’s Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) offers a prime example.

South China Sea: Why the Philippines and China are on a collision course (October 23, 2023, BBC)
This is no accident. It is part of a deliberate policy by the Philippine government to shine a spotlight on what it has called China’s “brute force” in asserting control over what Manila says are its waters.

What America Wants From China (October 24, 2023, Foreign Affairs)
But despite all the speeches, press conferences, and panel discussions, policymakers have not directly answered an essential question: What is the outcome they seek in this competition? When pressed, they often highlight the result the United States hopes to avoid: a new cold war or, even worse, a hot one.

China removes Li Shangfu as defense minister, who was out of public eye for 2 months (October 24, 2023, NPR)
The speedy removal of two men once widely perceived as close to Xi reflects poorly on Xi’s decision-making abilities, says Deng. On the other hand, he says, their dismissal also shows the power concentrated under Xi, and “how the Chinese Communist Party has become even more opaque, because one top leader can appoint or dismiss a person based on his impression from just one conversation.

Soul and Root  魂和根 (October 252023, China Media Project)Once shorthand for Chinese history and heritage, “soul and root” has more recently taken on a new meaning tied to Xi Jinping’s push to merge Marxism with traditional culture, both of which have been assigned a place in the pantheon as the “soul” and “root” of the nation, respectively.

China’s defence ministry blasts Pentagon’s annual report (October 25, 2023, Reuters)
China’s defence ministry on Wednesday denounced the U.S. Defense Department’s annual report on China, saying it distorts the country’s security policy and military strategy. Over the next decade, the People’s Republic of China will rapidly modernise, diversify, and expand its nuclear forces, the Pentagon said in its report to U.S. Congress, laying out China’s national ambitions, including its defence policy and military strategies.

Hong Kong to eradicate ‘undercurrents’ of dissent with new laws (October 25, 2023, Radio Free Asia)
Speaking in his annual policy address, the second since he was “elected” unopposed under new election rules that allow only “patriots” to take public office, Lee said that while Hong Kong may appear peaceful and calm, “undercurrents” of opposition to the government remain.


From Bricks to Bonds: A Journey Beyond the Walls of Faith (October 20, 2023, Chinese Church Voices)
We realized the church was more than just a building—it was a gathering of God’s chosen people, rooted in our relationship with him. We, his children, made up the church. It wasn’t about fancy surroundings; it was about our faith and unity. The struggles of that year taught us the true essence of being a church—simple, strong, and bound together by our shared belief.

Living in Reverse: Discipleship in View of the End (October 23, 2023, China Partnership Blog)
As Christians, we live in the earthly kingdom and the heavenly kingdom at the very same time. Although our bodies are here on earth, our true and inner person has been raised to heaven with Christ. 

10 things to know about China’s policies on religion (October 23, 2023, Pew Research)
Here are 10 things to know about how the Chinese government regulates religion, from our recent report, “Measuring Religion in China.”

Back in China (October 23, 2023, ChinaSource Blog)
Our recent journey back to China was nothing short of remarkable. After a four-year hiatus due to the challenges posed by the covid pandemic, we received a heartfelt invitation to reconnect with pastors and church leaders in China.

Society / Life

Tracing the History of Shanghai’s Waste Management (October 21, 2023, Sixth Tone)
As the city has developed into a global metropolis over the past 180 years, pilot programs and policies have helped refine the way it handles and recycles household garbage.

China’s Age of Malaise (October 23, 2023, The New Yorker)
Party officials are vanishing, young workers are “lying flat,” and entrepreneurs are fleeing the country. What does China’s inner turmoil mean for the world?

Chinese Social Media Platforms Are Now Awash With Antisemitism (October 23, 2023, The Diplomat)
The Israel-Hamas conflict has triggered a fresh outpouring of hate speech that aligns with Beijing’s policy aims.

Economics / Trade / Business

Forced labor concerns prompt US lawmakers to demand ban on seafood from 2 Chinese provinces (October 24, 2023, AP)
A group of U.S. lawmakers wants the Biden administration to ban seafood processed in two Chinese provinces from entering the U.S. market because of concerns about rights abuses. They also say that Chinese facilities using forced labor should be banned from doing business with American companies.

China signs US soy export deals, but unclear if sales will follow (October 25, 2023, Reuters)
U.S. soybean exporters have recently seen less action than usual from top customer China, though the two parties signed a deal on Monday that could pave a path toward more Chinese purchases. The potential timing of those sales is uncertain, as similar agreements in the past have sometimes led to immediate announcements of large U.S. export sales while other times they have not.

Mitsubishi Motors is ending production in China (October 25, 2023, CNN)
Mitsubishi Motors will stop producing vehicles in China, in the latest sign of retreat by foreign automakers in the world’s biggest car market. Following weeks of speculation, the Japanese carmaker confirmed Tuesday that it would wind down local manufacturing and exit a long-running joint venture in mainland China.


China passes patriotic education law for children, families -state media (October 24, 2023, Reuters)
China’s national legislature on Tuesday passed a law to strengthen patriotic education for children and families, state media reported, to counter challenges such as “historical nihilism” and safeguard “national unity”. The Patriotic Education Law provides a legal guarantee for carrying out patriotic education, state-backed Xinhua news agency reported, adding that some people “are at a loss about what is patriotism.”

Health / Environment

Bitter No More: How Young Chinese Became Obsessed With TCM (October 19, 2023, The World of Chinese)
For many young Chinese, being forced to swallow traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to treat a fever or a cough is a bitter childhood memory. But today, the same herbal brews are sold in stylish cups at pharmacies, some of whom have installed trendy cafe counters to cater to youngsters who want to keep that healthy glow after late nights in the office or on the dance floor.

History / Culture

Can China Rediscover Its Love of Baseball? (October 23, 2023, Sixth Tone)
The country used to be crazy for baseball. Can a shocking upset rekindle that passion?

Bush House: How the US ambassador’s home in China got its name (October 24, 2023, Christian Science Monitor)
Last Friday, the dramatic sweep of five decades of U.S.-China relations seemed telescoped in time as the current occupants of 17 Guanghua Road celebrated that pioneering diplomatic couple – dedicating the house as “Bush House,” in honor of President Bush and first lady Barbara Bush. Despite vast changes, parallels exist between then and now:…

John Leighton Stuart (Part 1 of 2) (Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity)
New Testament scholar, theological educator, president of Yenching College, U.S. Ambassador to China.

John Leighton Stuart (Part 2 of 2) (Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity)
New Testament scholar, theological educator, president of Yenching College, U.S. Ambassador to China.

Pray for China

October 27 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Oct. 27, 1858, Tang Guo’an (唐国安校长) was born into a Christian family in Guangdong. He was one of 120 boys sent by the Qing government to study in the United States. While there, he became a Christian and attended Yale University for one year. After the government unexpectedly recalled all students in 1881, Tang had a successful career in business and government in Tianjin, Shanghai, and Beijing. He served on the national board of the YMCA, wrote articles for Christian journals, and played an important role in ending the opium trade. In 1912, he became the founding principal of Tsinghua College. Although Tsinghua was not founded as a Christian school, Tang recruited a largely Christian staff and faculty before his untimely death the following year. Pray for the staff and students at Tsinghua and other universities to hear of the Lord’s love for the nations. May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Psalm 67:1-3

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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