ZGBriefs | October 27, 2022

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Featured Article

Teaching English as a Second Language (October 6, Field Partner)
I have asked a friend and colleague to list five keys to teaching English as a second language. He has taught in China for many years. I would highlight one testimony that I see in his life (and that was true in mine). It is to seek to be the best teacher in the department. Your teaching role is not something you put up with just so that you can ‘evangelise’. Be the best and earn the right to witness to Jesus.

Sponsored Link

Fall Public Lecture

As part of the ongoing joint lecture series co-sponsored by China Academic Consortium (CAC), the US-China Catholic Association (USCCA), and ChinaSource, CAC will be hosting the autumn lecture on Sunday, November 13. Dr. Richard Cook will present the lecture, entitled “Out of the Darkness and into the Light of the Global Stage: Protestant Churches in China after 1979.” Dr. Cook is Associate Professor of Church History and Missions at Logos Evangelical Seminary in El Monte, California. His most recent book is Darkest Before the Dawn: A Brief History of the Rise of Christianity in China. Those of you in the Bay Area can attend the lecture in-person at the First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley. The rest of us can register to participate online via Zoom. Find more details and register to attend on the CAC website.

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

China congress: How one man on a bridge marred Xi Jinping’s big moment (October 22, 2022, BBC)
While public protests do happen in China, a political demonstration in the capital on the eve of an important Communist Party congress, blatantly insulting Xi Jinping, was unthinkable until now.  It exposed flaws in the supposedly tight security restrictions put in place for politically sensitive events – the man not only evaded initial detection but had enough time to attract the attention of passers-by before he was swiftly bundled into a police car.

The 7 men who control China (October 23, 2022, NPR)
China’s ruling Communist Party has chosen the next seven men to run the country for the next five years. Many of them are loyal to current leader Xi Jinping.

China’s next premier Li: A Xi loyalist who oversaw Shanghai lockdown (October 23, 2022, Reuters)
Li Qiang, who oversaw Shanghai’s grinding two-month COVID-19 lockdown this year as party boss of China’s commercial hub, is on track to become China’s next premier after President Xi Jinping unveiled a new governing body packed with loyalists. Li, a close ally of the newly re-appointed Chinese leader, was elevated to the No.2 position on the seven-man Standing Committee on Sunday, putting him on track to take over the economic management role.

Xi Jinping Exposed (October 23, 2022, Council on Foreign Relations)
The recently concluded Chinese Communist Party congress reflects what may turn out to be a flawed strategy of Xi Jinping putting himself at the center of everything—making him seem strong while actually vulnerable.

Who will succeed China’s leader Xi Jinping? (October 24, 2022, NPR)
It is official. Chinese leader Xi Jinping is unrivaled. This past weekend at a Communist Party Congress in Beijing, Xi extended his rule into a third term, and he stacked party leadership with his allies. He also left the line of succession unclear. And as NPR’s John Ruwitch reports, that may create problems down the road.

Hu Jintao: Fresh China congress footage deepens mystery over exit (October 25, 2022, BBC)
Fresh footage has emerged showing more of what happened before China’s former leader Hu Jintao was dramatically led out of a session during last week’s Communist Party Congress in Beijing. It shows in greater detail how outgoing Politburo member Li Zhanshu, to Mr Hu’s left, takes a file away and speaks to him. Then China’s current leader Xi Jinping gives lengthy instructions to another man who subsequently attempts to persuade Mr Hu to leave.

An Era Just Ended in China (October 26, 2022, The New York Times)
President Xi Jinping officially ended that era last week. Mr. Xi emerged from the Chinese Communist Party’s congress in Beijing with unchallenged authority and plans for China that revolve around his obsession with control and security — even if that means harming the economy. It’s a momentous change in outlook.

China’s Xi deals knockout blow to once-powerful Youth League faction (October 26, 2022, Reuters)
The three most glaring omissions from China’s new Communist Party leadership share one common trait: all rose through its Youth League and were considered members of a once-powerful faction whose influence Xi Jinping has now effectively crushed.

China accused of illegal police stations in the Netherlands (October 26, 2022, BBC)
The Chinese government has been accused of establishing at least two undeclared “police stations” in the Netherlands. Dutch media found evidence that the “overseas service stations”, which promise to provide diplomatic services, are being used to try to silence Chinese dissidents in Europe.

RCMP investigating Chinese ‘police’ stations in Canada (October 26, 2022, CBC)
The RCMP says it’s investigating Chinese “police” stations in Canada. This comes after the Spain-based human rights group Safeguard Defenders reported that more than 50 exist worldwide, including three in the Greater Toronto Area in predominately Chinese communities. They include a residential home and single-storey commercial building in Markham and a convenience store in Scarborough.


5 Theological Truths and Church-State Relations (2): Lessons from China (October 21, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
How will we respond to the demands of an increasingly repressive government that seeks to reshape the church into its own image? How will we react to attempts to divide us along socio-economic, racial, ideological, or nationalistic lines? Will we quietly acquiesce and accept a church that is not really whole?

Agreement on bishops renewed, but Beijing still making life difficult for Chinese Catholics (October 24, 2022, Asia News)
There is one issue around the second renewal of the Agreement between the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China on the appointment of bishops, that is particularly painful. It regards the civil registration requirement for members of the official church including priests and bishops belonging to unregistered communities (also called underground in Chinese) who wish to come out of “hiding”.

Cardinal Zen On Trial (October 25, 2022, First Things)
It says a lot about Communist China that Beijing feels the need to arrest and prosecute a frail ninety-year-old Catholic leader. It says even more that Cardinal Zen is accepting his plight with such grace and courage. 

Will History Repeat Itself? (October 26, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
Although it may be possible to steer clear of politics in relationships at the local level, to scrupulously avoid politically sensitive topics in conversations with officials, and to ensure that communications with supporters at home has no political overtones, the presence of a significant number of foreign Christians engaging Chinese at all levels of society is itself a political statement.

Society / Life

Xi’an Confronts an Unusual Challenge: a Surfeit of Ancient Tombs (October 14, 2022, Sixth Tone)
China wants to protect its historical relics from new urban development projects. But that’s no simple task in Xi’an — a city where imperial tombs are seemingly everywhere.

Economics / Trade / Business

What we just learned about China’s economy (October 24, 2022, BBC)
China’s economy faces a number of challenges at home and abroad – including Beijing’s zero-Covid policies and the trade conflict with the US. What have we learned about the state of the country’s economy over the last week?

Why Biden’s Block on Chips to China Is a Big Deal (October 25, 2022, The Atlantic)
Two days earlier, on October 21, Biden had dropped the hammer on China’s semiconductor industry by fully implementing a slew of tough controls on the export of American chip technology to China. This is a painful blow to Xi’s ambitions to rival the U.S., delivered at the very moment when the Chinese leader has reached the pinnacle of his political influence. 


China outnumbers the U.S. for the first time in this ranking of the world’s ‘best’ universities (October 26, 2022, Market Watch)
Among the 2,000 schools from more than 90 countries ranked by U.S. News & World Report, 338 Chinese universities made the list, compared to 280 American universities. It’s the first time China outnumbered the U.S. Results were reported in the media outlet’s “Best Global Universities Rankings” released Tuesday. The U.S. and China were followed by Japan (105 universities), the United Kingdom (92), and India (81).

Health / Environment

Afraid of needles? China using inhalable COVID-19 vaccine (October 26, 2022, AP)
The Chinese city of Shanghai started administering an inhalable COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday in what appears to be a world first. The vaccine, a mist that is sucked in through the mouth, is being offered for free as a booster dose for previously vaccinated people, according to an announcement on an official city social media account.

History / Culture

The Horrifying History behind Beijing’s Most Notorious Execution Grounds (October 22, 2022, The Beijinger)
Every autumn, prisoners were taken to Caishikou via the Xuanwumen (which earned the gate the happy moniker of “The Gate of Death”) at dawn. The condemned were lined up east to west, had their necks stretched with a rope, and awaited the chop.

Travel / Food

China Now Considering Shorter Quarantine Times for Inbound Visitors – Reports (October 20, 2022, Skift)
The country’s National Health Commission is reportedly looking at cutting the hotel isolation period from seven to two days, but would add on a couple more days for home monitoring. It’s not much, but at least a step in the right direction for its ailing tourism industry.


Voices from the Past: Historical Reflections on Christian Missions in China – Book Review (Revisited) (October 24, 2022, Global China Center)
My first reading reminded me that I must ask God to transform me from the inside out, so that those whom I assist in knowing God better won’t be distracted or even discouraged by my conduct.

Links for Researchers

Kevin Rudd’s The Avoidable War: The Dangers of a Catastrophic Conflict between the U.S. and Xi Jinping’s China (National Bureau of Asian Research)
In this book review roundtable on Kevin Rudd’s The Avoidable War: The Dangers of a Catastrophic Conflict between the U.S. and Xi Jinping’s China, Susan Thornton, Rory Medcalf, Joseph Chinyong Liow, Carla P. Freeman, and Kevin Rudd discuss the U.S.-China relationship and strategies for managing great-power competition to avoid a catastrophic conflict.


An Interview with Mike Frith, Founder and Director of OSCAR (October 24, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
In addition to articles and information about opportunities to serve overseas, OSCAR also offers several training courses, either in-person or online. One of these is “British Culture Orientation”, designed for those who have or are coming to the UK from overseas to live and work. 

Pray for China

October 30 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Oct. 30, 1948, Bian Yunbo (边云波弟兄) finished writing his epic poem To the Unknown Evangelist, My Brother—just a few days before going to serve as a missionary among the Miao people in southwestern China. Later this poem was put to music and inspired many to dedicate their lives to Christ and His Great Commission. Bian, his wife Bai Yaoxuan (白耀轩姊妹), and their three children suffered great persecution for many years in Tianjin. In 1998, Brother Bian wrote: “Perhaps the revival in the Chinese and overseas church today is God’s preparation for an even greater revival. Let us ask the Lord to once again raise up a people who love Him as did Gideon’s 300, to take up their wonderful staffs and run the final lap of the race.” His health was not good in later years, but still Brother Bian spoke before many churches and conferences before going to be with the Lord at age 93 on Feb. 14, 2018. Pray for the three children of Brother Bian and Sister Bai, and for those they impacted in Tianjin and elsewhere to take up the cross daily and follow the Lord Jesus.

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

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Image credit: andros1234, via Pixabay

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