ZGBriefs | October 28, 2021

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Featured Article

China is removing domes from mosques as part of a push to make them more ‘Chinese’ (October 24, 2021, NPR)
China is removing the domes and minarets from thousands of mosques across the country. Authorities say the domes are evidence of foreign religious influence and are taking down overtly Islamic architecture as part of a push to sinicize historically Muslim ethnic groups — to make them more traditionally Chinese.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Amnesty International to close Hong Kong offices due to national security law (October 25, 2021, The Guardian)
The decision, announced on Monday, will leave the city without the human rights organisation’s presence for the first time in 40 years. In a statement, Amnesty said it would close its local office by the end of the month, while its regional headquarters will close before year’s end. Research, advocacy and campaign operations will be shifted to other Amnesty offices in the Asia-Pacific. The local office focuses on human rights education.

How China’s past shapes Xi’s thinking – and his view of the world (October 25, 2021, BBC)
Chinese President Xi Jinping has asserted China’s place on the global stage much more strongly than any of his predecessors since Mao Zedong, China’s paramount leader during the Cold War. Yet other elements of his rhetoric draw on sources much more longstanding – looking back to its own history, both ancient and more recent.


The Many Faiths of Quanzhou (October 22, 2021, Sixth Tone)
The city has been hailed in China as an example of interfaith tolerance, but that tolerance didn’t spring out of nowhere. It was the product of a commitment to intercultural and international exchange.

John Song—A Fruitful Returnee (October 25, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
I have heard Song called the “Billy Graham of the Chinese-speaking world.” His legacy has lived on through numerous churches that began after his revival meetings. I have encountered Song’s legacy several times as I have spoken at churches and mentioned Song as one of the best examples of a strategic international student and fruitful returnee. 

Chengdu police summon, question Early Rain Protestant preacher (October 25, 2021, Radio Free Asia)
Authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan have once more targeted members of the now-shuttered Early Rain Covenant Church in the provincial capital, Chengdu, RFA has learned. Church member Dai Zhichao was hauled in for questioning by local police on Sunday and held for around 10 hours, a church member said.

Does Christian Faith Affect Parenting? (October 26, 2021, Chinese Church Voices)
An associate researcher at the School of Social and Population Studies, Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications presented a lecture at the Chinese Sociological Association’s annual academic conference in July of this year titled, “Does Christian Faith Affect the Way of Parenting? A Qualitative Study on the Philosophy, Practice and Results of Parenting in Christian Families.” This article from the Christian Times discusses his findings.

Rhetoric and Reality (October 27, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
Leaders in the policy arena face the difficult task of taking constructive action while at the same time being intentional participants in a larger conversation that could directly impact their options. In a similar way, Christians engaged in China are called to expand the larger conversation beyond the currently acknowledged reality, exposing their fellow believers to new possibilities through a deeper relationship with China and its church.

Society / Life

At Least 4 Killed, Scores Injured in Shenyang Gas Explosion (October 20, 2021, Sixth Tone)
The blast occurred around 8:20 a.m. at a local barbecue restaurant in the city’s Heping District. Nearly 50 people injured in the explosion were sent to the hospital for medical treatment. Dashcam footage from a car driving toward the site captured the explosion, with smoke billowing from the blast site.

New smart subway eases Harbin’s rush hour blues (October 22, 2021, China Daily)
Ticket vending machines support voice recognition, and a multimedia information platform enables passengers to search for information from anywhere at any time, and the new Terasnap security checks are designed to save time. An intelligent customer service system deals with ticketing problems in a timely fashion, while intelligent customer service robots can respond in Chinese, English and Russian.

China’s Official 2022 Holiday Calendar is Big on Three-Day Weekends (October 26, 2021, The Beijinger)
Holiday planners finished their work a little early this year and have released the 2022 national holiday calendar in record time! As with last year, there are seven (in our opinion, ridiculous) weekend makeup days bracketing the major holidays this year.

China regulator says will step up efforts to build ‘civilised internet’ (October 27, 2021, Reuters)
China will strengthen its efforts to build a “civilised” internet with an eye on reshaping online behaviour and use it as a platform to disseminate new party theories and promote socialist values, the country’s cyberspace regulator said.

Economics / Trade / Business

China Plans to Expand Property Tax (October 25, 2021, Sixth Tone)
China’s national legislature approved a property tax pilot Saturday. The move is intended to “advance the stable and healthy development of the property sector,” said the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in a statement Saturday. The pilot will be a step toward national property taxes. Until now, real estate has been taxed only as part of an experiment in two cities, Shanghai and Chongqing.

US government bans China Telecom from operating in the country (October 27, 2021, CNN)
The US Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday said it has ordered China Telecom to discontinue US services within 60 days, citing findings that the company’s American subsidiary “is subject to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government.”


China seeks to lift homework October 23, 2021, BBC)
China has passed an education law aimed at reducing the pressures of excessive homework and intensive after-school tutoring, state media say. Parents are being asked to ensure their children have reasonable time for rest and exercise, and do not spend too much time online. In August China banned written exams for six and seven year olds.

Chinese University Tries Something Controversial: Raising Money (October 26, 2021, Sixth Tone)
As China cuts its education budget, Northwest University in Shaanxi province experiments with asking alumni and students to donate money.

More graduates choosing to teach (October 26, 2021, China Daily)
More college graduates have chosen to work as teachers due to the increase of teachers’ salaries, and college graduates are opting for more stable jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts said. Teaching was the most popular profession for college students last year, chosen by 17 percent of graduates, up by 1.1 percentage points from 2019 and 2.1 percentage points from 2018, according to the annual College Graduates’ Employment Report issued recently.

Health / Environment

Beijing raises one district to high-risk level after 6 new cases found (October 23, 2021, China Daily)
Beijing raised a residential community in Changping district to high-risk level of COVID-19 control and prevention as six locally transmitted cases were reported from the area by Saturday noon, said the municipal government official at a news conference on Saturday. Currently, the capital has only this one high-risk area and the rest are all low-risk areas.

China locks down city of 4m people after six Covid cases detected (October 26, 2021, The Guardian)
Residents of Lanzhou would be required to stay at home, authorities said in a statement. Officials said the “entry and exit of residents” would be strictly controlled and limited to essential supplies or medical treatment. Bus and taxi services had already been suspended in the city, and state media said on Tuesday that Lanzhou station had suspended more than 70 trains, including key routes to major cities such as Beijing and Xi’an.

China doubles down on COVID-zero strategy (October 27, 2021, Al Jazeera)
A 5,000 room quarantine facility in Guangzhou is an indication China has no plans to ease strict border controls even as other countries adopt new strategies.

Science / Technology

China launches military satellite that will take aim at space junk (October 27, 2021, Space)
Footage from China Central Television shows the rocket, backdropped by hills, lifting off amid cloudy conditions at the launch site. The satellite on board is called Shijian-21 and will be “used for the verification of space debris mitigation technology”, China state media provider CCTV said in a brief English-language report.

History / Culture

China to start vaccinating children to age 3 as cases spread (October 25, 2021, AP)
Local city and provincial level governments in at least five Chinese provinces issued notices in recent days announcing that children ages 3 to 11 will be required to get their vaccinations.

DNA reveals surprise ancestry of mysterious Chinese mummies (October 27, 2021, Nature)
The genomes of 13 remarkably preserved 4,000-year-old mummies from the Tarim Basin suggest they weren’t migrants who brought technology from the west, as previously supposed.

Feminism as a force for anti-colonialism in 1930s Manchukuo (October 27, 2021, The China Story)
In contrast, the people of China, while threatened by imperialism, did not experience the daily humiliations of colonization on a large scale. It was therefore psychologically easier for Chinese nationalists to examine and appreciate aspects of Western modernity without feeling like they were collaborating with an enemy.

Travel / Food

The Family Mansion at the Heart of Yunnan’s Modern History (October 20, 2021, The World of Chinese)
How the Zhu clan became one of the richest and most powerful families in all Yunnan from their business base in Jianshui.

The marvel of China’s multi-generational rice terraces (October 25, 2021, BBC)
Hacked from mountains in south-western China, the sprawling Honghe Hani Rice Terraces stack up over more than 160sq km to create one of the most spectacular landscapes on Earth.

OlymPicks: Seven Takeaways from the Beijing ’22 “Closed Loop” Playbook (October 26, 2021, The Beijinger)
The International Olympic Committee has just released what it calls “The Playbook”. This 69-page document can be seen in all its glory right here, but for those of you whose idea of a good time is plowing through nearly 70 pages of Olympic minutae, we’ve digested the document below.

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

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