ZGBriefs | October 6, 2022

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Featured Article

Church-State Relations: Lessons from China (August 2022, Themelios)
This article delineates various biblical principles that circumscribe the church’s relationship to the state. In addition to more general principles, these include the recognition that the mission of the organized church is distinct from that of individual Christians, that political institutions tend to become anti-Christ and oppressive, and that our context will determine the extent to which the church can exercise its prophetic voice.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Taiwan launches English language TV channel to give it more international punch (October 3, 2022, Reuters)
Taiwan launched its first English-language news, lifestyle and entertainment television channel on Monday to give it a bigger voice internationally at a time China when is squeezing the island’s footprint and seeking to assert sovereignty. The government-backed TaiwanPlus began operations last year as a mostly online streaming platform and has been strongly supported by President Tsai Ing-wen.

How academies for cadres shape China’s ruling class (October 4, 2022, The Economist) (subscription required)
In recent days, several provinces have reported on lessons being given at these schools to congress delegates who have no official titles (model workers and the like). The classes appear to focus on the need for loyalty to Mr Xi and on instilling the principle that “whatever the party asks me to do, I will do”, as one account put it. The training typically lasts two days.

The Chinese Communist Party’s Ride-or-Die Moment (October 5, 2022, The Diplomat)
Paradoxically, the party’s renewed commitment to its “core leader” is coming at a time when the Chinese government faces a daunting array of foreign and domestic challenges, most of which have been prodigiously exacerbated by Xi’s own policy choices.

Taiwan vows to respond to China’s military flight incursions (October 5, 2022, AP)
Taiwan’s defense minister on Wednesday said the island will respond to incursions into its airspace by Chinese warplanes and drones, but gave no details on specific actions. Responding to questions from legislators, Chiu Kuo-cheng said China’s newly aggressive stance had changed what Taiwan would define as a “first strike” that would necessitate a response.


Rest? Is It Permitted?: Some Observations on Rest in the Chinese Cultural Context (September 12, 2022, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Chinese Christian workers will ignore or suppress the need to rest (considering individual well-being) and push through all their tasks in order to accomplish the group goals. Not only can they save the group’s “face” by these self-denying acts, but they can also possibly win honor and recognition for the group, and even for Jesus. As a result, “eating bitterness” tends to become a measure of a Christian’s dedication to God and the church. Rest, again, is not taken into consideration when serving the Lord and others.

Chinese Culture and the Ethos of Suffering in the Chinese Church (September 12, 2022, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Chinese church history possesses a legacy of suffering that is spiritually essential to one’s calling; therefore, member care is, I believe, ontologically difficult to both pursue and receive. Rather than embracing as legitimate the self-stewardship of one’s own spiritual and emotional health, member care feels selfish. That is because suffering is to be ingested.

Member Care for Workers from China—a Growing Understanding (September 12, 2022, ChinaSource Quarterly)
The more involved I got in the missions community of Hong Kong, the more I realized that my Chinese brothers and sisters who answered God’s calling to cross-cultural missions faced both similar and very different challenges than my husband and I had when we arrived in Hong Kong on a blistering hot and humid July day in 1981.

Mother of Chinese House Church: Marie Monsen (September 22, 2022, Field Partner Blog)
Marie Monsen (1878-1962) was a Norwegian missionary who served in China between 1901 and 1932. Her life is an amazing example of how God can turn an ordinary man or woman into someone who makes a significant difference in the lives of others.

Father, Long Before Creation (September 30, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
Last weekend, I was at a gathering during which we sang the song “Father, Long Before Creation.” The person who was leading worship at the gathering mentioned that it was a translation of a Chinese hymn that had sustained Chinese Christians during the dark times of the 1950s and 1960s.

Guangdong Church Celebrates 113th Anniversary (September 30, 2022, China Christian Daily)
In China’s southeastern coastal Guangdong Province, a church marked the 113th anniversary of its founding and 43rd anniversary of its reopening. In Dongshan Church, Guangzhou, on September 24, Rev. Guo Yun, chairman of Guangzhou TSPM delivered a sermon titled “Keep His Covenant of Love With You”, encouraging believers to reflect God’s faithful love to worship, unite, and serve in the church, Guangzhou CC&TSPM said.

Yes, Yes, Yes—Member Care Is Part of the Mission: A Reader Responds to the Autumn 2022 ChinaSource Quarterly (October 3, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
Too often have I found myself in a room with visionary leaders talking budget and strategy, but despite their great vision, they fail to see the need for member care and don’t even try to understand what it is all about.

Pastoral Emails from Lockdown (October 3, 2022, China Partnership Blog)
Today we are sharing a series of emails a pastor sent to his congregation during lockdowns this past spring. In them, he urges believers to use their confinement as an opportunity to invite unbelieving family members to hear the gospel, and urges them to pray for and reach out to one another.

The Vatican’s Diplomacy in Central Asia (October 3, 2022, The Diplomat)
Pope Francis’ recent trip to Central Asia cemented the importance of Asian countries in the Vatican’s global strategy – and the pope’s willingness to engage with political issues.

One Who Waited for “Godot” but Found God (October 5, 2022, Chinese Church Voices)
Jesus possessed shocking goodness and beauty. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28–30)

Society / Life

China’s ‘Absurd’ Covid Propaganda Stirs Rebellion (September 29, 2022, The New York Times) (subscription required)
The use of propaganda in the country has been on overdrive in the pandemic, with some Chinese citizens arguing the language has bordered on “nonsense.”

China’s demographic crisis looms over Xi Jinping’s third term (October 2, 2022, Financial Times)
Demographers predict the world’s most populous country will start to shrink in 2022, a turning point with profound ramifications for its future. […] The rapid ageing of China’s population — a process that will accelerate during Xi’s third term — will further chip away at Beijing’s powers to stimulate growth and manage economic crises.

China Spends Holiday ‘Lying Flat’ Amid Heavy Travel Restrictions (October 3, 2022, Sixth Tone)
With long-distance travel strictly controlled, many Chinese are checking into upscale local resorts for the weeklong National Day holiday.

A public payphone in China began ringing and ringing. Who was calling? (October 3, 2022, NPR)
For years, the public payphone in Beijing — demurely shielded by its bulbous, yellow cover — sat underused, eclipsed by the rise of the smartphone. Then on a Saturday in July it began ringing … and ringing … and ringing. It rang every Saturday for weeks with a barrage of calls, each a plea for help from residents of a community cut off from the rest of the world.

How the covid pop-up window is wreaking havoc on daily life in China (October 4, 2022, MIT Technology Review)
And for the more than 20 million people who live in or visit Beijing, the capital city, there is one additional worry: a pop-up window that can randomly show up on your phone to disrupt all your plans.

After Covid, Another Kind of Isolation (October 4, 2022, The World of Chinese)
Months after recovery, some former Covid-19 patients struggle with job discrimination, dating stigma, and even separate testing queues.

National Day 2022: A Mix of Patriotic Fervor and Pandemic Controls (October 4, 2022, Sixth Tone)
Many Chinese have decided to travel to local resorts instead. Others are meeting up with elderly relatives to celebrate the Double Ninth Festival — a day for paying respect to senior citizens, which coincides with the National Day holiday this year.

Shifting Fortunes in a ‘Taobao Village’ (October 4, 2022, Sixth Tone)
What happens when a model e-commerce village kills the goose that lays the golden eggs.

China bans residents from leaving Xinjiang, just weeks after its last Covid lockdown (October 5, 2022, CNN
China has banned residents from leaving Xinjiang over a Covid-19 outbreak – just weeks after the far-western region began relaxing restrictions from a stringent extended lockdown, fueling public frustration among those scarred by food shortages and plunging incomes. On Tuesday, the region – home to 22 million people, many belonging to ethnic minorities – reported 38 new asymptomatic Covid cases.

Economics / Trade / Business

Five reasons why China’s economy is in trouble (October 4, 2022, BBC)
The country might not be battling steep inflation like the US and the UK, but it has other problems – the factory of the world has suddenly found fewer customers for its products both domestically and internationally. Trade tensions between China and major economies such as the US are also hampering growth.


Thai School: For These Chinese Moms, the Future Is Foreign (September 30, 2022, Sixth Tone)
Peidu, which literally translates as “accompanying education,” is a common practice across China, in which a parent, often the mother, abandons their careers to devote themselves to supervising school-age children. Before moving to Thailand, however, Yezi did hesitate, and to this day, she still isn’t completely convinced about her decision to join her daughter. She recalls that, on the way to pay tuition at the international preschool, she did consider just turning around and taking her daughter back to China.

Science / Technology

Google shuts down Translate service in China (October 3, 2022, CNBC)
The move marks the end of one of its last remaining products in the world’s second-largest economy. The dedicated mainland China website for Google Translate now redirects users to the Hong Kong version of the service. However, this is not accessible from mainland China.

History / Culture

The Blast that Nearly Destroyed Beijing (October 5, 2022, The World of Chinese)
In 1626, the Wanggongchang Armory exploded taking most of southwest Beijing with it. But to this day, nobody can agree exactly what happened. It was an explosion so immense that it was heard beyond the Great Wall over 150 kilometers from the blast site. Reports of a “mushroom shaped” cloud hanging over Beijing after the accident have provided grist for historical conspiracy theorists ever since.

Living Cross-culturally

Which Path Are You On For Cultural Adjustment? (September 29, 2022, Global Trellis)
I see three pathways from life “here” in your homeland to living and working “there” in the place where God is leading you. In this post we want to take a quick look at these three paths from here to there.


Chinese Missionaries and the Care Gap—How to Help (September 12, 2022, ChinaSource Quarterly)
A review of China’s Ambassadors of Christ to the Nations: A Groundbreaking Survey by Tabor Laughlin. Laughlin interviewed twenty-five missionaries from mainland China who are connected to house churches. They have been serving outside China and ministering among non-Chinese host cultures for at least two years. His findings include the basic information of the interviewees and focus on cross-cultural relationships and adaptation.

A Tool for Those Who Care for Chinese Missionaries (September 12, 2022, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Review of Serving Together: Caring for Chinese Missionaries by Linghuei Wang, DMin; Ruth C. Chang, PsyD; Yih Jia Chang, PhD; and others. This handbook introduces a holistic approach to caring for Chinese missionaries that starts from recruitment and continues all the way to retirement (or final re-entry).

Pray for China

October 6 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Oct. 6, 1948, world-renowned economist Yang Xiaokai (杨小凯博士) was born in Jilin into a family of Communist Party officials. At age 19 he was given a 10-year prison sentence for writing a famous essay criticizing Mao Zedong. After his release, Yang demonstrated his brilliance in economics while studying at the Chinese Academy of Social Science, Princeton, and Yale. He moved to Australia in 1988, and spent years there as a prominent democracy activist. He became a Christian there in 2001 after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Yang wrote a profound testimony of his faith in Christ in 2003 and went to be with the Lord on July 7, 2004. Pray for scholars to understand, as Yang Xiaokai shared, that the knowledge of Jesus Christ is the most important thing that can ever be discovered and that the truth of the Gospel is the most important truth that can ever be revealed to them. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

Image credit: Joann Pittman
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