ZGBriefs | October 7, 2021

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Featured Article

Hammered by Blackouts, China’s Rust Belt Grinds Down (October 5, 2021, Sixth Tone)
Like many cities across China’s coal-dependent northeast, Huludao is in the middle of an energy crisis. Since September, high coal costs and inflexible electricity prices have caused shortages that forced local governments to implement rolling blackouts for energy-intensive industries. 

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

China’s Xi ascendant as attention turns to every facet of life (September 30, 2021, Al Jazeera)
“(Xi) wants to prove his leadership in almost every sphere of China, whether it’s international relations, domestic affairs, corruption issues, cultural issues, which is new, and so, therefore, you see all the sort of movements happening almost simultaneously, possibly in preparation for next year’s big events,” which include the 2022 Winter Olympics in addition to the party congress, said Lim Tai Wei, a senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore.

Xi Jinping’s clampdowns herald a tense political year in China (October 2, 2021, The Economist) (subscription required)
In the build-up to a crucial Communist Party gathering, ideology matters more than usual.

Common prosperity did not fall from the sky  (October 5, 2021, MERICS)
Earlier this year China celebrated the eradication of extreme poverty and a new goal of “common prosperity”. MERICS Senior Associate Fellow Bert Hofman assesses the options at China’s disposal for reaching that goal. 

Chinese detective in exile reveals extent of torture against Uyghurs (October 5, 2021, CNN)
In order to help verify his testimony, Jiang showed CNN his police uniform, official documents, photographs, videos, and identification from his time in China, most of which can’t be published to protect his identity. CNN has submitted detailed questions to the Chinese government about his accusations, so far without a response. 

Biden says he and China’s Xi agree to abide by Taiwan agreement (October 6, 2021, Reuters)
U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that he has spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping about Taiwan and they agreed to abide by the “Taiwan agreement”, as tensions have ratcheted up between Taipei and Beijing.

China-Taiwan military tensions ‘worst in 40 years’ (October 6, 2021, BBC)
Tensions with China are at their worst in 40 years, Taiwan’s defence minister has said, warning of the risk of an accidental strike between the two. Chiu Kuo-cheng’s comments came after China sent a “record number” of military jets into Taiwan’s air defence zone for four consecutive days.

Why is China increasing its military pressure on Taiwan? (October 6, 2021, The Guardian)
As China ramps up its display of power, Taiwan’s leaders vow to do ‘whatever it takes’ to defend its independence.


How a Forgotten Religion Shaped China (September 30, 2021, Sixth Tone)
In a small temple in the southeastern city of Quanzhou, half a world away from his birthplace, visitors can find one of the last still-standing representations of the Persian prophet Mani.

The Importance of Praying for the Work: A Pamphlet from 1910 (October 1, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
Alfred E. Street (1860–1922) and his family served in Hainan during the early decades of the twentieth century—first with the PCUSA Board of Foreign Missionaries, and then independently. This pamphlet, originally published and distributed by the Student Volunteer Movement ca. 1905, was later reproduced by the China Inland Mission and many other mission-minded organizations.

From the Middle East to the Middle Kingdom (6): From Warlords to Communists (1913–1949 and Beyond)(October 4, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
The strength of the Hui minzu identity makes coming to faith in Christ inconceivable to most Hui minds. Even Hui who no longer practice Islam find the idea of Christian conversion impossible.

Five Reasons to Be Part of a Church Plant: A Letter to the Congregation (October 4, 2021, China Partnership Blog)
Today, we are sharing a letter to his congregation from the pastor of a mother church in a large Chinese city, urging parishioners to consider joining a new church plant.

China accelerates Sinicization of Catholic Church (October 5, 2021, UCA News)
Catholics are encouraged to adhere to the ‘one direction, one road and one flag’ principles of the Chinese Communist Party.

We Are in the Lord’s Care: The Testimony of a New Mother (October 5, 2021, Chinese Church Voices)
The birth of a child is usually a joyous occasion. In this video from 7G-TV, a young mother tells the story of the life-threatening circumstances of the birth of her daughter—both to herself and to her baby—and how God brought them through and sustained her faith during the crisis.

Grappling with Multiple Identities (October 6, 2021, ChinaSource Blog)
This issue of multiple ethnic identities not only affects teachers and students, it has also aroused controversy in society generally and in the church. Unity is disrupted in social circles and fellowships. In addition, increased focus on local identity contributes to declining interest in being involved in China ministries among Christians in Hong Kong.3

Society / Life

Collage: Snapshots From China’s National Day Holiday (October 2, 2021, Sixth Tone)

Who Will Care for China’s Aging Population? The Elderly. (October 3, 2021, Sixth Tone)
In a rapidly graying China, cities are having to get creative to fill a massive gap in social care. The latest solution: encouraging seniors to take care of each other.

Economics / Trade / Business

The Evergrande Dilemma and Beijing’s Credibility (October 1, 2021, Center for Strategic and International Studies)
The debt problems at Evergrande emerged in the last couple of weeks as the central topic in global financial markets as the company moved closer to default, along with several other Chinese property developers.

Biden is keeping key parts of Trump’s China trade policy. Here’s why (October 4, 2021, NPR)
The Biden administration isn’t scrapping a trade deal brokered by former President Donald Trump in the final year of his presidency. Instead, it plans to pressure China for not meeting its promises made under that deal. The Biden administration also plans to broadly maintain Trump’s tariffs on U.S. imports of Chinese goods, though it will reopen an exclusion process to provide exemptions for certain goods.

First Takes: Our Initial Reactions to USTR Tai’s CSIS Speech on China Policy (October 5, 2021, Center for Strategic and International Studies)
We asked the Trustee Chair’s resident and non-resident experts to offer their reactions to Ambassador Tai’s speech – what was said, what was not said – and where they think US-China commercial relations are headed. 

The End of a ‘Gilded Age’: China Is Bringing Business to Heel (October 6, 2021, The New York Times(subscription required)
Emboldened by swelling nationalism and his success with Covid-19, Mr. Xi is remaking China’s business world in his own image. Above all else, that means control. Where once executives had a green light to grow at any cost, officials now want to dictate which industries boom, which ones bust and how it happens.


Video: People-to-People Exchange: Chinese Students in the U.S. (October 4, 2021, National Committee on U.S.-China Relations)
On September 20, 2021 the National Committee hosted a virtual program with current Harvard Law School and former Columbia School of Social Work student Qianfeng Lin; professor of sociology at Syracuse University, Yingyi Ma (herself a former graduate student in the United States); and former U.S. high school exchange and university student, Nicky Shuwo Zhou, as they discussed the experiences of Chinese students studying in the United States and their thoughts about such students in the future.

After Beijing’s ban on tutoring industry, Chinese parents turn to black market to find teachers (October 4, 2021, South China Morning Post)
Despite Beijing’s cracking down on private tutoring , Chinese parents are still hiring underground tutors in a bid to obtain better scores for their children’s university entry exams. […] “As long as there are zhongkao (high school entrance examination) And gaokao (university entrance examination), my plan of letting my son spare no efforts in studying will not change,” she told the South China Morning Post.

Health / Environment

Reopen China’s borders when vaccination at home is high and cases overseas are low, says top doctor(October 4, 2021, South China Morning Post) (subscription required)
In an interview with the Southern People Weekly magazine, Dr Zhong Nanshan  said 80 to 85 per cent of China’s 1.4 billion people would have to be vaccinated, a milestone that could be reached by the end of the year. However, maintaining the strictest epidemic control measures would be unsustainable, putting great stress on China, he said.

Science / Technology

1,000 days on the moon! China’s Chang’e 4 lunar far side mission hits big milestone (October 5, 2021, Space)
Yutu 2 has set a new longevity record for a rover working on the surface of the moon, surpassing the previous record of 321 days set by the Soviet Union’s robotic Lunokhod 1 rover. Yutu 2 is now headed toward a distant basaltic area, but it may ake years to reach the new site.

Between China and Africa, a ‘Digital Silk Road’ (October 5, 2021, Sixth Tone)
China-Africa cooperation on the digital economy has only deepened over the past 18 months. As Africa’s digital transformation needs have grown, demand has risen for exactly the kinds of technology, investment, and talent China excels in — including 5G, big data, and artificial intelligence. 

Arts / Entertainment / Media

Athletes at 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics must remain in ‘closed-loop’ system (September 30, 2021, Matador Network)
This closed-loop management system will be a bubble-like environment where athletes, journalists, volunteers, and other officials will have to do everything — including eating, sleeping, working, and competing — all in the ‘bubble’ without leaving.

Language / Language Learning

Simultaneous Interpreting Practice #6 – Online Police Report (English into Mandarin) (October 6, 2021, carlgene.com)
An English-speaking police officer is talking to a local, Mandarin-speaking community about how to make an online police report. You will be interpreting for him into Mandarin in real time.


Journeys of Asian Diaspora: Mapping Originations and Destinations, by Sam George (Fortress Press)
The dozen essays in this volume are written by leading scholars of Asian backgrounds situated in various diasporic locations. The authors trace the contours of their dispersion and highlight diverse missiological themes, including the scattering (diaspora) and the gathering (ekklesia) of Asian Christians around the world. This volume traces the origins and destinations of major Asian migration and diaspora communities from a variety of perspectives and geographical locations. It is pan-Asian in scope and multidisciplinary in nature. It also provides the latest data and infographics on Asian diasporas worldwide.

The Man Behind Xi Jinping’s Foreign Policy (October 6, 2021, China File)
An Excerpt from ‘China’s Civilian Army: The Making of Wolf Warrior Diplomacy’

The War on the Uyghurs: A Conversation with Sean R. Roberts (October 4, 2021, Made in China Journal)
The text situates the campaign as part of a long history of settler colonialism in the region, augmented by the rhetoric surrounding the US-led Global War on Terror (GWOT). Roberts draws on his fieldwork experience, ties with Uyghur communities, extensive documentary research, and training in anthropological theory to narrate and contextualise the actions of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).


The Future of Overseas NGOs in China (U.S.-Asia Law Institute)
In 2016 China passed a law tightly restricting the activities of non-profit organizations from “overseas” jurisdictions, including Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. NGOs, foundations, think tanks, and many universities, museums, and even industry associations suddenly faced a new regime of reporting obligations and surveillance. It is now almost five years since the law took effect. Law Professor Mark Sidel of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Jessica Batke, editor at the China NGO Project, will talk with USALI Executive Director Katherine Wilhelm about what five years of a heavily securitized regulatory regime has meant for overseas nonprofits in China, how the regime is adapting and expanding, and prospects for the future.  October 13, 2021.

Pray for China

October 10 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Oct. 10, 2016, Yang Rongli (杨荣丽姊妹) was released with severe medical problems after seven years in prison in Shanxi. In Sept. 2009, 400 military police raided the Golden Lampstand Church, a house church in Fushan County where Yang and her husband Wang Xiaoguang (王晓光牧师) were serving as pastors. Yang and four other church leaders were sentenced to prison shortly thereafter. Military police destroyed the mega-church structure with dynamite and heavy equipment in Jan. 2018. Pray for the persecuted church in Shanxi. So that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Matthew 23:35

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