ZGBriefs | September 1, 2022

ZGBriefs is for those who want and need to keep up on what is happening in China, but don’t have the time to monitor and track it all. We monitor more than 50 different news sources and curate the most relevant and interesting stories out of China each week. Topics include government, religion, society, economics, education, travel, and language, and books.


Featured Article

Filled with the Spirit amid the Hungry Ghosts (August 25, 2022, Christianity Today)
“In folk religions, good and evil is always around you,” he explained. “There [is a sense that] demons and angels are everywhere.” Many Asian Christian leaders would agree with that sentiment. But most believe celebrating the holiday seems to raise ghosts to the level of God. Instead, this month serves as an important time for the church to reflect on its own convictions about spirits and the Holy Ghost himself.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

China’s Crucial Party Congress Has a Date: October 16 (August 30, 2022, The Diplomat)
The 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party will set the tone for China’s next five years — almost certainly under Xi Jinping’s leadership yet again.

Taiwan forces fire at drones flying over island near China (August 31, 2022, ABC News)
Taiwan’s military fired warning shots at drones from China flying over its outposts just off the Chinese coastline, underscoring heightened tensions and the self-ruled island’s resolve to respond to new provocations. Taiwan’s forces said in a statement that troops took the action on Tuesday after drones were found hovering over the Kinmen island group. Dadan, one of the islands where a drone was spotted, lies roughly 15 kilometers (9 miles) off the Chinese coast.

China sets October start for congress seen as Xi coronation (August 31, 2022, Reuters)
China’s ruling Communist Party will hold its five-yearly congress beginning on Oct. 16, with Xi Jinping poised to secure an historic third leadership term and cement his place as the country’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong.

Why Gorbachev’s legacy haunts China’s ruling Communist Party (August 31, 2022, CNN)
For an entire generation of Chinese leaders, however, Gorbachev has come to represent the perils of embracing democratic reforms, with officials long suggesting Communist-ruled China could face a similar fate to former ideological cousin the USSR if internal politics are left unchecked.


Why Theologians Aren’t as Excited About Chinese Christianity’s Growth as Sociologists (August 17, 2022, Christianity Today)
There are many methods and approaches we can apply in observing and interpreting Christianity in China. But this leads to a larger question: How do we read Christianity in general?

Chinese Christian Pop Star G.E.M.’s New Song Is Courageous (August 18, 2022, Christianity Today)
In July 2022, the singer G.E.M., Chinese name 邓紫棋 (Deng Ziqi), released her 14-track album Revelation. On August 9, the music video of the album’s first song, “Gloria,” was released online. G.E.M. also recorded and released a short video sharing her spiritual journey in the creation of the song. Deng, nicknamed “China’s Taylor Swift,” is one of China’s most popular and successful female singers. She is a Christian who has openly talked about her faith on social media.

Protecting Children from Abuse: What Can the Church Do? (August 24, 2022, Chinese Church Voices)
This year, just after Children’s Day on June 1, two horrific incidents involving the sexual abuse of girls were reported in China. In response to those incidents, this article from Gospel Times discusses what the church should do to help protect children and prevent sexual abuse.

China warns its Catholics to resist ‘foreign infiltration’ as faith app shuts down (August 26, 2022, Radio Free Asia)
China’s top political adviser has warned the country’s Catholics of the dangers of ‘foreign infiltration,’ as a helper app for Catholics said it was shutting down indefinitely.

Preparing for Cross-Cultural Ministry?: Six Recommendations from a Family Counselor (August 26, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
The autumn issue of ChinaSource Quarterly, “Member Care for Chinese Missionaries,” focuses on the currently underdeveloped area of member care for cross-cultural workers from China. In submitting her article on caring for families, one contributor, Lisa Tsai, included a list of her recommendations for those who are preparing to follow God’s call into cross-cultural ministry. 

Yes, You Can Impact the People of China (August 29, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
Even when travel to China is increasingly difficult—perhaps especially when it is difficult—God can still use you and your church to impact the people of China.

Film Review: Breakthrough: James O. Fraser (August 31, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
Breakthrough: James O. Fraser is a half-hour dramatized documentary produced by OMF International (formerly China Inland Mission) about the life of James O. Fraser, a missionary among the Lisu people in southwestern China.

Timothy Richard Knew That God Loved Chinese People As Chinese People (September, 2022, Christianity Today)
The 19th-century Welsh missionary’s cross-cultural approach enabled him to spread the gospel as a scholar, humanitarian, and educator.

Society / Life

Life in One of China’s Unfinished Apartment Complexes (August 28, 2022, Sixth Tone)
Construction on the Jinling Apartment building ground to a halt when the developer ran out of funds. Residents moved in anyway.

Millions in new COVID lockdown as China keeps strict policy (August 30, 2022, ABC News)
The measures affected about half of the 6 million residents of the port city of Dalian, along with an undisclosed number in Chengde and Shijiazhuang in Hebei province, both around three hours from the capital Beijing.

Xi’s Tech Crackdown Fuels Another Crisis: Out-of-Work Youth (August 30, 2022, Bloomberg)
A record of almost 11 million new graduates are expected to flood the labor market this year. With the tech sector no longer offering them as lucrative and exciting a career path as it once did, many will join the jobless ranks in an economy where one in five people between the ages of 16 and 24 are already out of work.

Economics / Trade / Business

Point of no return: crunch time as China tries to fend off property crash (August 28, 2022, The Guardian)
With the global economy also at a crossroads, Beijing’s leadership faces a perilous test of nerve on its lending crackdown and zero-Covid strategy.

China’s factory activity extends declines as heat, COVID hit output (August 30, 2022, Reuters)
China’s factory activity extended declines in August as new COVID infections, the worst heatwaves in decades and an embattled property sector weighed on production, suggesting the economy will struggle to sustain momentum.

China arrests hundreds in rural banking scandal (August 30, 2022, CNN)
Police in China have arrested 234 suspects allegedly involved in a rural banking scandal, a month after hundreds of depositors protested over their lost savings in one of the largest demonstrations the country has seen since the pandemic began. Since April, four rural banks in China’s central Henan province have frozen deposits worth millions of dollars, heaping misery on hundreds of thousands of customers in an economy already battered by draconian Covid lockdowns.


Chinese Universities Start New Semester With Old COVID Rules (August 31, 2022, Sixth Tone)
University students across China are starting a new semester with anxiety — not over academic life, but austere coronavirus-related measures. Many schools across the country have announced strict COVID-19 curbs in regulating students’ movements in and outside campuses to prevent possible outbreaks. These include regular coronavirus testing and distancing from the outside world.

Health / Environment

Video: China’s severe drought from the air (August 27, 2022, BBC)

Infographic: China’s record heatwave, worst drought in decades (August 31, 2022, South China Morning Post)
In the summer of 2022, China was hit by its most severe heatwave in six decades, exacerbating a drought that has impacted food and factory production, power supplies and transport in a vast area of the country.

History / Culture

The Last Maoist Village in China (August 27, 2022, The World of Chinese)
Decades ago it was common for families throughout China to place an image of Chairman Mao in the center of their home. Today this is a relatively rare sight, unless you happen to live in Nanjie village. 

Travel / Food

[How To]: Get in to Shanghai from Outside of China in 2022 (August 3, 2022, Smart Shanghai)
The journey to China is not easy these days but it can be done. We did it this summer. This guide is based on our personal experiences, conversations with quarantine hotel staff and neighborhood committees, and digging around the Internet.

U.S. to Suspend 26 Flights to China In Retaliatory Flap (August 26, 2022, Skift)
The U.S. government said on Thursday it will suspend 26 China-bound flights from the United States by four Chinese carriers in response to the Chinese government’s decision to suspend some U.S. carrier flights over COVID-19 cases.

Hong Kong’s Peak Tram reopens after 14 months (August 27, 2022, BBC)
Hong Kong’s Peak Tram, one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, has reopened with a new look after a year-long closure. The funicular, the oldest in Asia, dates back to 1888 and previously drew over six million visitors annually before Covid-19 struck. The service welcomed back passengers on Saturday – even as tight coronavirus rules remain in place in the city. It has undergone a $799m HKD (£87m) facelift since closing in June 2021.

China has new entry rules, but are they making travel easier? (August 27, 2022, South China Morning Post)
China has introduced a new health declaration form for those entering or leaving the country, but the authorities have stressed that the country’s strict border controls will remain in place. The country also remains committed to its zero-Covid policy even as the rest of the world finds ways to live with the virus, but has signalled it wants to make travel easier for some groups. Here is how things stand at present.

Six Well-Known Belt & Road Cuisines – How Many Have You Tried? (August 29, 2022, The Beijinger)
There are over 140 countries taking part in the Belt & Road Initiative – China’s modern-day answer to the ancient Silk Road – and all of them boast their own diverse food cultures. But seeing as it’s a little difficult to list all 140 of these and their cuisines in one piece, we’ve compiled a list of six well-known cuisines from along the Belt & Road you might know of – and might have tried!

Language / Language Learning

Take responsibility for your Chinese learning now (August 29, 2022, Hacking Chinese)
I think the reason most students don’t take responsibility is that school has taught us not to. Most of our youth is spent within a system where success is defined by teachers and curricula. Following the teacher, textbook or syllabus is the best way, sometimes the only way, to succeed.


Sept 16: CDB will host an online event on NGOs “going out” in the post-pandemic era (China Development Brief)
Speakers will discuss what risks and opportunities there are for organizations operating abroad. 

Pray for China

September 1 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Sept. 1, 1901, Norwegian missionary Marie Monsen (孟玛丽) first arrived in China. In 1927, she was leading a Bible class for sixteen Chinese women, and the teaching led to unprecedented confessions about female infanticide. From this experience, God used Marie as a catalyst for a revival largely led by Chinese lay leaders that swept through Shandong in the early 1930s. Pray for Christians burdened by unconfessed abortions to repent and see the Lord use their healing to bring revival. But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” Luke 23:28-31

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
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