ZGBriefs

ZGBriefs | September 15, 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.

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Featured Article

China Pays Tribute to Queen Elizabeth II (September 9, 2022, Sixth Tone)
China’s top leaders and its people joined millions around the world to pay tribute to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II after the death of the country’s longest-reigning monarch was announced Thursday. She was 96.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Will the Xi Jinping Leadership Take Up Reformist Policies After the 20th Party Congress? (September 9, 2022, China Brief)
Despite his well-known aversion to market economics and his preference for reviving Maoist norms in economic policy-making, Xi may be compelled to abide by at least the majority of the relatively pro-reformist policies rolled out by out-going premier Li Keqiang (who will remain in office until March 2023) over the past two to three months. 

Indian and Chinese troops pull back from disputed Himalayan border area (September 9, 2022, The Guardian)
Indian and Chinese troops have begun to pull back from another disputed Himalayan border area, as peace talks between senior military officials after deadly clashes in 2020 continue. The two defence ministries confirmed troops were disengaging from respective sides in the area of Gogra-Hot Springs, in a move “conducive to the peace and tranquillity in the border areas”.

China’s Neighbors Are Navigating COVID-19, Beijing, and Washington (September 13, 2022, Foreign Policy) (subscription required)
A long, strange trip through East Asia shows the region’s impressive steering skills.

Xi and Putin to discuss Ukraine war at meeting – Kremlin (September 14, 2022, BBC)
China’s leader Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin will discuss the war in Ukraine and other “international and regional topics” at their meeting later this week, the Kremlin says. The two will meet in Uzbekistan at a summit that will show an “alternative” to the Western world, the Kremlin said. Mr Xi is making his first trip overseas since the start of the pandemic.

Religion

13-Y-O Deaf Fellowship of Xingsheng Church in Liaoning Province (September 6, 2022, China Christian Daily)
A church in northeast China’s Liaoning Province has a 13-year-old fellowship of 40 to 50 deaf people, the Heart Spring Deaf Fellowship in Xingsheng Christian Church in Tiexi District of Anshan, the steel city of China. 

An Interview with Song Cheng, Asia Editor of Christianity Today (September 9, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
We are thrilled to partner with Christianity Today (CT) to help inform global Christians about the church in China and tell the stories of God’s faithfulness to his people. I recently connected with Song (Sean) Cheng, CT’s Asia editor to learn more about how and why CT is covering China and some of the unique initiatives that he is involved with.

In Unpredictable Days, Our Future Is Secure (September 12, 2022, China Partnership Blog)
This is a summary of a recent conversation among several house church pastors, in which several pastors reflected on the changes and stressors of this season, on how they can shepherd believers in their churches in this time, and on their expectations for the future. 

Christian Charities Raise Funds for Special People on Tencent’s 99 Giving Day (September 13, 2022, China Christian Daily)
Many Christian charities invited Chinese netizens to participate in matching donations for their projects which assist the disadvantaged on China’s largest online fundraising day. 

China’s renewed push to tame religion (September 14, 2022, Observer Research Foundation)
The CCP uses both coercion and co-optation to ensure that organised religion remains aligned with its interests.

President Xi to cross paths with the Pope in Kazakhstan (September 14, 2022, The Age)
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first trip overseas since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic will overlap with a visit by Pope Francis to Kazakhstan, although the Vatican says there are no plans for them to meet.

Society / Life

More of the same under Xi’s COVID-zero China (September 12, 2022, The China Project)
Lockdowns of varying strictness are going on all over China, causing food shortages, obstructing access to medical care, and limiting holiday travel plans. But one very important person plans to leave home: Xi Jinping will take his first trip outside China since the start of the pandemic.

China Covid lockdowns leave residents short of food and essential items (September 12, 2022, BBC)
Tens of millions of people in at least 30 regions have been ordered to stay at home under partial or full lockdowns. “It’s been 15 days, we are out of flour, rice, eggs. From days ago, we run out of milk for kids,” said one resident in western Xinjiang. Authorities are scrambling to contain local outbreaks ahead of the Communist party’s congress in October.

Xinjiang lockdown: Chinese censors drown out posts about food and medicine shortages (September 12, 2022, The Guardian)
Chinese censors have reportedly been ordered to flood social media with innocuous posts about Xinjiang to drown out mounting complaints of food and medication shortages in a region under lockdown for more than a month.

How a Choir of Miao Farmers Became a Viral Hit (September 13, 2022, Sixth Tone)
The Xiaoshuijing Miao Farmer Choir has found success online, but viral fame comes with its own risks.

China’s Chengdu to lift citywide COVID lockdown on Thursday (September 14, 2022, Reuters)
According to the latest COVID guidelines released late on Wednesday, residents of districts still under a full lockdown will no longer face limits on how frequently they can leave their homes, except for some areas that are still fighting community infections. Public transportation will resume and workplaces will reopen, the authorities said.

Economics / Trade / Business

Video: How China’s Slowing Economy Affects the United States (September 9, 2022, National Committee on U.S.-China Relations)
Houze Song, a fellow at MacroPolo who specializes in the Chinese economy, explains how slowing economic growth, an aging society, and a looming property crisis have implications not just for China, but for the United States and beyond.

Twilight of Entrepreneurs in China as More Leave the Country (September 8, 2022, The New York Times) (subscription required)
Two of China’s best-known entrepreneurs, Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin, stepped down from their top jobs at the real estate development company they built.

Starbucks to open 3,000 new stores in China despite falling sales from COVID lockdowns (September 14, 2022, Marketplace)
The coffee giant targets 9,000 stores in China by 2025 even as sales dropped sharply this year amid COVID-19 lockdowns and weakening consumer spending.

Education

In 2022, China’s Students Are Struggling to Cope. So Are Their Teachers. (September 9, 2022, Sixth Tone)
China is growing increasingly concerned about a spike in mental health problems among students. But “zero-COVID” is taking a shocking toll on teachers, too.

Special Education through a Teacher’s Eyes (September 14, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
Obviously, special education throughout the world has come a long way since that day back in the 1980s. How do I, an English teacher, know something about such developments in China? From a simple relationship with a good friend, Mr. J.

Health / Environment

Moderna open to supplying COVID vaccines to China, CEO says (September 14, 2022, Reuters)
Moderna Inc. has held talks with the Chinese government about supplying COVID-19 vaccines, but no decision has yet been made, CEO Stephane Bancel told Reuters on Wednesday. As the rest of the world gradually lifts COVID restrictions, China continues to lock down enormous parts of society and conduct mass testing to eradicate the coronavirus.

Typhoon Muifa pounds eastern China with strong gales, rain (September 14, 2022, Reuters)
Powerful gales and torrential rains battered Zhoushan in eastern China on Wednesday as Typhoon Muifa made landfall at the port city in what local media called the strongest tropical cyclone to hit the populous Yangtze River Delta in a decade.

Science / Technology

China discovers new moon mineral in lunar samples (September 12, 2022, Space.com)
Chinese scientists have found a new lunar mineral in the form of a crystal lurking inside samples collected from the moon in 2020. Changesite–(Y), named for the mythological Chinese goddess of the moon, Chang’e, is a phosphate mineral and columnar crystal. It was found in lunar basalt particles being examined in laboratories in China.

History / Culture

Story of the ‘Jing: When Beijing’s Most Famous Sites Opened Their Doors to the Public (September 10, 2022, The Beijinger)
Since many of the most popular contemporary tourist attractions were those once exclusively controlled by the imperial court, despite their antiquity, it’s only been in the last century or so that ordinary people (never mind random foreigners) had access to the city’s historic parks and palaces.

Language / Language Learning

How a 300-Year-Old Dictionary Birthed China’s Comic Sans (September 10, 2022, Sixth Tone)
Twelve years ago, a young type designer created a rudimentary font based on a photocopy of the Kangxi Dictionary. Within months, it was on everything from restaurant menus to propaganda posters.

Kickstart your learning with the Skritter Character Course (September 13, 2022, Hacking Chinese)
What’s the best way to learn Chinese characters as an adult foreign learner? This is a complex question we definitely don’t know the full answer to yet, but that doesn’t mean we have no clue.

Living Cross-culturally

When I Say Fruitful, You Think What? (September 12, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
“Did God call you to the field to set others free in Christ while you stay trapped in an unintended form of ministry bondage?” What if collectively we moved our metrics down a peg and allowed walking with the Spirit to be the true measure of fruitfulness? 

Books

‘Surveillance State’ explores scope of China’s tactics that ‘deft the imagination’: Review (September 14, 2022, Courier-Journal)
Josh Chin and Liza Lin’s hard-hitting new book, “Surveillance State: Inside China’s Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control,” superbly narrates what living under China’s omnipresent surveillance apparatus means on a human level.

When Hollywood Met China (September 12, 2022, The New Yorker)
Erich Schwartzel’s “Red Carpet” details the hazardous courtship of American entertainment companies and the Chinese government.

Pray for China

September 16 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Sept. 16, 1965, Christian writer Kang Hong (康洪) was born in Fujian. Known by the pen name Bei Cun (北村弟兄), he became famous as an avant-garde writer before coming to faith in Christ on Mar. 10, 1992. Since becoming a Christian, Bei Cun helped found the Fangzhou Church (方舟教会-Ark Church) in Beijing and has written several Christian novels, including The Marriage of Zhang Sheng, Fury, and Glass. Pray for Christian writers in Fujian and Beijing to proclaim the Lord’s salvation and to declare his glory to all peoples. Sing to the Lord, all the earth! Tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! 1 Chronicles 16:23-24

Image credit: Henry Be, via Unsplash
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