ZGBriefs | September 22, 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

Temple excursions booming among Chinese youth (September 21, 2022, The China Project)
According to government data, there are currently more than 33,000 Buddhist temples in China. An increasing number of them find themselves hosting urban youth who seek an escape from the rat race.

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ChinaSource Quarterly: Member Care for Chinese Missionaries 
(September 12, 2022, ChinaSource)
The sending of missionaries from China and the high attrition rate among those sent have highlighted the need for better member care. Standing in the way of providing this needed ministry are deep-seated theological convictions and cultural values that make it difficult for Chinese workers to even consider or understand what member care is. Unless these barriers are addressed from a solid biblical foundation it will not be easy to convince Chinese workers that member care is a necessary part of fulfilling the great commission. This issue of ChinaSource Quarterly speaks to these barriers and to the areas that have suffered so much due to the lack of attention to the needs of workers from China.

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Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

Editor’s Introduction—Special Issue on the 20th Party Congress: The Xi Era Enters its Second Decade (September 20, 2022, China Brief)
Will he undertake market-oriented reforms to moderate the enormous inefficiencies produced by state dominance of the economic and financial systems? Will he eventually opt to roll back, or at least moderate, the strict zero-COVID epidemic prevention measures that have engendered mass frustration and been a millstone dragging down the economy? Finally, will Xi take to heart the lessons of the war in Ukraine and recalibrate a foreign policy that is geared toward confrontation with the U.S.?

United front: Understanding China and Russia’s deepening alliance (September 20, 2022, Christian Science Monitor)
China’s deepening ties with Russia are likely to grow even stronger in coming years as each country reaps key benefits from the other. Yet historical mistrust and differing global aspirations remain potential weaknesses.

China dials down Taiwan rhetoric; US, Canada transit strait (September 21, 2022, AP)
China toned down its rhetoric on Taiwan on Wednesday, saying it is inevitable that the self-governing island will come under its control but that it would promote efforts to achieve that peacefully. The comments followed recent remarks by President Joe Biden that the U.S. would defend Taiwan if China were to invade and came a day after U.S. and Canadian warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait.


Member Care is Part of the Mission (September 12, 2022, ChinaSource Quarterly)
The sending of missionaries from China and the high attrition rate among those sent have highlighted the need for better member care. Standing in the way of providing this needed ministry are deep-seated theological convictions and cultural values that make it difficult for Chinese workers to even consider or understand what member care is. Unless these barriers are addressed from a solid biblical foundation it will not be easy to convince Chinese workers that member care is a necessary part of fulfilling the great commission.

Member Care for Mainland Chinese Missionaries: Breaking New Ground in a Developing Field (September 12, 2022, ChinaSource Quarterly)
We hear of success stories from some corners of the world, yet most of what we hear are stories of an inability to continue, discouragement, returning in shame, and even loss of faith.

Marital Issues Facing Chinese Missionaries (September 12, 2022, ChinaSource Quarterly)
First, marital satisfaction has a high correlation with mission effectiveness and longevity. In this regard, marriages of Chinese missionaries are the same as others. As Brierley states, marital and family problems are the third overall factor in missionary attrition. Recently, there has been a growing interest in predicting the lives and effectiveness of missionaries from a family perspective. According to my findings, children’s education and marital satisfaction are among the top five factors in premature departure from the field.

Fatherhood, a Sacred Leadership Calling (September 12, 2022, ChinaSource Quarterly)
Many who serve in the Chinese church have the theological view that if you are committed to ministry, God will take care of your family. There exists subconsciously, then, the idea that you can build family relationships without putting in any time or investment. This, coupled with the biased understanding that the Bible teaches that if someone wants to serve the Lord, they have to leave their parents, wife, and children behind, leads to the belief and practice that it is perfectly okay to abandon your family in order to serve the Lord.

Bu Tai Qingchu (September 16, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
It seems like a lot of things about China are bu tai qingchu these days. When will COVID-Zero policies end and the borders re-open? Bu tai qingchu. Will the environment for religious life improve or deteriorate in the coming years? Bu tai qingchu.

Prepared in Advance (September 19, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
Here, in this story written by a Christian who taught in China for many years, we are reminded that the work of reaching international students often begins in their home countries. It may not happen just the way this story describes—things are different in China today than when this foreign professor taught there. But God is not limited, and we can trust that he is still working, in advance, in the hearts of those we meet on our campuses.

Society / Life

China’s Public Puts on a Show of Zero Covid for an Audience of One (September 9, 2022, The New York Times) (subscription required)
In their precarious existence filled with lockdowns, quarantines and mass testing, the Chinese public puts up a show, 24/7, for an audience of one: the country’s top leader, Xi Jinping, who is expected to secure a third term at an important Communist Party congress next month. Some people play their roles with enthusiasm, others with indifference or resentment. No matter what, the Kafkaesque show must go on until Mr. Xi says, “Stop.”

Photos: China’s Mid-Autumn Festival, Under the Shadow of Zero-COVID (September 11, 2022, Sixth Tone)
Renewed pandemic-control measures have muted celebrations in many parts of the country, as authorities double down on lockdown policies.

Zhengzhou Becomes First Big City to Scrap ‘Hukou’ Restrictions (September 15, 2022, Sixth Tone)
Zhengzhou, a city of over 12 million people, has become the first big Chinese city to end residency requirements known as the hukou in an attempt to stabilize the real estate market and attract talents from across the country, local authorities said.

In Mourning the Queen, Some in Hong Kong Mourn the Past (September 16, 2022, The New York Times) (subscription required)
A memorial for Elizabeth has given residents of the former British colony a rare platform for public, if quiet, political dissent.

The Enduring Relevance of Radio Exercise Routines in Modern China (September 18, 2022, The World of Chinese)
Whether you find them amusing, annoying or confusing, “broadcast exercises (广播体操),” or radio exercises, are ubiquitous throughout China, and, surprisingly, they are now more prevalent than ever. If you walk past a hair salon, a massage parlor, or a hotel at 9:30 in the morning you can see staff members outside the entrance on the sidewalk, dancing to the music of “My Little Apple” or some other hideous pop song, following a lead dancer of course.

Strong Taiwan earthquake traps people and derails a train (September 18, 2022, NPR)
A strong earthquake shook much of Taiwan on Sunday, toppling a three-story building and temporarily trapping four people inside, stranding about 400 tourists on a mountainside, and knocking part of a passenger train off its tracks.

Video: Bus crash fuels anger toward China’s zero-Covid policy (September 20, 2022, CNN)
A deadly bus crash in southwestern China has triggered outrage at the country’s relentless zero-Covid policy. The bus was carrying 47 people from Guiyang city to a remote county 155 miles (249 kilometers) away, when it overturned and rolled into a ditch, killing 27 people.

“We Must Wake Up!” (September 20, 2022, China Media Project)
As anger flared across Chinese social media yesterday following the deadly crash in Guizhou of a passenger bus transferring positive Covid cases, Gao Yu (高昱), the deputy executive editor and head of investigations at Caixin Media, posted a reflection on the tragedy to his WeChat friend group that was subsequently shared outside the chat.

Take a Look at Beijing’s Newly Unveiled Traffic Signs (September 20, 2022, The Beijinger)
Beijing has released new guidelines for road traffic signs for 2022, and with the new guidelines come a series of new signs that’ll make for some interesting changes to the rules of the road, providing they’ll be followed.

Meet the Young People Working as Security Guards (September 21, 2022, The World of Chinese)
More and more young people are taking jobs as security guards, positions normally reserved for middle-aged migrant workers—why?

More Air Conditioning Workers Died This Summer: Media Report (September 21, 2022, Sixth Tone)
The number of fatal accidents involving falls from high-rise buildings when maintaining or installing air conditioning systems surged this summer, as workers overlooked safety issues to increase efficiency amid an increase in orders during record-breaking heat waves, online media outlet Zhengmian Lianjie reported Tuesday.

Beijing police ban drones, expel petitioners, migrant workers ahead of CCP congress (September 21, 2022, Radio Free Asia)
Light and ultra-light aircraft, gliders, delta wings, hot air balloons, airships, para-gliders, drones, model aircraft and free and tethered balloons are banned from Beijing’s skies through Oct. 31, the municipal police department said in a notice dated Sept. 15.

Economics / Trade / Business

European business group warns of loss of confidence in China (September 20, 2022, Reuters)
A top European industry group warned on Wednesday that firms were losing confidence in China and that its standing as an investment destination was being eroded, citing its “inflexible and inconsistently implemented” COVID policy as a key factor.

Health / Environment

The urban-rural divide hampering China’s efforts to cut smoking (September 20, 2022, The Guardian)
Health cover varies widely between rich cities and poorer regions, and government messages on healthy living do not always go down well.

History / Culture

Video: Queen Elizabeth visits Hong Kong in 1975 (Everyday Life in Maoist China)

Travel / Food

China considers easing entry rules for some foreign tourists (September 20, 2022, CNN)
Under the new draft policy, foreign tourists will be allowed to visit China’s border tourism sites — but only as part of tour groups. The policy didn’t specify whether those entering would still have to follow China’s quarantine requirements for incoming travelers, which consists of one week of hotel quarantine and three days of home observation.

Language / Language Learning

Beyond tīng bu dǒng, part 1: A guide to Chinese listening comprehension (September 20, 2022, Hacking Chinese)
In this series of articles, we’re going to break down listening ability with the ultimate goal of helping you understand and overcome challenges relating to listening comprehension.


China After Mao by Frank Dikötter — the grand deception (September 20, 2022, Financial Times)
Have China’s “reform and opening up” policies, proclaimed from the late 1970s onwards, been the key to the country’s spectacular growth? Or are they little more than a smokescreen for retrograde statist control to bolster the last major communist regime on Earth? These may seem odd questions about a country that has, over four decades, risen from its basket-case condition of the late Maoist era to become a potent global rival to the US — perhaps the dominant superpower of the 21st century. But it is one prompted by China After Mao, historian Frank Dikötter’s latest examination of the recent history of the People’s Republic. 

Podcast: Surveillance State (September 16, Pekingology)
In this episode of Pekingology, Freeman Chair Jude Blanchette is joined by Josh Chin and Liza Lin, both reporters at the Wall Street Journal, to discuss their new book, Surveillance State: Inside China’s Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control.


Ebook: Serving Together: Caring For Chinese Missionaries (Narramore Christian Foundation)
Serving Together: Caring for Chinese Missionaries is a handbook that addresses the need for churches, missions organizations, and others who care for Chinese missionaries to collaborate and provide care for Chinese missionaries who are now entering the field.

Pray for China

September 22 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
On Sept. 22, 1881, Cheng Jingyi (诚静怡牧师) was born in Beijing into a Manchu Christian family. After studying theology in Tianjin and Scotland, he began pastoring a newly independent church in Beijing. For the next 3 decades, he was a leader in the movement to create a unified Chinese church independent of missionary leadership. In 1910, he chaired the first convening of the National Evangelism Conference and also attended the World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh as one of China’s two delegates. In 1918, Cheng worked with six prominent Chinese Christians to form the Chinese Home Mission Society (中华国内布道会), an indigenous interdenominational mission devoted to reaching minority nationalities in southwest China. (Those six were: Dr. Shi Meiyu (史美玉医生-Mary Stone), Cai Sujuan (蔡苏娟姊妹-Christiana Tsai), Yu Rizhang (余日章-David Z.T. Yui), Dora Yu Cidu (余慈度姊妹), Hu Suzhen (胡素贞女士), and Ding Limei (丁立梅牧师). He died in Shanghai in 1940 after returning from a mission trip to the southwest in poor health. Pray for Chinese Christians to manifest a spirit of unity and love in an era of growing denominational distinctiveness. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

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