ZGBriefs | September 8, 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

An Unusual Scottish Missionary: William Burns (August 25, 2022, Field Partner Blog)
William Chalmers Burns (宾惠廉) lived from 1815-1868. A fellow missionary said after his death that “all China knows him; he is the holiest man alive”. Because of his itinerant ministry, he left an impression on thousands of people across wide stretches of China. His books helped the Chinese for decades (for example, he translated Pilgrims Progress twice, the second version using the common people’s language rather than that of classical Chinese). 

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

The United Nations says crimes against humanity may have happened in China’s Xinjiang (August 31, 2022, NPR)
The United Nations’ human rights chief has released a long-delayed report on abuses in China’s Xinjiang region, despite substantial pressure from Beijing to block the report for the better part of a year. The 48-page document concludes that “serious” human rights violations have been committed against Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities in the region in the name of counter-terrorism.

All Aboard the Adulation Express (September 2, 2022, China Media Project)
The “Two Establishes” phrase, which has been a crucial power indicator since the 6th Plenum in November last year — underscoring the unassailable roles of Xi as the Party’s “core” and his “thought” as the guiding ideology — appears in five articles in the Party’s flagship newspaper today.

China warns of ‘counter-measures’ as US approves $1.1bn arms sales to Taiwan (September 3, 2022, CNN)
China has warned the United States it will take “counter-measures” after the Biden administration approved more than  $1.1 billion in arms sales to Taiwan. Chinese embassy spokesman Liu Pengyu said Saturday China was “firmly opposed” to the sales, which “severely jeopardize China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” and called on Washington to “immediately revoke” them.

Xi Jinping to meet Putin in first trip abroad since pandemic (September 7, 2022, Christian Science Monitor)
China’s President Xi Jinping will attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit later this month, a bloc of nations the Communist leader sees as a counterweight to NATO and U.S. alliances in the Asia-Pacific.


Exploring Member Care for Workers from China (September 2, 2022, ChinaSource Blog)
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.

The Night Watch: Psalm 134 (September 7, 2022, China Partnership Blog)
The church today is the Night’s Watch of this generation, for her head is Christ. Only if Christ keeps watch for the church will the church be able to keep watch for this generation, lest it drift further and further away from God.

Beijing hounds Chinese church seeking safety overseas (September 7, 2022, China News Service)
The story of the exile of the Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church illustrates how the Chinese government is going to increasing lengths to control religious faith and its citizens, even far outside its borders.

A Hydraulics Engineer Finds True Success (September 7, 2022, Chinese Church Voices)
Although I liked the church environment, I still didn’t understand why Westerners would believe in the existence of God. I am a person who likes to get to the bottom of things that make me curious.

Catholic Church Demolished in Taiyuan Due to City Development (September 8, 2022, China Christian Daily)
Due to city development, a big Gothic-style Catholic church was demolished in Taiyuan, China’s northern Shanxi Province. {…} Due to city development, a big Gothic-style Catholic church was demolished in Taiyuan, China’s northern Shanxi Province. On August 25, Beihan Catholic Church was removed then its affiliated 40-meter-high tower exploded to the ground, according to a WeChat account “Xiu’s Diced Chicken with Pepper Restaurant” which has been banned.

Society / Life

The Cartoonist Capturing Life in Shanghai’s Parks (September 2, 2022, Sixth Tone)
Artist Lam Nong has found inspiration in Shanghai’s public parks, which act as hubs for community life in the Chinese megacity.

China locks down 65 million, discourages holiday travel (September 5, 2022, AP)
China has locked down 65 million of its citizens under tough COVID-19 restrictions and is discouraging domestic travel during upcoming national holidays. Across the country, 33 cities including seven provincial capitals are under full or partial lockdown covering more than 65 million people, according to a tally published late Sunday by the Chinese business magazine Caixin.

China Earthquake Deaths Rise to 74 as Lockdown Anger Grows (September 7, 2022, VOA News)
Following the quake, police and health workers refused to allow anxious residents of apartment buildings out, adding to anger over the government’s strict zero-COVID policy that mandates lockdowns, quarantines and other restrictions, even while the rest of the world has largely reopened.

China’s ‘Zero Covid’ Bind: No Easy Way Out Despite the Cost (September 7, 2022, The New York Times) (subscription required)
From vaccines to propaganda, Beijing has prioritized politics over science, creating conditions that make it difficult for China to join other countries in adapting to life with the coronavirus.

Economics / Trade / Business

Ten Years of the Belt and Road: Reflections and Recent Trends (September 6, 2022, Boston University Global Development Policy Center)
In 2023, China will mark the tenth anniversary of its flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the billion-dollar push to fund roads, ports and other critical infrastructure around the world. Ahead of this anniversary, it is important to pause and reflect on the significance and trends of China’s international finance on the global economy.

US bars ‘advanced tech’ firms from building China factories for 10 years (September 6, 2022, BBC)
US tech companies that receive federal funding will be barred from building “advanced technology” facilities in China for 10 years, the Biden administration has said. The guidelines were unveiled as part of a $50bn (£43bn) plan aimed at building up the local semiconductor industry. It comes as business groups have pushed for more government support in an effort to reduce reliance on China.

Health / Environment

China reports ‘most severe’ heatwave and third driest summer on record (September 7, 2022, The Guardian)
The heatwave between mid-June to the end of August was the “most severe” since records began in terms of duration, extent, intensity and impact, said Xiao.


‘Surveillance State’ explores China’s tech and social media control systems (September 7, 2022, NPR)
Josh Chin’s and Liza Lin’s new book, Surveillance State: Inside China’s Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control, attempts to answer that question. The two veteran Wall Street Journal reporters spent years covering China’s political and technological rise. They draw on that experience to untangle how China built its formidable digital surveillance apparatus (plot spoiler: in conjunction with American companies) and the often-erroneous assumptions that underpin its application, with disastrous consequences.

Links for Researchers

China Leadership Monitor (Fall 2022 Issue)

Pray for China

September 6 (Pray for China: A Walk Through History)
Families gather to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节) when the moon is full on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, which occurs in September or October. The origin is traced to the worship of Chang’e (嫦娥); she became the moon goddess after sacrificing herself by drinking an elixir that an evil king intended to use to make himself immortal. Pray for Christian families to celebrate this festival by honoring the Lord who sacrificed his only son to give eternal life to unworthy sinners. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 1 Corinthians 15:9

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