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ZGBriefs | February 6, 2020

By Joann Pittman on Feb 05, 2020 11:05 pm

Featured Article

These airlines have suspended flights to and from China  (February 5, 2020, CNN)
Airlines around the world have responded to the coronavirus outbreak by suspending flights to and from China, severely disrupting travel by tourists and business executives in one of the world's busiest aviation markets. Here's a roundup of some major airlines that have suspended or reduced their flights to mainland China:

Sponsored Link

Webinar: Contemporary Narratives about the Church in China
What we fundamentally believe about China’s church goes a long way toward determining how we will choose to engage, how we view what is desirable and what is possible. This webinar will explore four narratives about the church in China that have dominated Western Christian perceptions over the past four decades. How has our understanding of China’s past and present shaped our expectations for the future? What have been the consequences? In what ways have we become victims of our own narratives? Our stories may say as much about ourselves as they do about the church in China.

Date: February 10, 2020
Time: 7:00-8:00pm, US Central Time
Presenter: Dr. Brent Fulton
Cost: $10.00

If you or your company/organization would like to sponsor a link in ZGBriefs, please contact for more information.

Government / Politics / Foreign Affairs

China Disease Control Official Says Wuhan May Have ‘Hesitated’ on Virus Response  (January 30, 2020, Caixin Global)
The top epidemiologist at China’s center for disease control has said the Wuhan government may have hesitated at the crucial early stage of the coronavirus outbreak, which has spread across the nation and to over a dozen countries. 

As An Epidemic Raged, What Kept Party Media Busy?  (January 30, 2020, China Media Project)
I focus on the period from January 1, 2020, when media reported that the Wuhan city government had issued a notification on disease cases in Wuhan, and January 26, when media reported on the meeting of the Politburo Standing Committee on prevention and control of the outbreak.

How Beijing kept the world in the dark as coronavirus spread  (February 2, 2020, Sydney Morning Herald)
The government's initial handling of the epidemic allowed the virus to gain a tenacious hold. At critical moments, officials chose to put secrecy and order ahead of openly confronting the growing crisis to avoid public alarm and political embarrassment.

Chinese Officials Can’t Help Lying About the Wuhan Virus  (February 3, 2020, Foreign Policy)
Brave calls for transparency by Chinese media aside, the Chinese government’s habits of opaqueness, concealment, and distrust of the public will impede attempts to control the outbreak.

Taking credit, avoiding blame? Xi Jinping’s absence from coronavirus frontline  (February 4, 2020, The Guardian)
Yet Xi does not appear to be the face of the government’s fight against the virus. He has not been pictured visiting hospitals, doctors or patients. In the days after officials acknowledged the gravity of the crisis it was the premier, Li Keqiang, who visited Wuhan, the city at the centre of the outbreak. 

China says Xi Jinping is directing its Wuhan coronavirus response, but he's nowhere to be seen  (February 5, 2020, CNN)
Xi's vanishing act has not gone unnoticed in China, where many are asking questions on social media -- most of which are swiftly deleted by censors. Outside of the country, particularly among dissident communities, rampant speculation is growing, as those desperate to see the back of Xi spread wild, wholly unfounded claims.

Wrestling Back The Agenda  (February 5, 2020, China Media Project)
A notice released to Chinese media this week concerning the coronavirus outbreak suggests that in terms of information and media policy we have now entered a new phase in which propaganda authorities are making a renewed push to secure the source of information and wrestle back control of public opinion.

China’s response to coronavirus exposes a dangerous obsession with secrecy  (February 5, 2020, The Guardian)
Although the country is keen to show the world that it has progressed since Sars, it’s difficult to tell whether drastic containment – such as quarantining entire cities – would have been necessary had the party disclosed information about the virus more quickly. 

The Subtle Muckrakers of the Coronavirus Epidemic  (February 5, 2020, The New York Times)
Reporters and citizen-journalists in China are asking hard questions about the crisis. Why is the government letting them?

The US is patrolling the South China Sea more than ever  (February 5, 2020, Inkstone News)
US Navy vessels sailed within 12 nautical miles of features claimed or occupied by China seven times in 2019, according to data released by the US Pacific Fleet – the highest number of so-called freedom of navigation patrols (FONOPs) since Beijing controversially began constructing artificial islands around disputed reefs in the waterway in 2014.

Chinese scholar blames Xi Jinping, Communist Party for not controlling coronavirus outbreak  (February 6, 2020, South China Morning Post)
Beijing’s crackdown on civil society, freedom of expression made it impossible for people to raise the alarm about the situation, Tsinghua University professor Xu Zhangrun says in online article. 


5 Prayer Requests from Behind the Coronavirus Curtain  (January 31, 2020, The Gospel Coalition)
We’ve been back for a few days now—checking in with church members and neighbors and mostly staying indoors. Having received numerous questions about our well-being and needs, I thought it might help to share some prayer requests from behind the Coronavirus Curtain. 

Waiting, Praying in His Embrace  (January 31, 2020, ChinaSource Blog)
I imagine many reading this have dear friends either living in or near the epicenter of the Coronavirus outbreak in China. If not, many more of us know friends who live in close proximity, either in the mainland or across Asia. In some cases, the person facing danger is you and the risk of disease is very real and present.

Novel Coronavirus: China’s pastors go digital to spur flock on to faith and prayer  (January 31, 2020, Salt and Light)
Fear of the virus spreading has left the streets unfamiliarly quiet, and reports are also surfacing of churches cancelling outreach efforts and worship services. Pastors are making use, instead, of various forms of digital media to shepherd their flock.

3 Questions: Sinicization or Chinafication?  (February 3, 2020, ChinaSource Blog)
This clearly shows Zhongguohua is not about cultural assimilation, but political conformity and obedience. I suggest adopting the literal translation “Chinafication,” a word that has been used for Chinese Communist characteristics in economics and politics.  

Wuhan Church: “Take Care of Yourself, Your Family, and Neighbors with Christ's Love”  (February 3, 2020, China Christian Daily)
On January 25, the eve of the first Sunday Service after the nationwide epidemic, a church in Wuhan (Wuhan being the source of the epidemic) issued a prayer initiative and notice on gatherings to advocate for prayers for the safety and health of medical staff (and their family members) fighting on the front-line, and also ourselves and our families.

The Evolving Narratives  (February 5, 2020, ChinaSource Blog)
As I’ve written earlier, the narratives we use to talk about the church in China are more than just descriptive. They influence how we seek to relate to Chinese believers and the things we choose to do or not to do in the process.

Society / Life

Villages on Beijing’s outskirts isolate selves amid outbreak  (July 29, 2020, AP)
Roads are being blocked by piles of earth or anything else capable of stopping traffic, red banners are tied overhead and serious-looking villagers wearing masks and red armbands stand guard to prevent outsiders and their vehicles from entering.

The shunned: People from virus-hit city tracked, quarantined  (January 31, 2020, AP)
Now Mei finds himself under constant surveillance by plainclothes police. His doorstep has been posted with a red warning: “Do not approach – patient with suspected pneumonia.” Doctors in gowns, goggles and masks check his temperature three times a day, and the government calls him constantly to monitor his condition — despite tests that he says show his body is free of the coronavirus.

Why is China’s younger generation more pro-government than the previous generation?  (February 3, 2020, The Asia Dialogue)
That is, some explanation seems necessary for the reluctance on the part of today’s students to make the effort to understand the outside world and to accept information from sources other than the official Chinese media – and thus for the remarkable success of the CCP’s propaganda effort over the past five years.

Why Are Drones Shaming Chinese Citizens? The Coronavirus  (February 3, 2020, Jackson Wu)
China has taken call out culture to a new level. In an effort to ensure compliance, police have dispatched “sharp-tongued” drones that call out offenders right where they stand.

Going Around Coronavirus-Stricken Wuhan With Fang Bin, Visiting Hospitals, and Being Visited by Police, on February 1, 2020  (February 3, 2020, China Change)
When the lockdown on the city was announced about 10 days ago, Fang Bin set up a WeChat group called “The Self-Salvation of the People” (全民自救), where he started posting about life in the city.  

More surveillance, tighter controls: China's coronavirus crackdown  (November 3, 2020, The Guardian)
“The epidemic has given the authorities an excuse to boost control over the country,” said Willy Lam, an adjunct professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. “Definitely we will see more control and surveillance.”

Photos: Empty Streets in China Amid Coronavirus Outbreak  (February 4, 2020, The Atlantic)

Drone Footage Shows Wuhan Under Lockdown  (February 4, 2020, The New York Times)

Wuhan: a tale of immune system failure and social strength  (February 4, 2020, Chublic Opinion)
The China of 2020 is economically and technologically much more advanced than the China of 2003. And yet, the Wuhan outbreak exposed its frail and weakened “social immune system” that, for a new generation of Chinese, was a painful discovery and political education.

Hangzhou and Taizhou, cities far from virus epicentre, implement travel restrictions  (February 4, 2020, Channel News Asia)
The city of Taizhou, three Hangzhou districts - including the area home to the main office of Chinese tech giant Alibaba - and some in Ningbo will only allow one person per household to go outside every two days to buy necessities, city officials said.

Coronavirus in Wuhan: ‘We’d rather die at home than go to quarantine’  (February 5, 2020, BBC)
Wenjun Wang is a resident of Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicentre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak. Ms. Wang, a 33-year-old housewife, and her family have remained in the city since it was sealed off on 23 January. […]  In a rare interview from inside Wuhan, Ms. Wang has told the BBC about her family's heart-breaking struggle for survival.

Epicenter of China’s Coronavirus Outbreak  (February 5 2020, The New York Times)
People here and across much of Hubei Province are subjects of a vast medical experiment conceivable only in authoritarian China: Is it is possible to halt the spread of a virus by putting tens of millions of people under a kind of house detention, warning them to stay inside their homes, and blocking their way out of cities, towns or villages?

Bye Bye Banquets: City Prohibits Group Dining to Prevent Spread of Virus  (February 5, 2020, The Beijinger)
Group dining occasions such as birthdays and wedding banquets have been expressly banned until further notice in an effort to prevent further spread of the 2019-nCoV novel coronavirus, the Beijing Evening News reports.

Economics / Trade / Business

Change and integration: China’s legacy after 40 years of economic transformation  (January 30, 2020, Asia Dialogue)
Western culture and ideas have influenced millions of China’s citizens in recent years. As a result, the country has undergone dramatic social and cultural change.

Remote Control: Coronavirus Has Millions in China Working From Home  (February 5, 2020, Sixth Tone)
With conference call services overloaded by unprecedented traffic and people having to think outside the box to devise home office setups, China’s first-ever remote working experiment is off to a rocky start.


China influence scandal rocks Berlin university  (February 4, 2020, Times Higher Education)
A leading German university has been plunged into scandal after it emerged that it had signed a contract binding it to abide by Chinese law while accepting hundreds of thousands of euros from China to set up a professorship to establish a Chinese teacher training programme.

Health / Environment

Dispatches From Hubei: Two Weeks Between Life and Death  (January 29, 2020, Sixth Tone)
A Hubei resident recounts his wife’s final days, and his battle to save her.

Why the world cares more about the new coronavirus than the flu  (February 3, 2020, Minnesota Public Radio)
Every year there are as many as 5 million severe flu cases worldwide and hundreds of thousands of deaths. By contrast, so far there have been about 17,000 cases of coronavirus, most of them mild. Yet governments are responding to the new outbreak with drastic measures — airlifting their citizens out of China; shutting down border crossings; and in, the case of United States, barring or quarantining travelers from China's most affected province, Hubei. Why has the reaction been so aggressive?

The Chinese doctor who tried to warn others about coronavirus  (February 4, 2020, BBC)
In early January, authorities in the Chinese city of Wuhan were trying to keep news of a new coronavirus under wraps. When one doctor tried to warn fellow medics about the outbreak, police paid him a visit and told him to stop. A month later he has been hailed as a hero, after he posted his story from a hospital bed.

Hong Kong Reports Its 1st Coronavirus Death  (February 4, 2020, NPR)
A 39-year-old man who had visited Wuhan, China, where the virus first appeared, died at Hong Kong's Princess Margaret Hospital on Tuesday morning, the hospital confirmed.

People In Epicenter Of Coronavirus Are Desperate For Medical Help  (February 4, 2020, NPR)
People inside the Chinese city of Wuhan describe a coronavirus situation that sounds increasingly desperate as more of them fall sick and scramble to get treatment and hospital beds.

Data suggests virus infections under-reported, exaggerating fatality rate  (February 5, 2020, Reuters)
Under-reporting mild cases - which increases fatality rates - could have a negative social and economic impact as global health authorities race to contain the disease.

German study on coronavirus carrier with ‘no symptoms’ was flawed  (February 5, 2020, South China Morning Post)
The woman had been feeling ill when she was in Germany, but researchers did not speak to her, it said. They had instead relied on second-hand sources to reach the conclusion that she was an asymptomatic patient in their paper published in The New England Journal of Medicine on January 30. 

China adds new symptoms to coronavirus diagnostic list  (February 5, 2020, South China Morning Post)
In an updated treatment plan released on Wednesday, the commission also warned that it was investigating whether aerosol and digestive tract infections were transmission modes after traces of the coronavirus were found in patients’ faeces.

Life on the Coronavirus Frontline for Wuhan’s Doctors  (February 5, 2020, Sixth Tone)
Overwork, stress, and the constant risk of infection have taken their toll on physicians at the center of the epidemic, but many are hopeful that the situation is starting to stabilize.

Doctors strike back: Coronavirus fallout may provoke revolution of the professionals  (February 5, 2020, Inkstone News)
Doctors have found their voice after Wuhan authorities mishandled the initial coronavirus discovery. Beijing may have to listen to learn from its mistakes.  

Science / Technology

6 Ways China Has Turned to Tech to Tackle the Coronavirus  (February 4, 2020, Radii China)
As China grapples with the spread of the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV that originated in Wuhan in December, the country has turned to technology in a number of interesting ways. Here are some of the most striking tech-focused attempts to find solutions to the range of issues that the coronavirus and subsequent policies of transport restrictions and lockdowns have presented.

History / Culture

Wuhan  (February 3, 2020, Robert Bickers)
Foreign flags once flew there. After 1861 a slice of Hankou on the Yangzi riverbank was controlled by the British, and in time other neighbouring slices adjoining it by Russia, France, Germany, and Japan.

Celebrating the Rat  (February 5, 2020, The World of Chinese)
In many parts of China, rats are actually incorporated into traditional celebrations and other folk customs that acknowledge rodents as an essential part of life, as they are a part of the Spring Festival…

Travel / Food

What to do if you have booked a trip to China from the UK  (February 5, 2020, The Guardian)
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against all-but-essential travel to China and is urging UK citizens to leave the country, while several airlines have suspended flights and tour operators are cancelling trips. Here’s what UK travellers on current trips, or booked on future trips, need to know.

Cathay Pacific asks all 27,000 employees to take turns on three weeks unpaid leave (February 5, 2020, South China Morning Post)
Cathay wants staff to take leave on a voluntary basis between March and June, and hopes all staff, including senior managers, will take part in the scheme.

Language / Language Learning

The Unavoidable Novel Coronavirus Vocabulary  (February 4, 2020, Sinosplice)
So my co-workers and I at AllSet Learning got to work creating a series of vocabulary lists to help learners of Chinese deal with this unavoidable topic. The lists are separated by level, so whether you’re only elementary or are already upper intermediate, there’s a list here for you! 

Living Cross-culturally

Expat Disrupted: How to Move Forward When Everything is Going Wrong  (February 4, 2020, The Culture Blend)
Disruptions are an inevitable reality and for anyone who has chosen a global life. That’s part is not up to you. What is up to you is how you respond. Here are five ways to stay on track when your best-laid plans go awry.

Links for Researchers

Chinese Christianities: Assignment for the 2020s  (February 4, 2020, Alexander Chow)
Furthermore, Chinese Christianities is developing as a diverse and ever-changing worldwide phenomenon. 


ChinaSource Connect in Bloomington, MN
Join the ChinaSource team for an evening of updates, prayer, and fellowship. 
Date: Friday, February 21, 2020
Time: 6:30pm refreshments, 7pm program
Venue: Cedar Valley Church, Theatre (Entrance Door 10)
Address: 8600 Bloomington Ave S., Bloomington, MN 55425
Click here to RSVP

Image credit: by Nicky Boogaard, via Flickr

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