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Talking Points, April 30 - May 17, 2008

The USC U.S.-China Institute's weekly e-newsletter
April 30, 2008

USC U.S.-China Institute

Talking Points
April 30 - May 17, 2008

Yesterday, the Olympic torch passed through Ho Chi Minh City concluding the international portion of the relay. The torch now moves to Macau and Hong Kong and on to other parts of China. The relay has been a magnet for protestors of all sorts and for those eager to express support for the Beijing Games. US-China Today has an interactive map with notes about events at each stop and photos for many of them.

The start of the Games at 8:08 pm on 8/8/08 is now just 99 days away.

A desire to take advantage of the attention generated by the Olympics to put pressure on China to address their grievances was one reason hundreds of monks and others in Tibet launched protests on March 10. Days after those peaceful protests, riots erupted in Lhasa and elsewhere. In several cases, non-Tibetans were targeted for violence and people were killed. Soldiers and armed police were sent in to quell the violence and to squelch further protests. An unknown number of people were killed in this suppression effort.  Foreign journalists were prohibited from visiting the region. Since then Chinese state media and reports from Tibetan exile groups have provided conflicting images of what is happening there.

This morning Chinese state media reported that a gun battle ended with the death of two Tibetans, one a policeman and the other a rebel. Yesterday, the Chinese government announced that thirty people, including several monks, were sentenced for crimes committed during the March 14 riots. Sentences ranged from three years to life in prison. The authorities say that hundreds have been arrested. Tibetan exile groups put the number at over 2,000.

Tibet was among the topics Amb. Clark Randt discussed in his April 21 talk at USC. At that time he reiterated the U.S. administration’s call for China’s leaders to meet with the Dalai Lama to discuss ways to improve the situation in Tibet. Other international leaders issued similar calls and on Saturday the Chinese government announced it would meet with a representative of the Dalai Lama. At the same time, the Chinese government continues to blame the “Dalai clique” for orchestrating violent resistance in Tibet.

Amb. Randt also discussed rampant intellectual property theft in China, noting that an American television program, Prison Break, is phenomenally popular even though it is not on Chinese television nor available on legitimate DVDs. Piracy was among the topics discussed in last week’s “Chinese Cinema 100: Art, Commerce, and Politics,” a conference sponsored by the USC East Asian Studies Center. China is now the world’s third biggest film producing country. Conference organizer Stan Rosen noted that over 95% of all film dvds sold in China are pirated. The ready availability of cheap pirated DVDs and now downloaded films has greatly depressed film attendance. Zhou Tiedong of China Film noted that while theaters sold two billion tickets in 2007, this was a tiny number compared to the more than 29 billion tickets sold in 1990.

One of the things that made “Chinese Cinema 100” so compelling was the interaction among scholars, film executives, and filmmakers. Audiences saw films from two of China’s most gifted directors and subsequently got to ask them questions. Li Yang lived in Germany for more than a decade. His  Blind Shaft (盲井) is a gritty look at the hopes, fears, and strategies of migrants working in semi-legal coal mines. Feng Xiaogang is China’s box office titan, working across genres and setting records with his films released during the “new year blockbuster season.” Hundreds filled USC Norris Cinema to see Assembly (集结号), his recently released war film.

Both directors were asked about the impact films do and could have on foreigners’ impressions of China. It was a predictable question, given recent demonstrations along the torch route and heated debates about foreign coverage of China. Li Yang noted that people have many sources of information and argued it was unreasonable to ask that a single film provide extensive historical background and comprehensive contemporary context about an issue. Furthermore, he reminded students from China that while they had seen many films about crime and other social ills in America, still they were curious and wanted to come here. Feng Xiaogang’s response to a plea that he make films to teach foreigners about the real China was somewhat different. He argued that the foreign audience for his and other Chinese films mostly consisted of overseas Chinese. He prefers to focus on Chinese film-goers and not to worry about the tiny non-Chinese audience for his films.


We have ample evidence this week that California is the center of the China-watching world. Here at USC we have Dartmouth’s David Kang, author of China Rising: Peace, Power, and Order in East Asia speaking on “Korea between China and the United States” (Friday, May 2) and Zhuang Ailing, who has overseen hundreds of NGO initiatives in China, will discuss “The Non-Profit Sector in China in the 21st Century” (May 9). UC Berkeley is offering a symposium exploring the Beijing Olympics from many perspectives (May 1). And UCLA is holding a conference on the rise of the individual in China (May 2-3). Information about these events is below and at the calendar section of our website.

Tomorrow is International Labor Day, a holiday in China. This Saturday, labor rights as well as policies and practices toward ethnic minorities in China will be among the issues covered at a USCI workshop for educators. The workshop aims to aid secondary school teachers in integrating teaching about human rights and Asia into their curriculum. Later this summer, USCI will host a two-week residential seminar for secondary school educators eager to bring East Asia alive in their classrooms. Additional information about these programs is available in the K-12 section of the USCI website.

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The USC U.S.-China institute


USC Events


05/02/2008: "Korea between China and the United States: Balancing and Bandwagoning in International Relations"
USC SOS B40, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
Time: 11:30AM - 1:00PM
The USC School of International Relations will feature a talk with David Kang. 
05/03/2008: Integrating Human Rights into Your Curriculum: Case Studies from Asia
USC, Doheny Memorial Library, Intellectual Commons Room, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Phone: 213-740-1307
Time: 9:00AM - 4:00PM
Limited to K-12 teachers
A one-day workshop on teaching about human rights.
05/05/2008: “The Discovery in Korea of the Lost Statutes of the Zhizheng Era, the Great Codex of the Mongol-Yuan Dynasty in China: Its Recent Rediscovery, Compilation, and its Significance for Koryo Society in the 14th Century”
Korean Studies Institute, USC
Address: Ahn House, 809 West 34th Street, Los Angeles
Cost: Free
Time:4:00PM - 5:30PM

05/09/2008: The Non-Profit Sector in China in the 21st Century: Practice, Challenges and Trends
MRF 1st Floor, UPC
669 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90089
Time: 10:30am
Dr. Zhuang will speak on some challenges facing the non-profit sector in China in the 21st century. 

California Events

04/30/2008: The Rising Tide
UCLA, Public Policy Building 1234
Time: 3:30 PM - 5:30 PM
A documentary screening of The Rising Tide, featuring some of China's most talented emerging artists.
04/30/2008: The Lyrical in Epic Time: Jiang Wenye's Music and Poetry
UCLA 10383 Bunche Hall
Time: 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
A talk by Professor David Der-wei Wang about Jiang Wenye's literary works and music. 

05/01/2008: A Beijing Olympics Primer: Place, Performance, and Performative Space
UC Berkeley IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor
Cost: Free
Time: 1:30 PM to 6:00 PM
A symposium that assesses China's historical moment in Beijing from three perspectives: the rapidly evolving cityscape, environmental dynamics, and, in the context of a changing society, traditional attitudes and values relating to self, body, and performance.

05/02/2008: The Rising Individual and Changing Moral Practice in Contemporary China
UCLA 6275 Bunche Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095
Phone: (310) 825-8683
This conference will explore the issue of individualism in China after market reforms. 
05/02/2008: Special Spring Workshop: The Beijing Olympics
UC Berkeley, IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
This workshop will discuss aspects of this change, and the economic, political, and
social implication of Olympics-led urban renewal in Beijing.  
05/02/2008: Judy Huang, piano
Trinity Lutheran Church, 1340 Eleventh Street, Manhattan Beach , CA 90266
Cost: Free
Phone: (310) 937-7275  
Time: 12:15 PM 
Grand-Prize Winner of the 2004 Carmel Music Society Piano Competition, Judy Huang has performed throughout the U.S. and Europe as a soloist and chamber musician  
05/02/2008: The Evolution of Millet Agriculture in North China
Stanford University
Address: Building 50, Room 51A , Palo Alto, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 3:15 PM - 4:30 PM
Robert Bettinger gives a talk on the appearance of millet agriculture in North China around 8000 B.P.
05/02/2008: China on Stage symposium: Xianghua Buddhist Religious Ceremony Lecture and Demonstration
Stanford University, Campbell Recital Hall , Palo Alto, California
Cost: Free
Time: 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Wang Kui will give the history and explanation of the music that is tied to Buddhist religious ceremonies of the Guangdong Province.  

05/02/2008-05/03/2008: The Rising Individual and Changing Moral Practice in China
Friday, May 2 , 2008
9 am - 5:30 pm
Saturday, May 3, 2008
9 am - 12:30 pm
6275 Bunche Hall
Cost free
A two-day international conference on social change in China 
05/06/2008: The Role of Innovation in the Transformation of Taiwan to a Technology-based Economy, 1975 to 2000
UC Berkeley, 768 Evans Hall
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00 pm
The seminar will adress the key elements of the innovation system in Taiwan and the leadership role it play in the development.  
05/06/2008: Chinese Furniture and Architecture
Friends' Hall
1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108
Time: 7:30PM - 9:30PM
Dr. Sarah Handler examines the unique characteristics of Chinese furniture and architecture. 

05/07/2008: The Taiwan Elections: Implications for the Future
Stanford University
Philippines Conference Room Encina Hall 616 Serra St., 3rd floor , Stanford, California
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM
Alan Romberg will analyze the impacts of Taiwan’s recent elections on the three legs of the U.S.-PRC-Taiwan triangle. 

05/08/2008: Cultural Development during the Han Dynasty & Early Chinese Drama
UCLA 10383 Bunche Hall
Time: 1:30 PM - 5:00 PM
A talk given by Yao Xiao'ou, a professor of the Institute of Literature, Communication University of China about the development of early Chinese drama in the Han Dynasty. 

05/08/2008: Music and Mission in 18th C. China: Sonatas & Letters of Teodorico Pedrini
Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco
Address: 750 Kearny Street, Third Floor, San Francisco, California 94108
Cost: Free
Phone: 415-422-6401
Time: 6PM
Drs. Allsop and Lindorff will explore the music and lettres of Teodorico Pedrini, an Italian composer and missionary at the Chinese imperial court from the 18th century. 

05/09/2008: Msuic & Culture: Chinese-Western Musical Exchange from the 16th-20th Centuries
University of San Francisco
Harney 232 , San Francisco, California
Cost: Registration required, $30; USF faculty, staff, & students, Free
Phone: 415 422-6401
A symposium featuring the exchange of Chinese and Western music from the 16th-20th centuries. 

05/09/2008: Intellectual and Cultural Trends in China--a roundtable conversation
Stanford University
Address: Okimoto Conference Room, Encina Hall East, 3rd Floor , Stanford, California
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM
Four leading Chinese scholars from East China Normal University will lead a discussion on mentalities, thoughts and grassroots life in China. 

North America Events: 

05/03/2008: Olympic Voices: A Celebration of New Literature from China
Asia Society and Museum
Auditorium, 725 Park Avenue, New York, New York
Cost: $10 Asia Society and PEN members/students; $12 nonmembers
Phone: 212-517-ASIA
Time: 2:30 - 4:00 pm
Join in for a conversation about flipping off the Old Guard, new Chinese writing, belonging, escape, heartbreak, and craft.  
05/04/2008: Hao Jiang Tian: "My Wild Ride from Mao to the Met"
Asia Society and Museum
Auditorium, 725 Park Avenue, New York, New York
Cost: $15 nonmembers; $12 members/seniors/students
Phone: 212-517-ASIA
Time: 6:30 - 8:00 pm
Chinese born opera singer Hao Jiang Tian performs the songs that highlight his tumultuous journey from the Cultural Revolution to the Metropolitan Opera.
05/05/2008: China’s Rise Series: China’s Africa Strategy: Implications for Trade, Aid, and Development
Asia Society and Museum
Address: 8th Floor, 725 Park Avenue, New York, New York
Cost: $10 Member, $15 Non-members, $10 Students
Phone: 212-517-ASIA
Time: 6:30 - 8:00 pm 
This panel discussion will analyze this burgeoning relationship to answer this question and more, assessing implications for both China and Africa.

05/06/2008: From Cathay to khita’i: The Development of "chinoiserie" in Mongol Iran
Brooklyn Museum
Time: 6:30-8 PM
Ladan Akbarnia gives an overview of khita’i — an apparently Chinese or far eastern - inspired aesthetic.
05/09/2008: The Future of Democracy in Hong Kong
Asia Society and Museum
725 Park Avenue, 8th Floor, New York, New York
Cost: $15 students w/ID; $15 Asia Society members; $30 nonmembers
Phone: (212) 517-ASIA
Time: 8:00 - 9:30 am  
Join us for a breakfast briefing on the future of democratic reforms in the Hong Kong, SAR. 
05/10/2008: Maritime Asia in the Early Modern World
University of Washington
Address: Simpson Center for the Humanities, Communications 202
Cost: Free
Time: 9:00AM - 5:00PM
This symposium considers the connections of maritime Asia to world history in the early modern era and China’s relations with Southeast Asia in particular. 
05/12/2008: China's Communist Party: Atrophy and Adaptation
Asia Society and Museum
725 Park Avenue, 8th Floor, New York, New York
Cost: $10 students w/ID; $10 Asia Society members; $15 nonmembers
Phone: 212-517-ASIA
Time: 6:30 - 8:00 pm
Author David Shambaugh discusses the strengths and weaknesses, durability, adaptability and potential longevity of China’s Communist Party. 
05/14/2008: Exploding Chinese Art: The Economy of Art/The Art of the Economy
Asia Society and Museum
Address: Auditorium, 725 Park Avenue, New York, New York
Cost: $10 Asia Society and Guggenheim Museummembers; $12 nonmembers; $10 students; seniors
Phone: 212-517-ASIA
Time: 6:30 - 8:30 pm 
This panel will discuess the 'economic explosion' reflected in Chinese art and economy. 


01/23/2008 - 05/15/2008: Cycle of Life: Awakening - Works by Asian Women Artists
IEAS Gallery
2223 Fulton Street 6th Floor, Berkeley, CA
An exhibition featuring the art works of Asian women artist.

04/03/2008 - 05/18/2008: Visualizing Revolution: Propaganda Posters from the People's Republic of China, 1949-1989
Nelson Gallery, Art Building University of California, Davis
Formal Opening on April 10, 6 - 8 pm
Katharine Burnett and Yang Peiming, Guest Curators
The exhibition will feature propaganda art from 1949-1989 from the collection of the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Center of Mr. Yang Peiming.

03/06/2008 - 07/27/2008: Chinaman's Chance: Views of the Chinese American Experience
Pacific Asia Museum
46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena , CA 91101
Cost: $7 for adults, $5 for students/seniors
While the experience of being of Chinese heritage and living in America is unique to each individual, this exhibition will investigate the similarities and dissimilarities of these experiences.


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USC U.S. – China Institute
3535 S. Figueroa St.
FIG 202
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1262
Tel: 213-821-4382
Fax: 213-821-2382
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