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Talking Points: April 8 - 22, 2009

The USC U.S.-China Institute's weekly e-newsletter
April 9, 2009


USC U.S.-China Institute Weekly Newsletter

Talking Points
April 8-22, 2009

Earlier this week, China’s government announced plans to spend $124 billion by 2011 to expand and improve the rural health care system and to provide more than 90% of rural residents with health insurance. Efforts to develop this plan began several years ago and follow an earlier unsuccessful initiative to address the threat illness and injury pose to people’s financial as well as physical health. While the spending may itself provide a small boost to the economy, the effort is mainly intended to increase rural residents’ sense of security and make them more willing to spend rather than to save as a hedge against the high costs of seeking medical help. The state also hopes programs such as these will help mitigate the difficulties encountered by the millions of families of people left jobless by the global economic crisis. Chinese authorities at the highest levels warn that social unrest is likely and that governments at every level must take action to keep the peace, to create jobs, and to otherwise alleviate hardships.

Although large scale and sometimes violent protests occur by the thousands every month in China, most are confined to particular locations and are propelled by specific local grievances. Later today, Hiroki Takeuchi of Southern Methodist University discusses how China’s government has thus far managed to defuse or deflect much popular discontent. His presentation on how remonstrance and other “democratic” institutions function in China starts at 4 pm. We hope you can join us. 


 “There have been, to my knowledge, no disruptions of power on any grid caused by a deliberate cyberattack on our infrastructure….”      
                                 – Janet Napolitano, U.S. Sec. of Homeland Security, April 8, 2009

Napolitano was responding to questions raised by reporters following a Wall Street Journal report that cyberspies from China and Russia had successfully hacked into the computer systems controlling components of the U.S. power grid as well as other key infrastructure including water and sewer systems. The article cites unnamed current and former intelligence officials and comes just a week after researchers at the University of Toronto issued a report arguing that hackers, possibly in China, though not necessarily government-sanctioned, had infiltrated computers used by Tibetan exile organizations as well as those used by the diplomats of more than a dozen governments and international organizations. Both Chinese and Russian authorities have denied any involvement in internet hacking or interference with the U.S. infrastructure. A Chinese embassy official condemned the allegations as “sheer lies” fabricated by Cold War-minded people. Napolitano did not confirm that intelligence officials believed China or Russia was behind the attacks.

You can follow these stories and read feature articles about unemployment among recent college grads, the paradoxes of Chinese cyberspace, efforts to stamp out smoking and protect the environment in US-China Today, our student-driven web magazine. The Institute website features video presentations from our conferences on the impact of the Olympics and on American policy toward China.

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04/09/2009: Remonstration and Authoritarian Rule in Rural China
USC Leavey Library, Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
Hiroki Takeuchi explores democratic institutions in autocracies by examining various channels of political participation in rural China.

04/15/2009: Suicide in Asia
University of Southern California
Address: MRF 1st floor, Hamovitch Research Center
Cost: Free
Time: 11:00AM
A presentation by Paul Yip, Professor of Social Work and Social Administration at the University of Hong Kong and Director of the Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention.

 04/16/2009: Revenge of the Forbidden City: Effectiveness of the Anti-Falungong Campaign in China, 1999-2005
University of Southern California
University Club, Banquet Room
Cost: Free
Time: 4 pm
Falungong was outlawed in China ten years ago in July, 1999. The official ban was accompanied by a nation-wide campaign to arrest its national and local leaders, dissolving its
assemblies, and attempts to convert its practitioners. Political scientist James Tong examines how effective these efforts were.




04/10/2009: Interstate Relations and China’s Unification in 221 BCE: A Lesson for Modern International Relations Theory
UC Berkeley
IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor
Berkeley, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 6:00PM
Dingxin Zhao of the University of Chicago will present a talk on how the nature of the interstate relation in China's history help us understand what international relations would look like according to neorealism principles. 


04/13/2009: China and Global Imbalances: It's Not the Exchange Rate
UCLA 11377 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
Economist Calla Wiemer discusses China's trade surplus. 


04/20/2009: Territorialization and Deterritorialization of Peasants in China's Urban Transformation
10383 Bunche Hall
Time: 4:30 pm
UC Berkeley's You-tien Hsing compares two types of politics of distribution in two types of villages: "villages in the city" in southern metropolises, and relocated villages in less industrialized areas in the north.


04/20/2009: The Rising Tide
AET Screening Room
Address: 1660 Stewart Street, Santa Monica, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 7 pm
Robert Adanto's film examines contemporary art in China.


North America:  


04/02/2009: China Rising
Principia College, Elsah, Illinois
Cost: $60
Time: 9am - 5pm
Principia College's Public Affairs Conference celebrates its 60th anniversary by presenting a conference on China's rise in politics, economics, resources, and culture.

04/03/2009: 2009 Roundtable on Post-Communism: "Citizenship and Post-Communism"
Indiana University
Public Roundtable, IMU Oak Room
Time: 9-12 am
Follow-up faculty-graduate student seminar (also open to the public),IMU Oak Room
Time: 2-4 pm
The East Asian Studies Center at Indiana University presents a roundtable discussion on the politics of rights and changing citizenship regimes in China.

04/15/2009 - 04/17/2009: US-China Business Cooperation Conference
University Place Conference Center
850 W. Michigan Street, Indianapolis
The IU Research Center for Chinese Politics & Business presents a three-day conference on the cooperation between American and Chinese businesses.

04/15/2009: The 2009 Annual Reischauer Lectures
Harvard University
CGIS South Building, Room S020
Dwight Perkins will speak about his experiences as the world's leading economist in Asia.



02/12/2009 - 06/07/2009: Noble Tombs at Mawangdui: Art and Life in the Changsha Kingdom, Third Century BCE to First Century
China Institute Gallery
Address: 125 East 65th St., New York , NY
Cost: $7
An exhibit featuring treasures of the Marquis of the Changsha Kingdom and his family  


11/03/2008 - 11/03/2009: Ancient Arts of China: A 5000 Year Legacy
Bowers Museum
2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana, California 92706
Bowers Museum presents a collection that portrays the evolution of Chinese technology, art and culture.  


11/14/2008 - 11/14/2009: Chinese Art: A Seattle Perspective
Seatle Asian Art Museum
Address: 1400 East Prospect Street , Volunteer Park , Seattle, WA 98112–3303
Phone: 206.654.3100
The Seattle Asian Art Museum presents an opportunity to see a collection with representative works from each dynastic period.


11/15/2008 - 11/15/2009: Masters of Adornment: The Miao People of China
Bowers Museum
2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana, California 92706
The Bowers Museum presents a collection of exquisite textiles and silver jewelry that highlights the beauty and wealth of the Miao peoples of southwest China.


02/12/2009 - 02/12/2010: Art of Adornment: Tribal Beauty
Bowers Museum
Address: 2002 N. Main, Santa Ana, CA
Cost: $5
Time: 10:00AM - 4:00PM
An exhibit featuring body adornments from indigenous peoples around the world


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