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Talking Points, August 25 - September 8, 2010

The USC US-China Institute weekly newsletter looks at China's economy and the rising number of Chinese students studying in the US. As always, the newsletter features our calendar of events and exhibitions across North America.
August 25, 2010

Talking Points
August 25 - September 8, 2010

Last week’s news that China’s economy moved past Japan’s in total output garnered plenty of headlines. Most observers and especially Chinese officials stressed that on a per capita basis, China’s economy remains small. The chart below illustrates this. China’s per capita gross domestic product is only about $3,700, not even 10% of America’s $46,400. Even a dramatic increase in the exchange value of the Chinese yuan wouldn’t narrow that gap much.

All are impressed by the economic progress China’s made since Deng Xiaoping began initiating economic reforms in the late 1970s. The country’s managed to average over 10% growth per year for three decades. (Click here for a Talking Points discussion of growth targets.) Such growth has helped hundreds of millions of people escape poverty. Hundreds of millions, though, remain desperately poor. And leaders remain desperate for growth, if only to generate jobs for the 20 million young people who entered the workforce this summer.

At the same time Deng launched the economic reforms, the country also embarked on a massive campaign to curtail population growth. The effort was incredibly intrusive and the birth rate did drop, though critics argue that it was trending down anyway and that improved educational and employment opportunities for women would have yielded similar progress. Nonetheless, because China’s population was already so large, even a reduced growth rate produces a staggering number of people. As the chart below explains, China ADDED 50 million more people over the past three decades than the US currently has.

Commentators also noted growing concerns over widening income inequality, economic growth being too dependent on investment, and rising debt levels. (These have been discussed in previous issues of Talking Points (click here, for example, for a chart showing the rising gap between rural and urban incomes).


China’s government has also sought to strengthen its economy by encouraging students to study abroad and then return to put their foreign training to work. The number of Chinese coming to the US to study has increased dramatically in the past few years. Last year, 81,842 received visas to come to the US, up from 56,258 in 2008. USC enrolled three students from China in 1978. Last year, more than 1,400 were taking classes here. The charts below illustrate these trends.

While almost 5,000 Americans visit China each day, relatively few are going there to study. The number is increasing. A decade ago about 3,000 Americans went to study in China. About 14,000 went in 2008 and perhaps 20,000 did last year. USC and other schools are expanding programs in China. From architecture to urban planning, USC schools took students to China for in-depth looks at topics as diverse as aging and nation-branding and internships in businesses and government agencies.

 Consul General Zhang Yun and China Scholarship Council awardees.

The Chinese government is eager to welcome more students and is even funding some of them. Most of Chinese government scholarships go to students from developing countries, but about one hundred were given to US students for the coming year. On August 13, the Chinese consulate announced awards for 23 Southern California students. Three recent USC Marshall School of Business graduates, Luika Bankson, Shinn Lee, and Steven Yu, were among those chosen for the award.

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The USC US-China Institute

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USC | California | North America | Exhibitions


08/25/2010: Sofie`s Revenge
USC Leavey Library Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA 90089
7:00pm-9:00pm (film screening)
9:00pm-9:45pm (Q&A with filmmaker Eva Jin)
USC East Asian Studies Center presents a film screening.

08/29/2010: About A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop
The Ray Stark Family Theatre
George Lucas Building, SCA 108, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007
Cost: Free
Phone: 213.740.2330
Time: 4:00PM
The USC School of Cinematic Arts will host a preview event to showcase one of the official selections of the 2010 Berlin Film Festival.
09/01/2010: Last Train Home
The Albert and Dana Broccoli Theatre
George Lucas Building, SCA 112, 900 W. 34th Street , Los Angeles, CA 90007
Cost: Free
Phone: 213.740.2330
Time: 7:00PM
The USC School of Cinematic Arts invites all audiences to attend a preview screening of a film that discusses migrant workers. 


08/27/2010: Fusion Fridays Grand Finale An Evening in 1930`s Shanghai
Pacific Asia Museum

46 North Los Robles Ave. , Pasadena, CA 91101
Cost: $10 members /$15 general admission in advance, $20 at door
Time: 7:30PM - 10:00PM
Come enjoy all the splendor that was 1930`s Shanghai! 

09/01/2010: The Great Urban Transformation: Politics of Land and Property in China
IEAS Conference Room, 6th Floor
UC Berkley 2223 Fulton Street , Berkley , CA 94720
Cost: No Charge
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
You-tien Hsing, Associate Professor at UC Berkeley, will host a talk on his new book, "The Great Urban Transformation: Politics of Land and Property in China."

 Film Screenings: Shanghai Bride & Mr. Wong's World

Asian Art Museum
200 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Time: 11 AM

These are the final film in the Shanghai Cinema series.

North America 

09/08/2010: China's Soft Power: Fact or Fiction? Sigur Center for Asian Studies, George Washington University
Free, 5 pm
David Shambaugh of George Washington University will discuss China's efforts to expand its soft power.


01/01/2010 - 12/31/2010: 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.


08/05/2010 - 02/06/2011: China Modern: Designing Popular Culture 1910-1970
Pacific Asia Museum
46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101
The Pacific Asia Museum presents an exhibition that demonstrates how political ideologies and cultural values are transmitted via everyday objects in China.


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