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Talking Points, August 27 - September 10, 2008

The weekly newsletter is a service of the USC U.S.-China Institute.
August 28, 2008

USC U.S.-China Institute Weekly Newsletter

Talking Points
August 27 - September 10, 2008

A grand ceremony closed the Beijing Olympics on Sunday and tens of thousands of athletes, coaches, sports officials, and journalists, plus hundreds of thousands of spectators have headed home. We’ll be drawing on the first hand experiences of some in various online features for US-China Today and the U.S.-China Institute website.

Those spectators, including the ones mobilized by the organizers to fill otherwise empty seats, played crucial support roles in the Beijing Games. The real target audiences for this grand performance were hundreds of millions of television viewers, net surfers, and newspaper readers worldwide and 1.3 billion people within China. For both audiences, the key message is that only a powerful and effective state sitting atop a enormous and productive economy can extract and allocate financial and human resources on such a scale. In general, only nations going to war mobilize in these terms:

  • $43 billion for stadiums, subways, and other infrastructure
  • Millions brought in to build, perhaps a million moved from their homes, millions more made idle as factories were shuttered, and energy and water diverted from a huge area to clear Beijing’s skies, power its air conditioners, and water its Olympic lawn sculptures
  • Hundreds of thousands of disciplined and focused security personnel and volunteers
  • Thousands of soldiers and other performers
  • Many of China’s most talented artists and technicians
  • Hundreds of amazing athletes and demanding coaches drawn from a system focused, as Vice President Xi Jinping put it, building “the national glory”

The spectacle and artistry awed foreigners and Chinese alike. China’s producers and consumers are already integrated into the global economy, and the success of these Games presses the case for the Chinese model of an authoritarian state overseeing an increasingly free economy. From the medals made partly of jade to enormous LED screens in the form of scroll paintings, the Games also conveyed pride in China’s rich cultural heritage and incredible achievements in technical design and execution. The pre-Olympics tightening of visa regulations, the issuing of regulations for spectators, neighborhood sweeps to check on residential permits, and the refusal to permit protests of any sort also sent a powerful message that order would be kept and only authorized signals sent.

The Games celebrated China’s opening to the world and reaffirmed that this embrace would continue to be on its own terms.


We hope you will join us for two USCI events over the next two weeks. On Thursday, Sept. 4, William Callahan, co-director of the British InterUniversity Center on China, will discuss how Chinese understand the rise of China and how they present it to foreigners. The following week, Liu Qing of the China Institute for International Studies will analyze Chinese and American policies regarding limiting the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The latest news that North Korea has halted the dismantling of its nuclear facilities reminds us of the timeliness of Dr. Liu’s topic.

In October, USC will host two major conferences on China. The first, on Oct. 13 looks at the making of U.S. policy toward China. It will feature presentations by former U.S. government policy makers and scholars specializing in U.S.-China relations. On Oct. 20-21, the focus shifts to trends in higher education. This conference offers addresses by the leaders of two of China’s top universities and presentations by top scholars of Chinese education. On Oct. 18-19, CSU Fullerton will host the 50th Annual Conference of the American Association of Chinese Studies, featuring panels on a wide range of issues.

Elsewhere in Southern California two photography exhibitions that may interest you are nearing their close. The Museum of Tolerance features photos of Jewish communities in Shanghai and elsewhere in China. DNJ Gallery offers images from a number of emerging Chinese photographers as they explore life in contemporary China.

Below, you’ll find information about events and exhibitions coming up in the next two weeks. For additional details and to look farther ahead, please visit the calendar section of our website. The voices and daily updates sections of US-China Today are handy ways to keep abreast of the news.

Talking Points is intended to help forge a community of people interested in U.S.-China relations and trends in contemporary China. Please forward the newsletter to others and please write to us at with your comments.

Best wishes,
The USC U.S.-China Institute


09/04/2008: Security, Identity and the Rise of China: Beijing's Foreign Policy Discourse in the 21st Century
USC University Club
Banquet Room, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
Phone: 213-821-4382
Time: 4:00PM - 6:00PM
The presentation will examine how the recent revival of the ancient Chinese concepts is impacting China's foreign policy narratives for the 21st century.

09/10/2008: China-U.S. Cooperation and Divergency on the Non-proliferation Issue
USC University Club, Pub Room
Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
Phone: 213-821-4382
Time: 4:00PM - 6:00PM
Liu Qing ia a visiting scholar at the U.S.-China Institute and will examine nonproliferation issues in Sino-U.S. relations for the last two decades.


08/29/2008: Efforts to Standardize Chinese Characters in the Last Twenty Years
University of California, Berkeley
33 Dwinelle Hall , Berkeley, CA 94720
Phone: 510-643-6321
Time: 4:00PM - 6:00PM
This lecture will be conducted in Chinese
Guo Xi, Director, Institute of Chinese Literature, Ji’nan University
09/02/2008: The Challenge of Reducing Energy Consumption in China's Industrial Sector
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
1 Cyclotron Road Room 00-3122 , Berkeley, CA 94720
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00PM - 2:00PM
Lynn Price will describe the technical support provided by LBNL for the pilot program that preceded the Top-1000 program. 

09/03/2008: Water Pollution, River Currents, and Digestive Cancers in China
University of California, Berkeley
2232 Piedmont Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94720
Cost: Free
Time: 12:10PM - 1:00PM
Avi Ebenstein's lecture is part of UC Berkeley's brown bag seminars.
09/03/2008: Book Talk - Shanghai Splendor: Economic Sentiments and the Making of Modern China, 1843-1949
University of California, Berkeley
Address: IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor, Berkeley, CA 94720
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
Wen-hsin Yeh traces the evolution of a dazzling urban culture that became alternately isolated from and intertwined with China's tumultuous history. 

09/04/2008: Sky Burial in Tibet: A Film Screening and Discussion with Tang Danhong
University of California, Berkeley
Nestrick Room 142 Dwinelle Hall , Berkeley, CA 94720
Cost: Free
Time: 5:15PM
Lecture will be conducted in Chinese with English translation
Chinese poet and filmmaker, Tang Danhong, will speak on her experiences while making the documentary film.

09/05/2008: First Emperor of China
Bowers Museum
2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92706
Cost: Free
Phone: 714.567.3600
Time: 6:30PM
The first documentary footage of Qin Shi Huang’s life-size terra cotta army, constructed 2,200 years ago for his tomb. The imperial system he created has endured for thousands of years, proving to be the world’s most durable political structure. 42 min.

09/06/2008: A Revisionist View of Qin
Bowers Museum
2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92706
Cost: Free with paid museum admission and to members; Lecture only $8
Phone: 714.567.3600
Time: 1:30PM
Dr. Michael Nylan, professor at UC Berkeley and author of several books, focuses on a revisionist approach to the Qin dynasty 

09/07/2008: A View of Everyday Religion in China in the Third Century B.C.
Bowers Museum
2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92706
Cost: Free with paid museum admission and to members; Lecture only $8
Phone: 714.567.3600
Time: 1:30PM
Dr. Donald Harper, University of Chicago, presents an examination based on archaeological artifacts and manuscripts of the ordinary Chinese of the Qin dynasty and their world view, particularly their interaction with the spiritual world as they engaged in daily life. 

09/08/2008: The Great Urban Transformation: Politics of Land Development in Post Mao China
University of California, Berkeley
Boalt Hall, Room 105, Berkeley, CA 94720
Cost: Free
Time: 12:40PM - 1:40PM
RSVP required.
UC Berkeley's, You-tien Hsing, will speak on China.

09/10/2008: Hero
Bowers Museum
Address: 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92706
Cost: General $7; Members $5
Phone: 714.567.3600
Time: 1:30PM
A martial arts epic, directed by Zhang Yimou, tells the legend of a fearless warrior who rises up to defy an empire and unite a nation. Graciously sponsored by an anonymous donor.

09/10/2008: A Tale of Two Cities: Imperial Space and Commercial Space in Song-Dynasty Kaifeng, 960-1127
University of California, Berkeley
IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor, Berkeley, CA 94720
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 6:00PM
University of Michigan's, Christian DePee, will speak at UC Berkeley. 

09/11/2008: Hollywood Chinese (2007)
Address: 46 N. Los Robles Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101
Cost: Free
Phone: 626-449-2742
Time: 8:00PM
Please RSVP at 626-449-2742  extension 31.
 Hollywood Chinese is a multi-faceted look at American cinema through the lens of the Chinese American experience.

North America:

08/28/2008 - 08/31/2008: 2008 APSA Annual Meeting: Categories and the Politics of Global Inequalities
The largest annual gathering of political scientists in the world will convene from August 28 through August 31, 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts to discuss the latest political science research and politics and to network with colleagues. 

09/05/2008: Art and China's Revolution
Asia Society and Museum
725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street), New York City.
The Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm and Friday from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm.
Closed on Mondays and major holidays.
Cost: $5 - $10
Asia Society Presents First Comprehensive Exhibition Devoted to Revolutionary Chinese Art from the 1950s Through 1970s.


06/28/08 - 08/23/2008: Robert Rauschenberg: The Lotus Series
Bobbie Greenfield Gallery
Bergamot Station 2525 Michigan Avenue, B6, Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: 310-264-0640
A 12-print series of China in the 1980s on display at the Greenfield Sacks Gallery. 

07/15/2008 - 09/02/2008: The Jews in Modern China
Museum of Tolerance
9786 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles , CA
An exhibit celebrating the unique friendship between the Chinese and Jewish people at the Museum of Tolerance. 

07/26/2008 - 09/06/2008: Contemporary Photography from China
Address: DNJ Gallery, 154-1/2 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036
DNJ Gallery showcases works by several emerging Chinese artists who captured China's changing economy, society and culture through their photographs.

01/29/2008 - 09/07/2008: The Shape of Things: Chinese and Japanese Art from the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Asia Society and Museum
725 Park Avenue , New York, New York
Cost: Free
Phone: 212-517-ASIA
This exhibition of ceramics, metalworks, sculpture, and painting demonstrates that a depth of information can be revealed through the careful observation and study of the form of an object. 

06/27/2008 - 09/21/2008: Power and Glory: Court Arts of the Ming Dynasty
Asian Art Museum
200 Larkin Street (between Fulton and McAllister Streets), San Francisco, CA 94102
Cost: Cost varies (see website for details)
This exhibition will explore the glories of the Ming dynasty imperial court.

07/26/2008 - 10/04/2008: Absurd Recreation
Sweeney Art Gallery
3800 Main Street University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA 92501
A multi-media group exhibition of nine artists from China who engage in an absurdist "recreation" of settings, events, and situations in reaction to the rapidly changing social and cultural landscape in China.
07/26/2008 - 10/04/2008: A Sense of Place: Remembering Riverside’s Chinatowns
Sweeney Art Gallery
3800 Main Street University of California, Riverside
Riverside, CA 92501
A series of educational workshops and historical reflections on Riverside's historical Chinatowns runs alongside the Sweeney Art Gallery exhibition, Absurd Recreation.

07/11/2008 - 10/12/2008: Sun Xun
UCLA Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Blvd , Los Angles, CA 90024
Sun Xun creates animations that combine hand-drawn renderings and traditional materials with new media.

05/18/2008 - 10/12/2008: Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of the First Emperor
Bowers Museum
Address: 2002 N. Main Street, Santa Ana, CA 92706
Phone: 714-567-3600
This summer exhibit at Bowers Museum showcases the famous terra cotta warriors buried with the First Emperor of China.

09/10/2008 - 01/04/2009: Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection
2626 Bancroft Way, UC Berkeley campus
Cost $5- 12     General Admission
141 works by 96 artists, drawn from one of the world’s most important and comprehensive collections of contemporary Chinese art.


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We provide information about China-related events as a community service. If you would like your event considered for inclusion in the USCI calendar, please click here to submit event details.


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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