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Talking Points, August 5 - 19, 2009

What do Americans and others think of China? What do Chinese and others think of the United States? These and other questions, including rising Chinese language enrollments are discussed in this week's issue of Talking Points, the USC U.S.-China Institute's newsletter. And, as always, the newsletter brings information about China-related events all over North America.
August 7, 2009

USC U.S.-China Institute Weekly Newsletter

Talking Points
August 5 - 19, 2009

Earlier this year a BBC poll of global public opinion found that Americans and Chinese both think their country is a mostly positive force in the world. A majority of people elsewhere disagree, though China gets higher marks in many places than the U.S.

The BBC poll, carried out in 21 countries and overseen by the University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA), found that 92% of Chinese thought China was a mostly positive force in the world. A smaller proportion of Americans, 60%, said that about the U.S. PIPA’s pollsters found that only 39% of non-Chinese thought China was a mostly positive force and that only 40% of non-Americans thought the U.S. was a positive force. The chart below shows that the gap between Chinese and world opinion has grown since 2007 while the “Obama” effect has narrowed the gap between American and world opinion.

Most Chinese have a “mostly negative” view towards the U.S. and most Americans have a “mostly negative” view towards China. The charts below present BBC/PIPA results from 2005-2009. About one-third of the Chinese and Americans polled say they have a mostly positive view of the other country.

A more recent poll (which has an urban bias) overseen by the Pew Research Center found a larger portion of Chinese have a favorable or somewhat favorable view toward the U.S. Chinese views, however, were on the whole significantly less favorable toward the U.S. than those of many other Asians. Three-quarters of South Koreans and Indians have favorable views of the U.S. None approached the 88% favorable view Americans have of the U.S.

Half of the Americans Pew surveyed have a favorable view of China. With one notable exception, China’s Asian neighbors have a more negative view of China than Americans. A large majority of Pakistanis (84%) have a favorable view of China, while just one out of four Japanese have a favorable view of China.

Additional information and charts from these polls and others are available at the USC U.S.-China Institute website.


China’s economic rise has caused increasing number of Americans to study Chinese. Enrollments don’t total 10% of the number who study Spanish, but it is rising rapidly (up 51% since 2002). The chart below is based on surveys conducted of American colleges and universities by the Modern Language Association.

At USC, Chinese language courses enrolled 551 students this past year. 22 of these students studied in Beijing this summer through a East Asian Languages and Cultures department course. The chart below shows the rising number of Americans traveling to China to study. In addition to the language offering, USC courses in China this summer included programs in architecture, business, East Asian studies, education, film, and social work. Other students pursued internships in China with businesses (e.g., real estate development) and government (e.g. urban planning bureaus).

Some 11,064 Americans studied in China in 2006, an increase of 25% over 2005. Of course, this number is dwarfed by the number of Chinese coming to study in the U.S. In 2006, 67,723 Chinese were studying in America. Last year, USC had 1,015 students from China. Another 190 were from Hong Kong and 510 from Taiwan.


Next week’s events include a Pacific Asia Museum screening of a film set in Tibet. Next week the UCLA Fowler Museum opens “Steeped in History: The Art of Tea.” Talking Points always seeks to keep you abreast of these opportunities and you can always get information about China-related events throughout North America in the calendar section of our website.

Please do forward Talking Points to friends and colleagues. They can subscribe at

Best wishes,
The USC U.S.-China Institute
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08/10/2009: China Economic Stimulus Package and Cleantech: Opportunities for US Exporters
Location: Palo Alto, CA
For information & registration, email Karl Kailing
The Department of Commerce Renewable Energy Specialists will address current plans, policies and trade promotion activities. 

08/13/2009: Ganglamedo
Pacific Asia Museum
46 North Los Robles Avenue Pasadena, CA 91101
Phone: 626-449-2742
Time: 8:00PM - 10:00PM
The Pacific Asia Museum presents this screening as part of the Chinese Film Festival.


02/10/2009 - 08/09/2009: Asian Journeys: Collecting Art in Post-war America
Asia Society and Museum
Address: 725 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10021
Phone: 212-517-ASIA
Asia Society and Museum in New York presents John D. Rockefeller 3rd's exceptional collection of Asian art, as well as that of their adviser Sherman E. Lee

08/16/2009 - 11/29/2009: Steeped in History: The Art of Tea
Fowler Museum

Cost: Free
The Fowler Museum at UCLA presents an exhibition on the history of tea in Asia, Europe, and America through art.

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
1400 East Prospect Street , Volunteer Park , Seattle, WA 98112–3303
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
2002 N. Main, Santa Ana, CA
Cost: $5
An exhibit featuring body adornments from indigenous peoples around the world


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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.

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