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Talking Points, February 11 -- 25, 2009

The USC U.S.-China Institute's weekly e-newsletter.
February 12, 2009

USC U.S.-China Institute Weekly Newsletter

Talking Points
February 11 - 25, 2009

As noted last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will soon be in China. Clinton has argued that strategic discussions between the U.S. and China became too focused on economic concerns during the Bush administration. She said that the Obama administration intends to emphasize a broader range of issues, including human rights. The economic downturn which cost 20,000 American jobs a day in January and has already led to millions of lay-offs in China will continue to have the attention of officials and the public in both countries. Chinese state media, for example, is condemning the “Buy American” provisions of the just passed U.S. economic stimulus package, arguing that it will foster protectionism, yield more expensive projects, and cost jobs among American exporters.

On the campaign trail, President Obama argued that the prison at Guantanamo Bay, “waterboarding” and some other interrogation techniques, and earlier abuses at Abu Ghraib were inconsistent with American law and values and damaged the U.S. government’s credibility in raising human rights questions. Obama sought to address this with some of his first executive orders, calling, for example, for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison.

The Obama administration, however, did not raise any questions during the recent United Nations Human Rights Council’s meeting on human rights conditions in China. Representatives of several nations noted concerns they had about certain practices. For example, Canada questioned the arbitrary arrest and detention of minorities and Argentina asked whether the Chinese government planned to criminalize the use of torture by police.

Reporters have queried State Department officials about this and have asked if Clinton will raise human rights issues in her meetings with Chinese officials. The Department says it did not actively participate in the UN meeting because it is in the process of reviewing U.S. policy toward the Human Rights Council. With regard to Clinton’s visit, on Tuesday spokesperson Robert Wood said, “[H]uman rights is going to be an important issue. The Secretary will raise the issue, when appropriate, where she thinks she can have the most effect, and you can count on that.” The Obama administration has reaffirmed U.S. concern about the case of Huang Qi, a Chinese blogger who is charged with illegally possessing state secrets. Huang worked with families who lost children when schools collapsed in the Sichuan earthquake last May. He reported their efforts to hold officials and others accountable for poorly constructed schoolbuildings.

When Clinton raises human rights questions, she’s likely to hear her counterparts stress China’s achievements in alleviating poverty, expanding education, extending life spans, responding to disasters, and making progress in legal reform and judicial practice.

John Kamm knows these arguments well. Kamm has decades of experience working in China. He was first a businessman who came to serve as the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. Twenty years ago, though, he turned his considerable energies to advancing human rights in China. His quiet, detail-focused approach has won the respect of many Chinese officials and has yielded the release of many individuals. Officials appreciate Kamm’s cultural sensitivity. One mark of that sensitivity can be seen his organization’s newsletter, which currently notes calls within China for the government to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic with a special pardon for some prisoners who have already served long sentences. Kamm argues this fits with Chinese tradition, has a 1959 PRC precedent, and will contribute to building the “harmonious society” advocated by top leaders. And -- his business instincts kicking in – Kamm says it will save the government money that could go boosting China’s sagging economy.

You can hear Kamm discuss “The Business of Human Rights: 20 Years of Dialogue with the Chinese Government” at USC today at 4 pm. Details are available below and in the calendar section of the USC U.S.-China Institute website. The event is cosponsored with the Norman Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics.

The documents section of the Institute website offers materials on U.S.-China relations, on contemporary China, and more. Included there are the reports of the UN meeting mentioned above as well as the March 2008 reports issued by the U.S. government on human rights in China and by the Chinese government on human rights in the U.S. Click here to see "Human Rights in China" - a segment from our recent film on U.S.-China relations (also on YouTube).

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


02/12/2009: The Business of Human Rights: 20 Years of Dialogue with the Chinese Government
USC, University Club Pub Room, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
The US-China Institute presents a talk with Human Rights activist and founder of The Dui Hua Foundation, John Kamm. 

02/14/2009: The 2009 USC Symposium on Chinese Language Instruction: Standards and Evaluations in Curriculum and Classrooms
Lillian Vosloh Forum, Building UU
Pasadena City College
TimeL 2:00PM - 5:15PM
USC East Asian Languages and Cultures & East Asian Studies Center present a one day seminar on Chinese language instruction. 

02/19/2009: Siren or Stateswoman: Reconsidering the Ambiguous Legacy of Madame Chiang Kai-shek in US-China Relations
USC, University Club Banquet Room, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00PM - 1:30PM
Laura Tyson Li will talk about her acclaimed book, "Madame Chiang Kai-shek: China's Eternal First Lady," the first English-language biography of one of the world's most influential, colorful, and controversial women in modern history.


02/13/2009: China-Middle East Relations and China’s Energy Strategy
Oldenborg Dining Hall, south side 350 N. College Way, Claremont, CA 91711
Cost: Free
Phone: (909) 621-8018
Tinme: 12:00PM - 1:00PM
International Relations Colloquium of Pomona College and The Pacific Basin Institute present a lecture by Pan Guang.

02/18/2009: From Book to Buildings: Book Talk & Signing with Architect Neville Mars
Morono Kiang Gallery, Downtown Los Angeles
Cost: Admission is free – please RSVP by Friday, February 13, 2009
Time: 7:00PM - 9:00PM
Morono Kiang Gallery presents a special program with Beijing-based Dutch architect Neville Mars to discuss his new book THE CHINESE DREAM – a society under construction.  

02/19/2009: Rise of the Market and the Reach of the State
Philippines Conference Room, Encina Hall
616 Serra St., 3rd floor
Stanford, CA 94305
Time: 12:00PM - 1:15PM
Cost: Free
This talk is part of the Stanford China Program Winter 2009 China Seminar Series entitled "30 Years of Reform and Opening in China: How Far from the Cage?"  

02/20/2009: The Cultural Politics of the Brushstroke
IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor
Time: 4:00PM - 6:00PM
Cost: Free
Martin Powers of the University of Michigan presents a talk on the shifting cultural politics of the brushstroke over four centuries. 

02/23/2009: Technologies of Asian Development : Japanese Engineers in Wartime China and Manchuria (1937-1945)
UCLA Faculty Center Hacienda Room Los Angeles, CA 90095
Time: 3:00PM - 5:00PM
Cost: Free
Colloquium with Aaron Moore, History, UCLA Terasaki Postdoctoral Fellow. 

North America: 

02/12/2009: The 8th Annual East-West Center International Graduate Student Conference on the Asia Pacific Region
Honolulu, Hawaii
The East-West Center International Graduate Student Conference (IGSC) is an annual interdisciplinary conference in a number of thematic and disciplinary areas focusing on the Asia Pacific region.  

02/13/2009: Human Rights in Xinjiang: Recent Developments
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 628
Washington, DC 20515
Time: 10:00AM - 11:30PM
Congressional-Executive Commission on China presents a one-day conference on recent developments of human rights in China's Xinjiang region.
02/14/2009: CCS Chinese Documentary Film Series: Up the Yangtze
University of Michigan
Auditorium A Angell Hall 435 South Street
Cost: Free
Time: 7:00PM - 9:00PM
A film by Yung Chang; Canada, 2008; 93 minutes (English, Mandarin and Sichuan dialect with English subtitles)  
02/15/2009 - 02/18/2009: International Studies Association Annual Conference, New York
New York Marriott Marquis
1535 Broadway , New York, New York 10036
A group of scholars and practitioners founded the International Studies Association (ISA) in 1959 to pursue mutual interests in international studies. Representing eighty countries, ISA has over four thousand members worldwide and is the most respected and widely known scholarly association in this field.

02/17/2009:Higher Education and Diversity: The Changing Origins of University Students in China, 1903-2002
University of Michigan
Room 1636 School of Social Work Building, 1080 S. University
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00PM - 1:00PM
James Lee speaks in the Michigan Center for Chinese Studies noon lecture series.


08/23/2008 - 02/22/2009: Guests of the Hills: Travelers and Recluses in Chinese Landscape Painting
Freer Gallery of Art/ Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Smithsonian Institution P.O. Box 37012, MRC 707, Washington DC 20013-7012
Phone: 202.633.1000
Freer Gallery of Art presents an exhibition on the depictions of recluses and recreational travelers in Chinese landscape painting.

01/28/2209- 03/06/2009: Rubbings
Wesleyan University
The Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Studies
343 Washington Terrace
Middletown, CT 06459-0435 USA
Gallery Hours, 12-4 daily except Mondays
Wesleyan University presents an exhibition on contemporary Chinese rubbings. 

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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FIG 202
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