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Talking Points, February 20 - March 5, 2008

The USC U.S.-China Institute's weekly newsletter.
February 20, 2008

USC U.S.-China Institute

Talking Points
February 20- March 5, 2008

Americans know they’ve been paying more for goods and services and today the U.S. government released statistics documenting these rising prices. The U.S. Consumer Price Index is up 4.3% over the past twelve months. And this is before $100 a barrel oil is distilled into the gas we buy. Consumers in China have seen an even bigger increase, 7.1% over the past year. Food, though, is up 18%, with pork prices jumping 59%. These increases, of course, hit the poor especially hard. 

Income inequality is growing in China and has surpassed the U.S. level. In a recent article, Thomas Pogge argues that in 1990 China’s richest people had incomes eight times larger than its poorest people. Today, China’s richest 10% have incomes 22 times larger than the poorest 10%. In the U.S., the richest 10% receive incomes 16 times larger than the poorest 10%.

Some worry that growing income disparity will aggravate existing social tensions. Next week, former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state and current USCI board of scholars member Susan Shirk will discuss how the shocks to China’s fragile domestic economic order could have implications for the nation’s external ties. Prof. Shirk speaks on Feb. 26. The next afternoon, Cintia Quiliconi and Carol Wise will present their research into China’s push into Latin American markets.
Other upcoming events include Saturday’s opening of Liu Fang Yuan, the Huntington’s new Chinese garden, tomorrow’s USC screening of The Rising Tide and next week’s UCLA screening of Gongbu’s Happy Life. On Friday, Feb. 29, the Avengers arena football team and the World Affairs Council are co-sponsoring a look at the importance and potential impact of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Please be sure to mark your calendar for our Taiwan election symposium (March 26), a presentation by Justin Lin, the World Bank’s new chief economist (April 8), and the Herbert G. Klein Lecture by U.S. Ambassador to China Clark T. Randt, Jr. (April 21). Details on all of these events and many more are below and at the calendar section of the USCI website.
This past Sunday, USC hosted a compelling discussion of what is known about China’s past relations with neighbors and distant countries and how these understandings might influence American officials responsible for today’s policies and practices toward China. Video from this symposium will be available soon at our website. In the meantime, please visit the site to read about research into homeowner associations in China and other topics.
USC faculty and graduate researchers have until March 3 to submit proposals for summer and 2008-2009 research projects. Details are available in the announcement section of our website. Secondary school teachers from outside Los Angeles are welcome to apply for our two-week summer seminar (July 28 – August 7). Housing is provided. Teachers meeting program requirements also receive a completion stipend, library development grant, and other benefits. For news about this and other teacher-centered programs and ideas for bringing Asia alive in your classroom, please contact Miranda Ko at to receive our Teaching about Asia monthly newsletter.
As always, we welcome your comments. Please send them to us at
Best wishes,
The USC U.S.-China Institute


USC Events

02/21/2008: The Rising Tide
Time: 7:00PM - 9:00PM
USC George Lucas building (LUC 108)
Cost: Free
Time: 7:00PM - 9:00PM
A documentary on the cultural and economic changes in China. 

02/25/2008: Traditions, Treaties, and Trade: The Qing Empire and Choson Korea, 1876-1910

USC, Dosan Ahn Chang Ho Family House, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
Time: 5:00PM - 7:00PM
A talk at USC by Kirk Larsen, George Washington University

02/26/2008: China – Fragile Superpower
USC University Club
Address: Banquet Room, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Time: 12:30PM - 2:00PM
UCSD political scientist and USC U.S.-China Institute Board of Scholars member Susan L. Shirk will speak on US-China relations.

02/27/2008: China's Surge in Latin American Markets: Policy Challenges and Responses
USC Social science building (SOS B-40)
Time: 12:30PM - 2:00PM
Cost: Free
The lecture is part of the CIS Director's Workshop

03/05/2008: Political Cross Currents in China’s Corporate Restructuring

USC University Club
Time: 4:00PM - 6:00PM
Cost: Free
Stanford University's Jean Oi will examine China's corporate cross currents. 

California Events

02/20/2008: Prospects for Taiwan-PRC Peace Under New Leaders

Hahn 101
333 North College Way, Claremont, CA 91711
Cost: Free
4:15PM - 5:30PM
Lecture by former U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam, Raymond Burghardt.

02/23/2008: Liu Fang Yuan, the Garding of Flowing Fragrance, opens

Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108
Phone: 626-405-2261
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

02/23/2008: Seventh Annual Lantern Festival 2008
Chinese American Museum
425 North Los Angeles Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00PM - 5:00PM
Lantern Festival 2008 will blend traditional Chinese entertainment with a unique educational twist.

02/23/2008: Beyond the Great Wall: Glimpse from Hua Yan's Painting

LACMA, Dorothy Collins Brown Auditorium
5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Cost: Free
Time: 2:00PM - 4:00PM
UC Riverside's Ginger Hsü speaks at LACMA. 

02/28/2008: Chinese Independent Documentary Series: Gongbu’s Happy Life

Melnitz Hall
2534 Melnitz Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095
Cost: Free
Phone: 310-825-8683
Time: 7:00PM - 10:00PM
Presented by the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies and the REEL CHINA Documentary Biennial. 

02/29/2008: 2008 Wilbur K. Woo Greater China Business Conference
Korn Convocation Hall
110 Westwood Plaza , Los Angeles, CA 90095
Cost: $29-193
Engine for Growth: the China California Connection  

02/29/2008: A Night of Hong Kong Kung Fu Cinema

Ahmanson Bldg B06
Otis College of Art and Design 9045 Lincoln Boulevard , Los Angeles, CA 90095
Time: 8:00PM - 10:00PM
Join Craig Reid in the presentation of a double feature of renowned martial arts film director Liu Chia-Liang's films. 

02/29/2008: International Night
Los Angeles STAPLES Center
Address: 1111 S. Figueroa Street , Los Angeles, California 90015
Cost: $30 (Includes access to discussion panel and ticket to Avengers vs. New Orleans VooDoo game)
A panel of esteemed experts will discuss the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

02/29/2008 - 03/01/2008: Li-ka Shing Foundation workshop on Republican Chinese History

IEAS Conference Room
Fulton Street 6th Floor, Berkeley , CA
Cost: Free   
Li-ka Shing Foundation workshop on Republican Chinese History
Ten scholars will discuss the significance Hoover's new collections of Republican Chinese archival materials and whether or not Republican history should be rewritten. 

North America Events: 

03/04/2008: Perspectives In and On China
Room 1636 School of Social Work Building
1080 S. University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106
Time: 12:00PM - 1:00PM
Cost: Free
Stanford University's Richard Vinograd speaks on pictorial perspective systems in China.

03/04/2008: School of Natural Resources and Environment: China's Environmental Challenges
1040 Dana Building
Address: 1080 S. University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 6:00PM
An exploration of the environmental challenges associated with the economic transformation and rise of China.  


02/02/2008 - 03/29/2008: Shaolin: Temple of Zen
Otis College of Art and Design
9045 Lincoln Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90045
An exhibition and publication that documents the exceptionally private warrior monks of the 1500 year old Shaolin Temple in the Henan province of China, renowned for its association with Zen Buddhism and martial arts.


01/23/2008 - 05/15/2008: Cycle of Life: Awakening - Works by Asian Women Artists
IEAS Gallery
2223 Fulton Street 6th Floor, Berkeley, CA
An exhibition featuring the art works of Asian women artists.


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