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Talking Points, February 4 - 18, 2009

The weekly e-newsletter from the USC U.S.-China Institute
February 5, 2009

USC U.S.-China Institute Weekly Newsletter

Talking Points
February 4 - 18, 2009

Hillary Clinton’s first trip abroad as Secretary of State will be to East Asia. Her two Bush-era predecessors went first to the Middle East. Clinton’s trip to East Asia reflects the centrality of the region to the American economy, concerns over nuclear non-proliferation, environmental challenges and other concerns. Thursday afternoon, Shen Dingli, director of Fudan University’s Center for American Studies, will discuss what the arrival of the Obama administration may mean for U.S.-China relations. Prof. Shen is a prolific scholar and an influential commentator. Additional details about him and his talk are below and in the calendar section of the USC U.S.-China Institute website.

The Obama administration has indicated that it intends to maintain and expand regular and high level exchanges with the Chinese government. Last week, Clinton told reporters,

"We need a comprehensive dialogue with China. The strategic dialogue that was begun in the Bush administration turned into an economic dialogue, and that is a very important aspect of our relationship but it is not the only aspect….”

In fact, the dialogue initiated by then Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson did address other dimensions of the U.S.-China relationship. One of the most important of these was climate change. On Thursday, the Asia Society and the Pew Center will release “A Roadmap for U.S.-China Cooperation on Energy and Climate Change.” The report is the result of a series of meetings between Chinese and American officials, scientists, and non-governmental officials. Steven Chu, the new Secretary of Energy, headed the effort. Other participants included Banning Garrett of the Asia Society and Eugene Huang of the Treasury Department. They spoke at our recent conference on the making of American policy toward China. Each stressed the need for immediate action and outlined the challenges and potential of U.S.-China cooperation in stemming global climate change. (Click here to see their presentations.)

Given the severity and global scale of the economic downturn, though, the economic relationship is critical. In comments submitted to the Senate Finance Committee, Timothy Geithner, Pres. Obama’s choice as Treasury Secretary, upset Chinese officials by writing,

"President Obama … believes that China is manipulating its currency. [He] has pledged … to use aggressively all the diplomatic avenues open to him to seek change in China's currency practices.”

Su Ning, Vice Governor of China’s central bank responded,

"[W]e should avoid any excuse that might lead to the revitalization of trade protectionism. Because it will do no good to the fight against the crisis, nor will it help the healthy and stable development of the global economy."

Shen Dingli was among those criticizing Geithner’s comment. On Monday, the Treasury Department reported that Geithner and Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan spoke by phone. Geithner’s office said the two “agreed on the need for a continued high-level dialogue on bilateral economic issues.” And yesterday, Pres. Obama responded to criticism that “buy American” elements of the economic stimulus package might trigger a trade war saying,

“[I]t would be a mistake, though, at a time when worldwide trade is declining, for us to start sending a message that somehow we’re just looking after ourselves and not concerned with world trade.”

Click here to see our five minute documentary segment "Tensions over Trade" (it's also available at our YouTube channel).


Our conference last Friday on the impact of the Beijing Olympics was lively and provocative. Among the highlights were presentations on why the Chinese government had difficulty defining what image of China it wanted to convey to both domestic and international audiences, on how international criticism of China’s support for the Sudanese government produced changes in Chinese policies and practices, and how the success of the Games affected foreign perceptions of China and may have raised the expectations of ordinary Chinese of their government’s capacity to address pressing social and economic problems. We’ll have a summaries of the presentations at our website later this week. Video of the presentations will be available soon.


On Feb. 12, we join the USC Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics in hosting a presentation by John Kamm on “The Business of Human Rights.” A former president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, Kamm will discuss his two decades of working to improve human rights in China. We hope you can attend. Details on this event as well for talks, conferences, and exhibitions across North America can be found below and at our website.

Thanks for reading Talking Points and for sharing it with friends and colleagues.

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


02/05/2009: China-U.S. Relations during the Obama Era
USC Leavey Library, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
Shen Dingli, director of Fudan University's Center for American Studies, visits USC to discuss U.S.- China relations. 

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. 


02/06/2009: Opening the Gates: A Critical Appraisal of China’s Urban Development Practices
UC Berkeley
112 Wurster Hall, Berkeley , CA
Cost: Free
Time: 9:00AM - 4:00PM
A symposium on China's urban development. 

02/07/2009: Lantern Festival 2009
El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument
425 N Los Angeles Street, Los Angeles, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00PM - 7:00PM
A festival of Chinese arts, crafts, and entertainment  

02/09/2009: The Power of the Internet in China: Citizen Activism Online
UCLA 10383 Bunche Hall, Los Angeles, CA
Time: 4:30PM - 6:00PM
Cost: Free
Guobin Yang (Barnard College)will explore how online activism has become one of the most important new forms of popular contention in China since the student movement in 1989.  

North America: 

02/06/2009: Conflict in China
Indiana University
Ballantine Hall 004
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00PM - 1:30PM
Indiana University presents a colloquium on China.

02/07/2009 - 02/08/2009: Situ Panchen: Creation and Cultural Engagement in 18th Century Tibet
Rubin Museum of Art
150 17th Street at Seventh Avenue, New York
A panel of scholars will discuss the different aspects of the life of Situ Panchen Chokyi Jungne, an individual that greatly influenced 18th century Tibet. 

02/10/2009: Better Ombudsmen for China: A Risk of Real Democracy?
John A. Burns Hall, 3012 (Third Floor), Honolulu, Hawaii
Time: 12:00PM - 1:00PM
Cost: Free
Politics, Governance, and Security Seminar by Michael H. Sommer, Visiting Scholar, Institute of Governmental Studies, UC, Berkeley.  

02/10/2009: W09 CCS Noon Lecture Series: Transnational Architectural Production in Urban China
University of Michigan
Room 1636 School of Social Work Building, 1080 S. University
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00PM - 1:00PM
Professor Ren will talk about her forthcoming book "Transnational Architectural Production in Urban China."  
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.  
02/14/2009: 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: ISA's 50th Annual Convention
New York City, NY
The convention theme of the 2009 ISA Annual Convention in New York is: Exploring the Past, Anticipating the Future. 

02/17/2009: W09 CCS Noon Lecture Series: 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
Professor Lee will talk about an ongoing comparative project on the relationship between postsecondary education and stratification in China during the second half of the twentieth century. 


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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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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