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Talking Points, January 13 - 27, 2010

China in Africa, China's tobacco epidemic, and the Google/China face off are discussed in this week's edition of the USC US-China Institute's newsletter. The newsletter also contains information about China-related events across North America.
January 18, 2010

Talking Points

January 13 - 27, 2010

The most prominent US-China headlines of the week relate to Google’s announcement on Tuesday that hackers in China had penetrated its Gmail system and accessed the mail of human rights activists in and outside China. Teng Biao, Beijing law professor, and Tenzin Seldon, a Stanford student, were among those mail was being read. Google hasn’t charged the Chinese government with the hacking, but given the sophistication of the attacks and the Chinese state’s preoccupation with monitoring such individuals and its charge that they could threaten social stability, many believe this was a government effort. Google said that it would stop censoring search results on and that if this wasn’t acceptable to the government, it would leave China.




Secretary of State Hillary Clinton quickly expressed concern about what the attacks represented. Many Chinese netizens were sad at the news that Google might leave. Dark jokes were passed about and some went to Google facilities to leave fruit and flowers. In web forums, some celebrated, saying that foreigners always demanded special treatment and that Google was just unhappy that Chinese net users preferred Baidu.

China’s government noted that hacking is violation of its laws, but stressed the obligations internet companies have. On Thursday, Jiang Yu, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said, “ China’s internet is open. China welcomes international internet enterprises to conduct business according to law." In a People’s Daily interview, Wang Chen of the State Council’s Information Office said that internet media must fully implement laws and regulations and “strictly abide by news propaganda discipline.” On Friday, the US State Department announced it will formally seek an explanation of how the attacks on Google happened and what the Chinese government intends to do about it.

Google likes to do things differently. When others were loading up their homepages with blinking banners and as much information as they could manage, Google offered the simplest of pages. Because its search algorithms produced much more relevant results than others, it rapidly attracted users. It is so pervasive that many use Google as a synonym for web search. Because advertisers are eager to target those searching for specific terms or reading about specific topics, Google’s been able to translate its technological prowess and popularity into immense profits.

Google has long indexed Chinese language pages and supported searches in Chinese, but the company was frustrated that the “great firewall” and other restrictions hampered access in China. So in January 2006 the company went to China and set up This meant accepting rules requiring censorship of search results. Interviewed then, Sergey Brin, Google co-founder, told Fortune this was a difficult compromise, made because “we felt that by participating there, and making our services more available, even if not to the 100 percent that we ideally would like, that it will be better for Chinese Web users, because ultimately they would get more information, though not quite all of it.” When’s prohibited content filters kick in, there is a notice at the bottom of the results page: 据当地法律法规和政策,部分搜索结果未予显示。(According to local laws and regulations, some results are not shown.)



Google's famous for modifying its standard logo to mark holidays and other occasions. Confucius is celebrated in the logo to the left.
The Fuwa, Beijing Olympics mascots, carry the Olympic flag.
  Google marks the Year of the Ox (牛年) in 2009.
  On Jan. 12, the day it issued its announcement of "a new approach to China," noted famous Chinese inventions.
Baidu also tweaks its logo on occaion. Here are the two search engine logos for the Year of the Rat (鼠年), 2008.

Worldwide, Google is without peer, handling 68% of all searches (and more than 90% in places such as France and Germany). In China, though, it has only a 21% share of the market. Baidu owns that market with a 74% share. Worldwide, Baidu has 7% of the market.



 On Jan. 13, someone changed the registration of the Baidu site, redirecting traffic to a site with this "Iranian Cyber Army" page.

Baidu’s look is similar to Google’s. Some credit its greater success to heavy advertising, some of which highlights the company’s Chinese origins. But Baidu understood early on that the bulk of Chinese net users were entertainment rather than news oriented. It put an mp3 link on the frontpage and made it easy to hunt for music downloads, most of which were pirated. Baidu rode this traffic to number one and expanded its lead with a social networking service and a video search tool. Last spring, Google launched an advertising supported free mp3 download site, with licensed songs from four major music companies. The company cannot leverage some of its other assets, such as YouTube and Blogger because they are blocked in China.

Many Chinese, however, do use Google’s Gmail service and it was this service that was attacked. Because that service is based outside China and is used by tens of millions of non-Chinese, these successful assaults threaten Google’s reputation everywhere. With email and office tools such as word processors and spreadsheets, Google asks users to entrust personal and business data to its servers. Google’s response indicates that the corporation feels that despite its efforts to comply with Chinese regulations, its system was targeted and penetrated.

Google said that other tech companies had also been hacked. Adobe and a few other tech companies have since acknowledged this. Reports say Google wanted them to join them in challenging the government’s complicity in or tolerance of attacks against foreign firms. None agreed to do so and some suggested that this kind of thing was the norm. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO told the Financial Times, "Every large institution is being hacked. I don't think it's a fundamental change in the security environment on the internet." On Friday, Microsoft issued a security alert, conceding that it was a flaw in its Internet Explorer that the Chinese hackers had used against Google.

China’s net using population is estimated to be 338 million and it’s growing as the government works to push broadband to every township. The cell phone market is even bigger, with 703 million users, about 40% of whom use their phones to access the net. As in the US, Google is anxious to dominate the mobile web search market. The company’s Android operating system is powering new smart phones from Motorola, LG, and Lenovo for all three of China’s wireless carriers. Mobile search is the most important new frontier for Google. That said, China accounted for just 2% of the company’s $22 billion in revenues in 2009. Given cyberattacks, arbitrary blocks, being singled out for criticism ahead of Chinese competitors and the requirement to participate in censorship, Google is now saying that the upside of being in China may not be worth the downside.







"China is in Africa for the long term, and strategically. They will not veer from this."
     -- David Shinn, former US Ambassador to Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, Feb. 2009

"Some developed Western countries hit by the financial crisis are reducing their investment in Africa. Objectively, this is a powerful opportunity for Chinese businesses to expand their investment and market share in Africa.”
     -- Cui Yongqian, former Chinese ambassador to Congo and the Central African Republic, Feb. 2009

Almost 600 years ago, large Chinese fleets visited the East African coast. They brought porcelain, silk, and lacquerware and they returned to China with envoys, giraffes, zebras, and other animals, plus ivory, rhinoceros horn, incense, and precious stones. Thirty to forty years ago, China forged ties with newly independent African nations. Development assistance was provided, most famously in building the Tanzanian-Zambia railway. Those countries helped Beijing in its campaign to secure China’s UN seat. For a decade now, business interests have been paramount. Chinese state companies and private entrepreneurs have been investing in and doing business with African partners. Annual two-way trade reached $107 billion in 2008, but fell back to $91 billion in 2009, but Chinese investment on the continent went up by more than 70% last year. At USC on Thursday, Jan. 21, one of the top authorities on China in Africa, Deborah Brautigam, will discuss the pros and cons of China’s expanding involvement in Africa. We hope you can join us.

We also hope you will be able to attend one of the USC talks offered by Judith Mackay. She’ll speak on the global challenge posed by tobacco on Tuesday and Thursday, and will focus on China in her Friday lecture. Mackay has lived and worked in Hong Kong since 1967. She’s one of the foremost experts on tobacco control, editing The Tobacco Atlas, and consulting for major health organizations. In 2007 Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world. 37% of the world's cigarettes are consumed in China. Please join us on Friday, Jan. 22 for Mckay’s examination of the challenges of reducing tobacco use in China and dealing with the long term consequences of high consumption levels there.

Hackers, China’s involvement in Africa and tobacco use in China are just two of the issues US-China Today looked at in 2009. The magazine has been getting a makeover and this week we’ll unveil the new look along with new articles and multimedia features. Students and scholars are also invited to visit the announcements section of our website for information about our new postdoctoral, graduate fieldwork, and faculty research grants.

Thank you for reading. We welcome your comments. Please send them to us at

Best wishes,
The USC U.S.-China Institute
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01/19/2010 - 01/20/2010: The Global Tobacco Epidemic: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Health Sciences Campus, Aresty Auditorium
Time:  5:00pm to 7:00pm
January 20
University Park Campus, Town and Gown
Time:  5:00pm to 7:00pm
January 22: China: The World’s Largest Tobacco Market
USC Leavey Library Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free, Time: 10:00AM - 12:00PM
Hosted in partnership with the USC U.S.-China Institute and the School of Social Work
Dr. Judith Mackay discusses the epidemic`s challenges, successes and future direction as they apply to emerging world health threats. 

01/20/2010: Is China Large? Monetary Leadership and the Dynamics of Currency Zone Formation
Cost: Free
Time: 12:30PM - 2:00PM
The USC Center for International Studies presents a talk by Dave Andrews.


01/21/2010: The Dragon`s Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa
University of Southern California
Davidson Conference Center, Board Room, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
Join Professor Deborah Brautigam for a discussion on her book on China`s actions and intentions in Africa.

01/28/2010: Aging Research in China
USC MRF Hamovitch Center, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
Phone: 213-821-4382
Time: 11:30 am - 1 pm
Lunch Will be Provided
RSVP is required by Jan. 21, 2010
Dr. Peng Du will focus on the development of population aging and social gerontology research in China.

01/28/2010: Nanking
Leavey Library
University of Southern California
Cost: Free
Time: 6:00PM - 8:00PM
The US-China Institute presents the award-winning documentary, Nanking, followed by a discussion with director Bill Guttentag.


01/14/2010: Global Warming and the Emerging Water Crisis in California and China
Nixon Peabody
One Embarcadero Center, Suite 1800, San Francisco
Cost: $5 members/students $10 non members
Phone: 415-421-8707
Time: 5:30PM - 7:00PM
The Asia Society presents a panel discussion on the water crisis in China and California.

01/18/2010: Elizabeth Economy, The River Runs Black
USF Main Campus
Fromm Hall (Enter off Parker between Golden Gate & Fulton), San Francisco
Phone: (415) 422-6357
Time: 5:45PM - 7:00PM
Elizabeth Economy gives a talk on the environmental challenge to China`s future.

01/21/2010: The Coming Disaster for Taiwan
Pepperdine University
Drescher Campus Auditorium
Pepperdine University`s School of Public Policy presents a talk by Professor Hong Bing Yuan. 
01/21/2010: Practicescape at Bao shan
UC Berkeley
IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor
Cost: Free
Time: 5:00PM - 6:30PM
UC Berkeley`s Center for Chinese Studies presents a talk by Wendi Adamek on her current work on Bao shan in terms of "practicescape," a multi-directional reinscription of the landscape in Buddhist terms.
01/25/2010: The Dragons Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa
UCLA 10383 Bunche Hall
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00PM - 2:00PM
UCLA Center for Chinese Studies presents a talk by Professor Deborah Brautigam on the myths and explains the realities of China`s growing economic embrace of Africa. 

01/26/2010: From Los Angeles to Beijing: Launching Your Career in China
USC Doheny Memorial Library, Room 240, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
Time: 6:00PM - 9:30PM
The Zhongwen Club and the USC Career Planning & Placement Center presents an event on opportunities in China. 

01/27/2010: Role Ethics: A Confucian Moral Vision for the 21st Century
UC Berkeley
3401 Dwinelle Hall
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00PM - 1:00PM
UC Berkeley`s Center for Chinese Studies presents a talk by Professor Henry Rosemont, Jr.

01/27/2010: Spectacle and Sacrifice: The Ritual Foundations of Village Life in North China
UC Berkeley
IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
UC Berkeley`s Center for Chinese Studies presents a talk by David Johnson on Chinese village rituals. 

North America

01/14/2010: Chinese Tidings Lecture: “Is China`s Carbon Emission Target Achievable: China`s Climate Policy and Economic Development”
Indiana University
Ballantine Hall 005, Bloomington, Indiana 47405
Time: 6:00pm-7:00p.m.
Indiana University`s Center for Chinese Language Pedagogy presents the fourth lecture on climate policy and economic development in the Chinese Tidings series.
01/15/2010: Ecological Resettlement and China’s Tibetan and Mongol Nomads: A Policy, Its Failure, and the Impotence of Research
Indiana University, East Asian Studies Center
Ballantine Hall 004, Bloomington, IN
Time:12:00PM - 1:30PM
Indiana University presents a talk with Christopher P. Atwood.

01/26/2010: Modeling Early Chinese Medicine: Reflections on the Relationship Between Law and Science
School of Social Work Building, Room 1636
1080 South University , Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106
Time: 12pm
University of Michigan`s Center for Chinese Studies presents Professor Miranda Brown, who will speak on the legal influences on Chinese science.


09/17/2009 - 01/17/2010: Calligraffiti: Writing in Contemporary Chinese and Latino Art
Pacific Asia Museum
46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, California 91101
Phone: (626) 449-2742
Calligraffiti: Writing in Contemporary Chinese and Latino Art addresses issues of power, culture, and universality.  

01/06/2010 - 02/17/2010: Sketches of China: Works on Paper by Hyunsook Cho
Pacific Asia Museum, Gallery of Contemporary Art
46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101
Phone: (626) 449-2742
Sketches of China presents the artist`s re-interpretation of traditional Chinese ink painting in different media

 09/22/2009 - 06/30/2010: China`s Great Wall: The Forgotten Story
NYC offices of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, New York, NY
The Forgotten Story is a series of historically-based photographs of the Great Wall of China. It is a collaboration between Jonathan Ball, a California based photographer, and David Spindler, one of the world`s foremost experts on Great Wall history.

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. 

11/15/2008 - 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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