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Talking Points, June 24 - July 6, 2011

This week's USC US-China Institute newsletter looks at trends in government broadcasting and support for university programs on China. As always, it includes our comprehensive calendar of China-focused events and exhibitions across North America.
June 24, 2011

China-Related Events
June 24 - July 6, 2011  

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Commerce Sec. Locke and Pres. Obama, White House photo.

On Thursday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted unanimously and without debate to endorse Gary Locke, President Obama’s choice to be the next ambassador to China. Locke should soon be confirmed by the full Senate.













During Locke’s confirmation hearing, Senator Richard Lugar (R-Indiana) argued that China’s government was enjoying great success in conveying its views and more generally introducing Chinese culture to Americans and others around the world through a number of means, including expanding international broadcasts and its Confucius Institutes. In an earlier report prepared by staff and during the hearing, Lugar complained that the US was falling behind China in public diplomacy. The US, he argued, needs to more effectively communicate its views to ordinary Chinese and to increase the number of Americans studying in China.

Locke pledged to work hard to reach ordinary Chinese, by blogging and by going on television and radio programs in China. Lugar encouraged Locke to work with him and others to ensure that Congress funds China-focused public diplomacy and education programs. This year, however, US officials have been looking to trim such budgets.

Government broadcasting


Zhong Shi, a former USC student now working as an anchor at CNC.

CCTV-9, an English network from China’s central state, is available from many US satellite and cable companies. This network as well as CCTV Chinese networks and the new China News Channel from Xinhua (China’s state news agency) are also available over-the-air via digital sub-channels in several large American cities. Xinhua’s new network was launched with great fanfare last July and last month the agency opened its new North American headquarters in New York’s Times Square. These are the latest examples of an international media push that China’s leaders initiated in 2009 and that includes print initiatives such as the US edition of China Daily. It was reported that China’s leaders were prepared to invest up to $6 billion to expand China’s global media reach.


In February, the US Broadcasting Board of Governors made its annual funding request to Congress. The BBG oversees the Voice of America, famous for its multilingual radio and television broadcasts. Millions of Chinese have relied on these often jammed broadcasts for news about America, China and the world. At present, the VOA broadcasts 12 hours a day in Mandarin and 2 hours a day in Cantonese. The BBG proposed saving $8 million by eliminating these broadcasts. Will these broadcasts be missed? Not by most Chinese, it seems. A 2008 survey put VOA Chinese language listenership at just one-tenth of 1%. The BBG believes that concentrating on web and mobile platforms will prove more effective. Earlier this year the British Broadcasting Corporation made the same calculation and ended its Mandarin broadcasts.

In an editorial, China Daily argued the VOA and BBC won’t be missed: “Instead of bridging the gap of information and understanding between peoples, very often their biased programs have created misunderstanding between the West and the East.”

Another BBG service, Radio Free Asia, would continue broadcasts in Mandarin, Cantonese, Uyghur, and Tibetan. In these broadcasts, RFA offers what is called “surrogate coverage,” meaning it offers coverage for “listeners who do not have access to full and free news media.” The RFA will take over frequencies currently used by the VOA. Some in Congress oppose cutting VOA Chinese language broadcasts. Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) and others want to earmark $15 million for such broadcasts.

Recent cuts in the federal international education budgets

Last year, the U.S. Department of Education designated 20 national resource centers (NRCs) for East Asia. USC and UCLA share one such center. One program is fellowship only. The total allocation to these 21 programs for 2010-2011 was $11.3 million. A decade earlier, 18 East Asia national resource centers were allocated $5.3 million. This funding has been essential to America’s largest and most influential research and training centers on China. More than half of the American college students studying Chinese do so at these schools.

Next year’s allocation for these programs has been cut 22.6%. These centers’ fellowship programs will continue fully funded, but other efforts (for example, language initiatives, conferences, and publications) will be slashed.

Other U.S. Department of Education programs that help colleges establish Chinese language programs or individuals carry out research in China (for example, the Fulbright-Hays fellowships) have been eliminated for 2011-2012. The department’s grants to the 33 centers for international business education and research have been cut by 55%. USC’s CIBER, for example, is well known for its annual Asia Pacific Business Outlook conference which this March featured a keynote address by Gary Locke.

Reducing the US budget deficit is a priority, but cuts such as these have a direct, immediate, and negative impact on the ability of US institutions to strengthen Chinese language programs and deepen American knowledge of China.


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USC | California | North America | Exhibitions

USC - Upcoming

08/01/2011 - 08/05/2011 and 08/08/2011 - 08/11/2011: USCI/NCTA 2011 Summer Residential Seminar
**Professional development opportunity for K-12 educators
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089

The USC U.S. - China Institute (USCI) and the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia (NCTA) are offering a nine-day residential summer seminar for K-12 educators employed outside of the greater Los Angeles area.
Deadline for application accecptance is Friday, July 8, or until the seminar is full. 

09/27/2011: Why Taiwan Matters: Small Island, Global Powerhouse
Davidson Conference Center
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM

A talk by Shelley Riggers discussing her book about global impacts that Taiwan has on the world. 

10/13/2011: USC Global Conference Hong Kong 2011: Global Challenges and Enhancing Opportunities
JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong
Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong, China
The two day conference will feature New York Times and Pulitzer Prize winning author Thomas L. Friedman.


06/26/2011: Vanishing Traditions: Textiles and Treasures from Southwest China
Pacific Asia Museum
46 N. Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101
Time: 2:00PM - 4:00PM
Bea Roberts, author of Vanishing Traditions: Textiles and Treasures from Southwest China, will speak at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena.

06/27/2011 - 06/29/2011: 2011 US-China Real Estate Summit: Continuing Prosperity
Universal Hilton
555 Universal Hollywood Drive, Universal City, California 91608-1001
This is a great event for relationship building and networking. It will provide a channel to access governments of both U.S and China. 

06/30/2011: The Beijing Consensus: Fact of Fallacy?
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 4th Fl Conference Room
One Woodrow Wilson Plaza 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004-3027
Cost: Free
Time: 10:00AM - 11:30AM
A talk by Patrick Chovanec on the “Beijing Consensus” as an alternative development model to the American-led Washington Consensus.

 North America

06/25/2011: Two Great American Collectors of Chinese Ceramics: Morgan and Freer
Freer Gallery
Meyer Auditorium 301 7th Street Southwest, Washington, DC 22747
Cost: Free
Time: 2:00PM
Chinese ceramics specialist James J. Lally compares the aesthetic philosophies and acquisition practices of two great American collectors at the Smithsonian Institute.
export to outlook

06/28/2011: BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa): Shaping the New Global Architecture
Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor Flom Auditorium
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20004-3027
Time: 1:00PM - 5:30PM
The conference will gather five leading experts who will address how each respective BRICS nation views its inclusion in this group and the broader political,economic, and social challenges that these countries pose to the traditional advanced economies.


ends 06/24/2011: Detained at Liberty`s Door: The Story of Liberty Lost on Angel Island
De Anza College
The California History Museum 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 9:00AM - 4:00PM
A new exhibit at De Anza College`s California History Center tells the story of one woman who was trapped between a Chinese and an American life on the island.

ends 06/25/2011: Echoes of the Past: Qing Dynasty Chinese Painting: New Exhibition
UC Berkeley
Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA
Cost: $10 Adults (18-64), $7 Non-UC Berkeley students, senior citizens (65 & over), disabled persons, and young adults (13-17) and after 5 p.m. selected Fridays, free BAM/PFA members, UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff, and children (12 & under)
Time: 9:00AM - 7:00PM
Berkeley Art Museum will exhibit Qing dynasty paintings from Jan 5 til June 26, 2011. 

ends 06/26/2011: 3rd National Asian American Theater Conference and Festival
Several venues across Los Angeles.
Los Angeles, CA 90007


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