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Talking Points, March 11-25, 2009

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

USC U.S.-China Institute Weekly Newsletter

Talking Points
March 11 - 25, 2009

On Sunday, a U.S. Navy ship gathering acoustic information off the South China coast was confronted by five Chinese vessels. On Monday, the U.S. Defense Department said the USNS Impeccable was in international waters 70 miles from China’s Hainan Island when it was surrounded and harassed. Hainan is home to several military installations, including a new submarine base. The Chinese Foreign and Defense Ministries said the Impeccable was within China’s exclusive economic zone without permission and that the three government ships and two fishing trawlers were carrying out legal and appropriate enforcement measures.

Some have drawn parallels to the 2001 spy plane incident. In the first months of the Bush administration a U.S. Navy surveillance jet collided with one of two Chinese fighters which confronted it off the South China coast. The Chinese plane and pilot were lost and the American plane had to make an emergency landing on Hainan. The crew and plane were held for a time before the American and Chinese governments found a way to extract themselves from the standoff. Ahead of this, there was plenty of angry rhetoric in the established media and in cyberspace. For diplomatic and for domestic political reasons, neither government wanted to be perceived as being “soft” on the other. It took a couple of weeks before the right words were found to defuse the situation. Ultimately, the U.S. rejected Chinese claims that the American plane had infringed on Chinese airspace, but expressed regret over the incident and the loss of life. The American public focused on the rejection of blame and delighted in the release of the crew while the Chinese government held on to the plane awhile longer and highlighted the expression of regret. And the Chinese public, mindful that American bombs devastated the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999, killing three, grudgingly accepted that expression of regret.

Fortunately, this week’s confrontation did not end with injuries or destruction. It happened just as the two countries resumed military talks that had been put on hold following the U.S. government announcement in December that it would sell $6.5 billion in arms to Taiwan. It also came just after Sec. of State Hillary Clinton visited China and just before Foreign Ministry Yang Jiechi arrived in the U.S. According to Clinton, she and Yang disagree on legality of what happened, but agree that the two sides need to work to avoid such stand-offs in the future. Yang meets with Pres. Barack Obama today.

The Impeccable incident has generated plenty of news and discussion in both countries, but in neither country are passions as inflamed as in 2001 or as they were in March of 2008. Last year, civil unrest and its suppression in and near Tibet generated protests outside China which in turn produced counter-protests in and out of China. And in cyberspace the discussion was even more heated. This year, the Chinese state went to great extremes to ensure there would be no significant public observations of the fiftieth anniversary of the March 10, 1959 uprising in Tibet against Chinese rule. On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department marked the anniversary with a statement acknowledging Tibet to be part of China, but expressing concern about human rights there. Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 422 to 1 to adopt a resolution “recognizing the plight of the Tibetan people … and calling for a sustained multilateral effort to bring about a durable and peaceful solution to the Tibet issue.” China’s Foreign Ministry condemned both the administration’s statements and the House action as interfering in China’s domestic affairs.

How issues such as these are played out in Chinese cyberspace and the role blogs and online forums play in reflecting and shaping Chinese views and policies will be addressed by Professor Xu Wu at USC this afternoon. Xu Wu (吴 旭) teaches at Arizona State University and is the author of Chinese Cyber Nationalism: Evolution, Characteristics, and Implications (中国网络民族主义的发展、特点和政治内涵). We hope you can join us. Details are below.

Owing to a technical problem the past couple of weeks, some subscribers did not receive Talking Points. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please click here for the Talking Points archive to read any missed issues.

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


03/12/2009: Chinese Cyber Nationalism: A Wild-Weird-Wired Card in China's Peaceful Rise
USC University Club, Banquet Room, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
Arizona State University's Xu Wu will speak on U.S.-China 

03/12/2009: Umbrella
USC SCA 10 (Located in the new building of School of Cinematic Arts)
Cost: Free
7:00PM - 9:00PM
Capturing “Glocal China”- Documentary Screening I

03/25/2009: Choosing the Rule of Law over Human Rights: China's Selective Socialization by International Norms
University of Southern California, SOS B-40
Cost: Free
Time: 2:30PM - 2:00PM
Titus Chen presents a talk on China's socialization of international norms on the issue of human rights.


03/12/2009: Dealing with Responsibility for the Great Leap Famine in the Peoples Republic of China
UCLA 10383 Bunche Hall, Los Angeles, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 4:30PM - 6:00PM
A talk by Felix Wemheuer (University of Vienna, Austria)

03/13/2009 - 03/14/2009: Religion and Globalization in Asia: Prospects, Patterns, and Problems for the Coming Decade
University of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
Speakers in San Francisco explore the dynamics of globalizing forces on the established and emerging religions of South and East Asia. 
03/13/2009 - 03/15/2009: 3rd Annual Chinese Education Conference: Preparing Educators for a Global Future
The CAIS Institute
44 Page Street, Suite 403
San Francisco, CA 94102
The CAIS Institute presents a conference to bring together teachers, administrators, and educational leaders to learn and share the latest information in Chinese education.  
03/18/2009: The Chinese Lubitsch Touch: Post-WWII Comedies of Disguise
IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor
Time: 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Xinyu Dong will explore how Chinese Lubitsch films rivaled American films on their own ground and gained competitive edge in challenging the Hollywood domination of the post-war market.  
03/18/2009: Intimate Politics: Marriage, the Market, and State Power in Southeastern China
IEAS Conference Room
2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor, Berkeley, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 5:00PM - 6:30PM
Sara Friedman (Indiana University) explores the customs of eastern Hui'an residents, women in particular, as an anomaly among rural Han.

North America:  

03/20/2009 - 03/22/2009: China's Rise and Its Impact on Asia: Democratization, Development and Culture
Center for Asian Democracy
Political Science Department
Ford Hall Room 205
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292
Phone: (502) 852-3265
A symposium dealing with issues related to China's developments and their impact on Asia in the last three decades from the perspectives of politics, economics and culture.


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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