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Talking Points, March 18 - April 1, 2009

The USC U.S.-China Institute's weekly enewsletter
March 18, 2009

USC U.S.-China Institute Weekly Newsletter

Talking Points
March 18 - April 1, 2009

We learned two weeks ago that an email server glitch was keeping some subscribers from receiving Talking Points. Last week we solved that problem. As all of you know, however, we overdid it. We apologize for filling your inboxes with multiple copies.

While learning about servers, we also learned more about you. When you’re satisfied or indifferent, you generally don’t write to us. But when we’re inundating you with messages, many of you took the time to write. Though it was frustrating to be on the receiving end of our experiment, most of you who wrote expressed good cheer and patience. We’ll grateful for both. Thank you.


Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao will meet in a couple of weeks. They’ll have much to discuss from finding ways to avoid confrontations similar to last week’s incident in the South China Sea to collaborative efforts to address the economic crisis and global warming. At the moment, though, conciliatory comments and gestures are in short supply.

--- Neither side is conceding anything on their understanding of what activities foreign vessels may undertake in a country’s exclusive economic zone. The U.S. describes its listening and mapping activities as lawful and China describes them as infringing on their rights.

--- Meanwhile, on Friday Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao expressed “concerns” about China’s large investments in U.S. debt. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs responded, “There’s no safer investment in the world than in the United States.”

--- On Wednesday, Xie Zhenhua, China’s chief representative on climate change, went on the offensive, condemning as protectionist one of the ideas being considered by the Obama administration to address the problem. The administration is considering proposing placing a special tariff on goods imported from countries which do not place a tax on carbon emissions. Reuters quoted Xie as arguing that China was already doing more to cut emissions than the U.S.

--- And also on Wednesday, in a move some see as protectionist, China’s Ministry of Commerce vetoed Coca Cola’s $2.4 billion bid to purchase Huiyuan, the Chinese juice market leader. The Ministry announced it was blocking the acquisition because it would give Coca Cola too large a share of the Chinese juice and soft drink markets. Combined, Coca Cola and Huiyuan would control 20% of the diluted juice market, 40% of the pure juice market, and 60% of the soft drink market. Some analysts see this decision as a proper application of China’s new antimonopoly law. Others worry the Ministry’s ruling could discourage others from investing in China and could even foster a backlash against Chinese firms seeking to make large foreign acquisitions themselves.

You can follow these developments and others via the daily update section of US-China Today. While there, be sure to check out the latest issue of the magazine, which features articles on a wide array of topics ranging from trends in Chinese cyberspace and what the economic slowdown means for the American firms which have bet big on Chinese gamblers, to microfinance and efforts to reduce smoking. The issue includes a number of slide shows and an interactive map of Chinese investment in Africa.

Over the next couple of weeks, USC offers a number of interesting talks beginning with a presentation by Titus Chen on the impact of international agencies and norms on law and human rights in China. In early April, the Center for International Business Education and Research teams with the U.S. Department of Commerce to offer its annual Asia Pacific Business Outlook. And Hiroki Takeuchi will discuss democratic institutions in rural China. Details are below and in the calendar section of our website.

Please don’t wait for an email meltdown to tell us what you think. We always welcome your comments. Please send them to us at

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


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.


03/18/2009: 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. 

03/26/2009 - 03/29/2009: 2009 Association for Asian Studies (AAS) Annual Meeting
Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers
Address: 301 East North Water Street, Chicago, IL 60611
Cost: $55-135
Phone: 800-325-3535
A four-day conference devoted to planned programs of scholarly papers, roundtable discussions and panel sessions on a wide range of issues in research and teaching, and on Asian affairs.


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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We provide information about China-related events as a community service. If you would like your event considered for inclusion in the USCI calendar, please click here to submit event details.



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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