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Talking Points, March 19 - April 2, 2008

The USC U.S.-China Institute's weekly email newsletter
March 19, 2008

USC U.S.-China Institute

Talking Points
March 19 - April 2, 2008


In March 1959 and March 1989, large numbers of Tibetans rose up in protest against Chinese rule. This past week, demonstrations initiated by monks in Tibet morphed into violence in the streets of Lhasa, the regional capital, and other urban centers. Chinese authorities initially seemed unprepared for these challenges, but have responded with force, mobilizing police and army units to control the streets. It’s unclear how many were killed or injured during the riots and their suppression. There are reports that police are carrying out door to door searches, while the army seals off entire towns. The expulsion of foreign journalists from the region and from predominately Tibetan communities in neighboring provinces means that independent confirmation of the number of arrests and other government actions is difficult at best.
From exile in India, the Dalai Lama argued that harsh rule generated the protests and that the suppression of these protests has been needlessly brutal. On March 16, he said whether or not it was the government’s aim, governmental policy and practice has produced “cultural genocide” in Tibet. Writers for Xinhua, China’s state news agency, responded on March 17:
“It is obvious that the latest well-planned sabotage in Lhasa was another bloody exercise of Dalai clique's political conspiracy.”
And on March 18, Wen Jiabao, China’s prime minister, rejected the Dalai Lama’s charge of cultural genocide and put the blame squarely on the Dalai Lama and his followers. The Dalai Lama quickly denied these charges, reaffirmed his call for Tibetan autonomy under Chinese rule and threatened to step down if the violence continued. He argued that even the deaths of 1,000 Tibetans would not change things significantly. The Dalai Lama’s comments were partially prompted by calls from some members of the Tibetan exile community for continuing efforts to confront the Chinese government.
These events coincide with the U.S. and Chinese governments sparring over human rights. On March 11, the U.S. State Department released its annual report on human rights in China and two days later, the Chinese State Council released its report on human rights in the U.S. Both documents are available at our website (, click on “resources”and then on “documents”). Responding to the demonstrations and their suppression, American officials urged the Chinese authorities to “exercise restraint” and to engage in constructive dialog with the Dalai Lama.
In Taiwan, USCI’s election observation team is visiting organizations, carrying out interviews, and attending rallies in the final days before the March 22 vote to select a new president. Here, too, the events in Tibet are being closely followed. On Tuesday, Liberty Times (自由时报) carried this Democratic Progressive Party ad:
The ad features a photo of Frank Hsieh joining a nighttime demonstration showing support for the people of Tibet.  
The same newspaper carried two half-page ads for the Kuomintang’s Ma Ying-jeou. One featured Ma with celebrity endorsers and the other showed a giant sandwich – Ma’s “happy economy meal.”
Hsieh’s press secretary said the violent suppression of Tibetan protests was a warning for Taiwan. Ma suggested that if violence continues, he may advocate boycotting the Beijing Olympics.
Join us at USC on Wednesday, March 26 for analysis of the election and its importance for cross-strait relations and for the United States. Details on this event and others are below and in the calendar section of our website:
As indicated above, the documents and other sections of our website are continuously updated. Please visit the site and our web magazine and let us know what you think.
Best wishes,
The USC U.S.-China Institute

USC Events

03/26/2008: Taiwan's Presidential Election: What Happened and What Does It Mean?
USC Davidson Conference Center, Club A&B
Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
Time: 2:00PM - 5:00PM
Phone: 213-821-4382
Join us at this symposium examining this important election. USCI scholars and students just back from Taiwan will discuss what the election reveals about Taiwan and what it means for cross-strait relations and for the US. 

03/28/2008: Garden Walls and Generic Boundaries: Visualizing Textual Space and Urban Space in the Western Capital Luoyang, China, 960-1127
USC East Asian Studies Conference Room, THH 371
Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 6:00PM
Reception to follow
University of Michigan's Christian de Pee examines the city of Luoyang in the eleventh century.

03/31/2008: Catholicism and Confucianism
USC Davidson Conference Center
Los Angles, CA 90029
Cost: Free
Time: 4:30PM - 6:00PM
The Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies hosts a talk with Georgetown University's Father Peter Phan.

California Events

03/20/2008: The Formal Drift: On the History of Chinese Revolutionary Cinema
3335 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 6:00PM
Jason McGrath will explore the irony that the formal drift in revolutionary cinema may have helped to set the stage for the collapse of the authority of Maoism. 

03/21/2008: Performance: Peking Acrobats
UC Berkeley
Zellerbach Hall , CA
Time: 8:00PM - 10:00PM
Direct from the People's Republic of China, the Peking Acrobats leave audiences spellbound with their thrilling presentation of ancient folk arts. 

03/25/2008: War Atrocities, Historical Memory, and Reconciliation in the Asia Pacific: From Nanjing to Abu Ghraib
UC Irvine
SSPB 5206 , Irvine, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00PM - 1:30PM
UC Irvine's Center for Asian Studies And The Department of Sociology host a talk by Mark Selden.  

North America Events: 

03/22/2008: CCS Documentary Film Series: Fuck Cinema
Auditorium A, Angell Hall, 435 South State Street Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106
Cost: Free and Open to the Public
Time: 7:00PM - 9:30PM
With a single handheld camera, Wu Wenguang follows a homeless man who hangs out in front of the Beijing Film Academy, hoping to find someone interested in creating a film from his screenplay. 

03/25/2008: CCS Noon Lecture Series: Confucian Rites and the Reorienting of Modern Ritual Theory
Time: 12:00PM - 1:00PM
Room 1636 School of Social Work Building Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106
Cost: Free and Open to the Public
Hamilton College's Thomas Wilson will speak at the University of Michigan. 

03/26/2008: The Taiwan Presidential Election: Domestic, Regional and International Implications
Lindner Family Commons
The Elliott School of International Affairs, 6th Floor
1957 E Street, NW
Cost: Free
Time: 10:30AM - 2:30PM
Please RSVP with your name, affiliation, and e-mail to by Monday, March 24, 2008.
The Sigur Center for Asian Studies presents a panel of distinguished scholars who will examine the 2008 Taiwan elections.

03/29/2008: CCS Documentary Film Series: The Villager Documentary Project: My Village 2006
Auditorium A, Angell Hall, 435 South State Street Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106
Cost: Free and Open to the Public
Time: 7:00PM - 9:00PM
A collection of ten short documentary films by amateur villager filmmakers (ranging in age from 24 to 59) selected from rural villages around China. 

04/01/2008: CCS Noon Lecture Series: Stereotypes, Biases, Paradigms, and Uncertainties: On Understanding China
Room 1636 School of Social Work Building Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106
Cost: Free and Open to the Public
Time: 12:00PM - 1:00PM
Zhang Longxi will examine some of the received notions about China and Chinese culture in the West and the perplexities and uncertainties of a fast-changing China. 


02/02/2008 - 03/29/2008: Shaolin: Temple of Zen
Otis College of Art and Design
9045 Lincoln Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90045
An exhibition and publication that documents the exceptionally private warrior monks of the 1500 year old Shaolin Temple in the Henan province of China, renowned for its association with Zen Buddhism and martial arts.


01/23/2008 - 05/15/2008: Cycle of Life: Awakening - Works by Asian Women Artists
IEAS Gallery
2223 Fulton Street 6th Floor, Berkeley, CA
An exhibition featuring the art works of Asian women artist.


03/06/2008 - 07/27/2008: Chinaman's Chance: Views of the Chinese American Experience
Pacific Asia Museum
46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena , CA 91101
Cost: $7 for adults, $5 for students/seniors
While the experience of being of Chinese heritage and living in America is unique to each individual, this exhibition will investigate the similarities and dissimilarities of these experiences.


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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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