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Talking Points, March 5 - March 19, 2008

The USC U.S.-China Institute's weekly email newsletter
March 5, 2008
USC U.S.-China Institute
Talking Points
March 5 - March 19, 2008
China is now viewed unfavorably by a majority of Americans. At least, that is the result of a survey released by the Gallup Organization on Monday. 55% of the 1,007 people polled by phone in mid-February said they held a very unfavorable or mostly unfavorable view of China. A year ago, 47% said they had an unfavorable view of China. Attitudes toward China varied considerably, however, depending on the age and political affiliation of the respondent. 60% of those under age 35 and 46% of Democrats held a favorable opinion of China, significantly higher rates than the population as a whole.
A survey underwritten by the Committee of 100 was conducted in late summer. It found that a majority of Americans held favorable views of China, though the proportion feeling positively about China had slipped since their 2005 survey. The Committee survey went into much greater depth than the Gallup effort (distinguishing, for example, between views towards the Chinese and views towards the Chinese government), but both surveys indicate that American opinion toward China is turning increasingly negative. For additional information on both surveys, please visit
A peaceful Summer Olympics could do much to improve attitudes towards China. Certainly the Chinese government is working hard to deliver a successful Olympics. Beautiful venues are being completed. Factories will close and driving restricted to help clear the air. Volunteers are being mobilized to assist the 11,000 athletes and millions of visitors who will see Beijing this summer. And within the government there are energetic discussions of how to manage those who seek to divert attention to other issues. How the government reacts to dissent could dramaticly affect foreign, including American, views towards China. The spotlight is bright and focused. 
The expanding American trade deficit with China, anxiety over job losses, product safety worries, and continuing concern over human rights abuses likely explain most of decline in favorable American attitudes toward China. It’s possible too that some are nervous that China’s economic rise may enable it to pose a military threat to the U.S. and its allies. China is increasing its spending on its military to roughly $59 billion, an increase of 18%. American authorities believe Chinese defense spending is significantly higher, but still a fraction of U.S. defense spending. On Monday, the Pentagon released its annual assessment of China’s military capabilities. The Pentagon concludes that China is becoming increasingly able to use its military in conflicts “over resources or disputed territories.” The full assessment is available in the documents section of the USCI website. Other recent additions to the documents section include the Chinese government’s White Paper on promoting the rule of law, issued last Thursday.
This is an especially rich week for those interested in contemporary China. Today, USCI hosts Stanford’s Jean Oi who will speak on the politics of Chinese corporate restructuring. On Thursday, Bear Stearns Vice Chairman Donald Tang will discuss how Chinese money managers are investing the enormous pool of resources generated by China’s high savings rate. It’s estimated that China’s foreign reserves now top $1.5 trillion. Also this week, Claremont McKenna College hosts a symposium on human rights in China and UC Irvine hosts a conference on rural China from the late imperial period to today. Details about these events are below and at the calendar section of our website.
USCI review committees will soon be evaluating the dozens of faculty and graduate student research proposals submitted earlier this week. We expect to announce those awards in April. We’ll also soon announce which schoolteachers have been selected to participate in our summer study tour to China and Japan. Teachers interested in becoming eligible for our next tour should apply to participate in our summer residential seminar or one of our fall seminars on teaching about East Asia. Information on these programs is available in the K-12 Curriculum section of our website.
The newest issue of our student-driven web magazine, US-China Today, is due out this Friday. It will feature stories on sports marketing, divorce trends, the views of American presidential candidates, the rise of punk rock, and much more. 
We hope you find Talking Points useful and that you’ll forward it to friends and colleagues. We welcome your comments. Please send them to
Best wishes,
The USC U.S.-China Institute
USC Events
03/05/2008: Political Cross Currents in China’s Corporate Restructuring
USC University Club
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
Cost: Free
Stanford University's Jean Oi will examine China's corporate cross currents.  

03/06/2008: Investing $1.5 Trillion
USC Davidson Conference Center
Vineyard Room, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
Donald Tang, vice chairman of Bear Stearns and chairman of the Asia Society Southern California Center speaks at USC. 

California Events
03/06/2008: China's First Empire? Interpreting the Material Record of the Erligang Culture
UCLA 10383 Bunche Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095
Cost: Free
Wang Haicheng discusses the widespread material culture known as the Erligang culture after a type site in near the modern city of Zhengzhou.
03/06/2008: Chinese Independent Documentary Series: Women’s Fifty Minutes and Mei Mei
Melnitz Hall
2534 Melnitz Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095
Cost: Free
Time: 7:00PM - 10:00PM
Presented by the UCLA Center for Chinese Studies and the REEL CHINA Documentary Biennial. 
03/06/2008 - 03/07/2008: China and Human Rights: A Symposium
Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum
Address: Claremont McKenna College, CA
Cost: Free
Claremont McKenna College hosts a two-day symposium. 

03/08/2008: Rural China: from Late Imperial to Contemporary
UC Irvine
126 Murray Krieger Hall, Irvine, CA
Cost: Free
A panel of distinguished scholars examine rural China.

03/10/2008: Religion and the Rise of Printing Reconsidered
IEAS Conference Room
2223 Fulton Street 6th Floor, Berkeley, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 5:00 PM
A talk on a short paper published in 2001 and the absence of any other account of the religious roots of printing in China.
03/11/2008: The Missing Ear in Taiwan Literature
UCLA Bunche Hall 11377, Los Angeles, CA 90095
Cost: Free
Phone: 310-825-8683
Time: 4:30PM - 6:00PM
A talk by Yale University's Jing Tsu.
03/12/2008: Y.R. Chao’s Teaching Tradition and New Developments in Teaching Chinese as a Second Language
UC Berkeley
130 Dwinelle Hall, Berkeley, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 6:00PM
This talk discusses basic principles and practices of teaching Chinese as a foreign language (TCFL) in the United States, based on the pedagogical model developed by Y. R. Chao in the 40's, and the Declarative/Procedural model discovered recently by Ullman (2001).
03/19/2008: China's First Empire? Interpreting the Material Record of the Erligang Culture
UC Berkeley
Address: Room 101, Archaeological Research Facility, (2251 College Building), Berkeley, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00PM - 2:00PM
Haicheng Wang explores the Erligang culture and its significance. 

North America Events: 
03/07/2008: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly: China in 2008
McCastlain Ballroom, UCA campus
Keynote speaker, Professor Terry Weidner will be speaking on the prospects of China in the year 2008.

03/15/2008: CCS Chinese Documentary Film Series: Two Documentaries on AIDS in China
435 South State Street
Address: Auditorium A Angell Hall, Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Time: 7:00PM - 9:00PM
The Blood of Yingzhao District(2006) and Care and Love(2006) will be screened.

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
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