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Talking Points, May 14 - May 28, 2008

The USC U.S.-China Institute's weekly e-newsletter
May 14, 2008
USC U.S.-China Institute
Talking Points
May 14 - May 28, 2008
“It took just ten seconds. One moment the school was there and then it was gone.”
-- a bystander in Dujiangyan where nearly all of a middle school’s
students were killed, to a Times (London) reporter
Monday’s devastating earthquake in China’s Sichuan province has taken more than 20,000 lives and left millions homeless, sometimes injured and often isolated and without electricity. Our sympathies, of course, are with those who have lost loved ones or who are struggling to make do despite storms and the overwhelming relief and reconstruction challenges that loom. Our website ( features a list of organizations that are accepting donations to support the individuals and communities affected by this disaster.
Thirty-two years ago a similarly large quake struck in Hebei province, destroying the city of Tangshan. The death toll in that disaster was more than ten times the current estimates in Sichuan. The few foreign reporters permitted in China then were not allowed to visit the affected areas. And in 1976 residents were not posting cell phone videos of shaking buildings to blogs and discussion forums. A wide variety of organizations and individuals are bringing news of the Sichuan quake and relief efforts to a global audience.
The speed of the Chinese government’s response to the crisis has impressed many onlookers. Even so, many hard hit villages have yet to be surveyed, let alone had their needs addressed. This massive quake, measured at 7.9 on the Richter scale, could challenge the integrity of the best-engineered modern buildings. Millions of people in Sichuan and elsewhere, though, live, study, and work in structures that are far from being among the “best-engineered.” Sub-standard construction practices and lax government supervision should receive intense scrutiny as relief efforts give way to reconstruction work. 
This Friday is USC’s commencement. USCI extends hearty congratulations to the many students who concentrated on the study of China and U.S.-China relations and are now receiving their undergraduate and graduate degrees. Robert Iger, Disney CEO, is the commencement speaker.
Disney, of course, has been eager to enter the Chinese market. Long ago Disney icons achieved great recognition and popularity. For example, the 1985 photo below is from Turfan, in Northwestern China. Mickey Mouse is helping to attract customers to a small shop. 

Some Disney projects, however, have caused the firm political problems. Its 1997 film, Kundun (directed by Martin Scorsese) about the Dalai Lama’s childhood, upset Chinese authorities. Disney hired Henry Kissinger to advise it on how to minimize the negative impact of that film on its larger efforts. In recent years, National Treasure and other films have been welcomed and done well at the box office.

In 2005, Disney opened its Hong Kong theme park. More than 5 million people visited during its first year. In 2007, Japanese reports on Shijingshan noted the Beijing amusement park advertised itself as closer than Disneyland and featured knock off designs and roaming characters. Negotiations ensued. The park’s magic kingdom look remains, but Donald Duck and Minnie Mouse aren’t to be found on the park’s website. Disney press releases routinely describe Hong Kong Disneyland as the company’s “first theme park in China” (emphasis added).
We appreciate hearing from readers. Please send your comments to us at
Best wishes,
The USC U.S.-China Institute
USC Events

07/28/2008 - 08/07/2008: 2008 Summer Residential Seminar at USC
USC, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Currently accepting applications
For more information please contact Miranda Ko at
An intensive nine-day equivalent of our "East Asia and New Media in My Classroom" professional development seminar for K-12 teachers employed outside of the greater Los Angeles area.

California Events
Enforced Migration and Sedentarization in Modern Central Asia
2:30-4:30 pm 243 Royce Hall: Enforced Migration and Sedentarization in Central Asia
6-7:30 pm Fowler Museum: Koryo Saram: The Unreliable People (2006)
Click here for more information.
05/14/2008: 40 Years of Acupuncture Research: A Pioneer’s Retrospective
UCLA Jules Stein Institute, RPB Auditorium
Time: 6:45 p.m. – 8:30 pm
Professor Jinsheng Han of Peking University will give a lecture on acupuncture.

05/14/2008: Welcome Reception for Xu Xing
Villa Aurora
520 Paseo Miramar, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
Cost: Free
Phone: (310) 573-3603
2008 Feuchtwanger Fellow Xu Xing has won international acclaim for his work, including Shengxia De Dou Shuyu Ni (Whatever’s Left Is Yours), a landmark novel for the current generation of Chinese writers.
05/15/2008: Gender Boundaries in Poetry during the Ming-Qing Transition
Stanford University
Okimoto Conference Room, Encina Hall East, 3rd Floor , Stanford, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM
Professor Wai-Yee Li will discuss the writings produced by women that challenged gender boundaries during the Ming-Qing dynasty transition.
05/15/2008: Hong Kong as International Financial Center: Development Prospects; Business Opportunities
Stanford University
Landau Economics Building, Lucas Conference Room, Serra Street at Galvez, Stanford, California
Cost: Free
Time: 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
K.C. Chan gives a talk on the developmental aspects of Hong Kong as a global economic center. 

05/16/2008: CANCELLED-Mei Lanfang Beijing Opera Troupe Performance
Campus Theatre, Nordhoff Hall, CSUN, Northridge, CA
Ticket Information: 677-2488
CSUN Students: $5
General Public: $20
The star-studded troupe performs at CSUN 
05/16/2008: Same Sex Desire & Union in China
Stanford University
Stanford Humanities Center , Stanford, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
This two day conference will explore same-sex desire and union as the theme of multiple fields of Chinese studies. 
05/16/2008: What Is Sinophone Studies?
UCLA 11377 Bunche Hall , LA, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Scholars from ethnic studies and area studies will discuss Shu-mei Shih's book, Visuality and Identity: Sinophone Articulations across the Pacific, and engage the author with comments and questions. 

05/19/2008: Is China as Strong as It Seems?
Stanford University
Philippines Conference Room, Encina Hall, 3rd Floor, Stanford, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM
Robert Gifford gives a talk on China's many successes as well as the economic, environmental, ethnic faultlines.  
05/19/2008: CANCELLED-Beijing Opera Comes to UCLA
UCLA, Glorya Kaufman Dance Theater Room 200, LA, CA
Cost: Free
Phone: 310 825-8839
Time: 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
The Mei Lanfang Beijing Opera Company performs and discusses works from their repertoire 

North America Events: 
05/14/2008: Exploding Chinese Art: The Economy of Art/The Art of the Economy
Asia Society and Museum
Address: Auditorium, 725 Park Avenue, New York, New York
Cost: $10 Asia Society and Guggenheim Museummembers; $12 nonmembers; $10 students; seniors
Phone: 212-517-ASIA
Time: 6:30 - 8:30 pm 
This panel will discuess the 'economic explosion' reflected in Chinese art and economy. 
05/15/2008: China 2008: Changes in the Chinese Leadership and Beijing's New Policies on Reform, Tibet and Taiwan
The Jamestown Foundation
1111 16th St. NW 7th Floor Conference Room
Washington, DC 20036
Cost: Free
The Jamestown Foundation presents a talk with two leading experts on China.
05/17/2008 - 05/18/2008: Aesthetics and Theories on Chinese Ink Painting
Asia Society and Museum
725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street), New York, New York
Cost: For ticketing and other details, please email:
May 17th - May 18th
5/17/08: 9:30 am to 12:00 noon, and 1:15 to 4:30 pm.
5/18/08: 9:00 am to 6:30 pm.
The conference will explore the influence that cultural and ideological heritages have on Chinese ink painting. 
05/20/2008: The Man Who Loved China: Joseph Needham and the Making of a Masterpiece
Asia Society and Museum
725 Park Avenue @ 70th Street, New York, New York
Cost: $10 Asia Society and China Institute members; $12 nonmembers; $10 students/seniors with ID
Phone: 212 517-ASIA
Time: 6:30-8:30 PM
Simon Winchester gives a talk on the twentieth century English scientist—turned China scholar Joseph Needham.  

05/19/2008 - 05/30/2008: China Institute
Honolulu, Hawaii
This two-week institute on China will focus on Chinese philosophy, history and cultural traditions and contemporary issues concerning the environment, politics and socio-economic development. 

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.
04/03/2008 - 05/18/2008: Visualizing Revolution: Propaganda Posters from the People's Republic of China, 1949-1989
Nelson Gallery, Art Building University of California, Davis
Formal Opening on April 10, 6 - 8 pm
Katharine Burnett and Yang Peiming, Guest Curators
The exhibition will feature propaganda art from 1949-1989 from the collection of the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Center of Mr. Yang Peiming.
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. 
05/18/2008 - 10/12/2008: Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of the First Emperor
Bowers Museum
Address: 2002 N. Main Street, Santa Ana, CA 92706
Phone: 714-567-3600
This summer exhibit at Bowers Museum showcases the famous terra cotta warriors buried with the First Emperor of China.

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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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