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Talking Points, Nov. 9-21, 2012

This issue of the USC U.S.-China Institute's newsletter focuses on China in U.S. campaign advertising and the Chinese Communist Party's 18th National Congress. As always, Talking Points includes our comprehensive calendar of China-focused events and exhibitions across North America.

November 9, 2012

Talking Points

November 9 - 21, 2012

skip to the calendar | China in the U.S. Election | China's 18th Communist Party Congress

Pundits are busy explaining U.S. election results and predicting how those elected

Top and bottom from CCTV's news channel, the vote begins and some voters spend seven hours in line, middle from the Global Times, on Maredith Walker's "Paul Ryan Girl"


will collaborate or battle. China’s media covered the election extensively and CCTV America made a special effort to provide viewers in the U.S. and elsewhere with a new English language news option. Broadcasting from their new studios in Washington, D.C. and utilizing the talents of their more than 100 U.S.-based staffers, CCTV America offered the usual reports on the campaigns and voting and plenty of talking heads discussing the potential impact of the election on U.S.-China ties. In China, reports naturally focused on what candidates said about China, but also included helpful tutorials on the primaries, the nominating conventions, and the electoral college system. Not all reports were so serious. For example, Global Times (环球时报) had a video report on the “Paul Ryan Girl” (“Let’s get fiscal”) YouTube video. Election day coverage focused on the enormous sums spent on the campaigns and on long lines and other problems at some polling places.

As is our custom (click here to see our documentary on Election ’08 and here for our review of the 2010 election), the USC U.S.-China Institute paid close attention to what candidates and political organizations said about China and the policies they advocated. China was much less frequently discussed in the congressional races this year, but it loomed large in the presidential race.

In the 2010 campaign, House, Senate, and governor candidates in 34 races aired 51 ads mentioning China. In 2012, fewer House and Senate races included such ads (18 compared to 31) and there were fewer ads (31 compared to 48). As in 2010, in some races both candidates or their supporters included mention of China in their ads. In the 13 races where only one side mentioned China in their ads, that side won just six times. In 2010, that side won more of the races, 16 of 26.

One of the interesting developments in this election was how three Democratic Senate candidates (incumbents Debbie Stabenow in Michigan and Sherrod Brown in Ohio, plus Tammy Baldwin running for an open seat in Wisconsin) produced commercials stressing on how they worked to defend American workers by pushing for strict measures against what they described as unfair competition from China. Those ads are included in the short compilation below. The collection begins with Pete Hoekstra's much-denounced ad which aired in Michigan during the Super Bowl. Click here for a chart listing congressional ads and election results.


China in the 2012 U.S. Congressional Election - Campaign Ads. Please click the play button to view this short compilation.

The big change in 2012, of course, was the frequent mention of China in the presidential race. There were 25 different ads targeting Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. It’s possible that one such ad and the response to it played a significant role in mobilizing Midwest voters to support Obama.


The map above shows states where candidates were targeted in ads mentioning China. (Click here for both the 2010 and 2012 maps.) While Americans across the nation were eligible to vote in the presidential election, most did not see the presidential ads mentioning China. Those were primarily aired in battleground states such as Ohio and in the Indiana auto industry belt. Two commercials did get national attention via news coverage. In the first, produced by American Crossroads (a conservative political action group run by former George Bush advisor Karl Rove), Clint Eastwood argues that Obama was spending too much money and therefore had to borrow money from countries like China. In the second, the Romney campaign said that Obama had sold the Chrysler car company to Italians who were preparing to build Jeeps in China.


Top: American Crossroads "Bow to China;" Bottom: Obama campaign, "Cynical"


Eastwood’s celebrity drew attention to the first ad, which was less aggressive than another American Crossroads ad which said Obama repeatedly gave in to China. A picture of Obama bowing slightly to Hu Jintao concludes the ad as an announcer says that Obama’s continued spending means America would have to bow to China.

The second ad followed a Romney speech in Ohio where he claimed Jeep “is thinking of moving all production to China.” The Obama campaign responded quickly and directly, aided by statements from Chrysler explaining it was planning to add jobs at its Jeep plant in Ohio and restart production in China. In fact, Jeep, then manufactured by AMC, in 1984 was the first American-branded vehicle assembled in China, but had halted production in 2005.

These dueling ads, released in the last week of the campaign are among those you can see below. Romney’s overreach and the Obama response did not reverse the course of the vote, but helped the incumbent remind voters that the former private equity boss opposed the auto bailout in 2009. Long before this exchange, however, the two campaigns were trading negative ads featuring policies or actions connected to China. Romney insisted that Obama consistently failed to “stand up to China” and Obama argued that Romney talked tough now, but, in his role as a private equity boss, had been a pioneer in sending jobs to China. Both sides, though, produced commercials labeling the other “outsourcer-in-chief.” Click here for a chart listing the ads and their claims.

These ads were part of an avalanche of negativity. A week before the election, researchers at Wesleyan University found that more than 1.1 million presidential campaign ads had been aired, an increase of 41% over the 2008 race. With billion dollar war chests, it’s not a huge surprise that in Ohio alone, the two campaigns bought $24 of commercial time per voter.


China in the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election - Campaign Ads. Please click on the play button to view this short compilation.

Discussions of policies toward China weren’t limited to commercials. Not since 1960 have presidential debates featured as much time devoted to China. Clips from exchanges in the second and third debates are provided below. These are more detailed than the commercials, but still mainly consisted of charges and counter-charges and were not especially illuminating. Both candidates took pains to explain that they wanted productive ties with China and discussed how they hoped to improve the relationship. Both argued that they would stand firm in pushing China’s government to open its markets to American companies and would vigorously protect U.S. firms and workers from unfair trade practices and the theft of intellectual property. The rising value of the yuan was acknowledged by Romney in the third debate, though he didn’t back away from his pledge to declare China a currency manipulator on day one (early in his campaign even produced a Spanish-language commercial with this promise for día uno).


China in the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election - Debates. Please click the play button to view short excerpts from the second and third presidential debates.

This is not to suggest that China policy was a central part of the congressional or presidential “air wars” or their speeches and debates. Candidates, though, were guided by polls that indicated that Americans are increasingly worried about China and want their government to take a tougher line on China in economic and trade measures. A recent Pew survey found that 68% of Americans said that China could not be trusted much or at all. The American Crossroads commercials focusing on debt? Eight of ten Americans polled told Pew they worried about the $1.2 trillion of U.S. government debt held by China. Seven out of ten said the loss of jobs to China was a very serious problem. When speech writers and commercial producers included China references or images, they knew precisely which buttons they were trying to push.


 The 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party is underway in

Top: Hu Jintao speaking on Nov. 8, 2012, image from documentary on a decade of "scientific development" (2009 60th anniversary of the founding of the PRC celebration)

Beijing. General Secretary Hu Jintao spoke at the opening session. Hu said


-- that “scientific development” (Hu began promoting the idea in 2003, it was added to Party's constitution in 2007, and for the last week has been the subject of a multipart documentary The ) would join “Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, and the "Three Represents” as the country's official ideological map.

-- the country should double its 2010 overall and per capita GDP by 2020, thus creating a “moderately prosperous society.”

-- the economy must be restructured so that consumption rather than investment drives future growth and opportunities for rural residents can be enhanced and that the private sector should be nourished.

--China must maintain its socialist political system and while Chinese should be open to ideas from abroad, the country “will never copy a Western political system.”

At the end of the gathering, Xi Jinping will be named the new General Secretary of the Party, something that has been anticipated since he was elevated to the standing committee of the politburo in 2007 and named vice president in 2008. Outside of China, coverage has focused on what kind of leader Xi will be and which challenges he’ll focus on. There’s been considerable speculation on how various factions within the Party may be maneuvering for positions and power.

Within China, the Party-State has been working hard to shove aside “distractions” such as the conviction of a former Politburo member’s wife of murder, the expulsion of Bo Xilai, that Politburo member, from the Party, the massive demonstrations in Ningbo against plans for a state oil company to expand a chemical plant there, and the New York Times report that the family of Wen Jiabao, a top Politburo member and Premier, may have accumulated more than $2.7 billion in assets. The propaganda authorities have been busy offering instructions to media on what can be disseminated and the internet monitors have been busy scrubbing forums of comments judged inappropriate. Security is tighter than during the 2008 Olympics, with precautions including the removal of taxi cab rear window cranks to prevent passengers from rolling down windows in order to toss anything out.

Not being able to report on the background to the substantive personnel and policy

From the top: Hubei "Voice of Harmony" group, preparing for delegates, and celebrity delegate Jiao Liuyang


decisions that are being presented at the Party congress, Chinese media is presenting “person on the street” interviews on what people expect and hope for from the congress. A Sichuan man wants support for rural development, a Hubei “voice of harmony” group of singers in a park are filled with hope for a successful congress. Photo collections emphasize the rituals of Chinese political assemblies: raising the flag, the synchronized filling of tea cups, the beautiful waitresses and stern guards, and a conversation between the youngest delegate (Air Force officer and Olympic gold medalist Jiao Liuyang, 22) and the oldest (Jiao Ruoyu, 96). Jiao Liuyang’s arrival generated a frenzy. With dozens of microphones and recorders thrust at her, Jiao said she has much to learn. She noted, for example, that she didn’t know how meals were to be handled and said she’d check with the other military delegates.

Also highlighted are images from around the country of people watching the congress: gathered around televisions in Yunnan earthquake disaster relief centers, construction workers in Shandong squatting at a work site waving their small national flags, students in Zhejiang, and travelers at train stations. Other series emphasize the media interest in the Party Congress, showing journalists from around the world lined up outside the Great Hall of the People, forests of cameras and reporters hunched over laptops and talking into cell phones. Media organizations were warned at a recent legislative gathering not to focus on “beautiful female journalists” (美女记者), but one CNTV photo series this year features “beautiful female journalists love red jackets.”



In his address, Hu Jintao said that China needed to build its navy in order to defend its interests. Chinese television news this week has been highlighting Philippines arms purchases, current U.S.-Japan military exercises, earlier U.S.-Japan-South Korea military exercises, and discussions between the Russians and Vietnamese about energy projects and establishing free trade. Many Chinese believe the U.S. is working with China’s neighbors to contain it. A short documentary we released in October examines the Obama administration’s decision to reemphasize the American role in the Pacific. The Pivot includes interviews with current and former U.S. and Chinese officials, scholars and policy analysts. Our website also features a fuller interview with Kurt Campbell, the U.S. State Department’s top official on East Asia.

Have you been reading our student driven magazines US-China Today and Asia Pacific Arts? USCT is currently featuring an article from students in Macau about animal protection efforts there, an interview with composer Zhou Tian whose Grand Canal Symphony just had its U.S. premiere, a video on the L.A. Chinatown arts district, and a look at Chinese internet users. There are a number of film festivals underway and APA will be posting capsule reviews, but the magazine is currently featuring articles on film, music, and more as well news bites on RZA’s martial arts film shot in China and more.


Below and at the calendar section of our website we offer information about China-focused programs and exhibitions across North America. The resource section of our website offers information about available fellowships, our online collection of speeches, treaties, and reports, and more. We always appreciate your feedback grateful when you pass Talking Points on to friends, students, and colleagues. They can write to us at to join our mailing list. Click here to see back issues of Talking Points.


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| California | North America | Exhibitions


11/09/2012: Voyage of Discovery: Scholarly Electronic Resources on Sinology
East Asian Library DML 110C
Doheny Memorial Library, 3550 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Time: 3:00PM - 5:00PM
Professor Mei-hwa Yang from National Chengchi University will give the talk.

11/09/2012: An Evening of Taiwanese Short Films and Meeting with Young Taiwanese Filmmakers
University of Southern California
Ray Stark Family Theater, SCA 108
George Lucas Building 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007
Time: 7:00PM - 9:00PM
The USC School of Cinematic Arts and the Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Los Angeles present a special meeting with Young Taiwanese Filmmakers and a screening of several Taiwanese Short Films.

11/16/2012: USC Annenberg Global Media Festival
University of Southern California, Annenberg Amphitheater
3650 Watt Way, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Time: 12:30PM - 4:30PM
A student led and produced event that will feature screenings and panels by media professionals the world over. The festival examines how media is developed and received around the world.


11/09/2012: Haiku for China? Zhou Zuoren's Interest in Modern Japanese Poetry
UC Berkeley
Dwinelle Hall, EALC Library 287, Berkeley, CA 94720
Time: 12:00PM - 1:00PM
This talk will explore the influence modern Japanese poetry exerted on Zhou Zuoren, one of the most significant Chinese writers, critics, and translators of the first part of the twentieth century, as well as its impact on modern Chinese culture as mediated through Zhou

11/13/2012: Urbanization in Between: Theorizing Urbanization in Rapidly Industrializing China
10383 Bunche Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
A talk presented by Dr. Andrew Kipnis of Australian National University, this paper examines the growth of one mid-sized Chinese city as a case in which intimate linkages between the rural/socialist past and the urban/capitalist present remain socially important.

11/13/2012: Film Screening: Datong: The Great Society
Stanford University
Building 320 - Room 105, Main Quad, Stanford, CA 94305
Time: 6:30PM - 8:30PM
The Stanford University Center for East Asian Studies presents a screening of Datong: The Great Society.

11/14/2012: New Findings on the Monochord and Non-mathematical Methods of Constructing the 12-Lülü Chromatic Scale in Ancient China
Schoenberg Music Building (B544), Los Angeles, CA 90095
Time: 1:00PM - 3:00PM
The Center for Chinese Studies at UCLA presents a talk with Guangming Li.

11/14/2012: Talks on Jewish Studies in China (Session 1)
UCLA Faculty Center 480 Charles E. Young Dr. East, Los Angeles, CA 90095
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
The UCLA Center for Chinese Studies presents a talk with Professor Song Lihong, Nanjing University, that will address the current situation and future prospects of Jewish studies in China.

11/14/2012: How Studying Li Qingzhao Changed My Understanding of Chinese Literary History
Stanford University
521 Memorial Way, Knight Building (former GSB building), Room K201, Stanford, CA 94305
Time: 4:30PM - 6:00PM
The Stanford University Center for East Asian Studies presents a workshop on female Chinese poet Li Qingzhao.

11/15/2012: Talks on Jewish Studies in China (Session 2)
314 Royce Hall, 10745 Dickson Court, Los Angeles, CA 90095
Time: 12:00PM - 1:30PM
The UCLA Center for Chinese Studies presents a talk with Professor Song Lihong, Nanjing University, that discusses the differences in Chinese and Western perspectives on the Jewish Community in Kaifeng, China.

11/15/2012: Chinese and Western Perspectives on the Jewish Community of Kaifeng
UCLA, 314 Royce Hall
405 Hilgard Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90095
Time: 12:00PM - 1:00PM
Chinese and Western scholars usually drew drastically different conclusions of how the Jewish community of Kaifeng came to be. Lihong Song's reflections on the differences will not only lay bare the orientations of Jewish studies in China, but also shed light on the worlds in which we live.

11/15/2012: Presentation and Demonstration of Chinese Dance Culture
California State University Northridge, The Little Theater, Nordhoff Hall
18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge, CA 91330
Time: 12:00PM - 1:30PM
The Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication, The China Institute, & The Department of Kinesiology at CSUN present a presentation and demonstration of Chinese Dance Culture by Dr. Wei Xu from the School of Dance at the Nanjing University of the Arts in China.

11/15/2012: Sino-North Korean International Friendship
Philippines Conference Room, Encina Hall, 3rd Floor
Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305
Time: 4:15PM - 5:30PM
This talk explores the meanings of Sino-Korean friendship using North Korea's several key postwar dramas and literature about the subject.

11/16/2012: Long Beach Qingdao Sister City Association 2012 Annual China Luncheon
Keesal, Young & Logan Executive Dining Room, 14th Floor
400 Oceangate, Long Beach, CA 90802
Time: 11:30AM - 1:30PM
The Long Beach Qingdao – Sister City Association hosts their 2012 Annual China Luncheon with speakers on US-China Relations and building communities.

11/17/2012: The Sogdian Diaspora in China - The Case of Master Shi
Society for Asian Art, Asian Art Museum, Education Studios
200 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Time: 2:00PM - 4:00PM
The Society for Asian Art presents a talk on the recent discovery of the tomb of Master Shi (494-579), the sabao or caravan leader at Liangzhou.

North America



11/09/2012 - 11/10/2012: Chinese Local Governance Conference at the University of Pittsburgh
University of Pittsburgh, University Club
123 University Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15260
The Asian Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh presents a conference on Chinese Local Governance: Contemporary Innovation and Reform.

11/09/2012: Latin America and China: Primary Goods, Populism, and Political Leverage
Indiana University, Ballantine 004
1020 East Kirkwood Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47405
Time: 12:00PM - 1:15PM
Indiana University's East Asian Studies Center presents a talk with Andrae Marak on the impact that political ideology and populism has on how governments have historically managed the extraction of oil and natural gas resources.

11/09/2012: The World at Your Fingertips: Technology, Practice, and Narrative in Seventeenth-Century China
Ohio State University, Mendenhall Laboratory, Room 100
125 South Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210
Time: 1:00PM
The Institute for Chinese Studies at the Ohio State University presents a talk on China and human rights in international trade as a part of the "China at the Crossroads" Lecture Series.

11/09/2012: Screening: The Goddess
Asia Society
725 Park Avenue (at East 70 Street), New York, NY 10021
Time: 6:30PM - 7:50PM
The Asia Society presents a screening of The Goddess as a part of the Citi Series on Asian Arts and Culture.

11/10/2012 - 11/11/2012: Third Annual Columbia China Prospects Conference
Columbia University, Low Memorial Library Rotunda and Lerner Auditorium
116th and Broadway, New York, NY 10027
The Third Annual Columbia China Prospects Conference, "Leadership in Transition - China for Further Reform" is a two-day program featuring 9 panel discussions, 50 speakers, 800 participants, a VIP dinner and career fair.

11/11/2012: Introduction to the Use of Buddhist Temple Gazetteers: An Interactive Workshop with Marcus Bingenheimer
University of Pittsburgh, G17 Cathedral of Learning, Ground Floor
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260
Time: 8:30AM - 5:30PM
The University of Pittsburgh will hold a workshop.

11/11/2012: The Red Detachment of Women
Freer Gallery
Meyer Auditorium 1050 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20013
Time: 2:00PM
The Smithsonian Freer/Sackler Museums present a screening of The Red Detachment of Women (1970).

11/11/2012: Screening: New Women
Asia Society
725 Park Avenue (at East 70 Street), New York, NY 10021
Time: 4:00PM - 5:45PM
The Asia Society: New York presents a screening of New Women as a part of the Citi Series on Asian Arts and Culture.

11/12/2012: Roots of the State: Neighborhood Organization and Social Networks in Beijing and Taipei
Johns Hopkins University, Homewood Mergenthaler 266
3400 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218
Time: 12:00PM - 1:30PM
The East Asian Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University presents a talk by Benjamin Read, Associate Professor in the Politics Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, on political and social networks in Beijing and Taipei.

11/12/2012: Digital Simulation and Cinematic Ethics: Chinese Film?s Response to Globalization
Yale University, Room 203, Henry R. Luce Hall
34 Hillhouse Avenue , New Haven, CT 06511
Time: 4:30PM
The Council on East Asian Studies at Yale University presents a talk by Professor Yomi Braester on Chinese film and its response to globalization.

11/12/2012: Digital Effects and the Ethics of Historical Representation: Chinese Responses to the Global Blockbuster Logic
Yale University, Henry R. Luce Hall Room 203
34 Hillhouse Ave, New Haven, CT 06511
Time: 4:30PM - 6:00PM
A part of the China Colloquium Series, this talk outlines contemporary debates among Chinese film circles and shows how they are manifested in films, with special attention to Jia Zhangke’s I Wish I Knew.

11/13/2012: Understanding Chinese Nationalism: Historical Memory in Chinese Politics and Foreign Relations
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 5th Floor
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20004
Time: 9:00AM - 10:15AM
Dr. Zheng Wang will present his new book Never Forget National Humiliation: Historical Memory in Chinese Politics and Foreign Relations (Columbia University Press, 2012).

11/13/2012: East Asian Cinema Series--"Let the Wind Carry Me"
Duke University, White 107 (White Lecture Hall), Durham, NC 27708
Time: 7:00PM - 8:45PM
Duke University presents the screening of "Let the Wind Carry Me."

11/14/2012: IT Professional Returnees from Mainland China and Taiwan
Columbia University, International Affairs Buliding, Room 918
New York, NY 10027
Time: 12:00PM - 1:30PM
Part of Colombia University's lecture series on contemporary Taiwan, "Tech Transfer and the US-Taiwan-China Information/Economic Matrix."

11/15/2012: 'Here I Am an Emperor, Yet I Cannot Do As I Please' – the Institution of Polygamy in the Chinese Imperial Palace
The University of Kansas; Centennial Room, Kansas Union
1301 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045
Time: 4:00PM
The University of Kansas' Center for East Asian Studies presents a talk with Keith McMahon on polygamy in the Chinese imperial palace.

11/15/2012 - 11/17/2012: New Geographies of Feminist Art: China, Asia, and the World
University of Washington
Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA 98195
The University of Washington presents a conference that addresses the practice, circulation, and cross-cultural significance of feminist art from Asia.

11/15/2012: China as a Global Power: Contending Views from China
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
1300 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, D.C. 20004
Time: 9:00AM - 4:45PM
GWU's Rising Powers Initiative at the Sigur Center for Asian Studies and WWICS's Kissinger Institute on China and the United States cordially invite you to an international conference on: China as a Global Power: Contending Views from China.

11/16/2012: China and Human Rights in International Trade
Ohio State University, Mendenhall Laboratory, Room 100
125 South Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210
Time: 1:00PM
The Institute for Chinese Studies at the Ohio State University presents a talk on China and human rights in international trade as a part of the "China at the Crossroads" Lecture Series.

11/16/2012: Gail Hershatter and Emily Honig, "Prosperity's Predicament: Wartime Rural Sichuan in the collaborative work by Isabel Crook and Christina Gilmartin"
Harvard University, CGIS South Building, Tsai Auditorium (S010)
1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Time: 4:15PM
The Fairbank Center For Chinese Studies presents Gail Hershatter and Emily Honig as a part of the Gender Studies Workshop.

11/16/2012: Lust, Caution
Freer Gallery
Meyer Auditorium 1050 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20013
Time: 7:00PM
The Smithsonian Freer/Sackler Museums present a screening of Lust, Caution by Ang Lee.

11/17/2012: Screening: Hibiscus Town
Asia Society
725 Park Avenue (at East 70 Street), New York, NY 10021
Time: 4:00PM - 6:30PM
The Asia Society: New York presents a screening of Hibiscus Town as a part of the Citi Series on Asian Arts and Culture.

11/17/2012: Booking Reading - The Hakka Cookbook: Chinese Soul Food from around the World by Linda Lau Anusasananan
Tateuchi Story Theatre at The Wing
719 South King Street, Seattle, WA 98104
Time: 4:00PM
Veteran food writer Linda Lau Anusasananan opens the world of Hakka cooking to Western audiences in this fascinating chronicle that traces the rustic cuisine to its roots in a history of multiple migrations.


Below are exhibitions ending this week. Please visit the main exhibitions calendar for a complete list of ongoing exhibitions.

ends 11/11/2012: Cornerstones of a Great Civilization
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Avenue , Portland, OR 97205
The Portland Art Museum presents masterworks of ancient Chinese art.


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