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Talking Points, November 12 - 26, 2008

The USC U.S.-China Institute's weekly enewsletter.
November 12, 2008
USC U.S.-China Institute Weekly Newsletter
Talking Points
November 12 - 26, 2008

Chinese President Hu Jintao visits Washington this Friday to participate in the Group of 20 summit meeting. In recent weeks, some officials and business leaders argued that China should draw on its $1.9 trillion in foreign reserves to invigorate global credit networks and thereby help resuscitate the global economy. Chinese officials responded that China’s government can best aid economic recovery by fostering continued growth in China. And on Sunday, China’s government announced that it would seek to stimulate growth with a two-year $586 billion spending plan. The announcement came after the International Monetary Fund projected that China’s GDP growth rate would decline from nearly 10% to 8.5% as world growth slowed to 4% this year and 2% next year.

Many important details about the plan have not been revealed and some analysts argue that only a portion of the $586 billion is truly new. Others complain that the plan favors large infrastructural projects and state dominated industries. For continued growth, many contend China must rely less on exports and increase domestic consumption. Justin Yifu Lin, former Chinese policy advisor and now World Bank vice president, made just this argument when he spoke at USC in April. Some observers, including economist Calla Wiemer, who will speak at USC on Dec. 2, believe that the stimulus plan does include some of the sort of spending on social services (e.g., health care and pensions) and human capital (e.g., education) that will increase consumption today and strengthen China’s economy over the long term.

Though we must wait months or years to have a real sense of economic impact of the plan, its announcement certainly achieved important political aims. The Chinese government conveyed to both domestic and international audiences that it was taking action.

To learn more about these issues and what Barack Obama’s victory may mean for U.S.-China relations, please join us at USC at 2 pm Thursday. We are pleased to offer a presentation by distinguished University of Washington political scientist David Bachman.

"Ma Ying-jeou wants to please the Communist Party by arresting me.... I am the biggest roadblock standing between the Chinese Communist Party and the Kuomintang, which aims to eventually unite with China." -- Chen Shui-bian
Chen, president of Taiwan from 2000 to this past May, is now behind bars. He spoke on Tuesday after being questioned by prosecutors. Today a court authorized his detention as the case against him for accepting bribes, laundering money, and forging documents proceeds. As the quote above suggests, Chen argues the case against him is politically-motivated. Chen’s arrest comes after last week’s tumultuous visit to Taiwan by Chen Yunlin, a high-ranking Chinese official. Dramatic protests pinned Chen down in a hotel after a dinner with Kuomintang (Nationalist Party) officials and threatened to disrupt the short meeting between Chen and Ma Ying-jeou, Chen’s successor as president. Agreements to expand transport links and further facilitate economic exchange were signed during the visit. As Huang Kwei-bo, a political scientist from National Chengchih University, noted in a presentation at USC yesterday, those agreements had been hammered out in advance by Kuomintang officials working with mainland officials.

Is Chen’s arrest or at least its timing politically motivated? Many believe it is, including some outside observers. At the same time, Chen has admitted that his wife did stash $450,000 in “political donations” overseas. Chen denies knowing about the wire transfers until after they had happened. The former president has a private cell.

You can conveniently follow these and other stories at the daily updates section of US-China Today. Among the current issue’s features are two articles focused on the May 12 Sichuan earthquake’s aftermath. Angilee Shah writes about Pan Jianlin’s bold film Who Killed Our Children? and Marc Liu writes about his experiences volunteering there this summer.

The U.S.-China Institute will host two postdoctoral fellows in 2009-2010. We invite applications from scholars who specialize in U.S.-China relations, very broadly conceived, or on an issue in contemporary China that is likely to affect U.S.-China relations. The Institute is also calling for research proposals from USC faculty and graduate students. The postdoctoral fellowship application deadline is January 28 and the research grant deadline is March 6. Details and applications are available in the announcements section of our website.

If you find Talking Points useful, please pass it along to colleagues and friends. We welcome their comments and yours at

Best wishes,
The USC U.S.-China Institute
11/13/2008: The Financial Meltdown, the US elections, and Prospects for US-China Relations
USC Leavey Library, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
Time: 2:00PM - 4:00PM
David Bachman will speak on U.S.-China Relations. 
11/12/2008: The Image of China in the American Classroom
University of California, Berkeley
3401 Dwinelle Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00PM - 1:30PM
Professor Ban Wang of Stanford University will discuss how individualistic-egoistic assumptions about culture and globalization give rise to the pitfalls in presenting China in the American classroom.
11/14/2008: What is Laozi's Ziran (naturalness): from Ancient text to Modern Implication
University of California, Berkeley
Address: IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor, Berkeley, CA 94720
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
Professor Xiaogan Liu of the City University of Hong Kong present a new interpretation on "Naturalness" based on close textual analysis of Laozi. 
11/17/2008: Luncheon with The Honorable Rita Lau, JP, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Hong Kong
Millennium Biltmore Hotel
506 South Grand Avenue Gold Room, Los Angeles, CA
Cost: $38
Time: 12pm
Hong Kong's new Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Rita Lau, will give an economic and business update on Hong Kong at a luncheon.  
11/19/2008: Patterns of Interaction in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Painting
University of California, Berkeley
IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor, Berkeley, CA 94720
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 6:00PM
UC Berkeley presents James Cahill's discussion on observations about cross-cultural borrowings of styles and motifs between the three great East Asian cultures.  
11/21/2008: Recent Developments in the Study of Buddhist Art
UCLA Faculty Center Hacienda Room
Time: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
This symposium will feature a panel of experts discussing recent developments in Buddhist art. 
11/22/2008: China's New Past: Archaeology, Early History, New Visions
UCLA Young Research Library
Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
A seminar by David Schaberg, in conjunction with the exhibition East Asian Archaeology & Classic Architecture. 
11/23/2008: Inside/Outside: The Great Wall of China
University of California, Berkeley
2626 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, CA 94720
Cost: Prices vary. See website for details.
TimeL 3:00PM - 4:30PM
David Spindler and Peter Hessler will explore the fascinating history—cultural, political, and military—of the Great Wall. 
North America:

11/12/2008: Bureaucracy and the State: What Do the Contemporaneous Inscriptions Say about the Western Zhou?
Princeton University
Address: 202 Jones Hall , Princeton, New Jersey 08544
Cost: Free
Time: 4:30PM - 6:00PM
This talk highlights Li Feng's decade-long research into these contemporaneous inscriptions to understand the nature of the Western Zhou state and to capture the organizational as well as operational characteristics of its government. 

11/12/2008: Globalization and Migration in Asia: A View from Three Angles
Lindner Family Commons, The Elliott School of International Affairs
Address: 6th Floor, 1957 E Street, NW
Cost: Free
Time: 12:30PM - 2:30PM
The Sigur Center for Asian Studies presents a panel with three experts on Asia. 
11/13/2008: Are There Political Resources for Democratic Institutions in Chinese History?
Princeton University
Address: 202 Jones Hall , Princeton, New Jersey 08544
Cost: Free
Time: 4:30PM - 6:00PM
Pierre-Étienne will discuss some historical facts and observations that under proper reinterpretation could be used (or have already been used) as resources for a democratic transformation of the Chinese political system. 
11/15/2008: Shanghai Bride
University of Michigan
Auditorium A, Angell Hall, 435 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Time: 7pm
A film by Melanie Ansley and Sam Voutas; 2006, 51 minutes (Mandarin, Shanghaiese, and English with English subtitles).
11/17/2008: Appeasing a Rising China: Implications for Peace and Democracy
Princeton University
Address: MPR C Frist Campus Center, Princeton, New Jersey 08544
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00PM - 2:00PM
Princeton University presents Edward Friedman's talk on the challenges to peace from China’s rise to become a hegemonic superpower.  
11/18/2008: Fall 2008 CCS Noon Lecture Series - Mary Gallagher
University of Michigan
Room 1636 School of Social Work Building, 1080 S. University, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Time: 12pm
Professor Gallagher will speak on the Chinese legislative process and legislative output.
11/19/2008: Dragon Lady: Reconsidering the Ambiguous Legacy of Madame Chiang Kai-shek in U.S.-China Relations
George Washington University
Lindner Family Commons, The Elliott School of International Affairs, 6th Floor
1957 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052
Time: 12:30PM - 1:45PM
George Washington University presents Laura Tyson Li's talk on Madame Chiang Kai-shek, one of the world's most influential, colorful, and controversial women in modern history.

11/20/2008: Press Conference : US-China Economic and Security Review Commission report
Room 562 Dirksen Senate Office Building
1ST Street & Constitution Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20510
Time: 10 am - 11 am
The formal release of 2008 annual report to Congress.  
11/20/2008: Compassionate Activity: Tibetan Schools in China
University of Kansas
Alderson Auditorium, Kansas Union
Time: 7:00PM - 9:00PM
Hungkar Dorje will describe his operation of three schools in Golok Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
11/21/2008 - 11/23/2008: Biographical Databases for the Study of China’s History
Harvard University
CGIS South Building, Room S250
Phone: 617-495-4046
The workshop will bring together scholars from Taiwan, China, Japan, Europe, and the US who have been working on biographical databases for China’s history. 

09/10/2008 - 01/04/2009: Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection
2626 Bancroft Way, UC Berkeley campus
Cost $5- 12     General Admission
141 works by 96 artists, drawn from one of the world’s most important and comprehensive collections of contemporary Chinese art. 
09/17/2008 - 01/11/2009: Confucius: Shaping Values Through Art
Pacific Asia Museum
Address: 46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena , CA 91101
Cost: $7 for adults, $5 for students/seniors
Phone: (626) 449-2742 
Confucius: Shaping Values Through Art explores how Confucian values have permeated East Asian culture. It utilizes the Museum’s own collection as a case study.  
09/05/2008 - 01/11/2009: Art and China's Revolution
Asia Society and Museum
725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street), New York City
General admission is $10, seniors $7, students $5 and free for members and persons under 16
Asia Society Presents First Comprehensive Exhibition Devoted to Revolutionary Chinese Art from the 1950s Through 1970s. 
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. 
11/15/2008 - 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.

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