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Talking Points: November 25 - December 9, 2009

The newsletter this week introduces Ming Tsai's turkey solution and notes upcoming events and exhibitions across North America.
November 25, 2009

Talking Points

November 25 - December 9, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving!

The harvest meal shared by English colonists and Wampanoag Indians in 1621 looms large in the American elementary school history curriculum. Classrooms are decorated, essays written, and plays performed.

As it happens, that multicultural gathering in Plymouth didn’t quickly become an institution. In 1789 President George Washington issued proclamation calling on Americans to devote a November Thursday to giving thanks to God. Not all of Washington’s successors followed his lead, some arguing such a declaration violated the separation of church and state. In the midst of the Civil War, though, Abraham Lincoln saw a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise” as a potentially unifying force. It became a formal national holiday in 1942.

 Ming Tsai, photo by Anthony Tieuli for WGBH.

We launched a Thanksgiving tradition of our own last year by bringing Talking Points readers two recipes from famed restaurateur Sylvia Wu. This year, we’re pleased to introduce Ming Tsai and his “Deep Fried Tea-Spice-Rubbed Turkey.” Tsai grew up in Ohio working in his family’s Mandarin Kitchen restaurant. He earned a degree in mechanical engineering at Yale, but couldn’t escape the lure of the kitchen. He studied in Europe, Asia, and America before developing his own East-West fusion style and opening Blue Ginger in Boston. He’s won numerous awards and has been sharing his ideas via his Simply Ming public television show for the past seven years. Tsai’s turkey dish utilizes a five spice

Iris Tsai and Ming Tsai, Emily Sterne Photography


chile tea rub and a deep fryer. Please click here to get all the details and to see larger versions of these photos. We appreciate his granting permission for us to reproduce them.




Americans in China have long marked Thanksgiving. Below left is a notice published in 1920 by the US Legation Guard in Beijing. Today, entrepreneurs know a marketing opportunity when they see it. A Brazilian barbeque restaurant in Ningbo is offering a turkey dinner special.


In the US, Turkey Thursday is followed by Black Friday. Most retailers rely on holiday sales to push them into profitability for the year, that is, to propel them “into the black.” Many of these retailers rely on Chinese manufacturers and some on Chinese designs. Below are two Qin dynasty warrior-inspired items: a dog toy and a usb drive.


As we noted in Talking Points and a Jan. 2009 conference, Beijing pulled out all the stops in getting ready for the 2008 Olympics. Next Tuesday, Dec. 1, the Institute and the USC East Asian Studies Center will screen Dream Weavers, the official documentary on preparations for the Beijing Games. Director Gu Jin will introduce the film and take questions afterwards. On Thursday, Dec. 3, Lynne Joiner examines wartime China and postwar America through the life of John S. Service. Born in China to missionary parents, Service was a U.S. Foreign Service officer assigned to the Chinese Communist base at Yan’an in North Central China. He was impressed by the efficiency and determination of the Communists and their army and said so, predicting their eventual success in their struggle with the Nationalists. These reports later made him a target of anti-communist crusaders. And on Saturday, Dec. 5, K-12 teachers are invited to enroll in a one day workshop on images of China and Korea. Documentary filmmaker Irv Drasnin and Trinity University scholars Zhang Jie and Donald Clark will speak. In Washington next week, the Congressional-Executive Commission on China will hear from HIV/AIDS whistleblower Gao Yaojie and will also convene a panel on China’s citizen complaint or petitioning system.

We’re grateful to all who have supported the USC US-China Institute this year and to all those who have participated in our projects and events. We’re thankful, too, for all the other institutions that sponsor the China-focused events and exhibitions that we include in Talking Points and in our web calendar. As we did at mid-autumn festival, we wish everyone the best possible holiday.

Best wishes,
The USC U.S.-China Institute

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Recent USCI / US-China Today resources:

Obama Goes to China: Issues and Positions
Instant Analysis: Reporting on Presidential Trips to China
60 Years of Celebrating the Creation of the PRC
Interactive Graphics: Nuclear Power in China | China’s Foreign Reserves
Photo Series: Streets of China | Construction
Feature Articles: China Legal | Mobilizing Confucius | Calligraffiti


12/01/2009: Dream Weavers - Beijing 2008
USC, Leavey Auditorium
Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
Time: 6:00PM - 8:00PM
The East Asian Studies Center and U.S.-China Institute present the screening of Dream Weavers - Beijing 2008 and Q&A with documentary filmmaker Gu Jun. 

12/03/2009: Honorable Survivor: Mao’s China, McCarthy’s America, and the Persecution of John S. Service
Davidson Conference Center, Club Room
Cost: Free
4:00PM - 6:00PM
The USC US-China Institute presents a talk and Q&A session with Lynne Joiner on her new book.


12/03/2009: Funeral and Sacrifice in 186 BC: The Luozhuang Mausoleum, Shandong
10383 Bunche Hall, UCLA
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
UCLA Center for Chinese Studies presents a talk by Gao Jixi on ancient Chinese burial traditions. 

12/04/2009: Fiction Reading and Commentaries in Ming/Qing China: Zhang Zhupo's 'Jinpingmei dufa' (How to Read The Plum in the Golden Vase)
UC Berkeley
IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor, Berkeley, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 6:00PM
UC Berkeley's Center for Chinese Studies presents a talk by Wei Shang on Zhang Zhupo’s “How to Read The Plum in the Golden Vase." 

North America 

12/02/2009: 5th Annual Alaska-China Business Conference
For Information & Registration, please contact Greg Wolf.
Anchorage, Alaska
The one day conference will feature experts sharing their experiences of doing business in China.

12/03/2009: Gao Yaojie: Physician, Grandmother, and Whistleblower in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 628
Washington, DC
Time: 10:00am
The Congressional-Executive Commission on China presents a talk by Dr. Gao Yaojie, who will speak on her work in HIV/AIDs education, prevention, and treatment in China's Henan province.


08/16/2009 - 11/29/2009: Steeped in History: The Art of Tea
Fowler Museum

Cost: Free
The Fowler Museum at UCLA presents an exhibition on the history of tea in Asia, Europe, and America through art. 

09/11/2009 - 12/05/2009: Pearl of the Snowlands: Buddhist Printing at the Derge Parkhang
The Center for Book and Paper Arts
1104 S. Wabash Avenue, 2nd Floor, Chicago, IL 60605
This exhibit will present photographs, interviews and artifacts collected in Derge Parkhang. 


09/18/2009 - 01/09/2010: Imagining China: The View from Europe, 1550-1700
Folger Great Hall

201 East Capitol Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003
Cost: Free
Phone: (202) 544-7077
Celebrate the opening of the latest exhibition at Folger Shakespeare Library.

09/17/2009 - 01/17/2010: Calligraffiti: Writing in Contemporary Chinese and Latino Art
Pacific Asia Museum
46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, California 91101
Phone: (626) 449-2742
Calligraffiti: Writing in Contemporary Chinese and Latino Art addresses issues of power, culture, and universality.  

09/22/2009 - 06/30/2010: China's Great Wall: The Forgotten Story
NYC offices of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, New York, NY
The Forgotten Story is a series of historically-based photographs of the Great Wall of China. It is a collaboration between Jonathan Ball, a California based photographer, and David Spindler, one of the world's foremost experts on Great Wall history.

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. 

02/12/2009 - 02/12/2010: Art of Adornment: Tribal Beauty
Bowers Museum
2002 N. Main, Santa Ana, CA
Cost: $5
An exhibit featuring body adornments from indigenous peoples around the world 


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We provide information about China-related events as a community service. If you would like your event considered for inclusion in the USCI calendar, please click here to submit event details.

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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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