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Talking points, November 26 - December 10, 2008

The USC U.S.-China Institute's weekly newsletter
November 26, 2008
USC U.S.-China Institute Weekly Newsletter
Talking Points
November 26 - December 10, 2008
Happy Thanksgiving! 祝你感恩节快乐!
We have much to be thankful for, including wide support for our research, teaching, and outreach initiatives. We’re grateful to all those who have participated in these programs and to all those who have worked hard to make them possible. Please join us next Tuesday, Dec. 2 for Calla Wiemer’s presentation on “China’s Place in the Global Financial Crisis.” This week’s Talking Points takes a break from looking at major trends in China and issues in U.S.-China relations.
The challenges of rebuilding areas devastated by the May 12 earthquake are enormous. The Chinese government estimates that 87,000 were killed, including thousands of schoolchildren killed when 6,900 school buildings collapsed. The number of those made homeless by the quake and subsequent landslides is now estimated at 10 million. The Chinese government and relief organizations have accomplished a great deal. Many of the homeless now have shelter and children are in makeshift schools. Jean-Pierre Bardet, chair of USC’s environmental and civil engineering department, was part of a U.S. science delegation to the region last summer. In an August presentation at USC he identified the massive tasks ahead. Transportation, water, power, and telecommunications infrastructure must be rebuilt and entire towns must be relocated or rebuilt. Beyond this is the challenge of creating jobs and strengthening the network of material and health services provided those affected by the quake.
Many organizations are working to provide help. A USC student, Marc Liu, has written in US-China Today of his work with one such group. As you make your charitable giving plans for the end of 2008, we ask that you consider a donation to support the relief effort. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies maintains an outstanding page on the situation in Sichuan: earthquake/index.asp. To donate, please visit:
Many Talking Points readers already have their turkey, ham, or tofu creation planned for Thanksgiving. Some, however, may be looking for something a bit different. So we contacted Sylvia Wu, the force behind the legendary Madame Wu’s Garden, one of the most famous eateries in Los Angeles for four decades.
Madame Wu was born in Jiujiang on Yangzi River. She came to the U.S. to attend Columbia University’s Teachers College in 1944. There she married King Yan Wu, an MIT graduate from Hong Kong and grandson of Wu Tingfang, China's first ambassador to the United States. Madame Wu’s Cantonese cuisine attracted a large following, including entertainment celebrities and political giants. Madame Wu ran her Santa Monica restaurant until 1998. By then she’d published popular cookbooks (Madame Wu’s Art of Chinese Cooking and Cooking with Madame Wu: Yin and Yang Recipes for Longevity),  a memoir (Memories of Madame Wu) and a remembrance of Song Qingling, the widow of Sun Yatsen (Memories of Madame Sun). She's had a busy semi-retirement, producing Madame Wu’s Garden: A Pictorial History. She's at work on a second memoir.

Zhu Rongji (then mayor of Shanghai and future premier of China) with Madame and King Yan Wu (ca. 1993)

Madame Wu immediately suggested sharing one of her best known fusion efforts, a Chinese chicken salad dish inspired by a conversation with her longtime customer and friend Cary Grant. She also selected another of her signature dishes, Wu’s Beef. One of her children, federal judge George Wu, suggested a dish to utilize leftover turkey – stir fry turkey on spinach.

The recipe below is from Madame Wu’s Art of Chinese Cooking the others are available at

Toasted Shredded Chicken Salad **Sao See Gai**
2 chicken breasts or drumstick thighs (Put in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes; remove and drain on paper toweling)

Have Ready For Deep-Fry:
2 quarts vegetable oil
8 squares wonton dough cut into 1/8” strips
1/3 package rice noodles
Chicken (prepared as above)

Step 1:
Pour the 2 quarts of oil into a deep fryer and heat to 350° F. Test for readiness by dropping one of the rice noodles into the oil. If it sinks to the bottom, the oil is not hot enough. When it pops up immediately put the dough strips and fry to a light tan color. Remove and drain on a paper towel.

Step 2:
Divide the noodles into 3 parts and deep-fry separately. The noodles should “explode” on contact with the hot oil and should be instantly removed before the oil is absorbed. Drain on paper toweling.

Step 3:
Now deep fry the chicken meat for 5 minutes. Remove, drain on toweling, bone and cut into strips, including the skin.

Makes 2 cups.

Have Ready For Chicken Salad:
2 cups cooked chicken meat
1 teaspoon liquid mustard
¼ teaspoon 5-spice powder (optional)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 tablespoons toasted almonds, chopped fine
½ cup thinly sliced green onions, using only bulb and white stem
½ teaspoon salt

Step 4:

Put the chicken meat in a large bowl. Add the mustard, Five-Spice powder, sesame oil, soy sauce, almonds, green onions, salt, and mix well.

Step 5:
Add the crisp fried wonton strips and noodles and mix thoroughly. The will break into small bits by the mixing. Pile the salad over the lettuce bed, but do not toss; it will become soggy.

Serves four.

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


12/02/2008: China's Place in the Global Financial Crisis
USC University Club, Banquet Room, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 6:00PM
USCI presents a talk with Calla Wiemer on China and the financial crisis. 

12/05/2008: New Media and the Documentary Impulse
University of California, Berkeley
Sproul Room, International House
2299 Piedmont Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94720
Time: 1:30PM - 6:00PM
This workshop will explore the possibilities and problems represented by new and alternative modes of documentary work, including digital, on-line, and sonic media.  
12/05/2008: Asian Images Inside-Out: What Can We Learn From the Contents of East Asian Statues?
University of California, Los Angeles
243 Royce Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095
Cost: Free
Time: 3:00PM - 4:30PM
Discussion of East Asian Buddhist images and icons by Professor James Robson of Harvard University.
12/06/2008: Confucius in Modern Asia
Pacific Asia Museum
Pacific Asia Museum 46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, California 91101
Cost: Admission: $7 for adults, $5 for students/seniors
Time: 2:00PM - 4:00PM
Confucian scholars come together for a panel discussion on Confucianism in modern Asia.
North America:

12/02/2008: The Historical and Comparative Study of Religion: The Chinese Context
Princeton University
Address: 202 Jones Hall , Princeton, New Jersey 08544
Cost: Free
Time: 4:30PM - 6:30PM
F. W. Mote Memorial Lecture Series Professor Yu will explore the debate among both religion scholars and those of other disciplines on whether the concept of religion as such is wholly Western and thus not universally applicable in scholarship. 

12/04/2008: Historic Beijing in the 21st Century
Rice University
Herring Hall, Room 100, Houston, Texas 77005
Time: 6:00PM - 8:00PM
Professor Robert Thorp will discuss how the architectural heritage of the Ming and Qing capitals survives amid the Olympic venues of 2008. 
12/05/2008: Ethnicity with Chinese Characteristics? The Chinese State and Tibetan, Uyghur, and Mongol Identities
NED Main Conference Room
Address: 1025 F St NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20004
Cost: Free
Time: 2:00PM - 4:00PM
The East Asia Program of the National Endowment for Democracy presents a panel discussion on ethnic tensions in China. 
12/09/2008: Celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Normalization of Relations between the United States and China
Feldman Auditorium
New York Life Insurance Company 51 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10010
This event brings together five former American ambassadors to China between 1985 and 2001 to reflect on their time in Beijing.
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. 

10/18/2008 - 01/11/2009: China Design Now
Cincinnati Art Museum
953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
This exhibition captures an extraordinary moment as China opens up to global influences and responds to the hopes and dreams of its new urban middle class.
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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