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Talking Points, November 5 - 9, 2008

The USC U.S.-China Institute's weekly enewsletter.
November 6, 2008
USC U.S.-China Institute Weekly Newsletter
Talking Points
November 5 - 9, 2008

China’s leaders conveyed formal congratulations to Barack Obama on his victory in Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election. Last week, the Chinese foreign ministry complained about Obama’s Oct. 24 letter to a textile trade group saying that the Chinese government kept the value of the yuan artificially low, making imports from China artificially cheap and exports to China artificially expensive. Obama indicated that if elected he intended to address this and other trade disputes through diplomatic means. Chinese scholars have noted these tensions over trade, but have been saying they do not expect significant change in the U.S.-China relationship under Obama.

Many ordinary Chinese marveled at Obama’s victory, amazed that an African American could be elected. Some Chinese interviewed by journalists working for foreign news organizations said it reflected well on American democracy and said that members of ethnic minority groups in China were largely excluded from power. You can read a sampling of Chinese observations before and after the election in the voices section of US-China Today. The USC U.S.-China Institute’s documentary on key issues in U.S.-China relations and the policies advanced by candidates McCain and Obama is available at our website and at our YouTube page.

People in Taiwan, though, have been much more focused on the historic visit this week by Chen Yunlin, the head of China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits. Chen is the highest-ranking Beijing official to visit Taiwan since the Communist Party took power on the mainland in 1949. On Thursday, Chen met for a few minutes with Taiwan’s president Ma Ying-jeou. Ma, the Kuomintang (KMT) candidate, was elected in March pledging to forge stronger economic ties with the mainland and to work to reduce cross-strait security issues. Members of the opposition, however, have loudly and pointedly expressed their distrust of Ma and their displeasure with Chen’s visit. Two weeks ago protestors hounded and roughed up a visiting Chinese official. On Wednesday, protestors surrounded a hotel where Chen was dining with KMT officials, keeping him there until early Thursday morning when government security personnel were able to escort Chen away. Fearing continued and escalating protests, the Taiwan government moved up Chen’s meeting with President Ma by five hours. The short meeting mainly allowed for the exchange of gifts (a painting of a horse – the word for horse is the president’s surname – from China and a vase featuring Taiwanese orchids from Taiwan). Earlier meetings with other officials resulted in agreements to increase direct flights, begin direct shipping, and improved cooperation on food safety. Police estimated that 100,000 people joined Thursday’s protests. Ma condemned the protests as damaging Taiwan’s image and harming the island’s chances of luring tourists from the mainland.

You can follow these developments and other news in the daily updates section of US-China Today. As in the U.S., the slowing of the economy is the big story in China. The Shanghai stock market is down even more than the U.S. market and housing prices are plummeting in many areas. Factories are closing and in many instances owners have fled without paying workers for months of labor. China’s central government is taking action, putting US $19 billion into one teetering bank and pledging to spend heavily on infrastructure development, including a US $292 billion railway expansion plan. In addition to US-China Today's daily updates, the magazine offers new feature articles on topics such as rising nationalism, sovereign wealth funds, and China’s growing Jewish communities.

At 4 pm today, the USC U.S.-China Institute is pleased to host a talk by Notre Dame’s Victoria Tin-bor Hui. Hui will speak on what China’s past suggests about China’s current rise. Her 2005 book War and State Formation in Ancient China and Early Modern Europe garnered two major awards. Next week, the Institute hosts the University of Washington’s David Bachman who will discuss the implications of the financial crisis and the U.S. election for U.S.-China relations. We hope that you can join us for these important discussions. (Outlook users should note that events from the calendar section of our website can be directly imported - just click on the Outlook icon beside each event.)

Please note that the Institute is currently welcoming applications for two post-doctoral scholars for 2009-2010 and for USC faculty and graduate student research projects. You can find information about these research programs in the announcements section of our website. The site also features reports about previously funded faculty and student research.

Thank you for forwarding Talking Points to friends and colleagues. And a special thank you to those of you who write to tell us what you think of our newsletter and our website. We welcome your comments. Please send them to us at

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

11/06/2008: What Does Chinese History Tell Us About China’s Rise?
USC University Club, Banquet Room, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
Phone: 213-821-4382
Time: 4:00PM - 6:00PM
USCI presents a talk with Victoria Hui.

11/11/2008: Looking at East Asian Conflict Management Through the Lens of the Taiwan Strait
USC, SOS B-40, Los Angeles , CA 90089
Cost: Free
Time: 12:30 - 2 pm
CIS presents a talk with Fulbright Visiting Scholar, Kwei-bo Huang. 
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.  


11/05/2008: Red Art . . . a Documentary
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
UCLA 2250 Public Policy Building
A screening of the documentary, Red Art, followed by a talk with co-director, Hu Jie.
11/06/2008: Luxury Car
Laemmle Theatres Downtown
Mandarin with English subtitles.
Call to reserve your seats:  213/613-9934
Asia Society Southern California presents this film as part of the monthly Asian Film Series.  
11/07/2008: Revalorizing Gendered Self-Worth in China’s New Age of Private Property
University of California, Berkeley
Heyns Room, The Faculty Club, Berkeley, CA 94720
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
UC Berkeley presents Professor Li Zhang's talk how self-worth has become more and more individualized and materialized through the rising culture of consumerism. 
11/07/2008: Chinese American Film Fest
SMC Art Complex 214
Address: 1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 7:00PM - 8:30PM
Screening of Marriage Trip, a comedy about modern dating and marriage customs in present-day China. 
11/08/2008 - 11/09/2008: Female Meditation Techniques in Late Imperial and Modern China
UCLA 10383 Bunche Hall
Saturday - 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
Sunday - 9 am - 12:30 pm
Several panels of experts will discuss the tradition of female meditation in this two day conference. 
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. 
North America:
11/05/2008: Factory Towns: Portraits of Modern China
Columbia University
International Affairs Building, Room 918, New York, NY 10027
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00PM - 1:30PM
No Reservations Required
Leslie Chang, former Wall Street Journal Beijing correspondent and author of the forthcoming Factory Girls
Peter Hessler, staff writer for the The New Yorker and a contributing writer to National Geographic.
11/05/2008: Traveling Culture and Asian Export Art
Princeton University
202 Jones Hall , Princeton, New Jersey 08544
Cost: Free
Time: 4:30PM - 6:00PM
Chi-ming Yang explores the role of Asian export art, porcelain in particular, in capturing the global circulation of humans, objects, and animals in the 17th and 18th centuries.
11/08/2008: Last House Standing
University of Michigan
Auditorium A, Angell Hall, 435 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Time: 7:00PM - 8:00PM
A film by Chao Gan and Zi Liang; China, 2005; 54 minutes (English and Chinese with English subtitles). As China continues its unprecedented economic growth, this documentary captures the poignant story of an elderly man caught between his country's past and future.  
11/11/2008: Fall 2008 CCS Noon Lecture Series - Mayling Birney
Room 1636 School of Social Work Building, 1080 S. University
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Time: 12:00PM - 01:00PM
Professor Mayling Birney will speak on Chinese village election laws.
11/12/2008: Is China As Strong As It Seems?
Columbia University
International Affairs Building, Room 918, New York, NY 10027
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00PM - 1:30PM
Brown Bag Lecture Series, "Reporting China" with Rob Gifford, London Bureau Chief, National Public Radio.
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.
10/08/2008 - 11/10/2008: History Recycled: Photographs of Architectural Design by Deng Kunyan
University of California, Berkeley
IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor, Berkeley, CA 94720
Cost: Free
Time: 9:00AM - 5:00PM
UC Berkeley presents an exhibition of the photographs of designs by Taiwanese architect Deng Kunyan, a pioneering figure in the movement to revitalize Shanghai’s desolate industrial spaces for contemporary use. 
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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USC U.S. – China Institute
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FIG 202
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