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Talking Points, October 15 - 29, 2008

The USC U.S.-China Institute's weekly enewsletter.
October 15, 2008
USC U.S.-China Institute Weekly Newsletter
Talking Points
October 15 - 29, 2008

On Monday, Thomas Christensen, former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, launched the USC U.S.-China Institute’s conference on the making of American policies toward China. He began by arguing:

You want to shape China’s choices by urging China to use its increasing influence in all spheres for positive goals that help stabilize the international space in a way that benefits China, that benefits the United States, and benefits the world in general.... Our diplomatic strategy is founded in a series of dialogues that we have with the Chinese about how the world works, how it stays stable, and how to foster growth….

The dialogues are real dialogues….

It’s not just the United States telling China what to do. We actually listen to the Chinese in the dialogues … China has a lot of diplomatic experience around the world. China has a different take on various problems than the United States does as a large developing country and we have a lot to learn from China…

We don’t see the growth of U.S. and Chinese influence around the world as a zero sum competition…. So we don’t view China’s increased influence in Southeast Asia, Africa, and elsewhere with envy.

The U.S.-China relationship… is much more about third areas in the world than it has been in the past.

Christensen’s talk and the presentations made by seven other former policymakers, organization heads, and scholars stimulated much discussion and news coverage. The more than 150 attendees included students and faculty, businesspeople, teachers, and other professionals, community group leaders, and diplomats from both sides of the Taiwan strait. Christensen’s keynote address and the other presentations will soon be available via our website:

Election ’08 and the Challenge of China, our forty minute documentary (available in eight segments), is already at and our YouTube channel ( It has already attracted the attention of a number of bloggers. The video includes clips of the candidates, interviews with their advisors as well as scholars and former officials. Our site includes links to relevant speeches, treaties, and other resources. We encourage you to view the documentary and to discuss it with friends, colleagues, and students. We welcome your feedback at

An advocacy organization, the U.S.-China Business Council has just released the results of its 2008 survey of its member companies. The Council has roughly 250 members, including most of the American giants doing business in China. Virtually all of those surveyed (92%) indicated their principal reason for doing business in China is to gain access to that nation’s consumers. About half of those surveyed are in China primarily to secure a production base for exports to the U.S. (23%) or third countries (26%). Nearly all of those surveyed (88%) said they were making money in China and most reported their China revenues rose in 2007 and were expected to continue rising in 2008. Firms complained, though, that profitability was threatened by Chinese regulations and policies and by rapidly rising costs. Endless business licensing hassles were the number one worry, followed closely by the problem firms have finding and keeping qualified personnel.

Given China’s staggering 30 years of 9-10% annual economic growth, it’s no surprise that China’s education system is straining to prepare increasing numbers of young people to work in an economy that is increasingly reliant on creativity and innovation as well as diligence and discipline. A USCI group visiting Lenovo’s Beijing plant this summer learned that even assembly line workers were expected to have a minimum of three years of vocational training beyond high school. China’s universities have quadrupled enrollment in recent years while simultaneously seeking to improve the quality of research and instruction. Beautiful new campuses have been built and new majors instituted. Even with the expansion, competition to go to the best schools remains intense, as seen in the new documentary China Prep (available at the PBS website). Managing and funding this expansion and effort to raise standards is an enormous challenge.

An important conference co-sponsored by the USC Rossier School of Education and USCI will examine these trends on Monday, October 20. Peking University Provost Lin Jianhua will deliver the keynote address and scholars from the U.S. and China will explore themes such as the extension and standardization of higher education, entrepreneurship and regulation, and international training and research partnerships. Additional information, as always, is below and at the calendar section of our website.

Please remember that the resources section of our website includes information about fellowships and language study programs and that the easiest way to stay abreast of news about China and U.S.-China relations is by visiting the daily updates pages of US-China Today. Thank you for sharing Talking Points with your friends and colleagues. They can subscribe at:

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

10/20/2008: Chinese Higher Education: 21st Century Opportunities
USC University Park Campus
Davidson Conference Center, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Paticipants will gain valuable insights into contemporary Chinese higher education and the trends that will shape universities in China in the coming years and decades. 

10/20/2008: Law and Colonial Policies: Mongolian Penal Law and Sino-Manchu Control
East Asia Library Conference Room, Doheny Memorial Library (DML) Room 110c
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00 p.m.
The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and the East Asian Studies Center at USC presents Prof. Francoise Aubin.

10/23/2008 - 10/25/2008: Pacific Rim Entrepreneur Summit
Grand Hyatt Shanghai (Jin Mao Tower, Pudong)
Registration Fee: $975 (before August 31); $1,275 (after August 31)
Pacific Rim Entrepreneur Summit is the premiere gathering of alumni, friends, and affiliates of top entrepreneur programs in the Asia/Pacific region. 


10/15/2008: A Thousand Years of Good Prayers
UltraStar Mission Valley Cinemas
7510 Hazard Center Drive, located off Friars Road at 163, San Diego, CA 92108
Cost: See website for details.
Time: 7:30 PM, Run time: 83 min.
A Thousand Years of Good Prayers is among filmmaker Wayne Wang's latest Asian-themed films that explore the bonds of family and Chinese identity in the modern world.  

10/16/2008: Free Screening: Please Vote For Me
UltraStar Mission Valley Cinemas
7510 Hazard Center Drive, located off Friars Road at 163, San Diego, CA 92108
Cost: Free
PLEASE VOTE FOR ME captures an entertaining snapshot of the politics within a classroom election between three eight-year olds and is one of the most insightful and enjoyable documentaries of the year.
10/16/2008: Children of the Stars
UltraStar Mission Valley Cinemas
Address: 7510 Hazard Center Drive, located off Friars Road at 163, San Diego, CA 92108
Cost: See website for details.
CHILDREN OF THE STARS is a very personal documentary on a group of families seeking help for their severely autistic children. 
10/17/2008 - 10/17/2008: China Transformed: Artscape/Cityscape
Museum Theater
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive 2621 Durant Avenue, Berkeley, CA
In this two-day international symposium, leading curators, critics and scholars will look at artists working in different mediums as they react to the new Chinese megacity. 

10/15/2008: Earth and Fire: Sustaining Life and Art on the Silk Road
Hahn 101 (420 Harvard Ave., Hahn Bldg., Claremont)
Cost: Free
Time: 4:15 – 5:30 p.m. (followed by reception)
The Pacific Basin Institute presents a talk with Susan Whitfield. 

10/21/2008: The China Lover
Mark Taper Auditorium
Downtown Central Library Corner of Fifth and Flower, Los Angeles, CA 90071
Cost: No Fee – Reservations are recommended
Phone: (213) 228-7025
Time: 7:00PM
Meet the Author - Ian Buruma, in conversation with John Nathan, Takashima Professor of Japanese Cultural Studies, UCSB 

10/22/2008: China: After the Olympics
Omni Los Angeles Hotel
251 S. Olive Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Cost: $45 for Asia Society members; $50 Guests and General Admission
Phone: 213-613-9934 ext.24
Time: 8:00AM - 10:30AM
An in-depth look at China's current economic and political environment and its opportunities ahead.  

10/24/2008: 2008 US-China Business Law Conference at UCLA
UCLA Center for Chinese Studies
11381 Bunche Hall , Los Angeles, CA 90095
Cost: $150
Phone: 310-825-8683
8:00AM - 6:00PM
Doing business with partners in China? Understanding Chinese law is essential. 

North America:

10/15/2008: 17th Annual Charles Neuhauser Memorial Lecture
Harvard University
CGIS South Building, Room S020
Cost: Free
Phone: 617-495-4046
Time: 4:00PM - 6:00PM
Douglas Spelman will speak about his experiences while serving as the representative of the U.S. Government in China.  

10/20/2008: U.S.-China Economic Relations: Perspectives on Today and the Future
Lindner Family Commons, The Elliott School of International Affairs, 6th Floor
1957 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052
RSVP: Please RSVP by Thursday, October 16 to
The Sigur Center for Asian Studies and the Institute for International Economic Policy present a conference. 

10/25/2008 - 10/26/2008: CIGI'08: China in the Shifting World Order
57 Erb Street West, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Cost: $200- $250
This event is by invitation only.
Approximately 200 leading experts and policy makers from Canada and around the world gather to discuss possible solutions to the issues raised by CIGI's research.  
10/27/2008: Chinese Lessons: Roadblocks on the Way to China's Superpower Status
Columbia University
Address: International Affairs Building, Room 918 , New York, NY 10027
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00PM - 1:30PM
John Pomfret speaks at Brown Bag Lecture Series, "Reporting China"  

10/28/2008: China: Political and Security Challenges for the Next Administration
Harry Harding Auditorium,
The Elliott School of International Affairs
Suite 213, 1957 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052
Time: 6:30 - 8:30 PM
Sigur Center for Asian Studies presents a panel discussion on U.S.-China Relations. 


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. 

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USC U.S. – China Institute
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FIG 202
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1262
Tel: 213-821-4382
Fax: 213-821-2382
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