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Talking Points, October 29 - November 10, 2010

This issue of the USC US-China Institute newsletter focuses on China in American campaign ads and Chinese investment in the US. As always, it includes information about China-related programs across North America.
October 29, 2010

Talking Points
October 29 - November 10, 2010

Our comprehensive calendar of China-related events across North America is below.

November 2 is election day in the United States. As expected, the economy is the dominant issue in the 435 House of Representative and 37 Senate races as well as for the 37 governorships up for grabs. Pollsters have identified anxiety over China’s rise and anger over outsourcing as buttons they can push to mobilize voters. In many states, candidates are hammering their opponents with charges that they have facilitated the movement of jobs to China.

We are following these races and plan to assess the effectiveness of these ads in a post-election report. For the moment, we offer a few examples of these ads. (Please click the play button below.)




In the first ad, the Michigan Democratic Party takes aim at Rick Snyder, the Republican candidate for governor. The ad charges the former Gateway Computer executive with outsourcing production to China and laying off 19,000 workers. It also says he eventually sold Gateway to a Chinese company. In fact, the company was sold to Acer, a Taiwan-based firm, something a subsequent commercial gets right. Snyder leads Virg Bernero, his Democratic opponent, by 13% in recent polls. In the second ad, California Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer accuses Republican challenger Carly Fiorina of sending 30,000 Hewlett Packard jobs to China when she headed the company. Polls put Boxer 5-8% ahead of Fiorina.

Many of these attack ads are sponsored by Democratic candidates or their supporters. In the

third ad, however, West Virginia Republican challenger Spike Maynard argues that Democratic Congressman Nick Rahall (who has represented the district since 1976) supported a measure (the federal stimulus package) that gave tax breaks to American companies which put Chinese to work building windmills (a second potential negative in coal country). Polls say Rahall has a comfortable lead. The fourth ad, from Ohio Democratic Congressman Zack Space says that Republican Robert Gibbs supports trade policies that send American jobs to China. The ad (citing a much-challenged Economic Policy Institute study) says Ohio has lost 91,000 jobs to China. It blames unfair trade deals such as NAFTA (the supposed link between the North American Free Trade Agreement and outsourcing to China is not explained). Space has held this district since 2006. His race against Gibbs, a state legislator, is too close to call. Both candidates and their parties have produced additional ads arguing that their opponent’s actions or plans benefit China rather than Ohio.

The fifth ad offers a theme also seen in many of the Republican National Congressional Committee attack ads (click here for an example). Those ads argue that by voting for the economic stimulus and health care reform, the Democrat helped plunge America into greater


debt and dependence on China as a creditor. The fifth ad was produced by Citizens Against Government Waste. Entitled “Chinese Professor,” the one minute ad has a lecturer in Beijing in 2030 explaining that stimulus spending and the costs of health care reform forced America into a devastating cycle of taxes and borrowing. The class explodes into laughter when the speaker concludes that since China owns that debt, now Americans “work for us.”

What separates the CAGW ad from those targeting specific candidates is its slick production and its explicit us versus them storytelling. Unless viewers take action, the commercial explains, American civilization will soon join that of the Greeks and Romans in the “has been” section of the Chinese curriculum. This, of course, taps into the fears some Americans have that power and wealth is a zero sum game and that the momentum is with the Chinese.

Today’s economic uncertainty and Americans’ insufficient grasp of China’s realities keeps many from noting that America’s GDP is nearly three times larger than China’s and that, on a per capita basis, it is ten times larger. Many don’t realize the tremendous resource, environmental, and demographic challenges China faces. They only perceive that China is rising. In February 2009, some 39% of Americans polled told Gallup that China was “the leading economic power in the world today.” In April-May 2010, the Pew Research Center found that in 17 of the 21 countries it surveyed America’s image was positive. In China, 58% had a favorable impression of the United States, up from 34% in 2007. Nonetheless, 60% of Americans told Pew’s pollsters that they thought that America was “generally disliked” around the world.

One of the strangest things about the CAGW ad is that the stimulus spending and an expensive health care reform effort singled out as the route to disaster were similarly undertaken by the Chinese government. As a share of its GDP, the $586 billion stimulus plan Beijing announced in November 2008 was much larger than the $787 billion program enacted by Washington in February 2009. In April 2009, Beijing announced a $124 billion health care reform initiative.

The CAGW ad has been widely commented upon and a couple of parodies created. The slickest, most irreverent parody was engineered by Jimmy Lai’s Next Media Animation. Taiwan-based NMA produces animated news stories (recreating arrests, attacks, and more). In its version, a panda lectures the audience crediting China’s success to currency manipulation, low wages, and intellectual property theft. Click here to see it.

Again, we’ll have a post-election report evaluating the effectiveness of these ads. It’s clear, though, that while policy towards China isn’t being debated in these ads, China’s presence in this year's campaigns is much larger than it was in 2008. Click here to see our look at the 2008 presidential campaign.


Chinese purchases of American government and mortgage debt leads the world, but in recent years Chinese investments have moved beyond buying securities. In 2009, Chinese companies invested $5 billion in the US through purchases and joint ventures. This year Geely made headlines with its $1.8 billion purchase of Ford-owned Volvo. Many smaller investments have made a big impact in American communities. Examples of these include Yuncheng Plate Making, which in 2007 found it cheaper to build in South Carolina than in southern China, and Mamtek International which announced this spring it would invest $46 million in a small Missouri town.


Chinese film companies are among those taking the plunge. China Film Corporation has invested in films such as The Painted Veil (2006), which took in about $27 million worldwide. It had greater success with this year’s $5 million investment in the China-centered remake of The Karate Kid. The film has earned more that $358 million thus far. Production is due to start on Double Lives, a $100 million film funded 50/50 by Chinese and American investors. It stars Pierce Brosnan and will be shot in China.

To further explore trends in such efforts, USCI is co-sponsoring the US-China Film Co-Production Summit at the Writer’s Guild Theater in Beverly Hills. The event is Tuesday, Nov. 2. Major Chinese and American studio heads and filmmakers will participate. Seating is limited and reservations are recommended.



China’s environmental challenges are enormous. Much of its water is too polluted for even industrial use. Its air is hastening the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people a year. In part because of low energy efficiency and in part because its economy is growing so rapidly, it’s adding greenhouse gas-emitting coal-powered electricity plants every week. On Monday, Nov. 1, Jonathan Watts, a distinguished correspondent for The Guardian newspaper will be at USC to discuss these challenges, their implications for China and the world, and what is being done to find a way out of the mess. His new book is entitled, When a Billion Chinese Jump – How China will Save Mankind or Destroy It. On Friday, Nov. 5 former Time Beijing bureau chief David Aikman, author of Jesus in Beijing, will discuss Christianity in China. On Nov. 8, students from several of USC's summer programs in China will share their experiences.

Elsewhere, the Center for International Media Assistance looks at Chinese efforts to influence media in the developing world and UCLA hosts two former Chinese ambassadors.  

As always, we appreciate you passing Talking Points on to friends and colleagues. We welcome your feedback. Please write to us at

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The USC US-China Institute

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USC | California | North America | Exhibitions


10/29/2010: Go Lala Go!
Ray Stark Family Theatre
USC University Park Campus George Lucas Instructional Building Ray Stark Family Theatre, Room 108
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Time: 7:30PM - 10:30PM
Outside the Box (Office) and the Chinese American Film Festival present a special screening of Go Lala Go!, directed by Xu Jinglei, and starring Jinglei, Stanley Huang, Karen Mok, Pace Wu and Li Ai. 

11/01/2010: When a Billion Chinese Jump
Davidson Conference Center, Alumni room.
Los Angeles, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 6:00PM
Join the US China Institute for a talk by the Author of When A Billion Chinese Jump, Jonathan Watts. 

11/04/2010: Traditional Chinese Dance Performance at the APASA Night Market
USC Campus
Trousdale and Tommy Trojan Hahns Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Time: 6:00PM - 8:00PM
USC`s TCDance group will perform at the Asian Pacific American Student Assembly`s Night Market. 

11/05/2010: Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power
Lewis Hall, RGL 101
650 Childs Way , Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
 Time: 4:30PM
Dr. David Aikman, veteran TIME magazine senior correspondent and Beijing bureau chief details the story of China`s enormously rapid conversion to Christianity and what this change means to the global balance of power. 

11/08/2010: Student Voices: Summer Programs in China
Doheny Memorial Library 233 (DML Intellectual Commons)
3550 Trousdale Pkwy , Los Angeles, CA 90089
Free, Lunch will be provided.
Phone: (231) 821-4382
Time: 12:00PM - 1:30PM
The USC U.S. China Institute invites students and faculty to attend an informational meeting that offers insight into the many overseas study opportunities that will be available in China this upcoming summer. 



10/29/2010: First International Symposium on Chinese Language and Discourse
UCLA Confucius Institute
1331 Murphy Hall Box 951418 , Los Angeles, CA 90095
UCLA will hold a symposium on Chinese language and discourse. 

10/29/2010: Inventing a “Chinese” Portrait Style in Early Photography: The Case of Milton Miller (active 1850s-1860s): Elvera Kwang Siam Lim Memorial Lecture
Faculty Club
Heyns Room, Berkeley, CA 94704
Time: 4:00PM - 6:00PM
Professor Wu Hung will talk about Milton Miller`s career and the creation of his China portraits at the University of California, Berkeley. 

10/30/2010: Honoring our Ancestors/Celebrating Family History
Pacific Asia Museum
46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00PM - 4:00PM
The Pacific Asia Museum hosts a pan-Asian celebration of fun performances, crafts, demonstrations and activities for the whole family. 

11/01/2010: Institutions in Play: Who is Paying the Price of China`s Bank Reforms?
Stanford University Philippines Conference Room
Philippines Conference Room, Encina Hall, 3rd Floor, Stanford, CA 94305
Phone: (650) 723-3362/3363
Time: 12:00PM - 1:15PM
Carl Walter, the Managing Director of JP Morgan China, will speak on China`s bank reforms at Stanford University. 

11/02/2010: The US-China Film Summit
Writers Guild Theater
135 S. Doheny Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90211
$80 General Admission; $60 Asia Society and CAPE members; $40 Students with ID / Non-profit (limited availability)
Time: 2:00PM - 5:00PM
A Conference that highlights established entertainment opportunities within the Hollywood and China film industry.

11/03/2010: The Chinese Approach to Security Multilateralism in East Asia
Philippines Conference Room, Encina Hall, 3rd Floor, Stanford, CA 94305
Time: 2:00PM - 1:15PM
Seiichiro Takagi will give a talk on security multilateralism in East Asia at Stanford University. 

11/04/2010: Crimes of the Heart
East West Players
120 Judge John Aiso St. , Los Angeles, CA 90012
Meet three delightfully dysfunctional sisters: Babe has just shot her husband, Meg is fresh from the loony bin, and Lenny celebrates her birthday alone by sticking a candle in a cookie. This Southern Pulitzer Prize-winning classic with an Asian American cast will be an unforgettable night of laughter and tears in East West Players style. 

11/04/2010: Material Culture and Maritime Asia: New International Perspectives
Hacienda Room
UCLA Faculty Center, Los Angeles, CA 90095
Cost: Free
Time: 3:00PM - 5:00PM
The Fourth China in Asia workshop in honor of Roxanna Brown, in conjunction with the Huntington Library conference, “Pacific Spaces: Comparisons and “Connections across the Pacific Ocean in Early Modern and Modern Times”, will be held at UCLA. 

11/04/2010: The Courtesan`s Other: Visibility, Sexuality, and the Republican Lady in Early Twentieth Century China
Hahn 108
333 North College Way, Claremont, CA 91711
Cost: Free
Time: 4:15PM - 5:30PM
Joan Judge will give a talk about "Republican Ladies", a new demographic of woman in early twentieth century China, at the Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College. 


11/05/2010: Regime Reinforcing Noncompliance in Rural China
IEAS conference room, sixth floor
2223 Fulton Street, Berkeley, California 94720
Time: 4:00PM - 6:00PM
Lily L. Tsai from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology argues that norms of regime-reinforcing noncompliance may partially substitute for formal democratic institutions for citizen participation in nondemocratic and transitional systems where such institutions are weak. 

11/05/2010: Son Preferences and Women’s Status: Gender Bias in the Past and Future in Asia Seminar Series
Levinthal Hall, Stanford Humanities Center, Stanford, CA 94305
Time: 9:00PM - 4:00PM
Stanford University will host speakers for a seminar on gender bias in Asia. 

11/06/2010: Anyang Archaeology in the 21st Century: New Perspectives in the Search for the Shang Civilization
Lenart Auditorium, Fowler Museum of Cultural History
UCLA , Los Angeles, CA 90095-1487
Cost: Free
TANG JIGEN (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences) presents the twenty-third Sammy Yukuan Lee Lecture in Chinese Archaeology and Art 

11/06/2010: New Directions in the Study of Traditional Chinese Drama
The Board Room, Stanford Humanities Center
Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305
Cost: Free and open to the public
Time: 8:30AM - 5:30PM
Stanford University will host a two-day workshop on Chinese drama. 

11/07/2010: Top Town
Pacific Asia Museum
46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101
Time: 1:00PM
The Pacific Asia Museum hosts a screening of the documentary Top Town. 

11/07/2010: Chinese American Film Festival: Special Sunday Matinee
Pacific Asia Museum
46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101
Time: 3:00PM
The Pacific Asia Museum presents a special Sunday matinee of their Chinese American Film Festival. 

11/09/2010: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in East Asia: Institutional Challenges and Constraints
Hahn 108
333 North College Way, Claremont, CA 91711
Cost: Free
Time: 4:15PM - 5:30PM
Alice Ba will speak on ASEAN in East Asia at the Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College  

11/10/2010: Commercializing the “Main Melody Films: Chinese Cinema in Transformation”
Philippines Conference Room, Encina Hall, 3rd Floor
Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305
Time: 4:15PM - 5:30PM
Teng Jimeng will give a talk on Chinese cinema at Stanford University.

North America

10/29/2010: EASC Colloquium: Enumerating Ethnicities: The Role of Numbers in Taiwanese Bodies and Body-Politics
Ballantine Hall 0041021 E. Third Street, Bloomington, IN 47405-7005
Cost: Free, Time: 12:00PM - 1:15PM
Jennifer A. Liu explores how notions of ethnicity in Taiwan are configured in relation to numbers in a talk at Indiana University. 

10/29/2010: A Radical Reading of Chinese Characters
Meyerson Conference Room WCH 4.118
1 University Station, G9300, Austin, TX 78712
Time: 3:00PM - 5:00PM
In this China seminar at the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Tsai will radicalize the subtle connection between Chinese literary works and abstract painting. 

10/30/2010: The Buddhist Caves of Dunhuang: Treasure Trove in the Chinese Gobi Desert
Stimson Auditorium

Seattle Asian Art Museum 1400 E. Prospect St., Seattle, WA 98112
Cost: Members: $5.00 Adults: $10.00 SAM Members Series: $38.00 Non Members Series: $75.00
Time: 9:30AM - 11:00AM
Mimi Gardner Gates introduces this Silk Road site in Western China, made up of hundreds of caves filled with painting, sculpture, and manuscripts as a part of the Seattle Asian Art Museum`s Sacred Sites of Asia series. 

11/01/2010: US-China Business Conference: Catalyst for Growth
Ritz-Carlton Buckhead
3434 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30326
Cost: Gala Dinner Only Early Bird (by 10/7/2010) $150 Regular (by 10/31/2010) $175; Conference + Gala Dinner Early Bird (by 10/7/2010) $425 Regular (by 10/31/2010) $500
The National Association of Chinese Americans (NACA)has assembled a world class roster of speakers with executive experiences in US-China trade to speak at this conference in Atlanta, Georgia. 

11/01/2010: Angel Island: After 100 Years
A/P/A Institute at NYU
41-51 East 11th Street 7th Floor Gallery, New York, NY 10003
Cost: Free
Time: 6:00PM - 8:00PM
This New York University Asian/Pacific/American Institute panel will bring together scholars and co-authors Erika Lee and Judy Yung of Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America and artistic director and choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess of the performance “Island” to commemorate and rethink the histories of those who passed through Angel Island. 

11/01/2010: Can China Innovate? A Conversation with Gordon Orr
Asia Society
725 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10021
Cost: Member $10, student and senior $12; nonmember $15
Time: 6:30PM - 9:00PM
Gordon Orr talks about technological innovation in China. 

11/02/2010: Playing Our Game: Edward Steinfeld
National Committee on United States-China Relations
71 West 23rd Street Suite 1901, New York, NY 10010-4102
MIT`s Dr. Edward Steinfeld will present his latest book in which he discusses China`s rise, challenging many preconceived notions about how the country operates, both internally and externally. 

11/02/2010: Winds from the East: How the People`s Republic of China Seeks to Influence the Media in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia
1025 F Street, N.W., Suite 800, Washington, DC 20004
Time: 2:00PM - 4:00PM
The Center for International Media Assistance at the National Endowment for Democracy will hold an an afternoon panel discussion on the PRC and media in Washington, DC. 


ends 10/31/2010: Tibetan Landscapes by Zhonggui Shi

  Tibetan Landscapes -- A Philosopher, Poet and Artist`s Spiritual Journey to Tibet 

Bamboo Lane Gallery
410 Bamboo Lane, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Ends 11/21/2010: Not Only Time: Zhang Peili and Zhu Jia
The Gallery at REDCAT
631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00PM - 6:00PM
Zhang Peili and Zhu Jia use of video and photography to navigate the sea of changes in contemporary China. 

Ends 11/28/2010: Masterpieces of Chinese Painting
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, DC 20013
Cost: Free
Smithsonian hosts an exhibition to trace the development of Chinese painting over generations.  

Ends 11/28/2010: Celebration: The Birthday in Chinese Art
Florence and Herbert Irving Galleries for Chinese Decorative Arts, 3rd floor
1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028
Cost: $10 for students
New York`s Metropolitan Museum of Art presents Celebration: The Birthday in Chinese Art. In Chinese art, the birthday is a celebration of a long and rewarding life. This exhibition—focusing on scenes of splendid celebrations and works incorporating the theme of longevity—draws together examples in many media from the Museum’s collection as well as some exceptional promised gifts. 

Ends 12/05/2010: Woodcuts in Modern China, 1937-2008: Towards a Universal Pictorial Language
China Institute Gallery
125 East 65th Street (between Park and Lexington Avenues), New York City, New York 10065
Cost: Admission is $7, $4 for students and seniors, and free for children under 12. Admission is free on Tuesday and Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The China Institute Gallery in New York will host a exhibition to display woodcut pictures that have been produced in China over the last 70 years. 

ends 12/31/2010: 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.

ends 02/06/2011: China Modern: Designing Popular Culture 1910-1970
Pacific Asia Museum
46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101
The Pacific Asia Museum presents an exhibition that demonstrates how political ideologies and cultural values are transmitted via everyday objects in China.


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