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Talking Points: September 16 - 30, 2009

Taking note of continuing trade tensions, Talking Points focuses on China's national day observances since 1979. As always, the newsletter includes information about China-related events and exhibitions across North America.
September 17, 2009

Talking Points

September 16 - 30, 2009

We have noted in recent weeks that U.S.-China trade disputes are picking up. The most recent spat involves the U.S. imposing a 35% tariff on tires imported from China and China launching investigations of U.S. exports of chicken and auto parts to China. Tyson and other big American exporters are worried. China accounted for 12% of Tyson’s chicken sales and 10% of its beef sales.

Domestic political concerns in both countries are driving the current measures and few anticipate either government acting more broadly. The U.S. and Chinese economies are closely linked and cooperation between the two is vital on many issues, including engineering a global economic recovery. At the end of next week, Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao will meet at the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh. Both will argue their government’s recent trade actions were appropriate and both will say they are committed to working out differences. For more information: Talking Points 8/26, 8/12 and the documentary Tensions Over Trade.

Law enforcement cooperation and changes in China’s patent and telecommunications laws are the subject of two upcoming USC U.S.-China Institute programs. This afternoon Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald Cheng will speak. On October 12, we are hosting a U.S. Department of Commerce and the PRC Ministry of Commerce symposium on China’s new patent and telecommunication laws.

On Monday, Sept. 21 Tao Wenzhao, of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and one of China’s top America-watchers will offer his assessment of U.S.-China relations. We hope you can join us at these events. Additional information these events and others is below and in the calendar section of our website.


On Saturday, Zhou Yongkang, one of China’s top leaders, said China’s current security campaign is a “people’s war.” Zhou, one of the nine members of the Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee, said that maintaining the social stability in and near Beijing in the run-up to the October 1 national day celebrations was the party-state’s central concern.

Last week, Talking Points looked back at Chinese national day celebrations from 1949 to 1969. This week we note two muted celebrations and two extravagant ones since then.

According to the plan laid out in 1960, the government should have marked the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic in grand fashion. On October 1, 1979, however, Deng Xiaoping and his supporters were busy consolidating their hold on power. The army had been forced into a hasty retreat from foreign soil. The difficulties and potential risks of a large scale public celebration were too great.

Less than a month after Mao’s September 1976 death, his chosen successor Hua Guofeng used an elite military unit to lock up Mao’s widow and her associates (the so-called “Gang of Four”). Meanwhile Deng managed to return as a dominant force. In December 1978, Deng replaced Hua Guofeng as chair of the party’s Central Military Commission and the party formally declared that the country’s central task was economic development. This was to be achieved by modernizing China’s agriculture, industry, technology, and defense, the so-called Four Modernizations. At the same time, the U.S. and China announced they would establish formal diplomatic relations and American companies such as Boeing and Coca-Cola announced plans to sell in China.

Shortly before the December meetings where Communist Party leaders confirmed the new political and economic objectives, ordinary citizens had begun posting their own views on a wall in central Beijing. The most prominent of these was Wei Jingsheng’s call for a Fifth Modernization, democracy. The government began arresting some of the most outspoken petitioners and critics in January. This didn’t affect the success of Deng’s one week visit to the U.S. In mid-February 1979, China invaded Vietnam to “teach it a lesson” following that country’s seizure of Cambodia. The invasion was met with fierce resistance and Chinese forces withdrew after a month.

Meanwhile, in some areas of China, commune and production brigade-centered production was giving was to household-centered farming. In towns and cities, some individuals began offering services and opening small businesses. The now three decade long economic reform and opening period had begun. In 1980, Deng pushed Hua Guofeng completely aside. He made Hu Yaobang the party’s general secretary and Zhao Ziyang premier. The Gang of Four was finally put on trial, a televised spectacle. And the Party officially condemned some of Mao’s decisions (a categorical rejection of Hua’s assertion that “whatever” Mao said and did was correct). Some of Mao’s targets, living and dead, were “rehabilitated.” The Party said it was merely following Mao’s dictum of “seeking truth from facts” and it asserted that Mao’s contributions outweighed his shortcomings. Unlike China’s earlier rulers, the chairman himself remained at the center. His mausoleum was erected in Tiananmen.

By 1984, Deng and his team had pushed reform nationwide. Production was up and living

Sprucing up Chang'an Boulevard and Tiananmen.
Waiting for the festivities to begin.
Mao Zedong, Zhu De, Zhou Enlai, and Liu Shaoqi busts
to be highlighted in the parade.
Tanks were part of the military parade. National Day features giant portraits of Marx, Engels, Sun Yatsen, Stalin, and Lenin.
Float highlights the importance of the family planning program.
Fireworks brighten the sky.
 1984 celebration photos by Clayton Dube.


standards in many places were improving. The gap between rural and urban household incomes had even shrunk. The median urban household income was 2.6 times larger than the rural median in 1978. In 1983, it was 1.7 times larger. Three-quarters of China’s one billion people lived in the countryside. Outside investment, especially from Hong Kong and overseas Chinese communities was beginning. U.S. President Ronald Reagan visited in spring 1984. Speaking in Anchorage on his way back, Reagan described China as a “so-called Communist” country. In September, British and Chinese negotiators hammered out an agreement for China to regain control over Hong Kong in 1997.

To mark the transformation underway, China’s leaders pulled out all stops for the October 1 celebration. Roads were paved, walls painted, Tiananmen was spruced up, thousands of flowers were put on display and hundreds of thousands were mobilized. Deng Xiaoping reviewed the troops from an open Red Flag limousine and gave the principal speech. There was one unscripted moment that seemed to capture the spirit of the moment. A group of students carried a banner saying “Xiaoping Ni hao!” (Xiaoping, Hello!). Television and a feature movie, The Big Parade, took the celebration across the country.

Similar plans for the PRC’s fortieth anniversary in 1989 had to be jettisoned. Student demonstrations in winter 1986 resulted in the decision by Deng and other old guard leaders to dismiss Hu Yaobang as CCP general secretary. Hu’s successor, Zhao Ziyang, broke with the leadership in spring 1989 over how to deal with the massive demonstrations in Beijing and across the country. He was removed from office and placed under house arrest. Students wanting to mark Hu’s April death had launched the movement, which took on force as people complained of corruption, inflation, and restrictions on their freedom to speak and organize. Martial law was declared on May 20 and was enforced starting June 3-4. Tiananmen Square was off-limits for quite some time and martial law was only partially lifted after the national day passed.

By 1999, however, the situation was much more stable and the fiftieth anniversary was marked with a large parade and celebration. Deng died in 1997 and Jiang Zemin, the man Deng installed as CCP general secretary in 1989, officiated over the event. He, too, reviewed the troops in an open limousine and delivered the principal speech. Earlier in the year, Falungong adherents had staged a massive, silent, and peaceful protest outside Zhongnanhai where many leaders reside. They were frustrated that their attempt to register as a sports organization had been denied. In July, the government issued a formal ban on Falungong and rounded up its leaders. By 1999, China had recovered control over Hong Kong and Macau. The economy was growing and the nation would soon join the World Trade Organization.

As noted, the government is concerned about social stability as the 2009 national day draws near. In addition to worries about ethnic protests in western China, the regime is anxious about protests driven by the harm caused by pollution. Economic issues drove protests earlier this year. The urban-rural income gap has widened (median urban household income is now more than three times median rural household income) and the economic downturn has hit migrant laborers especially hard.

Overall, however, there is much to celebrate. Living standards for hundreds of millions of people have been improved. Even as population has grown to over 1.3 billion, people have greater access to education and health care than in 1949. Over half of all China’s people now live in cities, many of which have stunning skylines and bustling markets. The October 1 events will highlight these achievements and will also focus on the need to preserve the nation’s territorial integrity and to recover control over Taiwan.




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09/17/2009: U.S.-China Law Enforcement Cooperation
USC University Club, Banquet Room
Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
USCI presents a talk with Assistant U.S. Attorney, Ronald Cheng.

09/17/2009: Social Work Service Organizations in China
Cost: Free
Time: 11:30AM - 12:50PM
The USC School of Social Work presents a talk by Dr. Ailing Zhuang on social work in China. 

09/21/2009: China-U.S. Relationship As I See It
USC University Club, Banquet Room, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
Time: 3:00PM - 5:00PM
USCI presents a talk with Tao Wenzhao, Deputy Director of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, China. 

10/12/2009: 2009 US-China Legal Exchange
USC Davidson Conference Center, Vineyard Room
3415 South Figueroa Street Los Angeles, CA, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: $50
Time: 8:30AM - 5:30PM
The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and the USC U.S. - China Institute will host a senior delegation from China on October 12, 2009 to discuss China's amendments to the Patent Law and draft Telecommunications Law.



09/17/2009: Dynamics Across the Taiwan Strait, 1949-Present
UC Berkeley
Heyns Room, The Faculty Club , Berkeley, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 8:00AM - 5:45PM
UC Berkeley's Center for Chinese Studies presents a panel discussion on cross-strait relations. 

09/17/2009: Sixty Years of Cross-Strait Relations: From Conflict to Conciliation
UC Berkeley
Heyns Room, The Faculty Club , Berkeley, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
UC Berkeley's Center for Chinese Studies presents a talk by Lien Chan on cross-strait relations.  
09/18/2009: The Dreamscape of Early Medieval China
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 Robert Company on the views on dreams in ancient China. 
09/22/2009: The People's Republic of China at 60: Will the Good Times Last?
The Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College, Hahn 101
Address: 333 North College Way Claremont, CA 91711
Cost: Free
Phone: (909) 607-8065
Time: 4:15PM
The Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College presents a talk with Minxin Pei. 

09/22/2009 - 09/23/2009: Opportunities in China for U.S. Clinical Diagnostic and Medical Device Firms
U.S. Commercial Service Office
3300 Irvine Avenue, Ste. 307, Newport Beach,, CA 92660
Cost: Free, requires reservation.
Time: 7:30AM - 12:00PM
A half day event designed to assist U.S. medical device and clinical diagnostic companies with market entry strategies for China.

09/23/2009: Viable Diplomacy and Taiwan-U.S.-China Relations
UC Berkeley
IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor, Berkeley, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00PM - 1:00PM
UC Berkeley presents a talk by Andrew Hsia on cross-strait relations.

09/23/2009: Religious Policies in the PRC: A Sociopolitical History
UC Berkeley
IIS Conference Room, 223 Moses Hall, Berkeley, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
UC Berkeley presents a talk by Fenggang Yang on the historical and political backgrounds of the religious policies of the Chinese Communist Party since 1949. 

09/24/2009: The Problem with Anthologies: The Case of the Poems of Ying Qu (190-252)
UC Berkeley
IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor, Berkeley, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
UC Berkeley's Center for Chinese Studies presents a talk by David Knechgtes on the fragments of Ying Qu’s poem.  
09/25/2009: Shanghai Jiaotong University Symphony Orchestra
UCLA Schoenberg Hall , Los Angeles, CA
Cost: Free & Open Seating
Time: 8:00PM
UCLA & InterCulture Association present two time International Competition gold medal winner, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Symphony Orchestra & China’s Acclaimed Conductor, Mr. Cao Peng.

09/26/2009: Two Classics of Asian Cinema A City of Sadness (Bei qing cheng shi)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Cross streets: Fairfax Avenue & Wilshire Boulevard , Los Angeles, CA 90036
Cost: $7.00 for members, seniors 62+, and students with ID; $10.00 for nonmembers.
Hou Hsiao-hsien’s landmark epic uses the story of a single family to reflect the most chaotic period in Taiwan’s history. 
09/29/2009: Bonnie Tsui, 'American Chinatown'
Mechanics’ Institute Library
57 Post St., San Francisco
Cost: Free for Asia Society/co-sponsor members; $12 general public.
Time: 6:00PM - 8:00PM
Join acclaimed travel writer Bonnie Tsui as she discusses her experience exploring the lives, stories, and struggles of those in the country’s five most famous Chinatowns 

North America

09/24/2009: Negotiating With the Enemy: U.S.-China Talks During the Cold War, 1949-1972
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade
Time:4:00PM - 5:30PM
The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars presents a talk on how the relationship between the U.S. and China evolved between 1949 and 1972. 

09/25/2009: Upgrading China's Farm Equipment: How Does U.S. Ag Machinery Fit in?
Information & Registration
A webinar on the modernization of China's Farm Equipment.  

09/25/2009: 2009 Taiwan Conference: Thirty Years After the Taiwan Relations Act
The Inn at USC
AUniversity of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina
Time: All Day
University of South Carolina presents the annual 2009 Taiwan Conference: Thirty Years After the Taiwan Relations Act. 
09/26/2009: Contact and Exchange: China and the West
The Folger Institute
Folger Shakespeare Library 201 East Capitol Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003
The Folger Institute presents a one-day conference for scholars of western European cultures to engage in conversation with experts studying the history of China.
09/26/2009: The Asiatic Fathers of America
China Institute
125 East 65th Street, New York, NY 10065
Cost: Free for Renwen members and $5 for non-members.
Time: 2:00PM - 3:30PM
The China Institute presents a talk by Charlotte Harris Rees on the academic studies and medical research revealing evidences of very early arrival of Chinese to America. 

09/28/2009: Emerging Powers in Asia: Are These Post-Colonial Informal Empires?
The George Washington University
The Elliott School of International Affairs Lindner Family Commons, 6th Floor, 1957 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052
Cost: Free
Time: 12:30PM - 1:45PM
The Sigur Center for Asian Studies presents a new lecture series on Power and Identity in Asia. 


08/23/2009 - 09/20/2009: Divergent Convergence: Speculations on China
Beijing Urban Planning Centre
20 Qianmen Dongdajie Chongwen District
Beijing China
A landmark exhibition in the heart of Beijing, exploring the future of architecture and urban design in China. 

09/17/2009 - 10/22/2009: China's Great Wall: The Forgotten Story
3A Gallery
Address: 101 South Park, San Francisco, CA 94107
Phone: 415.543.3347
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.

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. 

09/18/2009 - 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. 

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. 

11/14/2008 - 11/14/2009: Chinese Art: A Seattle Perspective
Seatle Asian Art Museum
1400 East Prospect Street , Volunteer Park , Seattle, WA 98112–3303
The Seattle Asian Art Museum presents an opportunity to see a collection with representative works from each dynastic period. 

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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