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Talking Points, September 2 - 16, 2009

Employment trends and social unrest are discussed in this week's USC U.S.-China Institute newsletter. Many China-related events and exhibitions are included as well.
September 4, 2009

USC U.S.-China Institute Weekly Newsletter

Talking Points
September 2 - 16, 2009

Monday is Labor Day in the United States, created to recognize labor’s vital role in building the country. One in ten American workers, though, is out of work. Another 7% are making do with part-time work or have given up looking for work. Others have taken wage cuts to help their employers get survive the economic downturn.

Chinese employment statistics are murky. The National Bureau of Statistics reports that 4.2% of “official urbanites” are unemployed. But this counts only those with formal urban household registration status, the more than 170 million migrants who worked in cities prior to the downturn are not considered. Perhaps 10% of those workers are now out of work. Nonetheless, the Chinese government’s stimulus spending and relaxation of credit have helped to propel the economy forward. American consumers have been holding on to their wallets, but retail sales are up in China.

 Zoellick meets Anhui farmers. World Bank photo.


World Bank President Robert Zoellick is in China and upon arriving said, “China has steered a steady course through the stormy seas of the economic crisis.” With exports down, China’s economic recovery is tied to domestic demand. Zoellick noted, “The challenge for China now is to deepen the domestic consumption trend through even stronger government investment in health and education, financial sector reform, liberalizing services further, and strengthening the integration of migrants in China's cities.”




Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Xinjiang in late August. In early July riots wracked Urumqi, the region’s capital. Nearly 200 people were killed and more than 1,000 were injured. Hu told police and soldiers, "You should make upholding social stability the most urgent task and maintain great strength to ensure triumph in the struggle to maintain stability in Xinjiang." Yesterday, thousands of people, mainly of Han ethnicity, marched to demand the government act to improve their security. Hundreds of syringe attacks in Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital, have generated fear. The government utilized tear gas to control the demonstration. Police say that five were killed and fourteen hurt.

Environmental concerns have driven unrest elsewhere in China. Two weeks ago, in Hunan, a province in central China, parents organized a demonstration to protest perceived government indifference to the impact of industrial pollution on children. More than 1,300 children in one village were reported to suffer from lead poisoning. The factory has been closed and its manager arrested. A couple of county environmental officials are undergoing investigation. But at least a dozen of the protesting parents have also been detained. Police accuse Falungong, a banned religious group, for fomenting the trouble and say the detained parents blocked roads and charged into government offices.


On Thursday, September 10, anthropologist Barbara Pillsbury will speak at USC on “China’s Population Challenges.” We hope you can join us for our first presentation of the academic year. A rapidly aging population is one of the big challenges, China confronts. Talking Points touched on this earlier in the year. Caring for those who consume 37% of the world’s cigarettes and later become ill and those harmed by air and water pollution are other enormous issues. Pillsbury will also be part of our September 12 day-long workshop for educators on Islam in China. Teachers can click here for more information about the session.

Other upcoming USCI events include presentations on U.S.-China law enforcement cooperation (Sept. 17) and on how non-governmental organizations in China are utilizing social media and bulletin boards to organize and act (Oct. 8). We’ll also host a presentation on Sept. 21 by Tao Wenzhao, one of China’s top America-watchers. As always, you can learn more about these events and other events across North America below and in the calendar section of the USCI website.

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Best wishes,
The USC U.S.-China Institute
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09/10/2009: China's Population Challenges
USC University Club, Banquet Room, Los Angeles, CA 90089
Cost: Free
4:00PM - 6:00PM
Barbara Pillsbury examines population policy, family planning dynamics and the dilemma of the aging population in China.


09/02/2009: A Lifetime is a Promise to Keep: Artistic Expression and Resistance in the work of Huang Xiang
UC Berkeley IEAS Conference Room
2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor Berkeley, CA
Time: 4:00PM - 5:30PM
Huang Xiang in conversation with Michelle Yeh, UC Davis Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures and translator of Huang Xiang’s poetry.

09/08/2009: Screening - Touring China
Bowers Museum
2002 South Main St.
Santa Ana, CA 92706
Free with museum admission and for members
Time: 1:30PM
Experience China through the film as it moves across the country to various cities.

09/08/2009: Lang Lang, pianist and author, in conversation with Sarah Cahill
Zellerbach Auditorium
UC Berkeley Campus, 2430 Bancroft Way , Berkeley, CA
Tickets:  $20 ($10 students)in advance at Cal Performances ( or at Cal Performances box office;
tickets at door if event is not sold out.
Time: 7:30pm
UC Berkeley's Center for Chinese Studies presents one of the greatest pianists of our time. 

09/09/2009: Legal Reform in China: The Domestic Debate
UC Berkeley Boalt Hall, Room 110 Berkeley, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 12:40AM - 1:40PM
Lunch provided, please RSVP Fredda Olivares at 510.643.6319
UC Berkeley's Center for Chinese Studies presents a talk with Thomas Kellogg.

09/10/2009: Short-term (Organ) Memory: 100 Years of Chinese and Comparative Media Controversy from Dissection to the Bodyworlds
UC Berkeley IEAS Conference Room, 2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor
Cost: Free
Time: 4:00PM - 6:00PM
UC Berkeley's Center for Chinese Studies presents a talk with Larissa Heinrich. 

09/12/2009: Curator Lecture: Steeped in History: The Art of Tea
Lenart Auditorium, UCLA Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Time: 4:00PM - 5:00PM
The UCLA Asia Institute presents the Fowler OutSpoken Lecture Series in conjunction with the exhibition Steeped in History: The Art of Tea.  
09/16/2009: Narrativity and Rhetorical Excess in Gong Zizhen's Essay Zunyin (Honoring the Recluse)
UC Berkeley
3401 Dwinelle Hall , Berkeley, CA
Cost: Free
Time: 12:00PM - 1:00PM
UC Berkeley's Center for Chinese Studies presents a talk with Stephen Roddy as part of the brown-bag lunch lecture series. 

North America

09/08/2009: The Changing World and China-U.S. Relations
Lindner Family Commons, The Elliott School of International Affairs 6th Floor
1957 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052
Time: 12:30PM
The Sigur Center for Asian Studies new Lecture Series on Power and Identity in Asia.

09/11/2009: Zhejiang Butterfly Performance Troupe
Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University
4602 Sunset Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46208
Time: 7:30PM
Experience the unique culture and beautiful artistry of China in this special performance by Zhejiang Butterfly. 


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. 

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. 

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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