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Through Tinted Lenses? - Video from the conference exploring how Americans and Chinese see each other

The USC U.S.-China Institute conference focused on the images Chinese and Americans have of each other and each other's country. We also discussed the influence these perceptions have on the decision-making of governments, organizations, and individuals.

November 13, 2013


Schedule | Speakers | Moderators

November 1-2, 2013
USC Davidson Conference Center

Questions? 213-821-4382 /

What do Americans and Chinese “know” about each other and how do they know it? What images do they have of each other’s society and state? Where do these images come from? Why do some endure and others change? How do images vary with age and other factors? How do these perceptions affect the decisions and actions of governments, businesses, civic groups, and individuals? 

On November 1-2, 2013, leading academics gathered with pollsters, journalists, diplomats, and entertainment industry practitioners to explore these questions and questions and others at a conference hosted by the USC U.S.-China Institute. 

Polls suggest that a slight majority of Americans believe that the values of Chinese and Americans are so different that cooperation to address international problems is impossible. Most Chinese feel the U.S. is working to constrain China’s continued rise. Americans and Chinese have increasingly negative impressions of each other’s countries. Yet, we are visiting each other’s countries more than ever before, becoming ever more intertwined, and are working cooperatively in many different ways to address pressing social, economic, and environmental issues. At the conference we examined how these exchanges affect perceptions along with the even more powerful role played by new and old media, popular entertainment, and political discourse. 

Schedule  click here to download the Tinted Lenses conference schedule

Click on the presenter's name below to view a video of their presentation. 

Nov. 1
8 am

Registration Opens
8:50 am Welcome/Opening Remarks

Ernest J. Wilson III, Dean
   USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

Clayton Dube, USC US-China Institute

9:15 am Panel 1: Security/Regional Disputes

David M. Lampton, Johns Hopkins University
Security- Relevant Perceptions in U.S.-China Relations: Elites and Society

Tom Hollihan, USC
U.S. Media Coverage of the Diaoyu-Senkaku Dispute

June Teufel Dreyer, University of Miami
Minxin Pei, Claremont McKenna College

10:45 am Break
11 am Panel 2: Business

Erin Ennis, U.S.-China Business Council
American Perceptions of the Business Climate in China

Daniel Rosen, Rhodium Group
How Chinese Investors and Businesses View the U.S.

12:40 pm  Lunch
1:50 pm Panel 3: Politics, Ideology, Assessing the Other

Peter Hays Gries, University of Oklahoma
How Liberal and Nationalist Ideologies Shape Mutual Mis/perceptions in US-China Relations

Daniel Lynch, USC
The Chinese Debate on America's Decline in the 2000s

Zheng Wang, Seton Hall University
Xu Wu, Arizona State University

3:20 pm Break
3:35 pm Panel 4: Public Opinion Surveys

Zhang Hui, Horizon Group
How Young People in China’s Less Well-Known Cities See America

Richard Wike, Pew Research Center
China's Image in the U.S. and around the World

Terry Lautz, Syracuse University
Chen Na, Fudan University

5:10 pm Close of Day 1
Nov. 2
8 am
Registration Opens
8:30 am The Assignment:China Project

Clayton Dube

8:45 am Panel 5: Chinese and a Black president, Blacks and China

Simon Shen, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Chinese Students and Barack Obama

Robeson Taj Frazier, USC
From Mao to Yao: African-American Encounters with China

Sheila Melvin, IHT and Caixin
Richard Madsen, University of California, San Diego

10:20 am Break
10:40 am Panel 6: Film and Television

Sherwood Hu, Shanghai Theatre Academy
Telling Stories

Stanley Rosen, USC
Images of China in Recent American Films

Zhiwei Xiao, California State University, San Marcos
America in Chinese Cinema

Wendy Larson, University of Oregon

12:20 pm Closing

Clayton Dube




  Chen Na
Chen Na teaches about social change, religion and society and other topics at Fudan University. He was trained at Peking University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Temple University. His research interests include the sociology of religion and intercultural communication. His recent work is about the emergence of Confucian congregations in China. He is a co-researcher of the on-going project “Construction of China’s National Image and Development of Cross-Cultural Communication Strategy."

June Teufel Dreyer
June Teufel Dreyer teaches political science at the University of Miami. She earned her doctorate at Harvard University. She is the author of China’s Political System: Modernization and Tradition. Dreyer served for six years as a member of the U.S. -China Economic and Security Review Commission and has also been a member of the Chief of Naval Operations' Executive Panel. She has consulted on several influential documentaries and is a frequent writer and commentator on Chinese military affairs


Erin Ennis
Erin Ennis has been Vice President of the US-China Business Council since 2005. She directs the Council’s government affairs and advocacy work and oversees its business advisory services on behalf of its 215 member companies. Prior to this, she worked on trade matters at Kissinger McLarty Associates. In the 1990s, Ennis worked at the Office of the US Trade Representative and as a legislative aide to Senator John Breaux. She’s a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and the Catholic University of America.


Robeson Taj Frazier
Taj Frazier teaches communication at USC. His research and teaching examine race, cross cultural exchange and traffic, social movements, and popular culture. Frazier traces how articulations and representations of race and gender travel globally through performance, media, art, athletics, diplomacy, and activism. He is currently scrutinizing African American activist intellectuals' cross-cultural exchanges with China from 1949-1976. Prior to coming to USC, Frazier taught at New York University, Princeton University, Berkeley, and the City University of New York. His work has appeared in numerous publications.


Peter Hays Gries
Peter Hays Gries is the Harold J. & Ruth Newman Chair & Director of the Institute for US-China Issues at the University of Oklahoma. He is author of The Politics of American Foreign Policy: How Ideology Divides Liberals and Conservatives over Foreign Affairs (forthcoming), China's New Nationalism: Pride, Politics, and Diplomacy, and is co-editor of Chinese Politics and State and Society in 21st-Century China. Gries has written dozens of academic journal articles and book chapters. He studies the political psychology of international affairs, with a focus on Chinese and American foreign policy.

  Tom Hollihan
Tom Hollihan teaches communication at USC. His research and writing focuses on argumentation, political campaign communication, contemporary rhetorical criticism, and the impact of globalization on public deliberation. His many books include The Dispute Over the Diayou/Senkaku Islands: How Media Narratives Shape Public Opinions and Challenge the Global Order (forthcoming), Uncivil Wars: Political Campaigns in a Media Age, and Arguments and Arguing: The Products and Process of Human Decision Making (with Kevin Baaske). Hollihan has also advised candidates, officials, military leaders, and organization heads.
  Sherwood Hu
Sherwood Hu (胡雪桦) is a noted film and theatre director, scholar, and technological innovator. Educated in China and the U.S., he is dean of the film school at the Shanghai Theatre Academy. His film Amazing 神奇 (which includes NBA stars), is now in Chinese theaters. Other films include Prince of the Himalyas, Lord of Shanghai and Warrior Lanling. His television work includes the 40-part Purple Jade series and ratings champ Fighting Beijing. He created the 360 degree film for the Shanghai Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo.

David M. Lampton
David Lampton is Hyman Professor and Director of China Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Former president of the National Committee on United States-China Relations and Dean of Faculty at SAIS, he is the author of The Three Faces of Chinese Power: Might, Money, and Minds. A Stanford University graduate, Lampton has also received an honorary doctorate from the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Far Eastern Studies. He is an Honorary Senior Fellow of the American Studies Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He won the Robert Scalapino Prize in 2010 and is a Gilman Scholar at Johns Hopkins. His newest book, Following the Leader: Ruling China, from Deng Xiaoping to Xi Jinping, will be published by UC Press in January 2014.


Wendy Larson
Wendy Larson teaches modern Chinese literature and film at the University of Oregon. Her publications include Women and Writing in Modern China, From Ah Q to Lei Feng: Freud and Revolutionary Spirit in 20th century China, and her current project Peforming China: National Culture on the Global Stage.


Terry Lautz
Terry Lautz is a visiting professor at Syracuse University. For many years he served as vice president of the Luce Foundation. He was a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in 2010. His publications include book chapters and journal articles on various aspects of Sino-American cultural and educational relations. He is completing a book about John Birch, an American in China who became the namesake of an anti-communist organization in the U.S.


Daniel C. Lynch
Daniel Lynch teaches international relations at USC and is a member of the US-China Institute's Executive Committee.He's the author of two books: Rising China and Asian Democratization: Socialization to “Global Culture” in the Political Transformations of Thailand, China, and Taiwan and After the Propaganda State: Media, Politics, and “Thought Work” in Reformed China.  His forthcoming book examines how Chinese elites envision the future of China’s economy, politics, communication system, and foreign policy—and what the implications are for Western social science models of China’s developmental trajectory.

  Richard Madsen
Richard Madsen teaches sociology at the University of California, San Diego where he also directs the UC-Fudan Center and is provost of Eleanor Roosevelt College. He's written widely on Chinese and American cultures. His books include include Democracy's Dharma: Religious Renaissance and Political Develpment in Taiwan, Morality and Power in a Chinese Village, and China and the American Dream. His co-authored or co-edited books Chen Village under Mao and Deng, Unofficial China, Popular China, and Restless China are staples on many course syllabi. 
  Sheila Melvin
Sheila Melvin is a regular contributor to the International Herald Tribune and Caixin, though her work has appeared in many other publications. She writes principally on the arts in China. Her books include Rhapsody in Red: How Western Classical Music Became Chinese, a co-authored work which was short-listed for the Saroyan Prize in 2005 and The Little Red Book of China Business. Melvin is now working on a book that explores China’s quest to become a cultural superpower.

Minxin Pei
Minxin Pei is Tom and Margot Pritzker '72 Professor of Government and directs the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at Claremont McKenna College. A frequent contributor to the nation’s op-ed pages and the author of many journal articles, Pei is also known for his books From Reform to Revolution: The Demise of Communism in China and the Soviet Union and China's Trapped Transition: The Limits of Developmental Autocracy. Before moving to Claremont McKenna, Pei headed the China program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


Daniel Rosen
Daniel H. Rosen is the founding partner of Rhodium Group and leads the firm’s work on China. He is a visiting fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and also teaches at Columbia University. He previously served as senior adviser for International Economic Policy at the White House National Economic Council and National Security Council. He’s written extensively on China and co-authored An American Open Door? Maximizing the Benefits of Chinese Foreign Direct Investment in 2011.

  Stanley Rosen
Stanley Rosen has taught political science at USC since 1979. He's headed the East Asian Studies Center and is a member of the US-China Institute's executive committee. His courses range from Chinese politics and Chinese film to socio-political change in East Asian societies. He's published numerous books and articles, including Chinese Politics: State, Society and the Market (co-edited with Peter Hays Gries) and Art, Politics and Commerce in Chinese Cinema (co-edited with Ying Zhu). Other works look the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese legal system, public opinion, youth, gender, and human rights. He is co-editor of Chinese Education and Society.
  Simon Shen
A graduate of Oxford and Yale, Simon Shen is an international relations specialist and is a prominent Hong Kong commentator. He has published more than 70 academic articles and publications in leading journals. He has been a visiting fellow at leading global think tanks such as he Brookings Institution. Shen works on a variety of topics. His scholarship on contemporary anti-Western Chinese nationalism has gained worldwide attention. Shen's public intellectual activity led to government service with the Central Policy Unit of the Hong Kong SAR.

Zheng Wang
Zheng Wang teaches in the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. He is also a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He is the author of Never Forget National Humiliation: Historical Memory in Chinese Politics and Foreign Relations and he co-editor of Clash of National Identities: China, Japan, and the East China Sea Territorial Dispute.


Richard Wike
Richard Wike is directs the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project. He conducts research and writes about international public opinion on a variety of topics, including America’s global image, the rise of China, democracy, and globalization. Previously, he was a Senior Associate for international and corporate clients at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. Wike earned his doctorate at Emory University. He has written for Foreign Policy, The National Interest, BBC, CNN, CNBC, and other online and print publications, and he has been interviewed by news organizations worldwide.


Ernest J. Wilson III
Ernest Wilson holds the Walter Annenberg Chair in Communication and heads the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. He has been an pioneering scholar, academic leader, public servant, and White House staffer. He taught at Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, led the Maryland Center for International Development and Conflict Management, served in the Clinton era National Security Council and U.S. Information Agency and advised both the Clinton and Obama transition teams. He served on the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and was its chair for a year. His books include Governing Global Networks and The Information Revolution and Developing Countries.


Xu Wu
Xu Wu teaches at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. He is the author of Chinese Cyber Nationalism: Evolution, Characteristics and Implications (2007) and Crafting the Chinese Dream for the World: How to Solve China’s Soft Power Deficit (2009). Wu has published extensively in English and Chinese on topics related to cross-cultural communication, crisis communication and Sino-U.S. relationship. He has served as current affairs commentator for China Central Television (CCTV) and Phoenix TV Network.


Zhiwei Xiao
A distinguished scholar of scholar of Chinese film, Zhiwei Xiao teaches history at California State University, San Marcos. The author of numerous book chapters, journal articles, and film reviews, Xiao has written on America in Chinese cinema, China’s film industry, censorship in Republican China and in the early People’s Republic, and other topics. He is co-author (with Yingjin Zhang) of Encyclopedia of Chinese Cinema.

  Zhang Hui
Zhang Hui (张慧)is the general manager of Horizon Key Information and Data 零点 指标数据 . She earned her doctorate from the Institute of Psychology of the Chinese Academy of Science. She's carried out research into group culture, patterns of consumption, social change, public services, and public policy. Much of her research has focused on the so-called 1980s and 1990s gneration, on urban elderly, and on working women. She's overseen a number of baseline studies and index projects, including the well-being index, motor vehicle index, and white-collar pressure index. She's been a lead contributor to a number of studies including Everyday China 《日子里的中国》 and We are the '90s Generation 《我们,90后》.

Panel Moderators

  Eric Heikkila
Eric Heikklia has taught at the USC Price School of Public Policy since 1986. An economist by training, Heikkila directs the school’s international initiatives. He’s carried out research in several Chinese regions and has published widely in urban and regional development, urban information systems, and on East Asian cities and cultures. Heikkila co-founded the Pacific Rim Council on Urban Development, an organization which has carried out research and brainstormed about planning choices with a number of important cities in Asia.
  Gabriel Kahn
Gabe Kahn teaches journalism at the USC Annenberg School. He also co-directs the school’s Media, Economics and Entrepreneurship program and heads the future of journalism program at the Annenberg Innovation Lab. Prior to coming to USC, Kahn was a newspaper correspondent and editor. He was The Wall Street Journal’s Los Angeles bureau chief and deputy chief of the Hong Kong bureau and the Rome bureau. He’s reported from more than a dozen countries on three continents.
  Michael Parks
Michael Parks is director of the USC Annenberg journalism program. Prior to coming to USC in 2000, Parks worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He opened the Baltimore Sun’s Beijing bureau in 1979. He subsequently moved to the Los Angeles Times where he was based in Beijing, Moscow, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, and Jerusalem. Parks received the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting from South Africa. He became editor of the Times in 1997, increasing circulation to nearly 1.2 million.
  Jian (Jay) Wang
Jay Wang teaches strategic communication and public relations at the USC Annenberg School. He also directs the USC Center on Public Diplomacy. He recently edited Soft Power in China: Public Diplomacy through Communication and he is the author of Foreign Advertising in China: Becoming Global, Becoming Local and co-author of China's Window on the World: TV News, Social Knowledge and International Spectacles. Prior to becoming an academic, Wang worked for McKinsey & Company.
  Aimei Yang
Aimei Yang joined the USC Annenberg faculty this fall. She teaches public relations. Her research has been published in leading journals such as Public Relations Review, Journal of International & Intercultural Communication, Mass Communication and Society, and Computers in Human Behavior. Her current research includes examining how Chinese NGOs are helping China enhance its soft power and how public relations associations foster links across borders.


Here are some of our previous conferences:

2007 The Future of US-China Relations

2008 The Making of American Policy Toward China

2009 Evaluating the Beijing Olympics

2011 The State of the Chinese Economy

2012 China Internet Research Conference

Relating to image making are the following symposiums we've hosted:

2010 US-China Film Co-production Summit (co-sponsored with the Asia Society and other organizations)

2012 Chinese American Film Festival (co-sponsored with EDI Media)

2013 Shanghai Calling Q and A

2013 The Best of Both Worlds: US-China Film Co-production

Much more on China's entertainment industry is available from the institute's Asia Pacific Arts.

Our documentary series Assignment: China examines the work of correspondents for American news organizations in China from the 1940s to today. Several segments in the series are available online at:

Our looks at China in American politics include:

Talking Points, October 29, 2010

Talking Points, November 23, 2010

Talking Points, November 9, 2012