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USC And China in the News in 2020

China-related news involving USC research, faculty, students and organizations.
December 30, 2020

Click here for earlier and more recent media notes involving USC faculty, staff and students and China.

December 30, 2020: Wall Street Journal
Stanley Rosen, USC political scientist, was interviewed for a story on efforts by China's party-state to strengthen its propaganda work among young Chinese. Rosen noted that the unrest in Hong Kong helped convince leaders to emphasize ideological education.
December 4, 2020: WGN NewsNation
The USC U.S.-China Institute's Clayton Dube was interviewed about the declaration by John Ratcliffe, U.S. Director of National Intelligence, that "China poses the greatest threat to America today..." Dube noted that China was a rival and that conflict was possible, but that such conflict would not be in China's interest. He noted that intellectual property theft was a real issue and that there were other challenges in the US-China relationship. He described Ratcliffe's op-ed as the latest statement by a Trump official highlighting a harder line towards China.
December 2, 2020: Nikkei Asia
Clayton Dube of the USC U.S.-China Institute was interviewed for a story on the Biden administration's approach to China. He commented on an essay by Antony Blinken, Biden's designate for Secretary of State. Dube said, "Blinken is writing for a domestic audience, but he's also sending signals to those allies who have doubted American commitment to democracy, who have seen a creeping authoritarianism in the American way... I think that his essay should be understood in a way of reminding America of what it could and should be, [as well as] signaling to others, 'We know we need to get back in this direction and when we do, we want to work with you.'"
December 2, 2020: CBS8
USC research led by Peter Kuhn, biological sciences, was highlighted. Kuhn's team looked at 50,000 covid-19 cases in China and determined that “You had an extended period of fever and that only subsequently was followed by cough, versus a flu... An onset of the flu, you started off with a cough and then it would be followed by fever.” Kuhn and others emphasized that this wasn't medical advice. People can have covid-19 and transmit it while remaining asymptomatic.
December 1, 2020: Screen International
USC alum Cao Jinling was the screenwriter for Anima, a film which has been picked up by Fortissimo Films. Filmed on location in the Moerdaoga National Forest in Inner Mongolia, Anima is set in the 1980s when China had just launched its programme of economic opening and development. In addition to USC, Cao graduated from China's Central Academy of Drama.
November 3, 2020: Xinhua
Chen Yucong, a graduate student at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, received a gold medal in the 2020 Student Academy Awards for her film “Unfinished Lives” about the too short life of Ji Xinran, a graduate student at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, who was murdered in 2014. She said, "For other Chinese students this was a very relatable story. We feel close to it when we were doing the interviews because any one of us could be the next victim." USC Annenberg Media first reported Chen’s award for the best student live action short in September.
November 1, 2020: Variety
USC political scientist Stanley Rosen discussed U.S.-China film industry prospects noting, “In a real sense, on entertainment and media issues, China is in the driver’s seat. They are returning to normal while Hollywood and film production in the U.S. is still in a holding pattern; the box office in China has recovered significantly; there are a lot of Chinese films in the pipeline ready to go to theaters; and patriotic films are doing very well.”
October 21, 2020: Los Angeles Magazine
The recent experience of Greg Patton of the USC Marshall School of Business was discussed.  Patton, a specialist in business communication, was teaching about how to avoid thinking pause words such as “um” in an introductory course. He noted that different languages have different pause words and used a Chinese example. The word’s similarity to a racial slur led to a protest. He apologized, but was replaced as the instructor for that course. A university review later found he’d done nothing wrong. By then, however, the incident had received considerable media attention.
October 20, 2020: Nikkei Asia

Clayton Dube of the USC U.S.-China Institute was interviewed for an article on what a Biden presidency might mean for policy towards China. Dube said that an effective approach had to be pragmatic and involve working with partners in Asia and elsewhere. A collective approach calling for further economic reforms and market openings can show Beijing that "change ultimately benefits China and failure to change would harm China."

October 15, 2020: Xinhua News Agency
Geoffrey Garrett, dean of the USC Marshall School of Business was cited in an article about the role of China’s economy in the global economic recovery. Garrett noted that before the pandemic, the annual growth gap between advanced economies and China was down to about 4 percentage points, but that now the growth gap is 8 percentage points.

October 13, 2020: BioSpace 

Randolph Hall, USC professor of engineering and former USC Vice President of Research, was cited in an article about the Charles Lieber case at Harvard. Hall noted that “[F]aculty are obligated to disclose their outside professional activity to their employer prior to entering into a conflicted relationship, as well as disclose outside relationships on grant proposals. The university must decide whether the relationship can be managed, and within what limits, or disallowed. Without disclosure and management, the faculty member may violate university policy, grant regulations and the law, for instance if intellectual property is stolen or if he or she is paid twice for the same work. These conflict of interest rules apply whether the outside relationship is in China, Europe or the United States, and do not depend on the ethnicity or citizenship status of the faculty member.”

October 13, 2020: Vice 
USC political scientist Stanley Rosen was interviewed for an article to Chinese reaction to the South Korean pop group BTS’s comments on the Korean War, which did not mention China. Rosen said it was not an important matter and would only hinder BTS in the China market in the short run. In fact, Rosen said, ‘[T]his is one more example of why Chinese soft power is so weak in the East Asian countries."

October 1, 2020: Wall Street Journal

The USC U.S.-China Institute’s conversation with Asst. Attorney General John Demers was cited in an article about the U.S. Department of Justice’s China Initiative. Demers said the Department was sensitive to concerns about racial profiling. “We need to remain open to Chinese students coming and studying in the U.S.,” said Mr. Demers of the Chinese students. “When we talk about the threat here, the vast majority of people aren’t even in the realm of the universe of people who might pose a threat.”

September 30, 2020: Vice

Stanley Rosen, USC political scientist, was interviewed for an article about Chinese reaction to the Trump-Biden debate. He said, “Trump and the people in his administration, like secretary of state Mike Pompeo, take a hardline approach when it comes to China so the Communist Party government couldn't have asked for a better debate to make the American system of elections look deeply flawed.”

September 29, 2020: China Daily

An article about a program on comfort women mentioned the USC Shoah Foundation which has preserved the oral histories of some who survived the 1937 Japanese invasion of Nanjing.

September 21, 2020: Business Insider

USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism’s David Craig was quoted in a story on the possible deal between TikTok and Oracle and Walmart.

September 10, 2020: Deadline

USC political scientist Stanley Rosen was quoted in a story about the film Mulan. He said that “The backlash outside China should help a ‘patriotic’ support of the film within the country.” But he also noted, “In this year of blaming China by both parties, it would not surprise me to see Disney called to testify in Washington about their China-friendly policies, and how they can reconcile that with ethical considerations and American foreign policy considerations.”

September 10, 2020: CNN

An incident involving the use of a Chinese term in a USC Marshall School of Business class was discussed. The BBC, Fox, The Atlantic, NPR and other news organizations also reported on the incident.

September 7, 2020: Los Angeles Business Journal

Clayton Dube of the USC U.S.-China Institute said that it was too early to know if new Chinese policies restricting the transfer of technology to foreign companies would complicate any sale of TikTok to an American buyer.

September 4, 2020: Billboard

The USC U.S.-China Institute’s Clayton Dube said that the nationalistic restriction of social media companies “in some ways [is] reciprocal because it’s treating the companies of a rival in a discriminatory way. It’s similar to what China has done.”

September 3, 2020: The Hollywood Reporter

Clayton Dube of the USC U.S.-China Institute was quoted in an article about the Trump Executive Order banning TikTok. Dube said that such orders are  unusual and “in some ways it’s reciprocal because it’s treating the companies of a rival in a discriminatory way. It’s similar to what China has done.”

September 3, 2020, People

A quote from USC political scientist Stanley Rosen was included in an article about the live action remake of the Disney film Mulan. Rosen told The Hollywood Reporter that the Eddie Murphy voiced dragon character, "Mushu was very popular in the U.S., but the Chinese hated it. This kind of miniature dragon trivialized their culture.”

August 29, 2020: The Economist

Stanley Rosen, USC political scientist, was interviewed for an article about China and Hollywood. He wondered if studio chiefs would be called to testify before Congress.

August 26, 2020: Xinhua

Geoffrey Garrett, dean of the USC Marshall School of Business, was quoted in an article about the Trump administration’s plans to sanction Chinese tech firms. He said, "The value of TikTok is clearly some combination of the masses of data the company has about users and the algorithms it uses to match content with individual users' tastes. That is why major U.S. firms like Microsoft and Oracle are interested in acquiring TikTok."

August 24, 2020: Xinhua

Drawing on a USC U.S.-China Institute webinar, an article quoted the institute’s Clayton Dube. "Rural China is giving birth to the next generation of internet celebrities," he said.

August 20, 2020: China Digital Times

An article about a new report on Hollywood and Chinese state censorship noted that the report was launched and discussed at a USC U.S.-China Institute webinar which included James Tager, the Pen America author of the report, Stanley Rosen of USC, Aynne Kokas of the University of Virginia and Rebecca Davis of Variety.

August 13, 2020: India TV

An article discussed research by Joseph Larsen, Peter Kuhn and James B. Hicks of the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience and others into the sequence of symptoms that occur when someone is infected with covid-19. The work utilized a World Health Organization dataset of Chinese patients and was collected in February 2020. The study supports screening for fever as a helpful indicator of possible covid-19 infection. The initial symptom for the flu is coughing, for covid-19 it is fever.

August 13, 2020: Los Angeles Times

USC Annenberg alum Xinlu Liang published her account of falling victim to a scam targeting Chinese students in the United States.

August 7, 2020: KPCC

Clayton Dube of the USC U.S.-China Institute was interviewed on the implications of U.S. sanctions on Chinese companies Bytedance and Tencent, targeting their popular apps WeChat and TikTok. Dube noted the centrality of WeChat in the lives of most Chinese and its importance as a communication link for Chinese and others in the U.S. and business partners, friends and family in China. TikTok is the fastest growing app in the U.S. and the short videos it features are immensely popular with young Americans. Dube emphasized the potential employment hit in Southern California, depending on how the executive order is interpreted.

August 7, 2020: Curbed

An article about a home in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles highlighted that it was designed by Eugene Kinn Choy. Choy immigrated to the U.S. from Guangzhou and graduated from the USC School of Architecture in 1939. He was the second Chinese American after I.M. Pei to join the American Institute of Architects. Choy was featured in an earlier Los Angeles Times article.

August 6, 2020: AFP via Jakarta Post

The USC U.S.-China Institute's Clayton Dube was interviewed about the U.S. government's decision to send Alex Azar, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, to represent the country at the funeral of former Taiwan president Lee Teng-hui. Dube thought that even though it will be the first cabinet-level visit to Taiwan in six years, sending Azar was less contentious than sending the either the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Defense.

August 6, 2020: The Guardian

Stanley Rosen, USC political scientist, was quoted in a story about a PEN America report on Hollywood and China. Rosen said, the Chinese authorities “will focus on everything that has a China component in it. Don’t think that if you’re doing something that’s not intended for China, that’s an indie film meant for a small market, that China won’t notice and that it won’t hurt your blockbuster film. It will.”

August 5, 2020: Hollywood Reporter

Stanley Rosen, USC political scientist, was interviewed regarding how Hollywood studios cope with Chinese censorship. Rosen said that, "It's going to get harder and harder for Hollywood to not respond" to critics.

August 4, 2020: Politico

USC Annenberg's Karen North said that a Microsoft purchase of TikTok was outside its business-focused norm.

August 1, 2020: CNN via KTEN

Jeffrey Cole of the USC Center for the Digital Future was interviewed about the potential banning of TikTok by the U.S. government.

July 30, 2020: Xinhua

A USC U.S.-China Institute/U.S. Heartland China Association webinar was highlighted in a story on public health. Clayton Dube of the institute was quoted, "Better communication between countries, scientists and disciplines is still needed."

July 29, 2020: Los Angeles Times

Recent USC graduate Letitia Wang originally planned to work in California, but as covid-19 cases increased, she decided to return home to China's Anhui province. She avoided falling victim to an airline ticket scam, but many students from China did.

July 27, 2020: China Daily

The USC Price School of Public Policy’s Eric Heikkila was quoted in an article on US-China relations following Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech at the Nixon Library. He said, "China's presence in the world as a major power is simply a fact, and it is in our mutual interest to find pragmatic ways to work together constructively, wherever that is feasible… China, in turn, needs to demonstrate good faith on its part as well. For the US to wantonly demonize China, however, says as much about us as it does about China.”

July 26, 2020: Bloomberg

In an op-ed, Robert Kaplan cited research by David Kang of USC's Department of Political Science and International Relations. Kang wrote that in China's tributary system "contained credible commitments by China not to exploit secondary states that accepted its authority."

July 24, 2020: New York Times

Erin Baggott Carter of the USC Department of Political Science and International Relations was quoted in an article about the expulsion of businessman Ren Zhiqiang from the Chinese Communist Party. She said the expulsion “a warning to other C.C.P. elites to toe the line.”

July 22, 2020: KPCC

NPR affiliate interviewed Clayton Dube of the USC U.S.-China Institute on the U.S. government’s closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston. The discussion touched on cyberespionage, trade, education and tourism.

July 17, 2020: Nikkei Asian Review

The USC U.S.-China Institute’s Clayton Dube was quoted in an article about a rumored plan to ban Chinese Communist Party members and their families from the United States. Dube described such a ban as unworkable. He further said, "A ban on the Politburo or one on the entire 90 million-strong membership would be a giant symbolic step and is the full extension of the 'blame China' campaign strategy suggested by some Republican consultants. Any sort of ban on the Politburo let alone the wider membership might be satisfying to some Americans, but is unlikely to produce a positive change in Chinese policy or action…. Such a policy, especially if it were somehow to include relatives, would signal to many Chinese that what propagandists in China have long said is true: The U.S. is insecure and committed to doing everything it can to stymie China's rise."

July 17, 2020: China Daily

The USC Price School for Public Policy’s Eric Heikkila was quoted in an article about WeChat. He said, "Whether the Trump administration will go ahead with such a ban, I cannot say, but I consider the proposed policy to be misguided at best. WeChat is a social media platform that is primarily used by Chinese nationals, but also by many people abroad who have friends and colleagues from China… This is a time that we should be fostering stronger interpersonal ties between regular people in both countries. The damage caused by disrupting such genuine grassroots ties almost certainly outweighs the purported security risks."

July 16, 2020: Deadline

USC political scientist Stanley Rosen was quoted about plans to reopen Chinese cinemas. He said, “With theaters all over the world shut down, China also wants to show that it has handled the virus better than anyone else so it can be the first to open its theaters, even if it’s on a selective and carefully controlled basis.  Approving the Shanghai International Film Festival — albeit without foreigners not already based in China — is another example of being the first to return to some kind of normalcy.  Assuming it works, they should get some good international press coverage of this.”

July 8, 2020: Los Angeles Times

Essie Liu, a USC senior, was among the students quoted in an article about plans to deny visas to international students enrolled at schools not offering face to face instruction. She said, “They’re just using international students as a target to force the colleges to go through a direction they want them to go to…. It feels like the U.S. is trying to kick us out.”

July 8, 2020: Phoenix Television 凤凰卫视

Clayton Dube of the USC U.S.-China Institute was interviewed on the U.S. government's decision (subsequently rescinded) to require international students to take in-person classes in order to keep their student visas. Dube noted that such a policy in the midst of a public health emergency tells international students they aren't welcome. If they aren't able to continue at their schools, they may elect to study in their home countries or in another location such as Britain.

June 30, 2020: Deadline

Stanley Rosen, USC political scientist, was quoted in an article about reopening China’s cinemas.  He said, “The whole country runs on Beijing time… It’s all about social stability, which ensures political stability, so the film industry becomes collateral damage in that calculation.”

June 4, 2020: The Irish Times

Mike Chinoy, a senior fellow of the USC U.S.-China Institute, was interviewed about Chinese impressions of the United States. He said, “My sense is that China must see Trump as the gift that keeps on giving. Despite his harsh rhetoric and occasionally tough gestures, Trump has played into Beijing’s hands in so many ways.”

June 3, 2020: New York Times

USC international relations specialists Erin Baggot Carter and Brett Carter published an op-ed on the legacy of the Tiananmen Square protests in China. "The legacy of Tiananmen, like that of other protests before it and since, lives on. Contestation persists in mainland China, if cautiously and in code," they wrote.

June 2, 2020: China Daily

Comments from USC Annenberg scholar Nicholas Cull were included in an article about the impact of the pandemic on America’s image abroad. Cull made the comments in a May 28, 2020 USC U.S.-China Institute webinar. The article quoted Cull: "Reputations are part of security, and nations need to consider the best way of protecting their reputation in the same way that they would protect any other national asset through economic or military policies.” It did not include observations Cull made about China.

May 15, 2020: Los Angeles Times
This report on USC's virtual commencement noted that the program streamed in Mandarin and Spanish as well as English.
May 14, 2020: LAist
An article about disappearing sales to Chinese hitting shops hard cited a report by USC Annenberg Media.
May 14, 2020: Xinhua
A USC Center for the Study of the Digital Future survey was cited in a report on the U.S. official Americans most trust for information on covid-19. Anthony Fauci, of the National Institutes of Health, was the most trusted official.
May 14, 2020: Salt Lake Tribune
USC's Adam Powell (Center for Communication Leadership and Policy) and Clifford Newman (Center for Computer Systems Security) were cited in a story about the potential for cyber disruption of the 2020 election.
May 13, 2020: CNN
Clayton Dube of the USC U.S.-China Institute was interviewed about cyberespionage charges made by the FBI towards China and how they fit with the downward trajectory in U.S.-China relations.
May 13, 2020: Tech in Asia
The report tells of Turing Video, a start-up founded by USC alum Song Cao and UCLA alum Xing Zhong. Inspired by the tragic slaying of a USC student in 2014, the founders created a video monitoring robot.
April 2, 2020: LAist
Former USC admissions officer Hiu Kit David Chong confessed to taking payments from the families of applicants from China. Chong left USC in 2016.  LA Times story
March 6, 2020: Marketplace Radio
USC political scientist Stanley Rosen was quoted for a story about the impact of the coronavirus on the film industry: “You can’t produce a major Hollywood film, a blockbuster film, without having the China market as part of your strategy. In many cases, like the ‘Fast and the Furious’ or ‘Transformers,’ the China market can be bigger.” 
March 3, 2020: NBC
Stanley Rosen, USC political scientist, was interviewed for an article about the impact of the coronavirus on the entertainment industry. He noted that the closure of theatres may delay the opening of Mulan, the new Disney film.

February 25, 2020: KCRW  

Clayton Dube of the USC U.S.-China Institute was interviewed about the economic ramifications of the coronavirus outbreak in China. He noted the disruption of supply chains, particularly for telecommunications equipment, autos and pharmaceuticals. 

February 23, 2020: Variety

A story about a new film, The Italian Recipe, noted the director is USC alum Hou Zuxin. Hou is directing her first feature film. The Italian Recipe is an Italian-Chinese co-production. 

February 21, 2020: Los Angeles Business Journal

Baizhu Chen, USC finance specialist, was interviewed about Oaktree Capital’s opening of a subsidiary in China. Chen noted that China was becoming more open to financial companies, “I think the trend going forward is going to be more opening and less restrictions for the foreign participants.”

February 13, 2020: The World and Everything in It

A story on the role of Confucius Institutes featured comments from the USC U.S.-China Institute’s Clayton Dube. Dube noted that closing the institutes might not be in American interests and that it is essential to fund programs to increase Chinese language teaching and teaching about China. 

Feb. 7, 2020: KPCC

The USC U.S.-China Institute's Clayton Dube was quoted in a report on the impact of the novel coronavirus on supply chains.

February 6, 2020: Voice of America (Spanish) 

The USC U.S.-China Institute’s Clayton Dube was interviewed about the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on California and other regions. At the 21:30 mark. 

Feb. 6, 2020: Bloomberg via Yahoo Finance

In a study of Chinese giving to universities, USC finished second to Harvard.

Feb. 5, 2020: Los Angeles Times

USC historian William Deverell was quoted in a story about how connected the U.S. and China are. He said, “We have a political and economic climate that has furthered antagonisms between [the U.S. and China]. Add to this the virus, and we don’t know where enmity might take us.”

Feb. 5, 2020: Voice of America

A report on USC and the coronavirus and the travel ban included interviews with students from China and Heather Wipfli of the Keck School of Medicine.

Feb. 4, 2020: Bloomberg

An article highlighted USC’s response to the coronavirus outbreak in China. USC suspended study abroad programs in China and cancelled study tours planned for the next couple months. LA Daily News also reported on this. 

Feb. 3, 2020: Reuters

USC Student Health Director Sarah Van Orman was quoted in a story on how universities are responding to the coronavirus outbreak in China. Van Orman said, “Colleges and universities are very much on the front line of those because of our role as global institutions. The challenge is making sure that we are being prudent without overstating the risk.” She also noted the need to avoid stigmatizing any population, “There’s an unfortunate history about many communicable diseases that have started in one population. It leads to harm for those individuals and does nothing to stop the spread of the illness.”

Feb. 2, 2020: Los Angeles Times

USC was featured in a story about the dangers of misinformation in the midst of a disease scare.  An off-campus apartment building was the scene of a coronavirus scare, that USC responded to with an emergency alert informing everyone that the scare was unwarranted, there was no case of the virus at the apartment complex. Sarah Van Orman, head of USC Student Health, was quoted: “That particular notification came really near the peak of what I would call the general concern and worry present not only at USC but the entire country.” Journalism professor Gabriel Kahn was also cited: “Ironically, speed is important on those things [information about a disease outbreak]. But at the same time, those are the ones you have to be most certain about verifying before you share, and that goes against our instincts as human beings.”

February 1, 2020: The Economist

Stanley Rosen, USC political scientist, was quoted in an article about the Chinese government’s decision to close theaters because of the coronavirus outbreak. He noted that by closing down, the government signaled it was putting safety ahead of commercial interests. 

January 29, 2020: LAist

A story about Chinese fans love of Kobe Bryant included interviews with USC students Jiayi Liu and Xinchi Zhang and recent USC grad Zihan Rui. 

January 14, 2020: Washington Post

The USC U.S.-China Institute’s Clayton Dube was cited in an article about China’s response to developments in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Dube noted that the Chinese government has blamed foreign interference for the problems and said, “The rhetoric has three audiences,” he said. “In China to reassure both the powerful and the governed that the line on territorial integrity is bright red; to remind Taiwan and Hong Kong of that bottom line; and to try to intimidate others (countries, businesses) into complying with both real and symbolic requirements to acknowledge Beijing's claims.”

January 14, 2020: New York Times

USC political scientist and Chinese film specialist Stanley Rosen was interviewed about Disney’s trouble getting people to watch Star Wars films in China. Rosen said, “Most people would say that Disney did too little too late, that ‘Star Wars’ was dead on arrival.” 

January 13, 2020: Inside Higher Ed

In a podcast, USC international relations specialist Ben Graham observes that in its competition with China, America’s advantage is its pool of immigrants.

January 12, 2020: AFP via France24

Clayton Dube of the USC U.S.-China Institute was interviewed about Beijing’s possible reactions to Tsai Ing-wen’s reelection as president of Taiwan. Dube noted that Beijing is likely to maintain its sanctions against Taiwan. Also in UltimaHora and SwissInfo.

January 9, 2020: Pasadena Now

Chinese artists in Los Angeles are among those included in the “We are Still Here” exhibition to open in March at the USC Pacific Asia Museum. The museum will also open its renovated Chinese Gallery.