Category: News of the Week

Assignment: China

Starting in 2012 The University of Southern California’s U.S-China Institute began releasing a series of a documentary pieces focusing on key moments of Chinese history from the perspective of the journalists who covered these events. The twelve part miniseries begins its exploration during the China’s Civil War in 1927, takes on a journey through time to visit President Nixon and Mao’s momentous meeting in 1972, and ends with a discussion of the economic rise of China in the early 21st century. The whole series is available free online to watch at http://china.usc.edu/assignment-china-watch-complete-usci-series-american-reporting-china, and below you will find a video...

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Big Government, Big Data, Big Brother

Early this month, the Politburo drafted China’s 13th Five-Year Plan.  In it, the government announced a nationwide “social credit system” that will supposedly “strengthen the establishment of a national population-based information repository and improve the social credit system.”  It sounds fairly benign on the surface, and thus far details on it are scant, but experts predict that its implications go beyond a “financial credit system like the ones used in the U.S. and other developed countries.”  While someone’s credit rating will have a bearing on their business prospects, it will also affect their access to social institutions and privileges. ...

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Smog Looms Over North and Northeastern China

Northern and Northeastern China have been covered in heavy smog. The smog has influenced one tenth of China’s land territory, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP).  Specifically, the smog covers 630,000 square kilometers of northeastern Chinese land and 380,000 square kilometers of northern Chinese land.  The MEP blamed this latest smog spell on “adverse meteorological conditions.” This smog created a hike in the Air Pollution Index (API) of seven provinces and municipalities, and the Air Quality Index (AQI) hit 500 in 11 cities in northeastern China between November 3rd and November 5th.  The MEP has sent 12...

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The Rise of Soft Power in U.S.-China Relations

  Soft power is a relatively new term, but the underlying concept is ancient. Every major civilization has used culture to represent its core values and to convince others of its good intentions. India expressed its moral principles through Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions. The Romans built a legal system that gave common standards to its far-flung empire. Traditional China cultivated the values of morality, loyalty, and respect for others and fostered unity through a common written language. The United States has constructed its social and political system around the idea that all persons are created equal. The main...

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Chinese Company Bans Employees from Purchasing Latest iPhone

Right Intentions; Wrong Execution? This past week, news broke out in China that a company in Henan province had announced a new policy banning its employees from buying Apple’s newly released iPhone 7.  According to the official notice, which was issued on September 18th (the 85th anniversary of the Mukden Incident this year), if spotted with the latest iPhone, employees would kindly be asked to resign.  In the notice, the company also encouraged staff members to support local goods and boycott foreign products. This decision has sparked controversy in China.  Many netizens feel that it is an encroachment on...

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