May 9,

No. 8

AMS Weekly Newsletter
Supporting the development of the future stewards of U.S.-China relations
Welcome to our week in review. If you like it, share it! 
Weekly Readings
This week's readings highlight divergent themes in East and West about the future and the tasks ahead. These articles highlight the different perspectives about international order, political-economic development, a
nd the roles of each country. Future policy choices for U.S.-China relations will require value commitments to particular visions of these three issues, so, as Francis Bacon wrote, "Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider."

"中国梦同各国梦想交织共鸣," People's Daily, May 5, 2014

"西方的制度反思与中国的道路自信," 求是 [Seeking Truth], May 1, 2014

"文明互鉴播撒和平种子," People's Daily, April 29, 2014

"Uncertainty, Not China, is Replacing U.S. Power," Financial Times, May 4, 2014

"What Would America Fight For?" The Economist, May 3, 2014 

Language-learning Resources
Robert Daly, director of the Wilson Center's Kissinger Institute on China and the United States, gave an excellent lecture this week entitled "After the Homework Stops: Retaining Mandarin Proficiency Throughout a Career." We will be sending everyone notes from this lecture in the coming days, so keep your eyes on your inboxes. A couple of the key takeaways were (a) it is not really possible to simply maintain your Chinese; you either work to improve it or you progressively lose it. There is no treading water. And (b) the importance and utility of vocab lists. Keep a list of words and phrases (and sentences!) that you come across and review it each day. Reviewing can happen in all those little dead spots in your day...and work on saying the phrases out loud. Saying them in your head is a surefire way to keep them passive instead of active.
Weibo Watch
With major maritime flare-ups with both Vietnam and the Philippines, it's expected that the Chinese web would be rife with nationalist sentiment. Yet neither the arrest of several Chinese fishermen by the Philippines authorities or the Vietnamese Navy's attempt to drive off Chinese construction vessels from a deep sea oil rig have made much of an impact (so far) among netizens. Both stories are being reported in China, though not as extensively as in the west. There does seem to be some indication that Chinese censors are scrubbing the net of the more inflammatory responses, possibly in order to curb public outcry and prevent Beijing from getting boxed in by domestic sentiment. Yet given past Chinese responses to similar challenges, this more muted reaction seems out of the norm.

Another story getting a lot of attention on the Chinese web is the story of two firefighters who were blown out of a burning 13th story apartment by an explosion. The pair held hands as they fell to their deaths. Much is being made of the fact that the two were close friends and even graduated in the same class. Netizens and the media are calling the pair examples of true dedication, bravery, and friendship. This in turn has led some netizens to grieve that these morals are not more commonly found in China, feeding into the greater and longer running debate about Chinese values. 
See the discussion here.
俗语 in Xi Jinping's speeches

A few days ago, on the 95th anniversary of the May 4th Movement, Xi Jinping gave a speech at Beijing University. This speech has given us ample 成语 fodder for the next few posts, so this one is actually not a 俗语 but rather a policy term:


The Three Confidences

Explanation: Xi Jinping urged the PKU students to be more confident in three areas: 道路自信、理论自信、制度自信. This concept was first put forth by Hu Jintao at the 18th Party Congress in November 2012. The message from Xi seems to be if you want to keep on the path of the rejuvenation of the Chinese people, i.e., the China Dream, you need to keep your confidence in the current system and methods of governance.

Original quotation: 我说这话的意思是,实现我们的发展目标,实现中国梦,必须增强道路自信、理论自信、制度自信,"千磨万击还坚劲,任尔东南西北风"。而这"三个自信"需要我们对核心价值观的认定作支撑。
Documentary of the Week
This week's documentary about Sino-Philippine fishing spats first appeared before tensions spiked in recent years. In addition to providing a more reasonable explanation of the Chinese position, the "Horizon" program (新视野) interviews a variety of interested parties from experts to fishing association members. There are no real surprises about the ultimate conclusions, but it is a worthwhile look at the evidence and explanations about China's claims in the South China Sea from official and unofficial sources.

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