April 4,

No. 4

AMS Weekly Newsletter
Supporting the development of the future stewards of U.S.-China relations
Welcome to our numerologically catastrophic 4/4/14 issue number 4. We hope you have been enjoying our newsletter, and don't forget to click on the link at the end of the newsletter and support us (you could even do it now!). On an administrative note, next week's newsletter may come a day or two late, as your editor will be traveling in China.

Weekly Readings Monday 
China's movement into Central Asia is one of the momentous but slow-moving stories of Chinese foreign policy in the last 15 years. In the mid- to late-1990s, Beijing was cautious about entering the region and the inchoate regional organizations failed. But Central Asia continues to rise in importance for Beijing. Now, China sees the region as crucial to its rejuvenation project and is investing ever more in energy and transportation infrastructure. Xi's interest in a rail link between Europe and China takes the idea of a new Silk Road to a whole new level.

"经贸先导 经略中路 打造文明复兴共同体--建设丝绸之路经济带的战略思考," Study Times, March 24, 2014

"China Runs Risk with New Gas Route Through Central Asia," Radio Free Asia, March 24, 2014

"Germany Plans to Expand Chinese Rail Link as Xi Visits Duisburg," Bloomberg, March 28, 2014

For a resource on China's policy toward the region, see the "China in Central Asia" website
Language Learning Resources  
Lang-8 is a great language exchange platform. Lang-8 is less chat-oriented and more focused on composition. You can post journal entries or essays and native speakers will edit your drafts. Another great way to improve your writing skills is to translate English texts into Chinese. Choose a topic that you are interested in and find a relevant English article. After translating it into Chinese, you can use Lang-8 to receive feedback and corrections. Lang-8 is a great tool to help improve your formal writing skills and is very useful for anyone interested in writing in Chinese.

U.S. Officials Watch 
Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific Daniel Russel testified this week before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on U.S. relations with Taiwan. The hearing, "Evaluating U.S. Policy on Taiwan on the 35th Anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act," also included Abraham Denmark of the National Bureau of Asian Research and Randy Shriver of the Project 2049 Institute.

Here is a link to the CSPAN video of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kin Moy's testimony on U.S.-Taiwan relations before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on March 14. 

Lastly, on March 28, Senior Director of Asian Affairs for the National Security Council Evan Medeiros spoke at the Brookings Institute event "35 Years of U.S.-China Relations: Diplomacy, Culture and Soft Power."

Weibo Wednesday  
After weeks of being centered on flight MH370, the focus of Chinese netizens has been diverted. The most popular topic and post on weibo this week is actor/director Wen Zhang's (@文章同学) confession and apology for having an extramarital affair. While Wen's post is of little importance by itself, the way netizens reacted to it demonstrates an important trait of the Chinese net.

The post is popular with a record-breaking 1.9 million comments (and growing), but not because of what Wen did, but because netizens do not believe he actually wrote the post or that he is sincere in his apology. The amount of time, energy, and effort spent by netizens on conspiracy theories of where Wen got the message from illustrates the deep distrust that exists on the Chinese net. In the absence of reliable facts, many netizens are willing to give credence to even the most outlandish tinfoil hat theories. This is especially true if the story involves China's rich and powerful. When Xi Jinping went missing for several weeks in 2012, the Chinese net was inundated with conspiracy theories that ranged from a back injury to an attempted coup by Zhou Yongkang. While conspiracy theories are often considered fringe ideas in the U.S., they are often taken very seriously by Chinese netizens, so much so that they often shape and drive public opinion. Thus, these online conspiracy theories have to be given at least a degree of respect, not for their validity, but for their ability to shape and drive Chinese public opinion.

See some of the more creative theories here.
俗语 in Xi Jinping's speeches

lu�bo qīngc�i, g�yǒusuǒ�i

Translation: Some prefer radish, some prefer cabbage


Explanation: Xi Jinping gave a speech at UNESCO headquarters a few days ago, much of it focusing on dialogue and exchange between civilizations. His reference to one's veggies of choice is about how civilizations need to both respect differences but also be inclusive. This entire speech is interesting as it relates to the ongoing evolution of the Chinese government's attitude towards values and cultural norms.

Original quotation: 历史告诉我们,只有交流互鉴,一种文明才能充满生命力。只要秉持包容精神,就不存在什么"文明冲突",就可以实现文明和谐。这就是中国人常说的:"萝卜青菜,各有所爱。"
Documentary Friday
This week's documentary covers the emergence of the Chinese revolution and Sun Yat-sen's (孙中山) democratic vision. Made for the centenary of the Chinese Revolution of 1911, the six-part 《天下为公》 explains some of the key ideas with lasting resonance in China. The Chinese Communist Party continues to speak in terms of Sun's revolution and defend its rule in terms of democratic principles. To understand Chinese political rhetoric today, the original revolution remains an important influence that still casts it shadow over the CCP of today. 
《天下为公--孙中山1911》 第一集 世纪之梦

CNTV Homepage for 《天下为公》
Support the American Mandarin Society!

If you appreciate the effort we put into organizing Chinese-language policy events, providing robust web-based language and policy resources on our website, and the kind of content you see in this newsletter, please consider supporting us with a tax-deductible contribution--every bit helps!
The American Mandarin Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Join Our Mailing List
Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   LinkedIn

Copyright © 2013. All Rights Reserved.