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Organizer and Chair: Robert W. Radtke, The Asia Society
Discussants: Rachel Cooper, The Asia Society; Andrew Kohut, Pew Research Center; Herbert Levin, America-China Society; Orville Schell, University of California, Berkeley; Ezra F. Vogel, Harvard University
During the last eighteen to twenty months, China has been the subject of a number of films in the United States including Red Corner, Chinese Box, Kundun, and Seven Years in Tibet. These films have reached broad audiences across the U.S. Each film portrays a particular image of China and a number of them address a key issue in U.S.-China relations, including the rule of law, Tibet, and the Hong Kong Handover. Finally, many of the films portray friendships and romantic relationships between foreigners and Chinese peopleoften raising issues of power and seduction.
What is the message about China and Sino-American relations that these examples of popular culture convey? Are these films made with a political purpose? Do these films have an impact on public perception in the United States? If so, what is it? Is there a political/international relations sub-text intended by these dramas? What are the intended and unintended consequences of these productions? Do they have an influence on U.S. policy toward China?
Most Americans form impressions about China through the prism of popular culturetelevision programs, films and popular literature. These impressions are profound and have a wide impact on public understanding of U.S.-China relations and therefore can have an impact on public policy and diplomacy. This roundtable will seek to explore the issues raised above in a balanced and considered way.
Attendees are encouraged to see the films in advance of the roundtable, as they will not be screened.