Bilateral relations involve everyone: China expert Clayton Dube

By Lance Crayon Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/9 17:28:39

Clayton Dube, Executive Director of the US-China Institute at the University of Southern California, on November 7, 2017. Photo: Lance Crayon



US President Donald Trump and his wife First Lady Melania Trump arrived in Beijing yesterday, signaling a step toward positive Sino-US bilateral relations.  However, working toward a bilateral understanding is not exclusive to those at the top as it involves all members of both nations.

"On an average day, 6,000 Americans go to China, and 8,000 Chinese arrive in America every day," said Clayton Dube, Head of the US-China Institute (USCI) at the University of Southern California (USC), one of America's leading China experts. "The mission of USCI is to enhance understanding of a relationship between two very distinct cultures," Dube added.

Today, there are more Chinese living in Los Angeles than any city in America, making USCI's location ideal as LA has become the gateway for Chinese entering the US.

Dube discussed the issues of the day surrounding Trump's visit to China and how understanding China through documentary filmmaking and video journalism is an essential component in learning more about Chinese people and their language.

Two striking changes, as Dube explained, has to do with the popularization of video equipment, which became smaller and more affordable, inspiring people to tell stories using the medium, or as he likes to say, the "democratization of technology."

"There's also been an opening in Chinese society, more things can be talked about, people are more comfortable to give their opinion on a variety of subjects and there are more subjects to look at," Dube said.

When Dube first arrived in China almost forty years ago, nobody predicted that China would be where it is today. "Chinese leadership in the past were slowly feeling their way across the river," he said.  The progress of today wasn't entirely mapped out.

USCI is different from Chinese think tanks, and as Dube said, "We have dozens of experts in a range of fields, and we're working with students and with partners in China to have a more comprehensive look at the China-US relationship.  The real relationship with China is occurring everywhere, all the time."

"We're hearing more from Chinese society, and that's still relatively new when given the scope of how long the idea of media coverage has been around," Dube said. 

President Xi Jinping announced during the closing of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing that a "win-win" result is the goal.  As his plan registered with the world, it was understood that if the goal is to be achieved, everyone will need to contribute.

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