今日关注-August 3, 2011

Topic: US-China Relations, Chinese reactions to the American debt crisis.

Link to Broadcast: http://news.cntv.cn/world/20110803/115419.shtml

Guests:  向松祚 from the International Currency Research Center at Renmin and 周世俭 from the US-China Relation Research Center at Qinghua.

First five minutes:

The host quickly summarizes recent events in Washington and points out that while Republicans and Democrats have agreed on a debt agreement, the Pentagon budget is still scheduled to rise next year. With this in mind, the host wonders if American claims about lowering debt have much sincerity behind them. After a short video on American debt as well as the new military equipment scheduled for purchase next year, the host asks the two guests about America’s position in the world. The professor from Renda points out that America’s hegemonic position stems from both money and arms and has three goals: to preserve it position, to protect its capital investment and to ensure access to and control of natural resources. The guest from Qinghua refines this point by saying that the keys to American power are the place as the dollar as a reserve currency as well as the aircraft carriers of the U.S Navy. He concludes that America position as a reserve currency and its ability to run deficits is a very important weapon in its strategic arsenal.


与此同时–At the same time. Used as a transition word at star of a sentence
航母-aircraft carrier
掌控-to control
福利-social welfare
现在全世界给美国打工-Now all the world is working for the United States

From Five Minutes to 15 Minutes:

After stating that American creditworthiness is at an inflection point, the host asks what options China has as far as what to do with its large holding of American debt. The guest from Renda states that China and other countries are in a predicament and refers to DeGaulle’s complaints during the 1960s about how American printed money to finance the Vietnam and makes an analogy to China’s current situation. After another short video on the importance of American aircraft carriers, the discussion turns to how much longer the US can maintain such a position i.e. running deficits and essentially having other countries pay for American military expenditures. The guest from Renda responds that it is important to acknowledge that American are quite gifted at strategic thought and have a very intertwined system in place. Here he mentioned two episodes from the World War II to show how Americans were already planning for the post-war world before they even entered the conflict. The guest from Tsinghua responds that America has broken two agreements related to finance and its history: in the early 1930s when Roosevelt went of the gold standard and essentially depreciated the dollar by about 40% and when Nixon announced in 1971 that the U.S would no longer exchange dollars for gold. He expects to see further monetary loosening because it accords with American interests.


岌岌可危-in imminent danger
遏制-to contain
奇生虫-parasitic. Could also use 奇生分子 for parasite.
欢呼-to welcome, acclaim
摇摇欲坠-on the verge of collapse
软势力-soft power (硬势力-hard power)
不惜-not hesitate to
深谋远虑-to plan far ahead (A similar idiom with nearly the exact same meaning is 深谋远略)
违约-To break an agreement
大萧条—The Great Depression
尼克松—Richard Nixon
罗斯福—Franklin Roosevelt
普京—Vladimir Putin
戴高乐—Charles De Gaulle
美国的安全体系是非常严密-The American security system is very tightly organized.

Last Ten Minutes:

Here the discussion shifts to what options China has as far as its future attitude towards buying more American treasuries. The professor from Renda asserts that there are essentially four investment options available to a person or country: put money in a bank, buy stocks, but real assets (i.e. businesses, property) or buy debt (i.e bonds). Here he brings up the case of the Chinese electronics firm Huawei being blocked from acquiring a U.S. firm earlier this year. His point here is that American prevents China from investing in real assets in the U.S. and essentially forces China to use its reserves to buy Treasury bonds. After another shirt video featuring the views of Putin, Japanese traders (who suggest that American simply give them Hawaii!) and a former Morgan Stanley official on the sustainability of US debt levels, the host asks the guest what position China should take. The professor from Renda argues that the China and other nations should band together like Europe did in the 1960s and make the U.S. sign agreements that future inflation will not exceed a certain level so that the United States will not be able to inflate away its debts. The professor from Qinghua argues that the United States must open its market to further Chinese investment. If not, he suggests China essentially dump its holdings of American securities on the market.


持有-holder (i.e. of debt)
华为-Huawei Electronics company
无奈的一个办法-To have no choice or no option
应当-should or ought to
机警-perceptive, astute
抛售-to dump on the market

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Goals and Aims

This blog will provide description and analysis of several Chinese television programs that focus on current events. Early posts will examine one program from CCTV and one program not so closely associated with the government. The first program, 今日关注, airs on CCTV 4 and is a 30 minute talk show that usually deals with international issues and how China is involved in them. The guests are generally professors at various Beijing Universities or research centers. The program airs daily and can be accessed at: http://cctv.cntv.cn/lm/jinriguanzhu/index.shtml

Other posts will look at a show with a similar format 首席评论. This program tends to focus on more domestic issues and the guests are often journalists from the magazine 新世纪 as well as other papers and web portals. 新世纪 is a spin-off of the controversial magazine 财经 that closed several years ago after its editor 胡舒立 apparently pushed the publication’s commentary a bit too far and fan afoul of government censors. 首席评论 is best accessed through a search on http://www.youku.com or through the website for 新世纪 which is http://www.caing.com. In order to view videos at this address you have to register online.

Beyond a place for description and analysis, this blog aims to become forum where advanced students of Chinese language can come together in order to further listening comprehension and build the specialized vocabulary. With this goal in mind, posts will make attempts to include vocabulary, set phrases and various types of 官话. Unfortunately, as one advances in the Chinese language there are fewer resources and one often finds that progress comes solely through reading the newspaper and looking up the odd word or character combination that is unfamiliar. This blog hopes to fill this gap.

Comments and recommendations for other news program are always welcome (as are guest posts).

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