Pitch for 2nd China story

For my next story, I was thinking of going in a more light hearted direction and concentrate on a lifestyle/culture piece. When I was exploring the Committee for U.S-China relation’s website, I saw they were giving a talk about the role of China in Hollywood last month. I thought it would be fun to attend that conversation, but it was too late. I still think this would be an interesting subject to explore.

A very interesting aspect that had come to my attention lately is the “whitewashing” in Hollywood of movie roles. This means the act of taking a role that is meant for a non-white person (mostly when doing biopics) and putting a Caucasian in their place. This recently occurred with the movie “The Great Wall” starring Matt Damon and in the movie, “Ghost in the Shell,” a fictional piece starring Scarlett Johannson. I think the latter is based on a Japanese series, but it has occurred with plenty of Chinese characters and stories as well.

I’m thinking of interviewing the program director of Cinema Studies at City College because the description of the program explains how the students study film and the different aspects of how it is made. I think it would be interesting to hear his opinion and I’m hoping he will be able to connect me to a student of Chinese descent to get his/her’s take on white washing in Hollywood.

Trading with China: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

During the presidential election, Donald Trump made disparaging comments concerning China, blaming the country for the global warming “hoax” and for pitfalls in American business.
Being #2 in the global economy, China is considered one of our most important economical allies but also one of our biggest competitors. The United States is China’s number one export market and China is third for the U.S. Would it be possible for these two countries to maintain a cordial business relationship with America under the leadership of President Trump?

At present, both countries are undergoing a major change in leadership. Under President Trump, the United States’ economic policies are sure to change. Trump has already appointed Peter Navarro as lead to the National Trade Council and has signed an executive order to get rid of the Trans-Pacific Partnership created by Obama. On the other hand, Beijing is shifting leadership as well since five of their Politburo leaders will be reaching the retirement age, leaving President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang to remain.

Trump has already expressed discontent with China’s practices during the election, stating that China purposely keeps their currency artificially low, labeling the country as a “currency manipulator.” In January 2017, he tweeted “China has been taking out massive amounts of money and wealth from the U.S. in totally one sided trade…”. Slapping The country with this label could give Trump an excuse to impose a higher tax (a proposed 45%) on Chinese imports but some economists, such as Lee Branstetter of Carnegie University, think this may be a bad decision.  He compares Trump’s proposed tariff to the tariffs supported by Republicans at the start of the Great Depression.  What followed was an increase in American tariffs that resulted in a global trade war.

The current status of trade between China and the U.S. is indeed an unbalanced one, with the U.S. at a disadvantage. The Nita States has an import tax of 2-3% while China’s is 3-9%. To put it simply, U.S. exports to China were only $116 billion in 2016 while imports from China were at $463 billion, putting the total deficit at $347 billion. Americans buy Chinese manufactured goods because the prices are so low.

Since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, the U.S. and China’s past trade relations have been rocky. The United States filed 23 complaints with the WTO against China overall and 14 during the Obama administration alone. The most recent accusation being the distortion of prices of crops by China making it difficult for American farmers to compete in global markets. This means that China’s “market price support” program causes an overproduction of wheat, corn, and rice. This undercuts the American market for exporting those crops and results in a loss of revenue for American farmers. President Obama claimed that this program breaks the rules set forth by the WTO.

There’s no guarantee that Trump’s proposal of higher tariffs will help the United States.  In addition to possibly triggering a trade war, it is the belief of many economists that American consumers will be the ones who ultimately will suffer. Retail prices for imported goods and their domestic substitutes would increase. This means costs for these goods could also rise. Production of such products can also be delayed, especially amongst bigger companies.

In an article by The Economist in February 2017, The Peterson Institute for International Economics does not believe a tariff would be positive for the United States. Their assessment finds that American private sector employment would decline by more than 4% by 2019, which would hurt American families living on modest incomes if Trump were to follow through with his threats. (The Economist, Nov. 2016, Daily Chart: A Trump Trade Agenda ).

Relations between the United States and China are not entirely negative.  According to Joseph Weed, Director of Communications of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, there is a rapid growth in Chinese direct investment in the United States. “This is a function of Chinese investment in existing U.S. companies, as well as the creation of ‘greenfield’ or new businesses; in both cases, this represents Chinese owned companies operating in the U.S. And providing jobs to American workers and business suppliers. In just a few years, this investment has grown to support more than 100,000 American jobs.”

“While there are issues of concern between the two countries, diplomatic relations continue to represent a productive working relationship. Both sides have areas of dissatisfaction but strong economic ties and areas of shared concern continue to encourage both sides to work together within the framework of the global community.”

China/U.S. Business Pitch

During the presidential election, Donald Trump made disparaging comments concerning China, blaming the country for the global warming “hoax” and for pitfalls in American business.
Being #2 in the global economy, China is considered one of our most important economical allies but also one of our biggest competitors. I am interested to find out the effect of Trump’s statements on Chinese immigrants. I also want to delve into the validity of Trump’s opinions in regards to China in regard to business affairs. How true are these statements? What is the current U.S./China situation?
Recently, China banned coal imports from North Korea, which some consider to be a bold move considering their more lenient approach to north Korea in the past. China has not been a force in creating sanctions on North Korea’s nuclear program, namely their missile testing. In the first debate, Trump said that China needs to handle North Korea since they are the more powerful country and “solve that problem for us.”
I have already emailed the national Committee on U.S. China Relations and requested to sit in on one of their upcoming conversations. They have multiple talks focusing on different issues within China that span from Hollywood’s commercial toes to China and its affect on the production of major films to more serious subjects such as China’s developmental paths and what it will mean for the rest of the world. I haven’t received an answer yet, but there is a phone number available on the website so I will reach out to see what I need to do in order to get in and talk to a few people. I’m sure I can find good sources if I go to one of their talks.

VICE NEWS

Vice News is seeking to become a major player in reporting international news. Its goal seems to be to bring global news to a young audience, simultaneously being “cool” while bringing important and serious material to light. Initially, Vice was strictly an internet news outlet. Recently, the organization has branched out to cable television with its own channel featuring a slew of lifestyle and cultural programming in addition to a 30-minute newscast on HBO. Co founder Shane Smith once stated he wanted Vice to be “ESPN, MTV, and CNN all rolled into one.”
The goal of Vice is to continue reaching their core audience of millennials but to incorporate more serious, “hard” news stories. Their most notable work is their documentary about ISIS, where they had a journalist ride along with the organization for the summer. This gained major attention from bigger news organizations, and even caused speculation as to whether Vice could be prosecuted for their “connection” with ISIS, even for the sake of journalism.

Chinese community

I’ve been considering the Asian community as the focus of my beat, specifically the Chinese. I’m curious to delve into the opinions of members of this community concerning the direction the U.S. government is going in under the Trump administration. I think it would be interesting to hear thoughts on the blockage of refugees, the Muslim ban, and the Mexican wall from a group of people who aren’t directly affected by the changes. Of course, there’s the opinion of young Americans, but I think most people know this perspective because it is constantly discussed in the media and through social media. So it would be great to get the view from another country’s perspective. I can also do a story about how the Chinese feel about being maligned by Trump during his campaign and eventually write a story covering the possible change in business relations between the U.S. and China. I think there’s potential for multiple stories about China. It would even be great to cover a bit on the culture and beliefs since these things affect a person’s outlook on the world as well.