China's political transition is in midstream, and this month are two big showcase events: the National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference; both in Beijing. Security is about 20 times normal; police emerge at street corners and then leisurely stand around and chat, ignoring the countless scofflaws and traffic rule violators. I'm more worried that these added police who tend to stand in the street are going to be killed by the speeding cars that run red lights.
The semester seems to have a very lackadaisical feel; that one month Chinese New Year holiday where everything shuts down, its just hard to restart the society after that long of a layoff. I've been very busy however with continued media appearances; even if a bit outside of my expertise. Three have been on CCTV, one on China's Navy (http://english.cntv.cn/program/dialogue/20120227/123516.shtml) and four on US foreign policy (http://english.cntv.cn/english/special/01/20120307/104963.shtml; http://english.cntv.cn/english/special/01/20120312/103597.shtml; http://english.cntv.cn/program/dialogue/20120322/103559.shtml; http://english.cntv.cn/program/dialogue/20120327/103937.shtml); and another two appearances on CRI radio to discuss the Super Tuesday results on the US election (http://english.cri.cn/8706/2012/03/08/2861s685595.htm) and North Korea (http://english.cri.cn/8706/2012/03/16/2861s687401.htm). Tomorrow is another discussion on US foreign policy in light of the NPC, and tonight is Death Cab for Cutie!! yeah! my favorite band is visiting Beijing for the Jue Festival, tickets were only 280 yuan, just over $40, not bad. Then Tuesday I have a presentation at the US Embassy on the modern 2 party system in America, and still preparing for my end of the month trip to Thailand for a discussion on Sino-US relations with the Thai Foreign Ministry and a presentation at Chulalongkorn University. Still need to find time to prepare for my classes, and this week I alerted my home university, Cal State Sacramento, that I will spend one more semester in Beijing to take advantage of all of these opportunities, before returning in January 2013. We will see if the faculty is on strike at that time, or the university and state owns up to the past contract raises that were promised and not fulfilled, or in the new bargaining can give us a decent contract or attempts to clawback our benefits. But no time for me to worry about what I can't control right now.