Assignment: China - The New Millennium
This segment of the Assignment:China series focuses the early years of the new millennium, when China experienced a new kind of social liberalization and the American press corps enjoyed a period of the easing of the worst of the restrictions imposed during the post-Tiananmen crackdown of the 1990s, enabling reporters to dig into Chinese society in ways that had previously been difficult, if not impossible.
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China entered the 2000s riding a continuing wave of economic growth, while Beijing's triumphant bid to host the 2008 summer Olympics set off nationwide celebrations.
But the SARS outbreak in 2008, a hidden AIDS epidemic caused by peasants selling their blood, and a growing gap between the winners and losers in the process of reform produced heightened social and economic tension.
Against this backdrop, in the early years of the new millennium, China experienced a new kind of social liberalization, spurred by the emergence of the Internet, the activities of a new generation of legal activists, and a search for meaning among many Chinese at a time of bewildering change.
For the American press corps, it was an exhilarating period in which the worst of the restrictions imposed during the post-Tiananmen crackdown of the 1990s were eased, enabling reporters to dig into Chinese society in ways that had previously been difficult, if not impossible.
"The New Millennium" is the behind-the-scenes story of how the American press corps in China covered this period, when many of the themes that are shaping China today first began to take shape.
This video is also available on the USCI YouTube Channel.
Assignment: China is a signature project of the USC U.S.-China Institute. Most Americans continue to learn about China primarily through the media and we feel that it is vital to understand the process by which news about China is gathered and shared. Mike Chinoy, USCI senior fellow, reports the series which is filmed and edited by Craig Stubing. Clayton Dube conceived of the project and oversees it. Many students and volunteers assist with research, transcription, and translation.
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Please join the U.S.-China Institute and PEN America for the West Coast launch of the PEN America report on social media in China, Forbidden Feeds. We will discuss the report and Chinese social media more generally.