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Assignment China: Tiananmen Square

A documentary screening and discussion.

June 3, 2014 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Special guests: Susan Shirk, Lei Guang and Tai Ming Cheung of the 21st Century China Program; Paul Pickowicz, UC San Diego distinguished professor of history and Chinese studies; and Clay Dube, executive director of the USC US-China Institute and producer of the documentary

Twenty-five years ago, a large-scale, mass protest erupted at the center of China’s political symbolism, Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The protest lasted for nearly two months and spread to over 100 cities across the country. Millions of people from all walks of society took part, before the government brought in the People’s Liberation Army to suppress it June 3-4.

The protest and its bloody crackdown became a defining moment, not just in contemporary China, but also in world-media history. It was the first time in decades when a sizable group of foreign journalists were in Beijing, most to cover the first Sino-Soviet summit in 30 years. Several quickly refocused their attention on the protests, with some broadcasting live from the square. Their work that spring affected foreign perception and state policies towards China’s government in many countries around the world.

Assignment China is a documentary series produced by University of Southern California’s US-China Institute (USCI), examining American news coverage of China since 1945, as well as the function and contribution of media and journalism in the two countries’ unfolding relationship. This episode focuses on coverage of the 1989 demonstrations and their suppression. USCI senior fellow Mike Chinoy, then CNN Beijing bureau chief, wrote and narrates the episode.

This event is cosponsored with China Focus.