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Screening of Assignment: China – China Watching

The USC U.S.-China Institute will screen the new segment of "Assignment: China" focusing on the generation of American journalists who reported on China during a period of revolution, famine, and upheaval.

October 12, 2012 4:00pm to 5:30pm

After Mao Zedong's communists took power in China in 1949, American journalists were barred from the country. For more than two decades, until Richard Nixon's historic trip to Beijing in 1972, the People's Republic remained off-limits to the American press. During this period, as the country experienced revolution, famine, and upheaval, covering China was the job of "China-watchers." Operating primarily from the British colony of Hong Kong, an entire generation of journalists developed the Chinese equivalent of "Kremlinology"- looking for clues in official propaganda, interviewing refugees and defectors, swapping notes with diplomats and spooks - and in the process, producing a surprisingly accurate picture of China in turmoil. This episode of "Assignment China" is their story.

USCI Senior Fellow Mike Chinoy serves as the lead reporter. Chinoy is widely known for his more than two decades of award-winning reporting from China for CNN. Craig Stubing, USCI Multimedia Editor, is responsible for the filming and editing of Assignment: China. USCI students handle the research and transcriptions. Assignment: China features interviews with journalists who were based in China and Hong Kong. It also includes interviews with scholars who have studied the work of these journalists and government officials who had to be mindful of how such reporting influenced public opinion and thereby affected their ability to make and implement policies. 

This is a multi-part documentary film series produced by the U.S.-China Institute on the history of American reporters in China. Click here to view the other segments in the series.

Additional USC U.S.-China Institute resources:

Getting to Beijing: Henry Kissinger’s Secret 1971 Trip

The Week that Changed the World: The Inside Story of Richard Nixon’s 1972 Journey to China

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