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Screening of "Assignment: China - Tiananmen Square"

The United States Studies Centre presents a screening of "Assignment: China - Tiananmen Square", followed by discussion and Q&A with the film's reporter and narrator Mr Mike Chinoy.

August 7, 2014 12:15pm to 2:15pm

About "Assignment China: Tiananmen Square"

The Tiananmen Square crisis in 1989 was a turning point for China and US-China relations. Weeks of student-led demonstrations turned into the largest protest for political reform in the history of the People’s Republic. The bloody military crackdown which crushed the movement on the night of June 3-4, 1989 had far-reaching consequences, not only for China’s development, but for its relations with the the United States and the rest of the world.

One reason was that Tiananmen Square was also a watershed moment in the history of the media. It generated unparalleled international coverage, and became a defining moment in the Information Age – the first time a popular uprising in an authoritarian state was broadcast live across the globe. The images from that time – the Goddess of Democracy, the man in front of the tank - have become enduring symbols of popular resistance to injustice, widely remembered even 25 years later in the United States and around the globe. The coverage of Tiananmen redefined the relationship between the press, public opinion, and foreign policy making, and continues to influence both Chinese politics and international perceptions of China to this day.

With the 25th anniversary of the crackdown, the U.S.-China Institute at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is releasing the newest episode of its multi-part documentary film series on the history of American correspondents in China. Assignment China: Tiananmen Square tells the behind-the-scenes story of the reporters who covered the dramatic events in Beijing that spring.

Reported and narrated by Institute Senior Fellow Mike Chinoy, who was CNN’s Beijing Bureau Chief at the time, Assignment China: Tiananmen Square contains interviews with most of the leading American journalists who were in Beijing, as well as others who played a role in the press coverage.

About Mike Chinoy

Mike Chinoy is a Senior Fellow at the U.S.-China Institute at the University of Southern California (USC), where he is responsible for preparing /sites/default/files/legacy/video-old/multi-media material on China for audiences beyond the university.

He is also Vice President and Managing Director for Asia of News Certified Exchange, a new company that provides customized media training to business, academic and other “experts” and then puts their names on an online date base available to journalists in need of a “media-ready” analyst to comment on an important issue.

Previously, he spent three years as the Edgerton Senior Fellow on Asian Security at the Los Angeles-based Pacific Council on International Policy, focusing on security issues in North Korea, China, and Northeast Asia. His book on North Korea, entitled Meltdown: The Inside Story of the North Korean Nuclear Crisis, was published by St. Martin’s Press in August, 2008, and was hailed by the Washington Post as “a tour de force of reporting”. A paperback edition came out in October, 2009, and a Korean language translation will be published shortly. He was at the same time a Visiting Professor of Journalism at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism.

Before joining the Pacific Council and USC in 2006, Chinoy spent 24 years as a foreign correspondent for CNN, including stints as a roving reporter based in London, eight years as the network’s first Bureau Chief in Beijing, Bureau Chief in Hong Kong, and, from 2001-2006, Senior Asia Correspondent, responsible for coverage throughout the Asia-Pacific Region. He began his career working for CBS News and NBC News in Hong Kong in the 1970s.

He has reported on the most important events in Asia since the mid-1970s, including the death of Mao Zedong, the “People Power” revolt in the Philippines, the Tiananmen Square crisis, the rise of China, the Hong Kong handover, the fall of Indonesian President Suharto, the Soviet and U.S. wars in Afghanistan, the Southeast Asian tsunami, elections and political crises in Taiwan, and developments in North Korea.

His access to North Korea is unmatched among American journalists. He has visited the country 14 times since 1989, more than any other U.S. reporter. He was the only journalist to accompany former U.S. President Jimmy Carter on his historic trip to Pyongyang in 1994, and has returned regularly since then.

Mr. Chinoy is the author of the acclaimed book China Live: People Power and the Television Revolution, and has received numerous awards for his journalism, including the Emmy, Peabody, and Dupont awards for his coverage of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crisis, and a Dupont Award for his coverage of the tsunami. He holds a BA from Yale University and an MS from Columbia University. He lives in Arcadia, California.

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