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Assignment China: the new millennium


China entered the 2000s riding a continuing wave of economic growth. However, 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 liberalisation, 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. The documentary “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 were shaping China today first began to take shape, said former CNN correspondent Mike Chinoy at an FCC dinner screening on November 9. He is also  a senior fellow at the US-China Institute, University of Southern California.

It featured interviews with many of the leading correspondents from that time, including Elisabeth Rosenthal, Joseph Kahn, and David Barboza of The New York Times, Philip Pan and John Pomfret of the Washington Post, Peter Hessler of the New Yorker, Rebecca MacKinnon of CNN, Barry Petersen of CBS, Ching-Ching Ni of the Los Angeles Times, Louisa Lim of NPR, Hannah Beech of Time, Andrew Browne and Ian Johnson of The Wall St. Journal, and many others. The “New Millennium” is one episode of Assignment China, a 12-part documentary film series on the history of American journalists in China produced by the US-China Institute.

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