Club Dinner: Assignment China: The 1980’s
Speaker: Mike Chinoy
Former CNN Beijing Bureau Chief
Senior Fellow, U.S.-China Institute, University of Southern California
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23, 2014
7:00pm – Dinner
Topic: Assignment China: The 1980’s
The mid-1980s saw a dramatic relaxation of Communist Party control over China’s economic, political, and intellectual life. It was arguably the most liberal period in the history of the People’s Republic, as a new generation of reformers sought to push the country towards a more open and tolerant system. These same trends, however, alarmed Party hardliners, who made repeated attempts to roll back the tide of liberalization. For members of the American press corps in Beijing, it was a period of testing the boundaries, challenging the restrictions on news coverage at the heart of the system, and exploring parts of Chinese society that had long been off-limits. Assignment China: the 1980s tells their story.
Assignment China is a multi-part documentary film series on the history of American journalists in China being produced by the U.S.-China Institute at the University of Southern California. Assignment China: the 1980s features interviews with some of the leading journalists who covered China during those years, They include John Burns, Edward Gargan and Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times; Michael Weisskopf and Dan Southerland of the Washington Post; Richard Hornik and Jaime FlorCruz of Time; Michael Parks and Jim Mann of the Los Angeles Times; John Sheahan of CBS News; John Pomfret of the Associated Press; Adi Ignatius of the Wall St. Journal; and Dorinda Elliot of Newsweek. The film breaks important new ground, with John Burns revealing new details about his detention and expulsion from China in 1986, Mike Wallace’s producer sharing the behind-the-story story of the disastrous CBS “60 Minutes” 1986 interview with Deng Xiaoping, which almost got CBS News kicked out of China, and much more.