Film: Assignment: China -- The Week that Changed the World

Mike Chinoy, U.S.-China Institute,University of Southern California
Michael H. Armacost, Shorenstein APARC, Stanford University

RSVP required by 5PM February 3

Richard Nixon’s visit to China in Feb. 1972 reshaped the global balance of power and opened the door to the establishment of relations between China and the United States.

It was also a milestone in the history of journalism. Since the communist revolution of 1949, Beijing had barred virtually all U.S. reporters from China. For the Nixon trip, however, it agreed to accept nearly 100 journalists, and to allow the most dramatic events—Nixon’s arrival in Beijing, Zhou Enlai’s welcoming banquet, and visits to the Great Wall and the Forbidden City—to be televised live.

The coverage was arguably as important as the details of the diplomacy. It profoundly transformed American and international perceptions of a long-isolated China, generated the public support Nixon needed to change U.S. policy, and laid the groundwork for Beijing’s gradual move to open China to greater international media coverage.

While the outlines of the Nixon trip are familiar, the behind-the-scenes story of how that momentous event was covered is much less well known. The U.S.-China Institute at the University of Southern California has produced a new documentary film: Assignment: China—The Week that Changed the World.

The Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center will present a special screening of Assignment: China, followed by commentary from the film’s reporter and narrator Mike Chinoy, who is currently a senior fellow at the U.S.-China Institute and formerly CNN’s senior Asia correspondent and Beijing bureau chief. Shorenstein Distinguished Fellow Michael Armacost will provide insight into the historical significance of Nixon’s 1972 visit.

About the Film
Assignment: China—The Week that Changed the World contains remarkable and previously unreleased footage of the Nixon visit, interviews with Chinese officials, people who worked for Nixon, as well as many of the journalistic luminaries who accompanied the president. These include Dan Rather and Bernard Kalb of CBS, Ted Koppel and Tom Jarriel of ABC, Barbara Walters of NBC, Max Frankel of the New York Times, Stanley Karnow of the Washington Post, photographer Dirck Halstead of UPI, and many others.

Reported and narrated by Mike Chinoy, the film offers a fascinating and previously untold perspective on one of the most important historical moments of the 20th century.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012 | 12:00 pm — 1:30 pm
Philippines Conference Room, Encina Hall, 3rd Floor

Shorenstein APARC