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Film: Assignment: China -- The Week that Changed the World
Mike Chinoy, U.S.-China Institute,University of Southern California
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
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