The Journalism and Media Studies Centre (JMSC) will present a screening and discussion of the documentary Assignment China: CHINA WATCHING on Tuesday, November 13 in HKU’s Chow Yei Ching Building.

About the film:

A documentary film on the colorful group of journalists who “watched” China from Hong Kong in the 50s, 60s, and early 70s when the People’s Republic was largely off-limits to the Western media.

After Mao Zedong’s communists took power in China in 1949, American journalists were barred from the country. For more than two decades, until Richard Nixon’s historic trip to Beijing in 1972, the People’s Republic remained off-limits to the American press and almost all other western reporters. During this period, as the country experienced revolution, famine, and upheaval, covering China was the job of “China-watchers.”

Operating primarily from Hong Kong, an entire generation of journalists developed the Chinese equivalent of “Kremlinology”- looking for clues in official propaganda, interviewing refugees and defectors, swapping notes with diplomats and spooks – and in the process, producing a surprisingly accurate picture of China in turmoil.

This episode of “Assignment China” is 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. The lead reporter is Mike Chinoy, a Senior Fellow at the Institute and former CNN Beijing bureau chief and Senior Asia Correspondent who is currently a visiting Fulbright scholar at HKU.

The film features interviews with journalists who covered China during those years, including such well-known correspondents as Stanley Karnow, Robert Elegant, Robert Keatley, Henry Bradsher, Roy Rowan, John Roderick, Ted Koppel, Morley Safer, and John Rich.

It also includes interviews with scholars who have studied the work of these journalists, and government officials who had to be mindful of how such reporting influenced public opinion and thereby affected their ability to make and implement policies. It has rare archival footage of Hong Kong and China from the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

Details of the event are below.

Documentary Screening: Assignment China: CHINA WATCHING 

Date: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Time: 5:00-6:30pm
Venue: CBA, Chow Yei Ching Building, The University of Hong Kong
Speaker: Mike Chinoy, Producer, Assignment: China; former CNN Senior Asia Correspondent and Beijing Bureau Chief

This screening is open to the public. Admission is free. No registration is required.