Documentary Screening- Assignment China: CHINA WATCHING & Discussion-Free Event

Date : November 13, 2012(Tuesday)

Time : 5:00pm – 6:30pm

Venue : CBA, Chow Yei Ching Building, The University of Hong Kong

Speaker : Mike Chinoy



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.

Reported by former CNN Asia Correspondent Mike Chinoy


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.

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  • Marzena

    Regretting I became a member just now (too late for the screening)!! I would love to see it! Thank you for this interesting input!

    November 18, 2012

  • Natasha

    Hello there, I'm annoyed as I really wanted to attend this screening but had the biggest trouble trying to find this building as most cab drivers didn't know where to go or had never heard of it. The location was a bit vague and the map doesn't locate it so next time a full address would be more helpful! I am somewhat new to HK so its not easy to navigate my way around yet. Hope people enjoyed it.

    November 13, 2012

    • Art Exploration S.

      Dear Natasha, there is no street name. We have communicated the exact information that HKU has communicated to us. Taxi drivers don't normally know the buildings within HKU. If you are unfamiliar with HKU, the best way next time is to ask a student or a guard for directions.

      November 13, 2012

    • Natasha

      Fair enough. Thanks for letting me know.

      November 13, 2012

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