Former CNN Senior Asia Correspondent Mike Chinoy to Screen New Film on Nixon’s Historic China Visit

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Former CNN Senior Asia Correspondent and Beijing Bureau Chief Mike Chinoy screens his new documentary, Assignment: China – The Week that Changed the World, which tells the behind-the-scenes story of the journalists who covered President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China in 1972, a milestone in both world and journalism history. The screening takes place Wednesday, March 21, Noon – 1:30 p.m. at East-West Center’s John A. Burns Hall, 1601 East-West Rd., Rm. 4005. The hour-long film will be followed by Q&A with Mike Chinoy.

Info: The screening is free and open to the public. Attendees are welcome to bring their own brown-bag lunch. Paid parking available on UH Manoa campus.

RSVP/Contact: 808-944-7111; Email:



Sponsors: East-West Center, Parvin Journalism Program, University of Hawai‘i School of Communications, Society of Professional Journalists-Hawai‘i Chapter.

Background: President Richard Nixon’s visit to China in February 1972 changed the course of history – reshaping the global balance of power and opening the door to the establishment of relations between the People’s Republic and the United States.

It was also a milestone in the history of journalism. Since the communist revolution of 1949, a suspicious regime in Beijing had barred virtually all U.S. reporters from China.  For the Nixon trip, however, the Chinese agreed to accept nearly 100 journalists, and to allow the most dramatic events – Nixon’s arrival in Beijing, Zhou Enlai’s welcoming banquet, 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 story of how that momentous event was covered is much less well-known. Now a new documentary film, Assignment: China – The Week that Changed the World, offers a behind-the-scenes perspective from the journalists’ point of view.

Reported and narrated by U.S.-China Institute Senior Fellow Mike Chinoy, the film contains previously unreleased footage of the Nixon visit, along with interviews with Chinese officials, Nixon staffers and 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,  Dirck Halstead, who was a photographer for UPI, and many others.

Produced by the U.S.-China Institute at the University of Southern California, where Chinoy is a Senior Fellow, the film offers a previously untold perspective on one of the most important moments in U.S. diplomatic history.

The EAST-WEST CENTER promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1960, the Center serves as a resource for information and analysis on critical issues of common concern, bringing people together to exchange views, build expertise, and develop policy options.

Submitted by the East West Center