Ep. 2: American Correspondents in China

China Books

Nov 7 2023 • 45 mins

China's rise is one of the great stories of the past century, and China correspondents have told that story in myriad ways -- as a story of transformation, of falling poverty rates and rising power, of new wealth and old political elites, of new opportunities and unintended consequences, of abuses of rights and of power, of surveillance and censorship.  Together, these different pieces formed a complex and sometimes contradictory picture -- shaping understandings, and sometimes misunderstandings -- about how China is changing, and is changing the world.

American correspondents have been a big part of this effort. In this episode, former CNN China correspondent Mike Chinoy talks his book and documentary film series Assignment China: An Oral History of American Journalists in the People's Republic, about how the work of American China correspondents has changed over seven decades, about why China correspondents matter, and what we lose when fewer are in the field.

The China Books podcast is hosted and produced by Mary Kay Magistad, a former award-winning China correspondent for NPR and PRI/BBC's The World, now a senior fellow at Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations. This podcast is a companion of the China Books Review, which offers incisive essays, interviews, and reviews on all things China books-related. Co-publishers are Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations, headed by Orville Schell, and The Wire China, co-founded by David Barboza, a former Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times China correspondent. The Review's editor is Alec Ash, who can be reached at editor@chinabooksreview.com.

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