[Review] Assignment: China – The Week that Changed the World

“It was like going to the Moon.”

In 1972, President Nixon visited China and shook hands with Chairman Mao. On April 19, 2012, it is still a major talking point. This timeless and world-changing event has been extensively documented since the event, but never before like this. Mike Chinoy, the distinguished former CNN Asia correspondent and USC U.S.-China Institute Senior Fellow, introduced the Assignment: China series and a segment of the series was screened. It took place in our Speakers Hall from 6:30 pm.

Below are the reports from our USJ Voice junior reporters Dan and Jerusa in English and Portuguese respectively.

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A Capitalist in the Forbidden City

The political and commercial relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China took off shortly after the great revolution and the arrival of a new regime in China. American president Richard Nixon’s visit to China in the 1970’s is the first major landmark in US-Chinese history that officially marks the beginning of the linkage.  Given the fierce and unrelenting supervision of the Chinese government over local press and media, foreign press has not had its foot in the Chinese door up until Nixon’s historic arrival to Beijing. Nixon’s first-televised visit to some unique and significant heritage sites including the Forbidden City had a strong influence over the American people as well as the Chinese government, forcing both to reevaluate and reform their foreign policies. Following the visit, an unwritten national petition for more freedom of press landed on the desks of the central government in Beijing urging it to reconsider the blockade. It was a time when America had its first glimpse into long-isolated China and the American people’s first chance to establish an opinion and essentially a plan of action.

More recently, the U.S.-China Institute at the University of Southern California led by Mike Chinoy set out to explore Nixon’s visit to Beijing in far greater depth than what was offered in the 70’s and the years to follow in an expository documentary that includes unpublished photographs and interviews conducted by Nixon himself and his staff. In addition to the coverage of Nixon’s work in China the movie offers the insights and epistles of American journalists representing significant press organizations including the New York Times and the Washington Post who accompanied the American delegation on their trip.

Mr. Mike Chinoy is a Senior Fellow at the U.S.-China Institute at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, and the creator of the Assignment China documentary series on the history of American correspondents in China.

Mike Chinoy has been incredibly prolific and involved with Asian press coverage, working in China, the Philippines and Vietnam, covering major events including the Mao Tze Dong Funeral and The People’s Power revolution in the Philippines. Prior to his documentary production, Chinoy spent three years in North Korea where he wrote his book Meltdown: The Inside Story of the North Korean Nuclear Crisis.

Dan Shalev, Communications & Media Yr.1

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A Semana Que Mudou o Mundo

A Universidade de São José exibiu “Assignment – China: The Week that Changed the World”, o novo documentário reportado e narrado e por Mike Chinoy, ex-correspondente sénior da CNN Ásia Correspondente e Chefe do Gabinete de Pequim, e agora membro sénior do Instituto EUA-China e professor-visitante da USJ.

Mike Chinoy tem sido incrivelmente prolífico com a cobertura da imprensa asiática, retratando os principais eventos – incluindo o funeral de Mão Tze Dong e a Revolução do Poder do Povo nas Filipinas – sendo que este “ Assignment China: The Week that Changed the World” oferece uma visão marcante da visita do presidente Richard Nixon à China há 40 anos atrás, em Fevereiro de 1972, e mais profundamente dos bastidores por trás da cobertura em torno desta viagem histórica.

O termo “A semana que mudou o Mundo” foi aplicado pelo presidente Richard Nixon aquando de uma visita que mudou, literalmente, o equilíbrio do poder Mundial – os EUA criaram uma aliança com a China contra a União Soviética terminando com uma relação de inimigos com mais de 20 anos. Subitamente, devido à visita, estes dois países desenvolveram uma parceria que levou ao reconhecimento diplomático, estendido hoje em dia, ao comércio, investimento, turismo, etc.

Para muitos Americanos e Ocidentais a China estava completamente isolada do resto do Mundo e ninguém tinha notícias sobre os acontecimentos no país. Por causa dessa visita, quase 100 dos mais famosos e importantes jornalistas e repórteres Americanos tiveram a oportunidade de visitar a China e, através deles, pessoas de todo o Mundo conseguiram ver uma China diferente e mais positiva, vista para além daquela que conheciam pela Revolução Cultural dos anos 60. Neste marco histórico, os media tiveram um papel muito importante,  com noticiários e reportagens ao vivo a levarem a todos a visita de Nixon à China.

Meios de Comunicação

Revendo estas passagens históricas de há 40 anos atrás, vemos que os meios de comunicação não trazem só equilíbrio mundial mas também compreensão entre nações. Aliás, hoje em dia, não é só em papel e caneta que se comunica mas em vários outros tipos de meios que variam de computador portátil ao iphone, do facebook ao twiter.  “É muito excitante poder estar no Mundo das Comunicações com as novas tecnologias que existem hoje em dia. O domínio dessas tecnologias é muito importante, mas não podemos perder de vista que no final os valores de um bom jornalismo são os mesmos, seja ele feito num iphone ou num caderno. O importante é que os media façam um trabalho sério, cuidadoso, onde se conheçam os factos e todas as faces da história. Há que se ser justo e comunicar de uma forma que o público fique interessado em ler, ouvir ou ver”, afirma o promitente Mike Chinoy.

Jerusa Antunes, ano 3 do curso de Comunicação e Media

Below is the Youtube video with Segment shown in the Speaker’s Hall ( 中文字幕版 ). Go to the website to see more videos and forthcoming segments.

For more information on this, go to the USC US-China Institute website: http://china.usc.edu/ShowArticle.aspx?articleID=2526

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