Assignment: China – Tiananmen Square tells the behind-the-scenes story of the American reporters who covered the tumultuous events of spring 1989 in Beijing. With video footage and still photos, some never shown before in public, and interviews with journalists who were there, including Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, Daniel Southerland of the Washington Post, Dan Rather of CBS, Dorinda Elliott of Newsweek, and many others, it tells a largely unknown side of a story the world is revisiting 25 years later. The documentary is the latest episode in a series on the history of American correspondents in China produced by the U.S.-China Institute at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
On June 25, 2014, the National Committee hosted a screening of the film at the New School's India China Institute. After the film, correspondent Dorinda Elliott, National Committee staffer Jonathan Lowet, and NYU Law Professor Frank Upham discussed their first-person perspectives on the events, and implications for contemporary China and Sino-American relations.
Watch the film and learn more about Assignment: China at the USC U.S.-China Institute website or the institute’s YouTube channel.
Bios:Dorinda Elliott covered the beginnings of China's economic reforms in 1984 for BusinessWeek magazine, and served as Beijing bureau chief for Newsweek from 1987 to 1990. She later lived in Hong Kong for a decade, traveling and reporting across China. Since her return to the United States, she has continued to write about China for Condé Nast Traveler, ChinaFile, and other media outlets.
Jonathan Lowet taught English in Beijing (1988-89) and Wuhan (spring 1990) as a Yale-China Association fellow. Since 2004 he has worked on next generation programs at the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, leading Congressional staff delegations to China, and managing the Young Leaders Forum, the Student Leaders Exchange, and a range of other Committee programs.
Frank Upham is the Wilf Family Professor of Property Law and co-director of the U.S.-Asia Law Institute at the NYU School of Law, as well as faculty director of NYU Law's semester abroad program in Shanghai. Professor Upham is a scholar of the role of law in Japanese and Chinese societies with a special interest in property rights issues. He conducted research at the Wuhan University Faculty of Law in spring 1989.