December 14, 2018

Event Coverage Highlight

OPC/West Event: China, Trump and the Lessons of History

Join us for a lively discussion on how China and the Chinese are seeing the coming Trump presidency, and on what the history of US-China relations can tell us about its prospects going forward, with author and former Washington Post China correspondent John Pomfret, UC Berkeley adjunct professor and founder of China Digital Times Xiao Qiang, and former NPR and PRI China correspondent Mary Kay Magistad, as moderator. Friends and spouses/partners welcome.

Please RSVP to Michael Montgomery at mmontgomery@revealnews.org. Michael can also be reached at 415-699-3233.

Panelists: 

John Pomfret, a former Washington Post bureau chief in Beijing and a foreign correspondent for two decades, is the author of The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, 1776 to the Present (2016) and Chinese Lessons: Five Classmates and the story of the New China (2006). Pomfret’s new book is a sweeping, deeply researched history of the ebbs and flows and recurring themes in the US-China relationship. His first book looks at China’s modern transformation through a personal lens, both through his eyes, as a young student of Chinese at Nanjing University 1980-82, and through the experiences of five of his classmates, both before they met as students, and in the decades since they studied together. In addition to reporting wars in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Congo, Sri Lanka, Iraq, southwestern Turkey and northeastern Iran, Pomfret spent seven years covering China – one in the late 1980s during the Tiananmen Square protests, and then from 1998 until the end of 2003 as the bureau chief for The Washington Post in Beijing. Returning to the United States in 2004, he was the paper’s West Coast bureau chief for two years before being appointed the editor of its Outlook section, the Post’s weekly commentary section, which he ran from 2007 until September 2009. Pomfret moved back to China in 2011 to undertake research funded by a Fulbright grant and the Smith Richardson Foundation for “The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom.” In 2003, Pomfret was awarded the Osborne Elliot Award by the Asia Society, for the best coverage of Asia. In 2007, Pomfret was awarded the Shorenstein Award from Harvard and Stanford universities for his lifetime coverage of Asia. In 2011, he was awarded the Weintal Award from Georgetown University for diplomatic coverage. He speaks, reads and writes Mandarin.

Xiao Qiang 萧强 is an Adjunct Professor at UC Berkeley’s School of Information, and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of China Digital Times, a bilingual China news website he founded in 2003 to bring uncensored news and online voices from China to the world. In 2010, CDT launched a Chinese language edition, to make available to people in China, content that had been censored or blocked in Chinese cyberspace. As an adjunct professor, Xiao teaches a class on digital activism, and runs the Counter-Power Lab, an interdisciplinary faculty-student group that researches how innovative technologies can expand the free flow of information in cyberspace. Xiao’s own research focuses on state censorship and control of the internet, emerging political discourse and public opinion on Chinese social media. A theoretical physicist by training, Xiao became a full-time human rights activist after the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre. He was executive director of the New York-based human rights monitoring group Human Rights in China, 1991-2002. He received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2001, and in January 2015, Foreign Policy magazine included him on a list of 50 people shaping the US-China relationship.

The moderator will be Mary Kay Magistad, who opened NPR’s first China bureau in Beijing in 1996 and, after almost four years covering China, and a break to do Nieman and Radcliffe fellowships at Harvard, returned for another decade as the Beijing-based East Asia correspondent for the BBC/PRI program “The World.” She is now the San Francisco-based creator and host of the podcast “Whose Century Is It?,” which explores ideas, trends and twists shaping the 21st century, including in the US-China relationship. Mary Kay also reported in Southeast Asia, 1988-95, for NPR, CBC, The Washington Post and others.