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Assignment China: Tiananmen Square

The School of Media and Public Affairs

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (EDT)

Assignment China: Tiananmen Square

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The George Washington University School of Media & Public Affairs and

The Sigur Center for Asian Studies present:

Assignment China: Tiananmen Square

A Documentary Screening and Discussion



 Wednesday, April 23, 2014

 Doors open at 6:15pm, Event 6:30pm - 8:30pm

 The film screening (showing at GW in its Washington D.C. premiere) is 90 minutes, followed by a post-screening discussion and Q and A

 Funger Hall, Room 108
2201 G Street, N.W
Ground Floor
This event is free and open to the public

 Please arrive early - seating is on a first to arrive, first to be seated basis.

 Parking Information


Interact at the post-screening discussion with these experts:

Ed Dan Jim Mann

Moderated by
Edward McCord

Director, Sigur Center for Asian Studies; Associate Professor of History and International Affairs; Director, Taiwan Education and Research Program

Professor McCord received his M.A. and Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan. A specialist in Chinese history, he lived and studied for five years in Taiwan and the People's Republic of China.

Dan Southerland
Executive Editor,

Radio Free Asia

From 1985 to 1990, Southerland was The Washington Post’s bureau chief in Beijing and covered the Tiananmen Square crisis firsthand.

He was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for his 1989 coverage of the Tiananmen uprising and crackdown.

Jim Mann, former Beijing correspondent for the
Los Angeles Times

James Mann is the author of a series of award-winning books on American foreign policy and China. He was the Beijing correspondent for the LA Times from 1984 to 1987 and covered China as a Washington correspondent. He was sent back to China in May of 1989 for a few weeks, up to and including June 4, to cover the crisis on the ground.

He is is now an author-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Documentary Background: 
The Tiananmen Square crisis in 1989 was a turning point for China. Weeks of student-led demonstrations turned into the largest protest for political reform in the history of the People's Republic. The bloody military crackdown which crushed the movement on the night of June 3-4, 1989, had far-reaching consequences, not only for China's development, but for its relations with the rest of the world.

One reason was that Tiananmen Square was also a watershed moment in the history of the media. It generated unparalleled international coverage, and became a defining moment in the Information Age – the first time a popular uprising in an authoritarian state was broadcast live across the globe. The images from that time – the Goddess of Democracy, the man in front of the tank shown above  -  have become enduring symbols of popular resistance to injustice. The coverage of Tiananmen redefined the relationship between the press, public opinion, and foreign policy making, and continues to influence both Chinese politics and international perceptions of China to this day.

With the 25th anniversary of the crackdown, the U.S.-China Institute at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is releasing the newest episode of its multi-part documentary film series on the history of American correspondents in China.  Assignment China: Tiananmen Square tells the behind-the-scenes story of the reporters who covered the dramatic events in Beijing that spring.

Reported and narrated by Institute Senior Fellow Mike Chinoy, who was CNN's Beijing Bureau Chief at the time, Assignment China: Tiananmen Square contains interviews with most of the leading American journalists who were in Beijing, as well as others who played a role in the press coverage.

Those interviewed in the film include:

Dan Southerland of the Washington Post, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn of the New York Times, John Pomfret of the AP, Jeff Widener, the AP photographer who took the picture of the man in front of the tank, Al Pessin of VOA, Dan Rather, John Sheahan and Richard Roth of CBS News, Bernard Shaw, Alec Miran, Johnathan Schaer (who shot the CNN tank man video) and Mike Chinoy from CNN, Jim Laurie of ABC, Jaime FlorCruz of Time, Adi Ignatius of the Wall St. Journal, Dorinda Elliot of Newsweek,  plus many others. Non-media interviewees include former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker, former American ambassadors to China Winston Lord and James Lilley, Tiananmen student leader Wang Dan, and others.

With video footage and still photos, some never been shown in public before, Assignment China: Tiananmen Square tells a largely unknown side of a story the world will be revisiting a quarter century after the tumultuous events in Beijing in the spring of 1989.


School of Media & Public Affairs

Sigur Center

Have questions about Assignment China: Tiananmen Square? Contact The School of Media and Public Affairs

When & Where

Funger Hall
Room 108
2201 G Street, N.W
Washington, DC 20052

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (EDT)

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The School of Media and Public Affairs

The School of Media and Public Affairs is an established thought leader for teaching and research in the areas of political communication, journalism, global communication and documentary filmmaking. We have pioneered two of those fields, offering Journalism classes since 1938 and establishing the world’s first Political Communication major in 1982.  Our classes are taught by full-time professors and successful adjunct professionals with recognized reputations in their field and a dedication to publishing with and mentoring our student body.

The only communication school in the center of the world’s politics and media capital, the School of Media and Public Affairs brings Washington D.C. into our classrooms and our students out into the city. 

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