The centenary of the birth of Edgar Snow, one of the first Western journalists to pierce to the heart of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the New China, is being marked with an international conference.
The two-day conference, "Understanding China: Centennial Commemoration of Edgar Snow's Birth," which opened in Beijing yesterday, is being jointly hosted by Peking University, the State Council Information Office and the University of Missouri.
Edgar Snow (July 19, 1905 - February 15, 1972), an American journalist and writer, was the first Western journalist to visit Yan'an, once the "red capital" of China. During the 1936 visit, Snow interviewed a group of CPC leaders, including Chairman Mao Zedong.
Snow's interviews resulted in the book "Red Star Over China," the first Western book to give an accurate first-hand account of how the CPC, the Red Army and the people under the CPC's governance were struggling to defend their country against the Japanese invasion and improve people's welfare.
His reports helped win the CPC international sympathy and support during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-45), said Zhao Yuming, president of China Society of Journalism History.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Snow visited China several times to report on the country's progress against a background of hostility towards China by Western powers.
Snow's work contributed not only to the revolution and the construction of the new China, but also to US people's understanding of China, said Esther Thorson, vice-dean of the Faculty of Journalism and Communication at the University of Missouri, Snow's Alma Mater.
Because of Snow, people in Missouri and the university's students in particular became more and more concerned about China. So far, 50 graduates of the university have worked in China.
In his speech to the conference, Zhao Qizheng, minister of the State Council Information Office, agreed with Thorson, encouraging international writers to write extensively and truthfully about China and report China to the world.
Zhao also promised that his office would try to offer more information about China to safisfy foreign demands.
Gong Wenxiang, executive dean of the School of Journalism and Communication at Peking University, said in terms of communicating China to the outside world, besides giving more accurate information, more competing views should be encouraged to allow readers to make decisions for themselves.
The two-day conference ends today.
Source: China Daily