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From the frontlines

By Xu Jingxi  (China Daily)

08:33, June 13, 2012

Hong Kong-based journalist Susanna Cheung Chui-yung gets a warm welcome from Palestinians at a refugee camp in 2002. Provided to China Daily

A Hong Kong war correspondent's newest book focuses on ordinary people in conflict zones. Xu Jingxi speaks with her in Guangzhou.

A group of Israeli soldiers broke into a house in Delin village in Palestine late one night in 2003. The homeowner, a Palestinian college student who was showering, rushed out - wrapped in a towel - to meet the intruders. The reason for the raid was that the young Palestinian had carelessly told Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint that he was a political science student. Consequently, he was suspected of participating in a political movement against Israel.

But the student wasn't detained after his interrogation.

This is one of the stories Hong Kong-based independent journalist Susanna Cheung Chui-yung shared in her latest book, On the Scene in the Middle East (Zhongdong Xianchang).

The author joined an event for the book's Chinese mainland release. It was organized by the Guangdong bureau of Sina.com in Guangdong's provincial capital Guangzhou in June.

Cheung's girl-next-door appearance, marked by dimples, a sweet smile and bouts of giggling, is distinct from the stereotype of tough-looking women war correspondents like Marie Colvin, who wore an eye patch after a rocket propelled grenade damaged her left eye in Sri Lanka until she was killed this year in Syria.

Cheung's books also break from war reporting conventions. They don't chronicle battlefield adventures or focus on interviews with important figures in the conflicts.

"My books are about ordinary people and their stories, and show how they live under fire and what they think about their lives in unrest and wars," the correspondent says.

The 47-year-old has published four books about her war zone experiences.

Since 1999, she has covered Kosovo, East Timor's independence referendum, the Iraq War, Latin American revolutions and the Arab Spring. She has interviewed such political leaders as Yasser Arafat and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.


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