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US journalists recall landmark trip

By Tan Yingzi (China Daily)

09:16, January 20, 2012

Premier Zhou Enlai and US President Richard Nixon review a guard of honor on Nixon's arrival at Beijing Airport on Feb 21, 1972. (Xinhua Photo)

WASHINGTON - Forty years ago, nearly 100 US correspondents landed in China to begin their unforgettable and adventurous journey covering the historic visit of US President Richard Nixon, which changed the world's political landscape.

The US broadcast networks televised live the images of Nixon shaking hands with Premier Zhou Enlai, and Nixon going to the Great Hall of the People and attending a banquet with senior Chinese officials.

But how this coverage took place and how it evolved was not well-known to the public. So Mike Chinoy, former CNN senior Asia correspondent and Beijing bureau chief, decided to make a documentary to record this milestone in US journalism history.

Produced by the US-China Institute (USCI) at the University of Southern California, Assignment: China - The Week that Changed the World uses previously unreleased footage and interviews with the reporters and officials who accompanied Nixon to tell the behind-the-scenes story of the media coverage of the trip.

"One of the consequences of the trip came from the media coverage which helped change American perceptions about China and laid the ground for a better relationship," Chinoy told China Daily before the screening of the film on Tuesday at the United States Institute of Peace.

"In Assignment: China, we are trying to tell the behind-the-scenes story of who actually told the Nixon story, and add a new dimension to our understanding of that."

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