SOAS University of London

SOAS China Institute

"China Watching" during the GPCR

John Gittings (SOAS, University of London)

Date: 9 April 2018Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 9 April 2018Time: 6:30 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G3

Type of Event: Seminar

**This event has been rescheduled from 12 March 2018 due to UCU strike action. It will now take place on Monday 9 April 2018.**

This seminar is free and open to the public. No registration is required, however, admission is on a first-come, first-served basis.


50 years ago, John Gittings joined the Far Eastern Economic Review  in Hong Kong  as its "China Watcher", following  the turbulent events of the  GPCR across the uncrossable Chinese border.  In 1971 he finally managed to visit the mainland, not as a journalist but with a delegation from the  Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding .  At the time and after, both types of observation aroused controversy, with outside commentators criticised for Pekinology and lack of understanding, while "friendship" visitors were accused of bias and self-censorship.   In retrospect the limitations of both approaches are evident, whether arising from lack of information or failure of perception. Gittings looks critically at his own output as well as that of others and concludes that the insights gained then can still add to our understanding.


John Gittings was on the staff of The Guardian (London) newspaper as East Asia editor and foreign leader-writer (1983-2003), travelling frequently to China and setting up the paper's bureau there.  A graduate in Oriental Studies at Oxford University, he previously published  research on the Chinese PLA and on Sino-Soviet relations for Chatham House, worked in Chile and Hong Kong, and taught at the Polytechnic of Central London. His most recent books are The Changing Face of China (2005) and The Glorious Art of Peace (2012).

Organiser: SOAS China Institute

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