Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

 See the
Conversations with History Blog

See a webcast of this interview:
 Pomfret

Hear a podcast of this interview:
 Pomfret

See also the 1997 interview
with John Pomfret, "Covering
Human Rights"

The Emergence of the New China:
Conversation with John Pomfret, Foreign Correspondent, Washington Post; February 8, 2007, by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is John Pomfret, who is a correspondent for the Washington Post. As a foreign correspondent he has covered Bosnia, the Balkans, China, the Congo, and was recently the bureau chief in Beijing. He is now the bureau chief in Los Angeles and he's about to become editor of the Outlook section of the Washington Post. He has just written a book about his experiences in China, both as a student and as a reporter. It's called Chinese Lessons.

  1. Telling the Story ... finding old friends ... 1980 trip to China ... first impressions ... the hippest thing ... dorm life ... unique relationships ... red tape ... hospitality
  2. Telling Others' Stories ... the Cultural Revolution ... "scar literature" ... bookishness hides suffering ... cultural numbness ... forgetting the past to move forward ... economic reforms ... balm on the wounds ... show me the money ... battling political factions
  3. The Tiananmen Massacre ... journalist on the scene ... racist demonstration in Nanjing turns pro-democracy ... small demonstrations in Beijing also morph and grow ... "metastasize" ... civil society outside of the Party ... soldiers firing ... ejected from China ... prevention of bloodier civil war ... recovery
  4. Classmates' Lives Today ... alumni associations ... middle class ... increase in wealth ... children going abroad ... totalitarian free-marketeers ... pursuing wealth ... agent of one's fate ... Party buys off the elite ... continuing corruption ... democracy as "clear rules" ... walking the line
  5. China's Future ... Chinese citizens' view of US ... economic interdependency ... future balance of power ... exporting the Chinese model ... public trust and moral vacuum ... reintroducing Confucianism ... Party concern for loss of control ... treating China like a normal country ... US should lead by example ... go to China

PomfretPomfretPomfret

© Copyright 2007, Regents of the University of California

Site questions: Email iis_webmgr at berkeley.edu.