A Conversation On China: Sidney Rittenberg and James Fallows

Event Date: 
Tue, 2013-05-14 18:00 - 19:30

The Washington State China Relations Council proudly presents Jim Fallows and Sidney Rittenberg: A Conversation on China. These pre-eminent China experts will engage each other in a extended discussion of China’s emergence as a global power, prospects and problems for U.S.-China relations (and how that relationship will affect our state) and the priorities for China’s new leadership.

This will be a history making event by two of the very top people in the China field. The program will be recorded by TVW with a possible feed for national broadcast. Space is very limited so do not wait to register.

Date: 5/14/2013
Time: 6:00 - 7:30
Reception at 5:15
Location: ACT Theater
700 Union Street
Seattle, WA 98101

Cost: $35 general admission; $25 WSCRC members; $10 students

Sidney Rittenberg, "the man Who Stayed Behind," was sent to China in the closing days of WWII as a Chinese interpreter in the US army. He demobilized in China and elected to stay there, eventually traveling to Yan'an in western China where the Chinese communist government was based. Meeting with Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, they told him they needed a native English speaker to explain their policies to the United States. Rittenberg witnessed, and took part in, the formation of modern China, and lived through all its complexities. A strong proponent of the Cultural Revolution, he himself fell victim to its chaos after offending one of the "Gang of Four" and spent 10 years in solitary confinement until his release at the end of the Cultural Revolution.

Rittenberg, now 91 years old, continues to consult for large American corporations with interests in China. Throughout his time in China, Rittenberg was connected with the upper echelons of the Communist Party leadership and knew every major Communist Chinese leader, including Mao, Zhou Enlai, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and its new leader, Xi Jinping. Rittenberg is recognized throughout China by his Chinese name, Li Dunbai (李敦白).

James Fallows is an American print and radio journalist. A national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly for many years, his work has also appeared in many other publications. He is a former editor of U.S. News & World Report, and before that spent two years as President Jimmy Carter's chief speechwriter. Fallows graduated from Harvard, where he was the editor of the The Harvard Crimson, and was a Rhodes Scholar studying economics at the University of Oxford. From 1979 through 1996, he was the Washington Editor for The Atlantic, which included spending four years in Asia. He covered immigration, defense policy, politics, economics, computer technology, among other subjects. He won the National Magazine Award in 2003 for his article "The Fifty-First State?", the National Book Award for National Defense and a NY Emmy in 2010 for hosting the documentary series "Doing Business in China".

Fallows, who spent three years in China (2006-09), has published several books on China including "China Airborne" and "Postcards from Tomorrow Square". Fallows’ writing demonstrates a remarkable ability to analyze both China's unprecedented achievements in economic modernization and its inherent limitations.

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