CHINA LIVE by Mike Chinoy


Two Decades in the Heart of the Dragon
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 A surprisingly good memoir by CNN's longtime Beijing bureau chief, which offers vivid proof why (thanks to journalists like Chinoy) CNN is no longer Chicken Noodle News. Chinoy, a '60s radical, developed a fascination with China when he was first sent there in 1971 by a left-wing New York paper, the Guardian. He kept going back, putting in stints at CBS and NBC, but found himself deeply frustrated by the ``superficiality and cavalier treatment'' of foreign news exhibited by the networks. He joined the unknown, underfunded CNN in 1983 as a ``London-based `fireman'--a guy who chases crises all over the globe,'' and eventually ended up back in China. Chinoy had a front-row seat from which to watch the impact of a truly revolutionary new technology on China, a new kind of network that could not easily be shut out. He covered both the heady early days of the democracy movement and its brutal suppression. He has not attempted to give an in-depth study of the movement but has combined a moving chronicle of his experiences--the young protestors ``reminded me of my own generation, only they were braver''--with a sense of what it meant to deal with a totalitarian regime's uncertainty in coming to grips with both the movement and CNN: The efforts of two Chinese officials to stop the network's broadcasts were seen around the world. CNN's global presence and its audience's insatiable appetite for news may not be entirely a good thing--Chinoy is all too conscious of the difficulty of combining in-depth reporting with the swiftly paced demands of a crisis, though he found some ingenious ways to deal with it--but it is a fact. Those days in China were, said the New York Times, ``glory days for CNN.'' A fine and unusually truthful revelation of the changes America's technology is making throughout the world. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen) (Author tour; TV/radio satellite tour)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1997
ISBN: 1-57036-360-9
Page count: 400pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1997


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