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Release: Oct. 18, 2000

Former BBC correspondent Philip Short to discuss legacy of Mao Oct. 25th

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The shadow of Mao Zedong looms large over contemporary China. Former BBC correspondent and Mao biographer Philip Short will discuss the legacy of the late Chinese leader and what it means for contemporary China during his presentation Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. in Lecture Room II Van Allen Hall on the UI campus.

The presentation is sponsored by the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies (CAPS).

Short spent the last seven years researching and writing "Mao: A Life." His book, published earlier this year, has been praised in U.S. and European reviews as the most detailed and illuminating history of Mao's life ever written.

Short will review the material he uncovered while conducting the research for this book, as well as the difficulties he encountered in writing Mao's biography. Most of this information, including memoirs, reminiscences, previously secret archival documents and interviews with key participants, has only become accessible in China during the recent decade.

Short will discuss how this new information has changed the understanding of Mao and his place in Chinese history. In addition, he will look at how the Chinese people and the present Chinese regime view Mao and what implications this has for the future of the country.

His account of Mao's life is not the only life history Short has written. He wrote "Banda" (1974), the biography of President Hastings Banda of Malawi. He is also the author of "The Dragon and the Bear" (1982), a comparison of the Soviet Union after Stalin and China after the death of Mao.

Originally from Bristol, England, Short began his journalism career in 1967 at Drum magazine where he worked in Johannesburg and Harare. From 1967-70 he worked as a freelance journalist for the BBC, Associated Press, Time magazine, and The Financial Times among others while based in Blantyre, Malawi. He continued to freelance for these news agencies and ABC Radio News while stationed in Uganda from 1971-73.

In 1973 Short joined the BBC in London as a staff reporter. During his years as a BBC correspondent he worked in Moscow (1974-76), Beijing (1977-81), Paris (1981-90), Tokyo (1990-95) and Washington D.C. (1996-97).

Short came to the UI as a visiting scholar in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications during the 1997-98 academic year. He was also the International Programs' Distinguished Visiting Professional for fall 1997. He taught a course on foreign corresponding and appeared a number of times as a guest speaker and lecturer.

Since 1998 Short has been pursuing his writing career. He will be touring with his new book during October and November.

For more information about his Oct. 25 presentation, contact Scott Grau at CAPS, 335-1305.

CAPS is part of the UI International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and training.