tv Book TV Encore Booknotes CSPAN June 4, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT
the pictures started to go away. what most people assume is the pictures were going away because oil birds were going away. less birds. the less images. that did not happen. as the number of oil birds was increasing the photographs were degreasing and the reason why was we started threatened to be thrown in jail if we went within 40 miles -- 40 feet of booms. if we went on the beaches where there was oil. i was trying to go out on boats to take pictures and talk to people to go out into the water and when the person driving the boat found out i was a book author they wouldn't take me because i will get a $40,000 fine and you will be thrown in jail. i went on the beaches even though it meant risking being thrown in jail and did what i could tell this story and we all did our best to do it and the story became difficult to tell and i'd do that was going to
happen so i decided very early on that this was going to require more than an article, more than a few days. it would require a full book of investigation and it would require spending as much time as possible in those communities most affected and i spend my time -- my previous books for those who have read them are really policy books. my background is public policy. i work for two members of congress, and public policy storage taliban. this was going to need to be a different book and it is really a book that is the human story of the human impact and the people impacted on all sides. i talk to people employed in the oil industry begins the oil executives leaders will fischer's leaguers the indictment lists, policymakers who spent time in washington d.c. and policymakers here and
it may have caused this whole. explain that. >> guest, ron stain of circumstance. the general secretary, and a brilliant man with a brilliant mind and the flashy new idea. as spend some time with them. great he. he was one of those mines. great reader. as one day it must have popped into his mind, in the course of a speech he said, it is time for china to abandon chopsticks. insanitary, old-fashioned, as a symbol of the old china. take up the knife and fork. of course even outside of japan
and many people talk about chopsticks. it was used against him politically. what kind of a man is the? how can he be leader of the communist party. it just showed you, said his critics, that he is not to be tested. well, since there were already an attack pro being progressive, this turned out to be a very valuable political weapon used against him and play-doh role in his downfall
the anti chopstick ran. he cagers to the students. get rid of him. he was dismissed. he went into retirement. on the 15th of april of this year he died. students have never forgotten him and still think of him as their champion. right into the streets. they start demonstrating and then they marched up once again to tiananmen square, and that is how this whole critical episode, like the demonstrations and eventually ending with the army bombarded is where on the fourth of june all began. c-span: what was his position, and when was he ended? >> guest: general secretary of the communist party.
he was appointed general secretary, i believe, i'm not absolutely sure, but it must have been about sometime in the early 80's. leader of the communist youth organization, allied from the very earliest times. into protective custody. the very gregarious, very reliable and able allied. an enormous task before him. his choices right. he was a very able man. the yen side of him was responsible for many of the defects that appeared. that is how. c-span: did he know him?
>> guest: i did. a very delightful evening. had a long, formal interview and he invited myself and my wife for dinner. the compound, the place that was the center of so much activity. we had what he called an american hero. does not an american dinner and all. began with escargot served with a proper branch tools per easing snell's. a marvelous and filet mignon. we had a french pastries. it was a branch meal, but he kept calling it american. he was determined to tell us that he was moving into the western world.
a symbolic meal. he did not invite diplomats or anyone like that the debtor. we were the first ones to come and have dinner. he deliberately staged the occasion to sell how western he was. this was the style he wants to bring. it fit with his attack on chopsticks' thing. the waitresses bin. one of these lovely young ladies kept standing behind him, and i could not understand why until i saw how excited the gatt. he kept moving pro word and tell you thought that he might just leap into the air.
perhaps he has. she was there to ensure he did not get back -- she was able to get back into his seat. one of the most interesting evenings have ever had. one of the things he asked on that occasion, who was the greatest american president after world war ii? i thought a bit and said, well, it is hard for me to choose. perhaps eisenhower, perhaps german. it might have been kennedy. you're wrong. richard nixon was the greatest, and he made the opening of china. nixon is my friend. we correspond. we exchange letters. he sends me all these books.
i have read all of his books. i said, well to use san ten banks? oh, yes. i fell down as a reporter and failed to ask him what boxy since and have not gotten around to asking mr. nixon about it. i would dearly like to know what was sent to him. c-span: were you under the impression that he was a disciple? >> guest: very much, but he was the kind who has his own category of interest as well. i would not say that he necessarily share the taste, but he liked having an action man.
he shared personality. he has done some bad gangs lately, the massacre. when he came to office in 1977 he was buried much the same. an older man, in his early 70's. the full of ideas and energy. the kind of man who might leap out of his chair. the chinese called him the indian or ball because he had lost power and would bounce back up full of energy. i'd think he was exactly the kind of man that china needed after the disaster and terrible problems because he was bold, daring, imagination, quite willing to bring in to china all
kinds of countless devices, devices from america, the west, anything that he would move china into the age of the rapid world. his most famous statement is that it does not matter whether the cat is black or white, so long as it catches the mouse. by that he simply meant, if it works, we will use it because that is what is more important. c-span: talk about his book. in september 1st in bookstores in both hardback and paperback. how come they both came out at the same time? >> i don't know, but and think
he wanted them available because he wanted this book available as quick as possible. c-span: want to talk about a personal thing. it is a little bit fast paced. i wonder, how can somebody get of this fast and before we went on camera as to how old that you are and you told me you are 80. how do you get the energy? something like this in the middle of all of this. >> guest: probably because i have been doing this all my life.
you may know that they have to write rapidly. they often don't even have time to read the story. and i have always been used to working hard and rapidly. perhaps it becomes ingrained after years of habit. it is a good habit. it serves me well. i could not have done it. it has its disadvantages for the diary. i don't think of major consequence, but the fact, names of billings. not well proofread. i did not have time. c-span: you start off in the beginning. number five, new york to tokyo. something was up.
did you know something was up? >> guest: in general i knew that there was a certain amount of attention. the students had been in the square. but i was not going over there having anything to do with them to work on a documentary which would deal with 40 years of the people's republic which would be celebrated. it was sheer coincidence that the people i was working with a chance to arrive on the second of june which was less than 48 hours before the troops were moving into the square. he avenue in the motel which has a view.
i did not have the room because of about something would happen that i was going to have to look at. the big stories. c-span: how did come that you were hired to do this documentary? >> guest: at year ago. they came to me because i am very well known as specialists in china. a great deal of work in the field. they knew of my work. they wanted somebody who had background to kid treat china with a historical basis. they wanted someone who could put it in historical perspective who could understand or try to understand how all the peoples republic came into being.
also to enumerate achievements and various because there were failures right along with the achievements. i think that is why they came to me and we discussed the general ideas and outlines of the documentary and found that we had in the same ideas about the approach that i had. a free hand and to what was going into. the important events i thought i should show. and then the kind of scenarios. we did a great deal of work on that documentary before going to china. we did historical research, and
they sent and camera crews to photograph geographical locations which we were told to destroy. we did interviews and also a few people in the u.s. if. we have about one month of shooting to do in china which would be divided into three parts. they wanted to take back ron shot myself we had no idea that people would be shooting before we get. we intended to interview about a dozen very important chinese officials, not necessarily in power. we expected to do interviews.
we have work to do in the senate countryside at location or wanted to go and the explain the significance of the great bridge which was the first great industrial accomplishment of the people's republic, the british monument to the building up of china. things of that kind. we brought it would take about a month. coincidence. just before the group's opened fire and the whole city was taken over we dissolve into
fighting. we had to change our plans in accordance to his situation. c-span: did you have a complete data entry? >> guest: yes, we did. it is have completed. we did it put together a picture after we left china a couple of weeks after going in. after we left and came back we immediately put in and new requests to return when
conditions were more peaceful. alas we got permission finally to go back, but to lay. the they could not go in and take more pictures and get the documentary and use it before the first of october. in anticipation we might not. we made a substitute picture taking all the material we had. beautiful stuff. it movie shots coming into beijing 40 years ago and things of that kind. this has been put together in a documentary with commentary. a lot of it is what you call language voice-over, not on the spot. photographs, and i commented on that matter. and the forum of the documentaries has changed.
it was calling to be to, wind-hour shows and has now been one, 2-hour presentation. it is pretty good, but it will be presented on the 28 of september. c-span: 1974 he retired from the new york times after how many years? >> guest: about 25 years. in the last 15 years i have written a great many books. i have travelled extensively in russia and china devoting myself more to china and russia. china has come front and center as it was even before that time. a number of sides. i suppose that i have written
two books of memoirs. i have written with a long march the untold story which was the story of the 6,000-mile retreat with his army of 50 years ago which gave the whole chinese communist movement its form answering. it went on from the ads. it with my wife we went over the whole route. very rough back country in china, and i wrote a book about that. the first time it had been treated in that manner. it did well in that country, but became a number one seller and made me very popular because practically everyone among the military has read the long
march. there were best sellers. interesting conjunction. and that is probably the most important thing but i have done since my retirement. c-span: how many times have you been to china? >> guest: over the last 15 years about a dozen times. usually never far less than six weeks and often as much as four or five months. c-span: when you write how do you normally -- >> host: >> guest: normally i have a project in mind. i have done more research which is in the case of the long march, so very little. i read the chilly every single
world. i interviewed in the united states. those americans who had some political connection. i read up so that i knew. i wanted to talk to them. they're dead had not been reported in the american press. most people had been in prison. i went with a pretty good working knowledge of what i wanted to find out, the controversial aspects, i knew he lacked the where the wind and was going to follow the route with the exception of a few places where the army doubled back and forth over the same
territory. i saw no need to follow every mile. but i was dependent, of course, on the chinese to make the appropriate amate -- arrangements cents all areas were closed. i gather that. before i went i had assurances that i would be able to do all the things i had to do. the sense i had been making requests per literally a dozen years on this project, and they knew what i needed. i said, i'm not trying to go, and we didn't. i spent in china to end a half months of tracing the roots and sometimes by mule.
foote, but not very far. i interviewed all of the surviving important people who were on march. a picture of what they did, and i was able to get into the chinese archives. they were very good about that. i've rejected their research many times because it was not complete. it was inconclusive. i gave a pretty good lesson in what american newspapermen or researchers expected. at least i was told this. they have never confronted the necessity of finding out exactly what had happened. they would take the word of somebody. it was a difficult process. i took notes as i went along. i do not use a tape recorder
except in exceptional circumstances where extreme precision is needed on names are dates. i am afraid that i might possibly make an error. in this case i did not use a tape recorder much. and did not need to. i wound up with probably 12 or 14 standard size notebooks very closely written notes. the principal task, each evening after taking my notes i would sit down at my old typewriter and transcribe because my handwriting is poured. unless i transcribed quickly hair wrapped not to be able to read my notes. i learned to do this, arduous as
it is, to sit down. if i encounter circumstances along the way i keep notes. that technique to which i used for note taking and all the rest are the ones used in the literal the very. c-span: let me show you. as you can see, beijing motel, 4:30 a.m. is this an exact account of day today? did you write this when you got back? >> guest: an exact account whom. there is one slight commendations. when i copied notes of. i had not originally intended to
write the book. i was transcribing for my own interest. i quickly realized that this would be a book. as i transcribed them and had evenings. that long train ride. i could use my typewriter. at transcribed half of the notes and put in identifying material. identified to it was. other than that there is no change. i did not put any of later wisdom into the notes. any mistake in apprehension is there and it is corrected later on. the only material written after the 13 days became when i have completed the transcription and
added a final chapter of interpretation which i've tried to explain as best i knew how of what had happened, why it had happened, the political factors involved, and the consequences. c-span: that was called off fortnight later. >> i was tired. it stimulates me, and i find that i can go on working. the adrenaline. c-span: when you got back, and where is home? >> northwest connecticut right up at the beginning. c-span: went the wreck the best? >> guest: i rate the best probably between 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. when i am writing something like that i didn't quite early when the household is this the and i
have three or four hours of uninterrupted work. then after that he can read over what i have done and make corrections and then go ahead and plow forward and do what research i may have to do generate a coherent narrative which is more or less the pattern bin. c-span: what do you hope this book will do? >> guest: i hope it will give people a precise account of exactly what happened at tiananmen, some understanding of the forces at work in chinese society which produced the emotions and drive that propelled the students and to what amounted to a crusade to improve government and not rebel against it or anything else. and the forces that is
stimulated which, instead of adapting itself and taking the opportunity to move with the students, rose up and crushed them in an effort to demonstrate that they still had power and no one could tell them what to do. it is important that we understand that because this is a benchmark in chinese history. as i understand it bay were moving have very rapidly and effectively invest toward a china which would cast of a great deal of the old. it would move into contemporary techniques and take the first steps in on the democratic process. i believe that the ten years during that program of reform
were ten of the best years that china has had in modern days. then in one time of a few hours this was blasted away. i don't mean that china is forever altered. of course not. but it cost china and a great deal, not only personally by destroying his image, but in general because the political and economic effects are great. i do not believe anybody thought what the effects might be, but it will be a long time before china moves forward again as she was before that day. understand that because we are apt to lose sight of these things. they get blurred over. the government has made a great effort to try and present an
alternative version. there was no massacre. it all lies on students. to consider race, bad man. the students conspired and plot to overthrow the communist party well, there was no such conspiracy, and it is clear that there was not. we know the students are the bad men. people who recently have been released from prison and you are capable of carrying out criminal acts. some students became bad men in the process of this affair. the bandits were the ones that interested me the most because
when there was the struggle he called mel bandits. i wanted to be sure that the present generation was using the same word. sure enough they are using exactly the same term. they mean a slightly different category of enemy. hardened criminals whom they wanted to destroy. not likely to be students, but sometimes are bad men. maybe they can. well, as you can see, it seems to be perfectly ridiculous. they have a language which they are using to construct an alternate theory about what happened at tiananmen. but as far as i know tiananmen, responsibility of the old man
who ordered the army to fire on students and people in beijing. the only people who were manifesting any opposition. ordinary people, and there were of you unemployed youths. they may be either bandits. they were unemployed in. the government could not find work and. they joined then. hawaiian they joined in what was going on. we should have these things clear in our mind because there will be an era when people ask what happened to. did dan rather and his cameras give us a picture that was false? that is what they are saying. i don't think he did.
he give us an accurate picture of young, idealistic people and a glimpse of the arbitrary action of which they workable. that was a small forerunner of the kind of action that they would take. telling the troops to come in and blast their way through. c-span: if you went through the book and looked at the person's name mentioned the most, that would be charlotte. who is charlotte? >> guest: she is my wife. we were very close. normally when note i go we go together. it is a joint operation. and constantly during this time
knowing help troubled its she would be i picked up the telephone which was lying on the table of my room wherever i was. they have a beautiful touch-tone system which was installed. the insistence of the chinese army so that they have a good communication system. i would use to. i would get through to her and to reassure her that these were not as bad as they seem, and she could tell me what was being shown on television and keep me up today with the image that people in the united states was giving. c-span: when you got back and sat down and spent time chatting >> guest: we did that, but we have done a deal all the way
along. i called her every day, sometimes more than once, and we traded impressions. when i came back she gave me an overall summary of how it seemed to her and her friends and points which stuck in her mind and. things which i had not known about. one of the most interesting was the falling a. after i got out of the countryside i began to be more and more aware of the effort that the government was making to turn the blame on to the foreigners. this was exasperated by the fact that we had given refuge to heed a famous its chinese dissident.
the chinese were vibrating above the idea of him being in the embassy, demanding that he be released. it occurred to me that i knew that we would not released the man we had given political asylum to. the one thing that the chinese might try was to seize a hostage. looking around the country, all of the americans had left. very few people left in the embassy. some regular in beijing, but i stuck out like a sore thumb. they would think, well, he is a prominent person. grab him and we can work a trade. i did not want to be involved in anything of that kind. i did not say anything. a low and behold she got a call
one day from someone who wanted to know f. she had heard i was in personal danger. she was upset about that. then that evening ban rather mention to the of the state department is worried about seizures of hostages who might be traded. so i realized that what i thought was one which really was in other people's minds. one of the first things i did when i got back was sit down and explain to her how this came about. i did not note and up note to this day. they were simply using the same kind of reason that i was. c-span: what they did you leave beijing?
>> of the fifth of june. c-span: what day was the attack? >> the third and fourth. c-span: where did you go when you left. >> well, we had to get out of beijing. it was surrounded. we were prisoners. we get a chinese died who was familiar with the alleyways that make up a central part of paging and mantid -- managed to get through. the reason for the difficulty was that there were so many barricades' and military activity. we did not want to expose his car. we got on to the airport. we flew about two hours out of
beijing. we began a trip which enabled me to see how people outside the beijing were responding to the evidence thought, and whether they knew what had happened to. c-span: regular commercial service still under way. >> oh, yes. yes indeed. the many rumors that it had been closed down, but it hadn't. for the first time i rode on a chinese airplane. they had a practice of not flying until they sold every seat in the plane. c-span: what was your reason for going out after, and did you take your camera crew with you? >> guest: we went out to fill the countryside segment of our
plan the itinerary. we went out to dome in various cities that are important to the history of the people's republic, interviewing people in various locations. the first was of the famous bridge. we found that it was the scene of very big manifestations that were still going on. sunday afternoon after the massacre already word had reached. students have come out. we went into the heart of the town he told about what
happened. these great reads that reused for your funerals with, and there must have been several thousand people. we knew immediately that people in a great city knew all about what had happened. as we went deeper and deeper we found the same thing to be true. all of us had been done out by the student had of the government propaganda. before it began the claim that there was no death. to so we found that people
already got the truth in their systems. when the government lines began to came out, they did not set up and talk about it, but knew perfectly well that the government was trying to put something over on the. c-span: how did you stay in touch with the outside world? >> shortwave radio. also telephone calls. they would call correspondents. so we were plenty well-informed people what kind of job you think they did? >> guest: a magnificent job. i believe from the very beginning on june 4th of is in my hotel room.
the avenue was dark. i did not hear the shooting from tiananmen and could not tell whether troops had taken over the square. i flicked on and got the last part of the broadcast in which they were saying that troops had come in to the square and had been firing and people had been killed. i could interpret what was happening sphere. as the day wore on again and again when i was not clear, after all, limited vision down a few blocks to the east and a few blocks to the west, i would turn on radio or tv. i would see what they are
reporting. it's bad step exactly. i think that they did a great job and i don't know anyone who contends that the reports were exaggerated in any way. you do not always have 100% accuracy. too much is going on. in the early stages they underreported. that was -- we all did that. a we could not believe more than 100-150 people at most had been killed and i was astounded when i heard several thousand but it was because i had not realized how many people had been killed by the armored columns as they plan is to enter the city into solid masses of people blasting their way through. after i had a couple firsthand
descriptions of what happened when tanks and armored troop carriers can then i could readily see why the toll would be that high. if you're going to go in shooting you have a lot of targets. c-span: when did you have your first discussions that you said you could start of? c-span: that came the day after i got back to new york. i called my editor. i have something to talk to you about. well, we have the same idea. he did not know i kept a diary, but he got a book on the subject would be useful. we are going to make it an instant book. we never tried before, but we will this time. we wanted to come out while people are eager to know
exactly, stepped by step what happened. i proceeded to complete the book i completed it and wrote the final chapter explaining as best i could what i love happened. i called up roger and he came down. i spent the day editing something which i had never handled in my life. i had not to copy it over. i have answered to were three questions. he took it away, turned it into the copy, and i believe the day after the fourth of july it was
turned over to the printer and we had bound books. c-span: september 1st. >> guest: yes. c-span: is it too late? had things changed? >> guest: every word is relevant. there are some days i have found out since. there is nothing wrong. it has the right explanation for why the attorneys acted as they did. accurately portraying students. c-span: able to deal with jet
lag and traveling. >> guest: when you have something like this on your mind and are revved up, the jet lag tends to vanish. i cannot recall a trip in which i have less problem with tentlike. c-span: q want to go back to jeff not to china? >> guest: absolutely. i have worked on a book is initially about what has happened since the death of mao. he died in 76, exactly 13 years ago this month. he left in a dreadful state of chaos. he came in putting things together and got tennant going in a remarkable way.
he'd changed it in many ways. he brought prosperity by eliminating communes and enabling the army of private business and big money. and then this comes along. the unfortunate and contradictory. his career. i'm writing. of third was the diary. the research for the other segments. the last three years and spend an awful lot of time working on this. i should get back and take the temperature again and make
political sounding so i am more certain with of the direction in which china is going to emerge and hopefully get a more clear idea. c-span: tell me if i miss reading. get the sense that killing in you felt students would win. you come out more pessimistic saying that it may be a long time. >> guest: all i learned and what i learned after i got out, it looks to me as though students were winning bid didn't have to have a dialogue. the same general objectives.
generals. maybe civil war. maybe some splintering up but china. this contemporary version. i hope it does not happen. it may be a reversion to warlord is an. out of it all their will, new china which will pick up the beat and continue to march for something better, but it will happen tomorrow or two years from now. c-span: i can remember, television reporters standing in tiananmen square saying china will never be the same again. you think that the supporters were too optimistic and that it ever will be this same again? >> guest: absolutely right that it will never be the same.
they were thinking that the new china would be a model of what they saw. i remember very well. unremembered the x ambassador and many, many scholars in this country and particularly a lot of chinese students and younger chinese saying that. c-span: how can so many people get me wrong? >> guest: the cultural revolution in based the worst atrocities that china has ever seen. the death of millions of people. the disgrace and murder of some of the top leaders. when that was all over carefree chinese that i spoke to about
every generation, youngsters of the school said we learned our lesson it will never be anything like that culture. they were wrong. inherent in the lives that are being told of the same techniques used in cultural revolution. how can people make these mistakes? they are made because they misread some essential ingredients in human character. debate ms. reed, in particular, what revolves around power and the extent to which a man who has power will use whatever means that a man who holds power will use to keep it.