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Xinhua Reporter Recalls Nixon's 1972 China Tour
Now in her 70s, Li Qin, a veteran reporter of Xinhua News Agency who covered US President Richard Nixon's ice-breaking China tour, still clearly remembers the events that shook the world.

She recalled that Xinhua News Agency was authorized to release an announcement on November 30, 1971, telling the world that US President Richard Nixon will visit China starting from February 21, 1972.

On the day when Nixon arrived in Beijing, Chairman Mao Zedong met with him and they talked for more than an hour. Li, the only reporter that covered the meeting, wrote a news story about the meeting. "The brief news item was written as deliberated by Premier Zhou Enlai and Henry Kissinger," she said.

Li recalled that the two sides agreed to use "serious and frank" to describe the talks Between Mao and Nixon.

On the Shanghai Communique, Li said that the Chinese and US sides put forward their common grounds as well as differences in the Communique, an unprecedented practice in world diplomacy.

As she remembered, the first draft for the communique was worked out by the US side, which tried to avoid the differences.

It was Zhou Enlai who proposed that both sides aired their views frankly in the communique, and the proposal was later adopted.

On the "historic handshaking" between Nixon and Zhou Enlai at the airport, Li said that the handshaking marked the advent of a new era, as it was compared to the unfriendliness shown by the then US State Secretary John Foster Dulles towards Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai when they attended a meeting in Geneva in 1954.

Li said that in covering Nixon's tour, Xinhua adopted a new practice of running follow-up stories after sending out flashes, and its flash about Nixon's arrival in Beijing was ahead of all dispatches by other news services.

Li herself values her friendship with Americans. She visited the US in 1973 as a member of the Chinese press delegation.

Just a few days before US President George W. Bush begins his China visit, the veteran reporter voiced her hopes that the US government would handle the Taiwan issue properly so that Sino-US relations will expand faster to benefit the peoples of the two countries and contribute to world peace and development.

(Xinhua News Agency February 16, 2002)

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