Sidney Rittenberg on China

'The father of the new president -- he was a close friend, and a fine man..'

I mentioned last week that I was going to do a Q-and-A in Seattle with Sidney Rittenberg, whose first-hand exposure to US-Chinese relations probably exceeds that of any other living person. In the 1940s he was a U.S. Army translator in China; then he was an associate of Mao's and Zhou Enlai's; then he spent two different terms, totaling 16 years, in solitary confinement in Chinese prisons. Now he still travels between the countries.

A video of the discussion has gone online from TVW at the University of Washington. (C-SPAN also filmed the event.) I thought it was truly interesting. For an example of what's unique in Sidney Rittenberg's perspective: starting at around time 15:10, he talks about his close friendship not with the new president of China, Xi Jinping, but with Xi's father. "A fine man.."

FYI the person in the static screen shot above is not Rittenberg but Dennis Bracy of Seattle, a mutual friend and an organizer of this event.