Conference Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Edgar Snow’s Birth Held at Peking University

On July 19, “Understanding China: Centennial Commemoration of Edgar Snow’s Birth” International Symposium & Conference Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Edgar Snow’s Birth was held at the Sunlight Hall of Yingjie Exchange Center Peking University. The conference was jointly held by Peking University, State Council Information Office, The Chinese Association for History of Journalism and Communication, China Society for People’s Friendship Studies, University of Missouri, etc.

Edgar Snow was born in Missouri, USA on July 11, 1905. In 1928, Snow came to Shanghai and began a 13-year journalist career in China. From June to October 1936, he travelled from Peiping to the Northern Shaanxi Revolutionary Base and met with leaders of the Communist Party of China, such as Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. In 1937, Snow’s reportage on the Northern Shaanxi Soviet area Red Star Over China was published in the United Kingdom, making him the first journalist who comprehensively and fairly covered the top leaders of the CPC and the Red Army.

Today, more than 30 international scholars from the United States, Japan, Singapore, Russia and other countries, and more than 60 domestic scholars from the Schools of Journalism and Communication of Peking University, Tsinghua University, Renmin University, and Huazhong University of Science and Technology attended the symposium. Representatives from Snow’s alma mater pointed out in a speech that Snow is the pride of the American people, representing the spirit of freedom of the press and communication. Shao Huaze, President of the All-China Journalists Association and Dean of School of Journalism and Communication, Peking University, said that Snow is a role model for journalists. Shao added that we should learn from Snow, because as a journalist, he had a lofty character that persisted in seeking the truth and progress, maintained professional ethics of running objective reports and standing for justice, conducted his work through investigating the real situation, and possessed a fighting spirit without fear for pressure or danger. Yin Yungong, Director of Institute of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said in his speech that Snow belongs to not only the United States, but also China. Snow was a comrade of the Chinese Communist Party, because he publicized the CPC in a manner that was better than any CPC member did. The symposium studied Snow’s journalistic practice, professionalism and his contribution to China’s journalism education from the perspective of international communication and intercultural exchanges, and then explored issues concerning how to help the world better understand China and better promote global communication and exchanges in the context of globalization.

The conference was attended by Huang Hua, former Vice Premier of the State Council and the Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, Zhao Qizheng, Director of the State Council Information Office, Ling Qing, President of China Society for People’s Friendship Studies, Min Weifang, Chairman of Peking University Council, Wu Zhipan, Vice President of Peking University, He Fangchuan, Vice Chairman of Peking University Council, Wang Xuezhen, Director of China Center for Edgar Snow Studies, John Deadwyler, President of Edgar Snow Memorial Foundation, Fang Hanqi, Professor of Renmin University, Esther Thorson, Associate Dean of School of Journalism of University of Missouri, etc.

Sheril Bischoff, the niece of Edgar’s wife Helen Foster Snow, also attended the commemorative event. Jon M. Huntsman, Governor of Helen’s home state Utah, also sent a congratulatory message to the conference.

At the end of the conference, the participants paid tribute to Snow’s Tomb on the south bank of the Weiming Lake and presented flowers.