China Seminar | 11 June 1992

China in the Light of Yenan

John Roderick John Roderick

John Roderick is perhaps the only living American to have known, at close quarters, virtually all of Communist China’s leaders, from Mao Tse-tung to Teng Hsiao-ping. He met, interviewed and lived with most of them during the 1940s in their cave capital of Yenan, the seminal period before gaining all of China.

He was in China as an Associated Press correspondent, and he spent the next thirty years following the Chinese scene as one of a small group of journalist China watchers reporting from Hong Kong and Tokyo. He was the only American print reporter allowed to accompany the U.S. ping pong team on its historic trip to Peking in 1971. Welcoming him, Chou En-lai said, “Mr. Roderick, you opened the door.”

He reopened the AP’s Peking office in 1979 and, since retirement in 1984, has written and lectured both here and abroad about his experiences.