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Last modified: Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Washington Post's Asian correspondent speaking about China's economic role on Feb. 3-4 at IU

Jan. 19, 2011

Editors: Media also are invited to a presentation by Pomfret in room 4095 of the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 4 (Friday). This event is not open to the public and is designed for reporters and editors who are interested in learning how U.S.-China relations may impact Indiana and its economy. For more information, contact George Vlahakis at 812-855-0846 or

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- John Pomfret, an award-winning journalist and diplomatic correspondent for The Washington Post, will speak on Feb. 3 (Thursday) at the Indiana University School of Journalism in Bloomington.

John Pomfret

John Pomfret

Pomfret, who served as a foreign correspondent for 15 years, currently covers U.S. relations with Asia. He has edited the Post's Outlook section and is author of the acclaimed book, Chinese Lessons: An American, His Classmates and the Story of the New China. He is among those covering this week's State Visit of China President Hu Jintao.

He will speak on the topic, "China's Troubled Rise -- Bumps on the Road to becoming a Superpower," at 5 p.m. in Room 220 of Ernie Pyle Hall, 940 E. Seventh St. The event is free and open to the public.

"China's rise is one of the greatest stories of last decade," Pomfret said. "Its GDP has rocketed; its geopolitical heft has increased; its trade and investment spans the globe. But what are the issues that could derail its rise? From demographics to the environment to political issues, China is facing a string of challenges that could bump it off its trajectory."

The presentation is sponsored by the IU Research Center for Chinese Politics and Business in the College of Arts and Sciences, the IU School of Journalism and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

In addition to covering China and the rest of Asia, Pomfret has covered conflicts in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Congo, Sri Lanka, Iraq, southwestern Turkey and northeastern Iran. He spent seven years covering China and is fluent in Mandarin. He was an Associated Press reporter in China during the Tiananmen Square protests in the late 1980s and served as Beijing bureau chief for The Washington Post from 1998 until the end of 2003.

Returning to the United States in 2004, Pomfret was the paper's west coast bureau chief for two years before being appointed the editor of its Outlook section, The Post's weekly commentary section, which he ran from 2007 until September of 2009.

As an exchange student from Stanford University, he spent two years at Nanjing University in the early 1980s as part of one of the first groups of American students to study in China. His book, Chinese Lessons, focuses on that experience and on the lives of his fellow Chinese classmates, who today are impacting their nation's future.

Chinese Lessons was selected as one of the best books of the year 2006 by The Washington Post and won the prestigious Shorenstein Prize for Coverage of Asia in 2007. It also was a finalist for the 2007 Kiriyama Prize for an Outstanding Book about the Pacific Rim. In 2003, Pomfret was awarded the Osborne Elliot Award for the best coverage of Asia by the Asia Society.