Chris Johns’ “great thirst” to “move forward”

Chris Johns & Terry Adamson celebrate with our new publishing partners in China. (2008)

From an interview with Editor Chris Johns about National Geographic‘s special issue (May 2008) devoted entirely to China:

Christine Lu

Christine Lu: Can you tell us what your specific interest in China has been on a personal level?

Chris Johns: Well, I was a staff photographer at National Geographic magazine and [for] one of my early assignments in the early ‘80s … I went to China for about four months on this fascinating story on protein and the soybean and Chinese culture. I went over there and could not get enough of China. That trip really changed the way I look at culture and look at the world. So I was very keen to get back to China after the great progress, the great moves forward they’ve made, and let our readers know how important China is to their lives.

Christine Lu: … In regards to how fast China has changed, so you must be witness when you go back these days to some really big contrasts from when you first got there.

Chris Johns: Oh, absolutely, Christine. When I was there in early ‘80s, you had to use a separate currency. You could only stay in a small selection of hotels. There were only selected places that you could shop. What was really interesting was there was still the shadow of the Cultural Revolution then. There were many people who were very reticent to speak to a journalist or speak to a Westerner at all. And of course now there’s this great thirst to reach out and to move forward. I have to say that makes for an exciting time for China and an exciting time for all of us.

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{ Read the entire article at Radio Free Asia. }

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