Nixon's China visit, 50 years on: 'From curiosity to promise to disappointment to increasing suspicions'

A 1972 photo shows US President Richard Nixon (left) toasting with China's Prime Minister Zhou Enlai in Beijing, during his official visit to China. PHOTO: AFP
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WASHINGTON - As President Richard Nixon shook hands with Chairman Mao Zedong, toured the Great Wall and was hosted to a banquet in the Great Hall of the People during his groundbreaking visit to China in 1972, the images were beamed into homes on television screens in America.

At the time, China scholar David Lampton was a PhD student preparing to visit the then-British territory of Hong Kong for his dissertation fieldwork - interviewing refugees who fled China during the Cultural Revolution.

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