First, let me congratulate Beijing Review on its 50 years of service in providing so many foreign readers insight into events in China, in so many different languages.
It was 1975 when I started graduate school at the University of Hawaii, and started subscribing to the Beijing Review even though I had a very small income. I'd read it in the library as a Masters student 2 years before, but didn't subscribe until I was in the Ph.D. program. In those days, Beijing Review was the main voice expressing the official Party viewpoint on current events within the PRC, as well as world events. I paid extra to receive the tissue paper airmail edition, so I could keep a finger on the pulse of change in China. I used the statistical reports on economic and demographic changes in my writing, because even though it might sometimes be questioned as to its accuracy, it was the most authoritative information available.
As policies began to change in the post-Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) years, Beijing Review became a major source of reporting on the new policies and "on the ground" evidence of how the policy was or was not being implemented. Other publications started to become available to foreign readers [Economics Journals, China Daily, etc.]. At about the same time, Beijing Review began to look more like the weekly news magazines in the U.S. such as Time and Newsweek. The features also branched out to address more issues of everyday life faced by the Chinese people.
I still look forward to seeing the most recent issue of Beijing Review land in my mailbox. But now, I also pass it on to my school library, so that my students and others interested in China's affairs can have access to it. I hope that the next 50 years will see Beijing Review achieve more success and see it mature with its own editorial voice, which helps us foreign readers get an even greater sense of the nuance of voices and views from inside the PRC.
Dorothea A. L. Martin
Professor of Modern Chinese History
Appalachian State University
The United States of America