Share this on Twitter Share this on Facebook Share this on LinkedIn Share this on Sina Weibo Share this on Wechat Share this on LinkedIn Credit: National Archives, Richard Nixon Presidential Library “Nixon is coming to China!” Fifty years on, I can still recall how surreal this sounded to my ears back in the summer of 1971. I was 11 years old, about to enter middle school in Beijing that fall and, like everyone else around me, completely stunned by the recent official announcement. Cut off from the outside world for over two decades, China was then dirt poor and in the depth of the Cultural Revolution. The educational system was in shambles. School curriculum and teaching were slapdash and saturated with Party propaganda. Libraries remained closed to the public; bookstores chiefly offered Chairman Mao’s writing and political study material. Millions of high school graduates and intellectuals were sent from the cities to rural backwater where they languished for many years with no hope of return. In 1971, my father was in a labor camp in Henan, my older brother on a farm in Inner Mongolia. Despite this impoverished, shabby life in which all of us wSubscribe or login to read the rest. Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.