Then US ambassador to China James Sasser peers through a heavily-damaged door at the US embassy building in Beijing on May 10, 1999, following two days of attacks by Chinese protesters against Nato’s bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. Photo: Reuters Then US ambassador to China James Sasser peers through a heavily-damaged door at the US embassy building in Beijing on May 10, 1999, following two days of attacks by Chinese protesters against Nato’s bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. Photo: Reuters
Then US ambassador to China James Sasser peers through a heavily-damaged door at the US embassy building in Beijing on May 10, 1999, following two days of attacks by Chinese protesters against Nato’s bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. Photo: Reuters
Philip J. Cunningham
Opinion

Opinion

Philip J. Cunningham

Why the US should look to Jim Sasser as a model for its new ambassador to China

  • Sasser’s conduct during the attack on the US embassy in Beijing in 1999 shows toughness is not everything
  • Rahm Emanuel lacks the calm and R Nicholas Burns the verve and autonomy needed for the job

Then US ambassador to China James Sasser peers through a heavily-damaged door at the US embassy building in Beijing on May 10, 1999, following two days of attacks by Chinese protesters against Nato’s bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. Photo: Reuters Then US ambassador to China James Sasser peers through a heavily-damaged door at the US embassy building in Beijing on May 10, 1999, following two days of attacks by Chinese protesters against Nato’s bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. Photo: Reuters
Then US ambassador to China James Sasser peers through a heavily-damaged door at the US embassy building in Beijing on May 10, 1999, following two days of attacks by Chinese protesters against Nato’s bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. Photo: Reuters
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Philip J. Cunningham

Philip J. Cunningham

Philip J. Cunningham has been a regular visitor to China since 1983, working variously as a tour guide, TV producer, freelance writer, independent scholar and teacher. He has conducted media research in China as a Knight Fellow and Fulbright Scholar and was the recipient of a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard. He is the author of Tiananmen Moon, a first-hand account of the 1989 protests in Beijing.