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Jim  Laurie

Jim Laurie

Global Media Consultant, China Specialist & Former NBC & ABC News Correspondent

Jim Laurie

Global Media Consultant, China Specialist & Former NBC & ABC News Correspondent


With a career focusing on China, Vietnam, and Cambodia spanning fifty years, Jim Laurie provides first hand expertise on this rapidly changing Asian region. A frequent visitor to the region, Laurie most recently provided media and business consulting services in Beijing for two months in 2019 and eight months in 2018.

An Emmy Award winning journalist and broadcaster, Laurie served as a global correspondent for NBC News and ABC News for nearly 30 years. Currently he heads a Hong Kong based media consulting and television production firm: “Focus Asia Productions, Ltd.” His clients have included China Global television, Qatar’s Al Jazeera Network, the Shanghai Media Group, Bloomberg Hong Kong, and CNN International. From 2005 to 2012, he headed the broadcast program at the Journalism and Media Studies Program at the University of Hong Kong. He specialized in the study of television and digital media in China.

As a journalist, Laurie has been a witness to some of the defining moments in Asia’s history over five decades. In his new book The Last Helicopter, Laurie tells a story of a young woman left behind and a young reporter coming of age in a world of war; a gripping memoir of Cambodia and Vietnam in the 1970’s.

He began as a war correspondent in Vietnam and Cambodia. He was the only American network reporter to remain in Vietnam and cover the aftermath of the Communist victory April 30, 1975. His role then is portrayed in the 2015 Academy Award nominated film Last Days in Vietnam.

In Cambodia, Laurie was the first TV reporter to visit the nation in the immediate aftermath of the Khmer Rouge genocide which killed about two million people. His 1980, ABC TV documentary This Shattered Land chronicled the devastation. His riveting and highly personal memoir of the 1970’s – War, Love and Betrayal in Indochina – will be published in 2020.

In China, Laurie opened the first American television news bureau in Beijing in 1981. He interviewed Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in 1979. Ten years later he covered the student demonstrations and military crackdown at Tian An Men Square.

In addition to Deng Xiaoping, Laurie has interviewed major historical figures in the region including China’s Premier Zhao Ziyang and President Jiang Zemin, the Dalai Lama and the late King of Cambodia, Norodom Sihanouk.

Laurie’s film documentaries for television include: Cambodia: This Shattered Land (ABC), Japan: Myths Behind the Miracle (ABC), China: Unruly Dragon (ABC), Vietnam: 25 years later (STARTV), Earth Factor: Making an Environmental Difference (US Public TV) and Cambodia Surgical Ward (BBC).

Laurie speaks on a variety of China and Asia related topics.

Speaker Videos

The Last Helicopter Excerpt and Travel Talks

Speech Topics

China: A New Cold War

In October 2018, Vice President Mike Pence delivered in Washington a policy speech that amounted to a declaration of a ‘new all-out cold war” on China. The Trump Administration has also been engaged in an on-going trade war with China which may have significant economic consequences for both nations. At the same time the Pew Research Center reported in August 2019 that more Americans have an unfavorable view of China than ever before. 60% of Americans see China unfavorably and a quarter of those now see China as the biggest threat to the United States.

Laurie examines what is a remarkable turn of events in the thirty years since “normalization” of relations between the United States in China. From his 2019 experiences inside China, he describes Chinese views today. He analyzes the sources of friction and the rule of Communist leader Xi Jinping. Drawing on his long acquaintance with China dating to 1978, he explores the relationship as it began under reformist leader Deng Xiaoping.    

A slew of books have been published with titles like The Coming China Wars, Destined for War, and The Coming Conflict with China. What is the future of China-American relations? What can be done to address the new crisis? Jim Laurie’s talk will provide important answers. All talks are illustrated with slides and videos.

Vietnam & Cambodia: 45 Years On

Jim Laurie presents a series of compelling stories of Indochina yesterday and today. This is an ideal presentation for international travelers on route to the region or University or historical organizations seeking first hand observations from the region.

Laurie first visited Vietnam and Cambodia in the Spring of 1970. He was a witness to the collapse of US efforts in Cambodia and the fall of Saigon five years later. He has visited the two nations nearly every second year since, most recently in 2019.

April 2020 marks 45 years since the defeat of American backed governments in Cambodia and Vietnam.

In a talk illustrated with videos and photographs of the war period, Laurie tells a very personal story of “War, Love, and Betrayal”: which is the theme of his new memoir of the 1970’s to be published in 2020.

In addition to his unique historical perspective, Laurie reflects on Vietnam and Cambodia today as two of Asia fastest growing economies. Together the two countries attract 21.3 million tourists each year.

Technology, Media Wars & the Chinese Mind

In an illustrated lecture based on extensive visits to China in 2018 and 2019, Jim Laurie tries to answer some leading questions about China today.

Will China overtake America as an economic powerhouse?

Is engagement (practiced from 1979 to 2015) with China dead?

Is China returning to the dictatorship style of Chairman Mao with Xi Jinping as President for life?

Is the Hua Wei Company’s 5 G technology a danger to America?

How is Chinese media trying to influence you?

Can the Great Chinese Firewall shape the minds of a billion Chinese?  And turn them against America.

These and other questions are discussed in a unique look inside China today from an observer who has been involved with China since 1978.