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Forged in Purgatory

iChinaForum is proud to present the first ever personal account of the Cultural Revolution written and published by a high ranking political insider in English. [Learn More]



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Seymour and Audrey Topping

Seymour Audrey Topping Profile Photo 3
Mr. and Mrs. Topping have worked as a team on many different journalistic assignments in China and around the world. They believe objective journalism is key to the future of China-US relations.
The New York Times, Former China Correspondents

Seymour Topping is a highly accomplished and experienced journalist, editor, writer, and educator. Following military service as an infantry officer in the Pacific during World War II, he joined the Associated Press in 1948 as a foreign correspondent in China and Southeast Asia. He joined The New York Times Company in 1959, and during his 33-year tenure held positions such as chief correspondent in both Moscow and Southeast Asia, foreign editor, managing editor, and director of editorial development. He taught and lectured at Columbia University as the SanPaolo Professor of International Journalism until 2002 and is now an emeritus professor. He also served as Administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes at Columbia from 1993 to 2002.

During his career, Topping covered pivotal historical events all over the world including the Chinese Revolution and the French Indochina War, and he reported from countries including China, Vietnam, Russia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Tibet, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, Iran, South Africa, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Australia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador. Topping is the author of the books. "On the Front Lines of the Cold War: An American Correspondent's journal from the Chinese Civil War to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam"( Louisiana State University Press, 2010), Journey Between Two ChinasThe Peking Letter: A Novel of the Chinese Civil War, andFatal Crossroads: A Novel of Vietnam 1945. Some of his articles and those of his wife make up part of the book The New York Times Report from Red China.

He has also served in various administrative capacities, including President of the International Advisory Board of the School of Journalism at Tsinghua University, President of Emeritus Professors In Columbia, President of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, and Chairman of the ASNE's Committee on International Communication. He is also a member of theCouncil on Foreign Relations, the Asia Society, the Century Association, and the National Committee on United States-China Relations.


Audrey Ronning Topping is a photojournalist, author, freelance writer, and documentary filmmaker (specializing in Chinese affairs). Her work has been exhibited at the Hallmark Gallery in New York City, The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, The Metropolitan Museum, among many others. Some of her articles and photographs have appeared in the New York Times,National Geographic, Foreign Affairs, Life, Time, Newsweek, Geo, Reader’s Digest, Science Digest, Art in America, and Le Temps Strategic in France.

Mrs. Topping has reported from Indochina, the Soviet Union, Mongolia, South Africa, Australia, Pakistan, Bhutan, China, and Vietnam. She is the author of six books, including Dawn Wakes in the East, Harper & Row, 1972; The Splendors of Tibet, Sino, 1982; and Charlie’s World: the Improbable Adventures of a Hong Kong Cockatoo and His American Family,Times, 1999. She has also written for four television documentaries, and productions for PBS.

Mrs. Topping and her husband Seymour Topping have been working as a team on many different journalistic assignments. They have been posted abroad in Vietnam, London, and Berlin for The Associated Press and also in Moscow and Southeast Asia for the New York Times. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Asia Society, and the Society of Woman Geographers. She currently resides in Scarsdale, NY with her husband.


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