Jaime A. FlorCruz

Visiting Professor, Peking University

PKUSSI Course:China and Media Matters

Jaime A. FlorCruz is a veteran China-watcher and foreign correspondent in China.

He was CNN’s Beijing Bureau Chief and correspondent, responsible for strategic planning of the network’s news coverage of China (2001-2014). He served as TIME Magazine’s Beijing Bureau Chief and correspondent (1982-2000) and Newsweek’s Beijing reporter (1981).

Twice he served concurrently as the China Chairman of the Fortune Global Forum, a meeting of global business and political leaders, held in Beijing in 2005 and in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, in 2013. In 2017, he again served as China Chairman of the Fortune Global Forum in Guangzhou. As a Time Inc, consultant, his year-long work for the forum focused on program development and government relations.

Jaime ("Jimi") FlorCruz was born April 5, 1951 in the Philippines. In August 1971, FlorCruz, a vocal anti-Marcos activist during his college days, unexpectedly found himself stranded in the People's Republic of China. Then on a three-week tour of China, he was forced into exile when then-President Ferdinand Marcos suspended the writ of habeas corpus and rounded up hundreds of his opponents and critics. Marcos declared martial law in 1972 and a year later, FlorCruz's Philippine passport expired. He was a stateless citizen stranded in China for 12 years.

While in China, FlorCruz studied, worked and traveled extensively. He worked for a year (1972) in a state farm in Hunan province, Mao Zedong's birthplace and also in a fishing corporation in Shandong Province (1973-74). In Beijing, he took two years of intensive Chinese language study at the Beijing Languages Institute (1974-76). He received his B.A. in Chinese history from Peking University (1982) in addition to a B.A. in advertising at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in 1971.

Twice weekly, he gave English lessons to professors at Peking University (1978) and to students at Peking Normal College (1979-81). He also appeared on Chinese national television, teaching English songs in a weekly program Let's Sing.

FlorCruz has reported extensively on China since 1981, when he started his journalistic career as a Beijing reporter for Newsweek. In 1982, he joined TIME Magazine’s Beijing bureau, and served as Beijing bureau chief from 1990 to 2000. In 2000, he was the Edward R. Morrow Press Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, the first non-American journalist chosen for the prestigious fellowship.

FlorCruz has witnessed and reported the most significant events of China’s past three decades. In addition to his on-air reporting, FlorCruz contributed regularly to CNN.com and wrote a weekly online column “Jaime's China” offering analysis about Chinese society and politics.

He is considered the dean of the foreign press corps in Beijing, having been the longest-serving foreign correspondent in China until his retirement in 2015. He was a two-term president of the 400-member Foreign Correspondents' Club of China (1988-90 & 1996-1999). He is the founding president of the Peking University International Students’ Alumni Association (2010-present). In November 2017, he was elected to a four-year term as one of the vice chair of the Peking University Alumni Association, the first ever foreign alumnus elected to the position.

He is the co-author of Massacre at Beijing, a book about the crackdown in Tiananmen Square (Warner Books, 1989) and Not On Our Watch, a book about campus journalists during the martial law years in the Philippines (2012).

He is writing a book on The Class of 1977, a personal account of the time he studied at Peking University (1977-82). He is also researching for a book on the PLARIDEL, the first community newspaper published in his home province of Bulacan during the American Occupation (1907-1914).

FlorCruz is fluent in English, Filipino and Mandarin Chinese.