CORVALLIS - Thomas Gold, an expert on the People's Republic of China, will kick off the 1998 Convocations and Lectures series at Oregon State University with a free public talk on Thursday, Feb. 5.

Gold's lecture, "Hong Kong Six Months after the Handover," will begin at 7 p.m. in LaSells Stewart Center in Corvallis. His appearance is sponsored by OSU's Convocations and Lectures Committee.

In his talk, Gold will explore Hong Kong's reversion to China in July 1997 and what has been happening since. The chicken flu put the former British colony in the headlines recently, but its bout of "Asian flu" - a term often used to describe the faltering economies of many Asian countries - could be a more serious problem, he points out.

Gold, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, was a pioneer in research on the relationship between government and society in producing rapid economic development in Asia. His book, "State and Society in the Taiwan Miracle," analyzes Taiwan's economic development and its accompanying social stability and equity.

He is writing a book about private business in Chinese cities and the shifting relationship of the Communist Party, the state and private entrepreneurs. It is based primarily on interviews conducted throughout China over the past 10 years.

Gold is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and is an interpreter for the U.S. State Department. He was in the first group of American government exchange students in China, spending a year at Fudan University in Shanghai in 1979.

He received his bachelor's degree in Chinese studies from Oberlin College in 1970. He completed his graduate work at Harvard University, receiving a master's degree in East Asian studies in 1975 and a doctorate in sociology in 1981.

Other speakers in the Convocations and Lectures series are:

  • Michael Moore, satirist and social critic, director of "Roger and Me," a documentary about the devastation caused by the shutdown of General Motors plants in Flint, Michigan (March 6).
  • Sally Ride, astronaut and the first American woman in space (April 7).
  • Jack Dykinga, Pulitzer Prize winning nature photographer whose books about fragile wilderness areas in Arizona, Utah and Mexico have led to successful preservation efforts (April 29).

In addition to its lecture series, the OSU Convocations and Lectures Committee has some funds to support speakers for university-recognized student organizations and departments. To apply for funding, contact Machelle Kennedy, Memorial Union Programs, 737-1562, or Tom Gentle, Committee Chair, 737-0801.

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