Ping Pong Diplomacy

April 10, 1971. A team of ping pong players leaves Hong Kong to step across a border and become the first group of Americans welcomed to China in over 20 years. These competitors find themselves becoming unlikely diplomats at the center of a media frenzy, and at the heart of one of the 20th century’s major geopolitical shifts. How did table tennis turn into a powerful tool of foreign policy? And how did these athletes leave an impact that went far beyond the ping pong table?

Special thanks to our guests: professional table tennis athletes Judy Hoarfrost, Olga Soltesz, and Connie Sweeris; Yafeng Xia, senior professor of social science at Long Island University Brooklyn, and author of Negotiating with the Enemy: U.S.-China Talks during the Cold War, 1949-1972; and Nicholas Griffin, author of Ping Pong Diplomacy: The Secret History Behind the Game That Changed the World.

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