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The Army Clears Tiananmen Square


Columnist Biography: Nicholas D. Kristof

During the spring of 1989 a student protest in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square challenged the Chinese regime with demands for democracy. The world watched, hopeful but uneasy.

Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times’s 30-year-old Beijing bureau chief, and Sheryl WuDunn, his wife, who had just joined the bureau as a reporter, worked tirelessly to get the news out. In May and June they wrote 131 stories.

Their coverage won them the 1990 Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting. “They got it right,” said the jury that judged their entry.

The protests came to a brutal end on June 4. Kristof and Dunn were on it. Here, slightly abridged, are their stories in that day’s Times.


Nicholas D. Kristof, a columnist for The Times since 2001, is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner who writes op-ed columns that appear twice a week.

Mr. Kristof grew up on a sheep and cherry farm near Yamhill, Oregon. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College and then studied law at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship, graduating with first class honors. He later studied Arabic in Cairo and Chinese in Taipei. While working in France after high school, he caught the travel bug and began backpacking around Africa and Asia during his student years, writing articles to cover his expenses. Mr. Kristof has lived on four continents, reported on six, and traveled to more than 140 countries, plus all 50 states, every Chinese province and every main Japanese island. He's also one of the very few Americans to be at least a two-time visitor to every member of the so-called "Axis of Evil." During his travels, he has had unpleasant experiences with malaria, mobs and an African airplane crash.

Photo Courtesy of Monika Flueckiger. ©

Photo courtesy of Derzsi Elekes Andor ©

Photo Courtesy of Fast Company.   © 

Day 141 of Bush’s Silence


Photo Courtesy of Scott Nelson/Getty Images

What the Pandemic Reveals About the Male Ego

Why are the rates of coronavirus deaths far lower in many female-led countries?

NYALA, Sudan - A reader from Eugene, Ore., wrote in with a complaint about my harping on the third world:


"Why should the U.S. care for the rest of the world?" he asked. "The U.S. should take care of its own. It's way past time for liberal twits to stop pushing the U.S. into nonsense or try to make every wrong in the world our responsibility."


And while that reader wasn't George W. Bush, it could have been. Today marks Day 141 of Mr. Bush's silence on the genocide, for he hasn't let the word Darfur slip past his lips publicly since Jan. 10 (even that was a passing reference with no condemnation).

There are several points I could make to argue that it's in our own interest to help Darfur. Turmoil in Darfur is already destabilizing all of Sudan and neighboring Chad as well, both oil-exporting countries. And failed states nurture terrorists like Osama and diseases like polio, while exporting refugees and hijackers.

Photo Courtesy of Ritchie B. Tongo/EPA, via Shutterstock

President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan at a military base this spring amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Are female leaders better at fighting a pandemic?

I compiled death rates from the coronavirus for 21 countries around the world, 13 led by men and eight by women. The male-led countries suffered an average of 214 coronavirus-related deaths per million inhabitants. Those led by women lost only one-fifth as many, 36 per million.

If the United States had the coronavirus death rate of the average female-led country, 102,000 American lives would have been saved out of the 114,000 lost.

“Countries led by women do seem to be particularly successful in fighting the coronavirus,” noted Anne W. Rimoin, an epidemiologist at U.C.L.A. “New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Norway have done so well perhaps due to the leadership and management styles attributed to their female leaders.”



When Readers Do Get It

Nicholas Kristof


Clockwise from top left: Memphis, Tenn., in 1968; Washington, D.C., in 2014; Birmingham, Ala., in 1963; Ferguson, Mo., in 2014Credit...Rolls Press/Popperfoto, via Getty Images; Mladen Antonov, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images; Bill Hudson, via Associated Press; Joshua Lott, via Reuters

Protests for civil rights spanning the decades.

Poetry is a window into the soul. And one lesson to me from the reaction to my “When Whites Just Don’t Get It” series is that we need soul-searching about race in America...

This call for poetry was inspired in part because Susan Donnelly, a Massachusetts poet I’ve admired, sent me a powerful piece she wrote after Ferguson. It touched me:

What stays with me more than flames,

broken glass, crowds swarming the streets

after the non-indictment; the edge-of-screen

war correspondent clutching his mic,

reporting low-voiced to us outsiders,

are the tears running down

the young woman’s cheek,

that she keeps swiping, as she tries

to stay calm for the interview.

It’s like —

and she starts again:

They don’t realize we’re human.

Not the fire but the broken heart.

Nicholas Kristof

Human rights, women’s rights, health, global affairs.

Nicholas Kristof has been a columnist for The New York Times since 2001. He grew up on a farm in Oregon, graduated from Harvard, studied law at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and then studied Arabic in Cairo. He was a longtime foreign correspondent for The New York Times and speaks various languages.

Mr. Kristof has won two Pulitzer Prizes.

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Send an email to Nicholas Kristof at


Illustration by Nicolas Ortega; Photograph from Getty Images


Graphic credit to Bijou Karman

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