Li Hongjun did not usually take selfies. But out in the orange grove, he was not in his usual state of mind. It was early February, and the lunar New Year was approaching. It’s considered good luck to set out a bowl of oranges during the Chinese holiday, so Li, figuring he could use some luck, decided to buy some for his restaurant, the Jade Tea Farmhouse, located on a dusty road in little-known Wuhua County, population 1.3 million, in Guangdong Province.
On this day in 1971, President Richard Nixon, to the complete surprise of the American public, announced that he would be visiting communist China in 1972. It was an abrupt, about-face departure from a stance the vehemently anti-communist Nixon had campaigned upon. But the lost lives and political costs of the Vietnam war—as well as the insistent advice of Nixon’s Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger—led Nixon away from his intransigence and into a momentous meeting that would shape the course of American diplomacy and international affairs for decades.