Robert Keatley has served as editor of three newspapers during his journalism career. After earning degrees from the University of Washington and Stanford University and serving in the Navy, Keatley joined the Wall Street Journal, where he spent most of his career. He was a staff reporter in San Francisco, New York, London, and Hong Kong before becoming the Journal’s diplomatic correspondent in Washington. In that capacity, he made a lengthy visit to China in the spring of 1971 as the first American reporter to receive an individual journalist’s visa following the advent of Ping-Pong diplomacy; the trip included an interview with Premier Zhou Enlai. Keatley returned to China the following February to cover the visit of President Nixon and has made many additional visits since then, including trips accompanying Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Cyrus Vance.

Keatley became the Journal’s foreign editor in New York in 1978 before becoming editor of the Asian Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong in 1979, and concurrently publisher in 1983. In 1984, he was named editor of the Wall Street Journal Europe in Brussels. He returned to Washington in 1992 to serve as a writer and editor specializing in international political and economic issues.

Keatley retired from the Journal in 1998 and returned to Hong Kong for three years, where he was editor of the South China Morning Post. During the fall of 2005, he taught at the journalism department of Tsinghua University in Beijing and in 2007 organized a seminar on business journalism at Fudan University in Shanghai. In 2006, Keatley founded and served as editor of the Hong Kong Journal until it stopped publishing in 2012. He is currently a consultant for the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

Last Updated: September 9, 2016



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