On balance, 1987 was a lousy year for Chinese culture. Interestingly, it was a year in which events and personal experiences came nearly full circle, one that started and ended with student demonstrations. In early November 1986 China's first international conference on contemporary Chinese literature was convened in Shanghai under the joint sponsorship of the Ministry of Culture and the Chinese Writers' Association. Competitive athletics in China showed a picture of continuing mastery in certain sports and growing strength in others. Officials of the Chinese Writers' Association were also quick to give voice to the new guidelines, taking a positive approach that was noticeably absent during the anti-bourgeois liberalization campaign. As foreign journalists like Lawrence MacDonald of Agence-France Presse were being expelled from China for a variety of reasons, cultural figures from China's recent past were being trooped out in support of the campaign.