Westwood News
Former UCLA Professor Dies
By Jennifer Alcaraz
Dec 23, 2012 - 5:54:43 PM

WESTWOOD—Former UCLA Faculty Member in the department of political science, Richard Baum, died on Friday, December 14 at the age of 72. There will be a memorial service to be held on January 19, 2013 at UCLA’S Faculty Center located at 480 Charles E. Young Dr. East, at 2 p.m. The university announced the professor’s death on December 18.  A statement from Baum’s son indicated that Richard had passed away in his home.

Richard Baum.


Baum was born in Los Angeles on July 8, 1940. His father was a technician and his mother a seamstress. He attended UCLA during his undergraduate studies. During his senior year, he took a course on Chinese government and politics to fulfill his major requirement and later obtained his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1962. He received a master’s degree in 1963 and his doctorate in 1970 from UC Berkley.


He was a professor at UCLA for 44 years, where he also worked in the Center for Chinese Studies. Considered a pillar of the department, he authored more than 50 academic books, amongst them, “China Watcher: Confessions of a Peking Tom,” and “Burying Mao: Chinese Politics in the Age of Deng Xiaoping (1994).”  He also provided commentary on news from China for CNN International, BBC World Service, Voice of America, National Public Radio and other newscasts.


He was founder of the Internet-based discussion group, Chinapol. According to Clayton Dube, the executive director of the University of Southern California’s U.S.-China Institute indicated that Baum’s opinions were greatly valued.


Baum leaves behind his wife Karin Joffe, a former managing director of a Hong Kong restaurant group.

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