Fifty years ago today, Syd Goldsmith was almost beaten to death by an angry mob in Hong Kong.

On May 11, 1967, amid rumours of unrest at a factory, Syd, then a young US diplomat on his first offshore posting, was sent out into the streets to get a first-hand look.

He quickly found himself in deep trouble amid the now-famed Hong Kong riots. To this day, he counts himself lucky to be alive. Over the course of the next six months, more than 50 people would be killed as leftists battled police.

Syd has written about all this, including the tense lead-up, his close shave with death, and the fallout of the riots, in his upcoming memoir, Hong Kong on the Brink: An American Diplomat Relives 1967’s Darkest Days.

In today’s episode of The News Lens Radio, he talks about those tumultuous times in Hong Kong, and offers his insights into how relations between China and Hong Kong may play out in the future. Click here to listen to the podcast.