Chi Chao-ting

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Chi Cha'o-ting (1903-63) (New style: Ji Chaoding) was a Chinese Communist propagandist[1] and intelligence agent[2] active in the United States, who became a high-ranking official of the People's Republic of China.

Chi left China for the U.S. in 1924 to study at the University of Chicago. In 1926, he became the first Chinese student to join the Communist Party of the United States. The following year, he traveled to Europe to attend the Comintern's International Congress of Oppressed Peoples, continuing to Moscow, where he worked as a translator and served as a Chinese delegate to the Sixth Comintern Conference.[3]

In 1929, Chi returned to the U.S. to pursue a graduate degree in economics at Columbia University, where in the 1930s he became acquainted with Karl August Wittfogel.[4] During this time, Chi was a guiding factor in the founding of the American Friends of the Chinese People (AFCP), according to an FBI source.[5] He served as associate editor of the AFCP organ China Today, wrote under various pseudonyms for Communist-connected periodicals including the Daily Worker, China Today, and Amerasia.

In 1938, American Communist[6] Frederick Vanderbilt Field got Chi hired as a researcher at the Institute of Pacific Relations (IPR), an organization that would be described in a unanimous report of the Senate Judiciary Committee as "a vehicle used by Communists to orientate American Far Eastern policy toward Communist objectives."[7] In a letter that year, the editor of the IPR's publication Pacific Affairs, Owen Lattimore (who would be identified in a 1952 report of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee as "a conscious, articulate instrument of the Soviet conspiracy"),[8] wrote to IPR General Secretary Edward C. Carter (President of the Board of Directors of the American Russian Institute, listed by Attorney General of the United States Thomas C. Clark on the Attorney General's List of Subversive Organizations for 1948, in accordance with President Truman's Executive Order 9835), "I think that you are pretty cagey in turning over so much of the China section of the inquiry to Asiaticus, Han-seng and Chi. They will bring out the absolutely essential radical aspects, but can be depended on to do it with the right touch..."[9] (“Asiaticus” was the Polish-born Comintern agent Moses Wolf Grzyb[10]; “Han-seng” refers to Chen Han-seng, a member of Richard Sorge’s Soviet spy ring in Tokyo).[11] Chi was Chi Cha'o-ting.

Philip Jaffe, who in 1945 would plead guilty to "conspiracy to embezzle, steal and purloin" government property in the Amerasia case,[12], said he was converted to Communism by Chi[13], whom he judged "an exceptionally able propagandist for the cause of Chinese Communism."[14] American Communist Sidney Rittenberg (who was sent to China by the U.S. military in the 1940s and remained after the country fell to the Communists) concurred, describing Chi as “the best revolutionary propagandist of the lot,” who focused on making his English “smooth, appealing, and convincing to the Western reader.”[15]

Through the influence of U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Harry Dexter White (who was also a Soviet agent)[16], Chi secured an appointment as confidential secretary to China's Finance Minister H. H. Kung,[17], in which post "Chi no doubt exercised considerable influence over the KMT's disastrous monetary policy"[18] and "disrupted Chiang Kai-shek's regime from within."[19]

In 1944, Chi shared a house in Chungking with U.S. Treasury attaché (and Soviet agent) [20][21] Solomon Adler and U.S. State Department Foreign Service Officer and so-called "China Hand" John Stewart Service,[22] who would be arrested the following year in the Amerasia scandal after passing confidential government documents to Jaffe.[23]

After the fall of China to the Communists in 1949, Chi became an official of the Red Chinese government in Beijing, where he died in 1963. By then, the regime he had helped bring to power had imposed "Totalization," the "Great Leap Forward" and famine, causing an estimated 26 million deaths[24] The "Cultural Revolution" soon to follow would raise Mao's bodycount to "well over 70 million deaths in peacetime, more than any other 20th-century leader," according to Jung Chang, a former member of Mao's Red Guards.[25]. At a memorial service in London, a eulogy, written by Owen Lattimore, was read, lionizing Chi as "humane to the marrow of his bones."[26]

Notes

  1. Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Institute of Pacific Relations, S. Rpt. 2050, 82d Cong., 2d sess., Serial 11574, pursuant to S. Res. 306, (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1952), p. 67; Gregory Lewis, "Bridging the Guomindang-Chinese Communist Party: Ji Chaoding in New York, Shanghai, Chongqing, and Beijing, 1933-1963," Zhongguo Shangye Shi (Chinese Business History), Vol. 11, No. 2 (Fall 2001) ISSN 1090-834X, p. 1
  2. Lifu Chen, The Storm Clouds Clear Over China: The Memoir of Chen Li-fu, 1900-1993 (Hoover Press, 1994) ISBN 0817992723, p. 181; Arthur Herman, Joseph McCarthy: Reexamining the Life and Legacy of America's Most Hated Senator (Simon and Schuster, 1999) ISBN 0684836254, p. 126
  3. Harvey Klehr and Ronald Radosh, The Amerasia Spy Case: Prelude to McCarthyism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996), p. 21
  4. Harvey Klehr and Ronald Radosh, The Amerasia Spy Case: Prelude to McCarthyism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996), p. 34
  5. FBI report: Potentialities of Chinese Communist Intelligence in the United States (May 1954), p. 19 (PDF p. 26)
  6. Edward M. Collins, Myth, Manifesto, Meltdown: Communist Strategy, 1848-1991 (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger/Greenwood, 1998) ISBN 0275959384, p. 55; Kai Bird and Svetlana Chervonnaya, “The Mystery of Ales,” The American Scholar, Summer 2007
  7. Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Institute of Pacific Relations (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1952), p. 225
  8. S. Rpt. 2050: Institute of Pacific Relations, 82d Cong., 2d sess., Serial 11574, Report of the Committee on the Judiciary Pursuant to S. Res. 366, 1952 (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1952), pp. 214-218 (PDF pp. 222-226)
  9. "The Right Touch," Time, August 6, 1951
  10. Robert P. Newman, Owen Lattimore and the "Loss" of China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), ISBN 0-520-07388-6, p. 452
  11. Maochen Yu, "Chen Hansheng's Memoirs and Chinese Communist Espionage," Cold War International History Project Bulletin, 6-7 (Winter 1995/1996), p. 274
  12. "The Strange Case of Amerasia," Time, Monday, June 12, 1950
  13. Philip J. Jaffe, The Amerasia Case from 1945 to the Present (New York: Philip J. Jaffe, 1979), p. 1
  14. Philip J. Jaffe, The Amerasia Case from 1945 to the Present (New York: Philip J. Jaffe, 1979), p. 2
  15. Sidney Rittenberg and Amanda Bennett, The Man Who Stayed Behind (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2001), ISBN 0822326671, p. 253
  16. FBI Memorandum: Ladd to Hoover, October 16, 1950 (PDF p. 16)
  17. John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), ISBN 0300077718, p. 140; John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, In Denial: Historians, Communism & Espionage (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2003), p. 289
  18. Harvey Klehr and Ronald Radosh, The Amerasia Spy Case: Prelude to McCarthyism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996), p. 22
  19. John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), ISBN 0300077718, p. 140
  20. Alexander Vassiliev’s Own Translation of his Notes on Anatoly Gorsky’s December 1948 Memo on Compromised American Sources and Networks, October 2005
  21. 14 KGB New York to Moscow 4 January 1945, p. 2
  22. S. Rpt. 2050, 82d Cong., 2d sess., Serial 11574, pursuant to S. Res. 306, Institute of Pacific Relations (Hearings July 25, 1951–June 20, 1952 by the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws of the Committee on the Judiciary)
  23. Harvey Klehr and Ronald Radosh, The Amerasia Spy Case: Prelude to McCarthyism (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1996) ISBN 0-8078-2245-0, p. 131
  24. R.J. Rummel, China's Bloody Century (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1991), ISBN 9780887384172
  25. Jung Chang, Mao: The Unknown Story (London: Jonathan Cape, 2005) ISBN 0-224-07126-2
  26. Robert P. Newman, Owen Lattimore and the "Loss" of China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), ISBN 0-520-07388-6, pp. 515-516
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