CULTURAL ENVOY A LIFELONG SPY
Many Chinese were shocked to discover recently that Ying Ruocheng, China’s most famous stage actor and most “Westernized” artist, who — as China’s vice minister of culture in the 1980s, brought American playwright Arthur Miller and Italian film director Bernardo Bertolucci to the Chinese audience — was a lifelong spy for China’s counterintelligence services.
Mr. Ying died in December 2003, but his biography, “Voices Carry” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009), was just translated into Chinese, with substantial deletions on all parts related to a peculiar aspect of his life: his devoted spying since the 1950s on his Western partners and friends for the Chinese spy agencies.
Curious minds discovered these deletions and translated the missing parts into Chinese, which appeared on the Chinese Internet, causing a minor sensation.
The book reveals, that, among other things, Mr. Ying was responsible for the arrest in 1951 of his friends, the American couple Allyn and Adele Rickett, who were visiting scholars at Peking University at the time. The Ricketts spent four years in Chinese prison for supposedly being American spies.