The Chinese Secret Service

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Much of this lengthy tome by two French journalists centers on Kang Sheng, the individual most directly responsible for the development and expansion of the Chinese secret service. Kang Sheng was born in 1898 in the province of Shandong, the third son of a rich landowner. Despite his bourgeois background, however, or maybe because of it, Kang Sheng was an early convert to the Communist movement in China. As the years passed he moved through the ranks of the party apparatus until all of China recognized his potential as a valuable ally or an implacable and dangerous foe.

While Faligot and Kauffer focus on Kang Sheng’s role in the development of the Tewu, they have also sought to provide a full history of the organization itself. They offer a plethora of factual information and informed speculation concerning not only the Tewu but also the various rival intelligence agencies with which the Chinese have had to contend.

This is not a work to consume at a single sitting--no matter how committed the reader is to the subject. Indeed, the book would have been improved by some editorial pruning. Still, THE CHINESE SECRET SERVICE presents a revealing account of intelligence operations in East Asia.