Since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, intelligence services in both Beijing and Washington have vied to uncover secrets in one another’s countries, and to safeguard their own secrets, in pursuit of military, economic, and technological advantage. Many bona fide spies on both sides have been caught; many innocents have been unfairly implicated. What follows is a brief history of key events in this conflict.
Qian Xuesen, cofounder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and professor at Caltech, is stripped of his security clearance for alleged connections to the Communist Party. Qian, who had questioned Nazi rocket scientists on behalf of the US government after World War II and worked on the Manhattan Project, resigns from Caltech and asks to leave the US for China, at which point he is held under house arrest for five years. In 1955 the US deports him;