The Chinese

While the early Bond films were always careful not vilify the Russians as villains, they seemed to have no such qualms about another nation, with the Chinese featuring as a shadowy presence in a number of the movies of the 60s. This even extends to the very first film - Dr No. The Chinese are not mentioned by name, but it can be seen that some of the guards working for the titular character are wearing Chinese Army uniforms. Hence it is logical to assume that it is the Chinese who are funding SPECTRE's efforts to disrupt American rockets.

However, it is in Goldfinger that Chinese involvement is first made clear, since they are supporting Goldfinger in his scheme to irridiate America's gold reserves. since as well as increasing the price of Goldfinger's reserve, this will presumably also have an adverse effect on the economy of the USA. Goldinger's contact is one Mr Ling (played by Burt Kwouk), who supplies the Atomic bomb which is crucial to the plan. Goldfinger describes him as one of Bond's "opposite numbers, who also has a licence to kill". Ling recognises Bond as a British secret agent.

Two films later, SPECTRE is attempting to engineer a war between Russia and America in You Only Live Twice. Again, it is not explicitly stated who are funding SPECTRE to do this when Blofeld is visited by two of his employers. However, both are oriental and have the resources to supply SPECTRE with the impressive equipment required for the task, so it is credible that again it is the Chinese how are behind things, especially given their connections with SPECTRE as hinted at in Dr No.

The next film to feature Chinese involvement is The Man With The Golden Gun. The movie concerns the hunt for a device called the Solex Agitator, a device which can create energy from sunlight. The device is sought by both the British and the Chinese. While the British are using Bond (until he is taken off the case due to the apparent threat to his life), the Chinese are employing Francisco Scaramanga through a wealthy business man called Hai Fat who lives in Bangkok. Scaramanga's island home is within Chinese territory and he enjoys a degree of protection from them in return for undertaking the occasional task.

However, it is clear that times change. The most recent film to feature the Chinese was Tomorrow Never Dies, which featured a sympathetic portrayal of the nation. Clearly, the main villain is the media mogul Elliot Carver. However, Carver is working with a Chinese General, Chang, in order to ultimately murder the rest of the security council in Beijing and bring Chang to power. Hence, things are reminiscent of Octopussy's use of a rogue Russian General (Orlov), although the film somewhat underuses the character of General Chang.

The scheme of Carver and Chang is foiled in part by the work of the People's External Security Force, China's equivalent of MI6. One of their operatives, Colonel Wai Lin, was investigating the disappearance of some stealth material from one of the bases controlled by Chang, which brought her into Carver's scheme to prompt a war between Britain and China. We see little of the PESF's organisation in the movie - just one of their regional bases in Saigon. This is hidden in a bicycle shop, and features an array of high-tech equipment, as well as Q-Branch style weaponry. Interestingly, Raymond Benson's novelisation of the film makes more of the organisation, and features Wai Lin's initial briefing of her mission by one General Koh.

Chinese inteligence makes another brief appearance in Die Another Day in the form of an agent called Mr Chang, whose somewhat bizarre cover is the manager of a hotel in Hong Kong. Bond knows him of old, but the Chinese are suspicious of 007 when he arrives in the hotel and they attempt to set him up with a woman while filming his activities. However, Bond is able to convince Chang that the Chinese are not his target and they help him track down Zao, given that they also have an interest in catching this particular terrorist since he killed 3 Chinese agents.

The Bond Film Informant was compiled by Matthew Newton. © Copyright MJ Newton. No part of this site may be reproduced without permission unless otherwise stated.

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