Mao's China, McCarthy's America and the Persecution of John S. Service

TUE, OCT 27, 2009 (1:15:08)

Emmy award-winning journalist Lynne Joiner tells the tale of Service, an idealistic U.S. Foreign Service officer in wartime China who had the misfortune of often being right although U.S. policy makers refused to heed his prescient reporting. He predicted Mao Tse-tung’s successful revolution long before anyone else even knew the Chinese Communists were a potent force, and, subsequently, he became Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s first victim. The author describes how Service was fired for doubtful loyalty–but won his job back in the U.S. Supreme Court, only to have his career neutralized by the FBI, anti-Communist politicians, the China lobby, and Chiang Kai-shek’s secret police. Born and raised in China by YMCA missionaries, Service became America’s key liaison with the Communist Chinese when Gen. Joseph Stilwell wanted their help against the Japanese. Later, he became a target of revenge for Nationalist Chinese, a convenient scapegoat for American politicians eager to advance their careers, and a person of interest to J. Edgar Hoover for more than a quarter century. Joiner was given special access to Service’s private papers and photographs with Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, among others, and gained access to FBI, CIA, and State Department security records as well as confidential transcripts of congressional hearings and federal loyalty review boards. Although newly released Soviet and U.S. documents demonstrate that some of his wartime associates were in fact identified as Communist spies or fellow travelers, Joiner shows that Service was an honorable survivor who was innocent of McCarthy’s charges.

+ BIO: Lynne Joiner

A seasoned journalist with over twenty-five years’ experience with some of the country’s major news organizations, Joiner was the only American correspondent in China in 1976 when Premier Zhou Enlai died, an historic event that marked the passing of the revolutionary generation. It was her interest in China and Chinese-American relations that put her in that unique position, and it was through her reports to all three major TV networks that most Americans were kept abreast of what that historic changing of the guard signaled for the West.

A Cappella Books