Ping Pong Diplomacy and 44 Million Dead


Diplomacy is a facade. Give peace a chance is often a manufactured charade by totalitarian regimes looking for useful idiots to exploit. To the totalitarian mindset everything is political and propaganda is a tool for obscuring mass murder.

How did that Sino-American rapprochement come to be? The long-accepted story is that the catalyst was a spontaneous burst of friendship between a hippie American table tennis player and a Chinese world champion. The narrative makes sense: Ping pong is a recreational game for suburban garages and frat houses, so how could it be anything other than benign? But that telling is a misreading of a pivotal event whose origins were more calculated than have been acknowledged—set in motion, it seems, by the Chinese government itself.

By 1971, ping pong, like the Olympics, already had a political history. The game had been codified, and the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) was founded in 1926, by the Honorable Ivor Montagu. The youngest son of the Baron Swaythling, one of England’s wealthiest men, Montagu was producing early Alfred Hitchcock films when he embarked on a parallel career as a Soviet propagandist and spy. The day he turned 21, the Cambridge student had left for Moscow, where his family’s extraordinary connections to prime ministers, royalty, generals and admirals were quickly noted.

Eager to prove himself to the Kremlin, Montagu would return to England and spend decades quietly working for the Soviets. A true communist believes that everything from family to food, film to sport, is political. By the 1950s, Montagu had already proved as much. He had persuaded Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong and his deputy, Premier Zhou Enlai, to make ping pong the national game of China, inviting them into the ITTF and assuring their good treatment there.

Not only did Montagu tap the Chinese to host their first World Championships, in 1961, but the surrounding publicity helped to cover up the real story: Somewhere between 17 and 44 million people had recently starved to death during the Great Leap Forward, Mao’s collectivization and industrialization program. No matter: China had built the world’s greatest table tennis stadium, and it hosted 33 countries and won most of the gold medals.

Britain’s Foreign Office dismissed the championships as a “not entirely negligible fillip to the regime,” but that was missing the point. Propaganda isn’t always about promoting events—it can also be about obscuring them.


  • A Z

    “Montagu was producing early Alfred Hitchcock films when he embarked on a parallel career as a Soviet propagandist and spy”

    Is there a fairly complete list of Soviet spies, who worked in European and U.S. government from the 1920s through 1991?

    It would go a long way to show that the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) was more than a witch hunt.

  • blert

    The author is off on a couple of salient facts:
    1) Moscow approached Nixon and Laird about a pre-emptive atomic attack on Red China. Defense Secretary Laird wrote all about it for Readers Digest. I believe his account. He further wrote that Nixon put the kibosh on the whole notion — telling Moscow he’d nuke them if they nuked Beijing. Just forget it. No ‘Polands’ for us, thank you very much.
    2) Because of global weather patterns, there is, was, no way for Red China to get any meaningful atomic fallout into Siberia. Indeed, for obvious strategic reasons, Red China wanted to have a blast — and not let anyone know it had happened. (Duh)
    The LAST thing that Beijing wanted was instant publicity. They didn’t even have a meaningful atomic reserve, nor a way to deliver it…. Just baby steps.
    Flash forward to the present: Red China has more atomics than Russia and America combined. Thank you for not paying attention.
    And to make it interesting: Red China has xeroxed its tech to Pakistan and N. Korea. This way, neither power has had to waste any time and money on the first fifteen years of the atomic race. They can jump to 1960’s tech straight off.
    How thoughtful.
    Of course, the MSM has themselves believing that Tehran is going for a ‘neutron pig’ like Little Boy. Not a chance!
    Heck, it can’t even be tossed by their missiles. No, it has to be the good stuff — right out of the gate.

    • A Z

      I never heard of this. I can’t wait to check it out and spill the beans.

    • A Z

      “Red China has more atomics than Russia and America combined”

      Are you sure about that. I thought we had 3,000 and the ever asinine Obama wanted to cut it down to 1,000 and then to whatever.

      I thought the Chinese had 200.

      Now, I am going to have to check at the Federation of American Scientists ( (not that I like their bent).

      • blert

        FAS is a sock puppet of the Left — if not a KGB/ SVR asset.

        The Pentagon has already come around to my point of view…

        As has Putin… Whichsee his foot dragging on further Russian strategic cutbacks. He’s been shooting pyschic shots over Beijing’s bow for some months now.
        Since it’s too dangerous to actually fly Tu160s over Red China, Putin has them conducting mock attacks against Guam, an obvious substitute for flying from the east into the west to hit Beijing.
        Putin has also been revving up no-notice drills for his strategic forces. All of this only after it has been muted in open Western publications that Pentagon insiders estimate that Red China now has more throw weight that the rest of the planet combined.
        The FAS figure of 200 is over thirty-years old.
        Between then and now, Red China has NEVER stopped digging tunnels for its strategic rocket troops. These are tip top, first rate, missile hiding tunnels of staggering scope and expense. They are not filled with just air.
        Pook around and you’ll see some video footage out on the Internet.
        These tunnels entirely replicate one of the basing schemes muted by the USAF — thirty-years ago — for the ultimate in a survivable atomic deterrent.
        Red China puts no store on having atomic rockets at sea. They’re fully aware that America had defeated the Soviet Navy.

    • A Z

      like Little boy?

      You are right. It won’t be a WW2 type bomb. It’ll be something better. The MSM are just pretty boys and girls with good hair.

      The MSM remind me of purebred dogs. The type that have good coats and nice bones and are dumb as a box of rocks due to inbreeding.