DIPLOMACY: Spying in Peking

To hear the Chinese tell it, the caper came right out of a spy novel. "It was the evening of Jan. 15 when the streets in the Chinese capital were emptying," reported the official New China News Agency. "A gray Soviet Volga car sped out of the Soviet embassy in China. Winding through streets and lanes, it left the city and raced toward the northeastern outskirts."

What followed, according to the Chinese, was an operation that would have embarrassed the most junior spy. Caught while parked under a bridge making "secret contact with Soviet-Sent Agent Li Hung-shu and another unidentified...

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