WAR IN ASIA: Coup Undone

One of the neatest Communist maneuvers of the Chinese civil war was pulled off in November 1949 at Hong Kong's airfield, where 82 Nationalist transport planes had been flown in to presumed safety. Subverted by agents, most of their Chinese crews defected to the Reds. They grabbed eleven of the planes and took off for Mao's mainland. Hong Kong authorities announced that British recognition of the Communist government—then expected momentarily—would automatically give the Reds possession of the remaining 71 planes by right of inheritance. It was strange logic, explainable only by...

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