Tue, Feb 14|
Zoom, Daniel Asen
Daniel Asen, "Was Frank Yee a Secret Agent?"
Hear from Daniel Asen over Zoom speak about the Frank Yee and untangling the public and clandestine commitments of a police expert in 1930s and 1940s China. This session may be recorded.
Time & Location
Feb 14, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EST
Zoom, Daniel Asen
About this session
Daniel Asen discusses some of the findings of a biographical study of Frank Yee (Yu Xiuhao), an influential Chinese police educator who was trained in the United States under the famed Berkeley police reformer August Vollmer. While Yee is known primarily for the role that he played in reforming Chinese policing during the 1930s and 1940s, less well understood is his connection to the intelligence organization of Nationalist China's notorious "Spymaster" Dai Li. In this talk, I examine the ties that Yee had to Dai Li and the role that Yee played in the training efforts and operations of Dai's organization. Examples that will be discussed include Yee's involvement with the wartime Sino-American Cooperative Organization, which carried out intelligence-gathering and training efforts against the Japanese military in China, and his alleged role in the assassination of CCP hero Li Zhaolin in 1946. A study of Yee's career reveals the process through which police experts and institutions were influenced – and, at times, coopted – by Dai Li's intelligence apparatus during this period. Yee's story also sheds light on the larger question of how Chinese policing has been put into the service of internal political security during the 20th century.
Daniel Asen is an Associate Professor in the Department of History of Rutgers University-Newark where he teaches East Asian history. Dr. Asen's research focuses on the history of forensic science in modern China, including forensic death investigation and fingerprinting. His book Death in Beijing: Murder and Forensic Science in Republican China (Cambridge University Press, 2016) examines the history of homicide investigation and the politics of forensic expertise in early 20th-century Beijing.
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