Shen Anna: A Communist Agent in Republican China

Mr Patrick Nugent1

1University Of Adelaide, Australia

Shen Anna and her husband Hua Mingzhi were communist agents who infiltrated the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Republican government. Born in 1915, Shen learnt shorthand and in 1934 secured a job as a stenographer in the KMT’s Zhejiang offices. Her position gave her access to high-level meetings of senior KMT officials, including Chiang Kai-shek. This enabled her to pass on copies of meeting notes to the CCP. Shen’s ‘special work’ certainly contributed to the Party’s victory. Shen’s job was difficult and dangerous, and she received only belated recognition. Drawing on Shen’s autobiography and other underutilized Chinese sources, this presentation will profile a fascinating portrait of an overlooked historical figure, as well as provide insight into the political importance of CCP intelligence.


Patrick Nugent: Studied at La Trobe University. Now a PhD student at the University of Adelaide researching historical case studies of Chinese Communist Party’s intelligence apparatus.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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