Andrew Callaghan, China, Jack Carr discussed on Jim Bohannon


Welcome back to the Jimbo had a show we're talking to Scott spacing. He is the author of China hand from post hill press. It is a novel, a thriller inspired by actual events we are told. Introduce us, if you would, to Andrew Callaghan. So Andrew Callaghan, the protagonist in the book is a 22 year old American. He's just graduated from college and like many young people. He goes off to China to work on the language and have a little adventure. So he has an opportunity to teach at a university in China and he goes off preparing for the adventure of his life. But then what happens is the CIA approaches him and informs them that his beautiful colleague and emerging love interest is actually the daughter of the top general who's on the verge of defecting to the United States and they need his help to get her and the general's family out. So he's sort of dragged unexpectedly into what it's supposed to be as simple operation, but these things never work out that way. And it turns into a run for his life as he flees the country with the full power of the Chinese state after him and lily, the daughter of the general. It would not be a major stretch of the imagination to assume that Andrew Callaghan is Scott spacek. Well, I'm going to plead the 5th a little bit on that, but I'll say the character is definitely inspired by a number of real events, things involving me and not involving me, but what I often say is in the same way that Jack Carr has drawn on a lot of real events and experiences as a navy seal to create Jane's REITs, Jack Carr is not James Reese and I'm not exactly Andrew Kelly on either. So I'll just leave it at that. All right. Inspired by actual events, were you aware of or party two discussions that involved the defection of a high Chinese official? Well, there were a number of things that I was not involved in all of these by any stretch. But part of the inspiration was in December of 2000. So I actually taught back in 1998 99 and in December of 2000, a Chinese kernel named children ping actually defected to the U.S. while with a military delegation. And that just got me thinking. It was only reported lightly in the news. And they made it sound like he could just leave because he often traveled to the U.S. in his military capacity. And just kind of thinking, did he have a family, how did they get out? Because clearly, he probably had some family members in China who presume that we would just leave them behind. And related to that, I was aware of a Princeton professor soon after Tiananmen Square, who was involved in helping a dissident actually who was under hulk house arrest in China, flee to the U.S. embassy in Beijing. And I put the two together and sort of said, you know, imagine if the Chinese colonel's family needed help and just like the Princeton professor helped that dissident get out, what if a random young American just living and living in China had to be had to be involved in this plot? And I tried to weave in a bunch of other either real events that happened in the world around that time, whether the U.S. bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade or other events as well as things involving the CIA and Chinese politics. I tried to weave those in as well as a bunch of my own experiences. I used to box in China. I had I did have a lot of interactions with U.S. diplomats and business people at the time. And I tried to kind of weave it all together into an authentic, but hopefully fun kind of espionage adventure story. Yeah, and I would agree. I think you have succeeded in that regard. If in real life, let's say a Chinese general decided to defect in an American decided to help that person and they were both caught. What would happen to the Chinese official? Well, I can't say in a completely hypothetical situation, but they certainly do not look kindly on any perceptions of disloyalty. So there's one case and I'm forgetting exactly the name and exactly the context I know. I know there was one case of a suspected spy for the CIA and my understanding is he had a pregnant wife and I think they shot. His pregnant wife in front of him before they shot him in front of a crowd of other people to kind of set an example. So I think I'm always, I shouldn't say surprised. It's probably a good thing about the U.S. system that we presume innocent much more, but it is interesting to see the relative leniency often given in the U.S. relative to what you see certainly in China. And what would happen to the American who was helping this Chinese official defect. Well, my guess certainly he could get the same treatment, what you've also seen, though, as you currently see with some of the discussions with Russia over the WNBA player of Brittany, I think it's griner or greener, I'm not sure how to pronounce it. You could also imagine in that hold somebody to potentially trade them for one of their own spies. But it certainly wouldn't be a pleasant experience to be in a Chinese jail so that yeah, that was sort of what I was thinking. One 8 6 6 5 O Jimbo as our number one 8 6 6 5 O 5 four 6 two 6 I'm just trying to use my imagination here and all of this I would think is certainly in other words let me put it this way just for writing this book. My guess would be that you would not be welcome back in China. Just tell me if you think I'm wrong. Well, I don't know. As I said for this and related reasons, I've had to use a pseudonym I'm pretty open about that. But I should be clear with your audience and potential readers. I mean, this is not, this is not a caricature of China. It's not an anti China China book. What I often say to people, look, I spent 2025 years of my life primarily living and working in China and studying the language and I really did fall in love with the people and culture. It's a fascinating place, rich rich culture and in many ways a fascinating society and people. So I have many, many positive things to say about China. And I actually should also say that there's relatively books I relatively few books in movies I find that really capture that nuance and capture both the good and the bad of China. And so just as what I often say is, just as there are espionage stories involving other countries, other normal countries like the U.S. or Israel or UK or Russia, why can't there be an authentic espionage story involving China involving a general cotton power struggle? A hypothetical power struggle 20 years ago. I

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