A quiet, dignified man who switched his allegiance from Taiwan to China has been visiting U.S. cities with significant Chinese populations ready to answer questions about the two claimants to be the one China.
The competition for support of the Chinese-American community began after President Nixon's 1972 visit to China ended more than two decades without official contacts between Washington and Peking.
It is a contest that bears upon the bigger competition for support of the U.S. government, which involves lobbyists, free travel and such gimmicks as the declaration that Plains, Ga., and Kaohsiung, Taiwan are sister cities, on the Taiwanese side.
Peking keeps a lower profile, but its representatives for months have criticized the United States for not moving more swiftly toward full normalization of relations.
Chen Yi-sung, 70, is one of two representatives of Taiwan on the standing committee of China's National People's Congress. Five years ago he was a resident of Taiwan and was in his 45th year there.
Now, Chen is traveling around the United States at a leisurely pace visiting some of his children and old friends.
The message he has for anyone who inquires about the future is the Peking policy that ia anathema to Taiwan: Peking will peacefully absorb Taiwan as a province of China.
Chen has met Chinese-Americans in Hawaii, San Francisco, New York and Washington. He left China Nov. 23 and plans to return whenever the National People's Congress begins to prepare for its next session.
The Congress is China's legislature but meets only to approve policies worked out in secret by the leadership and it meets irregularly.
His visit to the United States is unique among those by Chinese representatives not only for its length, but him that he would be able to leave China to visit his family and friends when he wanted. "I like to travel," Chen said.
[TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] also because he and his wife travel alone - not as part of a delegation.
Chen's visit is a nonofficial one, he stresses, and the State Department explained that he might visit family members, but he clearly enjoys meeting people and explaining the evils of Taiwan.
He left Taiwan because he hated the government's treatment of the people, Chen said through all interpreter during an interview last week.
In 1971 he was jailed for three days because he had been mailed some cake from opponents of the government in Japan and a similar package sent to someone else had contained explosives hidden inside the cake, he said.
He left the island for good in August, 1972, and wrote a letter to the Peking government outlining his criticisms of Taiwan.
China's late Premier Chou En-lai responded to the letter by inviting him to China and, after a five-month trip around the country, he struck a bargain with the Peking leaders.
He accepted election to the National People's Congress and Chou promised [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE]
Chen said the Chinese people are eager for the peaceful return of Taiwan to be a part of China and said a runner that unlead through Peking last September demonstrated this desire.
The word spread, Chen said, that representatives of Taiwan and come secretly to Peking for talks and an announcement of the reunification would be made soon. People began buying firecrackers with which to celebrate the announcement, Chen said.
The rumor began because more than 40 Red Flag limousines were seen gathered in a section of Peking, he said.
People asked him a representative of Taiwan what was happening and he asked the government. He learned there was no secret meeting with Taiwanese, but he doesn't know why the limousines' occupants had convened.
Chen says the restoration of China's control over Taiwan will come relatively soon. He urged the United States, as does China's leadership, to drop its defense treaty with Taiwan.
Then, he said, Taiwan would have no alternative but to negotiate with Peking on terms for reunification.