Before the days of Daniel Craig and the new 'Action Bond' there was a simpler time. A time where sexism was the norm. A time when casual racism was the order of the day. In honor of Bond's latest outing, released in Chinese cinemas today, we take a look back over the oft un-PC back catalogue of 007's Chinese connections...
Played by actress Tsai Chin, Ling’s cameo comes in the pre-credit sequence of You Only Live Twice when – after being in bed with Bond, natch – she helps him fake his assassination. But not before this classic little interchange…
Bond: Why do Chinese girls taste different from all other girls?
Ling: You think we better, huh?
Bond: No, just different. Like Peking Duck is different from Russian Caviar. But I love them both.
Ling: Darling, I give you very best duck.
Fact 001: To whom do we attribute these immortal lines? None other than screenwriter Roald Dahl.
Fact 002: Actress Tsai Chin, who spent her early life in Shanghai, is plays 007’s poker opponent Madam Wu in Casino Royale.
The first international criminal mastermind that 007 encounters on film, Julius No was born in Beijing, describing himself as the "unwanted child of a German missionary and a Chinese girl of a good family." Raised by his aunt, on adulthood he came to Shanghai, where he "became treasurer of the most powerful criminal society in China," the Tongs. He then escapes to America with US$10,000,000 of their gold bullion and ends up on Crab Island, Jamaica, hell-bent on world domination. He’s denied by Bond, of course, who gives him a hot pot ending – being boiled alive in the coolant pool of his overheating nuclear reactor.
Hai Fat’s mistress in The Man with the Golden Gun, Bond encounters her swimming naked in the pool of Fat’s estate when he sneaks into it disguised as Scaramanga. Okay, so all she actually does is skinny dip. But hey, who’s complaining…
The leading villainess from Dr. No, Taro is secretary in the Government House in Kingston, Jamaica, a secret spy and henchwoman to Doctor Julius No, and holds the distinction of being the first agent that 007 seduces while on mission. Overhearing Bond talking about Dr. No, she arranges a rendezvous at her house out of town – but it’s a honey trap, with SPECTRE agents trying to assassinate him on the road out there. Evading them, he surprises her by arriving unscathed, upon which she seduces him in an attempt to buy time for the evil Professor Dent to come and kill him. He’s wise to her ways though, and arranges for a ‘taxi’ to come and collect her. Not before having his wicked way with her though, naturally.
Fact 003: Played by Zena Marshall, Taro is your classic Caucasian pretending to be Chinese scenario, which we guess gets explained away with the whole ‘It’s not racist, it was a different generation...’
Michelle Yeoh plays martial arts master and all-round ass-kicker Wai Lin in Tomorrow Never Dies. A Red Chinese agent for The People's External Security Force, she teams up with 007 to thwart evil media mogal Rupert Murdoch… sorry, Elliot Carver’s attempt to start a war between the British and Chinese. She also wins 007’s respect by playfully, but firmly rejecting his attampts at seduction – the first Bond girl to do so. Well, until the very end, when Bond gets his girl, naturally.
Tomorrow Never Dies
Elliot Carver’s attempts to start a war between the British and Chinese, hoping to wipe out the existing Chinese leadership in Beijing so his cohort could take over. Beyond the massive publicity such a war would produce, a friendlier political atmosphere would allow his television network, the Carver Media Group Network, to secure exclusive broadcasting rights in China for the next century, something that the existing Chinese politicians have denied.
Fact 004: Scenes in the film were set to be filmed on location in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, but the visa – initially granted – was later rescinded two months after planning had begun, causing some to claim the Chinese government put pressure on Vietnam, unhappy about a story involving corrupt Chinese generals doing the bidding of a media tycoon.
Bond, ni hui xie zhong wen ma?
James Bond holds a degree in Oriental languages from Cambridge University, as he tell Miss Moneypenny in You Only Live Twice, and credited with writing Chinese. However, in Tomorrow Never Dies it is implied he does not understand the Chinese on the computer keyboard when he tells Wai Lin that she can type instead of him.
Fact 005: Tiger Tanaka, a Japanese secret agent, states that Bond was born in the year of the rat in You Only Live Twice.