A few years ago, the FX Network had a popular television series called The Americans. A period spy drama set in the Cold War 1980s, it portrayed a couple who moved to the United States to assimilate, live and work as Americans, but were secretly officers in the KGB.
Meet Ka Zeng and Fei Zhang. She (Ka) is a professor of political science at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He (Fei) is a Senior Director at the corporate headquarters of J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., one of the largest trucking and logistics companies in the United States. They have lived in Northwest Arkansas for over 20 years.
However, their careers began in an unusual way for a seemingly assimilated immigrant couple in the American South. They attended college together at China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU). Now, CFAU is not just any university in China. Jointly run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education, the university refers to itself as “the cradle of Chinese diplomats.”
Following graduation, according to his LinkedIn profile, Zhang worked for the Chinese Foreign Service in Finland as a Desk Officer for Northern Europe for seven years. He even speaks Finnish. Essentially, he was a spy. His wife, Ka, went the academic route, receiving her Masters and Ph.D. in Virginia. They moved to Arkansas in 2000.
Fei worked a year as an analyst for a Walmart vendor, then landed a job at J.B. Hunt, a Fortune 500 trucking and logistics firm headquartered in Arkansas. With no degree in transportation or logistics, he eventually worked his way up to be Director of Intermodal Transportation and is now a Senior Director at the company.