The Marxist-Leninist Party of the Netherlands (in Dutch: Marxistisch-Leninistische Partij Nederland, MLPN) was a fake pro-China communist party in the Netherlands set up by the Dutch secret service BVD to develop contacts with the Chinese government for espionage purposes. It existed from 1968 to the early 1990s. The MLPN was led throughout its existence by Pieter Boevé, who used the pseudonym Chris Petersen.
Boevé had previously served as the international secretary of the Marxist-Leninist Centre of the Netherlands (MLCN), using his position to create contacts in China and Albania. Boevé had also started his own publication, De Kommunist, in 1966 which annoyed the MLCN. The double play of Boevé was discovered by his party comrades. He was expelled and formed his own League of Marxist-Leninists in the Netherlands (Liga van Marxisten-Leninisten in Nederland) in 1968. A year later it took the name MLPN. It claimed to represent the principles of Maoism against the “heresies” of the official pro-USSR Communist Party of the Netherlands. Boevé frequently received gifts and travelling expenses from the Chinese government, and was on one occasion the guest of honour at a special banquet presided over by Zhou Enlai.
Boevé had joined the Dutch secret service in 1955 after attending a student conference in Moscow. He developed several contacts in China, and eventually convinced the Chinese leadership that the MLPN constituted a legitimate party in the Netherlands. In reality, it never had more than a dozen members, none of whom, aside from Boevé, knew of its true purpose. The MLPN disbanded shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, when the BVD judged that it was no longer necessary.
Boevé and another former BVD member went public with the party’s story in 2004. Boevé has expressed no regrets for his actions, and now openly refers to the MLPN as having been a “fake party”.
Boevé also claims that he played a role in arranging the historic meeting of Richard Nixon and Mao Zedong in 1972. He was asked by Chinese contacts as to his views on the possibility of better relations with the United States of America; he took this as a sign that the Chinese government was interested in thawing relations between the two countries, and passed his information on to the CIA.
The MLPN published a monthly periodical called De Kommunist (The Communist). It was written entirely by BVD operatives.