This article studies the implications of the Taiwan-based Republic of China’s last major cultural diplomacy offensive, the North American tours of the National Chinese Opera Theater, on the eve of the consolidation of China’s international representation by the People’s Republic of China. The tours represented Beijing opera as a high-profile victim of the Cultural Revolution and promoted the Nationalist government on Taiwan as the legitimate guardian of China’s ancient cultural traditions and what it meant to be “Chinese.” The ultimate failure to stop the US shift to Beijing highlights, among other things, the Nationalist government’s lack of control over the “infrastructure of persuasion” dominated by American impresarios and show business. This article expands the explanatory power of cultural diplomacy by conceptualizing not just the production but also the projection of cultural messages in the contention over “Chineseness” at a critical juncture in the global Cold War.