Turbulent Decade: A History of the Cultural Revolution

By Yan Jiaqi; Gao Gao et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 20

The September 13 Incident
and Death of Lin Biao

Escaping South to Guangzhou to Form Another "Central"

Even as Lin Liguo plotted the assassination, Lin Biao and Ye Qun were planning an escape to the south. They repeatedly spread rumors of Lin Biao "wanting to move," "needing to ride airplanes just for moving about," "wishing to go to Dalian," "planning to return to Beijing before National Day." They also had Lin Liheng go to Beidaihe on the pretext of her engagement, so the entire family could make its move together. Lin Liguo told his sister, Liheng, of the plan to escape to the Soviet Union, saying that it was Ye Qun's plan and that Lin Biao at first did not agree to it. On the morning of September 10, 1971, Zhou Yuchi asked Lu Min to make a list of the first three classes of airfields in Fujian, Jiangxi, Guangdong, and Guangxi along with their locations, lengths, and widths. At 11:00 A. M. on September 11, Ye Qun asked her secretary to notify her Beijing secretary to gather together all documents relating to cadres name lists of the armed forces at deputy level and above, all registrations of armed forces postings, and all cadre working session records and to have them sent to her in Beidaihe. That night about 11:00 P. M., she telephoned Hu Ping to make sure of the air arrangements, saying, "I have already made arrangements about this matter with the fat commander (Wu Faxian). You must pay it close attention." By September 12, the plan to escape south was imminent, with details for its implementation worked out by telephone between Beidaihe and Beijing.

Lin Liguo and Zhou Yuchi decided on the plan in Beijing. They told Hu Ping of the decision to leave Beidaihe on September 13 and arranged with him to have eight planes readied for Lin Biao's southward flight. By about 5:00 P. M. on September 12, Hu Ping dispatched Trident 256 with Lin Liguo to Shanhaiguan, where the plane was to be left for Lin Biao and Ye Qun, with Pan Jingyin in charge. He then telephoned the flight control head to say flight

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