Mao's Last Revolution

By Roderick Macfarquhar; Michael Schoenhals | Go to book overview

10
Seizing Power

Provincial Red Guards had returned home from Beijing inspired by the Chairman and the great rallies and encouraged by their colleagues in the capital. Mao's injunction that they "learn from the experience of Shanghai and take concrete action" showed provincial radicals, who wanted nothing more than to "remain closely in step with" the CCP Chairman, what had to be done. "Seize power! Seize power! Seize power!" as Red Guards editorialized in one of their many tabloids. Action was the order of the day: students in particular were out in full force, taking over offices and official seals and issuing manifestos left, right, and center. Few were as hesitant as the heads of one CC department, who actually wrote a letter to Kang Sheng asking him for permission to "seize power."1

The Shanghai power-seizure may have been immensely encouraging, but the special circumstances of Shanghai could not be duplicated. Nowhere else was there a native son like Zhang Chunqiao who could return to lead the power-seizure with the authority of the Chairman and the CCRG and the support of the military; and in few other provinces did the Red Guards face the challenge of being supplanted by workers as leaders of the great rebellion. In the immediate aftermath of Shanghai's January Storm, most provincial power-seizures failed, and the center recognized only five others—Heilongjiang, Shandong, Guizhou, Shanxi, and Beijing—in the first half of 1967. Three other revolutionary committees were formed in the second half of 1967, but the other twenty not until 1968, a testimony to the bitter factional fighting provoked by attempted powerseizures and the refusal of the center to recognize power-seizures that it did not consider genuine transfers of power from "capitalist readers" to "proletarian revolutionary rebels."2

In conversation with a delegation of visiting Albanian officers, Mao seemed

-170-

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Mao's Last Revolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: The First Salvos 14
  • 2: The Siege of Beijing 32
  • 3: Confusion on Campuses 52
  • 4: The Fifty Days 66
  • 5: Mao's New Successor 86
  • 6: The Red Guards 102
  • 7: Red Terror 117
  • 8: Confusion Nationwide 132
  • 9: Shanghai's [January Storm] 155
  • 10: Seizing Power 170
  • 11: The Last Stand of the Old Guard 184
  • 12: The Wuhan Incident 199
  • 13: The May 16 Conspiracy 221
  • 14: The End of the Red Guards 239
  • 15: Cleansing the Class Ranks 253
  • 16: Dispatching Liu Shaoqi 273
  • 17: The Congress of Victors 285
  • 18: War Scares 308
  • 19: The Defection and Death of Lin Biao 324
  • 20: Mao Becalmed 337
  • 21: Zhou Under Pressure 358
  • 22: Deng Xiaoping Takes Over 379
  • 23: The Gang of Four Emerges 396
  • 24: The Tiananmen Incident of 1976 413
  • 25: The Last Days of Chairman Mao 431
  • Conclusion 450
  • Glossary of Names and Identities 465
  • A Note on Sources 479
  • Notes 483
  • Bibliography 611
  • Illustration Credits 659
  • Index 661
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