Mao's Last Revolution

By Roderick Macfarquhar; Michael Schoenhals | Go to book overview

16
Dispatching Liu Shaoqi

Mao's intention had all along been to time the CCP's Ninth Congress to coincide with the successful conclusion of the "first" Cultural Revolution.1 But before beginning the construction of his brave new world, Mao evidently decided it was necessary to prepare the ground by completing the destruction of the old order. This principally meant finally disposing of Liu Shaoqi, the satanic figure of Cultural Revolution demonology. The dénouement was accomplished at the CC's Twelfth Plenum, which met in Beijing from October 13 to 31, 1968, a little over two years after the dramatic Eleventh Plenum at which Liu had first been toppled from his place as heir apparent.

The Twelfth Plenum was chaired by Mao and was one of the most remarkable gatherings in the party's forty-seven-year history. At the Eleventh Plenum, Mao had had to bully his colleagues, whose lack of enthusiasm for his measures was evident. By the time of the Twelfth Plenum, those colleagues who had survived were too cowed to drag their feet or offer lukewarm support. Almost threequarters of the full and alternate CC members formally qualified to attend had come under suspicion of being "traitors" or "counterrevolutionaries." Of the eighty-seven living full members, only forty were invited to attend. Of the ninety-six alternate members appointed at the two sessions of the CCP's Eighth Congress in 1956 and 1958, only nineteen were at the plenum. Ten alternates (including four generals, one lieutenant general, and four political commissars) were appointed to full membership on the opening day to replace the ten who had died since the Eighth Congress, two by their own hand during the Cultural Revolution. These promotions brought the number of full members present up to the 51 percent needed to make any plenum vote formally legal. In addition to the fifty-nine full and alternate CC members, seventy-four members of the CCRG, MAC administration, provincial revolutionary committees, military regions, and organs directly under the CC attended this "enlarged" plenum and

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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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