Mao's Last Revolution

By Roderick Macfarquhar; Michael Schoenhals | Go to book overview

21
Zhou under Pressure

Wang Hongwen did not have the star power of a Lin Biao, so he would have to understudy for the part of successor. For the moment, Zhou had to occupy the uncomfortable role of No. 2 to which Lin's demise had elevated him. But Zhou's health posed a severe problem for the Chairman. On the one hand, since Mao could not be sure that he would outlive Zhou, he had to find means to constrain the premier and protect the legacy of the Cultural Revolution. On the other hand, Zhou's illness caused uneasiness among the elite. If Zhou were to die before Mao, who would emerge as heir apparent? Wang Hongwen might seem like a comer to Mao, but to veterans of the Long March he was but a whippersnapper, "a puppy, / Barely weaned."1 In his enfeebled condition Mao could not risk a backlash among the PLA generals. He had to find somebody who could restrain Zhou Enlai and simultaneously inspire trust among the old guard. So Mao took another, even riskier gamble. In the spring of 1973, he recalled Deng Xiaoping to the colors.


The Return of Deng Xiaoping

The No. 2 "capitalist roader" had spent the previous three and a half years in Jiangxi province. Like other senior cadres, he had been evacuated from Beijing in October 1969, when Mao feared a Soviet surprise attack. Deng was moved with his wife, Zhuo Lin, and stepmother to a small apartment on the grounds of an old infantry school on the outskirts of the provincial capital, Nanchang. Deng and Zhuo Lin worked mornings in a local factory that repaired agricultural machinery. Deng was found a job as a fitter, doing what he had done as a workstudy student at the Renault factory in France forty years earlier. A young soldier was assigned to them to look after the heavier household chores. Their elder son, Pufang, crippled as a result of a jump from a dormitory window at Peking Uni

-358-

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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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