Mao's Last Revolution

By Roderick Macfarquhar; Michael Schoenhals | Go to book overview

22
Deng Xiaoping Takes Over

If 1972 had been Zhou's year, 1975 was largely Deng's; or, as the radicals later referred to it, the year when "China's Imre Nagy, that arch-unrepentant capitalist roader Deng Xiaoping, attempted the all-round restoration of capitalism";1 or, as it was redesignated after the radicals had been purged, the year that "witnessed an unprecedented awakening among people all over China, and the speeding up of the decline of the 'Gang of Four.'"2 As in 1972, Mao was curiously unresponsive to the alarm of his radical allies. Like Zhou in 1972, Deng in 1975 took advantage of the Chairman's passivity to try to reverse the damage caused by the Cultural Revolution.

In choosing Deng, Mao was in part pursuing his aim of reducing the role of the PLA in civilian affairs. The "Lin Biao incident" had enabled Mao drastically to diminish the role of the military in the central party apparatus. However, PLA officers still ran most of the country outside Beijing. On December 12, 1973, in a series of meetings with a Politburo work conference and the MAC, Mao complained that the "Politburo did not deal with politics" and the "MAC did not deal with military affairs," a broad hint to the PLA to withdraw from politics. He supported what was reportedly Ye Jianying's proposal to order eight of the eleven military region commanders to exchange posts, thus removing them from areas where they were well entrenched and had long-standing ties to both civilian and military cadres. The sweetener was Mao's proposal that Deng Xiaoping should return to the Politburo and the MAC. Since these two démarches were simultaneous, Mao's tactic was plain. In order to persuade the regional commanders to leave their bailiwicks, he was implicitly promising them that, although Zhou Enlai was fading from the scene, they could be confident that his place would be taken by a member of the old guard, a Long March veteran with strong party and military credentials, rather than Wang Hongwen. The importance of this quid pro quo was underlined by Deng Xiaoping after the Cultural

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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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