Rebellion and Factionalism in a Chinese Province: Zhejiang, 1966-1976

By Keith Forster | Go to book overview
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Chapter Two

Disunity, February-May 1967

The rebels in Zhejiang had failed to seize power; disunity among their ranks had contributed greatly to this failure. In addition to the split between United Headquarters and Red Storm a further threatening development had materialized at the end of January -- the organization of a group calling itself the Red Defence Army of Zhejiang Provincial Worker-Peasant-Demobilized Soldiers' Revolutionary Rebel General Headquarters (

). On 20 January this organization seized the seals from the Xiaoshan County Public Security Bureau, located twenty kilometers or so from Hangzhou. On the following morning, the group repeated the operation in Hangzhou. Two urgent notices of 23 and 25 January reflected the gravity of the situation and the alarm felt by the rebels of United Headquarters.1

The Zhejiang Daily published editorials on 5 and 10 February calling for unity and warning against sabotage from the right and the ultra-left.2 In a swipe at Red Storm, the 5 February editorial rejected any "motley alliance" which was based on "conciliation, eclecticism and opportunism". The editorial of 10 February referred to certain people who

shot arrows from behind at the revolutionary rebels at a time when the rebels are rallying to charge the enemy, thus disrupting the order of battle and creating confusion in our own camp.

These words gave vent to the anger that United Headquarters felt toward its factional enemies.

Despite the animosity, on 14 February United Headquarters and 30 other rebel groups in Hangzhou issued a proposal for unity.3 In the aftermath of the 12 February showdown, however, the prospects seemed remote. The proposal advocated the establishment of a preparatory group which would make suggestions on how to convene a congress of the workers of Hangzhou. This congress would unite the city's workers as the first step in achieving the unity of


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