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

By Keith Forster | Go to book overview

Chapter Three
FROM "UNITY"TO RENEWED DISUNITY, SEPTEMBER 1967-AUGUST 1968

Steps toward the Three-way Alliance, September-December 1967

After the fighting of July to August 1967 the overriding source of instability in Zhejiang remained, as it had done since February 1967, the antagonism between the two mass organizations. Unity required compromise. Yet United Headquarters remained adamant that it would not accept its arch-rival into an alliance unless Red Storm accepted a subordinate standing. Red Storm stood equally firm in its resolve. Stalemates of this kind were not limited to Zhejiang, and between July and September 1967 Mao Zedong visited several provinces in north, central and east China to break the logjam.

Mao spent one day in Hangzhou on 16 September. Only a very brief excerpt of his talk with Nan Ping is available.1 The Chairman objected to the practice of forcing cadres to kneel and wear dunce's-caps and recommended the policy of unity-criticism-unity in dealing with them. In a later talk in Jiangxi province Mao predicted that the cadres of Zhejiang, including military officials, would not stand for the continuation of such treatment.2

After Mao's return to Beijing, extracts from his directives were compiled and released by the CCP CC.3 The theme of the document was its emphasis on unity. Mao declared that "there was no fundamental conflict of interest within the working class" and therefore no need for it to split into two irreconcilable factions. He attributed the disunity to three factors -- the infiltration of "bad people" into mass organizations, the sabotage activities of capitalist-roaders trying to protect themselves, and the influence of anarchist thinking. If both sides strove for common ground on major issues and put minor matters aside, stated the Chairman, unity was possible. But this depended, as Mao realized, on one side abandoning its claim to form the nucleus, (

) of the revolutionary great alliance. The day after Mao's visit to Hangzhou, Zhejiang Daily published an editorial repudiating the slogan "I want to be at the core" which United Headquarters had constantly repeated in its pronouncements concerning the alliance.4 The breakthrough cut the ground from under United Headquarters and

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