THE REESTABLISHMENT OF CIVILIAN RULE, 1972-73
This chapter discusses the factional politics of the years 1972-73. With the removal of Lin's military followers in 1972, a new provincial leadership was installed in Zhejiang. Apart from expunging the influence of their predecessors the new arrivals implemented a program of economic restoration under the direction of Beijing. They also brought back to office prominent former leaders of the pre-Cultural Revolution party committee who had languished in political limbo for the previous five years. Leading members of United Headquarters came under pressure for their past associations with the discredited military leadership. Red Storm, by contrast, had relied greatly on its contacts the old provincial civilian and military leaders and with Xu Shiyou in Nanjing. With the return of overthrown cadres in increasing numbers and Xu's prominent role in purging the influence of Lin Biao in Zhejiang, Red Storm's stocks were set to rise.
However, beginning in 1973, disagreements over the pace and extent of the reforms which had been put in place across China threatened the unity of the central leadership. Mao had been badly shaken by Lin's defection and had allowed Zhou Enlai to introduce policies designed to stimulate the economy and strengthen social and political order. However, he was not prepared to countenance complete rejection of the ideals and political style of the Cultural Revolution. Therefore, in 1973-74 he permitted and encouraged radical central leaders to test anew the commitment of their social base to the objectives and methods of the Cultural Revolution. By so doing the Chairman triggered off a struggle to defend or move away from the politics and policies of the Cultural Revolution. In essence, it was a fight between its political beneficiaries on the one hand and its losers and sufferers on the other.
The renewed radical thrust witnessed the reemergence of mass organization leaders who had made their first appearance in the political arena in the turmoil of the mid-1960s. Many activists of the Cultural Revolution had been admitted into the CCP in the intervening years but their career prospects were blocked and threatened by the increasing number of older cadres who returned to their posts after 1972. The desire to uphold and continue the policies and goals of the Cultural
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Publication information: Book title: Rebellion and Factionalism in a Chinese Province:Zhejiang, 1966-1976. Contributors: Keith Forster - Author. Publisher: M.E. Sharpe, Inc.. Place of publication: Armonk, NY. Publication year: 1990. Page number: 108.
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