Turbulent Decade: A History of the Cultural Revolution

By Yan Jiaqi; Gao Gao et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 9

Drowning amidst Struggles

THE RETALIATION AGAINST the February Adverse Current endangered the position of many of China's leaders at the highest level. Their lips were sealed. The brave ones among them like Tan Zhenlin were wounded, and the possibility of showing courage by saying a few words in behalf of Liu Shaoqi no longer existed.


Entrapment of Wang Guangmei

Before examining the entrapment of Wang Guangmei, let us recall a few of Liu Shaoqi's experiences on the eve of the retaliation against the February Adverse Current. Although 1966 had been a year of "Down with Liu and Deng," a formal process had to be used wherein they would admit to their "mistakes and crimes" before they could be relieved of their power and influence.

In late December 1966, Jiang Qing and other members of the Central Small Group made a special trip to Qinghua University to talk to Liu Tao, the daughter of Liu Shaoqi and his former wife, Wang Qian. They spoke to Liu Tao as representatives of the Party Central and Chairman Mao, revealing to her some of the facts and purposes behind the attack on Liu and Deng. Jiang Qing pleaded with Liu Tao not to be dutiful or protective of her stepmother and father, but to draw a line between herself and her family. Jiang told Liu, "Your natural mother has been oppressed. I have been also oppressed for decades. You should go see her, and together you should do some exposing work." The Central Small Group members told the Qinghua students that Liu Tao could expose her father, that big-character posters could be put on the walls of Zhongnanhai, and that they were best put up by children of high cadres, like Liu Tao, who could gain access to Zhongnanhai. They also said that the posters should be pasted on the outside walls of his house, where Liu Shaoqi could not see them. Jiang Qing promised her support for such actions

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