Turbulent Decade: A History of the Cultural Revolution

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

Chapter 19

The Failure of the
Lin Biao Coup

JUST AS LIN BIAO and Lin Liguo began their armed coup, the Party Central, acting on Mao's directive, sent personnel to participate in the office work of the Military Commission in April 1971, thus thwarting Lin's unilateral control of that office. Meanwhile, on April 15, a ninety-nine-person meeting consisting of Party Central, local, and armed forces personnel was held to constitute the Conference Reporting on Criticizing Chen and Conducting Rectification. Lin Biao was concerned and alarmed. That afternoon from Beidaihe, Lin Biao asked Ye Qun to telephone Wu Faxian asking him and Huang Yongsheng to make a daily report of the conference. At the meeting, someone aired Wu Faxian's activities at the Lushan Conference, and discussion of the written self-examinations of Huang Yongsheng, Wu Faxian, Li Zuopeng, and Qiu Huizuo was held. Greatly agitated, Lin Biao and Ye Qun flew to Beijing on April 19, to be near the scene and defend himself. The United Flotilla also became restive after getting the reports of the meeting. On the night of April 23, 1971, Zhou Yuchi, Liu Peifeng, and Yu Xinye held a meeting to discuss in particular the Criticize Chen reporting meeting. Their decision was to step up readiness to put into effect the 5-7-1 Project.


Using Jiang Qing

At this point, Lin Biao and Ye Qun could not help but try to make use of Jiang Qing. The embarrassments that their cohorts—Chen Boda, Ye Qun, Huang, Wu, Li, and Qiu—had suffered at the [1970] Lushan Conference were still fresh in their minds. On the evening of September 5 [1970] just two days before leaving Lushan with their tails between their legs, Lin Biao brought Ye Qun to call on Jiang Qing. Jiang Qing was elated about this personal farewell by Lin Biao and thanked him for it. Jiang Qing explained away Chen Boda's troubles as differences he had with Zhang Chunqiao and Yao Wenyuan; but

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