Turbulent Decade: A History of the Cultural Revolution

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

Chapter 21

New Life Created by the
Cultural Revolution

DURING THE ENTIRE course of the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976, Jiang Qing, former film star, was extremely active. She deserved to be called a "political star."

On March 24, 1968, Lin Biao spoke about Jiang Qing during a meeting of ten thousand officers held in the Great Hall of the People:

Comrade Jiang Qing is an extraordinary woman comrade and a prominent leading cadre in our Party. Her thinking is very revolutionary and she has enthusiastic revolutionary passion; she has her own ideas; she is politically sensitive; she is good at discovering problems and solving them. Little known in the past because of poor health, she will now show her remarkable capabilities in the Cultural Revolution and you will witness them. While faithfully following Chairman Mao's directives, she is also extremely creative. We have achieved much during the Cultural Revolution under the leadership of Chairman Mao and with the great efforts of the comrades of the Central Small Group and the Party Central, but in every instance Jiang Qing has played a significant role. She stands always in the forefront of the Cultural Revolution. 1


Jiang Qing and Hai Rui Dismissed

The attack on the new historical drama Hai Rui Dismissed served as a starting point of the Cultural Revolution. Jiang Qing could claim credit for this curtain raiser.

In 1959, after having seen the Hunan opera Life and Death Plaque, Mao Zedong looked into the life and work of Hai Rui and promoted the study of Hai Rui's spirit of "being upright and unobsequious, outspoken and courageous in remonstration." This was the background to Wu Han's writing a new historical drama Hai Rui Dismissed. 2 After Jiang Qing saw this performance,

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