Turbulent Decade: A History of the Cultural Revolution

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

Chapter 27

"Criticize Lin Biao,
Confucius, and the
Duke of Zhou"

The Second Cultural Revolution

In May 1973, Mao Zedong proposed to "criticize Confucius." In response, Jiang Qing instructed Chi Qun and Xie Jingyi to write a booklet known as Lin Biao and the Way of Confucius and Mencius, based on a cache of documents and materials left by Lin Biao in his Maojiawan residence. To give a new impetus to the Cultural Revolution, which had sunk into a deep trough after the September 13 Incident, Jiang intended to launch a nationwide campaign to a "criticize Lin Biao and Confucius."

On January 1, 1974, People's Daily, Red Flag, and Liberation Army Daily published a joint New Year's Day editorial message, stressing that

the struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in political ideology is a long, complicated and sometimes acute struggle.... We should continue to criticize the worship of Confucianism and opposition to Legalism.... the reactionaries both in and out of China and the leaders of various opportunist lines in China's history all worship Confucius. In this respect, to criticize Confucius is a component of the criticism of Lin Biao.

The message aimed to prepare public opinion on a grand scale.

On January 18, Mao Zedong authorized the dissemination of the collection entitled Lin Biao and the Way of Confucius and Mencius (Material no. 1) which was organized by Jiang Qing. It was just at this time that Jiang Qing learned from a military newspaper under restricted circulation that an anti‐ chemical warfare unit in Zhejiang Province had difficulty in the "criticism of Confucius." She sent Xie Jingyi and Chi Qun to this unit along with a personal letter and materials to stimulate the criticism of Lin Biao and Confucius in that basic army unit.

On January 24, 1974, at a mobilization meeting initiated and hosted by

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