The Tiananmen Square
The publication of "The Direction of the Educational Revolution Cannot Be Altered" brought manifest changes in China's political atmosphere. Mao Zedong put criticism of Deng Xiaoping on the agenda.
Zhou Enlai in his capacity as premier strongly supported Deng Xiaoping's work in rectifying the losses of the Cultural Revolution. His physical ability to play a role fell short of his wishes as a result of his undergoing six major and eight minor operations. While Zhou Enlai was hospitalized, Jiang Qing and company often went intentionally to interfere in his treatment. Deng Yingchao often asked them tearfully to let her husband rest. But her request was ignored. The Gang of Four gossiped to Mao Zedong that "the premier only pretended to be ill, and was actually using illness as an excuse to connive with those old fellows." They made trouble for Zhou Enlai even as he lay in his sickbed.
One day they questioned Zhou on his whereabouts on April 12, 1927, when the coup took place. Another day, when Zhou was receiving a blood transfusion and had just fallen asleep, Wang Hongwen called and asked to talk to him. When the nurses explained the situation and asked him to wait half an hour, Wang flew into a rage and insisted Zhou answer the telephone at once. Zhou was awakened by the noise and had to ask the nurse to stop the transfusion in order to talk to Wang. Jiang Qing caused even more troubles for Zhou. One day she called Zhou to say she had to see him on business. The nurses were forced to stop their treatment of Zhou. But when Jiang came, she chattered on every subject but business. She finally left after having consumed two pieces of watermelon. 1 Such instances were numerous.
In September 1975, Zhou's condition deteriorated rapidly, his weight dropping from 65 kilograms to about 40 kilograms. He was so weak that he could