Mao's Last Revolution

By Roderick Macfarquhar; Michael Schoenhals | Go to book overview

5
Mao's New Successor

Having evicted Liu Shaoqi from control of the Cultural Revolution, Mao now acted to reorganize the top leadership of the CCP to ensure that it would be more responsive and loyal to his unfolding plans. On July 24, the day he delivered his negative verdict on work teams, Mao ordered the CC to be convened for its Eleventh Plenum, its first in four years. To set the scene, the People's Daily on July 26 revealed Mao's triumphal swim in the Yangtze, underlining that the Chairman was fighting fit and ready to resume command. The following day, Liu Shaoqi's name was mentioned positively for the last time in China's most widely read paper, the internal publication Reference News.1

The plenum opened on August 1, after a preparatory work conference held from July 27 to July 31. Of the 173 CC members and alternates elected at the two sessions of the Eighth Congress in 1956 and 1958, only 141 attended the session, a sharp reduction from the norm and an indication that many leaders found excuses to stay away from what promised to be a stormy session.2 For Liu, who could not stay away, it was a bitter moment. When the order to withdraw the work teams went out on July 28, he was at home with his family; five months later, one of Liu's daughters, a student at Tsinghua University, recalled that in her whole life she had never seen her father so upset as on that night. Both she and her stepmother wept bitterly.3 Also present at the plenum were an additional 47 people, including senior party officials and, more importantly, members of the CCRG and two "revolutionary teachers and students" (Nie Yuanzi and a junior colleague and fellow poster-writer from Beida), visible harbingers of the shape of things to come.4

The plenum was originally scheduled to last five days, and the agenda as laid out by General Secretary Deng Xiaoping in the opening speech on August 1 was to consist of a report on central activities and decisions since the Tenth Plenum;

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Mao's Last Revolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Abbreviations xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: The First Salvos 14
  • 2: The Siege of Beijing 32
  • 3: Confusion on Campuses 52
  • 4: The Fifty Days 66
  • 5: Mao's New Successor 86
  • 6: The Red Guards 102
  • 7: Red Terror 117
  • 8: Confusion Nationwide 132
  • 9: Shanghai's [January Storm] 155
  • 10: Seizing Power 170
  • 11: The Last Stand of the Old Guard 184
  • 12: The Wuhan Incident 199
  • 13: The May 16 Conspiracy 221
  • 14: The End of the Red Guards 239
  • 15: Cleansing the Class Ranks 253
  • 16: Dispatching Liu Shaoqi 273
  • 17: The Congress of Victors 285
  • 18: War Scares 308
  • 19: The Defection and Death of Lin Biao 324
  • 20: Mao Becalmed 337
  • 21: Zhou Under Pressure 358
  • 22: Deng Xiaoping Takes Over 379
  • 23: The Gang of Four Emerges 396
  • 24: The Tiananmen Incident of 1976 413
  • 25: The Last Days of Chairman Mao 431
  • Conclusion 450
  • Glossary of Names and Identities 465
  • A Note on Sources 479
  • Notes 483
  • Bibliography 611
  • Illustration Credits 659
  • Index 661
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