Mao's Last Revolution

By Roderick Macfarquhar; Michael Schoenhals | Go to book overview

11
The Last Stand of the Old Guard

Mao seems never to have ordered the liquidation of a senior colleague during the Cultural Revolution. Unlike Stalin, he did not feel the need for the safeguard of a final solution. Instead, he was content to leave his onetime comrades-in-arms to the tender mercies of the CCRG or Red Guards. If doing so led to their humiliation, torture, injury, or even death, so be it; that was what making revolution was about. Hence his insouciance about the denunciations of Liu Shaoqi and other PSC members at their homes in Zhongnanhai. He may have counted on the Schadenfreude of millions of his countrymen at the fall of the high and the mighty.

Zhou remonstrated with Red Guards about their rough treatment of party veterans1 and also made attempts to protect individual party leaders, both at the center and in the provinces—he had Marshal He Long spirited away to the Western Hills outside Beijing in a manner reminiscent of a thriller movie2—but as the Zhongnanhai raids made clear, his powers were limited. On January 16, 1967, photographs of the first victims of the Cultural Revolution—Peng Zhen, Lu Dingyi, Luo Ruiqing, and Yang Shangkun—showed them with placards around their necks, heads bowed, as they were publicly humiliated.3 On January 22, Minister for the Coal Industry Zhang Linzhi died under interrogation.4 Deputy Director of the Defense Industry Committee of the MAC and CC member Zhao Erlu died about the same time under similar circumstances.5 Finally, Zhou and his State Council colleagues drew up a list of thirty senior government officiais who should be allowed to move into Zhongnanhai for protection and rest—though that concept had already proved problematic—and a second list of regional leaders who should be brought to the relative safety of the capital. Mao agreed to the lists, but the directive could not be enforced in all cases, as some provincial leaders were already in captivity.6

Even vice premiers came under attack, affecting the work of the State

-184-

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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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