Rebellion and Factionalism in a Chinese Province: Zhejiang, 1966-1976

By Keith Forster | Go to book overview

Chapter Four
ORDER AND UNITY, AUGUST 1968-SEPTEMBER 1969

Crackdown, August-September 1968

In July 1968, Beijing ordered the military in Zhejiang to crack down on disorder. On and 24 July the central authorities issued two notices to quell disturbances in the Guangxi Autonomous Region and Shaanxi province respectively.1 However, the message had national relevance. The notices denounced disruption to railway traffic, storming of PLA units and clashes with soldiers perpetrated by Red Guards and revolutionary rebels. Those responsible were called counter-revolutionaries and the military was instructed to spare no effort in suppressing them. Other anarchic activities included the looting of state property, the burning down of public and private buildings, refusal to comply with central directives, broadcasts by unauthorized radio stations and raids on state prisons and labour farms to release inmates. In a meeting with Red Guard leaders on 28 July Mao expressed disillusionment with their performance.2 An editorial of People's Daily in early August attacked the "theory of many centers" (

), and demanded obedience to central discipline and disavowal of anarchistic or individualistic tendencies.3

It was at the second enlarged plenum of the ZPRC, held from 17 to 29 July, that major decisions concerning Wenzhou (see below) and summing up the Cultural Revolution in the province were made.4 Two hundred and forty delegates attended, including members of the HMRC and responsible personnel from counties and major industrial units and colleges across the province. Surprisingly, the meeting expressed optimism about the situation in Zhejiang after its examination of the performance of the ZPRC. A five-point resolution encapsulated the decisions taken by the plenum.

The first resolution stated that the meeting "voiced constructive criticism" of the failings of the ZPRC leadership and "strong criticism of and willingness to help members of the Revolutionary Committee who diverged from Mao Zedong's Thought". Another resolution, by contrast, repudiated those who had expressed pessimistic views about the state of affairs in Zhejiang. Resolution four demanded that both mass organizations desist from mutual provocation and expel bad

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