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

By Keith Forster | Go to book overview

Chapter Nine JULY 1975
CENTRAL INTERVENTION,

Reports that problems existed in Hangzhou appeared in the Chinese national press in mid-July 1975. A Xinhua release of 13 July surveyed six major factories in the city -- the Hangzhou Iron and Steel Mill, the Hangzhou Silk Printing and Dyeing Complex, the Hangzhou Oxygen Generator Factory, the Hangzhou No. 1 Cotton Dyeing and Printing Mill, the Hangzhou No. 2 Cotton Mill (

) and the Zhejiang Hemp Mill and described them as important units in the metallurgy, machinery and textile branches. The factories turned out producer and consumer items for the national market and also supplied foreign customers.1

Although the article was packed with the Maoist rhetoric and slogans characteristic of the times, it also reflected genuine concerns about lagging production. It attributed such difficulties to the "interference of bourgeois factionalism", "the crimes of Liu Shaoqi and Lin Biao in splitting the revolutionary ranks" and sheeted home the blame on "bad people sabotaging stability and unity". The report referred to the need to strengthen unity among workers and tighten discipline in the workplace so as to ensure the quantity and quality of output. Efforts to revive production were taking place, as the article noted, at the height of Hangzhou's oppressive summer.2 Nevertheless, provincial and municipal leaders were praised for investigating conditions in the enterprises and for listening to opinions and suggestions while toiling alongside the workers. Their example had apparently rubbed off on enterprise cadres who had joined the workers in shift-work. In hindsight then, the report may be seen as advance warning that dramatic events were about to occur in Zhejiang.

In fact, at the time that the article was published, a central delegation had been in Hangzhou investigating local affairs for about a fortnight. It was not, contrary to popular belief, Deng Xiaoping who personally visited Hangzhou in July 1975 to solve the problems plaguing the province. It seems that a Hong Kong journalist was responsible for promoting this inaccuracy. In one article he reported that "Foreign visitors have been told that ... Deng ... personally visited Hangzhou to thrash out problems with the municipal authorities".3 Several articles claimed that both Deng and Wang Hongwen visited Hangzhou in the

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