Restoration of order and the purging of party membership (Revolutionary…
Restoration of order and the purging of party membership
February 1967 Zhu De and Chen Yi protested against Mao’s policy of encouraging chaos.
He dismissed their complaints as “the February adverse current”.
April Mao encouraged further violence when he told the Red Guards to “Have no fear of chaos”.
By September 1967 Mao was concerned not to let anarchy lead to a challenge to the legitimacy of the Party itself.
He formed revolutionary committees – a three way alliance merging the roles of the party, state and army, but with the party dominant.
In fact these committees were actually run by smaller ‘standing committees’ and radicals only had token representation in these.
Previous personnel who had been purged, now re-emerged to take control of committees and re-establish their power.
1968 – ‘cleansing the ranks’
Jiang Qing launched a campaign to ‘eradicate once and for all any signs of capitalism’.
PLA launched a wave of mass terror led by Mao’s own security forces
They used surveillance, mass rallies and struggle meetings to extract confessions.
1.84 million people were arrested for allegedly being spies or ‘bad elements’. 1000’s were imprisoned, beaten to death or committed suicide.
Restoration of order
He was worried that if anarchy continued, foreign nations might take advantage of this and attack China.
He realised that only the PLA could establish order.
By 1968 Mao knew he had to curtail the violence of the Red Guards.
PLA were ordered to crush the red Guards and to violently re-establish control.
End to violence
The violent phase of the Cultural revolution ended in April 1969 with the 9th party congress.
There Lin Biao was officially confirmed as Mao’s successor.
The terror was at an end, but the impact endured. One son of a denounced former banker recalls