Latter part of the Cultural Revolution (The rise and fall of Lin Biao…
Latter part of the Cultural Revolution
Up to the mountains, and down to the mountains
In Dec 1968, Mao sent 18 million Red Guards to “cool off” in the countryside as part of the “Up to the mountains and down to the villages” campaign.
Secretly, Mao wanted to remove the Red Guards to restore order, reduce urban unemployment and break up violent outbursts, by stopping organising violence.
The ideological youth became known as the “lost generation” and were seen as becoming disillusioned.
The rise and fall of Lin Biao
Leader of the PLA
Lin had been a large motivator of the radicalisation of the Cultural Revolution, in conflict with Mao.
He helped published the Little Red Book and was a loyal supporter of Mao, until 1968…
Mao worried a military coup led by Lin Biao would become a possibility as the power of the PLA grew. Mao reversed earlier slogans and declared “Let the PLA learn from the People”.
Lin feared that he would be purged by Mao and fled in panic. The plane they, Lin and his family, tried to escape on was not fully fuelled and crashed and killed Lin and his family in September 1971.
The return of Deng
Mao became ill in the early 1970s, Zhou Enlai had developed lung cancer and Kang Sheng developed bladder cancer.
Deng was sent to a tractor factory, but brought back to help China. Praised for organisational skills.
Deng supported a programme called the “Four Modernisations”. These were the advancements in agriculture, industry, defence and science and technology.
Some of the Chinese citizens would have praised Deng’s return because they believe that he brought happy times pre-CR but Red Guards might see him as a traitor.
The Gang of Four
In 1973, Jiang Qing and her allies called the “Gang of Four”, including Wang Hongwen, Yao Wenyuan and Zhang Chunqaio, used media and propaganda to criticise Zhou Enlai and Deng as “capitalist roaders”.
Aimed to mobilise revolutionary forces against them but the public saw it as nonsense – the campaign failed.
Qing was not influential enough to remove Deng and Enlai from the Party.
On 9th September 1976, Mao died and Hua became leader.
Jiang Qing ignored, rumoured that she was organising a coup and criticised Hua. On 6th October 1976, Qing and the Gang of Four arrested, accused of creating an “anti-socialist alliance” leading to life imprisonment.
Qing, with a history of depression, hangs herself.
Deng returns to remove Hua from power. Deng introduced economic reforms giving people more freedom, quick recovery, people embraced Deng’s new policies.
The fall of Deng
On 8th January 1976, Zhou Enlai died and was very popular and honoured in streets with wreaths. This was seen as evidence of “traditional culture”, government trucks removed wreaths, public protests led to people being violently removed.
Deng gets blamed for this and banished to a pig farm, stripped of political titles, after reading a eulogy admiring Zhou, seen as encouraging the traditions.
Mao chose Hua Guofeng to succeed him, would be a compromise between the pragmatists and ideologues.
In July 1976, a massive earthquake shook Northern China leading to ¼ of a million people being killed, people foresaw as a bad omen. That was more evidence of Mao’s failure to remove traditional superstition.