Communist People's Republic of China: Totalitarian Crimes--Maoist Era

Figure 1.--Large-scale killings in China began soon after Mao seized power. Stability and peace, however, resulted in some imprivements in China. This changed suddenly after Mao launched his Great Leap Forward. Collectivization, incompetent management, and ideological mindseto soon resulted in sharp declines in harvests and eventually the most deadly famine in human history. Even so, Mao has his defenders who refere to this xan other actions as 'mistkes' which are excusable because of his great revolutionary leadership.

The PRC Government does not deny that Mao committed abuses, but generally used the term mistakes rather than crimes. And they tend to provide lower numbers of fatalities for the various abuses. The largest numbers of fatalities occurred during the Great Leap Forward, but here the Communist view is that his actions were not crimes, but misguided policies. China's leadership has not come to terms with what Mao did to the country and the massive body count attributed to him. Innthe aftermath of the Cultural Revolution, Deng Xiaoping oversaw an assessment (1981). The Communist Party admitted that Mao bore the chief responsibility for China's greatest modern catastrophe, the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), but concludd that his 'mistakes' were those of "a great revolutionary" whose contributions were far greater than his errors. Describing thedeaths of 45-75 million people as 'mistakes' is elegant testimony to the Communist mindset. Our view is that incopetence on his level is criminal and resulted from the totalitarian system that he established and the criminal supression of anyone who would challenge hus misguided policy. A Chinese blogger hs take this position and questions the numbers used by Western historians. He claims that modern work in China has thoroughly discreited Western historians and questions the professionalism if the authors we have consulted on this topic. [Lyapunov] As far as we can tell, his assessments are entirely without foundation. It is important toknow, however, that despiye killing 45-75 million people, Mao has his defenders and is still a respected figure in China.

Land Reform (1947-53)

Mao launched the first of several many Land reform campaigns 2 years after the War (1947). Asin Russia after the Bolshvik Revolution, there was no talk of collevctivization, but of obtaiing land for he labdless peasantry. At the time it was limited to tge rather small area under his cintrol. This of course changed with the military defeat of Nationalist forces in the north (1949). Mao oversaw actions against landlords and redistributing among the landless peasantry. The campaign was not conducted by Communist security forces. Mao did not yse an Soviet-style NKVD security force. Rather the peasants themselves were encouraged not only to eize land, but to kill the landlords. This land reform campaign increased the Communist Party's popularity among the peasantry and was a factor in the Commuunist victory. The KMT had used brutl measures to secure food and recruits in the final years of the war with the Japanese. Many pesants were attracted not only with the idea of obtaining land, but also of securing revengevagainst their oppresors. As with many of these actions, there is not defintive accounting of the people killed. Estimates duffer subsrabtilly but biout 1- 4.5 million wee killed. [Rummel and Short]

Radical Social Reform

Then 4 years after gaining control over the CCP, Mao finally defeated Chiang and the KMT, seizing control of China. A victorious Mao stood upon the Tiananmen Gate in Beijing and announced the creation of the People's Republic of China. The huge crowd assembled chanted "Long live Chairman Mao!" He was the absolute ruler of Cina, essentially the last emperor, ruling over some 550 million people. And now armed with the power of the state he could begin fundamental social change with no concrn with the need to win public opinion. During the first 5 years of his rule (1949-1953), Mao systematically killed between 4 and 6 million people by sentencing them to death or to the labor camps. This began with the execution of land owners and wealthy peasants as the People's Liberation Army swept south after victories in northern China (1949). Mao's first killings on a massive scale under Mao took place during land reform and the counterrevolutionary campaign. Mao envisaged that 'one-tenth of the peasants' (about 50 million people) 'would have to be destroyed' to carry out agrarian reform. [Goldhagen, p. 344.] The actual numbers of people killed in the initial land reform was much less than that, commonly estimated at over 1 million people. [Rummel, p. 223 and Short, pp. 436-37.] The death toll would increased substantially when a more radical land reform during the Great Leap Forward. Alomg with the initial land reform, Mao launched the suppression of counterrevolutionaries campaign. Thus targeted mainly KMT and non-Communist intellectuals. [Mosher, pp. 72-73.] More than 0.7 million people were sumarily executed. Some 1.3 million were imprisoned in labor and reducation camps and 1.2 million were subject to various types of contol. [Kuisong, pp. 102–21. ]

Invasion of Tibet (1950)

The world's attention in 1950 was focused on Korea (Fall 1950). PLA units crossed the River Yangtze which was the Tibetian border, encontering little resustance (1950). They entered Kham, the eastern-most province of Tibet. The invading force is estimated at 40,000-80,000 men. This was annoveewealming force for caiuntry with a only small, poorly equipped military. The Chinese had been planning the action for some time. None other than Deng Xiaoping, who would lead China after the chaos of the Cultural Revolution. The other commanders involved were senior Communist officials in China’s Southwest Military Region. China had previously announced its intention of seizing Tibet and ntegrating it with ‘the motherland’. Tibet was historically not part of China, but China d9d briefly occupy the countryy (18th century). The Tibetan government in Lhasa had appealed for foreign assistance, but np country had the slighest intere in commiting an army to central Asia to fight China. There were no effort by China to contact the Tibetian Governmenbt. A Tibetan delegation in India did manage to speak with the Chinese ambassador, China had control over tge 12-year old Panchen Lama. The Chinese released a cble he suposedly sent to Chairman Mao. ‘On behalf of the Tibetan people, we respectfully plead for troops to be sent to liberate Tibet, to wipe out reactionaries, expel the imperialists …and liberate the Tibetan people.’

Korean War: Treatment of POWs (1950-53)

The Chinese after entering the Korean War (December 1950) initilly did not recognize the Geneva Conventions and a national adopted 'Policy of Tolerance'. This POW policy was despite Mao's criticism of Cuonfusian thouhht based on ancient Chinese Confucian codes and traditions. Enemy forces who surrendered were often allowed to join their victorious captors. Chinese records differed between prisoners who were 'captured' and those who 'surrendered'. Half way through the War, the Chinese changed their POW policy and committed to the Geneva Conventions (July 13, 1952). At the same time, the Chinese insisted on the repatriation of all its POWs based upon Article 118. The article is, however, silent as to the desires of the POWs. This would become an issue in the ceasefire negotiations. Punishment for breaking regulations wre harsh, especially Soyj Korean POWs. They mightbe trnsferred to camps with comditions that proved deadly. Conditions for other U.N. prisoners were extremely harsh and many died in Chinese captivity. Most of tge American POWs were taken in the wunter campaign when the Cinese first entered te War (Decenber 1950-March 1951). There are conformed reports of horrendous treatment. The Chinese took some 7,000 American prisoners, 40 percent died in the POW camps. The Chinese and North Korens do not seem to have been as brutal as the Japanese, but the death rates in the camps were comparable. The primary cause was food and medical care. American and other U.N. POws were not, hoever, integrated ino the NorthbKorean Army as South Korean POWs were. The food given the POWs was inadequate, but was comparable to the diet of North Korean peasants. Medical supplies were unavailable to the doctors caring for the POWs. The Chinese responding to the high death rates of U.N. POWs, make some effort to improve condiions. The Chinese were aware of the propaganda value of U.N. POWs. They established permanent POW camps in the far North till in Korea, close to the Yalu River and the Chinese border. The Chinese instituted Communist indoctrination sessions seeking to convert the americans nd other U.N. POs. American POWs repatriated cay=used these brainshing sessions. [U.S Senate]

Campaign to Supress Counterrevolutionaries (1950-53)

The first openly political campaign Mao launched after the founding of the People's Republic was the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries. His aim was to consolidate Communist Party authority and destroy any remaining opposition. The primary targers were KMT officials and supporters, businessmen, and non-Communist intellectuals. Those arrested were denounced in mass trials allow China. There were no actual trials, only public denouncements. The voctims were sentenced to either death or forced lanor in concentration camps being opened for tht purpose, Some 0.7-2.0 million people were executed. More dies in the dreadul cinditions experienced in the camps. [Kiuisong and Brown]

Anti-Campaigns (1951-52)

Mao launchd the Three-anti Campaign (1951) and Five-anti Campaign in the cities (1952) (三反五反). These were reform efforts with a dual purpose. The first was to rid Chinese cities of corruption, ebezzlement, and waste. The second was to eliminate enemies of the state and any lingering opposition to the new Government. The campaigns consolidated Mao's power base by targeting political opponents and capitalists. Many of the individuals targeted were wealthy capitalists. [Fisac and Fernández-Stembridge] Small scale businessmen and peasant landowners were targeted layer.


Fearing capitalist contamination, Mao closed China's borders, banning citizens from travelling, and expelling virtually all Westerners (January 1949). This isolation would be maintained by Mao throughout his reign.

Withdraw from the Sects Movement (1951-53)

This was an effort to denounce and suppress secret societies and religious organizations. Secret societies have play an important role in Chinese history, overthroeing dynasties and driving out the Mongols. They have also palyed a role as criminal mafia-like organizations. The new Communist Governmrnt also looked with suscpision on on religious groups. They accepted Lennin's dictum tat religion was the opium of the masses. Confuscianism was seen as backward and other religions were seen as foreign organizations are dividing one's loyalty to the Party. [Hung]

Slave Labor and Reeducation

After the Communit victory in China, Soviet advisors helped Mao set up a Chinese Gulag. As in the Soviet Union, this became an empire of slave labor camps filled with poorly fed 'counter-revolutionaries'. Those arrested could be a wide range of suspect: landlords, prosperous peasants, Nationalist civil servants, and even Party members who fell from favor. The slave labor camp population during Mao's reign was in the 10 and 15 million range. The conditions were terrible and death rates were high. By some accounts, however, the inmates had a better chance of survival than in Stalin's Siberian Gulag. Annual death rates in the Soviet Gulag was 10-30 percent, varying over time. In Mao's Gulag rates were closer to 5-10 percent. Here the milder climate was a factor. Some accounts also suggest that Mao was more interested than Stalin in having the state benefit from a substantial slave labor force. Even so, a 5-10 deatyh rate is still deadly, especially for anyone setenced for more than a year. Total mortalities in the Chinese Gulag have been estimated in the 10 million range.

Sufan Movement (1955)

The Sufan Movement was another of Mao's purges. This one was a politucal purge of what Mao called 'hidden counterrevolutionaries'. This one targeted intellectuals, particularly those within the military and political establishment. W suspect that Mao's obswssion with intellsctuals relares at least in part to the poeal Trotsjy had with the intelectuals within the early Party during the 1920s and early-30s. The Communist Party newspaper, The People's Daily made the asstonishing claim that 10 percent of Communist Party membership were secret traitors. This McCarthist-style estimate must have come from Mao himself. Estimates as to the death toll, like all of the actions vary ranging. We note estimates of 0.1-0.8 million killed. [Courtois, pp. 484-85.]

Hundred Flowers Movement (1956-57)

Mao as radical shift from his policy of strict obedience and conformity enforced through a constant series of purges, urged intellectuals to come forth and openly describe how he should govern China--essentially cricize his leadership. The press trumpted the ne openes, "letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend." Intellectuals and liberals were excited about the appaerent change of direction, openess and new fredom. Many actually believed the change of policy. Some began to openly express their ideas. Many openly cruticized both Mao and the Communist Party. This provided Mao and his security police a list of educated, often highly placed ideas people with ideas that Mao did not like. The Hundred Flowes Mivenent ptoved to be a very brief interlude in oppression and thought control. So in a sudden change of policy, Mao moved against his critics who had unwisely exposed themselves. Police arrested these critucs. Some 0.5 million lost theur lives as 'dangerous thinkers'. The ideological crackdown following the campaign's failure re-imposed Maoist orthodoxy and strict control of the media and punlic speech. Many arrests followed and the participants punished. It also led to the next step, he Anti-Rightist Movement.

Anti-Righist campaign (1957-59)

The Anti-Rightist movement followed the Hundred Flowers Movement. Mao wantd more rightists, meaning his critics, often Party members, identifiied and purged. There were two waves of purges. Some 0.4-0.7 million people were identified and purged. The tatgets were some of the most eucated men in the party and Government: intellectuals, engineers and technicians. Sources suggest 0.4-0.7 million people were affected. Punishment varied. Some experienced social exclusion as well as being subjected to criticism and repentance sessions. Others were sent to prisons or labor camps. [Fisac]

Great Leap Forward (1958-60)

Mao and his supporters, once the Communists were firmly in power, launched a massive effort to remake the Chinese economy, convinced that "scientific" Marxist ideology and central control gave them the capacity to achieve in decades what took centuries in the West. Mao and his associates conceived of the idea that the organization of large-scale rural communes could meet the country's industrial and agricultural challenges. Capital as a result of Markist ideology had negative implications. Thus Mao decided to use labor-intensive methods to develop the economy. Rather than capital and machiery, Mao set about mobilizing manpower. This was a plan prepared by poorly educated politicans who saw themnselves as infalable soicial engineeers despite the experimental nature of their undertaking. Not involved in the planning were competent agromomists and engineers. The economic goal behind the endevor was to bypass the slow, gradual process of industrialization followed by capitalist countries. The most famous example of the Great Leap Forward approaches was communities throughout China build "backyard" steel furnaces. These furnaces required little capital to build, only the mobilization of local labor. The iron and steel profuced, however, was of such poor quality that it was virtually useless. As with much of the production in Communist countries, the product produced was actually worth less that the inputs. In the Soviet Union which possessed enmense raw material resources, productive agricultural land, highly competent technicians, and the ability to expoloit its Eastern European Empire. This the impact of Communist economics was a poor standard of living compared to the Capitalit West. China was in a much more precarious situation and, as a result, the result of the Great Leap forward was a social and economic disaster of emense proportions. The Great Leap forward and adverse weather conditions generated perhaps the most dreadful famine in human history. Millions of Chinese died in the famine resulting from Mao's Great Leap Forward. It is no accident that two of the greatest famines in world history were casused by the political leadership of the two great Communist countries--the Soviet Union and the People's Republic. The Great Leap should not only be viewed in economic terms, like the Cultural Revolution to come, there were underlying political factors. [Gabriel] Mao in the 1950s was the most important figure, but he was not a Stalinst dictator. There were other important figures in the Party. The Great Leap can be seen as anm effort to seize total control of the apparatuses of government and Communist Party as Stalin did in the Soviet Union. Other Communist Party figures had a more conservative outlook--men like Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping who saw Mao's policies as not only dangerous "adventurism", but also the underlying political implications. Many of these men wanted to follow the proven Soviet policies of transforming an agrarian society into an industrial society rather than acceppting Mao's more experimental approach. (At the time, the weaknesses of Soviet-style Communist economics were not yet exposed.)

Four Pests Campaign (1958-62)

Mao and the Communist did not only attack and distort humn relationshios. He decide to wage war on nature itself. Maoist China provides an example of how with the best of intentions, human interference with nature can have disasterous consequences. Mao abandoned the traditional Chinese ideal of "harmony between heaven and humans". Rather Mao nsisted that "Man must conquer nature." The result was the Four Pests Campaign was contempraneous with the Great Leap Forward and only made the famine caused by the Great Leap the most clametous human-caused evet in history. This high;y publicized campaign was not aimed at people, but at pests. It is an example as to how Mao had a single-minded commitment to ideology. There was no serious study of the pests oroblem. Pests did consume substantial quantities of food and cause disease. The pests identified as rodents, flies, mosquitoes, and sparrows. The efforts aginst rodents, mosquitos and flys had some positive affects. Sparrows were a very different matter. The killing of sparrows was a very different matter. This had a very negative impact. It upset the ecological balance. Locust were able to breed unchecked. The result was unusually large locust swarms causing massive crop damage. [Shapiro]

Supressing Individuality

Nothing seems to have angered Mao more than individuality. He toyed with abolisjing names and replacing them with numbers. Religion was banned. Any expression of individuality was seen with suspicion. He ordered that women give up colorful, fitted clothing. Rather they were to wear baggy, monotone 'Mao suits'. He banned long hair, skirts, and high heels.

Tibet Uprising (1959)

Reduction of Party Members (1961)

Socialst Education Movement (1963-66)

Mao's Socialist Education Movement is also referred to as the "Four Clean-ups Campaign. The goal as expalined in The People's Daily was to cleanse the bureaucracy, meaning to root out 'reactionary elements'. This time Mao was after individuals in political, economic, organizational and ideological fields. One has to wonder just how reactionary elements there were in the Party if it still had to be clensed after more than a decade and several earlier purges. Mao decided that a good experiebe wold be for government officials and worjers as ell as selected intellectuals to work in the countryside where they could learn from the peasantry.

Learn from Comrade Lei Feng (1963)

An important propaganda campaign, Learn from Comrade Lei Feng, was launched (1963). Lei Feng was set up a nodel socialist worker. He was a young PLA soldier who died at age 22 years of age. Lei was chosento be the the ideal Communist. The prpaganda campaign alluded to work ethic, self-sacrificing nature, and unquestioning dedication to Mao and the socialist mission. [Edwards]

Cultural Revolution (1966-76)

Another major even more radical change occurred during the Cultural Revolutuion (1966-76), one of the most violent and tragic episodes in modern Chinese history. It was inspired by China's leader Mao Tse Tung and known as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Mao thought that the Chinese people were losing their revolutionary zeal. He was also stung by criticism of his Great Leap Forward (1959) and declining influence in the Government. Mao conceived of a cutural revolution to destroy once and for all the culture of pre-Communist China and to gain absolute control of the Goivernment. Major Chinese traditions such as respect for ones's elders and the value of scholarship in particular were attacked. Children were often forced to renounce their own parents. Mao sought to reinvigirate party cadre with a revolutionay commitment, to replace many in positions of rank and privilege who were no sufficently inspired, to punish the cadre for the criticisms that were lodged against Mao's disastrous Great Leap Forward experiment, and to continue attacks against the intelligentia who he thought were not sufficently committed to the Revolution. Important leaders including Peng Zhen to Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping who were not sufficently loyal to Mao suffered during the Cultural Revolution, now just as the intelligentia and those who hadn't embraced Mao's grand plan. Mao's power reached unprecedent levels during this period in a xenephobic and often irrational cult of personality, symbolized by a Little Red Book consisting of his quotations, ubiquitous buttons that bore his portrait, and statues virtually deifying him that were raised near any buildings of social significance throughout China. The attacks on people made during the Cultural Revolution were all done in Mao's name. The Cultural Revolution made individual thoughts a crime. Pople had to hide their thoughts and emotions. People were beaten by teams of Red Guards. Many were denounced, sometimes by their own children or former friends, and sent to brutal labor camps for education. Many do not survive the harsh regime at the camps. Many others were permanently injured from beatings and lack of medical care at the camps. Others suffer from the humiliations also inflicted on them by the Rd Guards and at the camps. Mao had initiated the Cultural Revolution in 1966 when he met thousands of cheering Red Guards (students) at Tian-An-Men Square wearing his military uniform, Mao suit, and armband. Girl students who saw him cut their long queues into two brushes. They put on military uniform, leather belts and Liberation Shoes, virtually the same as the boys were wearaing. Military uniform were the most popular and considered suitably revolutionary. They were admired by everyone. Red Army style uniforms became very popualar for boys. Military uniforms became a symbol of revolution and as a result was the most popular style of clothing. Western clothing and qipao in the 1950s and early 60s might still be seen in China, especially on formal national holidays, such as Chinese National Day and Labor Day. As a result of the political reforms of the Cultural Revolution, western clothing entirely disappeared in China. It was dangerous to have such clothing in your home. let alone wear it. People wore tunic suits and cadre suits as their standard dress. This was for everyone, without destinctions of profession, social status, or even gender. This included children as well and boys and girls wore the same outfits. Even ranking army officers stoped wering well tailored uniforms and insignia of rank because they were preceived as impairing communication between officers and enlisted men. Mao's wife Jiang Qing in the early 70s designed the Jiang-qing skirt for females of all ages. She recommended it as standard clothing for women, but it did not prove popular. She did not have the same ability to inspire as her husband. [Chang] Gradually the Cultural Revolution played itself out. The Cultural Revolution effectively ended with the Gang of Foir episide in 1976. With Mao's death in 1976, the Gang of Four was arrested. China began to change course. The opening to the West began in 1979.

Destruction of the Four Olds (1966)

Many different iniatives were launhed as part of the Culturl Revolution. One of the most important was the Destruction of the Four Olds. Chairman Mao identified the 'Four Olds' as Old Customs, Old Culture, Old Habits, and Old Ideas. And he wanted them to be rooted out and destroyed. The work od destroying the Four Olds was assigned to the Red Guards. And responding to Mao's call to action, the Red Guards destroyed precious Chinese cultural artifacts, literature, paintings, religious symbols, as well as temples. And it ws not just artifacts that were targeted, the Red Guards also began searching for people identified in some way with the Four Olds. People in possession of traditioal or religious artifacts and books s were punished, often severely. And as was so often the cse un tgese campaigns, intellectuals were targeted. They were stood up as the personifications of the Four Olds and punished in a wide range of ways, often involving violence and humiliation.

Cleansing the Class Rank (1967)

Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside Movement (1968-78)

The Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside Movement was not the first time that Chinese youth were sent into the countryside. Ironically, Mao's primary target, Liu Shaoqi, in the early 1960s implementing the first sending-down policy. This effort was motivated by excess urban population resulting from the Great Chinese Famine that had been caused by Mao's Great Leap Forward. Starving peasants had crowed into the cities in a desperate search for food and it was affecting agricultural production. Stunded by the chaos he set in motuon, Mao was forced to move against the Red Guards he created and were creating chaos throughout China, including the cities. At the same time, Mao persisted in his desire to root out the 'bourgeois thinking' that he saw infecting the Revolution. He thus was insistnt on getting who he saw as 'privileged urban youth' from the major cities to the most remote and backward mountainous areas or farming villages to 'learn from the peasants'. He first dissolved the Red Guard and then began sending the young people to out to the countryside. It is believed that some 17 million youth were sent from the cities to the countyide, often extremelyremote areas. [Ebery, p. 294.] Most were still teenagers who had just graduated from high school. Mao labeled them 'zhiqing' (Educated Youth). The 'Sent-down' or 'Rusticated Youth' were ordered out of the cities and esentially exiled to most remote areas of China. Tgere is considerable literature on the experiences of these intially, idealistic young people. The authors who described their experiences include Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo, Jiang Rong, and Zhang Chengzhi. They were sent to Inner Mongolia in the far northwest. Several of these books have been translated and published in the West. [Sijie] Most commentators consider these people, many of whom lost the opportunity to attend university, China's 'lost generation'. This was one of the longest of Mao' many campaigns. and it produced what some Chinese historians have called -- 'the lost generation'. Mao insisted that that urban students were being given the oportunity to 'develop their talents to the full' by being exposed to the rural peasantry. [Dietrich, p. 199.] Laboring in the remote countrysideduring much of the 1970s, these young people received little or no schooling and were actually denied the right to pursue advanced education. They lost their opportunities to enter university. Nor did they acquire any marketable skills for their furture.

One-Strike Three Anti Movement (1970-72)

Mao launched another attack on the seemingly endless supply of 'counterrevolutionaries', of course meaning thise ho dared criticuse him or more likely enthiisatically embraced is disasterous programs. The pretext this time was combatting the 'three-antis' (graft, embezzlement, profiteering; extravagance; and waste). Chinese official estimate that in the first 10 months of the campaign, some 280,000 'counterrevolutionaries' were arrested. [MacFarquhar and Schoenhals, pp. 301-07.] The actual number was probably higher.

Criticize Lin, Criticize Confucius (1973-75)

In Mao's waining days, a campaign was launched linking Lin Biao to on goingcriticisms of Confucianism. Mao was the central figure behind the previus campaigns. By this time we are not entirely sure to what extent Mao was fully in command of his facualties and to what extent he was being manipulated by those around him concerned anout their future after Mao. The circumstances of this cmpaigned is still not fully understood and wrapped in the Byzantine politics of Communist Party politic. Lin Biao was a major Chinese Communist military commander and a central figure in the Communist military victorie in northeastrn China that destroyed the most important Nationalist armies. As a result he had enormous prestuge, second only to Mao. He was one of thevmost important individuals helping to create Mao's Cult of Personality and a key figure in the Cultural Revolution. He was widely seen as Mao's successor. The world was shocked when the Chinese Government announced that Lin had died in a plane that crashed in Mongolia )1971). The full story may never be known, but Chinese scholars widly believed that Kun was preparing to take ovr after Mao whose health was declining (1971). He appears to have upset either Mao or those arond Mao, concrnd anout their future. Kin ws apparently fleeing with his fmily to Mosciw, believing tht he was about to be purged. The subsequent 'Criticize Lin, Criticize Confucius' Campaign involved allegorical depitions of Mao and the groipnaround Mao (mow known as the Gang of Four) were depicting as part of the long tradition of Qin Shihuangdi who first unified China. They were all held up as rpresenting China's Legalist tradition. Lin was critizized as a reactionary figure and associated with Confucianism. Lin wasgon, but the Campaign appears to have been an indirect attack on Zhou Enlai. Zhou was a long-tine Mao ally, but was apparently horrified with the chaos of the Cultural Revolution as well as undrstandung thge danger fom the Soviet Union. This was the beginning of the effort of the Gang of Four with Mao clearly failing to seize power. Zhou was also targettted because he worked with Americn Secretary of State Kisenger to arrange President Nixon's grond breaking viit to China (1972). ,

Repulse Right-Deviationist-Verdict-Reversal Movement (1975-77)

The Gang of Four launched the last Maoist campaign -- Repulse Right-Deviationist-Verdict-Reversal Movementused. It was a thinly veiled attack on Deng Xiaoping. The Gang of Four understood that Mao's health was failing and that Deng was their greatest threat. Mao was a heavy smoker and drinker which had affected his health and he was now into his 80s. He was also overweight and had developed multiple lung and heart problems, Some believe he had Parkinson's disease in addition to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease). Mao's last public appearancews to meet wuth visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (May 27, 1976). Mao suffered two major heart attacks (March and July). A third incapicated him (September 5). He died 4 days later (September 9). This meant that the struggle for power was underway.


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Created: 7:29 PM 4/6/2015
Last updated: 12:22 AM 11/29/2015