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The Power Struggle after Mao’s Death. IB History of the Americas Paper 1 DBQ Communism in Crisis. The struggle begins. Following Lin Biao’s death in 1971, the identity of the heir to Mao was unclear

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the power struggle after mao s death

The Power Struggle after Mao’s Death

IB History of the Americas

Paper 1 DBQ

Communism in Crisis

the struggle begins
The struggle begins
  • Following Lin Biao’s death in 1971, the identity of the heir to Mao was unclear
  • Furthermore, by 1974 it was obvious that changes would be happening soon, as both Mao and Zhou were very ill with cancer and Lou Gehrig’s disease, respectively
  • Multiple groups vied for power in the remaining years of Mao’s life, believing that the future of China would be settled by Mao’s chosen successor
the gang of four
The Gang of Four
  • Radical leftist group led by Jiang Qing
  • Other members:
    • Yao Wenyuan- Chief Propagandist
    • Zhang Chunqiao-Shangai official
    • Wang Hongwen- union leader from Shangai
  • Encouraged continuation of the Cultural Revolution, communes, youth relocations and political control of art
    • Considered fear, coercion and violence necessary
  • Criticized Western influences in an attempt to undermine other influential CCP members, like Zhou
  • Mao was critical of the Gang at times, but did not do much to curtail them
  • How much power did they really have?

Zhang Chunqiao

Wang Hongwen

Yao Wenyuan

Jiang Qing

the pragmatists and old guard
The Pragmatists and Old Guard
  • Represented by Deng Xiaoping
    • Rehabilitated from exile in 1973 and named as vice-premier
  • Supported by Zhou Enlai as well as veteran officials and cadres
  • Believed a little capitalist reform and foreign aid could help China become a world power
    • Deng’s UN speech, 1974, “self reliance in no way means self seclusion”
hua guofeng
Hua Guofeng
  • Hua was pretty much a dark horse, and had entered the public eye in 1975 at a National Conference where he praised many of Mao’s policies in a speech
    • He also implied that a compromise between the two factions could be found by praising communes while supporting some more practical policies for growth
1976 the end of an era
1976: The End of an Era
  • Zhou Enlai died in early 1976
  • Though Mao was a bit aloof, the whole country went into deep mourning
    • Many had viewed Zhou as a symbol of decency
  • Deng’s eulogy, which contained a section that could be interpreted as critical of Mao, unleashed new campaigns against him
  • Also, Hua Guofeng was named as acting premier to replace Zhou-which infuriated the Gang of Four
1976 the qingming festival
1976: The Qingming Festival
  • In April, thousands descended on Beijing for an annual festival to honor the dead
  • Wreaths, memorials, flowers, posters and signs that were dedicated to Zhou disappeared overnight
  • On April 5th, the shocked crowd got unruly and violent protests began
the qingming festival con
The Qingming Festival con.
  • Numerous arrests were made after Mao determined the protests were “counter-revolutionary”
  • This sudden, outpouring of emotion outside of government influence and control was a new phenomenon-one that worried the Gang of Four
  • Deng was suspected of orchestrating the protests and the campaigns against him grew worse
    • Deng was removed from all posts by Mao, though allowed to remain in the party itself, and went into hiding
    • Hua continued to consolidate his power
the tangshan earthquake
The Tangshan Earthquake
  • One of the worst earthquakes ever recorded rocked China in July
  • China declined foreign aid, and recovered from the disaster on its own
  • Hua lauded the efforts as proof that the socialist system was the correct one, not the capitalist ones that Deng had invoked following the catastrophes of the GLF
traditions not so dead after all
Traditions not so dead after all…
  • Interestingly though, according to traditional Chinese history, natural cataclysmic events signaled an upcoming shift in political power
  • And sure enough, Mao died on September 9, barely 6 weeks later, a fact that was surely noticed by the people of China…
the death of mao
The Death of Mao
  • Mao’s death, while indeed a solemn occasion, did not elicit the same emotional outpouring that Zhou’s had (you can’t show too much or too little grief)
  • Both Hua and the members of the Gang of Four were very prominent during the multiple funeral functions
with you in charge i am at ease
“With you in charge I am at ease”
  • After Mao’s death, Jiang Qing began to try to weaken Hua’s position
  • Also, the Gang began to prepare for a coup in early October
  • However, Hua had the posthumous support of Mao through his writings, and more importantly, the backing of the PLA
the gang goes down
The Gang Goes Down
  • On October 6, Hua suddenly had the members of the Gang of Four arrested as they were readying for a party meeting (more info in your reading)
  • They were blamed for a variety of crimes, ranging from factional attacks on Zhou to leading the young to oppose Marxism and slandering army veterans
  • All four were expelled from the party and sent to prison to await trials, which began in 1981
  • The Cultural Revolution was over
cartoon analysis
Cartoon Analysis

Resolutely overthrow the anti-Party clique of Wang, Zhang, Jiang and Yao!

Designer: Lu Xun Art Academy (鲁迅美术学院)1976, October.

the struggle intensifies
The Struggle Intensifies
  • In 1977 Deng, who had fled to the south the year before, was rehabilitated and reinstated to his senior positions
  • Hua was not only premier, but also chairman of the Party and the Military Commission
    • However, Hua had alienated many when he stated his policy known as the Two Whatevers
      • “Obey whatever Mao had said and ensure the continuation of whatever he had desired”
the four modernizations
The Four Modernizations
  • Some differences between Deng and Hua’s political and economic policies grew more apparent throughout 1977 and 1978
    • Hua continued to champion communes while Deng hoped to incorporate foreign investment and technology
  • However, both Deng and Hua wanted to improve China’s economy in these four areas:
    • Agriculture
    • Industry
    • National Defense
    • Science and Technology
  • These four categories had been created by Deng and Zhou in the early 1970s
the fall of hua guofeng
The Fall of Hua Guofeng
  • Despite Hua’s more impressive list of titles, ultimately Deng had more advantages—such as?
    • Political savvy and experience, PLA allies, support among Cul. Rev. survivors, organized, had a forward thinking vision
  • Furthermore, Hua’s justification for power was based on Mao, which became unhelpful as Mao had begun to be mildly criticized in public after the arrest of the Gang of Four; any other political liabilities?
  • In 1978, Deng took control of the military from Hua and by 1980 had placed two protégés in other high ranking positions
  • In 1980 Hua, recognizing defeat, resigned as premier
1978 third plenum
1978 Third Plenum
  • Turning point in the struggle between Deng and Hua
  • The Party called for the rehabilitation of those who had been unfairly condemned during earlier purges
    • 100,000 “rightists” released…will now support Deng
  • Deng was placed in charge of the People’s Political Consultative Conference
    • Responsible for overseeing economic reforms as laid out in Hua’s Ten Year Plan
  • The Party officially accepted the Four Modernizations as the basis for future development in China
de maoization
  • Deng did not think China could handle a huge attack on “The Great Helmsman”
  • Instead he favored the “drip effect”
    • Subtle undermining of Mao’s reputation over time
  • 1981 Central Comm. Resolution declared that Mao had been “70% right and 30% wrong”
    • Thus Mao’s successes transcended his mistakes
    • This allowed Deng the freedom to call for changes while still being loyal to Mao
chen yun
Chen Yun
  • “Had Chairman Mao died in 1956, there would have been no doubt that he was a great leader of the Chinese people…Had he died in 1966, his meritorious achievements would have been somewhat tarnished, but his overall record was very good. Since he actually died in 1976, there is nothing we can do about it.”

-Chen Yun

the trial of the gang of four
The Trial of the Gang of Four
  • 1980-81
  • Jiang was the only member who was totally defiant and spoke up against the charges
    • “I was Mao’s bitch. Whoever he told me to bite, I bit”
  • The guilty verdicts were another way for the party to admit Mao had allowed some horrific policies that had failed without blaming him fully
you tube video
You Tube Video