Mao's Last Revolution
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The Cultural Revolution was a watershed event in the history of the People’s Republic of China, the defining decade of half a century of communist rule. Before 1966, China was a typical communist state, with a command economy and a powerful party able to keep the population under control. But during the Cultural Revolution, in a move unprecedented in any communist country, Mao unleashed the Red Guards against the party. Tens of thousands of officials were humiliated, tortured, and even killed. Order had to be restored by the military, whose methods were often equally brutal.
In a masterly book, Roderick MacFarquhar and Michael Schoenhals explain why Mao launched the Cultural Revolution, and show his Machiavellian role in masterminding it (which Chinese publications conceal). In often horrifying detail, they document the Hobbesian state that ensued. The movement veered out of control and terror paralyzed the country. Power struggles raged among Lin Biao, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, and Jiang Qing―Mao’s wife and leader of the Gang of Four―while Mao often played one against the other.
After Mao’s death, in reaction to the killing and the chaos, Deng Xiaoping led China into a reform era in which capitalism flourishes and the party has lost its former authority. In its invaluable critical analysis of Chairman Mao and its brilliant portrait of a culture in turmoil, Mao’s Last Revolution offers the most authoritative and compelling account to date of this seminal event in the history of China.
attempting to compel compliance, had been perforce cast in the uncharacteristic role of "bad cop," Mao was the "good cop," all affability. The Wuhan situation was not all that bad. Why should there be struggles between groups of workers? What did it really signify that the Wuhan MR had made mistakes of line? When the meeting broke up at about ten o'clock, Chen and Zhong, whether convinced or not that they had erred, knew that they had to write confessions. Satisfied that the Wuhan crisis had been
killed; many were injured. Having successfully resisted the work team in 1966, and subjected Liu Shaoqi's wife, Wang Guangmei, to public humiliation in 1967, Kuai was not about to knuckle under to this new attempt to suppress the "revolutionary masses." For Mao, it was the end of his illusion that if "revisionist" party leaders could be swept aside and he could speak directly to the people, they would unfailingly follow him. The hearts and minds of his revolutionary successors, untrammeled
visitors."2' The same message was conveyed to the Chinese public in a Foreign Ministry "General Circular."22 Then on June 26, the day after that last instruction to Hua, Mao suffered a second myocardial infarction, more severe than the first. This prompted the issuing of a Notification to senior party officials across the country to the effect that Mao Zedong was indeed seriously ill.23 In June, planning began for the construction of his memorial hall .24 For superstitious members of the
and the premier"; "Mao zhuxi 69.8-69.9 shicha da Jiang nanbei de jianghua" (Remarks Made by Chairman Mao during an Inspection Tour North and South of the Yangtze in August-September 1969), copy of handwritten transcript, Fairbank Center Library. Mao would change his tune on this in February 1971 as he was preparing to purge Lin Biao; Wang Nianyi, He Shu, and Chen Zhao, "Mao Zedong bichulaide 'jiu.yisan Lin Biao chutao shijian"' ("The Incident of September 13 When Lin Biao Fled" Which Mao Zedong
Twelfth Plenum of the Eighth Central Committee of the CCP). In Zhonggong zhongyang bangongting, ed., Canyue wenjian, 12: 38-39• Lin Haoji. "Beida di yi zhang dazibao shi zenyang chulongde" (How the First BigCharacter Poster Appeared at Peking University). In Zhou Ming, ed., Lishi zai zheli chensi, 2: 27-3S- Ling, Ken. Red Guard.- From Schoolboy to "Little General" in Mao's China. London: Macdonald, 1972. Ling Yuri. "Kang Sheng weihe zhizao `mousha Su Mei' an" (Why Did Kang Sheng