Rise And Fall Of Mao Zedong

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To this day, Mao Zedong remains the most potent figure in the public imagination of the People’s Republic of China. Mao was a founding member of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the ideological progenitor of Chinese socialism, a commander in the war of resistance against Japan, the revolutionary leader of the People’s Republic of China, and its longest serving leader. Even in the years after his death, from 1976 to 1991, Mao was used to frame the ensuing power struggle for leadership of China, Chinese foreign relations, ideology concerning domestic policy, perspectives of dissent, and the legitimacy of the CPC. Mao’s death left a power vacuum that yielded a struggle amongst Hua Guofeng, the Gang of Four, and Deng Xiaoping, in which Mao’s …show more content…
The two main contenders for power in the immediate aftermath of Mao’s death were his appointed successor Hua Guofeng and his wife Jiang Qing. As Immanuel Hsu wrote in his book, China Without Mao, Hua was not a particularly outstanding figure in Chinese politics and the only reason he became the next General Secretary of the CPC was because Mao designated him as his official successor. Hsu also wrote that Jiang Qing, the leader of the powerful Gang of Four in the CPC, attempted to seize power by changing documents to depict Mao as having left her in charge. Mao’s presence even prevailed in the ensuing propaganda battle between Hua and Jiang, with Hua quoting Mao’s famous “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” line to assert that he had the support of the military. Both Jiang Qing and Hua Guofeng used Mao to frame their claim to …show more content…
The views expressed by the Embassy of the United States in China within Document 261 of the China collection indicate that political mania of the Mao years still coloured American perceptions of Chinese domestic politics. This 1979 telegram iterated that, judging from past experience, there was a great chance that inroads into reform made by the Deng administration could be repealed or halted once the old guard of Mao were elevated to more senior positions. The Americans rightly point out that Mao’s ideas still held sway in China and there was potential for instability to return to China. American observers saw the constraining influence of Mao on Chinese domestic politics and, unlike their predictions regarding Chinese foreign policy, their perceptions reflected the realties in

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