Cultural Revolution - Phase 2
From the Ninth National Congress of the Party to its 10th National Congress in August 1973.
The long-postponed Chinese Communist Ninth Party Congress; which met through most of April 1969, did not seem to have resolved many of China's massive political problems. Some of these problems were long-standing ones but many were a direct legacy of the Cultural, Revolution. It was a situatio in which the regime was, in effect, conducting a revolution against itself. This resulted in almost three years of the most violent kind of political turmoil, which at times brought China to the brink of anarchy. The Ninth Congress of the Party legitimatized the erroneous theories and practices of the "cultural revolution," and so reinforced the positions of Lin Biao, Jiang Qing, Kang Sheng and others in the Central Committee of the Party. The guidelines of the Ninth Congress were wrong, ideologically, politically and organizationally.
The Ninth Party Congress elevated the USSR in fact if not yet in slogan - to the position of China's number one enemy. The Soviets were attacked on almost every conceivable ground since the Congress. Although the tone of these propaganda attacks was no longer as emotional as it was immediately after the Ussuri border incidents in March 1969, it wes still very shrill.
In April 1970, on the first anniversary of the Ninth Party Congress, it could still be said, in the leading article of Red Flag, the official organ of the Central Committee, that the petty bourgeois were deliberately confusing the distinction between the proletarian and the bourgeois class. It said that they wreck what is known as the revolutionary discipline, they want freedom, and, worst of all, these men, the class enemy, do their best "to split the revolutionary ranks and wreck the proletarian dictatorship."
The representatives of mass organizations in the revolutionary committees are even more unstable elements. Many quarrelling, and now illegal, mass organizations have contrived to survive, though it is hard to guess how. According to some reports, when they are suppressed they reappear again in a different form. Their existence is known only from what is written against them. It is alleged that they were asserting their power and resisting the reconstitution of the communist party. A report of January 18, 1970, from Honan quoted them as saying that if they were not taken into the new party organization they would have recourse to passive resistance and "raise the red flag to oppose the red flag."
The ruling body in the revolutionary committee is therefore the military, though in a communist country the party should be the paramount power. The ruling military met wide and stubborn opposition among the ever-growing younger generation and where the regional leadership was hesitant in executing Peking's orders.
In 1970-71 the counter-revolutionary Lin Biao clique plotted to capture supreme power and attempted an armed counter-revolutionary coup d'etat. Such was the outcome of the "cultural revolution" which overturned a series of fundamental Party principles. Objectively, it announced the failure of the theories and practices of the "cultural revolution." Comrades Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai ingeniously thwarted the plotted coup. After his plot was discovered, Lin fled with his family and close aids. Unfortunately, the plane they were traveling in crashed on September 13, 1971 in Mongolia, killing all aboard. The crash is officially considered an accident but there has been a lot of speculation over the years.
Supported by Comrade Mao Zedong, Comrade Zhou Enlai took charge of the day-to-day work of the Central Committee and things began to improve in all fields.
During the criticism and repudiation of Lin Biao in 1972, he correctly proposed criticism of the ultra-Left trend of thought. In fact, this was an extension of the proposals put forward around February 1967 by many leading comrades of the Central Committee who had called for the correction of the errors of the "cultural revolution." Comrade Mao Zedong, however, erroneously held that the task was still to oppose the "ultra-Right." The 10th Congress of the Party perpetuated the "Left" errors of the Ninth Congress and made Wang Hongwen a vice-chairman of the Party.
Jiang Qing, Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan and Wang Hongwen formed a gang of four inside the Political Bureau of the Central Committee, thus strengthening the influence of the counterrevolutionary Jiang Qing clique.
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