CHP-090-The Cultural Revolution Part 8

In this final episode of the Cultural Revolution overview we look at the events that went down in 1976 as well as the massive mopping up operation that took place after the fall of the Gang of Four.

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  • Babaoshan 八宝山 Cemetery in Beijing reserved for leaders and revolutionary heroes
  • laobaixing 老百姓 common people
  • lingdao  领导 leader
  • Hua Guofeng 华国锋 Mao’s successor
  • Zhu De 朱德 Marshal and founder of PLA
  • Tangshan Earthquake 唐山地震 Earthquake that flattened the city of Tangshan in Hebei province July 28, 1976
  • Wang Dongxing 汪东兴  Mao’s bodyguard, replaced Yang Shangkun as head of Central Office, head of the elite Unit 8341
  • Ye Jianying 叶剑英 Old Guard leader and close ally of Deng
  • Li Xiannian 李先念 Old Guard leader and close ally of Deng
  • Zhongnanhai 中南海 The government compound next to the Forbidden City
  • Wang Hongwen 王洪文 Gang of Four member
  • Zhang Chunqiao 张春桥 Gang of Four member
  • Yao Wenyuan 姚文元 Gang of Four member
  • Chen Boda 陈伯达 CCRG leader and one of the principle figures of the CR
  • Guangzhou 广州 Guangzhou City, also known as Canton
  • dongbei 东北  Northeast
  • xinan 西南 Southwest
  • gaige kaifang 改革开放  Reform & opening up
  • Chen Yun 陈云  Old guard leader responsible mostly for the economy
  • Wang Guangmei 王光美 Widow of President Liu Shaoqi
  • Peng Zhen 彭真 Former Beijing Party Boss and earliest Cultural Revolution victim
  • Wo shi zhuxi de yitiao gou, zhuxi yao wo yao shui jiu yao shui  我是主席的一条狗, 主席要我咬谁就咬谁。I was Chairman Mao’s dog, I bit whoever he asked me to bite.
  • Wu Faxian 吴法宪  Lin Biao close ally and commander of Air Force




MAO’S LAST REVOLUTION By, Roderick Macfarquhar & Michaek Schoenhals ( )


Evan Osnos most excellent blog for the New Yorker:

Michael Meyer’s book on living in a hutong in Beijing:

Michael has a book coming out later about living up in the boondocks of northeast China.  Can’t wait!!!!




你办事我放心, With you in charge I am at ease. The brief reign of Hua Guofeng was mostly built on the symbolism behind this iconic image from the tail end of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.


  • Whenever I think about the CR – which is such a complex, fascinating, terrifying piece of China’s complex, fascinating, and often-terrifying history – I always think of a professor I had at Western Illinois University, a helpful Chinese professor who loved sipping tea during lectures and who was my first Mandarin tutor. Professor Han Dongping insisted that the CR was grossly misunderstood by most in the West, and that life in the countryside did improve in ways that were statistically quantifiable. I was excited to hear his named dropped at the end of this excellent 8-part series. This is the first China History Podcast topic I’ve ever listened to. I look forward to delving into your 90+ other shows. Many thanks to you, Mr. Montgomery.

    • Patrick: I hope you enjoy. There’s about 75 hours worth of stuff waiting for you. Good old Macomb, Illinois. I lived 2-1/2 hours to the east in Champaign for 4 years. There is a segment of society that believes, when all is said and done, that the CR wasn’t as bad as it was made out to be. Han Dongping’s book offers insight into this viewpoint. It all depended which rung of the ladder you were hanging on to. And in the case of the CR the ones at the top didn’t necessarily have it the best.

  • This is an absolutely fantastic Podcast series, and I wanted to give special thanks to Laszlo for putting it together.

    I myself am an amateur Cultural Revolution historian and I have read countless books about the subject, the best of which is, as you mention, MacFaquhar and Schoenhals’s “Mao’s Last Revolution.”

    I have always been looking for a rational ‘explanation’ for the Cultural Revolution; this event is very fascinating and difficult to explain. While there are certainly heroes (Deng, namely) and villains (Jiang Qing), most people who navigated the treacherous political jungle that was the Cultural Revolution were somewhere in between.

    Take the Great Helmsman himself – if his goal was simply to get rid of Liu Shaoqi and purge the leadership, why did he not stop in 1969? Why keep Deng around and then promote him at the expense of his ideological henchmen (the Gang of Four)? The Chairman seemed to see-saw between very poor judgment and moments of enlightenment. You do get the idea that he never really knew what he wanted.

    And for Zhou Enlai, was he a hero that saved China from the CR’s worst excesses, or was he complicit in most of Mao’s worst acts? After all, he was the ‘de facto’ director of the CCRG for much of its existence, and never showed anything but submission to Mao throughout (unlike Deng).

    And Hua Guofeng – a vastly underrated man who saw what needed to be done but did not have the ambition or political capital to maintain his own dominance, who did not put up a fight when he was pushed out for the sake of party unity.

    What were the motivations of each of the characters and what was Mao’s ultimate goal? I do hope one day that someone makes a historical TV drama about this, perhaps one with the level of drama and intrigue seen in “Game of Thrones”, as they have done for Ceasar, Henry VIII, and countless Chinese Emperors.

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