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Backgrounders> Nation
UPDATED: May 26, 2009
Gang of Four

In early October of 1976, the Party Central Committee headed by Comrade Hua Kuo-feng crushed the plot of the "gang of four" for a counter-revolutionary restoration and got rid of a big evil in our Party. Wang Hong-wen, Chang Chunqiao, Chiang Ching andYao Wenyuan had long formed a cabal, the "gang of four," engaged in factional activities to split the Party. The great leader Chairman Mao was aware of this long ago and severely criticized and tried to educate them again and again. And he made some arrangements to solve this problem. Chairman Mao criticized them on July 17, 1974, saying: "You'd better be careful; don't let yourselves become a small faction of four." Again, on December 24, Chairman Mao criticized them: "Don't form factions. Those who do so will fall." In November and December of the same year, as the central leading organs were preparing to convene the Fourth National People's Congress, Chairman Mao said: "Chiang Ching has wild ambitions. She wants Wang Hung-wen to be Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and herself to be Chairman of the Party Central Committee." On May 3, 1975, at a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Party Central Committee, Chairman Mao reiterated the basic principles of "three do's and three don'ts," and warnd them: "Practise Marxism-Leninism, and not revisionism; unite and don't split; be open and aboveboard, and don't intrigue and conspire. Don't function as a gang of four, don't do it any more, why do you keep doing it?" That very day Chairman Mao, on this question, gave the instruction that "if this is not settled in the first half of this year, it should be settled in the second half; if not this year, then next year; if not next year, then the year after." Toward Chairman Mao's criticism and education, the "gang of four" took the attitude of counter-revolutionary double-dealers who comply in public but oppose in private. Not only did they not show the slightest sign of repentance, but on the contrary they went from bad to worse, further and further down the wrong path. During the period when Chairman Mao was seriously ill and after he passed away, they became more frantic in attacking the Party and speeded up their attempts to usurp the supreme leadership of the Party and state. We faced a grave danger of the Party turning revisionist and the state changing its political colour. At this critical moment in the Chinese revolution, the Party Central Committee headed by Comrade Hua Kuo-feng, representing the fundamental interests and common aspiration of the whole Party, the whole army and the people of the whole country and with the boldness and vision of the proletariat, adopted resolute measures against the "gang of four" anti-Party clique, smashed their plot to usurp Party and state power, and saved the revolution and the Party. Thus the proletariat won a decisive victory in counter-attacking the onslaught by the bourgeoisie.

The "gang of four," a bane to the country and the people, committed heinous crimes. They completely betrayed the basic principles of "three do's and three don'ts" that Chairman Mao had earnestly taught, wantonly tampered with Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, tampered with Chairman Mao's directives, opposed Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line on a whole series of domestic and international questions, and practised revisionism under the signboard of Marxism. They carried out criminal activities to split the Party, forming a factional group, going their own way, establishing their own system inside the Party, doing as they wished, lording it over others, and placing themselves above Chairman Mao and the Party Central Committee. They were busy intriguing and conspiring and stuck their noses into everything to stir up trouble everywhere, interfere with Chairman Mao's revolutionary line and strategic plans and undermine the socialist revolution and socialist construction. They confounded right and wrong, made rumours, worked in a big way to create counter-revolutionary opinion, fabricated accusations against others and labelled people at will, and attempted to overthrow a large number of leading Party, government and army comrades in the central organs and various localities and seize Party and state leadership. They worshipped things foreign and fawned on foreigners, maintained illicit foreign relations, betrayed important Party and state secrets, and unscrupulously practised capitulationism and national betrayal. Resorting to various manoeuvres, they pursued a counter-revolutionary revisionist line, an ultra-Right line. Chairman Mao pointed out: "You are making the socialist revolution, and yet don't know where the bourgeoisie is. It is right in the Communist Party - those in power taking the capitalist road. The capitalist-roaders are still on the capitalist road." Wang Hung-wen, Chang Chun-chiao, Chiang Ching and Yao Wen-yuan are typical representatives of the bourgeoisie inside the Party, unrepentant capitalist-roaders still travelling on the capitalist road and a gang of bourgeois conspirators and careerists.

Our struggle against the "gang of four" is a life-and-death struggle between the two classes, the two roads and the two lines. By forming a narrow self-seeking clique to usurp Party and state power, the "gang of four" sought to change fundamentally the proletarian nature of our Party, change its basic line for the entire historical period of socialism and restore capitalism in China. If their scheme had succeeded, it would have meant serious disaster for the Chinese people. The crushing of this anti-Party clique has removed from the Party a bunch of hidden traitors, rid the country of a big scourge and redressed the grievances of the people. The Party, the army and the people are all jubilant. This is a great example of putting into practice Chairman Mao's great theory of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. It is of tremendous immediate importance and far-reaching historic significance to our adhering to the Party's basic line, combating and preventing revisionism, consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat, preventing the restoration of capitalism, building socialism, upholding the principles of proletarian internationalism and carrying out Chairman Mao's revolutionary line and policies in foreign affairs. It is a great victory for the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and for Mao Tsetung Thought.

Chairman Mao pointed out in 1971: "Our Party already has a history of 50 years and has gone through ten major struggles on the question of Party line. There were people in these ten struggles who wanted to split our Party, but none were able to do so. This is a question worth studying: such a big country, such a large population, yet no split. The only explanation is that the people, the Party and the entire Party membership are of one mind in opposing a split. In view of its history, this Party of ours has a great future."

Summing up our Party's experience in the ten struggles on the question of Party line, Chairman Mao pointed out that "the correctness or incorrectness of the ideological and political line decides everything" and put forward the three basic principles "Practise Marxism, and not revisionism; unite, and don't split; be open and aboveboard, and don't intrigue and conspire." These principles are our criteria for distinguishing correct from erroneous lines and our sharp weapon for identifying the bourgeoisie inside the Party. The whole history of our Party shows that only by adhering to the three basic principles can our Party march in step, win wholehearted support from the masses of the people and organize a mighty revolutionary contingent, and only by so doing can our revolutionary cause thrive. Whoever goes against the three basic principles betrays the cause of proletarian revolution and the vital interests of the Party and the people, inevitably loses the confidence of the people and brings ruin and shame upon himself. On ten occasions in the past, the chieftains of opportunist lines tried to split our Party, but they all failed. The present Wang-Chang-Chiang-Yao "gang of four" anti-Party clique, too, has come to an ignominious end because it practised revisionism and splittism, engaged in conspiracies to usurp Party and state power, and thus completely forfeited the confidence of the people and became extremely isolated. Historical experience has time and again shown that our Party cannot be easily destroyed. Our Party is worthy of its reputation as a Party founded, tempered and nurtured by Chairman Mao himself, as a politically mature Marxist-Leninist Party and as a great, glorious and correct Party.

(Beijing Review No.44,1976)

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