China After Mao
The two years following the death of Mao saw much confusion in the Party. Legitimacy had been damaged by the Cultural Revolution notion that the Party, rather than being a pure Leninist vanguard, was the arena of class struggle, that Mao’s ‘close comrade in arms and successor’ Lin Biao had been branded a ‘conspirator’ and that arcane movements such as that to ‘criticise Lin Biao and Confucius’ could help chart the way forward (Young 1989). The ‘Gang of Four’ was targeted as containing the principal villains and attempts were made to disassociate Mao from that ‘Gang’. To secure continuity, Hua Guofeng, who held the posts of Party chairman and Premier, strove to revive Mao’s ideas on ‘uninterrupted revolution’ of the late 1950s which fitted in with his advocacy of a new great leap into modernity (known colloquially as the ‘foreign leap’ [yang yuejin]). Significantly Deng Xiaoping who was rehabilitated and confirmed in office by the Eleventh Party Congress in 1977, consistent with his arguments of 1975, was initially quite enthusiastic about the new leap.
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