"The Four" & events in China 1976 (5): April etc 2/2

Rolf Martens rolf.martens at mailbox.swipnet.se
Sun May 12 19:21:40 MDT 1996

"The Four" & events in China 1976 (5): April etc 2/2   [Sent:13.05.96]

This is part of a discussion on the Jefferson Village Virginia
Marxism list and is also sent to newsgroups.

[Continued from Part 1/2]


[Wu De's speech was reproduced in Peking Review No. 15 / 1976, 
of 09.04.76, which had an article headed "Counter-Revolutionary
Political Incident at Tien An Men Square". In this article, two likewise
remarkable things should warn the readers: First of all there was no
mention whatever of any wreaths or their being removed. Thus only 
>from foreign correspondents could you get any - more or less - clear
picture of the events. Concerning this whole context, the PR simply 
and mendaciously stated that "a handful of class enemies, under the guise of 
commemorating the late Premier Chou during the Ching Ming Festival," had 
"engineered an organized, premeditated and planned counter-revolutionary 
political incident ....".Secondly, it portrayed the masses as "neutral 
bystanders" and "onlookers", with the words: 

	"At its maximum the crowd at Tien An Men Square numbered
	about 100,000 people. Except for a handful of bad elements
	who were bent on creating disturbances, the majority of people
	were passers-by who came over to see what was happening"(!)

[The eyewitness reports by not only the foreign correspondent quoted
here but also several others show that this by no means was the reason
why all those people, probably more than 100,000, too, had gathered.
And if you're to believe this article, they in no way intervened against
these "counterrevolutionary disturbances" by that "handful of people"!]

[When I read that at the time, having only some three years of political 
experience and certainly a much too blind confidence in the Peking 
Review (which had indeed stated the truth on many important matters where I 
otherwise had encountered practically only lies), it did give me a vague 
feeling of unease (though I couldn't spot what, if anything, was seriously 
wrong) as did also the reported final words of that reported speech by Wu De:]

	"Today, there are bad elements carrying out disruption and
	disturbances and engaging in counter-revolutionary sabotage
	at Tien An Men Square. Revolutionary masses must leave"[!]
	"the square at once and not be duped by them."  

[Revolutionary masses of course would *not* be liable to be "duped"
but would support revolution. When they're told to "leave", this *stinks*.
The report by correspondent Clare Hollingworth continues:]


"Thousands obeyed, largely because it was time for their evening 
meal, they were getting tired and there seemed no hope that the 
original wreaths would be returned. Those who remained tended to 
form groups of anything from fifty to a hundred people, generally near the 
monument, a lamp-post or a group of trees. The groups 
discussed the situation between bursts of the 'Internationale' and 
other patriotic" [writes Ms Hollingworth the Conservative 
correspondent from Great Britain] "songs. They appeared to 
anticipate that sooner or later the police or the army would attempt 
to throw them out of the square." 

"I wandered round with a Japanese correspondent and we noted
food and water were being brought in by friends to some of the
groups who were increasingly being isolated by squads of
policemen in the darknass. Suddenly at around 9.30 p.m. all the
lights were turned on, the loudspeakers blared forth loud martial
music as thousands of militia dashed into the square from the
Imperial City, the Great Hall of the People and buildings in the
southern part of the square where I was at that moment. The
majority of foreign diplomats and journalists observing the scene
were in the northern sector."

"Large trucks were driven into the square and people were ordered 
to get into them. It was not clear whether they were to be arrested
or not. Several groups refused to move but as the cold plus the
physical need for a toilet grew, the crowd was gradually dispersed 
and the square completely cleared soon after 2.30 a.m. The
militia did beat people up, but I did not see any blood, although
some did flow. The following morning scores of demonstrators
returned and although they realised the game was up they were
outspoken enough to tell foreigners that the 'Shanghai radicals'
led by Jiang Qing were responsible for the wreaths being 
removed and the actions that followed."

[How "radical" the people of Shanghai really thought this group was 
would become clear in October the same year. In another posting, I'll bring 
an eyewitness account of the events in that city at that time.]


"At a meeting of the Politbureau the following day" [07.04.76], "called 
to discuss the series of incidents in the square, it was lated disclosed
Chairman Mao proposed - although he was not present - that Deng
Xiaoping should be stripped of all his offices but remain in the party.
Hua Guofeng was then promoted to be First Vice Chairman of the
Party as well as acting Premier." 

[Hua Guofeng in fact also was appointed Premier. In an earlier 
posting I wrote that this was a meeting of the Central Committee of 
the CPC. That was an error. A Politbureau meeting it was. Those two 
important resolutions which this meeting decided on, however, were - 
formally quite correctly - made in the name of the CC and published as 
such in, for instance,  Peking Review No. 15 / 1976.]

"It was clear that officially Deng was blamed for the disturbances 
in Tiananmen Square as well as for having initiated the massive
wreath-laying ceremonies in honour of Premier Zhou. But few in
Peking were taken in by this condemnation as it was already
well-known that Deng was in disgrace and living somewhere in
the south." 

[The logic here is not completely correct, of course. Although Deng
Xiaoping was being publicly criticised he still obviously had at least
some supporters in Beijing, as *some* of the poems referred to
above also confirm. It wouldn't have been totally impossible for them
to have engineered at least some smaller real disturbances. But in 
the main, clearly it was *not* those supporters who caused the 
massive Tiananmen events.] 

[In fact the the two 07.04.76 CPC CC resolutions read as follows -  
the second has already been quoted in full to the Marxism list by 
comrade Jay Miles, who argues that the events on Tiananmen Square 
were counterrevolutionary. For completeness I include also the first,
which was equally important:]

	"On the proposal of our great leader Chairman Mao, the
	Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist
	Party of China unanimously agrees to appoint Comrade Hua
	Kuo-feng First Vice-Chairman of the Central Committee of
	the Communist Party of China and Premier of the State
	Council of the People's Republic of China."  	

	"Having discussed the counter-revolutionary incident which
	took place at Tien An Men Square and Teng Hsiao-ping's
	latest behaviour, the Political Bureau of the Central
	Committee of the Communist Party of China holds that the
	nature of the Teng Hsiao-ping problem has turned into one
	of antagonistic contradiction. On the proposal of our great
	leader Chairman Mao, the Political Bureau unanimously
	agrees to dismiss Teng Hsiao-ping from all posts both
	inside and outside the Party while allowing him to keep his
	Party membership so as to see how he will behave in the

[In a 1979 book by three Swedes who were in Beijing at the time,
whose title in translation is "Great Disorder under the Heavens",
the embassy official Torbjoern Lode'n on p. 112 maintains that
"These decisions contravened the Chinese constitution of that time,
which stipulated that it was the People's National Congress' due to 
appoint and dismiss the Premier and other members of the State
Council (Article 17)". He's probably right. I doubt that Mao Zedong
- who according to Ms Hollingworth was not present at the meeting 
- actually proposed circumvening the PNC in this manner. 

[And I hold, as I've already written in one posting, that although the 
political line of the Politbureau here was correct in its repudiating, 
directly or indirectly, both the deviation of Deng Xiaoping and  that of 
the Gang of Four, its maintaining that the events on Tiananmen Square
on 05.04.76 in the main were counterrevolutionary was an error.]


[Page 303 ff:]

"There were also efforts in those months following Tiananmen by
friends of the late Premier Zhou and the disgraced Deng" [once
again that "mix-up"] "to inform foreigners secretly of what was
happening. My own view is that the followers of the late Premier
were fully aware of the report on her life Jiang Qing had virtually
dictated to an American scholar whom she had dubbed 'her
Edgar Snow'."

[In my "UNITE! Info #3en", I wrote, i.a. on this "report", which was
published in 1977 by the scholar in question as "Comrade Chiang
Ching" and which is a very revealing document in several respects:]
>[The "gang" was named so by Mao Zedong, who in 1974 
>repeatedly urged them to stop functioning as a such. Their leader, 
>Jiang Qing, in 1972 already, through a series of secret 
>unauthorized interviews with historian Roxane Witke, had started 
>seeking U.S. support for herself as "Dowager Empress" after Mao 
>Zedong's death. Even better suited their line social-imperialism.]  

"It then appeared extremely likely that the Gang of Four would take
over after the Chairman died - or even before this happened - and
that once the" [phoney] "radicals were in power the pragmatists
would be silenced forever.Thus a surprising number of men and
women not so much about the sins of the Gang of Four, which it must
be assumed were well known after the flood of gossip, but the aims
and objectives of thepragmatists in both foreign and domestic

"......One heard frequent reports about of the radicals 'building 
up a separate army' which really meant that they had taken over the
organisation of of the armed urban militia in Shanghai and a few
other cities. The man responsible for this was Zhang Chunqiao who
was Mayor of Shanghai as well as Chief Political Commissar in the
PLA. In the latter capacity he had violently opposed the policies
advocated by Deng Xiaoping when he was Chief of Staff. Zhang's
position was strong as he schemed to separate the 5 million-strong
armed militia from the regular army. In Shanghai he was successful
and he obtained large quantities of arms and ammunition from
other regions that were hidden in readiness 'for an emergency'.
Zhang may well have been successful in other areas in the south
where stocks of ammunition were later discovered."

[Whether these details are true or not, the Gang of Four did prepare 
to seize power in the party and the state by a coup. They lacked one 
important thing - the support of the people. On events in October 
1976, when their coup attempt was foiled, I'll quote, in other 
postings, some eyewitnesses, and also the official statement. All 
the evidence here is unanimous and very clear: The big blow, in Oct 
'76, against the Gang of Four, received massive and enthusiastic 
support from the Chinese people. Clare Hollingworths's book is vague 
on what was the masses' reaction to the events of Oct 1976 but does 
report that the Gang's planned insurrection didn't come off. I'll make 
only a few more quotes from it.]

[From pages 309-311:]

".....after they" [some "Gang" followers in Shanghai] "had arrived 
safely in Peking on October 10th they made a reassuring telephone 
call back to headquarters saying all was well and they would be back
shortly. In the meantime they urged that the preparations (for the
revolt) should continue. However, teams sent out from the Militia
headquarters to give pep talks to the factory workers were not as
warmly received as they had been in the past as rumours had 
begun to circulate that the Gang of Four had been arrested." [So
they had been, on 06.10.76, and the masses in Shanghai by no
means found this to be a defeat of their own, quite on the contrary.]

"......Deng's followers - the pragmatists - who expected him to
return immediately after the arrest of the Gang were distressed to
hear Hua call for the 'masses to deepen their criticism of Deng'."
[Whereby Hua Guofeng at least in words promised to continue
completely Mao Zedong's line, of struggle against *both* deviations,
and whereby he at that time gained the support ot the masses, too.]
"The cry fell on deaf ears" [quite on the contrary!] "and by November
1976, two months after Mao's death, the anti-Deng campaign
died a natural death." [No, it was killed by the Hua group's treason.]  

"......Posters began to appear in Peking, first paying homage to the
late Premier Zhou and then calling for the restoration of Deng."
"......Many posters urged that 'the verdict be reversed on the 
Tiananmen demonstrations of April 5th 1976 and that its counter-
revolutionary label be removed'." [In this mixture of revolutionary and
counterrevolutionary statements, as reported here, those last posters
undoubtedly were correct.] "The commander of the Peking Military
Region, Chen Xilian, was blamed with the Mayor, Wu De, for the
supression. There were, too, scores of posters demanding that the
Gang of Four be brought to trial. [They weren't, until the end of 1980,
and then they were "charged" with - exactly the opposite of the reason
given for their arrest! They then were "accused" of having *supported*
Mao Zedong's line.]

"......Hua feared a trial not only on the grounds that he was in charge
of public security during the period when the Gang were making their
final plans for the assumption of power, but also because he was 'a
creature' of the Chairman, coming from his home town." 

[Here she has Mao Zedong "favouring old cronies", which it's known 
he never did. And what happened to Hua the "compromise candidate" 
as earlier described by the same author above? - I'll quote here the
following piece of *unconfirmed rumour* because in its overall
political aspect it fits in with what can also otherwise be gathered,
although it seems very surprising in view of the earlier record of the
person involved. In fact a disinformation ploy may well be involved.]

"Further, Hua had taken no action against the Foreign Minister, the
late Qiao Guanhua, who had, as already reported, somewhat 
overdone the anti-Deng displays after the Tiananmen 

[Qiao shortly after having delivered the annual speech to the UN
General Assembly on 5 October, in which he promised that China 
would continue to carry out Mao Zedong's line in foreign affairs,  
dissappeared from public view, with no notice published on why, on 
19 November was conspicuously absent from a banquet and later 
was replaced as foreign minister, as readers of the Peking Review 
could gather. He was never officialy accused of having been a 
follower of the Gang of Four. I don't know how or when he died.
There is a big stench coming from somewhere here; exactly from 
where I haven't been able to tell.]

"According to the then West German Ambassador and others, Qiao
had actually approached Gromyko during a visit to the UN General
Assembly in New York and requested Soviet support and goodwill
if an anticipated take-over by Jiang and the Gang provoke
disturbances verging on civil war. The Russian reply was masterly.
Gromyko is reported to have said that 'fraternal' Russian help
would take time to organise and the radicals would have to manage
on their own for a week. In other words the Russians would only
support the radicals when they appeared to win."[!!]

[In his UN speech, as reported in Peking Review No. 42 / 1976, 
Qiao Guanhua at least in words continued to adhere to Mao 
Zedong's correct analysis, attacked precisely Soviet social-
imperialism as "the biggest peace swindler and the most 
dangerous source of war today" and also pointed out i.a.:
 "Strategically, Europe is the focus of contention between the 
Soviet Union and the United States for world hegemony"; "We
support the unity of Western Europe and wish to see Western
Europe grow strong"; and even:] 

["There is now a strange phenomenon in the world. Some people 
are terrified at the mention of the Soviet Union, thinking that it 
cannot be touched. This is superstition. Soviet social-imperialism
is nothing to be afraid of. It is outwardly strong but inwardly weak.
Aleniated from the people, it is essentially feeble." ".....Its 
offensive posture bears the seed of defeat. Chairman Mao Tsetung 
pointed out long ago: *"All reactionaries are paper tigers."* *"The 
revisionist Soviet Union is a paper tiger too."* - Some clever acting
on the part of Qiao Guanhua? I find a more likely explanation for
that strange "leak" reported above, from the usually so tight-lipped
Soviet revisionists, to be that they were trying to get rid of a real
avdersary through an upside-down disinformation ploy. If so,
they obviously succeeded in this.] 

[But it's clear that the Soviet social-imperialists were extremely
disappointed at the fact that, when socialism finally was to fall
in China, it wasn't the Gang of Four who won out but some
other forces who, as they rightly surmised, initially at least would
team up with the US imperialists and not at all, as they had 
previously hoped, with them.]

[I'll add here a brief note on an event which suggests just *how*
dissappointed they were:]


[This was a desperate action which the social-imperialists undertook 
in Northern Europe, for more reasons than one, perhaps, but at any 
rate precisely  on the day when the great victory over the Gang was 
publicly announced in China, on 25.10.1976. Under the small island 
Osmussaar (or in Swedish: Odinsholm - until 1939, it had a small
Swedish-speaking population but later became part of a military
base) off the North-Western coast of Estonia, that is, smack in the 
middle of a populated area, they detonated an *atomic bomb*(!) of 
at least some tens of kilotons, some hundreds of meters down in the 
ground, giving rise to an earthquake in Southern Finland and Northern 
Estonia which measured approximately 5 units on the Richter scale 
(and thus contained some 30 times as much energy as the strongest 
of the - unusual - natural quakes normally occurring in that region).]

[Today, probably practically nobody outside of that region has
even heard of this warlike provocation, for after some "questioning"
articles in the Finnish and Scandinavian press and e.g. one small
notice in the US International Herald Tribune saying, in effect,
"We know what that was but we're going to keep quiet, too",
all information on the matter was suppressed. There certainly
exists information on it in all seismological institutes in the
world, though.]

[This was the social-imperialist bear's banging the ground with 
its paw in anger, saying: "You haven't heard the last from me 
anyway!" And at the time, it did make all politicians in the 
neighbouring countries scurry like mice down into their hiding-
places, not letting out the smallest squeak of protest. (Cf mainly 
defensive testing by second-world country France thousands of 
miles from all people some months ago.) About this "the original 
Gang Bang", which is a not unimportant event in recent history, I'll 
give the details in some later posting and in another context which 
I've been preparing an article on but so far haven't found the time to 
deal with.]

[To complement the above, which has centred on the events in
China concerning the Gang of Four in April 1976, I'll also post
one or more articles on the events in October 1976. - RM]

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