Friday, August 22, 2008
A mysterious historical figure, given that he attained the chairmanship of the Chinese Communist Party. A paradoxical man, selected by Mao to succeed him in 1976, he subsequently authorized the military arrest of the Gang of Four, including Mao's wife, Jiang Qing, shortly after Mao's death, yet continued to advocate in support of the cultural revolution. By 1978, Deng Xiaoping had pushed him into the dustbin of history. Deng later used him to establish the principle of peaceful transfers of power within the party by allowing him to remain on the Central Committee even after he lost his last leadership position in 1981. Apparently, he failed to recognize the political necessity of distancing himself from Mao's touch.