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Gang of Four (China)


Here are the members of the gang at trial in 1981
(|Uncropped Version)

The Gang of Four (四人帮 Pinyin si4 ren2 bang1) was a group of Chinese Communist politicians based in Shanghai. They were strong supporters of the Cultural Revolution and following Mao Zedong's death they attempted to continue his legacy.

The group was founded by Mao Zedong's fourth wife Jiang Qing, the other members were Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan and Wang Hongwen. The group was formed after the 9th Party Congress in 1969 and named the Gang of Four by Mao, who is regarded as the fifth member of the group (Kang Sheng[?] and Xie Fuzhi[?] are also seen as similarly radical but not part of the Gang).

They gained influence throughout the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), even purging the General Secretary of the Party Deng Xiaoping twice as they tried to hold the strong ideological line. But the impetus of the Cultural Revolution was diminishing from around 1971, Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping managed to push through the moderate's proposals at the 10th Party Congress in 1973. The radicals responded by creating an armed militia but their influence was unable to spread far beyond Shanghai and its immediate area.

After Mao's death on September 9, 1976 the group sponsored an abortive attempt to gain power, Deng Xiaoping had been removed from office in April and replaced by Hua Guofeng. But in the vacuum created by Mao's death more moderate party members managed to have the Gang arrested in early October. Their arrest was the official end of the Cultural Revolution and they, rather than Mao, were blamed for the murderous excesses of the Revolution. In 1981 they were tried in court for anti-party activities. Jiang Qing and Zhang Chunqiao received death sentences (later commuted to life imprisonment), while Yao Wenyuan and Wang Hongwen were given twenty years.

See also: other uses of the term Gang of Four



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