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胡同口 > 院校 > 比尔英语角 > Zhang Chunqiao, 88, One of China's Gang of Four, Dies

Zhang Chunqiao, 88, One of China's Gang of Four, Dies

尽尘 发表于:05-05-13 10:12
By DOUGLAS MARTIN
Published: May 11, 2005
Zhang Chunqiao, a radical Maoist who held several positions at the apex of China's government when he was convicted in 1981 as a member of the infamous Gang of Four, died April 21, the Chinese government reported yesterday. He was 88.


The Globe and Mail
Zhang Chunqiao, around 1976.


Forum: Asian Politics
The state-run New China News Agency said Mr. Zhang had died of cancer. There have been erroneous reports of his death or of serious illness going back at least to 1980.

In 2001, he was released from prison, having had his death sentence commuted in 1983 for medical reasons. He lived in obscurity in Shanghai.

His moment of greatest prominence came under glaring lights in a show trial that began in 1980 in which he and other top Chinese Communists were charged by other top Chinese Communists with persecuting hundreds of thousands of people. Mr. Zhang, who four years earlier was one of the most powerful leaders in China, not only refused to answer questions but also pretended to go to sleep.

"His ugly, stubborn attitude naturally aroused the indignation of many observers," the Chinese news agency reported at the time.

In 1976, Mr. Zhang was a deputy prime minister, the third in power - behind Deng Xiaoping, also a deputy prime minister, and Zhou Enlai, the prime minister. He was also director of the General Political Department of the People's Liberation Army, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee and considered a possible successor to Mao Zedong as leader of the ruling Communist Party.

Then on Oct. 6, 1976, a month after Mao died, Mr. Zhang; Jiang Qing, Mao's widow; Yao Wenyuan; and Wang Hongwen were arrested in a moment of rare drama by an elite unit of the People's Liberation Army. All were top party officials and all were charged with conspiring to overthrow Hua Guofeng, the new party leader, among other treasonous acts.

Speculation in the Western press had been that Mr. Deng, the leading moderate, and Mr. Zhang, the leading radical, had been pre-eminent candidates for the top party post. Some characterized Mr. Hua's triumph as amounting to a coup within the regime.

Gang of Four was a term of derision, and its members were all closely associated with Mao's Cultural Revolution, when Chinese society was turned upside down in the years from 1966 to 1976. Students were let loose on teachers, workers on managers and citizens on bureaucrats. Mao had started the devastating political firestorm in a last-ditch effort to root out elitism and what he saw as an emerging bourgeoisie.

But Hua's new government was veering toward a more moderate course, and a purge of the most prominent radicals was part of its strategy.

In the televised show trial in 1980, sometimes described as a Chinese version of the Nuremberg trials, the four were charged with persecuting more than 700,000 people, almost 35,000 of whom died as a result.

"At their trial they were accused of almost single-handedly causing millions to suffer," Jonathan Mirsky wrote in The Times of London in 1996. "This made it unnecessary to inquire why millions more enthusiastically collaborated."

Mr. Zhang and Ms. Jiang were sentenced to death, but their sentences were commuted to life in prison. She hanged herself. Mr. Wang died of a liver ailment in 1992. Mr. Yao, who was born in 1931, is believed to be the only member of the "gang" still living.

Mr. Zhang was born in 1917, and little is known about his early life except that he came from an intellectual family. By the time he was in his 20's, he was already active in the Writers and Artists Association in Shanghai. During the war, he did propaganda work for Communist guerrillas in northern China. In 1975, The New York Times said, "In a sense, he has been a propagandist ever since."

As he became more prominent in Shanghai's artistic life, he also rose in the party hierarchy, becoming director of the city's propaganda department in 1963. When Ms. Jiang sought to revolutionize the Beijing Opera, he helped her revise one opera a dozen times. He helped begin the Cultural Revolution in 1966, during a visit by Mao to Shanghai, by publishing in two newspapers he controlled scathing attacks on party bureaucrats in Beijing.

Mr. Yao wrote one of the articles, and from then on the two were identified as leaders of the radical movement in Shanghai. In 1967, Mr. Zhang was a leader in setting up the Shanghai Commune, modeled after the Paris Commune in the French Revolution, then in reining it in after it became manifestly unmanageable.

News reports in the 1970's suggested that Mr. Zhang was trying to strike a balance between his radical Maoism and the more pragmatic tone increasingly in evidence. During President Richard M. Nixon's visit to China in 1972, Mr. Zhang, who was described as a smooth and pleasant man with sharp features, met with Mr. Nixon in Shanghai as chairman of the city's revolutionary committee and in Beijing as a member of the Politburo.

The Chinese government made no mention of survivors.

  八十五年前,开火车出身的美国劳工领袖戴布兹(Eugene V. Debs) 
 虽然在牢里,却得到了美国大选中一百万选民对他戏剧性的投票。 
 一九二一年,哈定总统特赦了他。出狱后,人们庆幸他重获自由, 
 他却从斯宾塞的句子里,说出了这样的千古名言: 
 While there is a lower class I am in it.  
 While there is a criminal elements I am of it.  
 While there is a soul in prison I am not free. 
 只要有下层阶级,我就同俦; 
 只要有犯罪成分,我就同流; 
 只要狱底有游魂,我就不自由。 
 真的,“我就不自由”。夏禹不自由,後稷不自由,斯宾塞不自由, 
 戴布兹不自由。--所有伟大的性灵里,念天地悠悠,都有“自由 
 的不自由”。 
比尔英语角