Why Marshal Ye will go down in history as China's savior

October 21, 2016 10:17
The close cooperation among Marshal Ye Jianying (right), Hua Guofeng (left) and Wang Dongxing was key to their successful coup against the Gang of Four. Photo: dwnews.com

This Saturday, Oct. 22, marks the 30th anniversary of Marshal Ye Jianying‘s death.

Yet, it appears Beijing is going to downplay the special occasion and won't hold any official ceremony to commemorate it.

Instead, it will hold a small symposium in April next year to celebrate the 120th anniversary of Ye's birth.

In contrast, the ultra-left and pro-Maoist factions in Beijing are mounting a high-profile campaign to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of the Cultural Revolution and are calling on the Communist Party leadership to vindicate Mao's wife Jiang Qing and the Gang of Four.

In the meantime, they are also publicly attacking former premier Hua Guofeng, Marshal Ye and Wang Dongxing, former director of the general secretariat of the Communist Party, for a 1976 coup against Jiang Qing.

They claim that Jiang and her subordinates, i.e. the Gang of Four, were the most steadfast adherents of Mao's orthodox revolutionary line and that their arrest and subsequent trial were nothing more than a politically motivated plot perpetrated by Hua, Ye and Wang to remove them from power so they could seize control of the party themselves.

Under the Maoist President Xi Jinping, a sub-Cultural Revolution is in full swing across the mainland, under which the nation has witnessed an all-out resurrection of the toxic legacies of the Cultural Revolution such as the personality cult.

And the ultra-left fanatics in the party, in the academic sector and in society who are nostalgic about the Cultural Revolution are working aggressively together to remind people of Mao's “good intentions” through a massive propaganda campaign.

They argue that Mao had a clear public mandate to launch the Cultural Revolution in order to eliminate pro-capitalist heretics from the party leadership.

If the Cultural Revolution had been so popular among the public at that time as the pro-Maoists claim, it would never have been brought to an end so quickly and easily by the trio led by Marshal Ye.

And people across the nation would never have flooded the streets in every major city to celebrate the arrest of the Gang of Four.

In fact, Marshal Ye's coup would never have succeeded without a strong public mandate and support from within the party.

Suffice it to say that everyone in the country in 1976 was looking to Marshal Ye to put an end to the 10-year-long political catastrophe that almost destroyed the nation.

The notion that the Cultural Revolution was well-intentioned cannot stand the most basic scrutiny.

The Communist Party itself has denounced it as a man-made catastrophe -- the result of a series of fatal mistakes on the part of the party leadership.

The whole movement was just part of a sinister plot perpetrated by Mao to bring down his political opponents such as Liu Xiaoqi, Peng Dehuai and Deng Xiaoping.

All the accusations made against them at that time such as being pro-capitalist traitors, revisionist conspirators and bourgeois opportunists were fabricated by Mao and the Gang of Four in order to smear them and remove them from power.

Apart from a strong public mandate and support from the party and the military, another factor in successfully bringing down the Gang of Four was the close cooperation among Marshal Ye, Hua and Wang and the utmost secrecy in which they carried out the coup.

Any leak of their plans could have prompted the Gang of Four to launch a pre-emptive strike. If that happened, the whole course of history and the fate of the nation might have been different.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct. 20

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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HKEJ columnist