Mao’s imperialist ideology and his disruptive successors

Mao Zedong Lin Biao Liu Shaoqi receives the Red Guards

The successors who were abandoned

Mao’s two hand-picked successors, Liu Shaoqi and Lin Biao, were both characterized by disorder and abandonment. For Liu, Mao first established the first- and second-line system, and also strongly supported Liu as the president. But during the Cultural Revolution, he backtracked, saying that Liu was an “independent kingdom” and a “Khrushchev-like figure”. To Lin, his successor status was first written into the party constitution for the first Time in history, and then he quickly turned against him. It seems that Mao’s successor dilemma and crisis were caused not only by the political system and other treacherous “lines” and “policies”, but also by his personal experience and temperament and other seemingly accidental factors. This is particularly evident in his choice and dismissal of Lin Biao. These personal factors include: 1) the contradictory character of being true to his word and going back on his word; 2) the pathological personality of being suspicious and suspicious; 3) the pragmatic style of acting. In traditional princely politics, some extremely personal factors of the monarch could directly trigger the selection and deposition of the crown prince, let alone in the mutated CCP’s princely politics, where Mao was the absolute rule-maker and enforcer.

Mao showed his contradictory character from the very beginning on the issue of Lin Biao. On the one hand, he was so overjoyed that he desperately needed to engage in personal fetishism to enhance his prestige and consolidate his supreme power, but on the other hand, he had to be coy and cover up, putting himself in a moral package that he had long opposed to the cult of the individual. For example, Lin Biao’s speech at the enlarged meeting of the Politburo on May 18, 1966 was an extremely important and strategic speech in support of Mao’s launch of the Cultural Revolution, which was later derided as a “coup d’état. In this speech, Lin not only touted Mao more fervently than he had in the early 1960s, but also gave an absolute order to defend Mao to the death. At that time, Lin Biao’s touting was a much-needed way to establish Mao as absolutely correct in the power struggle within the Party. In addition, with Lin Biao’s competent position in the army, his speech was even more powerful in deterring Mao’s rivals, such as Liu and Deng. This speech was applauded by Zhou Enlai and other leaders of the Communist Party at that time, and Mao never expressed any opposition. A month later, Mao wrote a letter to Jiang Qing on July 8, specifically about Lin Biao’s speech, but said: “He was speaking exclusively about the coup. This issue, as he spoke in this way has not been in the past. I always feel uneasy about some of his references. I have never believed that my small books have such great power. Now, once he blew, the whole party and the whole country blew up, really a woman selling a melon, self-promotion. I was forced by them to the beam, it seems to disagree with them can not be. It was the first time in my Life that I agreed with someone against my will on a major issue. ……” If Mao and Jiang were limited to private correspondence between husband and wife, there would be nothing wrong with that. Instead, Mao showed this letter to Zhou Enlai and Wang Renzhong, who were presiding over all aspects of the work in the first line at the time, during conversations with them in the afternoon of July 11 and morning of July 12 in Wuchang. Later Zhou Enlai made another transmission to Lin Biao, but Lin did not make any changes. On September 22 of the same year, things took another turn for the worse when Mao Zedong, in the name of the CPC Central Committee, approved Lin Biao’s speech to the whole party and evaluated it as “an extremely important Marxist-Leninist document”.

He makes the face, we make the ass

Mao’s flip-flop revealed at least the following: 1. He wanted Zhou Enlai and other centrists in the Party to understand that he was forced to accept Lin Biao’s puffery for the sake of the overall situation of the Cultural Revolution. In this way, he could enjoy the fruits of Lin Biao’s cult of personality on the one hand, while fully expressing his great modesty on the other. 2. Knowing full well that there was in fact a lot of criticism within the Party about his personal fetish propaganda in the form of a double act with Lin Biao, he cleverly passed on his personal letters to Zhou and Wang in order to gain the support of the centrists at the 11th Plenary Session of the 8th Central Committee, where he was to have a showdown with his Party rivals. He also let others take the blame. 3. When Mao and Lin won at the 11th Plenary Session of the 8th Central Committee, he then used the central document to wholesale and highly evaluate Lin Biao’s speech to the whole party, ultimately showing that he actually desperately needed and approved of Lin Biao’s touting. The hypocrisy in Mao’s dual personality was consistent, and in 1973 he launched a critique of Zhou’s so-called “right-leaning surrenderism” in diplomacy in order to prevent him from criticizing Lin Biao’s ultra-leftist line. He first encouraged his translator and liaison Wang Hailong and Tang Wensheng to take an active part in fixing Zhou Enlai, and later criticized Wang and Tang in front of Zhou that “they are fixing me and the Premier”. In this regard, Wang and Tang were extremely dissatisfied: “He does the face, we do the buttocks”, “he wants us to criticize the Premier, and after the criticism, he gives the Premier a step down”. It is no coincidence that Qiu Huizuo, a former member of the Politburo who later became a cadre of Lin Biao’s group, shared the same view, arguing, “The Resolution says that Chairman Mao is being used. It says that we are using him, but it’s not that at all! …… (Mao) has only used others in his life to serve him and his cause, how can there be any reason for him to be used by others?”

A vein of Mao’s unconscious thinking is also implicitly revealed in the letter to Jiang Qing, namely his paranoia about Lin Biao’s talk of a coup. In Mao’s commentary (“He is specializing in the issue of coups. There is a logic between the lines of Mao’s comment (“He is specializing in the issue of coup d’état. This issue has never been discussed like this before”): Since Lin is so interested in the subject of coup d’état, will he stage a coup d’état against me in the future? This brings us to Mao’s second personal factor, the spreading suspicious and suspicious pathological personality. Undoubtedly, those who have seized supreme power through intrigue and power tactics may be most worried about others following his example and using intrigue and power tactics to seize his power, so they are most susceptible to paranoia. In the conflict between the imperial power and the crown prince, some emperors in Chinese history who seized power by intrigue and power, and then appeared to be eloquent, were often good at deposing the crown prince and “dethroning the crown prince” on the issue of successors. For example, the emperors “Han Wu” (Emperor Wu of Han) and “Tang Zong” (Emperor Taizong of Tang), whom Mao revered in his poem “Qin Yuan Chun – Snow”, were both known for deposing crown princes in the succession issue. Here, too, Sui Wendi Yang Jian is a typical case. He forcibly seized power from his 8-year-old nephew, Emperor Zhou Jing, under the guise of a “Zen transfer” because his eldest son, Yang Yong, was also a supporter and participant in his conspiracy. On the day he ascended the throne, he made Yang Yong the crown prince by decree. Since he was the rightful head of the Eastern Palace, Yang Yong also established his own echelon of successors as a potential second center of power. The officials of the court went to the East Palace to pay homage to the future emperor during festivals. Unexpectedly, all this aroused the extreme suspicion of Emperor Wen of Sui, who thought that the crown prince was ready to seize power just as he had done back then. As a result, he decided to depose the crown prince Yang Yong and wiped out his succession team in one fell swoop. In September 1966, the staff of the Lin Office witnessed Mao asking Lin Biao, who had just become his successor at the 11th Plenary Session of the 8th Central Committee, to read Guo Jia’s biography in the Three Kingdoms and Fan Ye’s biography in the Book of Song in the Great Hall of the People, in Mao’s This is the reason why Mao’s special “language” warned Lin Biao not to rebel. This suspicion was one of the main causes of the Cultural Revolution.

Finally, Mao’s extreme pragmatism also had an impact on the abolition of his successor. Mao officially announced Lin Biao as his successor at the 11th Plenary Session of the 8th Central Committee in early August 1966. Probably due to the suspicion caused by Mao’s criticism of him in his letter to Jiang Qing on July 8, Lin Biao claimed to be sick and did not attend the meeting. In order to eliminate the resistance from the central line of Liu and Deng, and to further launch the Cultural Revolution and legitimize it, Mao hastily decided to convene the 11th Plenary Session of the 8th CPC Central Committee. Mao thought he could easily solve the problem of Liu Deng’s working group by virtue of his personal prestige, but unexpectedly he was publicly contradicted by the traditionally humble Liu Shaoqi at the August 5 meeting, while the majority of the Politburo remained silent. On the evening of August 6, Mao decided to “have his secretary inform Lin Biao, who was recuperating in Dalian, to attend the 11th Plenary Session of the 8th CPC Central Committee. Lin Biao returned to Beijing by plane that night and went directly to the Great Hall of the People to attend the meeting. After Lin Biao’s arrival, the situation really changed. The conference adopted the Sixteen Articles. In the communiqué of the meeting on August 12, Mao Zedong, without any election procedure, no longer mentioned the vice chairmanship of Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai, Zhu De and Chen Yun, and approved that only Lin Biao was listed as the only “Vice Chairman of the CPC Central Committee” in the communiqué of the meeting. At this point, Lin Biao’s position as his successor was established. From this process of establishing the successor, it is clear that Mao Zedong violated some basic procedures for the change of top power in the CCP. For example, the 11th Plenary Session of the 8th Central Committee did not re-elect the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Central Committee, so how could he decide on Lin as the sole Vice Chairman all by himself? Judging from his antecedents of first hastily summoning Lin Biao to the front and then returning the favor by throwing in the towel, it was both lacking in forethought and extreme pragmatism. He also left room for the Crown Prince to use his strength to sell and then force his way in political interests in the future.

From Lin Biao’s side, he was actually more of an authority. After he became the successor by participating in Mao’s Cultural Revolution conspiracy, acting as a hit man, and disrupting the normal procedures, it never occurred to him that this non-procedural transfer of power, once started, could be cyclical. Mao could one day depose him and oust him by the same method. It is important to understand that in any imperial prince politics, the mentality of the handing over of The Emperor is often that a crown prince who is involved in intrigue and will engage in intrigue is always the most dangerous. Since he can work with himself against other forces; then he can certainly work with others to overthrow himself. In short, this way of establishing the successor casts a lingering shadow of discord on the future relationship between the ruler and his subjects from both sides. It is said that Lin Biao initially resisted Mao’s request to appoint him as his successor, and Lin Biao “bowed to Mao, saying that he was ill and did not want to take over the new post. Mao was furious and scolded Lin Biao, saying, ‘You want to be the Emperor of the Ming Dynasty! (Ming Shizong was the emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Jiajing, who was a devout Taoist and not involved in politics.) He sternly rebuked Lin Biao: ‘It’s a lie that you don’t want to get involved in the movement.'” [18] To be honest, although Lin Biao had been in Mao’s “boat of thieves” for a long time, he was still surprised at how quickly he was installed as the crown prince, and therefore acted in a half-hearted manner. For this reason, he made the following statement a few days after he was appointed to the throne.

…… Central Committee gave me the job, I know that the level, ability is not enough, pleaded to resign again and again, but, now that the President and the Central Committee has decided, I have to obey the President and the Party’s decision, try and try to do a good job. I am also always ready to hand over my job to a more suitable comrade [19]