Zhou Enlai’s fall from grace and callousness in the Cultural Revolution injustice case

If it is said that over the years, through the restoration of the truth, many people have some understanding of the true face of Mao Zedong, then the true face of Zhou Enlai, who was second only to Mao, is still confused by the propaganda of the Chinese Communist Party, which believes that Zhou “served with great responsibility and dedication” and “endured humiliation” during the Cultural Revolution. “He protected many people. However, the real Zhou Enlai was never like that. In fact, in order to protect himself, he could “betray anyone”, whether it was his comrades, colleagues, his “goddaughter”, guards, or even his relatives.

Wu Fa Xian, who was the commander of the Air Force, said in his memoirs “Years of Hardship” that after the start of the Cultural Revolution, many leaders of the CPC Central Committee, including Liu Shaoqi, were knocked down, and from September 1967 to his arrest on September 24, 1971, the Central Committee set up a total of 14 central task forces. At that time, the decision of what task force to set up, who would be in charge of it, and the selection of task force staff were all proposed by Zhou Enlai himself at the Central Cultural Revolution meeting, discussed and agreed upon by everyone, and then signed by Zhou Enlai and reported to Mao and Lin Biao for approval.

And Ruan Ming, who was Hu Yaobang’s assistant, mentioned in his 1994 publication “Zhou Enlai on the Rotunda” that “almost all of the unjustly persecuted cases during the Cultural Revolution were signed by Zhou Enlai on the arrest warrants, including the arrest of his own goddaughter, Sun Weishi.” And this is clear evidence of how Zhou really was. As for the people he protected, they were also the ones Mao wanted to protect, not that Zhou had any good intentions.

Liu Shaoqi “deserved to be killed”

Liu Shaoqi, a leading member of the first generation of the Communist Party leadership, served as president from April 1959 to 1966 and was the number two after Mao. As the conflict between Mao and Liu became increasingly acute during the “Four Clean-up Campaigns” that began in the early 1960s, Mao was no longer satisfied with “tinkering with the branches” and turned to conceive and launch the “Cultural Revolution “, and hoped to use this to put Liu Shaoqi to death.

In this regard, many scholars who study the history of the CPC have long reached a consensus that Mao’s main purpose of launching the Cultural Revolution was to “rectify the faction in power in the Party that took the capitalist road”, whose representative was none other than Liu Shaoqi.

In December 1966, Jiang Qing publicly declared that “Liu Shaoqi is the Khrushchev of the Party” and slogans of “Down with Liu Shaoqi” appeared in Beijing. At the same time, the Central Committee set up the “Wang Guangmei Task Force” to investigate Liu Shaoqi and Wang Guangmei. This task force did not openly operate under the name of “Liu Shaoqi Wang Guangmei Task Force” until April 1968, with Zhou Enlai as its leader. Liu Shaoqi was then completely knocked down and “closely guarded” until his tragic death.

In the process of bringing down Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai played a key role. It was he who, at the end of July 1966, met twice with Kuai Dafu of Tsinghua and talked at length for six hours, then reported to Mao that Liu Shaoqi and Wang Guangmei had sent a working group into Tsinghua to “suppress the rebellious students”, giving Mao ammunition to take Liu Shaoqi to task.

Later, Zhou Enlai, at the behest of Mao, characterized Liu Shaoqi as a “traitor, traitor, and worker thief” and wrote on the special case review report that “this person should be killed”. The article titled “The Irreconcilable Contradictions of Liu Shaoqi and Zhou Enlai” revealed that Zhou Enlai had asked for Liu Shaoqi to be shot, but Mao did not agree and only gave permission to expel him from the party. The reason why Zhou Enlai was ruthless was because he had been in the same situation as Liu Shaoqi before, and he was very uneasy about not eliminating the grass; Mao did not agree because he wanted to make Liu Shaoqi a living target, a model and a catalyst for him to push the Cultural Revolution forward, so that Mao could clean up Liu Shaoqi’s faction completely.

Taking a stand in support of the criticism of Peng Zhen

In March, Mao talked to Kang Sheng, Jiang Qing, Zhang Chunqiao and others, and severely criticized Peng Zhen for drafting the “February Outline The “February Outline” drafted by Peng Zhen was severely criticized for “confusing class boundaries and not distinguishing between right and wrong. The Central Propaganda Department is the Palace of Hades, and it is necessary to overthrow the king of Hades and liberate the brats; the Central Propaganda Department and the Beijing Municipal Committee harbor the bad guys, suppress the leftists and forbid revolution”, and said: “I have always advocated that whenever the central organs do bad things, I call for local rebellions and attacks on the central government. More Sun Wukong should come out in various places and make a big fuss about the Palace of Heaven”. Mao also told Kang Sheng to return to Beijing immediately to convey his views to Zhou Enlai, who presided over the daily work of the Central Committee.

Although he did not have much goodwill toward Peng Zhen, Zhou had not been in direct conflict with him previously. After Mao’s directive, Zhou Enlai, after two days of consideration, wrote a formal report to Mao indicating his attitude and the measures he was prepared to take to follow up Mao’s instructions.

Zhou Enlai’s statement put Peng Zhen in a political dilemma. Peng Zhen had to write a written review to Mao, admitting that he had “serious mistakes and shortcomings in this regard. Liu Shaoqi, who had returned from abroad, also acquiesced to this result.

Soon after, Peng Zhen was criticized at the enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, and was suspended from his duties as secretary of the Central Secretariat and withdrawn from his duties as first secretary of the Beijing Municipal Committee and mayor. Zhou sat in the meeting as the supervisor, and together with Deng pointed out that “the erroneous line carried out by Peng Zhen was in opposition to Mao’s thought and was against Mao”, and together they reviewed the problem of “dereliction of duty” of the Standing Committee.

In his speech, Zhou Enlai talked about three issues: first, the prevention of counter-revolutionary coup; second, the leadership and the masses; third, the problem of maintaining the late. Everywhere it expressed its loyalty to Mao. He said, “To follow Mao x x. Mao ×× is the leader today and will be the leader a hundred years later. Late disloyalty is a write-off.” In order to show his firm attitude, Zhou Enlai even proposed that “the coffin could not be finalized, and the cremation could also be finalized”, and proposed to “move Qu Qubai out of Babaoshan and destroy Patrick Li’s Suzhou Zhongwang Mansion”, because both of them could not stand the test at the last moment and became revolutionaries. Qu Qubai wrote a “superfluous statement” before his death, while Patrick Li wrote an “autobiography” to the Qing court after being captured, all betraying their beliefs. These people are shameless”. Because of Zhou Enlai’s words, Qu Qubai’s grave was exhumed and his body destroyed.

On May 24, the enlarged meeting of the Central Political Bureau decided to set up a special review committee for the “Peng Zhen, Luo Ruiqing, Lu Dingyi, and Yang Shangkun anti-Party group”; Peng Zhen and others were beaten down and imprisoned, and his 85-year-old mother and brother were tortured to death by criticism, and his nephew Fu Ruzheng committed suicide in despair because of the persecution.

Teaching Zhu De

Zhu De was one of the leaders of the Nanchang Riot in 1927, and after the failure of the riot, he led the remnants of his troops to rejoin Mao in Jinggang Mountain. During the Communist civil war, Zhu De was appointed by Mao as the commander-in-chief of the army. After the establishment of the Chinese Communist Party, Zhu De served as Vice Chairman of the State, Vice Chairman of the CPC Central Committee, and Chairman of the National People’s Congress.

During the Lushan Conference, Zhu De was criticized by Mao for affirming the positive side of Peng Dehuai, and after the outbreak of the Cultural Revolution in 1966, when he saw many high-ranking officials being beaten down, Zhu De often sat alone and rarely spoke. Soon, he was also beaten down, and large slogans calling him a “great warlord, ambitious man and black commander” were posted not only on the streets of Beijing but also in Zhongnanhai. His documents were stopped, his health care doctor was transferred, and his movements were restricted, while Zhu De was ordered to give an account of his crimes against Mao.

On May 18, 1966, when the Politburo of the Communist Party met to criticize Zhu De, Zhou Enlai accused Zhu De of having repeatedly made line mistakes and “opposing Mao x x”. He also lectured Zhu De, saying, “Mao ×× said that you are just running the show, but you talk everywhere. If you want to talk, you have to write a script and discuss it with us.” “You are unreliable and cannot be trusted.”

Selling out He Long

He Long, one of the ten marshals of the Communist Party of China, participated in the war of “discussing Yuan and protecting the country” in his early years and was promoted to the commander of the 20th Army of the National Revolutionary Army after repeated successes. Later, under the influence of Zhou Enlai and others, he participated in the Nanchang Armed Riot initiated by the Chinese Communist Party. After that, He Long joined the Chinese Communist Party and served as Vice Chairman of the Military Commission and Vice Premier of the State Council after the establishment of the Chinese Communist Government. However, what He Long did not expect was that Zhou Enlai not only betrayed him but also dropped stones when he was in danger during the Cultural Revolution.

According to Xue Qingchao’s book “From the Outbreak of the Cultural Revolution to the Lin Biao Incident”, after the outbreak of the Cultural Revolution, He Long took temporary refuge in Zhou Enlai’s home in Zhongnanhai. Zhou told He Long: Lin Biao said you were spreading the word behind his back that he had problems in history, that you were reaching out everywhere in the General Staff, the Navy, the Air Force, the Armored Corps, and the Communications Corps, and that you were not propagating Mao Zedong Thought, and that he was not comfortable after Mao’s centennial. Also, on the issue of the widening of the Honghu purge, you, Xia Xi and Guan Xiangying are all responsible.

He Long wanted to defend himself, but Zhou wouldn’t let him go on and said to find a place for him to rest and pick him up again in the fall. In the early morning of the next day, Zhou Enlai personally sent someone to send He Long and his wife to a place in Xiangbigou near Xiangshan in the outskirts of Beijing. This is completely different from the official claim that the Central Military Commission staff took them away when Zhou Enlai was not at home, and it was Zhou who took the initiative to “betray” He Long to be examined.

Later, after Mao decided to bring down He Long, Zhou Enlai chose to resolutely carry it out. He personally announced to He Long on behalf of the CPC Central Committee that he would be censored, and wrote hundreds of words of criticism on the arrest warrant for He Long, cursing him out. The Central Task Force under the supervision of Zhou Enlai even characterized He Long as a “traitor”, which eventually led to his tragic death.

According to an article written by Yao Jianfu, a researcher at the former State Council Rural Development Research Center, he had several conversations with Ji Dengkui, one of the leaders of the Central Task Force of the Communist Party of China, during the 1980s when he was working in the Rural Policy Research Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and the conversations involved some of the inside stories of the Cultural Revolution.

According to Yao, “Ji Dengkui once told me that once he went to the Party History Archives in Xishan to check He Long’s archives and when he finished reading the materials, he came out with a chill and a cold sweat. The reason is that the finalized materials of the He Long Task Force led by the Central Task Force designated He Long as a ‘traitor’. However, in the archives are kept all the original files of the Kuomintang sent to turn He Long, including materials such as He Long’s request and reply to his superiors and He Long’s decision to shoot the lobbyist. What Ji Dengkui meant was that the original files proving that He Long was not a traitor were kept intact in the archives, and he had seen and read them with his own eyes.” But the He Long Task Force, under the charge of Zhou Enlai, still wanted to characterize He Long as a traitor. Ji Dengkui came out of the archives in a shuddering, cold sweat at the thought.

Apparently, according to Yao Guifu, Zhou Enlai was not “against his will” in this tragedy, but was one of the injustice makers and executioners who killed He Long by directly revising and examining the report of the task force that determined that He Long was a “traitor”. The report of the task force, which was to determine that He Long was a “traitor” and one of the executioners of He Long’s death, was also known to Zhou Enlai.

What is even more chilling is that after the Lin Biao incident, Mao said, “It seems that the case of He Long is false.” Zhou Enlai immediately sent someone to fetch He Long’s widow Xue Ming back to Beijing from Guizhou, and attended the ceremony to place He Long’s ashes in his arms on June 9, 1975, delivering a personal eulogy. He bowed seven times to the statue of He Long and apologized to Xue Ming in tears for “failing to protect” He Long. What a chameleon!

Signing an arrest warrant for his goddaughter Sun Weishi

During the Cultural Revolution, Sun Weishi’s father, Sun Bingwen, who was killed on the direct orders of Jiang Qing, was a close friend of Zhou Enlai and was executed by the Republican government in 1927, when Sun Weishi was 6 years old and Zhou Enlai recognized her as his goddaughter. Another source said that the well-mannered Sun Weishi had an improper relationship with both Mao and Zhou.

Late at night on March 1, 1968, a group of people stormed into Sun Weishi’s home, arrested her and put her in a secret detention center of the Beijing Public Security Bureau, changing Sun Weishi into “Sun False Shi” and designated her as a “deadly figure”, while it was Zhou Enlai himself who signed the arrest letter. Consent, overnight interrogation.

A few months later, Sun Weishi, who was only 47 years old, was beaten to death alive. At the time of his death, he was naked, covered with wounds, and his limbs were tightly chained with handcuffs and shackles. It is said that before her death, Sun had been stripped naked and gang-raped by her captors, and after her death, her family found a long nail nailed into her head. It is said that after her arrest she had been looking forward to Zhou Enlai to rescue her.

Ordered the arrest of his own brother

Zhou Bingjun, Zhou Enlai’s nephew, recalled that when the Chinese Communist Party was looking into the issue of Liu Shaoqi and Wang Guangmei, it also reviewed their relatives, including Wang Guangqi, the second brother of Wang Guangmei, who was close to Zhou Enlai’s brother Zhou Tongyu (former name: Zhou Enshou), four or five of them, who had to have a meal together every year. The list was later reported to the Central Cultural Revolution, and Jiang Qing gave instructions for Zhou Enlai to review it.

Zhou Enlai wrote a report to Mao and made two suggestions: first, to hand over to the Red Guards; second, to be controlled by the garrison troops first, and then to be checked by the organization, stating that “I take the second one as appropriate”. And Mao’s instructions were also very simple: please ask the Premier to do at his discretion. So, in 1968, Zhou Enlai personally approved the arrest of Zhou Tongyu. Zhou Tongyu was arrested by the Beijing garrison and imprisoned for seven years, “unable to read newspapers or listen to the radio”, until May 1975, when he was released.

After Zhou Tongyu’s arrest, his children did not dare to mention or plead for mercy in front of Zhou Enlai until 1981, when they learned something.

Selling out his personal guard

Cheng Yuan Gong was originally Zhou Enlai’s chief guard, and worked for him from 1945 at the age of 19 until 1968, serving as Zhou’s security secretary and chief guard. In March 1968, after the outbreak of the Cultural Revolution, he was forced to undergo “reform” because he had offended Jiang Qing by “blocking” him.

Li Zhisui wrote in Memoirs of Mao’s Personal Physician: “Zhou’s wife Deng Yingchao told Wang Dongxing on behalf of Zhou: ‘We must arrest Cheng Yuan Gong to show that we have no selfish motives. Wang Dongxing still did not agree. Later Wang said to me: ‘Cheng Yuan Gong has been with them all his life. In order to protect themselves, they can throw Cheng Yuan Gong out.'” Deng Yingchao’s remark exposed that Zhou Enlai could betray all people for self-preservation.


Zhou Enlai’s callousness in the above persecution is just a few examples of his Maoist obedience. Gao Wenqian revealed that during the Cultural Revolution, all arrests had to be approved by the Central Committee’s Cultural Revolution Summit, with the big names and those in Beijing under the direct control of the Summit, and those in the provinces and cities having to be reported for the record. These all passed through the hands of Zhou Enlai, who was in charge of the central task force. On the issue of special case review, in addition to taking charge of the general, Zhou also took charge of some of these special cases, such as the Peng Dehuai special case and the He Long special case. Gao had access to some of the special case review materials, which all had Zhou’s signature or instructions, and some of them had made several instructions, writing large paragraphs of extremely harsh tone criticism.

Gao Wenqian said that Zhou Enlai, as the director of the Central Committee’s ad hoc review committee, was also the leader of the Central Committee’s Cultural Revolution meeting, and he was familiar with the historical situation of all parties in the Party, so he could not escape from many big wrongful cases in the Cultural Revolution, and some of them were even more responsible, like the ad hoc cases of Peng Dehuai, Liu Shaoqi, He Long, Peng Zhen, etc. He was directly or indirectly in charge, guiding the review of ad hoc cases. The company’s main business is to provide a wide range of services to the public.

It is said that Deng Xiaoping also said on March 20, 1980: “On the issue of Liu Shaoqi, on the issue of Peng Dehuai, He Long, Tao Cast and others, Zhou Enlai was also at fault.” Yang Shangkun also admitted that Zhou Enlai “spoke some words against his heart, did some things against his heart, and even said the wrong things and did the wrong things”.

What can be praised about Zhou Enlai who helped the enemy?