Chairman Mao Tse-tung's nominated successor, Marshal Lin Biao
, fled China after a botched coup attempt.
La enigmatica personalidad de Zhou En Lai, el eterno lugarteniente comparativamente culto y racional, las complejas e inestables relaciones de Mao con su ultima conyuge, la extremista Jiang Qing, y otras figuras como Lin Biao
, quien pudo haber sucedido a Mao, se retratan de manera vivida, mostrando sus estrategias de poder y de supervivencia en un ambiente muchas veces conspirativo, donde las divisiones ideologicas apenas encubrian fuertes contiendas entre bambalinas.
The role of Lin Biao
, the supreme military leader at the time, and Mao's principal cheerleader, is documented at length, especially his speech on August 18, 1966, exhorting young people to go forth and destroy old ideas, old culture, old customs and old habits of the exploiting classes.
In 1965, Lin Biao
, Chairman Mao's closest comrade-in-arms, called for waging a Maoist-style People's War throughout the Third World so that the World Countryside would overcome the World City.
Thus, the Great Helmsman Mao Zedong faced strong challenges from rivals such as Lin Biao
and more muted disagreement by Zhou Enlai and others.
Yet it pales before the original Chinese version, for the translator sacrificed much of the book's literary flavor by deleting scores of literary and historical allusions, such as quoted excerpts from the ancient Classic of Poetry and a collection of sayings ascribed to Lin Biao
Such disobedience had a long history, but it became especially widespread after the mysterious 1971 death of Lin Biao
, formerly Mao's heir apparent, and the man in charge of the army that had transformed the country into a garrison state after 1968.
There, the blame for all that had gone wrong, including crimes committed in the name of revolution, was put on Lin Biao
who had conveniently died, or been liquidated, in an air crash.
When news broke that the plane that Lin Biao
[a notorious traitor who was on the run after committing treason] boarded to flee China crashed, the first words of Prime Minister Zhou Enlai were 'bring me the Moutai'."
It's very serious," said Zhang Ming, an expert on domestic politics at Beijing's Renmin University, noting that the fall from grace of earlier prominent military leaders like Lin Biao
and Peng Dehuai were not related to corruption issues.
Like the defection and death of Mao's chosen successor Lin Biao
in 1971, the strange story has increased public cynicism about one-party rule.
Mao purged his designated successors, Liu Shaoqi and Lin Biao
, and all others who might oppose him or his plans.