"Decisively Throw Out the Wang-Zhang-Jiang-Yao Anti-Party Clique!"
Hua Guofeng during a visit to the Hôtel de Ville in Paris, 1979
The Gang of Four at their trial in 1981
Hua Guofeng in 1935
Hua Guofeng in 1941
In July 1970, Hua Guofeng participated in the agriculture of the Dongtundu Subdistrict in the suburbs of Changsha.
In 1978, the classroom of a kindergarten in Shanghai in which is displayed portraits of then-Chairman Hua Guofeng and former Chairman Mao Zedong
Hua Guofeng with Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi during a state visit in Iran, 1978
Hua Guofeng at Brijuni, SR Croatia, SFR Yugoslavia, 1978.
Tomb of Hua Guofeng at Jiaocheng County

On 6 October 1976, shortly after the death of Mao on 9 September, Hua removed the Gang of Four from political power by arranging for their arrests in Zhongnanhai, with the assistance of Mao's loyal security chief Wang Dongxing, who became one of Hua's strongest supporters, along with Vice Premier and chief economic planner Li Xiannian and Luo Qingchang, head of the intelligence services.

- Hua Guofeng

Their fall did not amount to a rejection of the Cultural Revolution as such, but it was organized by the new leader, Premier Hua Guofeng, and others who had risen during that period.

- Gang of Four
"Decisively Throw Out the Wang-Zhang-Jiang-Yao Anti-Party Clique!"

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Wang Dongxing in 1955, as chief of Mao's personal security force

Wang Dongxing

Chinese military commander and politician, famous for being the chief of Mao Zedong's personal bodyguard force, the 9th Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security (which included the 8341 Special Regiment).

Chinese military commander and politician, famous for being the chief of Mao Zedong's personal bodyguard force, the 9th Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security (which included the 8341 Special Regiment).

Wang Dongxing in 1955, as chief of Mao's personal security force

Wang held many important positions, both in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the government; he was Deputy Minister of Public Security in 1955–1958 and again in 1960–1970 and notably served as CCP Vice Chairman from 1977 to 1980, under Chairman Hua Guofeng.

Wang and his trusted security force played a very significant role in ending the Cultural Revolution by arresting the Gang of Four; however, Wang opposed Deng Xiaoping's proposed changes in economic policy, remaining loyal to Hua Guofeng and the continuation of the Maoist political line.

Jiang on 19 October 1976

Jiang Qing

Chinese communist revolutionary, actress, and major political figure during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976).

Chinese communist revolutionary, actress, and major political figure during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976).

Jiang on 19 October 1976
Jiang Qing on the cover of a film magazine
Jiang in a 1935 film poster
Mao and Jiang writing together in Yan'an, 1938
Li Na, Jiang and Mao in Yan'an in 1943
Mao and Jiang in 1946
Jiang during the Cultural Revolution
Poster showing Jiang promoting the fine arts during the Cultural Revolution while holding Mao's Little Red Book. The slogan reads: "The invincible thoughts of Mao Zedong illuminate the stages of revolutionary art!"
Jiang at her trial in 1980

Jiang was best known for playing a major role in the Cultural Revolution and for forming the radical political alliance known as the "Gang of Four".

She was arrested in October 1976 by Hua Guofeng and his allies, and was subsequently condemned by party authorities.

Wang Hongwen

Chinese labour activist and politician who spent most of his career in Shanghai.

Chinese labour activist and politician who spent most of his career in Shanghai.

He was the youngest member of the political clique called the "Gang of Four."

However, Hua Guofeng, a more moderate figure, was chosen to succeed Zhou instead.

Zhang Chunqiao

Prominent Chinese political theorist, writer, and politician.

Prominent Chinese political theorist, writer, and politician.

He came to the national spotlight during the late stages of the Cultural Revolution, and was a member of the ultra-Maoist group dubbed the "Gang of Four".

He was arrested along with the other members of the Gang of Four in October 1976, as part of a conspiracy by Ye Jianying, Li Xiannian and newly anointed party leader Hua Guofeng.

Zhou in 1972

Zhou Enlai

The first Premier of the People's Republic of China serving from 1 October 1949 until his death on 8 January 1976.

The first Premier of the People's Republic of China serving from 1 October 1949 until his death on 8 January 1976.

Zhou in 1972
Zhou Enlai (1912)
Zhou Enlai as a student in Nankai Middle School
A young Zhou Enlai (1919)
Zhou during his time in France (1920s)
Zhou Enlai as the director of the Political Department at Whampoa Military Academy (1924)
Chiang Kai-shek (center) and Zhou Enlai (left) with cadets at Whampoa Military Academy (1924)
Zhou Enlai (1927)
Zhou Enlai (1930s)
Zhou (far left) with Mao Zedong (center-left) in Yan'an (1935)
Zhou with Communist general Ye Jianying (left) and Kuomintang official Zhang Zhong (center) in Xi'an 1937, illustrating the alliance between the two parties which was the outcome of the Xi'an Incident
Zhou (left) with his wife Deng Yingchao (center) and Sun Weishi
Zhou Enlai and Sun Weishi in Moscow, 1939.
The Marshall Mission (1946), left to right: Zhang Qun, George C. Marshall, Zhou Enlai
A portrait of Zhou Enlai
Zhou with Kim Il-sung at the signing of the Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty in 1961
Zhou Enlai and Sanusi Hardjadinata, the chairman of the Bandung Conference.
Zhou and his wife Deng at the Badaling section of the Great Wall of China (1955)
Zhou, shown here with Henry Kissinger and Mao Zedong.
Zhou shakes hands with President Richard Nixon upon Nixon's arrival in China in February 1972.
Zhou at the outset of the Cultural Revolution (with Lin Liheng, daughter of Lin Biao)
Statue of Zhou and Deng in the Memorial to Zhou Enlai and Deng Yingchao in Tianjin.
Zhou with his niece Zhou Bingde
A bronze statue of Zhou in Nanjing, wearing a Western suit (something he never wore after his youth)

Amid these events, Zhou was elected to the vacant position of First Vice Chairman of the Communist Party by the 10th Central Committee in 1973 and thereby designated as Mao's successor (the third person to be so designated after Liu Shaoqi and Lin Biao), but still struggled internally against the Gang of Four over leadership of China.

Although Zhou was succeeded by Hua Guofeng as First Vice Chairman and designated successor, Zhou's ally Deng Xiaoping was able to outmaneuver the Gang of Four politically and took Hua's place as paramount leader by 1978.

Ye Jianying

Chinese communist revolutionary leader and politician, one of the founding Ten Marshals of the People's Liberation Army.

Chinese communist revolutionary leader and politician, one of the founding Ten Marshals of the People's Liberation Army.

He was the top military leader in the 1976 coup that overthrew the Gang of Four and ended the Cultural Revolution, and was the key supporter of Deng Xiaoping in his power struggle with Hua Guofeng.

Cultural Revolution propaganda poster. It depicts Mao Zedong, above a group of soldiers from the People's Liberation Army. The caption reads, "The Chinese People's Liberation Army is the great school of Mao Zedong Thought."

Cultural Revolution

Sociopolitical movement in China from 1966 until Mao Zedong's death in 1976, launched by Mao, the Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party and founder of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

Sociopolitical movement in China from 1966 until Mao Zedong's death in 1976, launched by Mao, the Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party and founder of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

Cultural Revolution propaganda poster. It depicts Mao Zedong, above a group of soldiers from the People's Liberation Army. The caption reads, "The Chinese People's Liberation Army is the great school of Mao Zedong Thought."
People in the countryside working at night to produce steel during the Great Leap Forward
The purge of General Luo Ruiqing solidified the Army's loyalty to Mao.
Mao waved to the "revolutionary masses" on the riverside before his "swim across the Yangtze"
A struggle session of Wang Guangmei, the wife of Liu Shaoqi.
Mao Zedong and Lin Biao surrounded by rallying Red Guards in Beijing. Source: China Pictorial
Tiananmen Square on September 15, 1966, the occasion of Chairman Mao's third of eight mass rallies with Red Guards in 1966. Source: China Pictorial
The remains of Ming Dynasty Wanli Emperor at the Ming tombs. Red Guards dragged the remains of the Wanli Emperor and Empresses to the front of the tomb, where they were posthumously "denounced" and burned.
The Cemetery of Confucius was attacked by Red Guards in November 1966.
Anti-Liu Shaoqi rally
Propaganda oil painting of Mao during the Cultural Revolution (1967)
Marshal Lin Biao was constitutionally confirmed as Mao's successor in 1969.
Graffiti with Lin Biao's foreword to Mao's Little Red Book, Lin's name (lower right) was later scratched out, presumably after his death.
Jiang Qing (left), who was the wife of Mao Zedong and a member of the Gang of Four, received the Red Guards in Beijing with Premier Zhou Enlai (center) and Kang Sheng. They were all holding the Little Red Book (Quotations from Mao) in their hands.
Jiang Qing
Deng Xiaoping became the paramount leader of China in 1978. He started "Boluan Fanzheng" that brought the country back to order, and initiated China's historic Reforms and Opening up.
A struggle session of Xi Zhongxun, the father of Xi Jinping (September 1967). Xi Zhongxun was labelled as an "anti-Party element". However, since late 2012, Xi Jinping and his allies have attempted to play down the disaster of the Cultural Revolution and reversed many reforms since the Boluan Fanzheng period, sparking concerns of a new Cultural Revolution.
Quotations of Mao Zedong on a street wall of Wuxuan County, one of the centers of Guangxi massacre and cannibalism during the Cultural Revolution.
The Cultural Revolution Cemetery in Chongqing, China. At least 1,700 people were killed during the violent faction clash, with 400 to 500 of them buried in this cemetery.
The Tibetan Panchen Lama during a struggle session.
Struggle session of Sampho Tsewang Rigzin and his wife during the Cultural Revolution.
A 1968 map of Beijing showing streets and landmarks renamed during the Cultural Revolution. Andingmen Inner Street became "Great Leap Forward Road", Taijichang Street became the "Road for Eternal Revolution", Dongjiaominxiang was renamed "Anti-Imperialist Road", Beihai Park was renamed "Worker-Peasant-Soldier Park" and Jingshan Park became "Red Guard Park." Most of the Cultural Revolution-era name changes were later reversed.
Yao Tongbin, one of China's foremost missile scientists, was beaten to death by a mob in Beijing during the Cultural Revolution (1968). This caused Zhou Enlai to order special protection for key technical experts.
Remnants of a banner containing slogans from the Cultural Revolution in Anhui.
The ballet The Red Detachment of Women, one of the Model Dramas promoted during the Cultural Revolution.
Posters from the Cultural Revolution period
Buddhist statues defaced during the Cultural Revolution.
The central section of this wall shows the faint remnant marks of a propaganda slogan that was added during the Cultural Revolution, but has since been removed. The slogan read "Boundless faith that in Chairman Mao."

In 1972, the Gang of Four rose to power and the Cultural Revolution continued until Mao's death and the arrest of the Gang of Four in 1976.

In December 1978, Deng Xiaoping became the new paramount leader of China, replacing Chairman Hua Guofeng, and started the "Boluan Fanzheng" program which gradually dismantled the Maoist policies associated with the Cultural Revolution, and brought the country back to order.

Crowds of mourners gathering in Tiananmen Square on April 5, 1976.

1976 Tiananmen Incident

Mass gathering and protest that took place on 4–5 April 1976, at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China.

Mass gathering and protest that took place on 4–5 April 1976, at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China.

Crowds of mourners gathering in Tiananmen Square on April 5, 1976.

Some people strongly disapproved of the removal of the displays of mourning, and began gathering in the Square to protest against the central authorities, then largely under the auspices of the Gang of Four, who ordered the Square to be cleared.

Party elders such as Hua Guofeng and Wu De, who were not close allies of the Gang of Four, expressed criticism at the protesters and some of their slogans which were critical of the Gang of Four and party leadership.

Li in 1954

Li Xiannian

Chinese Communist military and political leader, President of the People's Republic of China (de jure head of state) from 1983 to 1988 under Paramount Leader Deng Xiaoping and then Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference from 1988 until his death.

Chinese Communist military and political leader, President of the People's Republic of China (de jure head of state) from 1983 to 1988 under Paramount Leader Deng Xiaoping and then Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference from 1988 until his death.

Li in 1954
Li in the People's Liberation Army during the Civil War (1946)
Li as Vice Premier in August 1974, visiting Nicolae Ceaușescu in Romania
Li with his wife Lin Jiamei and Ronald Reagan (1985)

He supported Mao Zedong's designated successor, Hua Guofeng, and was named Vice Chairman of the Party (1977–1982).

In 1976, Li played an instrumental role in destroying the Gang Of Four.

Strategic Issues of Anti-Japanese Guerrilla War (1938)

Maoism

Variety of Marxism–Leninism that Mao Zedong developed for realising a socialist revolution in the agricultural, pre-industrial society of the Republic of China and later the People's Republic of China.

Variety of Marxism–Leninism that Mao Zedong developed for realising a socialist revolution in the agricultural, pre-industrial society of the Republic of China and later the People's Republic of China.

Strategic Issues of Anti-Japanese Guerrilla War (1938)
Strategic Issues in the Chinese Revolutionary War (1947)
Beijing, 1978. The billboard reads, "Long Live Marxism, Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought!"
Mao Zedong
Deng Xiaoping
Maoist leader Prachanda speaking at a rally in Pokhara, Nepal
Maoism is described as being Marxism–Leninism adapted to Chinese conditions whereas its variant Marxism–Leninism–Maoism is considered universally applicable
The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) in February 2013
The flag of FP-25
Mao Zedong meets Richard Nixon on February 21, 1972, leading to a radical turn of events in which Nixon took steps to placate tensions between the People's Republic of China and the United States, beginning the slow process of reestablishing diplomatic relations between the two global powers
Despite falling out of favor within the Chinese Communist Party by 1978, Mao is still revered, with Deng's famous "70% right, 30% wrong" line

In Deng's day, support of radical Maoism was regarded as a form of "left deviationism" and being based on a cult of personality, although these "errors" are officially attributed to the Gang of Four rather than being attributed to Mao himself.

Thousands of Maoists were arrested in the Hua Guofeng period after 1976.