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Party officials at all levelsincluding Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping

being purged. China is in disarray, poised on the brink of anarchy.

Burying Mao (19681982)
With the country on the brink of anarchy, Mao in late 1968 calls on the
Peoples Liberation Army to restore order. Millions of urban Chinese youths
are sent to rural areas to remold themselves through labor. Meanwhile,
Sino-Soviet tensions reach the breaking point with an outbreak of shooting
along the Manchurian border in March 1969. In midsummer, Soviet officials
drop hints of a possible airstrike on Chinas
nuclear facilities.
By 1956, the socialist
transformation of the
Convinced that his enemies are trying to do
him in, Mao turns against his erstwhile heir
Chinese economy is
apparent, Lin Biao, accusing him of plotting
complete. But many
a seizure of power. In a panic, Lin takes
people resent the
flight with his wife and other members of the
power and privileges
army high command. Their plane crashes and
burns, killing all aboard. Lin is denounced in
monopolized by
a nationwide campaign of vilification.
Communist Party
members and cadres.


Next, the ever unpredictable Mao, now 80,

decides to rehabilitate the disgraced Deng
Xiaoping to help revive Chinas paralyzed
political institutions. This irritates Maos wife, Jiang Qing, and a group of her
radical associates, later known as the Gang of Four. Viewing Deng as a rival,
they plot to discredit him. But Mao, growing weary of factional struggles,
surprises everyone by anointing an unheralded outsider as his successor
Hua Guofeng.
In Maos final years, the worsening of Sino-Soviet relations presents Chinas
leader with an opportunity to improve relations with the United States.
Seeking to enlist American help in containing Soviet expansion, Mao invites
a U.S. ping-pong team to Beijing for friendly competition. This is followed
by an invitation to President Richard Nixon to visit China. Although the SinoAmerican rapprochement is strongly opposed by Jiang Qing, Mao prevails,
and the Shanghai communiqu is signed in February 1972.