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Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday
Mao: The Unknown Story

marklu, January 6, 2008

The story in Jung Chang and Jon Halliday’s Mao, the Unknown Story is about the Chinese Palace Coup on October 6, 1976. However, the story is Chinese folklore.

In Chinese modern history, there was a most important event. It was the Chinese Palace Coup on October 6, 1976. Chairman Mao’s wife and her three colleagues were arrested. The event led to China discontinuing Chairman Mao’s policy. The new leader opened the door to Western countries and China eventually became a world manufacturer.

In Jung Chang and Jon Halliday’s Mao, the Unknown Story, the Chinese Palace Coup on October 6, 1976 was described as a Chinese army marshal and a Chinese army general who hatched up a plot to launch a Palace Coup to arrest Chairman Mao’s wife and her three colleagues to end Chairman Mao’s policy. Their source was from Chinese folk publications. The source is not reliable and the story is not true.

There were three different stories about the Chinese Palace Coup on October 6, 1976. The first one said that Chairman Mao’s successor launched the Palace Coup and arrested Mao’s wife and her three colleagues. This story was printed on all of party official’s books and newspapers. The second story was a Chinese folklore, namely a Chinese army marshal and a Chinese army general hatched a plot to launch the Palace Coup to arrest Chairman Mao’s wife and her three colleagues. The third story, told by Dr. Li’s memoirs, The Private Life of Chairman Mao said the bane of the event was the long fighting in Chairman Mao’s retainer circle, and escalated to cross line fighting between the retainers and party officials. Especially, Chairman Mao’s wife was involved in the both the retainers conflicts and party officials conflicts, finally caused the Chinese Palace Coup on October 6, 1976. After Dr. Li’s memoir was published, there were quite a number of memoirs written by eyewitnesses about the event. They proved that Dr. Li’s story was true and denied either of the official story or the folklore.

Jung Chang and Jon Halliday’s Mao, the Unknown Story adopted the second story, the Chinese folklore. It was not true for the Chinese Palace Coup on October 6, 1976. Their adoption proved Dr. Andrew Nathan’s viewpoint, Jung Chang and Jon Halliday’s Mao, the Unknown Story was not a serious scholar work, instead it was a “Chinese Da Vinci Code” research work.

For the Chinese Palace Coup on October 6, 1976, Dr. Li’s memoir’s description was the most authoritative and reliable. A Chinese dictum said one cold day could not create the ice sheet three feet deep. The Palace Coup happened on October 6, 1976, but it had been ignited long time ago. Dr. Li’s memoir provides us the full details.

In 1956, Chairman Mao’s secretary and Chairman Mao’s second commanding officer of guards, Lee were allies. Together they were beating down Chairman Mao’s first commanding officer of guards, Wong. They both slandered him to Chairman Mao. Chairman Mao’s wife slandered Wong too. They ignited Chairman Mao’s anger to Wong. Finally, Chairman Mao dismissed Wong from his post, and relegated Wong to a provincial officer. Wong was very angry and hated all of them, except Chairman Mao. He resented Chairman Mao’s wife actions at a crucial time. He told Dr. Li, he would take revenge on Mao’s wife. That was in 1956. 20 years later, he became the first plotter and executor of the Palace Coup. The new Chairman of the party and the old army marshal stayed as the second and the third characters in that event. Dr. Li unconsciously became Wong’s future ally. Chairman Mao’s wife kept a deep hatred within herself. 20 years later, the hatred erupted like a volcano eruption, and engulfed her and her three colleagues.

After Wong was dismissed, Chairman Mao’s second commanding officer of guards, Lee took Wong’s position as the sole commanding officer of Chairman Mao’s guards. He was very complacent. He competed with Chairman Mao’s secretary for supremacy of Chairman Mao’s courtyard and told Chairman Mao and his wife how bad Chairman Mao’s secretary was. He won those battles. Chairman Mao and his wife believed in Lee’s slanderous talk, and became discontented with Chairman Mao’s secretary. Chairman Mao’s wife told everybody, that Chairman Mao’s secretary did not work, but spent his time drinking, eating, and entertaining. Chairman Mao avoided seeing his secretary, and let Lee work for him. Chairman Mao’s secretary grumbled at Dr. Li. He said he had done a lot of duty work for Chairman Mao; but he did not appreciate it, and attempted to kick him out here. Under the rage of Chairman Mao, he told everybody that Chairman Mao was a womanizer. Eventually, Chairman Mao knew what he said about him, but Chairman Mao could not do anything to him.

Lee became the master of the Chairman Mao’s courtyard. Nobody could control him, and he did everything what he wanted. He even neglected his duties, and went shopping during his work hours. In Shanghai, Chairman Mao woke up and called Lee, but Lee wasn’t there. Chairman Mao became very angry, and yelled and swore at Lee loudly. At that moment, the Shanghai local party officer had come to pick up Chairman Mao for a meeting, and heard Chairman Mao’s yelling and swearing. He was surprised and shocked, and worried about Chairman Mao’s safety. He suggested that Chairman Mao call his old commanding officer of guards, Wong back to the position where he was dismissed. Chairman Mao agreed with him. In 1960, Wong came back to Chairman Mao’s courtyard and took back his old position. Chairman Mao’s wife was doomed by this move. 16 years later, Wong arrested her.

Wong’s first action after he came back to Chairman Mao’s courtyard was to rectify the corruption of “Group One”. The number one target was Lee, and the second target was Chairman Mao’s secretary. Wong convened meetings everyday to strike at Lee. In the meetings, everybody criticized Lee as corrupted, impudent in his duties, and acted badly as Chairman Mao’s secretary. Chairman Mao himself even taught the guards what to say to beat Lee and the secretary. As a result, Lee and Chairman Mao’s secretary were both dismissed from their positions. Wong controlled Chairman Mao’s courtyard. Wong dismissed all of the officers from important posts, and placed his trustees on those posts. It included the commanding officer of the central garrison. At that time, Chairman Mao’s wife still did not see any evil omen looming ahead.

After Chairman Mao launched the Cultural Revolution, Chairman Mao’s wife was promoted to Chairman Mao’s spokeswoman. She became a very powerful party leader. Chairman Mao’s commanding officer of guards, Wong, gained a powerful party leader position at the same time.

At this moment, between Chairman Mao’s wife and Dr. Li, a conflict broke out. Chairman Mao’s wife accused Dr. Li as an Americans’ intelligence agent, and wanted to murder her. She asked the premier to issue an order to arrest Dr. Li. But the premier refused to do it. She asked the party second authority’s wife to do her a favor and find poisoned elements in her medicine, which she got from Dr. Li. The party second authority’s wife brought the medicine to a military institute laboratory to analysis the chemical elements. After she got the report, she brought the report to Chairman Mao’s wife. The report did not found any poisoned elements in the medicine.

Chairman Mao’s wife read the report. She became very angry and bawled out the party second authority’s wife. She said all of you are American intelligence agents. This conflict between Chairman Mao’s wife and Dr. Li led Dr. Li to become Wong’s ally. Dr. Li and Wong started to stick together to fight Chairman Mao’s wife. Wong told Dr. Li that he would arrest Chairman Mao’s wife. He tested Dr. Li’s attitude to Chairman Mao’s wife. Dr. Li told Wong to be very careful or he could get into trouble by his talk. Wong said that it was not necessary to be very careful. He asked Dr. Li if he would tell anybody what he had said to him. Dr. Li said, of course not.

Wong and Dr. Li were secret allies against Chairman Mao’s wife. Later, Wong placed Dr. Li to another important post, the commanding officer of the military hospital 305. To that day, Wong’s trustees were spread all over Chairman Mao’s courtyard. Actually, Chairman Mao’s wife was already monitored by the commanding officer of guards, Wong. Chairman Mao’s wife’s every move would be reported to Wong.

Finally, Chairman Mao’s wife’s ominous day was coming. Chairman Mao was dead. Chairman Mao’s commanding officer of guards, Wong asked Dr. Li to watch Chairman Mao’s wife closely, reporting all of her activities. Meanwhile, he colluded with Chairman Mao’s successor, the new Chairman of the party and the old army marshal to launch the palace coup. They requested Chairman Mao’s wife and her three colleagues to attend a meeting. Chairman Mao’s commanding officer of guards, Wong ordered the guards and the central garrison to surround the conference hall and arrested them.

Dr. Li’s true story about the Chinese Palace Coup on October 6, 1976 is more lively and exciting than the Chinese folklore in Jung Chang and Jon Halliday’s Mao, the Unknown Story.



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