Last Gang of Four Member Dies





Described as “the killer with pen”, Yao Wenyuan was the group's propagandist and Xinhua, the official news agency, today reported that he had died of diabetes, at the age of 74, on December 23. He was the last survivor of the quartet, and deserves more than a footnote in the history books.

A former propaganda official and Shanghai journalist, Yao wrote the article in 1966 that signalled the start of the Cultural Revolution. During the revolution, hundreds of thousands of people died, many of them committing suicide after being harassed by Mao’s Red Guards, the shock troops of the revolution.

While Mao was the guiding force behind the Cultural Revolution, the present Chinese authorities have found it convenient to blame the upheaval of that episode on the Gang of Four, who directed the purge of moderate party officials and intellectuals.

The Gang of Four consisted of Mao’s third wife, Jiang Qing, Wang Hongwen, Zhang Chunqiao, and Yao Wenyuan.



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