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7. What part did Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing, play in the Cultural Revolution?
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the role played by Jiang Qing in the Cultural Revolution, focusing in particular on: (i) who Jiang Qing was: her background, her marriage to Mao in 1938, what other senior members of the CCP thought of her, and her role in the world of culture (especially in film and theatre) in the 1950s and 60s; (ii) her power base in Shanghai, and her association with three other individuals who (together with Jiang) would come to be known as the Gang of Four; (iii) the politics of the Gang of Four and the conflict between them and the more moderate elements within the CCP such as Zhou Enlai; (iv) Jiang’s attempts in the 1970s to position herself as the natural successor to Mao, and the movements by others to block her coming to power; and (v) her arrest following Mao’s death in 1976, and her trial (along with the rest of the Gang of Four) in 1981.
In this course, Professor Michael Dillon (Durham University) explores the Cultural Revolution in China through nine key questions: (1) What was the meaning of the name ‘Cultural Revolution’?; (2) Why did Mao launch the Cultural Revolution when he did?; (3) Is it accurate to describe the Cultural Revolution as the ‘decade of disaster’?; (4) To what extent were Mao’s motives ideological rather than political?; (5) What was the role of the Red Guards in Mao’s strategy?; (6) Why was traditional Chinese culture a prime target in the Cultural Revolution?; (7) What part did Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing, play in the Cultural Revolution?; (8) How important was Lin Biao in the Cultural Revolution?; and (9) To what extent was the Cultural Revolution a success?
Michael Dillon was founding director of the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Studies at Durham University, where he taught courses on modern China, Chinese history, and Chinese language. He has also been a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Asiatic Society, and a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs.
Cite this Lecture
Dillon, M. (2020, November 29). China – The Cultural Revolution, 1966-76 - What part did Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing, play in the Cultural Revolution? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/china-the-cultural-revolution-1966-76/what-part-did-mao-s-wife-jiang-qing-play-in-the-cultural-revolution
Dillon, M. "China – The Cultural Revolution, 1966-76 – What part did Mao’s wife, Jiang Qing, play in the Cultural Revolution?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 29 Nov 2020, https://www.massolit.io/courses/china-the-cultural-revolution-1966-76/what-part-did-mao-s-wife-jiang-qing-play-in-the-cultural-revolution