Liu Shaoqi

Liu Shaoqi

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Liu Shaoqi was a Chinese revolutionary, statesman, and theorist. He was Chairman of the People's Republic of China, China's head of state, from 27 April 1959 to 31 October 1968, during which he implemented policies of economic reconstruction in China. He fell out of favour in the later 1960s during the Cultural Revolution
Cultural Revolution
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, commonly known as the Cultural Revolution , was a socio-political movement that took place in the People's Republic of China from 1966 through 1976...

 because of his perceived 'right-wing' viewpoints and, it is theorised, because Mao
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 viewed Liu as a threat to his power. He disappeared from public life in 1968 and was labelled China's premier 'Capitalist-roader'
Capitalist roader
In Maoist thought, a capitalist roader or is a person or group who demonstrates a marked tendency to bow to pressure from Bourgeois forces and subsequently attempts to pull the Revolution in a capitalist direction....

 and a traitor. He died under harsh treatment in late 1969, but he was posthumously rehabilitated
Political rehabilitation
Political rehabilitation is the process by which a member of a political organization or government who has fallen into disgrace, is restored to public life. It is usually applied to leaders or other prominent individuals who regain their prominence after a period in which they have no influence or...

 by Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

's government in 1980 and given a state funeral.

Youth


Born into a moderately rich peasant family in Huaminglou village, Ningxiang county, Hunan
Hunan
' is a province of South-Central China, located to the south of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and south of Lake Dongting...

 province, Liu attended Ningxiang Zhusheng Middle School (宁乡 驻省 中学 Nìng-xiāng zhù-shěng zhōng-xué), and was recommended to attend a class in Shanghai prepared for studying in Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

. In 1920, Liu and Ren Bishi
Ren Bishi
Ren Bishi was a rising figure in the Chinese Communist Party until his death at the age of 46. He was born in Hunan and was ranked 5th in the 7th Politburo of the Communist Party of China.-References:...

 joined into a Socialist Youth Corp; and in the next year, Liu was recruited to study at the Comintern's Sun Yat-sen University
Sun Yat-sen University
Sun Yat-sen University, also unofficially referred to as Zhongshan University , is a prominent university located mainly in Guangzhou, China. The University is named after Dr...

 in Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

. In 1921 Liu joined the newly formed Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Liu went back to China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 in 1922, and as secretary of the All-China Labor Syndicate, led several railway workers' strikes in the Yangzi Valley and at Anyuan
Anyuan
Anyuan may refer to:*Anyuan County, in Jiangxi, China*Anyuan District, in Pingxiang, Jiangxi, China...

 on the Jiangxi
Jiangxi
' is a southern province in the People's Republic of China. Spanning from the banks of the Yangtze River in the north into hillier areas in the south, it shares a border with Anhui to the north, Zhejiang to the northeast, Fujian to the east, Guangdong to the south, Hunan to the west, and Hubei to...

-Hunan
Hunan
' is a province of South-Central China, located to the south of the middle reaches of the Yangtze River and south of Lake Dongting...

 border.

Early political activities


In 1925 Liu became a member of the Guangzhou-based All-China Federation of Labor Executive Committee. During the next two years Liu led numerous political campaigns and strikes in Hubei
Hubei
' Hupeh) is a province in Central China. The name of the province means "north of the lake", referring to its position north of Lake Dongting...

 and Shanghai
Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

. Liu worked with Li Lisan
Li Lisan
Lǐ Lìsān was an early leader of the Chinese communists, and the top leader of the Chinese Communist Party from 1928 to 1930, member of Polit Bureau, and later member of Central Committee.-Early years:...

 in Shanghai in 1925, organizing Communist activity following the May Thirtieth Incident. After his work in Shanghai Liu traveled to Wuhan
Wuhan
Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province, People's Republic of China, and is the most populous city in Central China. It lies at the east of the Jianghan Plain, and the intersection of the middle reaches of the Yangtze and Han rivers...

. Liu was briefly arrested in Changsha and then returned to Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

 to help organize the 16-month long Canton-Hong Kong strike
Canton-Hong Kong strike
The Canton-Hong Kong strike was a strike and boycott in that took place between Hong Kong and Guangdong, China from June 1925 to October 1926...

.

In 1927 Liu was elected to the Party's Central Committee
Central Committee
Central Committee was the common designation of a standing administrative body of communist parties, analogous to a board of directors, whether ruling or non-ruling in the twentieth century and of the surviving, mostly Trotskyist, states in the early twenty first. In such party organizations the...

, and was appointed to the head of its Labor Department. In 1929 Liu returned to work at the Party headquarters in Shanghai, and was named Secretary of the Manchurian Party Committee in Fengtian. In 1930 and 1931, Liu attended the Third and Fourth Plenums of the Sixth Central Committee, and was elected to the Central Executive Committee (i.e., Politburo) of the Chinese Soviet Republic in 1931 or 1932. Later in 1932 Liu left Shanghai and traveled to the Jiangxi Soviet
Jiangxi Soviet
The Chinese Soviet Republic , also translated as the Soviet Republic of China or the China Soviet Republic, and often referred to in historical literature as the Jiangxi Soviet , was a state established in November 1931 by the future Communist Party of China leader Mao...

.

Senior leader of the CCP


In 1932 Liu became the Party Secretary of Fujian
Fujian
' , formerly romanised as Fukien or Huguing or Foukien, is a province on the southeast coast of mainland China. Fujian is bordered by Zhejiang to the north, Jiangxi to the west, and Guangdong to the south. Taiwan lies to the east, across the Taiwan Strait...

 Province. In 1934 Liu accompanied the Long March
Long March
The Long March was a massive military retreat undertaken by the Red Army of the Communist Party of China, the forerunner of the People's Liberation Army, to evade the pursuit of the Kuomintang army. There was not one Long March, but a series of marches, as various Communist armies in the south...

 at least as far as the crucial Zunyi Conference
Zunyi Conference
The Zunyi Conference was a meeting of the Communist Party of China in January of 1935 during the Long March. This meeting involved a power struggle between the leadership of Bo Gu and Otto Braun and the opposition led by Mao Zedong. The result was that Mao left the meeting in position to take...

, but was then sent to the so-called "White Areas" (areas controlled by the Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

) to reorganize underground activities in northern China, centered around Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

 and Tianjin
Tianjin
' is a metropolis in northern China and one of the five national central cities of the People's Republic of China. It is governed as a direct-controlled municipality, one of four such designations, and is, thus, under direct administration of the central government...

. In 1936 Liu became Party Secretary in North China, leading the anti-Japanese movements in that area with the assistance of Peng Zhen
Peng Zhen
Peng Zhen was a leading member of the Communist Party of China.-Biography:Born in Houma , Peng was originally named Fu Maogong....

, An Ziwen
An Ziwen
An Ziwen , born as An Zhihan, was a Chinese politician and member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. He served as minister of the CPC Central Committee Organization Department, the Central People's Government Minister of Personnel, deputy secretary of the Central Discipline...

, Bo Yibo
Bo Yibo
Bo Yibo was a Chinese politician and one of the Eight Immortals of the Communist Party of China....

, Ke Qingshi
Ke Qingshi
Ke Qingshi was a senior leader of the Communist Party of China in 1950s and 1960s.Born in She County, Anhui Province, Ke joined Chinese Socialist Youth League in 1920, and the Communist Party of China in 1922....

, Liu Lantao, and Yao Yilin
Yao Yilin
Yao Yilin was a deputy Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China from 1983 to 1988, and the country's First Vice Premier from 1988 to 1993. He was born in Hong Kong in 1917, and spent his early years in Guichi, Chizhou, Anhui. Yao joined the Communist Party of China in 1935...

. In 1939 Liu ran the Central Plains Bureau; and, in 1941, the Central China Bureau. Some Japanese sources have alleged that the activities of Liu's organization sparked the Marco Polo Bridge Incident
Marco Polo Bridge Incident
The Marco Polo Bridge Incident was a battle between the Republic of China's National Revolutionary Army and the Imperial Japanese Army, often used as the marker for the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War .The eleven-arch granite bridge, Lugouqiao, is an architecturally significant structure,...

 in July 1937, which gave Japan the excuse to formally launch the Second Sino-Japanese War
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

.

In 1937 Liu traveled to the Communist base at Yanan
Yanan
Yanan may refer to:*Yan'an, Chinese city in Shaanxi province, which was the Communist Party's capital from 1936 to 1948*Yana language, extinct language formerly spoken in north-central California...

; and, in 1941, Liu became a political commissar of the New Fourth Army
New Fourth Army
The New Fourth Army was a unit of the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China established in 1937. In contrast to most of the National Revolutionary Army, it was controlled by the Communist Party of China and not by the ruling Kuomintang. The New Fourth Army and the Eighth Route Army...

. In 1945 Liu was elected as one of five CCP Secretaries at the Seventh National Party Congress. After the Seventh National Party Congress Liu became the supreme leader of all Communist forces in Manchuria and northern China, a stature frequently overlooked by historians.

From 1956 to Liu's downfall in 1966, Liu ranked as the First Vice Chairman of the Communist Party of China
Vice Chairman of the Communist Party of China
The Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China was the highest rank under the Party Chairman within the Communist Party of China from 1956 to 1982.All the vice-chairmen were members of the CPC Politburo Standing Committee....

. In 1949, Liu became the Vice Chairman of the Central People's Government. Later Liu became the First Vice Chairman of the National People's Congress, and held that position from 1954–59. Liu succeeded Mao as Chairman of the People's Republic of China in 1959, and was publicly acknowledged as Mao's chosen successor in 1961.

Liu's work focused on party organizational and theoretical affairs. Liu was an orthodox Soviet-style Communist, and favored state planning and the development of heavy industry. Liu elaborated upon his political and economic beliefs in his writings. His best known works include How to be a Good Communist (1939), On the Party (1945), and Internationalism and Nationalism (1952).

In May 1958 Liu became the first senior CCP politician to openly denounce the Great Leap Forward
Great Leap Forward
The Great Leap Forward of the People's Republic of China was an economic and social campaign of the Communist Party of China , reflected in planning decisions from 1958 to 1961, which aimed to use China's vast population to rapidly transform the country from an agrarian economy into a modern...

, at the Second Session of the Eighth CCP National Congress. At this Congress Liu stood together with Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

 and Peng Zhen
Peng Zhen
Peng Zhen was a leading member of the Communist Party of China.-Biography:Born in Houma , Peng was originally named Fu Maogong....

 against those who supported Mao's policies, led by Chen Yun
Chen Yun
Chen Yun was one of the most influential leaders of the People's Republic of China during the 1980s and 90s, and one of the top leaders of the Communist Party of China for almost its entire history. He was also known as Liao Chengyun ; it's unclear whether this was his original name or a pseudonym...

 and Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China, serving from October 1949 until his death in January 1976...

. Liu voiced further indications of concern in the August 1959 Lushan Plenum.

Conflict with Mao


When Mao's Great Leap Forward became politically and popularly disastrous, Liu gained influence within the CCP. In order to correct the mistakes of the Great Leap Forward Liu and Deng led economic reforms, which bolstered their prestige among the party apparatus and the national populace. The economic policies of Deng and Liu were notable for being more liberal than Mao's radical ideas.

By 1962 Liu's opposition to Mao's policies had led Mao to distrust Liu. After Mao succeeded in restoring his prestige during the 1960s, Liu's eventual downfall became "inevitable". Liu's position as the second most powerful leader of the CCP contributed to Mao's rivalry with Liu at least as much as Liu's political beliefs or factional allegiances in the 1960s, indicating that Liu's later persecution was the result of a power struggle that went beyond the goals and wellbeing of either China or the Party.

By 1966, there were few senior leaders in China that questioned the need for a widespread reform to combat the growing problems of corruption and bureaucratization within the Party and the government. With the goal of reforming the government to be more efficient and true to the Communist ideal, Liu himself chaired the enlarged Politburo meeting that officially began the Cultural Revolution
Cultural Revolution
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, commonly known as the Cultural Revolution , was a socio-political movement that took place in the People's Republic of China from 1966 through 1976...

. However, Liu and his political allies quickly lost control of the Cultural Revolution soon after it was called, as Mao used the movement to monopolize political power and to destroy his perceived enemies.

Whatever its other causes, the Cultural Revolution, declared in 1966, was overtly pro-Maoist, and gave Mao the power and influence to purge the Party of his political enemies at the highest levels of government. Along with closing China's schools and universities, and Mao's exhortations to young Chinese to randomly destroy old buildings, temples, and art, and to attack their teachers, school administrators, party leaders, and parents, the Cultural Revolution also increased Mao's prestige so much that entire villiages adopted the practice of offering prayers to Mao before every meal. In both national politics and Chinese popular culture, Mao established himself as a demigod accountable to no one, purging any that he suspected of opposing him and directing the masses and Red Guards "to destroy virtually all state and party institutions". After the Cultural Revolution was announced, most the most senior members of the CPP who had voiced any hesitation in following Mao's direction, including Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping, were removed from their posts almost immediately; and, with their families, subjected to mass criticism and humiliation.

Liu and Deng, along with many others, were denounced as "capitalist roader
Capitalist roader
In Maoist thought, a capitalist roader or is a person or group who demonstrates a marked tendency to bow to pressure from Bourgeois forces and subsequently attempts to pull the Revolution in a capitalist direction....

s". Liu was labeled as a "traitor," and "the biggest capitalist roader in the Party." In July 1966 Liu was displaced as Party Deputy Chairman
Vice Chairman of the Communist Party of China
The Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China was the highest rank under the Party Chairman within the Communist Party of China from 1956 to 1982.All the vice-chairmen were members of the CPC Politburo Standing Committee....

 by Lin Biao
Lin Biao
Lin Biao was a major Chinese Communist military leader who was pivotal in the communist victory in the Chinese Civil War, especially in Northeastern China...

. By 1967 Liu and his wife, Wang Guangmei
Wang Guangmei
Wang Guangmei was a respected Chinese politician, philanthropist, and First Lady, the wife of Liu Shaoqi, who served as the Chairman of the People's Republic of China from 1959-1968.-Earlier Years:...

, were placed under house arrest in Beijing. Liu was removed from all his positions and expelled from the Party in October 1968. After his arrest Liu disappeared from public view.

Vilification and death


By the time of his arrest Liu had developed diabetes. Opponents of Mao allege that Liu, in his old age, developed pneumonia and was refused all medicine by Mao and his officials. They further claim that on the orders of Mao's wife, Jiang Qing
Jiang Qing
Jiang Qing was the pseudonym that was used by Chinese leader Mao Zedong's last wife and major Communist Party of China power figure. She went by the stage name Lan Ping during her acting career, and was known by various other names during her life...

, Liu was kept alive so that by the Ninth Party Congress, in 1969, Mao would have a 'living target'. (No evidence of any such plot against Liu can be tangibly demonstrated.) At the Congress, Liu was denounced as a traitor and an enemy agent. Mao's detractors allege that Liu was then allowed to die in agony.
Interviews with Mao's surviving colleagues show Mao seemed to enjoy toying with his victims before eliminating them. For example he called Liu in from house arrest and told him he was pleased with Liu's self criticism, however, almost immediately afterward he permitted Liu's public beating and torture, which continued for more than a year subsequently killing him in 1969.

Liu was treated more harshly than some other senior leaders persecuted as "capitalist roaders", including Deng Xiaoping. After Liu's trial, he was abused by Red Guards
Red Guards (China)
Red Guards were a mass movement of civilians, mostly students and other young people in the People's Republic of China , who were mobilized by Mao Zedong in 1966 and 1967, during the Cultural Revolution.-Origins:...

 and denied medicine for his diabetes and pneumonia, and he died within a month of his expulsion from the Party. Several weeks after his death, Red Guards discovered Liu lying on the floor covered in diarrhea and vomit, with a foot of unkempt hair protruding from his scalp. At midnight, under secrecy, his remains were brought in a jeep to a crematorium, his legs hanging out the back, and he was cremated under the name Liu Huihuang. The cause of death was recorded as illness. Liu's family was not informed for another three years after this date, and his death was not made public to the people in China for ten years.

After Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

 came to power in 1978, Liu was politically rehabilitated. The Fifth Plenum of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China issued the "Resolution on the Rehabilitation of Comrade Liu Shaoqi." The Resolution revoked the false accusations against Liu Shaoqi and recognized his removal from office was unjust, thus rehabilitation his reputation as a great Marxist, proletarian revolutionary and one of the principal leaders of the Party. A memorial was held for Liu on May 17 1980 and his ashes were scattered into the sea at Qingao in accordance with his last wishes.

Wives



Liu married fives times, including He Baozhen (何宝珍) and Wang Guangmei
Wang Guangmei
Wang Guangmei was a respected Chinese politician, philanthropist, and First Lady, the wife of Liu Shaoqi, who served as the Chairman of the People's Republic of China from 1959-1968.-Earlier Years:...

 (王光美).
His third wife Xie Fei (谢飞) came from Wenchang
Wenchang
Wenchang is a county-level city located in the north east of Hainan province, China. It was promoted from a county to a city on November 7, 1995, and had a population of 86,551 in 1999...

, Hainan and was one of the few women on the 1934 Long March
Long March
The Long March was a massive military retreat undertaken by the Red Army of the Communist Party of China, the forerunner of the People's Liberation Army, to evade the pursuit of the Kuomintang army. There was not one Long March, but a series of marches, as various Communist armies in the south...

.
His wife at the time of his death in 1969, Wang Guangmei, was thrown in prison by Mao Zedong during the Cultural Revolution where she was subjected to the harsh conditions of solitary confinement for more than a decade.

Sources

  • "Fifth Plenary Session of 11th C.C.P. Central Committee," Beijing Review, No. 10 (10 March 1980), pp. 3–10, which describes the official rehabilitation measures.

External links


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