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Yao Wenyuan (January 12, 1931 – December 23, 2005) was a Chinese literary critic, a politician, and a member of the Gang of Four
Gang of Four
during China's Cultural Revolution. Biography[edit] Yao Wenyuan was born in Zhuji, Zhejiang, to an intellectual family. His father, Yao Pengzi (姚蓬子) was a writer, translator and art critic. He began his career in Shanghai
Shanghai
as a literary critic, where he became known for his sharp attacks against colleagues, such as in June 1957 against the newspaper Wenhuibao. Since that time, he began to closely collaborate with leftist Shanghai
Shanghai
politicians, including the head of the city's Propaganda Department, Zhang Chunqiao. His article "On the New Historical Beijing
Beijing
Opera 'Hai Rui Dismissed from Office'", published in Wenhuibao on November 10, 1965, launched the Cultural Revolution. The article was about a popular opera by Wu Han, who was deputy mayor of Beijing. Zhang Chunqiao and Jiang Qing
Jiang Qing
feared the play could be counter-revolutionary because parallels could be drawn between the characters in the play and officials in the communist government. In the play, Hai Rui, a government official, speaks for the peasants against the imperial government, criticizing officials for hypocritically oppressing the masses while pretending to be virtuous men. Hai Rui is dismissed because of this. Yao claimed it was a coded attack on Mao for dismissing in 1959 then-minister of defense Peng Dehuai, a critic of Mao’s disastrous Great Leap Forward. Confused by this unexpected attack, Beijing's party leadership tried to protect Wu Han, providing Mao the pretext for a full-scale "struggle" against them in the following year. Yao was soon promoted to the Cultural Revolution
Cultural Revolution
Group. Yao Wenyuan was an ideal candidate for the criticism for such an opera because of his consistent socialist background. In April 1969 he joined the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, working on official propaganda. A member of "Proletarian writers for purity" he was the editor of "Liberation Daily" Shanghai's main newspaper. He joined the state's efforts to rid China's writers union of the famous writer Hu Feng. In October 1976, he was arrested for his participation in the Cultural Revolution and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. He was released on October 23, 1996, and spent the remainder of his life writing a book and studying Chinese history. He lived in his hometown of Shanghai
Shanghai
and became the last surviving member of the Gang of Four after Zhang Chunqiao died in April 2005. According to China's official Xinhua
Xinhua
news agency, he died of diabetes on December 23, 2005, aged 74.[1][2] References[edit]

^ " Yao Wenyuan obituary in the New York Times". New York Times. Retrieved 27 May 2013.  ^ "Last surviving member of China's Gang of Four
Gang of Four
dies" Archived July 9, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.

Yao Wenyuan's obituary in The Economist: Jan 14th, 2006. Retrieved 27 May 2013

Publications[edit]

Yao Wen-yuan: On the Social Basis Of The Lin Piao Antiparty Clique. Foreign Languages Press, Peking 1975.

v t e

10th Politburo of the Communist Party of China
China
(1973–1977)

Standing Committee (PSC)

before Oct 1976

1. Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
(chairman, died Sep 1976) 2. Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai
(vice chairman, died Jan 1976) 3. Wang Hongwen
Wang Hongwen
(vice chairman, arrested Oct 1976) 4. Kang Sheng
Kang Sheng
(vice chairman, died Dec 1975) 5. Ye Jianying
Ye Jianying
(vice chairman) 6. Li Desheng
Li Desheng
(vice chairman, resigned Jan 1975) 7. Zhu De
Zhu De
(died Jul 1976) 8. Zhang Chunqiao (arrested Oct 1976) 9. Dong Biwu
Dong Biwu
(died Apr 1975) Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
(added Jan 1975, vice chairman, dismissed Apr 1976) Hua Guofeng
Hua Guofeng
(added Apr 1976, vice chairman)

after Oct 1976

1. Hua Guofeng
Hua Guofeng
(chairman) 2. Ye Jianying
Ye Jianying
(vice chairman) 3. Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
(vice chairman, reinstated Jul 1977)

Other members

Wei Guoqing Liu Bocheng Jiang Qing
Jiang Qing
(arrested Oct 1976) Xu Shiyou Hua Guofeng
Hua Guofeng
(to PSC Apr 1976) Ji Dengkui Wu De Wang Dongxing Chen Yonggui Chen Xilian Li Xiannian Yao Wenyuan (arrested Oct 1976) Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
(added Dec 1973, to PSC Jan 1975) Li Desheng
Li Desheng
(from PSC Jan 1975)

Alternate members

Wu Guixian Su Zhenhua Ni Zhifu Saifuddin Azizi

7th→8th→9th→10th→11th→12th→13th→14th→15th→16th→17th→18th→19th

v t e

9th Politburo of the Communist Party of China
China
(1969–1973)

Standing Committee

Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
(chairman) Lin Biao
Lin Biao
(vice chairman, died Sep 1971) Zhou Enlai Chen Boda
Chen Boda
(dismissed Aug 1973) Kang Sheng

Other members (surname stroke order)

Ye Qun
Ye Qun
(died Sep 1971) Ye Jianying Liu Bocheng Jiang Qing Zhu De Xu Shiyou Chen Xilian Li Xiannian Li Zuopeng
Li Zuopeng
(arrested Sep 1971) Wu Faxian
Wu Faxian
(arrested Sep 1971) Zhang Chunqiao Qiu Huizuo
Qiu Huizuo
(arrested Sep 1971) Yao Wenyuan Huang Yongsheng
Huang Yongsheng
(arrested Sep 1971) Dong Biwu Xie Fuzhi (died Mar 1972)

Alternate members

Ji Dengkui Li Xuefeng (dismissed Aug 1973) Li Desheng Wang Dongxing

7th→8th→9th→10th→11th→12th→13th→14th→15th→16th→17th→18th→19th

v t e

The Cultural Revolution

Major events

Socialist Education Movement Lushan Conference Down to the Countryside Movement February Countercurrent Wuhan Incident 9th Party Congress Project 571 10th Party Congress Criticize Lin, Criticize Confucius Counterattack the Right-Deviationist Reversal-of-Verdicts Trend Tiananmen Incident 3rd Plenum of the 11th Central Committee

Key figures

Mao Zedong Liu Shaoqi Zhou Enlai Lin Biao Deng Xiaoping Gang of Four
Gang of Four
(Jiang Qing Zhang Chunqiao Yao Wenyuan Wang Hongwen) Peng Dehuai Wu Han Peng Zhen Tao Zhu Chen Boda Wang Dongxing Xie Fuzhi Ji Dengkui Wang Li Qi Benyu Wu Faxian Qiu Huizuo Yang Chengwu Chen Zaidao Kang Sheng Mao Yuanxin Hua Guofeng Ye Jianying

Documents

Bombard the Headquarters Quotations from Chairman Mao Hai Rui Dismissed from Office

Concepts

Four Olds Struggle session Feudal fascism Big-character poster One Divides Into Two Democracy Wall Eight model plays Capitalist roader Learn from Daqing in industry Learn from Dazhai in agriculture Scar literature

Groups

Red Guards Five Man Group Cultural Revolution
Cultural Revolution
Group Central Case Examination Group Central Organization and Propaganda Leading Group Revolutionary committee Shanghai
Shanghai
People's Commune 8341 Special
Special
Regiment Sent-down youth 61 Renegades Barefoot doctor Stinking Old Ninth Five Black Categories Five Red Categories Worker-Peasant-Soldier student May Seventh Cadre School

Related topics

Maoism Great Leap Forward Class struggle Sino-Soviet split Ultra-Leftism Peaceful Evolution theory Two Whatevers

History portal

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 95006973 LCCN: n86133634 GN

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