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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 21. 5th September 1973

Over-weening Personal Ambitions

Over-weening Personal Ambitions

The second painting shows Lin Piao at Mao Tsetung's side at the Tsunyi conference at which Mao Tsetung was elected, after a heated debate, secretary general of the Communist Party's Central Committee. In fact, the report notes that Lin Piao was a back-bencher who never opened his mouth during the debate and voted against Mao. Details of these falsifications are judged necessary to expose because they help explain the over-weening personal ambitions that pushed Lin to the ultimate crime of the attempted assassination of Chairman Mao on the night of September 12, 1971. The assassination attempt was followed by Lin's fatal effort to flee to the Soviet Union via Ulan Bator in the early hours of the following morning.

That Mao Tsetung was suspicious of Lin Paio's machinations for a considerable time is clear from this remarkable letter he sent to his wife, Chiang Ching, on July 8, 1966. Extracts from the letter were published by Le Monde last December 2, 1972. Responsible officials in Peking admit that, apart from reserves on a few points of translation, the letter is authentic — a rare case of confirmation that a text originally leaked by Chiang Kaishek's intelligence services in Taiwan, is correct.

"Evil geniuses surge forth spontaneously," Mao wrote, according to the Le Monde version. "Pre-determined by their class origins they cannot act other than they do. The Central Committee is in a hurry to distribute the text of a speech by our friend. I am prepared to agree to this. In this speech he particularly referred to the problem of a coup d'etat."

The speech in question was a report given by Lin Piao at an enlarged meeting of the Political Bureau of the party's Central Committee on May 18, 1965, in which Lin Piao vehemently denounced Peng Chen, then in charge of the Peking Staff Committee, Lo Jui-ch'ing, then Chief of Stuff of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) who was later removed from that office that year and other top-ranking leaders, Lin accused them of involvement in a murderous coup attempt against Mao.

"Never has such language been used," Mao continued and it is clear that he had doubts both as to the alleged plot and Lin Piao's motives. "Certain of his ideas greatly disturb me. I could never have believed that my little books could have such magic power. Now that he has so praised them, the whole country will follow his example....It is the first time in my life that I am in agreement with the others on the essence of a problem against my will....."

Mao then quotes from a Chinese classic. "The world being in need of a hero, enabled a type like Liu Pang to make his name..." Then Mao warns his wife about her own association with Lin Piao: "You must pay great attention to his weak points, his defects and his mistakes I do not know how often I have spoken about this. I spoke of it again in April in Shanghai. What I have said may seem treason. Do not antiparty elements talk just like this? But to look at it that way would be incorrect. The difference between what I say and what traitors say is that I am speaking of my own reactions whilst the traitors aim at overthrowing our party and myself."

Mao is clearly referring here to Liu Shao-chi and his supporters, the fight against whom was reaching its climax at this time. He explains why, at a time when the cultural revolution was reaching its climax, it was difficult for him to speak out openly against Lin Piao.

"At the present moment, all those on the left speak the same language. If what I write you was divulged publicly it would look as if I were pouring cold water on them and thus aiding the right. Our task at present is to partially overthrow the right — not totally because that is impossible — inside the party and throughout the country. In seven or eight years, we will launch another movement to clean up the evil geniuses...." (By his ill-fated coup attempt in 1971 Lin Piao hastened this latter process by two or three years.)