Wang Hongwen (pinyin: Wáng Hóngwén; Wade-Giles: Wang Hung-wen; IPA: [wɑ̌ŋ xʊ̌ŋwə̌n]; born December, 1935 – died August 3, 1992) was the youngest member of the Gang of Four. His ascent to central party leadership has been compared by some Chinese to "helicopter flight" due to his extraordinary rise from the working class. At the pinnacle of his power he ranked third in the Communist Party's hierarchy. He was charged with counterrevolutionary activity in October 1976, and sent to prison.
Wang was born in a village outside of Changchun. He took part in the Korean War in the early 1950s. After the war, he was sent to Shanghai to work in a factory as the head of security guards, where he met Zhang Chunqiao and became involved in a Red Guards group. He organized the Shanghai Commune in January 1967, and in 1969, he was elevated to the CCP Politburo and in 1973, to Vice Chairman and third rank, behind Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai in the Central Committee Politburo Standing Committee.
Wang was rumored to be slated to become Premier after then-Premier Zhou Enlai's death. However, Hua Guofeng was chosen to succeed Premier Zhou in January 1976. Wang was an important player during and after the death of Chairman Mao Zedong, and was the announcer for his funeral service on national radio on September 18, 1976. He was arrested for his participation in the Gang of Four in October 1976, tried, and received life imprisonment. He died of liver cancer in a Beijing hospital on August 3, 1992.
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