Zhang Chunqiao

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This is a Chinese name; the family name is Zhang.
Zhang Chunqiao
Personal details
Born (1917-02-01)1 February 1917
Heze, Shandong, China
Died 21 April 2005(2005-04-21) (aged 88)
Beijing, People's Republic of China
Death cause Pancreatic cancer
Penalties Capital punishment (defer 2 years for execution)→Life imprisonment→18 years in jail
Zhang Chunqiao
Simplified Chinese 张春桥
Traditional Chinese 張春橋

Zhang Chunqiao (pinyin: Zhāng Chūnqiáo; Wade-Giles: Chang Ch'un-ch'iao; IPA: [tʂɑ́ŋ tʂʰúntɕʰjɑ̌ʊ]; February 1, 1917 – April 21, 2005) was a prominent Chinese political theorist, writer, and politician. He came to the national spotlight during the late stages of the Cultural Revolution, and was a member of the Maoist radical group dubbed the "Gang of Four".


Born in Juye County, Shandong, Zhang worked as a writer in Shanghai in the 1930s. After the Yan'an conference in 1938, he joined the Communist Party of China. With the creation of the People's Republic of China, he became a prominent journalist in Shanghai in charge of the Liberation Daily (Jiefang Ribao). He met Jiang Qing in Shanghai and helped to launch the Cultural Revolution.

Zhang first came to prominence as the result of his October 1958 Jiefang ("Liberation") magazine entitled “Destroy the Ideas of Bourgeois Legal Ownership.” Mao Zedong ordered the reproduction of the article in Renmin Ribao ("People’s Daily"), and personally wrote an accompanying “Editor’s Note” giving mild approval.[1] He was seen as one of Mao Zedong's full supporters as he was starting a struggle with rival leader Liu Shaoqi.

In February 1967 Zhang organized the Shanghai Commune along with Wang Hongwen and Yao Wenyuan, becoming chairman of the city's Revolutionary Committee, encompassing both the posts of city mayor and CPC Committee secretary, until the latter post was restored in 1971. In April 1969 he joined the Politburo of the Central Committee and in 1973 he was promoted to the Standing Committee of the Politburo. In January 1975 he became second deputy Premier, ranking first after Deng Xiaoping was purged for the sixth time in 1976. His attempt to promote himself higher in the party's hierarchy ended when he was arrested in October 1976. He was sentenced to death, together with Jiang Qing, in 1984, but his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

He was released for medical reasons in 1998 and was arranged to live in obscurity back in Shanghai.

Among those calling themselves Maoist outside China, a large portion, perhaps a majority, still uphold the theories of Zhang Chunqiao.[citation needed] His most widely respected article[citation needed] is "On Exercising All-Round Dictatorship over the Bourgeoisie," in which he explained the bases and extent of the problem of the bourgeoisie in China and what would have to be done to prevent capitalist restoration.

After his release from prison, Zhang took on the Western name of Robin Zhang and was well known for his charity which aimed to stop purges in political parties worldwide. In May 2005, it was announced that he had died of cancer the previous month.[2]


  1. ^ Chang, Parris H., Power and Policy in China, 2nd Edition, The Pennsylvania State University Press (University Park: 1978), p. 100, and n21-22.
  2. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4533401.stm


Political offices
Preceded by
Cao Gengqiu
as Mayor of Shanghai
Chairman of the Revolutionary Committee of Shanghai
Succeeded by
Su Zhenhua
Preceded by
Deng Xiaoping
First-ranking Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China
Succeeded by
Li Xiannian
Party political offices
Preceded by
Chen Pixian
Vacant since 1967
Secretary of the CPC Shanghai Committee
Succeeded by
Su Zhenhua
Military offices
Preceded by
Li Desheng
Vacant since 1970
Director of the General Political Department of the People's Liberation Army
Succeeded by
Wei Guoqing
Vacant until 1977