Tao Zhu

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Tao Zhu in 1950s

Tao Zhu (simplified Chinese: 陶铸; traditional Chinese: 陶鑄; pinyin: Táo Zhù; Wade–Giles: T'ao Chu; 16 January 1908 – 30 November 1969) was a member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China .


Born in Qiyang, Hunan, Tao Zhu was Secretary of the Guangdong Provincial Committee and Commander of the Guangzhou Military Region.

He later became First Secretary of the Central-South region, and in 1965 was moved to Beijing to replace Lu Dingyi as Director of the Central Propaganda Department when Lu was purged for not adhering strongly to the Maoist line. Tao was a Vice Premier of the State Council and Secretary of the Central Secretariat of the CPC, as well as an advisor to the Cultural Revolution Group.

In May 1966, Tao Zhu was promoted to No. 4 in the party, behind Mao Zedong, Lin Biao and Zhou Enlai. That allowed his protégé, Zhao Ziyang, to take over as head of Guangdong province. Tao and Zhao were among the most enthusiastic of the early pro-Red Guard CPC leaders, but quickly fell from favour because they tried to control the excesses of the leftists.[1] Tao became a member of the Politburo Standing Committee at the Eleventh Plenum in August 1966 at the outset of the Cultural Revolution, but was purged soon after in early 1967 and died under house arrest in 1969.

While under house arrest, Tao was diagnosed with gallbladder cancer, but was initially denied medical treatment. Zhou Enlai eventually intervened to arrange an operation, but by then Tao's cancer was too advanced to treat successfully, and Tao died in a hospital. Tao's family was not allowed to see him either on his deathbed or after his death.[2] He was posthumously exonerated in 1978, after Deng Xiaoping rose to power. He was remembered as a man of great integrity.

Tao's daughter, Tao Siliang, became a Chinese politician after the Cultural Revolution.


  1. ^ Vogel, Ezra, Canton Under Communism: Programs and Politics in a Provincial Capital, 1949-68, Harper & Row (New York), 1969 SBNN: 06-131629-6, p. 326-327
  2. ^ Chung, Jang. White Swans: Three Daughters of China. Touchstone: New York, NY. 2003. ISBN 0-7432-4698-5. p.391.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ye Jianying
Secretary of the CPC Guangdong Committee
Succeeded by
Zhao Ziyang
Preceded by
Lu Dingyi
Head of the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of China
Succeeded by
Kang Sheng
Vacant until 1970
Political offices
Preceded by
Ye Jianying
Governor of Guangdong
Succeeded by
Chen Yu
New title Chairman of the Guangdong CPPCC
Succeeded by
Ou Mengjue
Academic offices
Preceded by
Li Shouyong
Abolished since 1949
President of the Jinan University
Succeeded by
Chen Xujing