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tracted tuberculosis in the spring of 1964, the Chairman ordered the Central Bureau of Health to stop giving specialtreatmentto the leader-ship.He, of course, kept his own personal doctor; others were to go to theBeijingHospital, along with members of the public. While cloaked in the language of democratization, the timing meant the decision was clearlyaimed atLiu.2 8 Ata Politburo work conference, the Helmsman took issue with the harshness of the SEM purge. Hethennoted ominously: 'There are at least two factions in our Party. One is the socialist faction, the other is the capitalist faction.' Without naming names, Mao accused Liu of wanting to stop him intervening in debates, and Deng of wishing to excludehim from meetings (the latter had suggestedthathe might prefer to rest because he was in poor health). Waving copies of the national and Party constitutions, Mao saidthatas a citizen and CCP member he had every right to speak at meetings. It may have seemed a ridiculous pieceof grandstanding, but it was never safe to disregard such outbursts sincetheir author couldturnhis paranoia into reality.29 Atthe end of 1964, the Chairman took the unusual step of inviting LiuShaoqi to his seventy-first birthday dinner, butthensubjected him to a diatribe against revisionism and the building of independent king-doms. On the day Liu was re-elected to the presidency, 3 January1965, Maosummoned him to his suite at the Great Hall of the People. Without telling him, the Chairman also called inLiu'swifesothatshe could witness his verbal attack on her husband. The couple looked at one another in silence. Fifteen years later, he would tell Edgar Snowthathe had decided atthattimethatLiu had to go because he had disputed the assertionthattherewas a capitalist faction in the CCP which had to be rooted out.3 0 In place ofLiu,Zhou and the bureaucratic pragmatisms, Mao assembled a spectacularly odd group of acolytes who existed in the reflection of his image. This first gang of four* consisted of LinBiao,the defence minister, ChenBoda,the ideologue who drafted many of Mao's pro-nouncements, Kang Sheng, the ruthless police chief from theYenanera, *Only Jiang Qingwouldbelongto whatbecameknownas the Gang of Four in theensuing years, but theappellationseemsasjustifiedfor the original quartet as for the later one. 428
F A M I N EA N DR E T R E A T andJiangQing, the Chairman's ferociously ambitiouswifewith more thana few chips on her shoulder.31 Linwas busyturningthe PLA into Mao's ideological arm, with soldiers playing the role of model citizens. Politics must dominate every-thing, the army newspaper explained. Senior officers who wanted the PLAto concentrate on its professional role were put under pressure, as Linraised the Mao cult to new heights by organizing the mass publi-cation of theLittle RedBook(the Chairman drew royalties from the hundredsof millions of copies).