Tracted tuberculosis in the spring of 1964 the

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tracted tuberculosis in the spring of 1964, the Chairman ordered the Central Bureau of Health to stop giving special treatment to the leader- ship. He, of course, kept his own personal doctor; others were to go to the Beijing Hospital, along with members of the public. While cloaked in the language of democratization, the timing meant the decision was clearly aimed at Liu. 2 8 At a Politburo work conference, the Helmsman took issue with the harshness of the SEM purge. He then noted 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 exclude him from meetings (the latter had suggested that he might prefer to rest because he was in poor health). Waving copies of the national and Party constitutions, Mao said that as a citizen and CCP member he had every right to speak at meetings. It may have seemed a ridiculous piece of grandstanding, but it was never safe to disregard such outbursts since their author could turn his paranoia into reality. 29 At the end of 1964, the Chairman took the unusual step of inviting Liu Shaoqi to his seventy-first birthday dinner, but then subjected him to a diatribe against revisionism and the building of independent king- doms. On the day Liu was re-elected to the presidency, 3 January 1965, Mao summoned him to his suite at the Great Hall of the People. Without telling him, the Chairman also called in Liu's wife so that she could witness his verbal attack on her husband. The couple looked at one another in silence. Fifteen years later, he would tell Edgar Snow that he had decided at that time that Liu had to go because he had disputed the assertion that there was a capitalist faction in the CCP which had to be rooted out. 3 0 In place of Liu, 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 Lin Biao, the defence minister, Chen Boda, the ideologue who drafted many of Mao's pro- nouncements, Kang Sheng, the ruthless police chief from the Yenan era, * Only Jiang Qing would belong to what became known as the Gang of Four in the ensuing years, but the appellation seems as justified for the original quartet as for the later one. 428
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F A M I N E A N D R E T R E A T and Jiang Qing, the Chairman's ferociously ambitious wife with more than a few chips on her shoulder. 31 Lin was busy turning the 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 PLA to concentrate on its professional role were put under pressure, as Lin raised the Mao cult to new heights by organizing the mass publi- cation of the Little Red Book (the Chairman drew royalties from the hundreds of millions of copies).
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