Hua Guofeng

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Hua Guofeng in 1978

Hua Guofeng ( Chinese  華國鋒  /  华国锋 , Pinyin Huà Guófēng ; original name Sū Zhù苏 铸; born February 16, 1921 in Jiaocheng ( Shanxi Province ); †  August 20, 2008 in Beijing ) was a Chinese politician. In 1976, he succeeded Mao Zedong as Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party . During his short term in office, the transition to Deng Xiaoping's dominated period of reform and opening up of the People's Republic of China took place .

Hua Guofeng came from a poor peasant family in Jiaocheng County , Lüliang City , Shanxi Province . As a result of a natural disaster, the family had to leave the area and settle in the north in the neighboring province of Shaanxi , where the Chinese communists rallied after their Long March in 1935 . Around this time, Hua joined the People's Liberation Army , where he fought against the Japanese invaders and then against the troops of the nationalist Guomindang .

Career in Hunan

In 1949, the year the People's Republic of China was founded, Hua stayed in Hunan Province , where he began his political career as party secretary at the county level. He earned a reputation as a hardworking and conscientious party worker and excelled in the 1955 movement to form agricultural cooperatives. Since Mao Zedong's birthplace Shaoshan is in his Xiangtan county , it was easy for Hua to get the attention of the "Great Chairman", who met him on a home visit. In 1959, Mao recommended that Hua be elected Party Secretary of Hunan Province. In 1964, Hua became a member of the National People's Congress for the first time .

In the cultural revolution that began in 1966 , when numerous established functionaries of the “ Red Guards ” were overthrown as “ revisionists ”, “deviants” and “rulers on the capitalist path”, Hua Guofeng was able to continue his ascent. There is no doubt that he was responsible for the suppression of independent left-wing radical movements in the Hunan provincial party leadership - in Hunan the Shengwulian (Proletarian Alliance) group emerged with its manifesto “Where is China going?”, In which not only the party apparatus, but even Mao was criticized. In 1969, Hua was elected to the CCP Central Committee at the 9th Congress .

Promotion to headquarters

In 1971, Hua was appointed in Beijing to head a committee to investigate the affair of the suddenly disappeared Defense Minister and Mao's successor-designate, Lin Biao . According to the results, he is said to have planned a coup, but before the threat of exposure, he fled towards the Soviet Union , with his plane crashing over Mongolia .

In 1973, Hua rose to the Politburo at the 10th Party Congress. In 1975 he became Minister of Public Security.

In the fall of the same year, Hua gave the keynote address at a national conference on "Learning from Dazhai " in Agriculture. The village of Dazhai in Shanxi Province, whose inhabitants had won fertile farmland “through heroic work” in the rugged hilly landscape, has been a role model in the “Lean on your own strength” movement since 1964. In his remarks, Hua made use of the left-wing radical rhetoric stemming from the cultural revolution - continuous revolutionization, continuation of the class struggle, combating capitalist tendencies - while at the same time placing clear emphasis on mechanization and rapid production increases as the actual purpose of creating circles of the "Dazhai type" large collective units. This "productivist" argument indicated a contrast to the extreme left tendency around Mao's wife Jiang Qing , who had previously promoted Hua, as the radical left was a "revisionist" departure from the primacy of politics in favor of a "primacy of the productive forces" saw.

Successor to Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong

When Prime Minister Zhou Enlai died on January 8, 1976, Hua was provisionally appointed acting Prime Minister. He finally took over this post after he, as security minister, had the spontaneous mass rally in Beijing dissolved on April 5 , at which mourning for Zhou Enlai was expressed on the occasion of the memorial festival, but also sharp criticism of the radical faction, which was striving for power after the march through to power . Subsequently, Deng Xiaoping, who was sponsored by Zhou Enlai, was accused of instigating the "counter-revolutionary" incident and was dismissed from office. Hua played a key role in this. Mao is said to have said to him at the time: “If you take over the leadership, I can rest assured.” Hua later derived his claim to the successor to Mao from this - in fact, this expression of confidence initially related more to his responsibility in the campaign against Deng. However, his appointment as first deputy party chairman clearly signaled an upgrading of Hua, in whom Mao probably saw a more reliable and solid supporter than the radical group around his wife, which was unpopular because of their aggressive and hair-splitting campaigning policies.

Although Hua had worked with the radicals against Deng Xiaoping in the spring of 1976, after Mao Zedong's death in September he preferred to form a new center coalition in the party leadership that opposed the radicals. Jiang Qing's group was arrested as a " gang of four ." As the new party chairman, Hua had prominent symbolic figures of the left-wing Maoist course such as the agricultural pioneer Chen Yonggui , security forces such as the long-time head of Mao's body regiment, Wang Dongxing , and above all influential military veterans such as Ye Jianying on his side.

Following the example of the campaign against Lin Biao in 1971, Hua's propaganda apparatus had the “Gang of Four” disguised as a “left” group of ultra-right counterrevolutionary conspirators who had sabotaged socialist construction by “mobilizing rag-proletarian and anti-social elements” in order to “ feudal-fascist dictatorship ”. Hua tried to portray himself as the called, truly faithful successor of Mao; by changing his hairstyle, he even tried to match the look of his predecessor.

He issued the doctrine of the “two everything”: all decisions of Mao were to be adhered to and all of his instructions were to be carried out. Although it was based on the rhetoric of the Cultural Revolution, Hua's regime turned against its anti-authoritarian and anarchic content. While Mao loved the "revolutionary disorder", Hua propagated the "great order". In a bloody wave of purges against supporters of the "Gang of Four" in the spring of 1977, numerous former activists of the Cultural Revolution were arrested and many of them were executed.

Hua resumed the program proclaimed by Zhou Enlai of the " Four Modernizations " in agriculture, industry, science and the army, which had sabotaged the "Gang of Four ". Rigorous discipline was enforced in the factories and strict adherence to regulations was demanded - in contrast to the practice of the Maoist left, which always demanded that the meaning of regulations be critically examined and that nonsensical regulations should be avoided. The exams that had been abolished in the Cultural Revolution were reintroduced.

Unstable balance of power

Hua's order and modernization coalition was dependent on cooperation with the pragmatic sections of the party that had suffered from the Cultural Revolution. Hua, who himself was a climber of the Cultural Revolution and at the same time tried to limit its excesses, sought a balance of interests between winners and losers of the Cultural Revolution, which proved impossible. Pressure quickly grew in the party for Deng Xiaoping's rehabilitation. At the 11th party congress in August 1977, Hua was hailed as the “wise chairman”, but at the same time the reform wing around Deng Xiaoping, which in December 1978 was able to enforce its course on essential points at the 3rd plenary session of the 11th Central Committee, gained strength .

The unstable balance of power between the Hua and Deng factions at the top of the party at that time - between which the veterans Ye Jianying and Li Xiannian stood, who voted for one or the other depending on the topic - finally tipped more and more in favor the Deng current. While Hua and his followers demanded absolute loyalty to Mao and continued to see the “continuation of the class struggle” with criticism of “deviations from the law” and “capitalist tendencies” as an essential task in the construction of socialism, the Dengists raised - for their part, citing Mao's slogan “The Seeking truth in facts ”- practice became the criterion for the correctness of political positions and declared the development of the economy to be an absolute priority. The enforcement of the Deng line had the consequence that the workers' rights of participation in industrial companies, which stemmed from the cultural revolution, were abolished. In 1979 the “ Revolutionary Committees ” that had emerged as administrative units during the Cultural Revolution were dissolved on the grounds that they discussed too much and achieved too little.

The crucial issue, however, was agriculture. Hua stuck to his orientation to the Dazhai model, that is to say to the program of promoting the formation of large collective units in the countryside in which comprehensive mechanization is possible. The reformers around Deng aimed for exactly the opposite, the dissolution of poorly functioning collectives and the handing over of the land to the farming families for private cultivation ("system of responsibility"). Undoubtedly, Hua's weakening was caused by the fact that his modernization program was accompanied by numerous excessive and unrealistic objectives.

Foreign policy

In the field of foreign policy, under Hua, the " theory of the three worlds ", which emerged in the late Mao years and was mainly directed against the Soviet Union, was officially elevated to a doctrine. In the years under Hua Guofeng, China stuck to the view that a new world war was inevitable in the long run - this was the main question that led to the ideological dispute with the Soviet Union at the beginning of the 1960s, about the possibility of a lasting peaceful coexistence of socialism and " Imperialism " went out. Now, however, the Soviet Union itself has been accused of being the most dangerous warmongering power.

The three worlds theory described the imperialist “superpowers” ​​USA and the Soviet Union as the “first world”, whereby the “social-imperialism” of the Soviet Union, which according to the Chinese view had abandoned socialism from the mid-1950s and degenerated “revisionist” and “social-fascist”, was even more dangerous and is more aggressive than US imperialism. The “second world” were the countries of Europe that were under the influence of the “superpowers” ​​but had an interest in breaking free from submission to their domination. In the “ third world ”, the developing countries, as the spokesman for China at that time, the fight against the “hegemony” of the “superpowers” ​​was emphasized as crucial (see also non-aligned states ). China's diplomacy now endeavored to bring about a rapprochement between the “third” and “second” world and to strengthen the position of the countries of Europe in the fight against “hegemonism”.

Hua's visits to Yugoslavia and Romania in 1978 demonstrated the particular interest in promoting the aspirations for independence and independence from the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe. The alliance with Albania that emerged in the early 1960s , however, broke up - Albania's isolationist and ideologically rigorous course contradicted China's interest in increased cooperation with Europe. But the rapprochement with the USA that began in 1972 was continued. The 1979 war waged as a “punitive action” against the Soviet-influenced Vietnam because of its intervention in Cambodia by the “ Khmer Rouge ” undoubtedly served to gain the goodwill of the USA. In 1979, Hua also visited the Federal Republic of Germany.

Fall in stages

From the end of 1978, Deng Xiaoping, who himself served as Hua's deputy in the offices of party chairman and prime minister, succeeded in weakening the influence of Hua's semi-Maoist-left-centrist wing in the Politburo and strengthening reformers such as Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang . In 1980, Hua handed over the post of prime minister to Zhao Ziyang.

At the turn of 1980/81 the long-awaited show trial against the "Gang of Four" took place. Jiang Qing succeeded in presenting the charge that she and her colleagues had acted “ counter-revolutionary ” against Mao as a nonsensical construct. Hua Guofeng's attempt to make the “Gang of Four” the sole scapegoat for all failures in China since 1966 proved untenable. Instead, it became clear to what extent Hua herself had long been associated with the political currents for which the "Gang of Four" stood. So the trial meant the political end for Hua. In 1981, Hua was also replaced as party chairman. He was replaced by the liberal reformer Hu Yaobang, who had already held the position of General Secretary standing next to the Chairman from 1980.

But they refrained from staging a spectacular fall. In 1981, Hua retained his seat in the Politburo, from which he only resigned at the 12th Party Congress in September 1982. With Hua's departure, the last functionaries whose rise was linked to the Cultural Revolution were removed from the party leadership. At the same time, the reprivatisation of agriculture known as the “system of responsibility” was fully implemented.

Hua remained a member of the Central Committee and held various representative but uninfluential positions until the 1990s. He was last elected to the Central Committee at the 15th Party Congress in 1997. At the 16th party congress in 2001, he no longer ran. Hua appeared at the 17th party congress in autumn 2007, although he had long since passed the age limit. Rumors that Hua had resigned from the party in protest against the reform policy had proven to be irrelevant.


  • The whole party is mobilizing for even greater efforts in agriculture and for building Dajai-type circles. Foreign Language Literature Publishing House, Beijing, 1975.
  • Obituary of Comrade Hua Guo-feng, 1st Vice Chairman of the CPC Central Committee and Chairman of the State Council, at the mass mourning rally for the great leader and teacher, Chairman Mao Tsetung. In: Roter Morgen , Zentralorgan der KPD / Marxist-Leninisten, No. 40 of October 2, 1976, Volume 10, p. 9.
  • Speech at the II National Conference on Learning from Dajai in Agriculture. Publishing House for Foreign Language Literature Beijing, 1977.
  • Continuation of the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat to completion. To study Volume V of the “Selected Works of Mao Tsetung”. Foreign Language Literature Publishing House, Beijing, 1977.
  • Political report on the XI. Chinese Communist Party Congress. In: The XI. Chinese Communist Party Congress, documents. Foreign Language Literature Publishing House, Beijing, 1977.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Hua Guofeng is dead. In: . August 20, 2008, archived from the original on August 23, 2008 ; accessed on August 6, 2019 .
predecessor Office successor
Zhou Enlai PRC Premier
Zhao Ziyang