Qi Benyu

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Qi Benyu (Chinese 戚本禹, Hanyu-Pinyin : Qī Běnyǔ, Wade-Giles : Ch'i Pen-Yü; * 1931 in Weihai , Shandong Province ; † April 20, 2016 in Shanghai ) was an ultra-left theorist and propagandist during the Chinese Cultural Revolution . He was a member of the Cultural Revolution Group , chairman of the Xinfang division and vice chairman of the Central Office of the CCP Central Committee , chairman of the history department of Rote Fahne magazine. In 1968 he was removed from office and imprisoned.



Qi Benyu attended the Central School of the Chinese Communist Youth League and joined the Chinese Communist Party as a student in the early 1950s. After graduating, he became an assistant to Mao Zedong's secretary, Tian Jiaying . In 1963, he wrote an article about Li Xiucheng , a leader in the Taiping Uprising . In this article he violently attacked Luo Ergang, the previous authority in the field, and won Mao's approval. As a result, Qi was accepted into the editorial team of the Red Flag . There he published on December 8, 1965, in response to Yao Wenyuan's "Criticism of Hai Rui will be removed from his office ", the article " Researching History for the Revolution", in which he criticized several historians without naming them. Above all, Jian Bozan rejects the approach pursued by Jian Bozan of taking into account the different perspectives of social classes and the perspectives of historicism as capitalist standpoints that are “above the classes” and “objectivist”. Mao liked the article and praised it by saying, “Who are the authorities today? They are Yao Wenyuan, Qi Benyu, Yin Da ... people of little age, little knowledge, steadfast positions and stable political experiences ”. Nevertheless, the article did not go far enough for him and he encouraged Qi to attack the historians he disliked by name. Qi then wrote an article in which he directly attacked Wu Han and contributed to another essay in which Jian Bozan was criticized. Both appeared in the Volkszeitung and laid the foundation for Qi's reputation as a radical theorist and critic.

Political rise

From mid-1966, Qi's steep rise began during the Cultural Revolution. In May he became a member of the Cultural Revolution Group and soon after became vice chairman of the secretariat of the CCP Central Committee and acting director of the General Office of the CCP Central Committee. He was also promoted to deputy editor-in-chief in the Rote Fahne. Also in 1966, he became secretary to Mao Zedong and his wife Jiang Qing . In the Seventh Edition of the 1966 Red Flag , he published the article "Criticism of the Capitalist Positions of Qianxian and Beijing Ribao " (both newspapers of the Beijing Party Committee). Qi played an increasingly important role in the campaigns against Liu Shaoqi , Deng Xiaoping and the old party establishment, as well as in the attempt by the cultural revolution group in late 1966 / early 1967 to further incite the rebels.

Of the many articles and speeches that Qi wrote during 1966 and 1967, the article published in the Rote Fahne on March 30, 1967, was “Patriotism or Treason? Criticism of the historical film Secret History of the Qing Palace ”is of particular importance. It was highly praised by Mao and appeared on April 1st in full text in the People's Newspaper, the most widely read newspaper in the People's Republic. The article was "a classic example of hidden political allusions and character assassination in the style of the cultural revolution" and was directed primarily against Liu Shaoqi without ever mentioning him by name. Instead, he was consistently referred to as "the party's greatest capitalist roader" and " China's Khrushchev ".

The article initiated a new wave of national campaigns against Liu and determined the tenor of the now increasingly emerging “revolutionary, great criticism” directed against “the handful of the greatest capitalist roaders in the party” and “the course of counterrevolutionary revisionism”. Qi also began to intervene more directly in the political process by directing Red Guards to bring Peng Dehuai back to Beijing from Sichuan and encouraging them to crack down on Liu, Deng, Zhu De and Tao Zhu even within the government district of Zhongnanhai . On April 14, 1967, he declared that the tract "Discussing the Origin of Classes" written by Yu Luoke contained poisonous ideas, which resulted in his being sentenced to death on March 5, 1970.

Wang Guan Qi Affair

From 1967 Qi, together with Wang Li , Guan Feng and other members of the Cultural Revolution group, pushed Mao's plans to implement the Cultural Revolution in the military. They called on the people to track down the "handful of Capitalist Roaders" in the People's Liberation Army, which they met with fierce opposition. Radicalization was also sought in foreign policy, which culminated in the storming of the British embassy in Beijing on August 22nd. Mao now found himself facing growing chaos in his most important remaining power base, the military, on the one hand, and increasing vehement internal party resistance on the other. So he decided to drop the so-called "three little ones" Wang, Guan and Qi. The former two were dismissed in August 1967 and the latter was finally arrested on January 13, 1968 and stripped of all posts inside and outside the party. On January 26th, all three were taken to the notorious Qincheng Prison .

The main charge was revealed by Jiang Qing in a speech addressed to PLA officers: the "Wang Guan Qi anti-party clique" had secretly worked for Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping and Tao Zhu since the beginning of the Cultural Revolution. Although he was detained all the time, Qi was officially arrested by the Beijing Police Bureau on July 14, 1980, and by the Beijing City Intermediate People's Court on November 2, 1983 as a member of the counter-revolutionary cliques Lin Biao and Jiang Qing, and for "counter-revolutionary propaganda," "false Accusations' and 'inciting the masses to violence and destruction' ( da-za-qiang ) sentenced to 18 years imprisonment and four years disenfranchised rights, whereby the already served 15 years were credited.

After he was released from prison in 1986, Qi worked as a librarian in the collections of the Shanghai Library until he retired in the early 1990s. From then on he was co-editor of the nine-volume “Glossary on the Teaching of Yijing ” and, in addition to continued studies and lectures, also set foot in the economy, with a particular interest in the financial and banking sector. He had two sons and a daughter. He and his wife Qiu Yunying spent the last years living with their younger son.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Last member of China's Cultural Revolution Group, Qi Benyu, dies at 85
  2. "现在 的 权威 是 谁? 是 姚文元 、 戚本禹 、 尹 达 …… 要 年纪 小 的 、 学问 少 的 、 立场 稳 的 、 有 政治 经验 的 坚定 的 人 来 接班。", quoted from Ding Shu: 从 “史学革命 ”到“ 挖 祖坟 ”. online as PDF , p. 3, last viewed on July 21, 2009
  3. a b Complete article in English translation on wengewang.org , last viewed on July 21, 2009
  4. Guo Jian, Yongyi Song, Yuan Zhou (eds.): Historical dictionary of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. - Lanham, Md et al. a. : Scarecrow Press, 2006, p. 229 (eng)