On This Day
1976 – Premier Hua Guofeng arrests the Gang of Four, ending the Cultural Revolution in China.
The Gang of Four (simplified Chinese: 四人帮; traditional Chinese: 四人幫; pinyin: Sì rén bāng) was a political faction composed of four Chinese Communist Party officials. They came to prominence during the Cultural Revolution (1966–76) and were later charged with a series of treasonous crimes. The gang’s leading figure was Jiang Qing (Mao Zedong’s last wife). The other members were Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan, and Wang Hongwen.
The Gang of Four controlled the power organs of the Communist Party of China through the later stages of the Cultural Revolution, although it remains unclear which major decisions were made by Mao Zedong and carried out by the Gang, and which were the result of the Gang of Four’s own planning.
The Gang of Four, together with general Lin Biao who died in 1971, were labeled the two major “counter-revolutionary forces” of the Cultural Revolution and officially blamed by the Chinese government for the worst excesses of the societal chaos that ensued during the ten years of turmoil. Their downfall on October 6, 1976, a mere month after Mao’s death, brought about major celebrations on the streets of Beijing and marked the end of a turbulent political era in China.
Their fall did not amount to a rejection of the Cultural Revolution as such. It was organized by the new leader, Premier Hua Guofeng, and others who had risen during that period. Significant repudiation of the entire process of change came later, with the return of Deng Xiaoping at the 11th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and Hua’s gradual loss of authority.
Born On This Day
1897 – Florence B. Seibert, American biochemist and academic (d. 1991)
Florence Barbara Seibert (October 6, 1897 – August 23, 1991) was an American biochemist. She is best known for identifying the active agent in the antigen tuberculin as a protein, and subsequently for isolating a pure form of tuberculin, purified protein derivative (PPD), enabling the development and use of a reliable TB test. Seibert has been inducted into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame and the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
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Edward Lodewijk Van Halen (/væn ˈheɪlɛn/ van HAY-len; January 26, 1955 – October 6, 2020) was a Dutch-born American musician, songwriter, producer, and inventor. He was the main songwriter and founder—with brother and drummer Alex Van Halen, bassist Mark Stone, and singer David Lee Roth—of the American rock band Van Halen. In 2012, he was voted number one in a Guitar World magazine reader’s poll for “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.
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