Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Chiang Ching’s Defiant Declaration: “It’s Right to Rebel! Making Revolution is No Crime!”

First Published: Revolutionary Worker, Vol. 2, No. 34, January 2, 1981.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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It’s Right to Rebel! Making Revolution is No Crime! Bombard the Headquarters!

On December 29th, in what was supposed to be her last appearance in court before the sentence is handed down, Chiang Ching (Jiang Qing) shouted out these slogans from the Cultural Revolution and once again created a grand revolutionary disruption in the revisionists’ trial of Mao’s comrades.

The presiding judge, once again taken aback, warned that she was straying from the issues and slandering the Chinese leaders and the court, and then ordered “Take her away.” The television footage shown to the public went blank at this point. What the film did not show was Chiang Ching being dragged out of the court by three armed bailiffs, for the second time (at least) since her outburst on December 12th (see RW No. 84).

This latest court session began with the prosecutor listing all the charges against Chiang Ching and then calling for the death penalty because of her particularly “flagrant offenses”. Following the prepared script, the judge chimed in by stating that “The facts are clear, and the evidence is conclusive. The special court will pursue her criminal liability in accordance with law.”

The judge’s statement, according to the L.A. Times, “brought a sardonic smile to Chiang Ching’s face.” The Chicago Sun-Times reported that “with a cold laugh” she said. “You just want my head,” and also shouted “I am prepared to die!” During the course of the hearing, the Times said, she “repeatedly mocked both the judges and the prosecutors interrupting their speeches with contemptuous comments, making faces and once simply taking off her earphones and closing her eyes to ignore the prosecutor’s attack.” Chiang Ching attacked the current rulers as “reactionaries, counterrevolutionaries and fascists” and mocked the judges and prosecutors, calling them a “bunch of vampires,” and “dirty vultures.”

Given a chance to make a last statement, Chiang Ching made the attempt by the revisionists to bully her into submission through threats of execution look very feeble by declaring sarcastically “Let the monkey king give me more heads for you to chop off,” referring to a character in Chinese mythology with magical powers. Chiang Ching was not only saying that she was unafraid to die for the international proletarian revolutionary cause, but she was also warning the revisionists: If you want to wipe out revolution, you will have to chop off more than my head–there are millions more you will have to deal with.

(It must be noted in passing that there is a telling contrast even between the styles of the stuffed revisionists–pontificating in bureaucratese as they sit intimidated in their own courtroom–and the revolutionary flair and style of these fighters for the international proletariat–Chiang Ching in particular. It, too, stems from the contrast between the far-seeing communist political line and world view of these proletarian leaders, Chiang Ching and Chang Chun-chiao, and the outlook of bourgeois mummies.)

The revisionists wanted Chiang Ching to get bogged down in trying to refute every single cooked-up charge that they had thrown at her. But she refused to step into this trap, dismissing the charges as an attempt to “pick the bones from an egg”–in other words, there is nothing to it. Instead, she got right to the heart of the matter by insisting, as she has done throughout the trial, that “all my basic actions were in line with the decisions of the Party Central Committee headed at that time by Chairman Mao.” This is a truth that the revisionists, with all their rantings about her “crimes,” have not been able to wipe out. She even dared the revisionists to “go and check materials still locked in my personal safe. If you can find anything that shows I violated any policies of the former Central Committee headed by Chairman Mao, then I will be guilty of plotting.”

According to one news report, Chiang Ching also read a poem accusing the revisionists of trying to “steal the sky and change the sun.” It could very well be that she was referring in part to the song “The East is Red” which begins, “Red is the East, rises the sun.” and goes on to sing the praises of Mao and the Communist Party. This song, formerly China’s national anthem, was banned right around the time the trial started as part of the revisionists’ campaign to downgrade Mao.

Mao Attacked Openly

The revisionists were hoping that this trial will be a smooth, neat affair. They thought that they could nail the coffin on Mao’s comrades, in effect attacking Mao, while still keeping up the hypocritical and cowardly pretense of upholding Mao. This, they hoped, would in turn be a basis to launch more open attacks on Mao. But the defiant stand of the revolutionaries, Chiang Ching and Chang Chun-chiao, and especially her constant and clear statements that she acted only according to Mao’s revolutionary line and instructions, are all forcing the revisionists to quicken the pace of attacks on Mao. Representing the views of the highest levels of the revisionist leadership, the prosecutor declared in a statement that, “Chairman Mao was responsible, so far as his leadership was concerned, for (the people’s) plight during the Cultural Revolution and he is also responsible for failing to see through the Lin Biao and Chiang Ching counter-revolutionary cliques.” While Deng Xiaoping and Hu Yaobang, the party general secretary, have made similar statements before, this one, coming in the midst of this trial, is a big step toward linking Mao and the Four more closely. Originally, after the coup, these political cowards had tried to paint themselves as “Mao’s true heirs” and claimed he had been struggling against the Four.

But even at this point, four years later, the revisionists are still not willing to go all the way and lay out the whole truth–that far from “failing to see through” the so-called Gang of Four, Mao in fact was the head of the “Gang of Five”! The prosecutor qualified his blast at Mao by saying, “However, the party, the army and the people of all our nationalities will never for this reason forget or obliterate Chairman Mao’s great contributions to overthrowing the ’Three Great Mountains’ (of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism), founding the People’s Republic of China and pioneering the socialist cause in China. . .Chairman Mao’s great achievements are primary; his mistakes are secondary.” This hypocrisy, covering their hatred for Mao, is apparent to all, including the revisionists who are making these statements.

Dealing with Chiang Ching’s defiant stand has been very difficult, not only for the Chinese revisionists, but for reactionary ruling classes all over the world, including the U.S. imperialists. Confronted with the fact that Chiang Ching has been exposing that it is precisely Mao’s revolutionary line that is on trial in China, the U.S. press has scraped around for some new crap to spread in a rather desperate effort to cover over the truth. So they have resorted to characterizing her stand as “blaming Mao”–as if she were trying to evade the punishment by blaming someone else. Come on, imperialists, surely you could cook up something better than this. “Blaming Mao” as she stands up and shouts “It’s right to rebel!”! “Blaming Mao” as she calls her accusors “counter-revolutionaries” and “revisionists”! “Blaming Mao” as she says “I am prepared to die”! Come on, now. While their tricks are rather transparent, the fact that they have to resort to them is revealing. It shows that the proletarian revolutionary stand that comes beaming out of Mao’s comrades on trial in China today has real international significance. That the U.S. imperialists would be driven to such a desperate–and silly–cover-up shows that they, too, have a sense of this. A sense that this heroic revolutionary stand and Mao’s Marxist-Leninist revolutionary line it is based on are quite infectious and that many in their worldwide empire, including here in the U.S., are quite capable of “catching” it.

Along with Chiang Ching, Chang Chun-chiao has remained completely defiant all along. His last court appearance was on December 20. In all his days on the docket, the revisionists have never been able to squeeze a single word out of him. His only utterance was earlier, when the revisionists attempted to serve him with the indictment and he said “I refuse to accept it.” The prosecution on December 20 cited Chang Chun-chiao’s “defiant attitude and his refusal to acknowledge his crimes” and asked the court to “mete out severe punishment.”

By comparison to Chiang Ching and Chang Chun-chiao, the others being tried seem puny and pitiful. In his final statement, Wang Hung-wen said, according to the revisionists’ Peking Review, that he “sincerely pleads guilty” and hopes “that the court will give him a chance to repent and reform himself”–no doubt “reform” into the revisionists’ mold. The prosecutor asked the court to hand “due punishment” (as opposed to the death sentence for Chiang Ching and “severe punishment” for Chang Chun-chiao). The prosecutor also asked for “due punishment” for Yao Wen-yuan, who, according to the Peking Review and some other sources, admitted committing “mistakes” and pleaded that his position and role were different from that of Chiang Ching and Chang Chun-chiao.

Chang Chun-chiao, who is reported to be suffering from cancer, and is likely to have been tortured, and Chiang Ching have fully grasped the international and historic significance of their actions and are rising to the occasion. With the worldwide crisis of imperialism deepening, the opportunities for the proletarian revolutionaries of the whole world to respond to their clear example and call and move ahead on the basis of the great contributions of Mao and the Chinese revolutionary comrades are greater than ever. This, undoubtedly, has given Mao’s comrades strength. Chiang Ching appears to have even gotten physically stronger and sharper as the trial has progressed and the attacks intensified. In fact, she revealed in a two-and-a-half-hour long statement she made on December 24th that while in prison, she woke every morning at the crack of dawn to train her body so that she could do her best in court to defend the Cultural Revolution.

Chiang Ching’s Major Statement

This major statement was apparently a real blockbuster. The regularly scheduled TV program on the progress of the trial was cancelled without notice that night, and the December 25th edition of the official People’s Daily did not mention her speech at all. Very little of the details of the statement has been allowed to leak out. According to Ta Kung Pao, a Hong Kong pro-revisionist mouthpiece, “Chiang Ching completely evaded the facts about the crimes of frameup, persecution and interrogation to death contained in the indictment, shamelessly playing the part of ’upholder of Mao Tsetung Thought’.”

Before she began her statement, Chiang Ching demanded to know “Are you going to interrupt while I speak? This could be my last chance to speak in my life, and it is also the first time in the four years I have been locked up that I am able to speak before an audience.” While having no illusions about the nature of this railroad, Chiang Ching has used every opportunity, including the revisionists’ facade of bourgeois legality, to stir things up.

Again according to Ta Kung Pao, the central part of her statement was “singing the praises of the 10-year turmoil of the Cultural Revolution. She reviewed the Cultural Revolution from the May 16th Circular of 1966 to the campaign against the right-deviationist wind to reverse the correct verdicts of the Cultural Revolution that took place in 1975. She stated that all she carried out were the decisions and instructions of the Central Committee led by Mao. The January Storm (the overthrowing of revisionist leadership in Shanghai in January of 1967, led by the Four), she stressed, had Mao’s approval.

She said she was the only woman comrade to follow Mao to the frontlines when the Kuomintang reactionaries were advancing on Yenan. “Where were you then?” she asked. “You are trying Chairman Mao’s wife,” she stated. “You are trying to destroy me because you know you can never destroy Chairman Mao.”

Finally, Chiang Ching stood up to read a written declaration which was full of Mao’s quotations and slogans from the Cultural Revolution, such as “The bourgeoisie is in the Communist Party,” “As for bourgeois right, it must be restricted under the conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat,” and “Take class struggle as the key link, when the key link is grasped, everything will follow, continue making revolution.” At the end, she dared the revisionists to sentence her to death in front of a million people in Tienamen Square in Peking and proclaimed “It is more glorious to have my head chopped off” than to yield to the revisionists.

Groundwork for Sentencing

From all signs the revisionists are preparing the groundwork to sentence Chiang Ching to death. December 25th People’s Daily published a letter from a son of Chen Yi, a former vice-premier and one of the so-called “victims” of persecution by the Four, calling for Chiang Ching’s death. Besides its role in creating opinion for Chiang Ching’s execution, what is interesting about the about Chiang Ching’s statements in court. “Revolution is not a dinner party,” the letter quotes Chiang Ching. “I am lawless. What are you going to do about it?” Chiang pledged that she would conduct an “investigation,” but promised she “would not investigate you, the minor persons on stage”– meaning the judges, prosecutors, clerks, bailiffs and witnesses. The letter goes on to argue that people should not be lulled by Chiang Ching’s pledge not to investigate “minor persons.” “How can the people let this devil escape the net of the law, and once again carry on her crazed revenge?” Of course neither the revisionists nor Chiang Ching herself seriously believed that she would “escape the net of the law” and be allowed to carry on an investigation. Chiang Ching, in her characteristically sharp and sarcastic way, was calling the judges and others for what they are–puppets in the hands of the top revisionists. The real purpose in this call for execution is revealed at the end, where “the most serious punishment” is demanded for Chiang Ching “In order to prevent the reappearance of Chiang Ching-like evils who will bring hardship to the people again.” The call for Chiang Ching’s blood is a warning to not follow in her revolutionary footsteps.

The statement by Chiang Ching’s prosecutor that “Chairman Mao’s great achievements are primary; his mistakes are secondary” can in no way be taken to mean that the revisionists still uphold Mao’s line at all. What the revisionists are referring to by Mao’s achievements are his contributions in the period before liberation. While Mao did make very significant contributions in this period, both in theoretically analyzing the Chinese revolution from a Marxist standpoint and concretely leading the revolution through its many twists and turns, his most significant contributions came in the last years of his life. It is Mao’s development of the understanding that class struggle continues throughout the whole period under socialism with the main target being the bourgeoisie in the highest levels of the Communist Party, and his leading role in applying this understanding to practice, especially in the Cultural Revolution that the revisionists want to file under the heading “Mistakes.” Negating all this means negating all of Mao. For, as a proletarian revolutionary, to Mao the national-democratic revolution necessary in China was only a transition to socialism, and ultimately, to communism.

If they could the revisionists would like to openly and overwhelmingly tip the scales of summation of Mao toward his mistakes. However, this will be extremely dangerous for them, since to do so would mean casting doubt on Mao and the Communist Party’s leadership of China’s national liberation, and in turn damage the credibility of their own rule. Although the revisionists have turned the Communist Party into its opposite, they still need to operate under its signboard.

Still, the revisionists are trying to downplay Mao’s role even in the period before liberation. On December 27th, all the national newspapers announced with much fanfare the publication of Zhou Enlai’s (Chou En-lai) Selected Works. This is part of an effort by the revisionists to make Mao only “one among the many” leaders of the Chinese Revolution. Mao Tsetung Thought has already been “redefined” to include the thought of those he bitterly fought, Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping. Of course the later developments in Mao’s thinking can be explained away very simply–Mao violated “his own” thought! While playing a useful role in “diluting”–actually opposing Mao Tsetung Thought, Zhou Enlai is himself coming under attack from powerful sections of his fellow revisionists. Since Zhou found it necessary and expedient to go along with Mao in certain parts of the Cultural Revolution (even while trying to sabotage it) Liu Shaoqi’s supporters (and supporters of the Soviet imperialists, as opposed to the U.S. imperialists) are bringing Zhou under fire for this during the trial.

On December 26th, Mao’s birthday, the People’s Daily published an obscure letter written by Mao to his cousin in 1937 while in Yenan. In the letter, Mao expresses concern for the welfare of his family and those back in his home village, and describes conditions in Yenan, where everybody sacrifices their self interest and nobody receives wages because they are all working for the country and the people. It seems the intent of publishing this letter, a few days before the prosecutor’s statement that Mao was responsible for ”the people’s plight during the Cultural Revolution,” is to say that Mao in his later years deviated from their image of a benevolent and hard-working guardian of the people’s material well-being–precisely the image created around Zhou by the revisionists.

The deepening of the attack on Mao can only mean more trouble also for Hua Guofeng who is rapidly outliving his usefulness in giving the revisionist rule a semblance of continuity from Mao’s era. As the revisionists move into a whole new level of attacks on Mao, Hua and those he represents have become the obstacle that needs to be removed. Hua has not been seen in public for over a month now–not even at a big New Years’ affair. On December 29th the Peking Workers Daily went after Hua with a vengeance, attacking “those people that continued to underestimate the power of the people two years after the fall of the Gang of Four clearly denying the decisive role of the masses in their struggle to smash the Gang of Four, people who regard the Tienamen incident as a counterrevolutionary political incident and create a new cult of the individual.”

“It’s Right to Rebel! Making Revolution is No Crime! Bombard the Headquarters!” These slogans that rang out in the revisionists’ courtroom describe well the stand that Chiang Ching and Chang Chun-chiao have been taking throughout this trial–a stand that rings out and serves as an example, a call, the world over.