At the end of June 1966, the counter-revolutionaries began a press campaign against the leading Marxist-Leninist Chou Yang, Deputy Director of the Propaganda department of the Party, who had played an important role in the campaign against the Chinese rightists and against modern revisionism.
Chou Yang...was the ringleader of the black line against the Party, socialism and Mao Tse-tung’s thought in literary and art circles.... What a black-hearted, hideous character he is...the lord of hell in literary and art circles. (Wu Chi-yen: “Repudiate Chou Yang’s Revisionist Programme for Literature and Art”, in: “Peking Review”, No. 34, 1966; p. 29, 37).
In July 1966 Lu Ting-yi (Minister of Culture and also director of the Party’s propaganda department), together with Lin Mo-han (Deputy Minister of Culture), were dismissed from their posts for having been responsible for the appointment of Chou Yang. Tao Chu was appointed director of the propaganda department, and General Hsiao Wang-tung Acting Minister of Culture.
On December 20th 1966 Lu Ting-yi was “arrested” by “Red Guards”.
On January 3rd, 1967 the arrest of Chou Yang was officially announced.
At the end of December 1966, supporters in Nanking of Tao Chu waged a series of attacks upon “Red Guards” and called a general strike against the “cultural revolution”. Shortly afterwards press attacks upon Tao Chu commenced, and a special rally was held in Peking on January 10th, 1967, to denounce him.
After he took charge of the Propaganda Department of the Central Committee, Tao Chu became the faithful agent of the top Party person in authority taking the capitalist road in suppressing the revolutionary masses. He did his utmost to oppose Chairman Mao’s great big-character poster ’Bombard the Headquarters’. He tried his best to protect the monsters. ...He shouted himself hoarse that ’in the great cultural revolution, it is correct to doubt everyone’. (Yao Wen-yuan: “Comments on Tao Chu’s Two Books”, in: “Renmin Ribao”, September 8th, 1967; in: “Peking Review”, No. 38, 1967; p.l6).
Tao Chu was also charged with having spoken disparagingly of Mao Tse-tung, “the great red sun”, in an article entitled “The Sun’s Radiance” by saying:
The sun itself has black spots on it.” (Cited by Yao Wen-yuan: op. cit.; p. 13).
On February 13th, 1967 it was announced that Wang Li (acting editor of “Renmin Ribao”) had been appointed director of the propaganda department in place of Tao Chu.