By the end of February 1967 the counter-revolutionaries had claimed control of only 10 provinces and municipalities (plus Tsingtao) out of a total of 28 (excluding Taiwan). By the middle of December 1967 the counter-revolutionaries had claimed control of a further 4 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities (plus Tientsin). But in the meantime they had lost control or were under heavy armed attack in 6 provinces which they had claimed in the first two months of the year, namely: Anhwei, Heilungkiang, Kansu, Kiangsi, Kwantung and Kweichow.
As the counter-revolutionary propaganda machine put it in June 1967:
At present, the development of China’s great proletarian cultural revolution is uneven. (“A Theoretical Weapon for Making Revolution Under the Dictatorship of the Proletariat”, editorial in “Hongqi”, No. 10, 1967; in: “Peking Review”, No. 26, 1967; p. 32).
The most important factor in the failure of the counter-revolutionary “blitzkrieg” against the Chinese working people was the fact that a large proportion of Party members and organs at all levels were not deceived by the demagogic “revolutionary” propaganda of the counter-revolutionaries, but waged a determined struggle to expose it and to organise the working people, and in particular the working class, actively to resist the counter-revolution.
As Mao Tse-tung put it in his “big-character” poster as long ago as August 1966:
Some leading comrades from the central down to the local levels have...struck down the surging movement of the great cultural revolution of the proletariat. (Mao Tse-tung: “Bombard the Headquarters” in: “Peking Review”, No. 33, 1967; p. 5)
The counter-revolutionary propaganda machine admits “the very deep and far-reaching influence” of these loyal Party members and organs, which has brought about not merely determined resistance to the counter-revolution but “frenzied counter-attacks” which is “bombarding the headquarters” of the counter-revolution.
The most important plot and scheme of the very small number of persons who stubbornly persist in the bourgeois-reactionary line is to incite the masses to struggle against each other. They have secretly organised and manipulated some people and mass organisations, whom they have hoodwinked, to suppress the revolution, protect themselves, and to provoke conflicts in which coercion of force are used in a vain attempt to create confusion. They spread rumors, turned black into white and shifted the blame, for the evil they, had done behind people’s backs on to the proletarian revolutionaries, labelling the latter with ’the bourgeois reactionary line’. (“Carry the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution through to the End”, editorial in “Renmin Ribao”, January 1st, 1967; in: “Peking Review”, No. 1, 1967; p. 10).
Some of these scoundrels have been overthrown, but they still stubbornly refuse to admit their heinous crimes against the Party and socialism. They seize every opportunity to hit out wildly in a vengeful counter-attack. ...
In order to save themselves from imminent destruction they invariably manipulate and make use of a number of conservative or reactionary organisations, mislead a section of the people and wage desperate last-minute struggles against the revolutionary forces. They come out into the open, bare their fangs and do not even scruple to lay their murderous hands on proletarian revolutionaries. (“Carry Revolutionary Mass Criticism Through to the End”, editorial in “Renmin Ribao”, July 24th, 1967; in: “Peking Review”, No. 31, 1967; p. 6).
Though the bourgeois headquarters has been stripped of its organisational and administrative powers, the pernicious influence of the bourgeois reactionary line pushed by them over a long period is very deep and far-reaching. ...
Are not these stubborn class enemies still putting up a desperate resistance and frenzied counter-attack? (“Bombard the Bourgeois Headquarters”, editorial in “Renmin Ribao”, August 5th, 1967 in: “Peking Review”, No. 33, 1967; p. 10).
There...are now a handful of counter-revolutionaries who are...bombarding the proletarian headquarters, creating dissension and exploiting confusion. (Yao Wen-yuan: “Comments on Tao Chu’s Two Books”, in: “Peking Review”, No. 36, 3967; p. 16).
A very important factor in the failure of the counter-revolutionary “blitzkrieg” was that in 13 provinces and autonomous regions out of 28 all, or a significant section of the army disobeyed the order to intervene on the side of the counter-revolutionaries.
In one province – Hopei – the army refused to “use force against the people”.
In five provinces and autonomous regions – Anhwei, Heilungking, Kansu, Kiangsi and Sinkiang – a significant section of the army units intervened on the side of the working people against the counter-revolutionaries.
In six provinces and autonomous regions – Kenan, Hopei, Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, Szechwan and Tibet – virtually the whole of the army units intervened on the side of the working people against the counter-revolutionaries.
Not unnaturally comment on this position in the propaganda of the counter-revolutionaries has been sparse:
This counter-revolutionary organisation has two aims: one is to undermine and split the leadership of the Party’s Central Committee headed by our great leader Chairman Mao and the other is to undermine and split the main pillar of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the great Chinese People’s Liberation Army.” (Yao Wen-yuan: “Comments on Tao Chu’s Two Books” in: “Peking Review”, No.38, 1967; p.16).
Owing to the extreme complexity of the class struggle, the ardousness of the tasks and lack of experience, it is inevitable that a few leading members of the P.L.A. units in some places suffered from certain shortcomings or made certain mistakes. (“The Great Chinese P.L.A. ...etc.” editorial in “Hongqi”, No. 14, 1967; in: “Peking Review”, No. 36, 1967; p.5).
In certain places, some comrades in the local army units “may commit temporary mistakes in giving their support because of the intricate and complex conditions of the class struggle. (“On the Revolutionary ’Three-in-One’ Combination”, editorial in: “Hongqi”, No. 5 1967; in: “Peking Review”, No. 12, 1967; p. l6).
In case they (i.e., the commanders and fighters of the Liberation Army – Ed.) supported the wrong side for a time, this should be corrected promptly. (“Warmly Respond to the Call to Support the Army and Cherish the People”, editorial in: “Hongqi”, No. 6, 1967; in: “Peking Review”, No. 19, 1967; p. 22).
A further important factor in the failure of the counter-revolutionary “blitzkrieg” has been growing disunity in many areas between the varied groups which make up the civilian counter-revolutionary forces.
Revolutionary mass organisations...should not revel in ’civil war’; they should not attack or revile one another or use physical violence and cause disorder in solving contradictions among the people. If they act in this way the contradictions inevitably will be intensified and this will give the enemy an opportunity of which he can take advantage. (“A Theoretical Weapon for Making Revolution under the Dictatorship of the Proletariat”, editorial in “Hongqi”, No. 10, 1967, in: “Peking Review”, No. 26, 1967; p. 32).
The leading force in the resistance to, and counter-offensive against, the counter-revolution is the industrial-working class, and strike action led by loyal Party members and organs in the factories has been widespread.
As the propaganda of the counter-revolutionaries puts it:
Lately, in many factories and plants, it has occurred that some, or even the majority of the members of the Red Militia Detachments, have suspended production and deserted the posts in production. This runs directly counter to the stipulation by the Party Central Committee on taking firm hold of the revolution and promoting production and directly affects the people’s livelihood and the development of national economic construction. (“Message to all Shanghai People”, in: “Peking Review”, No. 3, 1967; p. 6).
But strike action was only a preliminary form of the struggle of the working class. This has developed into armed struggle against the counter-revolutionary forces – with units of the armed forces where they have remained loyal to the working people, against them where they have not.
And workers and peasants have formed guerilla units in the countryside and mountains – making use of Mao Tse-tung’s valuable teachings on People’s War against the counter-revolutionary forces led by him.
Even in the areas where the counter-revolutionary forces seem firmly in power – such as Peking, under martial law – organized opposition struggle is being developed.
This counter-revolutionary organisation dare not come out into the open. It has hidden itself underground in Peking for the last few months. We have as yet not fully identified most of its members and leaders. For they send their people out to paste up broadsheets and paint slogans only in the silence of the night. (Yao Wen-yuan: “Comments on Tao Chu’s Two Books” in: “Peking: Review”, No. 38, 1967; p. 16).