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Hu Yaobang (1915–89)

Subject History

Place Eastern Asia » China

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631209379.1999.x


General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) (1981–7). From a poor peasant family he had little education before he was recruited as a boy to fight in mao Zedong's unsuccessful Autumn Harvest Uprising in 1927. He joined Mao in the Jiangxi Soviet and when the Nationalists under jiang jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek) drove the communists out, Hu fought on the Long March (1934–5) to Yanan in the north. He worked as a political commissar under LIN biao during the Sino-Japanese War (1937–45) and the Chinese civil war (1946–9). Hu was then a party official in Sichuan with deng Xiaoping until 1952, when he followed Deng to Beijing and was head of the Young Communist League (1952–66), an organization with 30 million members. During the cultural revolution Hu and Deng were twice purged and twice rehabilitated. After his second recall in 1977, following the arrest of the radical gang of four, he had a rapid rise in the CCP hierarchy owing to Deng's backing: a member of the Politburo (1978), of its inner circle, the Standing Committee (1980) and General Secretary of the CCP (1981), replacing Mao's chosen successor, hua guofeng. Articulate and industrious, Hu believed that ideology should not stand in the way of economic modernization and was officially corrected for saying that Marx, a nineteenth-century thinker, could not solve China's problems in the late twentieth century. Hu purged Maoists ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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