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Photo essay


Éric Florence
p. 3


For once, this issue of China Perspectives is not a special feature made of a collection of articles. We have decided on this occasion to publish a rare and previously unreleased document that narrates and illustrates the rivalries, struggles, and political campaigns that were carried out in Beijing from the summer of 1975 to the spring of 1976 and reached their climax with several demonstrations at Tiananmen Square within the first few days of April 1976. While the Ninth Party Congress in April 1969 aimed at officially legitimating the Cultural Revolution, Mao also wanted it to be the beginning of a reconstruction phase for the Party. Despite this desire for Party unity, in consideration of the political succession of an ever more isolated and increasingly physically fragile Chairman, the tensions at the top of the Party continued to intensify until the death of the Great Helmsman in September 1976. These tensions took the form of a series of political campaigns and public demonstrations on the capital's university campuses as well as on Tiananmen Square. While this period remains rather weakly documented in the political history of the People's Republic of China, it is nonetheless quite important for the understanding of the political dynamics of the late Mao era, particularly among the elites of the Communist Party as well as in the relationship between these elites and the Chinese population. (…) David Zweig, who has since become a renowned China specialist, was an eye-witness to these events. Hence, a few months ahead of the 40th anniversary of these demonstrations, the opportunity for China Perspectives to publish David Zweig's narrative, analysis, and photographs of this political drama was self evident. Plunging us into the unfolding of these crucial events of the end of the Mao era, these unique photos qualify as valuable political anthropology…

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Bibliographical reference

Éric Florence, « Editorial », China Perspectives, 2016/1 | 2016, 3.

Electronic reference

Éric Florence, « Editorial », China Perspectives [Online], 2016/1 | 2016, Online since 01 March 2016, connection on 26 April 2018. URL :

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Éric Florence

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