Hua Guofeng

Su Zhu (16 February 1921 – 20 August 2008), better known by the nom de guerre Hua Guofeng, was Mao Zedong's designated successor as the paramount leader of the Communist Party of China and the People's Republic of China.

A regional official in Hunan between 1949 and 1971, he became the head of the party leadership in the province during the latter stages of the Cultural Revolution. Hua was elevated to the national stage in early 1976, and was known for his loyalty to Mao. Upon Zhou Enlai's death in January 1976, Hua succeeded Zhou as Premier of the People's Republic of China. After Mao's death, Hua took on the titles of Chairman of the Communist Party of China and the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, to the surprise and dismay of Jiang Qing and the rest of the Gang of Four. Hua is the only leader to have simultaneously held the three highest offices of the PRC – leading the Party, State Council, and the Central Military Commission.

In 6 October 1976, Hua brought the Cultural Revolution to an end and ousted the Gang of Four from political power by staging their arrests in Beijing. He attempted moderate reforms and reversing some of the excesses of Cultural Revolution-era policies. However, because of his insistence on continuing the Maoist line, he was himself outmaneuvered in December 1978 by Deng Xiaoping, a pragmatic reformer, who forced Hua into early retirement. As Hua faded into political obscurity, he continued to insist on the correctness of Maoist principles. He is remembered as a largely benign transitional figure in modern Chinese political history.

Read more about Hua Guofeng:  Early Life, Rise To Power, Party Chairman (1976–1981), Ousting, Family

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