By Ronald Coase
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56 Accompanying the shift in focus from class struggle to socialist modernization was the acceptance of material remuneration. Rejecting Mao’s dependence on revolutionary zeal as the workers’ and peasants’ primary motivation, the Communiqué sanctioned and promoted material interests. “It is imperative to improve the livelihood of the people in town and country step by step on the basis of the growth of production. ”57 If it were not for this change in attitude, Deng’s famous mantra, “let some people get rich first,” would have been unthinkable.
Long disgruntled with the Gang of Four, Marshall Ye wholeheartedly supported Hua’s decision. With Ye’s active participation, a secret plan was made on September 26th to depose the Gang of Four. Ten days later, on 22 China in Transition 23 October 6th, the Gang of Four were arrested, without a single shot being fired. With the strong backing of Party veterans, Hua consolidated his power and seized the leadership position immediately afterwards. 3 I At a testing moment for the People’s Republic, Hua managed to avoid a potentially devastating power struggle that could have wrecked the whole nation.
Its radical anti-traditionalism and extreme examples of cultural self-negation and self-destruction – which amounted to nothing less than total de-Sinification – were probably unprecedented in human history. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, when China was almost defenseless in the face of western economic, military, and cultural ascendancy, Chinese intellectuals had become increasingly critical of their own cultural heritage. But their critique of Chinese culture was always mediated by their deep emotional attachment to the very object of their attacks.