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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 21, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta 40 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD Saturday, December 21, 1974 .ETHBRIDGE HERALD Saturday, uecamoer Mao quote signals end to political turmoil in China Hintntn that it is military, shiftine the com- bosses of their PEKING China's return to political calm after a period of militancy that began almost a year ago appears to have been explicitly sanction- ed by Chairman Mao Tse- i'inf' if a new quotation from e oO-yeor-old leader appear- ing in provincial cities is to be taken as authentic. Travellers returning from the provinces report having the quotation posted in public places, as is the fashion for 'Chairman Mao's pronouncements It cites him as having said, or possibly written: "The Cultural Revolution has been going on for eight years now and it is time to settle down. The whole party and army should unite If Chairman Mao has so pro- nounced it may be taken as the formal end to the period of political upheaval that ravag- ed the country between 1966 and 1969, then went dormant for several years before sur- facing again in more subdued fashion earlier this year. The reference to the need for unity is particularly im- portant, for it implies that the chairman's full authority is to be applied to ending the strains that have been one of Peking's principal preoc- cupations ever since the army moved into the power vacuum created by the decimation of the party bureaucracy during the Red Guard period Though the non-appearance of the quotation in Peking is troubling, observers tend to accept its authenticity because it accords so well with the change in the political climate that oc- curred in late summer, when an upsurge of militancy was suddenly staunched by the party centre. After quiet beginnings late last year a campaign to pre- vent the erosion of the egalitarian reforms instituted during the Cultural Revolu- tion erupted in the first weeks of this year in a wide-ranging attack on leading figures at all levels who had allegedly slioped back into the old elitist ways SJy spring critics were pasting up their denunciations in big-character posters right across the country and otherwise behaving as if a lelurn to the turmoil of 1967 and 1968 was in the offing. But anaologies with the Red Guard period soon proved il- lusory. there were uncon- firmed reports of violence m the provinces, order was generally maintained and by late summer even the poster campaign had begun to wind down. On the an- niversary celebration on Oct. l The People's Daily weighed in with an editorial insisting on the need for unity and dis- cipline, and the trend was clear. What caused the party lead- ers to restrain the militants has not been disclosed, but there is no dearth of speculation. Some observers think that the campaign was never intended to be more than a warning shot across the backsliders' bows, while others incline to the view that more drastic action against them was contemplated but abandoned when it became apparent that the strains in terms of lost production were more than the country could stand Another view hinges on the illness of Premier Chou En- lai, whose absence in hospital from ther spring on is seen as having removed a crucial ele- ment of stability just as the militants were girding for a showdown. With Mr. Chou's skills as an administrator and conciliator suddenly in abeyance, proponents of this view believe, moderate elements may have successfully argued that it was not time to exacerbate divisions. Whatever the reason, all signs since the fall have pointed to a binding up of wounds. Preparations are go- ing ahead for a meeting of the long delayed National People's Congress, probably early in the new year, and this is something that certainly could not be contemplated un- less there was broad agree- ment among the powers in Peking on the country's direc- tions for the future. Apart from approving policy in economic and other spheres the congress has the authority to sanction a host of important appointments, among them the post of defence minister. This has been vacant, along with that of the armed forces chief of staff and several other im- portant military posts, since the Lin Piao debacle in September, 1971. The plane crash in the Mon- golian Desert that killed Lin and several of his cohorts was in a sense the denouement of a drama that had begun during the Cultural Revolution, when Lin moved the army into the command position in Chinese society that had previously been occupied by the party and established himself as a political power second only to Chairman Mao. Once Mao ordered the revival of the party as the controlling force in Chinese life there were bound to be tensions with the army. These tensions found their sharpest expression in Lin's demise but his death did not resolve them entirely, with the result that more than three years later the party propaganda organs are still finding it necessary to remind the nation of Mao's celebrated dictum that it is the party that commands the gun and not the gun the party. A year ago Peking made a surprise move to tighten political control of the military, shifting the com- manders of eight of the country's 11 military regions to new posts. Since most of those shifted had served con- currently as the political bosses of their regions and were not given the political hat in their new commands, there was a substantial diminution in the army's influence in political life. "THE SUNDAY HOUR" Presented by MARTIN BROS. FUNERAL HOMES LTD. 2nd Generation Funeral Directors and Administrative Counsellors for Pre-arrangements. (Authorized by the Alberta Government Security Commissions) Sunday, December 22nd, 12 noon to p.m. CJOC-TV Channel 7 St. Patrick's Church Senior Choir Directed by Sister Helene Wadden Accompanist Betty Ann Papp THE MEMORIAL CHAPEL 703-13th Street North THE TRADITIONAL CHAPEL 812 3rd Avenue South Serving Southern Alberta for Over Half a Century! Members of A.F.D.S. 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Use your All Purpose Account. At Simpsons-Sears you get the finest guaranteed. Satisfaction or money refunded. Store Hours: Open Dally a.m. to p.m. until Christmas Centre Village Mall Telephone 328-9231 ;