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Hua Guofeng at the parents' meeting of No. 166 Middle School

Chairman Hua at the parents' meeting of No. 166 Middle School, 1977

Chairman Hua at the parents' meeting of No. 166 Middle School, 1977

In the evening of 21 March 1974, Hua Guofeng walked into Nr. 166 Middle School in Beijing to participate in a parents' meeting. After he was recognized by the assembled parents, he smilingly refused to be seated on the dais, preferring a chair among the parents instead. That Hua did not throw his weight around, did not want to be treated in a special way, made a very favorable impression on those present. After some parents had spoken on a number of topics, Hua took the floor. He loudly declared: "It is Chairman Mao's great instruction that educated youth go up to the mountains and down to the villages. We revolutionary family heads should listen to Chairman Mao's words and resolutely support our sons and daughters to go up the mountains and down to the villages. The peasant villages need educated youth who have culture, and the educated youth in turn needs to go to the countryside of this great nation to be steeled. Xiao Li is our youngest daughter, and we could have kept her at home. But I rather have that she follows the course of going up the mountains and down to the villages, as pointed out by Chairman Mao." The congregation was moved by the fervor with which Hua spoke, by the sacrifice he had made.

This instance of Hua showing his humble demeanor, his close ties with the masses and his adherence to what Mao had instructed was gratefully employed in the Hua cult that was set up as soon as he had taken over from Mao and had arrested Jiang Qing and the Gang of Four in 1976.


Women zhongxin aidai yingming lingxiu Hua zhuxi [We wholeheartedly love and esteem wise leader Chairman Hua] (Beijing: Renmin chubanshe, 1977) [in Chinese]

John Gardner, Chinese Politics and the Succession to Mao (London: The Macmillan Press Ltd, 1982)

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