Hua Guofeng (华国锋 Hanyu Pinyin: Huà Guófēng, Wade-Giles: Hua Kuo-feng; born 1921), to the surprise and dismay of Jiang Qing and the rest of the Gang of Four, became the Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party and undisputed leader of the People's Republic of China following the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, as designated by Mao himself.
Born in Jiaocheng (交城县), a county beside a mountain in Shanxi province, Hua joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1938 as a part of counter-Japanese resistance.
Hua was elected to the Politburo in 1973 and was minister of public security in 1975. He became acting Premier of the People's Republic of China following Zhou Enlai's death, in January 1976, full Premier and party vice chairman in April 1976, and Chairman of the Communist Party of China when Mao died, in September 1976 (although this was not announced to the world until October 12).
During his relatively short leadership, Hua was credited for quickly ousting the Gang of Four from political power and thus became the leader whose emergence marked the official end to the Cultural Revolution. As Deng Xiaoping gradually regained control over the CPC, Hua was denounced for promoting the two whatevers and replaced by Zhao Ziyang as Premier in 1980, and by Hu Yaobang as Party Chairman in 1981. He was demoted to junior Vice Chairman, and when this post was abolished in 1982 he remained as an ordinary member of the Central Committee, a position which he held until November 2002 despite having passed the designated retirement age of seventy.
It was reported that Hua Guofeng quit the Chinese Communist Party in October 2001 for "health reasons". But the report is not confirmed by the Chinese government.
See also: Politics of China
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