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Hua Guofeng, 1921-2008

courtesy of Stefan Landsberger's collectionI had heard a sad rumor last week regarding Granite Studio fave Chairman Hua Guofeng, and sent a message out through my new favorite procrastination device “Twitter”:

Hearing a rumor that former Chairman (and Granite Studio fave) Hua Guofeng has passed away in a Beijing hospital. Tracking…

I couldn’t confirm it and my source said that the CCP was probably sitting on the news to get their political ducks in a row and to not upset the happy-happy clappy-clappy atmosphere of the Olympics.

Well, the Chinese media is declaring that China has already “won” the Games (how somebody ‘wins’ a celebration of sport and culture is a whole other topic…) and with Liu Xiang limping off the Olympic stage, Xinhua probably figured now is as good at time as any.

Via AP:

Hua Guofeng, who briefly ruled China as communist founder Mao Zedong’s successor but was pushed aside by Deng Xiaoping as a prelude to reforms that launched an economic boom, died Wednesday, state-run media reported.

Sad day indeed here at the Studio.  I’ll write a more fitting tribute later, until then, see below for previous articles on Hua Guofeng:

Come Back Hua Guofeng, All is Forgiven” (October 11, 2007)

This Date in History: Hua Guofeng” (October 6, 2006)

6 Comments on Hua Guofeng, 1921-2008

  1. Let’s remember, he held more formal power than any other individual in the history of the PRC. He was simultaneously Prime Minister, Chairman of the CCP, and Chair of the Party Military Commission. Head of Government, Head of Party, Head of Military: no one, not even Mao, ever had such a resume. Of course, when it came to wielding that formal, institutional power all we can say is, not so much. He was undone by the more skillful Deng Xiaoping.

  2. I saw the news headline and immediately wondered what you’d post. I’ve enjoyed your Hua-related writings in the past, so I’ll be looking forward to reading what you’ll come up with in remembrance.

  3. Why are you so obsessed with this person? Nobody cares about him. He is extremely 平庸 in every conceivable way. No 才能, as he could only “uphold the so-called ‘two whatever’s’.” No 魄力, as if not for Deng Xiaoping, he would have led China down to a DPRK-kind of path where isolation, famine, and 僵化左倾 is the norm.

    High time to wake up and let go. Who cares if he dies or lives.

  4. Namesless,

    I love that they teach irony in PRC schools…

    I support Hua for the same reason people still flock to Frank Stallone concerts. It’s one of those “If you have to ask ‘why?’, you’re probably not going to understand the answer” kind of things. Short form: Somebody’s got to do it.

    For the record, and I’ll write more on this later, it’s worth noting that some of the policies which would form the core of the Reform and Opening Period were actually formulated on Hua’s watch. But, of course, Sad Sack Hua never gets any of the credit.

    And of course, let’s all remember that it’s only 46 more shopping days until Hua Guofeng Appreciation Day 2008, though obviously this year’s celebration will have more of a somber tone than in years past.

  5. DavidofSanGabriel // August 25, 2008 at 2:24 am //

    Hua Guofeng, Millard Fillmore, Jeff Weaver and the 1962 New York Mets…I love ’em all. As to why, you’d have to ask a shrink, but at least I seem to have a lot of company.

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