China's Communist Party Central Committee announced tonight it had readmitted several more victims of the 1960s Cultural Revolution, strengthening the hand of the party's vice chairman, Deng Xiaoping, and other party veterans now running the country.
The long-awaited fourth plenum of the 11th Central Committee also placed one of the Cultural Revolution's most prominent victims, former Peking Mayor Peng Zhen, on the ruling Politburo along with a relatively young Deng protegee, Sichuan provincial party chief Zhao Ziyang, 60.
The party meeting, the first since December, lasted from Tuesday to today and followed the recent practice of adding Deng allies to the party leadership without bothering to remove his apparent adversaries. The plenum communique issued by the official New China News Agency emphasized the importance of experience in the leadership by endorsing with glowing terms a speech scheduled for Saturday by the chairman of the National Peoples Congress, Ye Jian Ying, who is 80.
The communique indicated no surprising policy changes. It said the 189-members and 118 alternates attending endorsed unanimously a plan for speeding farm development that had been approved in principle in December. The plan raises prices paid to peasants for their grain and has been "warmly welcomed by the peasant masses in their hundreds of millions," the communique said.
The new members of the Central Committee include former cultural commissar Zhou Yang, economic planner Bo Yibo, Canton mayor Yang Shangkun, and former propaganda chief Lu Dingyi. Earlier this year Lu published one of the most blunt attacks to date on the late chairman Mao Tse-tung, who was responsible for removing from power most of the men returned to the Central Committee today.
Diplomats had speculated that the plenum might demote the number six part leader, former Mao bodyguard Wang Donging, who is not considered an ally of Deng and who has been attacked in wallposters for illegal use of government funds. Wang, however, was listed in his usual rank.
In the late 1960s Mao removed from power many of the officials readmitted by the plenum this week because he considered them too fond of their entrenched privileges and too willing to challenge him in his efforts to reward political fervor and downgrade technical expertise. The communique continued to praise Mao, however, and said Ye's speech "gives high appraisal to the immortal contributions of our great leader and teacher comrade Mao."