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History Lessons by Jonathan Gifford

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ZHOU ENLAI

(1898–1976)

A dedicated and lifelong communist, Zhou Enlai’s political instincts were moderate and progressive—unlike those of many of his fellow communists. Famous for his punishing work routine, despite increasingly fragile health, Zhou worked all his life to improve the lot of the Chinese people. He also worked to mitigate and even subvert the more destructive policies of Chairman Mao Zedong: Mao was Chairman of the Communist Party of China; Zhou was Premier of the People’s Republic of China. Zhou was attempting to run the country while Mao, the most powerful man in the Party, was busy having revolutionary ideas.

Zhou can be criticised for not having taken a stance against disastrous policies with which he clearly disagreed, but ...

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