Mao Zedong now gave his support to the Gang of Four: Jiang Qing (Mao's third wife), Wang Hongwen, Yao Wenyuan and Zhange Chungqiao. These four radicals occupied powerful positions in the Politburo after the Tenth Party Congress of 1973.
After the death of Mao in 1976 the power of the Gang of Four declined dramatically. In 1980 they were found guilty of plotting against the state. Jiang Qing and Zhange Chungqiao, who were considered to be the leaders, were sentenced to death (later commuted to life imprisonment). Wang Hongwen and Yao Wenyuan received lengthy prison sentences.
Jiang Qing (1991), Zhange Chungqiao (1991) and Wang Hongwen (1992) died in prison. Yao Wenyuan was released in 1997.
(1) Deng Xiaoping, Mao Zedong Thought (1978)
We must uphold Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought. One of the key points of our struggle against Lin Biao and the Gang of Four was opposition to their falsification, doctoring and fragmenting of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought. Since the smashing of the Gang, we have restored the scientific character of Marxism- Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought and have guided ourselves by them. This is a resounding victory for the whole Party and people. But a few individuals think otherwise. Either they openly oppose the basic tenets of Marxism-Leninism, or else they uphold Marxism-Leninism in word only while in deed opposing Mao Zedong Thought, which represents the integration of the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism with the practice of the Chinese revolution. We must oppose these erroneous trends of thought.