05/10/2005, 00.00
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Zhang Chunqiao, one of China s Gang of Four, dies

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Zhang Chunqiao, a member of China's notorious Gang of Four led by the wife of Chairman Mao Zedong, died of cancer on April 21, but only today the death has been officialized: he was 88. Those are the first official word on him in decades. Zhang had been on medical parole since January 1998 and had died on April 21.

The People's Supreme Court gave Zhang a death sentence suspended for two years in January 1981: his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in January 1983, and reduced again to 18 years in prison.

Members of the Gang of Four were arrested in a bloodless coup following Mao's death in 1976, in wich the Gang of Four tried to obtain political power on mainland.

Yao Wenyuan, the sole surviving member of the Gang of Four, was freed in 1996 after serving a 20-year term for subversive crimes.
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