Factional Conflict at Beijing University, 1966-1968

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For two years after the summer of 1966, Beijing University was racked by factional conflict and escalating violence. Despite the intensity of the struggle the factions did not express didfferences in political doctrine or orientation towards the status quo. Nie Yuanzi, the veteran Party cadre who advanced rapidly in the municipal hierarchy after denouncing both the old Beida Party Committee and the work team, fiercely defended her growing power against opponents led by several former allies. Compromise proved impossible as mutual accusations intensified, and interventions by national politicians served only to entrench the divisions. The conflicts were bitter and personal not because they expressed differences between status groups, but because the rivals knew one another so well, had so much in common, and because the consequences of losing in this struggle were so dire.

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