- Wang Zhen
▪ 1994Chinese politician and military leader (b. 1908, Liuyang [Liu-yang] county, Hunan province, China—d. March 12, 1993, Guangzhou [Canton], Guangdong [Kwangtung], China), was an uncompromising hard-liner who used his position as vice president (1988-93) of China to promote Maoism. He supported Deng Xiaoping (Teng Hsiao-p'ing) in the military suppression of the student-led 1989 Tiananmen (T'ien-an-men) Square pro-democracy movement, and it was rumoured that he personally commanded the troops on June 4, the night of the massacre. Wang, who attended school for only three years, joined the Communist Party at the age of 19. He was a veteran of the Long March (1934-35), and he later led a brigade that in 1941 reclaimed an arid wasteland at Nanniwan in Shaanxi (Shensi) province and turned it into an agricultural model of self-sufficiency. After World War II, Wang fought with the Red Army against Chang Kai-shek's Kuomintang troops. After the Communist victory in 1949, he was appointed political commisar of the Xinjiang (Hsin-chiang) military area. There he and his soldiers imposed authority over the largely Turkic population, reclaimed land and developed it into state farms, and introduced Han Chinese settlers into the region. In 1955 he was promoted to general, and the following year he was made a member of the Communist Party Central Committee. He served as minister of state farms and reclamation until the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), which he survived without being purged. Wang later served as vice-premier of the state council (1975-80) and was named to the Political Bureau Central Committee in 1978. Wang also orchestrated, behind the scenes, the purge of two of China's most reform-minded leaders, Hu Yaobang (Hu Yao-pang) and Zhao Ziyang (Chao Tzu-yang), dismissed as Communist Party general secretaries in 1987 and 1989, respectively. Though Wang openly opposed Deng's reformist economic policies, his criticisms were ignored, and Deng continued to institute liberal policies designed to speed economic growth in China.
* * *▪ Chinese eunuchWade-Giles romanization Wang Chendied August 1449, Hebei province, ChinaChinese eunuch who monopolized power during the first reign of the Ming emperor Yingzong (Zhengtong) (reigned as Zhengtong; 1435–49).Wang was denounced by later historians as the first of a series of eunuchs whose mismanagement helped destroy the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). Wang was the constant companion and personal servant of the emperor Yingzong (1427–64), who ascended the throne while still a boy. Isolated from his peers, the young emperor was dominated by Wang even after he came of age.Ignoring the counsel of the regular military leaders, Wang persuaded the emperor to embark on a war against the Oyrat branch of the Mongol tribes, who had rapidly increased their power along China's northwestern borders under the leadership of Esen Taiji. The imperial army was ambushed about 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Beijing, the emperor was captured, and Wang and all the leading Chinese generals were slain.
* * *