Jiang Qing formerly Chiang Clung (1914-1991) was a Chinese communist politician, wife of the party leader Mao Zedong.
In 1960 she became minister for culture, and played a key role in the (1966-1969) Cultural Revolution as the leading member of the Shanghai-based Gang of Four, who attempted to seize power in 1976. Jiang was imprisoned.
Jiang was a Shanghai actress when in 1937 she met Mao Zedong at the communist headquarters in Yan'an; she became his third wife in 1939. She emerged as a radical, egalitarian Maoist.
Her influence waned during the early in 1970s and her relationship with Mao became embittered. On Mao's death in September, 1976, the Gang of Four sought to seize power by organizing military coups in Shanghai and Beijing. They were arrested for treason by Mao's successor Hua Guofeng and tried (1980-1981).
The Gang were blamed for the excesses of the Cultural Revolution, but Jiang asserted during her trial that she had only followed Mao's orders as an obedient wife.
This was rejected and Jiang received a death sentence January, 1981, which was subsequendy commuted to life imprisonment.
Why is Jiang Qing famous?
Jiang Qing was a major Communist Party of China power figure.