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Lin Biao
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Military Personnel
    (December 5, 1907-September 13, 1971)
    Born in Huanggang, China
    Birth name was Lin Yurong
    Communist general during the Chinese Civil War and Sino-Japanese War
    Minister of National Defense (1959-71)
    Designated as Mao ZeDong's successor (1969)
    Died in a plane crash in Mongolia while allegedly fleeing to the Soviet Union following an unsuccessful coup against Mao
    After capturing a Japanese soldier's cloak and katana, he put on the items, jumped on his horse, went for a ride and was shot by one his sharpshooters, who assumed he was a Japanese officer (1937).
    One of Mao's biographers claimed, 'Lin lauded Mao to the skies in public, although he felt no true devotion to Mao, and at home he would often make disparaging and even disdainful remarks about him.'
    During the Cultural Revolution, he promoted Mao's personality cult, including compiling 'Quotations from Chairman Mao.'
    He opposed the resumption of diplomatic relations between the US and China.
    News of his alleged coup and death was withheld from the public for a year.
    Along with Mao's widow, Jiang Qing, he remains officially condemned as a 'major counter-revolutionary party' by the Chinese government.
    Journalist Edgar Snow wrote about his 1st Red Army Corps, 'Chiefly due to Lin's extraordinary talent as a tactician, it destroyed, defeated or outmaneuvered every Government force sent against it and was never broken in battle.'
    The attempted coup against Mao (if it ever existed) may have been planned by Lin's wife and son without his knowledge.
    The Chinese government claimed that his plane crashed because he fled in such a hurry that he failed to get enough fuel before taking off, but crash investigators in Mongolia reported that the plane had plenty of fuel.
    The Soviets claimed that the bodies of Lin and the other passengers were riddled with bullets.

Credit: C. Fishel


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