INTRODUCTION: In Peking, Mao Tsetung's widow, Jiang Qing, and the former mayor of Shanghai, Zhang Chunqiao, have been sentenced to death for counter-revolutionary crimes.
GV People in the courtroom.
CU Jiang Qing listening to sentence. She shouts back, guard restrains her and puts handcuffs on.
GV Audience listening.
SCU Zhang Chunqiao being handcuffed as sentence is announced.
SV Yao Wenyuan, nearest camera, hears his sentence then Wang Hongwen, next to him, hears his.
CU Judge reading sentences on Chen Boda, then Huang Yongsheng and Jiang Tengjiao. Audience listening. (2 SHOTS)
SV Wu Faxian (on right of picture) listening to his sentence. (2 SHOTS)
CU Judge reading sentence on Li Zuopeng. Li Zuopeng (nearest camera) listening. (2 SHOTS)
GV Crowd listening to Qiu Huiquo's sentence. SCU Qiu Huiquo listening to it, PAN TO Jiang Tengjiao. (2 SHOTS)
CU Judge winding up.
GV Courtroom, accused being led away.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: In Peking, Mao Tsetung's widow, Jiang Qing, and the former mayor of Shanghai, Zhang Chunqiao, have been sentenced to death for counter-revolutionary crimes. The special court, which passed the sentences on the so-called "Gang of Four" on Sunday (25 January) suspended their imposition for two years. After this period, the death sentences can, under Chinese law, be reduced to life imprisonment if the accused show they are sorry for what they have done. After hearing the verdict, Jiang Qing was dragged from the court, shouting defiant slogans at the judges. Reuters news agency said the trial ended on December 29th, but the court delayed announcing the verdicts while China's leaders debated the political implications of the sentences. The court said Jiang Qing had been a ringleader in organising a counter-revolutionary clique bent on overthrowing the existing order, and that she was responsible, directly and indirectly for all the offences the clique had committed in a decade of turmoil. As well as the Gang of Four, six other defendants received jail sentences.
SYNOPSIS: They'd been arrested in October 1976, a month after Mao's death.
At first, his widow listened impassively, but she began to shout the slogans when the court president described her as "treacherous". She was handcuffed as sentence was passed, then ordered to be removed. She has always fiercely maintained that she was acting on Mao's orders, or on his behalf.
Zhang Chunqiao, sentenced for crimes allegedly committed during the cultural revolution, is believed to have terminal cancer, though this has not been officially confirmed.
Two other "Gang of four" members, former propagandist Yao Wenyuan (nearest camera), and former party chairman, Wang Hongwen, received 20 years and life imprisonment respectively.
Court President Jiang Hua, himself allegedly persecuted during the revolution, next passed 18-year sentences on Chen Boda, Mao's former political secretary; the former chief of General Staff, Huang Yongsheng; and Jiang Tengjiao, one-time Air Force political commissar.
Wu Faxian (on the right) got 17 years for his part in an alleged plot to assassinate Mao and sage a coup ten years ago. So did former Navy political commissar Li Zuopeng (nearest the camera).
The court passes a sentence of 16 years on former Army Logistics Commander Qiu Huiquo. All defendants lose their political rights for five years after their sentences end; Jiang Qing, Zhang Chunqiao and Wang Hongwen lose theirs for ever. Wang Hongwen's sentence surprised Chinese observers, who believed his turning prosecution witness would lighten his penalty. The time the defendants have already spent in custody will count towards their sentences.