Top bodyguard of Mao Zedong dies at 99: Xinhua

Tourists walking in Tiananmen Square in front of scaffolding next to the portrait of late communist leader Mao Zedong in Beijing.
Tourists walking in Tiananmen Square in front of scaffolding next to the portrait of late communist leader Mao Zedong in Beijing.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (REUTERS) - Wang Dongxing, who served as the chief bodyguard for Mao Zedong, the founding leader of modern China, died on Friday, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

He was 99.

Calling him a "tried and tested loyal Communist fighter and proletarian revolutionary," Xinhua said Wang died early on Friday morning of illness, citing the General Office of the ruling Communist Party's Central Committee.

Born in January 1916, Wang was also one of the key figures behind a 1976 coup that ousted the Gang of Four, led by Mao's widow Jiang Qing, at the end of the disastrous Cultural Revolution.

He also held the post of vice-chairman of the Communist Party, and was among the last of the leaders still living from the Cultural Revolution era.

Mao, who died in 1976, remains a divisive figure within the country.