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For the first time a leading Chinese Communist Party official has publicly criticized Mao Tse-tung's attitude toward intellectuals. A 30,000-word speech by party theoretician Hu Qiaomu published in the latest issue of Red Flag, the party's bi-weekly, says: ''It must be recognized that comrade Mao Tse-tung lacked a full understanding of and proper confidence in contemporary writers, artists, and intellectuals in general and went so far as to regard them as part of the bourgeoisie.''

Lin Biao and Jiang Qing (Mao's wife) used this mistake to ruthlessly persecute intellectuals, Hu says. ''We must always bear this lesson in mind.''

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