Yet the party's official history says Mao himself "confused right and wrong" and "created conspiratorial opportunities" for Jiang and the other "careerists."
"The `cultural revolution' was launched and led by Mao Zedong and, therefore, he was mainly responsible for the overall `left' mistake which lasted for so long," the party says.
It now sees Mao in his later years as a tragic "great revolutionary" who, in pursuit of a "pure, perfect socialist society," became "tied to an abstract conception which was divorced from reality."
Mao died in September 1976, eight months after popular premier Zhou Enlai (
By late 1978, veteran revolutionary Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平), who was twice purged during the Cultural Revolution, was able to begin transforming China's closed, planned economy. The party examined its role in the turmoil and wrote the official history.
Some of those who experienced it have tried to portray the Cultural Revolution in novels, journals, films and other works of art.
But Liu argues that the lack of comprehensive, open public accounting and debate means "the catastrophe has not yet passed."
"The children of the senior cadres who enjoyed the greatest fame during the Cultural Revolution are now the principal beneficiaries of the lame reform today," Liu said. "They will not mention their own barbaric acts of assaulting, vandalizing, looting, running kangaroo courts, and so on."