The World: Mao's Heirs: Four Who Failed

Being No. 2 to Mao Tse-tung is a high-risk occupation. Except for the consummately skilled Chou Enlai, no Chinese official has ever survived in the role of Mao's putative or designated heir.

Since 1949, four other men besides Teng Hsiao-p'ing have had this dubious honor. All were compatriots of Mao in China's revolutionary struggle; all ended up on the Great Helmsman's pile of political corpses. The four who failed:

KAO KANG. A native of Shensi province, Kao played a key role in the guerrilla struggles waged by the Communists in North China during the...