In Chinese history, the chief members of the radical faction that played a key role in directing the Cultural Revolution and tried to seize power after the death of the communist leader Mao Zedong in 1976.
It included his widow Jiang Qing and three young Shanghai politicians: Zhang Chunqiao, Wang Hongwen, and Yao Wenyuan.
The coup failed and the Gang of Four were arrested. Publicly tried in 1980, they were found guilty of treason.
The Gang were blamed for the excesses of the Cultural Revolution, but Jiang asserted during her trial that she had only followed Mao’s orders as an obedient wife.
Jiang received a death sentence in January 1981, which was subsequently commuted to life imprisonment.