Mao Tse-tung has dominated the Chinese domestic scene for well over four decades now. Ever since the 1935 Tsunyi Conference, he has been successful in asserting his leadership over the Chinese Communist Party and the People's Liberation Army-the two main loci of power within China. However, in the process, Mao has had to face many a challenge to his authority. At times, it appeared as if the reins of control over the Party and the PLA were slipping out of his hands and that. the country was relapsing into a period of warlordism, or head-ing towards army dictatorship or rule by a Party hierarchy, not loyal to Mao and his dogma. But Chairman Mao has somehow managed to retain his supremacy over the major components of the Chinese political system by deposing or liquidating all those who dared usurp his throne. Mao's successors are unlikely to have either the charismatic personality or the stature of the great helmsman. Therefore, what follows after Mao is a matter of great significance and acute concern for both the Chinese people and the world at large.