Jiang Qing (1914-1991) was the third wife of Mao Zedong and a senior leader of the Cultural Revolution in China.
Jiang Qing began her career as a film actress, and moved to the Communist headquarters at Yan'an after the Japanese invasion of China in 1937. After marrying Mao she was forced to take a back seat in political matters, and diverted her energies to 'artistic' issues including the development of 'revolutionary opera'. Conflict in the cultural field helped lead up to the Cultural Revolution, and Jiang Qing played a significant role in whipping up the tempo of the revolution and in urging Mao to purge his colleagues and the party ranks of those she saw as counter-revolutionaries. She was able to get her main colleagues promoted to positions of power (they were described by Mao as a "Gang of Four"), but following Mao's death in 1976 Jiang and other members of the Gang of Four were arrested and tried. Jiang was sentenced to death, suspended for two years, and the sentence was subsequently commuted to life imprisonment. She committed suicide in gaol in 1991.