21 Aug 2008

Death of Mao's successor

8:47 am on 21 August 2008

The man who briefly succeeded Mao Zedong as ruler of China has died.

State media announced that Hua Guofeng, 87, died of an unspecified illness.

Hua took power after Mao's death in 1976, but saw his powers erode until Deng Xiaping took control two years later.

His period as chairman ended formally in 1981. However, unlike former leaders who were purged and exiled to remote villages, Hua remained in Beijing and on the party's Central Committee.