Marshal Lin Biao, who was handpicked by late Chairman Mao Zedong to succeed him as China's leader, but who died a "traitor", has been resurrected as a military hero in a new exhibition at Beijing's Military Museum.
Lin's portrait is included among the "10 Marshals" who are lauded as the founders of the Chinese armed forces in the exhibition to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army (PLA).
Lin, officially denounced for his "treacherous" plot to overthrow Mao, is shown with his nine peers in a display rarely seen since his death in September 1971.
Jiang Tingyu, a senior researcher at the Chinese People's Revolution Military Museum, said: "With objective thinking, we decided to put the picture of Lin Biao together with the other nine marshals. We have to show history as it was."
The 10 Marshals have been lauded since the founding of the People's Republic of China.
Lin died in a plane crash in Mongolia while fleeing after an alleged failed coup attempt. He retained the rank of marshal, but his name and portrait have rarely appeared in public since.
Widely regarded as a talented military leader, Marshal Lin led the Communist forces in several notable victories in the wars against both Japanese invaders in the 1930s and 1940s and the Kuomintang regime. He was a principal leader in two of the three biggest victories over the Kuomintang army in the late 1940s.
In 1955, Lin was honored as a marshal. However, he and Mao held different political views that developed into a rift. Lin was alleged to have approved a coup against Mao, but fled after Mao learned of his intentions.
Lin's posthumous appraisal remained after Mao's death in 1976. The Supreme People's Court in 1981 held Lin responsible for "counter-revolutionary" activities.
The Chinese Military Encyclopedia (1997 Edition) also commented on both the official judgment on Lin and his military glories.
(Xinhua News Agency July 18, 2007)