Jiang Qing was well known as the “Iron Lady”. The wife of a very powerful husband Mao Tse-Tung, who was the Communist dictator of China. Because of his almighty power, she obtained a leadership position in the early 1960′s. She cleverly maneuvered her way to reach the highest position of power within the communist party. It was believed that she was the main driving force behind China’s Cultural Revolution. This brought much chaos to the country which resulted in much hardship within the economy. The country virtually came to a halt and countless ancient buildings, artifacts, antiques, books, and paintings were destroyed by the Red Guards. The 10 years of the Cultural Revolution also brought the education system to a stand still and many intellects were sent to prison camps. Millions of people in China reported they had all their human rights taken from them during the Cultural Revolution. Millions more were also forcibly displaced. Estimates of the death toll from various Western and Eastern sources are about 500,000 in the true years of chaos between the years of 1966—1969 but some estimates are as high as 3 million deaths with 36 million being persecuted.
After the death of her husband in 1976, her power dramatically started to decline due to a lack of support. In 1980 Jiang Qing and others were found guilty of plotting against the state. Jiang Qing and Zhange Chungqiao, who were considered to be the leaders, were sentenced to death (later commuted to life imprisonment). Most of the Chinese citizens rejoiced with this decision. In May 1991 Jiang Qing was released on bail to receive treatment for throat cancer. Only ten days later, she died after committing suicide.