BEIJING — A Justice Ministry official denied today that Mao Tse-tung's widow, Jiang Qing, serving a life sentence for crimes during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, has been released from prison because of poor health.
Chinese sources had said earlier that Jiang, 73, was released to serve her term at her daughter's home sometime after the early November conclusion of the Chinese Communist Party's National Congress.
But a Justice Ministry official today told foreign reporters she remained in prison and was not in poor health.
Jiang, a one-time actress who was Mao's fourth wife, rode a crest of fanaticism during the chaotic 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution and emerged with vast political power.
As leader of the ultra-leftist "Gang of Four," she was sentenced to death for orchestrating the murders of at least 34,000 people and the persecutions of hundreds of thousands of others. The sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.