Wang is best remembered for his efforts to facilitate cross-Straits talks together with his counterpart at Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), Koo Chen-fu, working towards a rapprochement between the mainland and Taiwan.
More than 3,000 people attended Wang's funeral on December 30, including former president and Communist Party general secretary Jiang Zemin, who rose to power as Wang's prot?g?.
Born in Jiashan city, Anhui province in 1915, Wang served in a number of military and civic capacities during the conflict with Japan. He went on to hold a series of posts at both provincial and national level before becoming Mayor of Shanghai in 1981.
In 1991, Wang took the presidency of ARATS, a semi-governmental organization set up by Beijing to deal with cross-Straits disputes and negotiations in the absence of official ties.
Under the leadership of Wang and Koo, the two sides reached the "1992 Consensus" on the wording of the "One China" principle, and this was followed one year later by the first high-level non-governmental talks between the mainland and Taiwan since 1949. A second round of talks was held in Shanghai in 1998.
Wang was bed-ridden for more than a year before his passing, but still managed to leave hospital for talks with former KMT chairman Lien Chan and Taiwan's People First Party chairman James Soong Chu-yu in May 2005.
Writer turned agitator
Yao Wenyuan, the last surviving member of the "Gang of Four" that played a key role in the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, died of diabetes late December at the age of 74.
Yao, a former Shanghai journalist and propaganda official, was accused of using his political writings to help trigger the 10-year social and political havoc that was the Revolution. He was also condemned for his association with other Gang members Zhang Chunqiao, Wang Hongwen and Jiang Qing, the wife of Mao Zedong.
Born in Shanghai in 1931, Yao began his career in literature and literary criticism, actively criticizing writers who were seen as "right deviationists" in the 1950s. A review he wrote in 1965, condemning a popular play as an attack on Mao, was later considered one of the first salvos of the Cultural Revolution.
Yao later confessed to falsifying evidence against Deng Xiaoping, who had been purged and subsequently rehabilitated en route to becoming China's paramount leader in 1978. When Mao's death in 1976 signaled the Cultural Revolution's end, Yao was arrested as a member of the "Gang of Four" and sentenced to 20 years in prison, with political rights deprived for five years.
Little is known about Yao's life following his release in 1996.
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