Lin Biao (Chinese, 林彪) (1907-1971) was a Chinese soldier and revolutionary. In the 1920s he commanded a batallion in Chiang Kai-Shek's army, but when Communists were expelled from the Kuomintang he resigned and escaped the KMT lines to join Mao Tse-Tung and Chu Teh as the Chinese Civil War began.
After the civil war ended in Communist victory, Lin Biao at first did not play a prominent role in PRC politics. Poor health was cited; some later biographers have suggested that Lin's debilitating conditions were mental rather than physical. During the 1960s, however, his star rose very quickly in Beijing. In 1965 he became Vice Premier of the PRC, behind only Mao himself and Chou En-Lai, and was designated by Mao as the Chairman's successor.
However, during the Cultural Revolution, he fell out of the mercurial Mao's favor. After rumors linked either Lin or his son Lin Liguo to plans for a coup d'etat against Mao, Lin believed himself to be in extreme danger of a violent purge and, fearing for his life, apparently attempted to defect to the Soviet Union. His airplane suffered engine failure and crashed near Ondorkhaan, a small town in Mongolia. The accident killed everyone on board. Rumors persist that the plane was sabotaged before takeoff by Mao's agents.
Lin Piao was a valued member of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee and enjoyed the confidence of Mao Tse-Tung to such an extent that Mao briefed him privately on classified matters even before he brought them to the Central Committee's attention. For instance, in 1963, Lin knew that Vyacheslav Molotov was drastically reducing military aid to the CCP before the rest of the Committee learned of this at Fengchen.