Wu Lengxi, 83; Former Head of New China News Agency, People's Daily

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Wu Lengxi, 83, a former head of the official New China News Agency and an ardent supporter of the late Communist leader Mao Tse-tung, died Sunday in Beijing. The cause of death was not reported.

Wu, who also served as editor-in-chief of the Communist Party's flagship newspaper People's Daily and vice minister of propaganda, joined the party in 1938 at its wartime base in the northern town of Yanan. He started as a reporter with the New China News Agency and the Liberation Daily, the predecessor to the People's Daily. During the early years of Communist rule, he was appointed to run the two party organs.

Despite his loyalty to Mao, he was driven from power in 1966 at the start of the Cultural Revolution. He resurfaced in 1972, and eventually was made honorary president of the government-controlled All China Journalists Assn. and the state broadcast and television institute.

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