Zhou Enlai (1898-1976), was Mao’s longest serving companion at the top of the Chinese Communist Party. Born in Jiangsu province and raised in Tianjin, Zhou also spent a significant amount of time abroad in Japan and France, where he met Deng Xiaoping.
While Zhou outranked Mao at times in the early days of the party, he astutely maneuvered through the post-revolution years to avoid being purged by Mao. Zhou became Mao’s trusted right-hand man and top foreign policy negotiator. During the decade of the Cultural Revolution, Zhou became immensely popular, credited with attempting to temper the excesses of that period.