Lushan Conference

Lushan Conference

The Lushan Conference (zh-st|s=庐山会议|t=廬山會議), officially the 8th Plenum of the Eighth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, began on July 23, 1959 and was an informal discussion about the Great Leap Forward.

Original objective

The original objective of the conference was to review the developments in China during 1958 and solve some practical issues brought forth by those developments. Mao Zedong also intended to use the conference to contain the "leftist tendency" elements in the Great Leap Forward.

Unexpected twist

During the conference, Peng Dehuai, then PRC's defense minister, wrote a private letter to Mao criticizing some elements of the Great Leap Forward. In the letter, he criticized elements like the "winds of exaggeration", the communal dining and also the establishment of commune militia which he felt would undermine the strength of the People's Liberation Army.

For this reason, Mao extended the conference for more than ten days.

Downfall of Peng Dehuai

On July 23, Mao showed Peng's letter to his comrades and ask them to express their views on the issue. However, not long afterwards, Mao bitterly criticised Peng as "having leaned towards to the right by about 30km" with "rightist tendencies".Fact|date=May 2008 He was subsequently dismissed, arrested and replaced by Lin Biao.

Consequences of the conference

The Lushan Conference marked a key point of departure in Mao's rule. Criticism of party actions and policies were now equated with criticism of Mao.

Mao's speech at Lushan was incredibly passionate and bellicose. He defended himself by saying that he, like all of the great writers, Confucius, Karl Marx, and Lenin had made mistakes and that focusing on them would not help the situation. Moreover, he insisted that not one commune had collapsed yet.

His personal victory over Peng Dehuai at the Lushan Conference gave Mao confidence and led him to proceed with the Great Leap Forward. More than 3 million officials within the party were indicted and "class struggle" was brought in for the first time into the upper echelon of the Party apparatus.


Spence, Jonathan. "The Search for Modern China." W.W. Norton and Company, New York, 1990

ee also

*Great Leap Forward
*Peng Dehuai
*Mao Zedong

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