Lushan Conference was a meeting of the top leaders of the
Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China held between July and August 1959. The
Politburo met in an "expanded session" (Kuoda Huiyi) between July 2
and August 1, followed by the 8th Plenum of the Eighth Central
Committee of the
Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China from August 2 – 16. The
major topic of discussion was the Great Leap Forward.
Lushan Conference saw the political purge of the Defence Minister,
Marshal Peng Dehuai, whose criticism of some aspects of the Great Leap
Forward was seen as a personal affront on Mao. The Conference also
marked the first time since the founding of the People's Republic of
China in 1949 where disagreement over the direction of policy spilled
into open conflict between party leaders. Mao's response to Peng was
also seen as an indication that for the first time, his personal
authority trumped the principles of collective leadership of the
Central Committee and the Politburo.
The conference's name is derived from the meeting place, a resort on
Mount Lu in the district of the same name in
Jiangxi Province, in
1 Original objective
2 Unexpected twist
3 Downfall of Peng Dehuai
4 Consequences of the conference
5 See also
The original objective of the conference was to review the events in
China during 1958 and solve some practical issues brought forth by
Mao Zedong also intended to use the conference to
contain the "leftist tendency" (zuoqing) elements in the Great Leap
On July 14, 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 cautiously framed his words and did not deny the "great
achievement" of Mao, but meanwhile showed his disapproval for elements
like the "winds of exaggeration" (i.e., over-reporting of grain
production), the communal dining and also the establishment of commune
militia which he felt would undermine the strength of the People's
Liberation Army. He expressed his "confusion" towards "rather large
losses" and "epidemic of bragging" in the Great Leap Forward.
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 asked them to
express their views on the issue. However, not long afterwards, Mao
bitterly criticised Peng as being part of a group wavering in the face
of difficulties and who were "only 30 kilometres away from the
rightists". He was subsequently dismissed, arrested and replaced by
Lin Biao. Although the criticism of
Peng Dehuai resulted in a victory
for Mao Zedong, it also led the leadership to conclude that he had
been treated unfairly and that the party's norms had been violated.
Consequences of the conference
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 Cultural Revolution.
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.
Great Leap Forward
The Second Plenum of the 9th Central Committee of the Communist Party
of China, held in 1970. Because this conference was also held in
Lushan, it is sometimes also referred to as the "Lushan Conference".
^ Pantsov, Alexander V.; Levine, Steven. "30". Mao: the Real Story.
Simon & Schuster. pp. 463–464.
^ Bernstein, T. (2006).
Mao Zedong and the famine of 1959-1960: a
study in wilfulness. The China Quarterly, 186, p. 431
Spence, Jonathan. The Search for Modern China. W.W. Norton and
Company, New York, 1990.
Yang, Dali. "Calamity and Reform in China." Stanford University Press,
The Cultural Revolution
Socialist Education Movement
Down to the Countryside Movement
9th Party Congress
10th Party Congress
Criticize Lin, Criticize Confucius
Counterattack the Right-Deviationist Reversal-of-Verdicts Trend
3rd Plenum of the 11th Central Committee
Gang of Four
Gang of Four (Jiang Qing
Bombard the Headquarters
Quotations from Chairman Mao
Hai Rui Dismissed from Office
One Divides Into Two
Eight model plays
Learn from Daqing in industry
Learn from Dazhai in agriculture
Five Man Group
Cultural Revolution Group
Central Case Examination Group
Central Organization and Propaganda Leading Group
Shanghai People's Commune
Stinking Old Ninth
Five Black Categories
Five Red Categories
May Seventh Cadre School
Great Leap Forward
Peaceful Evolution theory
National meetings of the Communist Party of China
Notable Politburo &
Central Committee plenums
Gutian Congress (1929)
Ningdu Conference (1932)
Zunyi Conference (1935)
Lushan Conference (1959)
2nd Plenum, 9th CC (1970)
3rd Plenum, 11th CC (1978)
6th Plenum, 11th CC (1981)
4th Plenum, 13th CC (1989)
3rd Plenum, 18th CC (2013)
4th Plenum, 18th CC (2014)