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Objective chronological listing of significant events leading up to modern China.



  • January – Nanning conference. Inauguration of the Great Leap Forward.
  • February - Beginning of starvation in some villages.
  • March - Shortage of labor for the spring planting while millions are working on major irrigation projects.
  • April - Widespread hunger and starvation throughout mainland China.
  • May – Eighth Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. The Great Leap Forward receives it official blessing. Cooperative farm organizations are merged into communes. Initially designed to allow China to quickly catch up with Western industrial countries, the four-year campaign will result in the premature death of at least 30 million people due to starvation, overwork, torture or suicide.
  • Summer – People's Communes. Formation of larger units of communes. The Communist Party would control every aspect of a commune member's life.
  • July - People are encouraged to build backyard furnaces to help increase steel production.
  • July - Khrushchev meets a cool reception on his visit to Beijing. Mao Zedong offers to provide food to the Soviet Union in exchange for military technology.
  • August – Beijing government receives reports of an excellent harvest.
  • August - The United States affirms relationship with the Republic of China. Would not recognize the People's Republic of China.
  • August to October – Communists forces conduct heavy shelling of Nationalist-held island of Jinmen (Quemoy), off the coast from mainland China. United States steps up military support of the Republic of China.
  • October – Mao Zedong and Peng Dehuai make separate inspection tours to check on possible inflation of food production reports.
  • November - Beijing government receives reports of deaths due to hunger and disease.
  • November to December – Sixth Plenum of the Central Committee in Wuhan. Apparently false food production statistics are accepted as true.