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



  • January – Beijing government receives numerous reports of record harvests while millions of people suffer from famine edema, and tens of thousands starve to death.
  • February – Food supply runs low in the cities. Villagers who migrated into urban areas are sent back to the countryside.
  • February – Agreement between the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union to increase economic and scientific cooperation. Imports of Soviet industrial products and services will be partially paid for with food exports to the Soviet Union.
  • March –Rebellion in Tibet. The rebellion is suppressed and Dalai Lama flees to India. Pachen Lama becomes the most senior figure in Tibet.
  • April - Reports of severe starvation in large parts of mainland Chain.
  • April - Disagreements between Peng Dehuai and Mao Zedong.
  • April - Liu Shaoqi elected Chairman of the People's Republic of China, replacing Mao Zedong. However, Mao remains Chairman of the Party Central Committee.
  • April to June – Peng Dehuai visits the Soviet Union and a number of Eastern European countries. Peng meets Khrushchev in Albania.
  • June – Soviet authorities announce that they would not honor the October 1957 agreement to provide sample atomic weapons or the technology necessary for their production.
  • July – Meeting of top officials in Lushan. Even though there are problems with the Great Leap Forward, the Communist leadership expresses optimism about the situation. Pen Dehuai submits a Letter of Opinion to Mao Zedong criticizing the Great Leap Forward.
  • August - Peng Dehuai and other opponents of Mao Zedong are found guilty of having conspired against the Chinese Communist Party, the state and the people. Liu Shaoqi expresses strong support for Mao.
  • August - Border clash with India. India is supported by the Soviet Union.
  • September - Peng Dehuai is dismissed from his post as minister of defense and from the Central Committee. Peng is replaced by Lin Biao.
  • September – Khrushchev visits the United States. The Soviet Union agrees to significant troop reductions.
  • October – Emergency measures to reduce domestic consumption so exports to foreign countries can be sustained.