January to February – The Conference of Seven Thousand. At a work conference of the Central Committee in Beijing, Liu Shaoqi criticizes the Great Leap Forward. Liu indicates that the calamities during the Great Leap Forward are largely man-made and the central leadership should be responsible. However, Lin Bao continues to hail the Great Leap Forward as a significant success. Zhou Enlai attempts to absolve Mao Zedong and tries to take the blame himself. In the end, Mao assumes responsibility for the Great Leap. Major policy changes are made after the conference.
May – Over 5,000 people a day cross over into the British colony of Hong Kong to escape food shortages in mainland China. Only those with relatives in Hong Kong are allowed to stay. The Beijing government would close the border by June.
June – John F. Kennedy announces that the United States would opposed the use of force in the Taiwan Strait, thus discouraging an invasion of the mainland by the Nationalists on Taiwan.
September - Mao Zedong and Liu Shaoqi clash over the need for class struggle. Mao insists on continuation of class struggle and opposes the restoration of capitalism.
October to November – Border war between India and the People's Republic of China.
October – Cuban missile crisis between the United States and the Soviet Union.