Engaging Asia

The Great Leap Forward

The Great Leap Foward

1958 - December 31, 1961

GLF formally launched

May 1958

Government began to see flaws in GLF


The government began to realize The Great Leap Forward wasn’t going to plan.
Famine was created as peasants weren’t given any food and all their produce was taken from them.

The 'Three Bad Years of Famine'

January 1, 1959 - December 31, 1961

Thirty million died because of the famine.

Mao & CPC Power

Mao founds the Peoples Republic of China

October 1, 1949

Mao, leading the CPC (Chinese Communist Party), founds the Peoples Republic of China.

Thought Reform Campaign


Run by the Communist Party, the Thought Reform Campaign set out to teach the people about 'Maoism' and begin to think of him almost as a god.

First Five Year Plan

January 1, 1953 - December 31, 1957

Hundred Flowers Campaign

May 26, 1956 - June 8, 1957

The Hundred Flowers Campaign was an opportunity for the public to voice their opinions on the runnings of the government. As the public voices became more and more negative, the campaign came to an end and the anti-rightist movement began. The movement was an attempt to stop negative voices about the government.

Founding of the First People's Commune

April 1958

First group of Red Guard's emerge

May 1966

Mao's "Little Red Book" published for mass readership

September 1966

Officially titled "Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung; the book's purpose was to teach everyone of Mao's ways. It was distributed to every corner of China.

Deng Xiaoping resumes duties as Vice-Premier

March 29, 1973

Hua Guofeng becomes leader

September, 1976

Before his death, Mao sent Hua a note informing him ‘With you in charge, I am at ease.’ Mao wanted Hua in charge because his wife was an extremist and would be harmful to the county. Hua’s leadership proved only to be provisional.

Mao died in 1976

September 9, 1976

Gang of Four Arrested

October 6, 1976

The Four Modernisations officially launched by Deng

December 1978

The Four Modernisations were areas where Deng industrial development was required to improve China's economy. Although the idea of the Four Modernisations had been around for over a decade, Deng was the first to transform it into a real plan, when he launched it at the Third Plenum of the 11th Central Committee.

Deng Xiaoping becomes ‘Paramount Leader’

December 1978

In a party meeting, the Third Plenum of the Central Committee, Deng came to overpower Hua to take over the CPC leadership. He used his extensive political contacts and image of someone who has been through the tough times to force Hua out. He announced himself ‘Paramount Leader’ as opposed to ‘Chairman Deng’ to space himself from Mao.

Trial of the Gang of Four


Although originally sentenced to death, the Gang of Four then had their sentences downgraded to life imprisonment. Jiang Qing committed suicide in her jail cell in 1991.

The Cultural Revolution

The Cultural Revolution

May 1965 - December 31, 1976

Term "The Four Olds" created

August 19, 1966

The Four Olds, being ideas, culture, customs and habits, were seen as parts of Chinese culture that must be removed for communism to succeed. This began shortly after the beginning of The Cultural Revolution.

Mao declares the The Cultural Revolution has come to an end


Despite Mao offically declaring the Revolution finished, it is considered to have continued until Mao's death and the Gang of Four's arrest.

Foreign Relations & War

China signs a treaty with the Soviet Union

February 14, 1950

Chinese troops move into Korea

October 1950

Ceasefire in Korean War

July 1, 1954

China cuts relations with USSR

July 1964

Chinese Government declares the USA and Soviet Union as imperialists and enemies

April 1969

Shanghai Communiqué signed between USA & PRC

February 28, 1972

During Richard Nixon's visit to the People's Republic of China, talks were held and the Shanghai Communiqué was signed. The Shanghai Communiqué was a document containing information on USA - PRC relations and how they will be normalised. One issue they didn't come to agree on was the PRC's position on Taiwan.