Mao establishes an authoritarian regime and forcible redistributes land from landlords to people's communes, developing large infrastructure projects.
Private farming was prohibited, and those engaged in it were labeled as counter revolutionaries and persecuted. Restrictions on rural people were enforced through public struggle sessions, and social pressure, although people also experienced forced labor. Rural industrialization, officially a priority of the campaign, saw "its development ... aborted by the mistakes of the Great Leap Forward."
The Great Leap ended in catastrophe, resulting in tens of millions of excess deaths and famine. Historian Frank Dikötter asserts that "coercion, terror, and systematic violence were the very foundation of the Great Leap Forward" and it "motivated one of the most deadly mass killings of human history."
The years of the Great Leap Forward in fact saw economic regression, with 1958 through 1961 being the only years between 1953 and 1983 in which China's economy saw negative growth.
In subsequent conferences in 1960 and 1962, the negative effects of the Great Leap Forward were studied by the CPC, and Mao was criticized in the party conferences. Moderate Party members like Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping rose to power, and Mao was marginalized within the party, leading him to initiate the Cultural Revolution in 1966.