Debates about the position of Chairman of the PRC in the 1950s and 1960s

Andrea  Piazzaroli Longobardi's picture

Dear colleagues,

I am currently writing a thesis about a popular experiment that took place during the Cultural Revolution. However, I am very interested in understanding better the debates during the 50s and 60s about the position of chairman of the PRC. I could not find any publication on this topic, although it seems quite relevant to comprehend the political fissures within the Party at the time. It seems decisions over this position are always described as epiphenomena, or as improvised decisions made by some individuals. But I know it was not the case, for it was actually debated in CC meetings and also in enlarged congresses of the CCP. Can you point me to any researches on the topic?

And also a more specific question: has anyone written about how the grassroots reacted after Mao Zedong letf the position of chairman of the PRC in november of 1958?

Thank you all very much!



Hi Andrea!
The answer to your “more specific question” is complicated. I suspect the 《宣教动态》put out by the CCP Central Propaganda Department may contain a record of what the reactions were. Also, you should try to find 《公安工作简报》No. 14 (18 December 1958), pp. 2–5, which contains a report entitled 《关于毛主席不作下届中华人民共和国主席候选人的决定传达后一部份资产阶级分子、高级知识分子的反映,以及少数地富反坏右分子的动态》that is likely to have documented how some social strata reacted.

Thank you! I'll look for it.

I found today an abstract of a book called "毛泽东从韶山到中南海” written by 贾章旺, which seems to have discussed the topic. I'll keep looking! Thanks

As Mao app. announced his plan in '56,
there were also discussions about this in 56/57, see
Vol.6 of Jianguoyilai Mao Zedong wengao.

Thomas Kampen

Thank you all! Yes, professor Kampen, I found this documentation last week, it's really an interesting exchange of letters and brings forward a few links to analyze the topic.