The Eighth National Congress, September 15-27, 1956, Beijing. In attendance: 1,026 deputies and 107 alternate deputies, representing 10.73 million Party members.
The congress declared that the socialist system had been fundamentally instituted in China and that the principal contradiction in the country was no longer between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie but between people's demand for rapid development in economy and culture and the inability to meet those demands. The major task of the people was to rally their forces to develop social productivity, achieve state industrialization, and so satisfy the needs of the people. Although class struggle still existed and the people's democratic dictatorship needed to be strengthened, the fundamental purpose was to protect and develop the productive forces under the new relations of production.
The congress upheld the principles guiding economic construction. which were to achieve stable, comprehensive and balanced progress, and raised the question as to how a ruling Party should strengthen itself organizationally and ideologically. The congress also underscored the importance of adhering to democratic centralism and the system of collective leadership. It stressed opposition to personality cult in the development of inner-Party democracy and people's democracy, and suggested there was a need to strengthen the relationship between the Party and the masses.
The congress elected the Eighth Party Central Committee. At the First Plenary Session of that committee, Mao Zedong was elected chairman of the Party Central Committee; Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai, Zhu De and Chen Yun were elected vice-chairmen; Deng Xiaoping was elected general secretary.
In the ten years thereafter, China started to build socialism in an all-round way. During this period, the Party accumulated important experience in leading socialist construction. A major part of the material and technical foundation for today's modernization drive was laid during that period; the backbone forces of China's economic and cultural construction formed at that time. This constituted the major aspect of the Party's work at the time. However, Left deviationism was not eradicated and it became more serious in the political and ideological fields. Meanwhile, Mao Zedong made serious mistakes in theory and practice with regard to class struggle. His arbitrary style of work began to harm the Party's democratic centralism and his personality cult developed. The Party Central Committee failed to put right the mistakes in time. Careerists including Lin Biao, Jiang Qing and Kang Sheng abetted Mao's mistakes for their own purposes. All this paved the way for the launching of the "cultural revolution."
(NO. 43 OCOBTER 26, 1987 title: "Review of Past CPC National Congresses")