An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

The Gao Gang and Rao Shushi Affair 1954

Mar 20, 2017 © Ulrich Theobald

The first test for the coherence of the Party leadership was the affair around Gao Gang and Rao Shushi in 1954. Gao Gang had been a communist leader in Northwest China before the arrival of Mao Zedong. After the liberation, he controlled the whole northeast, and was Chairman of the State Planning Commission. He fell into disgrace in late 1953 (although the purging of him was only made public in March 1955). It is quite probable that Mao Zedong saw him as a serious opponent within the Party who did not only control the most industrialized zones of China, but had also a grip on economic planning. Gao Gang was indicted of having attempted to establish an "independent kingdom" (duli wangguo 独立王国) in Manchuria, and committed suicide.

Rao Shushi, Chairman of the Administrative Committee of East China and head of the Organization Department of the Central Committee (Zhongguo gongchandang zhongyang zuzhi bu 中国共产党中央组织部), was accused of rightist deviation because he criticized the negative impact of the many political campaigns on the economy.

One of the outcomes of the Gao Gang-Rao Shushi Affair (Gao Gang Rao Shushi shijian 高岗饶漱石事件, Gao-Rao shijian 高饶事件) was the February 10, 1954, Resolution on the Unity of the Party (Guanyu zengqiang dang de tuanjie de jueyi 关于增强党的团结的决议) which forbade factionalism. Another one was the dissolution of the great administrative zones that eliminated the positions of potential local "kings".