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The Eighth National Congress


Date: September 15-27, 1956

Place: Beijing

Number of delegates: 1,026 full delegates and 107 alternate delegates

Party membership: 10.73 million

Major contents: This is the first CPC national congress since the Party came into power in 1949. It was held at a time when socialist transformation in China had been in the main accomplished and the Party was faced with new situations and new tasks. Mao Zedong gave the opening address. Liu Shaoqi delivered the political report. Zhou Enlai made the report on the proposals for the Second Five-Year-Plan (1958-1962) for the development of the national economy. Deng Xiaoping delivered the report on the revision of the CPC Constitution. It was pointed out at the congress that, as the socialist system has been basically established in China, the principal contradiction within the country was no longer the contradiction between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie but the one resulted from the need of the people for rapid economic and cultural development which fell short of their requirements. The chief task confronting the entire nation was to concentrate all efforts on developing the productive forces, industrializing the country and gradually meeting the people's growing economic and cultural needs. The congress stressed the issue of the building of the Party in power, emphasized the need to uphold democratic centralism and collective leadership, opposed the personality cult, promoted democracy within the Party and cemented the Party's ties with the masses. Hence, the congress gave directions for the development of the socialist causes and the building of the Party in future.

The congress elected a new Central Committee composed of 97 members and 73 alternate members. At the First Plenary Session of the Eighth CPC Central Committee, new leading bodies were elected with Mao Zedong as chairman of the Central Committee, Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai, Zhu De and Chen Yun as vice-chairmen and Deng Xiaoping as general secretary. These six people were also elected to form the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee.