The Great Leap Forward was an economic and social plan in force from 1958 to 1960. It was adopted at the Second Plenary Session of the Eleventh Party Central Committee, but was based on an ultra-leftist line. In May 1958, the Second Plenary Session adopted the general principle to "go all out, strive for progress, and build the country in a faster and better way". Although the aim – to combat China's economic and cultural backwardness – was laudable, the methods adopted ignored economic laws. The government put forward unrealistic targets of doubling and even quadrupling output. The policy resulted in serious imbalances and severe economic difficulties.
(China.org.cn September 16, 2009)