The Great Leap Forward and the Post-Leap Recovery Period: Hua in Hunan (1958–65)
The Great Leap Forward proved to be a pivotal event in Hua’s political career. Although Hua was already in the ascendancy in Hunan as noted in the previous chapter, the Leap significantly accelerated this process. It was during the Leap that Hua began to work alongside senior party officials in Hunan for the first time since arriving in the province, chairing a number of key decision-making bodies responsible for economic planning and heading up provincial campaigns to increase production. Much of Hua’s work during the campaign remained rather unglamorous and mundane. We will see in this chapter Hua giving specific advice on techniques for increasing potato production and on the technical difficulties in pumping water from coal pits. Hua also continued to shun the limelight as he had done earlier in the decade, often preferring to remove his name from policymaking documents that were published for circulation. But this did not hold him back since in September 1959 he was appointed as a Party Secretary in Hunan, promoted over the heads of several more senior colleagues in the party apparatus.
KeywordsCultural Revolution Production Team Great Leap Irrigation Plant Provincial Leader
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