In June 1960， on the last day of an expanded meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China （CPC） in Shanghai， Mao Zedong wrote an article entitled “Ten Years in Retrospect.”In the article， Mao summarized and shared his thoughts on the early stage of China’s socialist construction. He pointed out that people must seek truth from facts to master the law of socialist construction. He urged the nation to research and study the innate laws of socialist revolution and review the achievements realized since the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
After entering the historical stage of building socialism in all respects， China began to engage in difficult explorations of a development path suited to its national conditions. During this process， it encountered a number of major challenges and difficulties and took quite a few detours. During this period， although China faced international blockades and isolation， and suffered from natural disasters， economic difficulties and the disastrous “cultural revolution”（1966-1976）， the Chinese people remained self-reliant and hard-working. The country’s fundamental system never wavered， and the Chinese people gained abundant valuable experience and reaped major achievements.
1960： Conquering Mount Qomolangma
Climbing onto Mount Qomolangma （known as Mount Everest in the West）， the highest peak on Earth， from the northern slope had been a dream for humans since the early 20th century. Starting in the 1920s， climbers from Western countries made seven attempts to reach the top of the mountain from the northern slope， but all ended in failure. On May 24， 1960， Chinese mountaineers completed the first trip to the mountain from the northern slope， making the decades-long dream a reality.
1961： World Table Tennis Championships in Beijing
In 1961， Beijing hosted the 26th World Table Tennis Championships. This event marked a milestone for the development of China’s table tennis and a turning point for world table tennis. Some Western media outlets asserted that China ended Japan’s dominant position in table tennis which lasted throughout the 1950s， becoming a new global leader in this sport.
1962： The Seven Thousand Cadres Conference
To learn from the lessons of the “Great Leap Forward” that began in 1958 and implement adjustments on policy more resolutely， the CPC Central Committee held an enlarged central working conference on January 11， 1962. Participants of the meeting included central and local leaders， heads of factories and mines and army chiefs， totaling 7，118 persons. Thus， the meeting became known as the Seven Thousand Cadres Conference. This meeting played an important role in promoting the overall adjustments of China’s economy.
1963： Learning from Lei Feng
Lei Feng （1940-1962） was a soldier in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. “I want to devote my limited life to unlimited service to the people，” he once wrote in his diary. Because of the many good deeds he did for others， Lei Feng became a household name in China. In 1963， Mao Zedong and other Chinese top leaders wrote inscriptions for him， calling on the public to follow the example of Lei Feng.
1964： Successful Atomic Bomb Test
At 3：00 p.m. of October 16， 1964， China successfully detonated its first atomic bomb in the western part of the country， becoming the fifth country with nuclear weapons after the United States， the Soviet Union， Britain and France.
1965： Establishment of Tibet Autonomous Region
In September 1965， the first session of the First People’s Congress of Tibet convened in Lhasa. During this session， the Tibet Autonomous Region was established， and the People’s Committee and leaders of the autonomous region were elected. It marked the establishment of the local people’s government and the full practice of regional ethnic autonomy in Tibet.
1966： Model Cadre Jiao Yulu
Jiao Yulu （1922-1964） served as Party secretary of Lankao County， Henan Province. Plagued by natural disasters for many years， Lankao’s economic development was lagging. Jiao arrived in Lankao to work just as the county was grappling with severe natural disasters. He led locals to fight natural hazards and continued working even when he suffered from advanced liver cancer. On February 7， 1966， newspapers across China including People’s Daily published the article “Jiao Yulu： An Example of a County Party Secretary” to rally the people to learn from him and work harder to overcome difficulties.
1967： Model Opera
Model operas were produced during China’s “cultural revolution” （1966-1976）， depicting and celebrating Chinese people’s armed struggles against enemies and their efforts to promote economic development. These operas were loaded with profound and extensive political connotations. On May 31， 1967， People’s Daily published a commentary article entitled“Excellent Models of Revolutionary Literature and Art，” which listed eight works as revolutionary model plays， including Legend of the Red Lantern， Shajiabang and Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy. From then on， the term “model opera” became commonplace.
1968： Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside
To solve employment problems affecting more than 4 million high-school graduates， on December 22， 1968， People’s Daily quoted Chairman Mao Zedong saying it was necessary for young graduates to go to the countryside and be re-educated by living and working in rural poverty. Then， a campaign called “Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside” was launched for“educated youth” nationwide.
1969： Red Flag Canal
In the 1960s， great changes were taking place almost every day in China’s rural areas as part of local people’s efforts to prevent natural disasters and improve severe living conditions. On July 8， 1969， the construction of the Red Flag Canal， an irrigation canal with a total length of 1，500 kilometers， was completed after 10 years of hard work by local people in Linxian County， Henan Province. To complete the canal， 211 tunnels were excavated and 151 aqueducts were constructed.