The Seventh Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Communist International (ECCI), which was held between November 22 and December 16, 1926, principally to consider the Chinese question, met at a crucial period in the history of the Chinese Communist movement. During the previous summer, Chiang Kai-shek had launched his famous Northern Expedition against northern militarists and the legal government in Peking. His Communist allies had participated by arousing peasant discontent behind enemy lines and by infiltration of northern armies. It was now feared that the Communists might soon become the victims of their own success. Chiang had already given evidence of his displeasure of Communist activities. In March he had staged a “coup” against his Russian advisers and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), but a reconciliation had been effected. In October Stalin had telegraphed instructions to the CCP directing them to restrain the peasant movement in order to avoid antagonizing the officer corps of the Kuomintang army, which was largely recruited from the landholding class.

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