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Following directives from the Communist International, he stood for what was called by his rivals the "Li Lisan line", a strategy for urban uprisings, in contrast to Mao's strategy which was oriented towards the countryside.
In July 1930, the communist army under the leadership of Li Lisan captured Changsha in Hunan province, but Guomindang troops defeated his forces just a few days later. Li Lisan was blamed for the defeat and sent to Moscow.
He returned to China in 1945 and became Minister of Labour in 1949. He resigned in 1954 due to conflicts with other party leaders. Li Lisan perished in 1967 during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.
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