Peng Pai was one of the outstanding leaders of Chinese Communist Party who realized the importance of the peasants relatively early and was actually involved in the peasant movement. Mao Zedong praised him as the king of the peasant movement.
Peng Pai was born in 1896 as a landlord's offspring. He became rebellious to society after receiving anti-imperialism and anti-feudalism education in high school. Peng Pai went to study in Japan in 1917 where he read many Marxism-Leninism works and actively participated in the movement of rescuing China, started by Chinese students in Japan. Peng Pai then finished his study in Japan and returned to his hometown, Haifeng. Peng, along with other enlightened youth, set up a "research institute of socialism," which attempted to achieve social revolution through cultural education.
Peng Pai joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1921 and started organizing the peasant movement in his hometown of Haifeng. Peng enthusiastically advocated revolution in countryside.
To politically awaken peasants and encourage them to fight for their own rights, as well as to liberate themselves from social injustice, Peng Pai burned all the title deeds of his inherited lands in public and lived a thrifty life as the peasants did. The Haifeng County Peasant Association was established in January 1923, claiming a membership of 100,000.
Peng Pai gained rich experience from the Hailufeng peasant movement. He was elected vice chairman of the Guangdong Peasants'Association. From May to September in 1926, when Mao Zedong was the director of the sixth term of the Guangzhou Peasant Movement Training Institute (PMTI), Mao led over 300 students to learn the Hailufeng experience. Mao even invited Peng Pai as a teacher.
On April 12, 1927, Chiang Kai-shek and his right-wing KMT launched the historic Shanghai massacre, also known as the "April 12 Incident." Many prominent Communists, along with tens of thousands of suspected pro-CPC masses were imprisoned or slaughtered during this large-scale bloodbath.
Peng Pai was elected as a member of the CPC Central Committee at the 5th National Congress in April. In August, Peng organized and directed the famous Nanchang Uprising. Peng Pai returned to Guangdong following the Nachang Uprising troops and established the Hailufeng Soviet Worker-Peasant-Soldier Government after successfully organizing and launching an armed uprising in the Haifeng and Lufeng counties in November.