When Chou first arrived in Ruijin at the end of 1931, he had adjudged Mao's purge methods as not altogether correct. Mao had"relied entirely on confessions and torture," and "caused terror in the masses." Chou rehabilitated some victims. [...]
But within a matter of months Chou had brought this respite to an end. Even so short a period of rehabilitation and easing up hadreleased a groundswell of dissidence. "Relaxing about purges caused counter-revolutionaries...to raise their heads again," Chou's security men noted aghast. And as people thought, wishfully, that there would be "no more killings," "no more arrests," they started to band together to defy Communist orders. It rapidly became clear that the regime could not survive without constant killings, and killing soon restarted.
-- Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, Mao, The Unknown Story, 2005