In his opening speech at the 22nd Congress, Khrushchev attacked the Communist regime of Albania for its unreformed Stalinist orthodoxy. A number of other Soviet and foreign Communist speakers joined the attack. However, Zhou Enlai, head of the Chinese Communist delegation, refused to agree and criticized Khrushchev for airing ideological differences in front of the world. "To lay bare a dispute between fraternal parties or fraternal countries openly in the face of the enemy," he said, "cannot be regarded as a serious Marxist-Leninist attitude." Speakers for five other Asian Communist parties (Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Indonesia, and India) sided with China in refusing to criticize Albania.
On 21 October, Zhou Enlai placed two wreaths at the base of the Lenin-Stalin Mausoleum, one of them "Dedicated to the great Marxist, Comrade Stalin" and at the end of the next day, he walked out of the Congress. Moscow said his departure for Peking on the 23rd was connected with an approaching session of the All-China Assembly, but when Mao Zedong and others met Zhou in Peking, no such meeting was mentioned. Although Khrushchev accompanied Zhou to the airport on the evening of his departure it was evident that there was a genuine ideological rift that could not be smoothed over.