History of China

People's Republic of China
1949 Oct 1

People's Republic of China


Mao Zedong proclaimed the People's Republic of China (PRC) from atop Tiananmen, after a near complete victory (1949) by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the Chinese Civil War. The PRC is the most recent political entity to govern mainland China, preceded by the Republic of China (ROC; 1912–1949) and thousands of years of monarchical dynasties. The paramount leaders have been Mao Zedong (1949-1976); Hua Guofeng (1976-1978); Deng Xiaoping (1978-1989); Jiang Zemin (1989-2002); Hu Jintao (2002-2012); and Xi Jinping (2012 to present).

The origins of the People's Republic can be traced to the Chinese Soviet Republic that was proclaimed in 1931 in Ruijin (Jui-chin), Jiangxi (Kiangsi), with the backing of the All-Union Communist Party in the Soviet Union in the midst of the Chinese Civil War against the Nationalist government only to dissolve in 1937.

Under Mao's rule, China went through a socialist transformation from a traditional peasant society, leaning towards heavy industries under planned economy, while campaigns such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution wreaked havoc on the entire country. Since late 1978, the economic reforms led by Deng Xiaoping had made China the world's second-largest and fastest growing economy, with a specialty in high productivity factories and leadership in some areas of high technology. Globally, after receiving support from the USSR in the 1950s, China became bitter enemy of USSR on a worldwide basis until Mikhail Gorbachev's visit to China in May 1989. In the 21st century, the new wealth and technology led to a contest for primacy in Asian affairs versus India, Japan and the United States, and since 2017 a growing trade war with the United States.