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1949 - 2023

History of the People's Republic of China

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In 1949, Mao Zedong declared the People's Republic of China (PRC) from Tiananmen, following a near complete victory by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the Chinese Civil War. Since then, the PRC has been the most recent political entity to govern mainland China, taking the place of the Republic of China (ROC) which held power from 1912-1949, and the thousands of years of monarchical dynasties that came before it. The paramount leaders of the PRC 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 PRC can be traced back to 1931 when the Chinese Soviet Republic was proclaimed in Ruijin, Jiangxi, with the support of the All-Union Communist Party in the Soviet Union. This short-lived republic dissolved in 1937. Under Mao's rule, China underwent a socialist transition from a traditional peasant society, turning towards a planned economy with heavy industries. This change was accompanied by campaigns such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution which had a devastating effect on the entire country. From 1978 onwards, Deng Xiaoping's economic reforms made China the world's second-largest economy and one of the fastest growing, investing in high productivity factories and leading in certain areas of high technology. After receiving support from the USSR in the 1950s, China became a bitter enemy of the USSR until Mikhail Gorbachev's visit to China in 1989. In the 21st century, China's newfound wealth and technology has led to a competition for primacy in Asian affairs with India, Japan, and the United States, and since 2017 a trade war with the United States.


History of the People's Republic of China Timeline




1949 Oct 1

The People's Republic of China

Tiananmen Square, 前门 Dongcheng

Mao Zedong Full Speech


On October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China at a ceremony in Tiananmen Square in the newly designated capital of Beijing (formerly Beiping). At this momentous event, the Central People's Government led by the Chinese Communist Party was officially declared, accompanied by the first-ever playing of the PRC national anthem, March of the Volunteers. The new nation was marked by the official unveiling of the Five-starred Red Flag of the People's Republic of China, which was hoisted during the ceremony to the sounds of a 21-gun salute in the distance. After the flag raising, the People's Liberation Army then celebrated with a public military parade.


1950 Mar 1

Campaign to Suppress

China

Campaign to Suppress


The Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries was a political repression campaign launched by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the early 1950s, following the CCP's victory in the Chinese Civil War. The campaign's primary targets were individuals and groups deemed to be counterrevolutionaries or "class enemies" of the CCP, including landlords, wealthy farmers, and former Nationalist government officials.


During the campaign, hundreds of thousands of people were arrested, tortured, and executed, and many more were sent to labor camps or exiled to remote areas of China. The campaign was also characterized by widespread public humiliation, such as parading alleged counterrevolutionaries through the streets with placards detailing their supposed crimes.


The Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries was part of a larger effort by the CCP to consolidate power and eliminate perceived threats to its rule. The campaign was also motivated by a desire to redistribute land and wealth from the wealthy class to the poor and working class. The campaign was officially ended in 1953, but similar repression and persecution continued in the following years.


The campaign also had a significant impact on Chinese society and culture, as it led to widespread fear and mistrust, and contributed to a culture of political repression and censorship that continues to the present day. It is estimated that the number of deaths from the campaign ranges from several hundred thousand to more than a million.


1950 Oct 1 - 1953 Jul

China and the Korean War

Korea

China's involvement in the Korean War | ©CGTN


The People's Republic of China was quickly thrust into its first international conflict soon after being established in June 1950, when North Korea forces crossed the 38th parallel and invaded South Korea. In response, the United Nations, led by the United States, stepped in to defend the South. Thinking a US victory would be dangerous in a time of the Cold War, the Soviet Union left China the responsibility of rescuing the North Korean regime. The US 7th Fleet was sent to the Taiwan Straits to prevent a Communist invasion of the island, and China warned that it would not accept a US-backed Korea on its border. After the UN forces liberated Seoul in September, the Chinese army, known as the People's Volunteers, responded by sending troops south to prevent UN forces from crossing the Yalu River area. Despite the Chinese army's lack of modern warfare experience and technology, the Resist America, Aid Korea Campaign managed to push the UN forces back to the 38th Parallel. The war was costly for China, as more than just volunteers were mobilised and casualties greatly outnumbered those of the UN. The war ended in July 1953 with a UN armistice, and although the conflict had ended, it had effectively prevented the possibility of normalised relations between China and the United States for many years. In addition to the war, China also annexed Tibet in October 1950, claiming it had been nominally subject to the Chinese emperors in centuries past.


1956 May 1 - 1957

Hundred Flowers Campaign

China

Hundred Flowers Campaign


The Hundred Flowers Campaign was a movement launched by the Chinese Communist Party in May of 1956. It was a period of time when Chinese citizens were encouraged to openly criticize the Chinese government and its policies. The goal of the campaign was to allow a diverse range of opinions to be expressed and heard by the government, which was hoping to create a more open society.


The campaign was initiated by Mao Zedong and lasted for roughly six months. During this period, citizens were encouraged to voice their opinions on a wide range of political and social topics, including education, labor, law, and literature. The state-run media broadcasted the call for criticism and praised the fact that people were coming forward with their opinions.


Unfortunately, the campaign quickly turned sour when the government began to take a harsher stance against those voicing criticism. As the criticism of the government increased, the government began to crack down on the critics, arresting and sometimes executing those deemed to be overly negative or dangerous to the government.


The Hundred Flowers Campaign was ultimately seen as a failure, as it failed to create a more open society and only resulted in increased government suppression of dissent. The campaign is often viewed as one of the most significant mistakes of the Chinese Communist Party and is a cautionary tale for other governments who wish to encourage open and honest dialogue with their citizens.


1957 Jan 1 - 1959

Anti-Rightist Campaign

China

Anti-Rightist Campaign


The Anti-Rightist Campaign was a political movement carried out in China between 1957 and 1959. It was initiated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and aimed to identify, criticize, and purge those who were deemed to be rightists, or those who had expressed anti-Communist or counterrevolutionary views. The campaign was part of the broader Hundred Flowers Campaign, which sought to encourage open discussion and debate of political and social issues in the country.


The Anti-Rightist Campaign was launched in 1957 in response to the Hundred Flowers Campaign, which had encouraged intellectuals to criticize the Communist Party. The Communist Party leadership, led by Mao Zedong, had not expected the criticism to be so widespread and openly expressed. They saw the criticism as a threat to the power of the Party, and so decided to launch the Anti-Rightist Campaign in order to limit and control the discussion.


The campaign saw the government label anyone who had expressed any criticism of the Party as a “rightist”. These individuals were then subjected to public criticism and humiliation, and were often ostracized and removed from positions of power. Many were sent to labor camps, and some were even executed. It is estimated that around 550,000 people were labeled as rightists and subjected to the campaign.


The Anti-Rightist Campaign was part of a larger trend of political repression in China during this period. Despite the harsh measures taken against rightists, the campaign was ultimately unsuccessful in suppressing criticism and dissent. Many Chinese intellectuals remained critical of the Party’s policies, and the campaign only served to alienate them further. The campaign also had a significant impact on the Chinese economy, as the removal of so many intellectuals from positions of power caused a significant decrease in productivity.


1958 Jan 1 - 1962

Four Pests campaign

China

Four Pests campaign
The Eurasian tree sparrow was the most notable target of the campaign.


The Four Pests campaign was an extermination campaign launched by Mao Zedong in 1958 in the People's Republic of China. The campaign aimed to eradicate the four pests responsible for the spread of disease and crop destruction: rats, flies, mosquitoes, and sparrows. This campaign was part of the overall Great Leap Forward initiative to improve agricultural production.


To eliminate the pests, people were encouraged to set traps, use chemical sprays, and set off firecrackers to scare the birds away. The campaign was also a social movement, with people engaging in organized public activities dedicated to pest control.


The campaign was highly successful in reducing the number of pests, but it also had unintended consequences. The sparrow population declined so much that it disrupted the ecological balance, leading to an increase in crop-eating insects. This, in turn, led to decreased agricultural production and a famine in some areas. The Four Pests campaign was eventually ended in 1962, and the sparrow population began to recover.


1958 Jan 1 - 1962

Great Leap Forward

China

Great Leap Forward | ©The Great War
Great Leap ForwardGreat Leap ForwardGreat Leap ForwardGreat Leap Forward


The Great Leap Forward was a plan implemented by Mao Zedong in China between 1958 and 1961 to spur rapid economic and social development in the country. The plan was one of the most ambitious economic and social engineering projects in history and aimed to rapidly industrialize China and transform it from an agrarian society into a modern, industrialized nation. The plan sought to increase agricultural and industrial production by instituting collectivization in the form of communes, introducing new technologies and increasing labor productivity.


The Great Leap Forward was a sweeping effort to modernize the Chinese economy, and it was largely successful in spurring economic growth in the short-term. In 1958, agricultural production increased by an estimated 40%, and industrial production increased by an estimated 50%. The Great Leap Forward also saw a marked improvement in living standards in Chinese cities, with an estimated 25% increase in average urban incomes in 1959.


However, the Great Leap Forward also had some unintended consequences. The communization of agriculture led to a decline in crop diversity and quality, and the use of new, untested technologies led to a significant drop in agricultural productivity. In addition, the extreme labor demands of the Great Leap Forward led to a sharp decline in the health of Chinese people. This, combined with bad weather and the effects of war on the Chinese economy, led to a period of mass famine and ultimately the death of an estimated 14-45 million people. In the end, the Great Leap Forward was an ambitious attempt to modernize the Chinese economy and society, and while it was initially successful in spurring economic growth, it ultimately failed due to its extreme demands on the Chinese people.


1959 Jan 1 - 1961

Great Chinese Famine

China

Great Chinese Famine | ©Timeline - World History Documentaries


The Great Chinese Famine was a period of extreme famine in the People's Republic of China between 1959 and 1961. It is estimated that between 15 and 45 million people died from starvation, overwork, and disease during this period. This was a result of a combination of natural disasters, including floods and droughts, and man-made disasters, such as the Great Leap Forward.


The Great Leap Forward was an economic and social campaign initiated in 1958 by Mao Zedong, the chairman of the Communist Party of China, to rapidly transform the country from an agrarian economy into a socialist society. The campaign was intended to increase agricultural and industrial production, but it largely failed due to mismanagement and unrealistic goals. The campaign led to a massive disruption of agricultural production, resulting in widespread famine and starvation.


The famine was particularly acute in rural areas, where most of the population lived. Many people were forced to eat whatever food was available, including bark, leaves, and wild grasses. In some areas, people resorted to cannibalism to survive. The Chinese government was slow to respond to the crisis, and estimates of the number of people who died vary widely. The Great Chinese Famine was a devastating event in China’s history, and it serves as a reminder of the dangers of mismanagement of resources and of the need for careful planning and oversight of economic policies.


1961 Jan 1 - 1989

Sino-Soviet Split

Russia

How did the Soviets and China become enemies | ©The Cold War


The Sino-Soviet split was a geopolitical and ideological rift between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) that occurred in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The split was caused by a combination of political, economic, and personal differences, as well as ideological differences between the two communist nations.


One major source of tension was the USSR's perception that the PRC was becoming too independent and not sufficiently following the Soviet model of socialism. The USSR also resented China's attempts to spread its own version of communism to other countries in the socialist bloc, which the USSR saw as a challenge to its own leadership.


Additionally, there were economic and territorial disputes between the two countries. The USSR had been providing economic and military aid to China during the Korean War, but after the war, they expected China to repay the aid with raw materials and technology. China, however, saw the aid as a gift and felt no obligation to repay it.


The situation was further exacerbated by the personal relations between the leaders of the two countries. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and Chinese leader Mao Zedong had different ideologies and visions for the future of communism. Mao saw Khrushchev as too focused on peaceful coexistence with the West and not sufficiently committed to world revolution.


The split was formalized in the early 1960s, when the USSR withdrew its advisors from China, and China began to pursue a more independent foreign policy. The two countries also began to support opposing sides in various conflicts around the world.


The Sino-Soviet split had a major impact on the communist world and the global balance of power. It led to a realignment of alliances and the emergence of China as a major player in international affairs. It also had a profound effect on the development of communism in China, leading to the emergence of a distinct Chinese brand of communism that continues to shape the country's politics and society to this day.


1962 Oct 20 - 1962 Nov 21

Sino-Indian War

Aksai Chin

Sino-Indian War | ©Timeline
Sino-Indian WarSino-Indian WarSino-Indian War


The Sino-Indian War was a military conflict between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of India that occurred in 1962. The main cause of the war was a long-standing border dispute between the two countries, specifically over the Himalayan border regions of Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh.


In the years leading up to the war, India had claimed sovereignty over these regions, while China maintained that they were a part of Chinese territory. Tensions between the two countries had been simmering for a while, but they boiled over in 1962 when Chinese troops suddenly crossed the border into India and began to advance into Indian-claimed territory.


The war began on October 20, 1962, with a surprise Chinese attack on Indian positions in the Ladakh region. The Chinese forces quickly overran Indian positions and advanced deep into Indian-claimed territory. Indian forces were caught off guard and were unable to mount an effective defense.


The fighting was primarily limited to the mountainous border regions and was characterized by small unit actions, with both sides using traditional infantry and artillery tactics. The Chinese forces had a clear advantage in terms of equipment, training and logistics, and were able to quickly overrun the Indian positions.


The war ended on November 21, 1962, with a ceasefire. By this time, the Chinese had captured a large portion of Indian-claimed territory, including the Aksai Chin region, which they continue to hold to this day. India suffered a heavy defeat, and the war had a profound impact on the nation's psyche and foreign policy.


1966 Jan 1 - 1976 Jan

Cultural Revolution

China

Cultural Revolution | © NowThis World
Cultural RevolutionCultural RevolutionCultural RevolutionCultural Revolution


The Cultural Revolution was a period of social and political upheaval in China from 1966 to 1976. It was launched by Mao Zedong, the leader of the Communist Party of China, with the goal of reasserting his authority over the country and purging the party of “impure” elements. The Cultural Revolution saw the rise of a cult of personality around Mao and the persecution of millions of people, including intellectuals, teachers, writers, and anyone who was deemed to be a “bourgeois” element of society.


The Cultural Revolution began in 1966, when Mao Zedong published a document calling for a “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.” Mao argued that the Chinese people had become complacent and that the country was in danger of slipping back into capitalism. He called on all Chinese citizens to join in the revolution and to “bombard the headquarters” of the Communist Party in order to purge it of impure elements.


The Cultural Revolution was characterized by the formation of Red Guard groups, which were made up of mainly young people and led by Mao. These groups were given the authority to attack and persecute anyone they deemed to be a “bourgeois” element of society. This led to widespread violence and chaos throughout the country, as well as the destruction of many cultural and religious artifacts.


The Cultural Revolution also saw the emergence of the “Gang of Four,” a group of four high-ranking members of the Communist Party who were closely associated with Mao and held a great deal of power during the period. They were responsible for much of the violence and repression of the Cultural Revolution and were arrested after Mao’s death in 1976.


The Cultural Revolution had a profound effect on Chinese society and politics, and its legacy is still felt today. It led to the death of millions of people and the displacement of millions more. It also led to a resurgence of nationalist sentiment and a renewed focus on class struggle and economic development. The Cultural Revolution ultimately failed in its goal of restoring Mao’s authority and purging the party of its “impure” elements, but its legacy still lingers in Chinese politics and society.


1967 Jan 1 - 1976

Guangxi Massacre

Guangxi, China

Guangxi Massacre | © On This Day


The Guangxi Cultural Revolution Massacre refers to the large-scale mass killings and brutal repression of perceived enemies of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). The Cultural Revolution was a decade-long political campaign launched by Mao Zedong to reassert his authority over the Chinese state by purging opponents and consolidating power. In Guangxi province, the CCP’s local leaders launched a particularly severe campaign of mass killings and repression.


Official records suggest between 100,000 and 150,000 people died due to various violent means such as beheading, beating, live burial, stoning, drowning, boiling, and disemboweling. In areas like Wuxuan County and Wuming District, cannibalism occurred even though no famine was present. Public records indicate the consumption of at least 137 people, though the actual number may be higher. Thousands of people in Guangxi are believed to have taken part in cannibalism, and some reports name 421 victims.


Following the Cultural Revolution, individuals who were implicated in the massacre or cannibalism were given light punishments during the "Boluan Fanzheng" period; in Wuxuan County, where a minimum of 38 people were eaten, fifteen of the participants were put on trial and were jailed for up to 14 years, ninety-one members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) were dismissed from the party, and thirty-nine non-party officials were either demoted or had their wages reduced. Even though the cannibalism was sanctioned by regional offices of the Communist Party and militia, no hard proof indicates that anyone in the national Communist Party leadership including Mao Zedong supported the cannibalism or even knew of it. However, some experts have noted that Wuxuan County, through internal pathways, had informed the central authorities regarding the cannibalism in 1968.


1971 Sep 1

Lin Biao Incident

Mongolia

The Madness of CCP Number Two, Lin Biao | ©Asianometry


In April 1969, Lin became China's second-in-charge following the 1st Plenary Session of the 9th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. He was the commander-in-chief of the People's Liberation Army and Mao's designated successor. He was expected to assume leadership of the Communist Party and the People's Republic of China after Mao's death. His faction was dominant in the Politburo and his power was second only to Mao's. However, at the Second Plenary Session of the 9th Central Committee held in Lushan in 1970, Mao became uncomfortable with Lin's growing power. Mao supported Zhou Enlai and Jiang Qing's efforts to limit Lin's power by rehabilitating civilian officials who had been purged during the Cultural Revolution and improving China's relationship with the United States. In July 1971, Mao decided to remove Lin and his supporters and Zhou Enlai attempted to moderate Mao's resolution but failed.


In September 1971, Lin Biao's plane crashed in Mongolia under mysterious circumstances. It was later revealed that Lin had attempted to flee to the Soviet Union after Mao had accused him of plotting a coup d'état against the Chinese Communist Party.


Lin's death was a shock to the Chinese people, and the Party's official explanation of the incident was that Lin had died in a plane crash while trying to flee the country. Though this explanation has been largely accepted, there has been some speculation that he was assassinated by the Chinese government in order to prevent him from overthrowing Mao. The Lin Biao Incident has left a mark on Chinese history, and it continues to be a source of speculation and debate. It is seen as an important example of the power struggles that occurred within the Chinese Communist Party during the final years of Mao's rule.


1972 Feb 21 - 1972 Feb 28

Nixon Visits China

Beijing, China

Nixon Visits China | ©South China Morning Post


In February 1972, President Richard Nixon made a historic visit to the People's Republic of China. This visit marked the first time an American president had visited the nation in 22 years, since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. It was a dramatic shift in the Cold War dynamics between the United States and China, which had been antagonists since the founding of the People's Republic. President Nixon had long sought to open a dialogue with China, and the visit was seen as a major step towards normalizing relations between the two nations. This visit was also seen as a way to strengthen the United States’ position in the Cold War.


During the visit, President Nixon and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai held talks and discussed a range of issues. They discussed the normalization of diplomatic relations, the situation in Southeast Asia, and the need for nuclear non-proliferation. They also discussed the possibility of greater economic cooperation between the two countries.


The visit was a public relations success for President Nixon and China. It was widely publicized in the United States and around the world. The visit helped to reduce tensions between the two countries and opened the door for further talks and negotiations. The effects of the visit were felt for many years. In 1979, the United States and China established diplomatic relations, and in the decades since, the two countries have become important trading partners. The visit is also seen as having contributed to the eventual end of the Cold War.


1976 Sep 9

Death of Mao Zedong

Beijing, China

Death of Mao Zedong


The period from 1949 to 1976 in the People's Republic of China is often referred to as the "Mao era". Since Mao Zedong's death, there has been a great deal of debate and discussion surrounding his legacy. It is commonly argued that his mismanagement of the food supply and over-emphasis on rural industry resulted in the deaths of millions due to famine. However, there were also positive changes during his rule. For example, illiteracy declined from 80% to less than 7%, and the average life expectancy increased by 30 years. Additionally, China's population grew from 400,000,000 to 700,000,000. Under Mao's rule, China was able to end its "Century of Humiliation" and regain its status as a major power on the international stage. Mao also industrialized China to a large extent and helped to ensure its sovereignty. Furthermore, Mao's efforts to abolish Confucianist and feudal norms were also influential.


In 1976, China's economy had grown to three times the size it had been in 1949, though still only a tenth of the size of its economy in 1936. Despite having acquired some of the attributes of a superpower such as nuclear weapons and a space programme, China was still generally quite poor and behind the Soviet Union, the United States, Japan, and Western Europe in terms of development and progress. The rapid economic growth seen between 1962 and 1966 was largely wiped out by the Cultural Revolution. Mao has been criticized for not encouraging birth control, and instead trying to increase the population, with the phrase "The more people, the more power". This eventually led to the controversial one-child policy put in place by later Chinese leaders. Mao's interpretation of Marxism–Leninism, known as Maoism, was codified into the Constitution as a guiding ideology. Internationally, Mao's influence has been seen in revolutionary movements around the world, such as Cambodia's Khmer Rouge, Peru's Shining Path, and the revolutionary movement in Nepal. Maoism is no longer practiced in China, though it is still referenced in regard to the CCP's legitimacy and China's revolutionary origins. Some Maoists consider the Deng Xiaoping reforms to be a betrayal of Mao's legacy.


1976 Oct 1 - 1989

Deng Era

China

Deng Xiaoping’s role in transforming China | ©South China Morning Post


After Mao Zedong's death in September 1976, the Chinese Communist Party officially urged the continuation of Mao's revolutionary line and policies in foreign affairs. At the time of his death, China was in a political and economic quagmire due to the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and subsequent factional fighting. Hua Guofeng, Mao's designated successor, assumed the post of party chairman and arrested the Gang of Four, prompting nationwide celebrations. Hua Guofeng tried to fill his mentor's shoes by, among other things, sporting an identical haircut and proclaiming the "Two Whatevers", meaning that "Whatever Chairman Mao said, we will say, and whatever Chairman Mao did, we will do." Hua relied on Maoist orthodoxy, but his unimaginative policies received relatively little support, and he was regarded as an unremarkable leader. Deng Xiaoping was restored in his former posts in July 1977, and the 11th Party Congress was held in August, which again rehabilitated Deng and confirmed his election as the new Committee Vice-chairman and the Central Military Commission's vice-chairman. Deng Xiaoping made his first trip abroad in May 1978, visiting the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. China mended fences with President of Yugoslavia Josip Tito, who visited Beijing in May 1977, and in October 1978, Deng Xiaoping visited Japan and concluded a peace treaty with that country's prime minister Takeo Fukuda, officially ending the state of war that had existed between the two countries since the 1930s. Relations with Vietnam suddenly turned hostile in 1979, and in January 1979, a full-scale Chinese attack was launched on the Vietnamese border. China finally fully established diplomatic relations with the United States on January 1, 1979. The establishment of diplomatic ties with the United States brought about a mixed reaction from the communist world.


The shift in power to Deng Xiaoping and his supporters was a watershed moment in Chinese history, as it marked the end of the era of Mao Zedong Thought, and the beginning of the era of reform and openness. Deng's ideas of economic modernization and a more pragmatic approach to governance came to the forefront, and his supporters attempted to bring about a more equitable society through institutional reforms. The new leadership's focus on economic development, as opposed to class struggle and revolutionary zeal, was a major shift in Chinese policy, and it was accompanied by a number of reforms in the political, economic, and social spheres. As the old guard of the Cultural Revolution was replaced by a younger generation of leaders, the CCP made a pledge to never repeat the mistakes of the past, and to pursue gradual reform rather than drastic change.


1978 Mar 5

1978 Constitution of the People's Republic of China

China

1978 Constitution of the People's Republic of China


The 1978 Constitution of the People's Republic of China was formally adopted at the First Meeting of the Fifth National People's Congress on March 5, 1978, two years after the downfall of the Gang of Four. This was the third Constitution of the PRC, and it featured 60 articles compared to the 30 of the 1975 Constitution. It restored certain features of the 1954 Constitution, such as term limits for party leaders, elections, and increased independence in the judiciary, as well as introducing new elements such as the Four Modernizations policy and a clause that declared Taiwan to be part of China. The Constitution also reaffirmed citizens' rights, including the right to strike, while still requiring support for the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and the socialist system. Despite its revolutionary language, it was superseded by the 1982 Constitution of the People's Republic of China during the Deng Xiaoping era.


1978 Dec 18

Boluan Fanzheng

China

Boluan Fanzheng
During the Cultural Revolution, the Little Red Book recording the quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong was popular and Mao Zedong's cult of personality reached it peak. At the time, the Constitution and rule of law was largely overlooked.


The Boluan Fanzheng period was a time in the history of the People's Republic of China when Deng Xiaoping led a major effort to correct the mistakes of the Cultural Revolution started by Mao Zedong. This program sought to undo the Maoist policies that had been implemented during the Cultural Revolution, rehabilitate those who had been wrongfully persecuted, bring about various social and political reforms, and help to restore order to the country in a systematic way. This period is seen as a major transition and the foundation for the Reform and Opening-up program, which began on December 18, 1978.


In 1976, after the Cultural Revolution had concluded, Deng Xiaoping proposed the concept of "Boluan Fanzheng". He was aided by individuals such as Hu Yaobang, who would eventually be appointed the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). In December 1978, Deng Xiaoping was able to begin the Boluan Fanzheng program and became the leader of China. This period lasted until the early 1980s, when the CCP and Chinese government shifted its focus from "class struggles" to "economic construction" and "modernization".


Nonetheless, the Boluan Fanzheng period generated a number of disputes, such as contention over approaches to Mao, the incorporation of the "Four Cardinal Principles" in China's Constitution which maintained the CCP's one-party governance of China, and legal arguments including the reality that many of those in charge of and participants in Cultural Revolution massacres received either no or minimal punishment. The CCP has not completely disclosed the reports linked to the Cultural Revolution and has been limiting scholarly studies and public dialogs about it within Chinese society. Additionally, there has been apprehension about the reversal of the Boluan Fanzheng initiatives and the shift to one-man rule that has been evident since Xi Jinping became CCP general secretary in 2012.


1978 Dec 18

Chinese Economic Reform

China

How forty years of reform and opening up have transformed China | ©South China Morning Post


The Chinese economic reform, also referred to as reform and opening-up, began in the late 20th century and was initiated by reformists within the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC). Guided by Deng Xiaoping, the reforms set out to de-collectivize the agricultural sector and open up the country to foreign investment, while also permitting entrepreneurs to start businesses. By 2001, China had joined the World Trade Organization (WTO), which saw the private sector's growth reach 70 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) by 2005. As a result of the reforms, the Chinese economy grew rapidly, increasing by 9.5% a year from 1978 to 2013. The reform era also resulted in immense changes in Chinese society, including decreased poverty, increased average incomes and income inequality, and China's rise as a great power. However, there remain serious issues such as corruption, pollution and an aging population that the Chinese government has to tackle. The current leadership under Xi Jinping has scaled down the reforms and reasserted state control over different aspects of Chinese society, including the economy.


1979 Jan 31

Special Economic Zones

Shenzhen, Guangdong Province,

How did China's earliest special economic zones come into being | © CGTN


In 1978, at the Third Plenum of the Eleventh National Party Congress Central Committee, Deng Xiaoping launched China on the path of Reform and Opening-up, which aimed to de-collectivize the countryside and decentralize government controls in the industrial sector. He also introduced the goal of "Four Modernizations" and the concept of "xiaokang" or "moderately prosperous society." Deng placed a strong emphasis on light industry as a stepping stone to the development of heavy industries and was heavily influenced by the economic success of Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew.


Deng also established Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in areas such as Shenzhen, Zhuhai, and Xiamen to attract foreign investment without strict government regulations and to run on a capitalist system. The Shekou Industrial Zone in Shenzhen was the first area to open up and had a significant impact on the development of other parts of China. He also recognized the importance of science and technology in the "Four Modernizations" and approved several projects such as the Beijing Electron-Positron Collider and the Great Wall Station, the first Chinese research station in Antarctica.


In 1986, Deng launched the "863 Program" and established the nine-year compulsory education system. He also approved the construction of the first two nuclear power plants in China, the Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant in Zhejiang and the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant in Shenzhen. Additionally, he approved the appointment of foreign nationals to work in China, including the renowned Chinese-American mathematician Shiing-Shen Chern. Overall, Deng's policies and leadership played a significant role in modernizing and transforming China's economy and society.


1979 Feb 17 - 1979 Mar 16

Sino-Vietnamese War

Vietnam

Looking Back at the Sino-Vietnamese War | ©Asianometry


The Sino-Vietnamese War took place in early 1979 between China and Vietnam. The war was sparked by China's response to Vietnam's actions against the Khmer Rouge in 1978, which had ended the rule of the Chinese-backed Khmer Rouge. Both sides claimed victory in the final conflict of the Indochina Wars. During the war, Chinese forces invaded northern Vietnam and captured several cities near the border. On March 6, 1979, China declared that it had achieved its objective and its troops then withdrew from Vietnam. However, Vietnam continued to maintain troops in Cambodia until 1989, thus China's goal of dissuading Vietnam from involvement in Cambodia was not fully achieved. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Sino-Vietnamese border was settled. Although China was unable to stop Vietnam from ousting Pol Pot from Cambodia, it demonstrated that the Soviet Union, its Cold War communist adversary, was unable to protect its Vietnamese ally.


1981 Jan 1

Gang of Four

China

Trial of the Gang of Four


In 1981, the four former Chinese leaders of the Gang of Four were brought to trial by the Supreme People's Court of China, with Jiang Hua presiding. During the trial, Jiang Qing was outspoken in her protests, and was the only one of the four to argue her own defense by claiming she followed the orders of Chairman Mao Zedong. Zhang Chunqiao refused to admit any wrongdoing, while Yao Wenyuan and Wang Hongwen expressed repentance and confessed to their alleged crimes. The prosecution separated political errors from criminal acts, including the usurpation of state power and party leadership, as well as the persecution of 750,000 people, of which 34,375 died during the period 1966-1976. The official records of the trial have yet to be released.


As a result of the trial, Jiang Qing and Zhang Chunqiao were given the death penalty, which was later commuted to life imprisonment. Wang Hongwen and Yao Wenyuan were each given life and twenty years in prison, respectively. All four members of the Gang of Four have since passed away--Jiang Qing committed suicide in 1991, Wang Hongwen died in 1992, and Yao Wenyuan and Zhang Chunqiao died in 2005, having been released from prison in 1996 and 1998, respectively.


1983 Oct 1 - 1983 Dec

Anti-Spiritual Pollution Campaign

China

Anti-Spiritual Pollution Campaign


In 1983, left-wing conservatives initiated the "Anti-Spiritual Pollution Campaign". The Anti-Spiritual Pollution Campaign was a political initiative led by conservative members of the Chinese Communist Party that took place between October and December 1983. The campaign aimed to suppress Western-influenced liberal ideas among the Chinese population, which had been gaining traction as a result of the economic reforms that began in 1978. The term "Spiritual Pollution" was used to describe a wide range of material and ideas that were considered to be "obscene, barbarous, or reactionary," and which were said to run counter to the country's social system. Deng Liqun, the Party's Propaganda Chief at the time, characterized the campaign as a means of combating "every manner of bourgeois import from erotica to existentialism." The campaign reached its peak in mid-November 1983 but lost momentum by 1984, following intervention from Deng Xiaoping. However, some elements of the campaign were later reused during the "anti-Bourgeois liberalization" campaign of 1986, which targeted liberal party leader Hu Yaobang.


1989 Jan 1 - 2002

Jiang Zemin

China

Jiang Zemin | ©Guardian News


After the Tiananmen Square protests and massacre in 1989, Deng Xiaoping, who was the paramount leader of China, formally retired and was succeeded by Jiang Zemin, the former Shanghai Secretary of the Communist Party of China. During this period, also known as "Jiangist China", the crackdown on the protests led to significant damage to China's reputation internationally and resulted in sanctions. However, the situation eventually stabilized. Under Jiang's leadership, the idea of checks and balances in the political system that Deng had advocated for was abandoned, as Jiang consolidated power in the party, state, and military.


In the 1990s, China saw healthy economic development, but the closing of state-owned enterprises and increasing levels of corruption and unemployment, along with environmental challenges continued to be a problem for the country. Consumerism, crime, and new-age spiritual-religious movements such as Falun Gong also emerged. The 1990s also saw the peaceful handover of Hong Kong and Macau to Chinese control under the "One Country, Two Systems" formula. China also saw a new surge of nationalism when facing crises abroad.


1989 Apr 15 - 1989 Jun 4

Tiananmen Square Protests

Tiananmen Square, 前门 Dongcheng

Tiananmen Square Protests | ©CNN


The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 were a series of pro-democracy demonstrations that took place in and around Tiananmen Square in Beijing, the capital of the People’s Republic of China. The protests began on April 15, 1989 in response to the death of former Communist Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang, who had been removed from his post in 1987 in the wake of student protests.


The protests quickly gained momentum and over the next several weeks, students and citizens from all walks of life gathered in Tiananmen Square to demonstrate for greater freedom of speech, press and assembly, an end to government corruption, and an end to the one-party rule of the Communist Party. On May 19, 1989, the Chinese government declared martial law in Beijing and troops were sent to the city to disperse the protesters.


On June 3 and 4, 1989, the Chinese army violently crushed the protests, killing hundreds of protestors and injuring thousands more. In the aftermath of the violence, the Chinese government imposed a series of restrictions on civil liberties and human rights, including a ban on public gatherings and protests, increased censorship of the media, and increased surveillance of citizens.


The Tiananmen Square protests remain one of the most potent symbols of pro-democracy activism in China and its legacy continues to shape the country’s political landscape today.


1989 May 15 - 1989 May 18

Normalized China and Russia Relationship

China

Normalized China and Russia Relationship


The Sino-Soviet Summit was a four-day event that took place in Beijing from May 15-18, 1989. It was the first formal meeting between a Soviet Communist leader and a Chinese Communist leader since the Sino-Soviet split in the 1950s. The last Soviet leader to visit China was Nikita Khrushchev in September 1959. The summit was attended by Deng Xiaoping, the paramount leader of China, and Mikhail Gorbachev, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Both leaders declared that the summit marked the beginning of normalized state-to-state relations between the two countries. The meeting between Gorbachev and then General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Zhao Ziyang, was characterized as the "natural restoration" of party-to-party relations.


1992 Jan 18 - 1992 Feb 21

Deng Xiaoping's Southern Tour

Shenzhen, Guangdong Province,

Deng Xiaoping's Southern Tour | ©VideoChinaTV


In January 1992, Deng began a tour of the southern provinces of China, during which he visited several cities, including Shenzhen, Zhuhai, and Shanghai. In his speeches, Deng called for greater economic liberalization and foreign investment, and urged officials to take bold steps to reform the economy. He also stressed the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship in driving economic growth.


Deng's southern tour was met with enthusiasm by the Chinese people and by foreign investors, and it led to a renewed sense of optimism about China's economic future. It also served as a powerful signal to local officials and entrepreneurs that they should take advantage of the new opportunities presented by economic reform and opening-up. As a result, many localities, especially the southern provinces, began to implement market-oriented policies, resulting in a significant increase in economic growth and modernization.


Deng's southern tour is widely seen as a turning point in modern Chinese history, as it marked a significant shift in the country's economic and political direction. It also played a key role in setting the stage for China's rapid economic development and emergence as a major world power in the 21st century.


1994 Dec 14 - 2009 Jul 4

Three Gorges Dam

Yangtze River, China

Three Gorges Dam | © TED-Ed
Three Gorges Dam


The Three Gorges Dam is a massive hydroelectric gravity dam that spans the Yangtze River in Yiling District, Yichang, Hubei province, China. It was constructed downstream of the Three Gorges. Since 2012, it has been the world's largest power station in terms of installed capacity, with a capacity of 22,500 MW. The dam generates an average of 95 ±20 TWh of electricity per year, depending on the annual precipitation in the river basin. The dam broke the previous world record of 103 TWh set by Itaipu Dam in 2016, when it produced nearly 112 TWh of electricity after the extensive monsoon rainfalls of 2020.

Construction of the dam began on December 14, 1994, and the dam body was completed in 2006. The power plant of the dam project was completed and fully functional as of July 4, 2012, when the last of the main water turbines in the underground plant began production. Each main water turbine has a capacity of 700 MW. Coupling the dam's 32 main turbines with two smaller generators (50 MW each) to power the plant itself, the total electric generating capacity of the dam is 22,500 MW. The last major component of the project, the ship lift, was completed in December 2015.

In addition to producing electricity, the dam is intended to increase the Yangtze River's shipping capacity and reduce the potential for floods downstream, which have historically plagued the Yangtze Plain. In 1931, floods on the river caused the deaths of up to 4 million people. As a result, China regards the project as a monumental social and economical success, with the design of state-of-the-art large turbines, and a move toward limiting greenhouse gas emissions. However, the dam has caused ecological changes including an increased risk of landslides and this has made it controversial both domestically and abroad.


1995 Jul 21 - 1996 Mar 23

Third Taiwan Strait Crisis

Taiwan Strait, Changle Distric

Taiwan Prepares for Possible Chinese Invasion (1997)


The Third Taiwan Strait Crisis, also known as the 1995-1996 Taiwan Strait Crisis, was a period of increased military tensions between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC), also known as Taiwan. The crisis began in the latter half of 1995, and escalated in early 1996.


The crisis was sparked by a decision by the ROC's President Lee Teng-hui to seek more international recognition for Taiwan as a separate country. This move was seen as a direct challenge to the PRC's "One China" policy, which holds that Taiwan is a part of China.


In response, the PRC began a series of military exercises and missile tests in the Taiwan Strait, aimed at intimidating Taiwan and signaling its determination to reunify the island with the mainland. These exercises included live-fire exercises, missile tests, and mock amphibious invasions.


The United States, which has a long-standing policy of providing Taiwan with defensive weapons, responded by dispatching two aircraft carrier battle groups to the Taiwan Strait. The move was seen as a show of support for Taiwan and a warning to China.


The crisis reached its peak in March 1996, when the PRC launched a series of missile tests in the waters around Taiwan. The tests were seen as a direct threat to Taiwan and prompted the United States to send two more aircraft carrier battle groups to the region.


The crisis eventually de-escalated after the PRC ended its missile tests and military exercises, and the United States withdrew its aircraft carrier battle groups from the Taiwan Strait. However, tensions between the PRC and Taiwan continued to simmer and the Taiwan Strait remains a potential flashpoint for military conflict.


The Third Taiwan Strait Crisis is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous moments in the history of the Taiwan Strait, and it brought the region close to the brink of war. The United States' involvement in the crisis was seen as a crucial factor in preventing an all-out conflict, but it also strained relations between the US and China.


1997 Jul 1

Handover of Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Handover of Hong Kong | ©AP Archive


The Handover of Hong Kong was the transfer of sovereignty over the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China on July 1, 1997. The event marked the end of 156 years of British colonial rule and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the People's Republic of China.


The handover ceremony was held at the former British military base, the Flagstaff House, in Central Hong Kong. The ceremony was attended by representatives of the United Kingdom, China, and the Hong Kong government, as well as other dignitaries and members of the public. Chinese President Jiang Zemin and British Prime Minister Tony Blair gave speeches in which they expressed the hope that the handover would mark the start of a new era of peace and prosperity in the region.


The handover ceremony was followed by a number of official events, including a parade, fireworks, and a reception at Government House. In the days leading up to the handover, the British flag was lowered and replaced with the flag of the People's Republic of China.


The Handover of Hong Kong marked a major milestone in the history of Hong Kong and China. After the handover, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was established, granting the region its own governing body, laws, and limited autonomy. The handover has been seen as a success, with Hong Kong maintaining its own economic system, culture, and way of life while still retaining close ties to mainland China. The transfer was marked by a handover ceremony attended by Charles III (then the Prince of Wales) and was broadcast around the world, signifying the definitive end of the British Empire.


2001 Nov 10

China joins the World Trade Organization

China

China joins the World Trade Organization | © AP Archive


On November 10, 2001, China joined the WTO after a 15-year negotiation process. This was a major step for the country, as it opened the door for increased trade and investment opportunities with the rest of the world. Joining the WTO also required China to make changes to its economy and its legal system, including reducing tariffs and other trade barriers, improving intellectual property protection, and strengthening anti-corruption measures.


Since joining the WTO, China has become one of the world’s largest trading nations and a major driver of the global economy. Its membership has helped to create millions of jobs across the world and to reduce poverty in developing countries. At the same time, China has faced criticism from some WTO members, who believe that the country has not always complied with its WTO obligations.


2002 Nov 1

Hu–Wen Administration

China

WRAP Paulson meets Chinese VP, meets Hu and Wen, presser | ©AP Archive


Since the 1980s, Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese leader, implemented mandatory retirement ages for senior officials in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This policy was formalized in 1998. In November 2002, at the 16th National Congress of the CCP, then-General Secretary Jiang Zemin stepped down from the powerful Politburo Standing Committee to make way for a younger generation of leadership led by Hu Jintao, a Tsinghua engineering graduate. However, there was speculation that Jiang would continue to have significant influence. At the time, Jiang filled the newly expanded Politburo Standing Committee, which is China's most powerful organ, with three of his hardline allies: former Shanghai Secretary Huang Ju, former Beijing Party Secretary Jia Qinglin, and Li Changchun to control propaganda. Additionally, the new Vice-President, Zeng Qinghong, was also seen as a staunch Jiang ally as he was part of Jiang's Shanghai clique.


During the Congress, Wen Jiabao, who was then Premier Zhu Rongji's right-hand man, was also elevated. He became Premier in March 2003, and along with Hu, they were known as the Hu-Wen Administration. Both Hu and Wen's careers are notable in that they survived the 1989 political crisis, which is attributed to their moderate views and careful attention not to offend or alienate older supporters. Hu Jintao is the first Party Committee Secretary to have joined the Communist Party after the Revolution more than 50 years ago. At the age of 50, he was the youngest member by far of the then seven-member Standing Committee. Wen Jiabao, a geology engineer who spent most of his career in China's hinterlands, had never lost his political ground despite being a former ally to the disgraced CCP General Secretary Zhao Ziyang.


2003 Oct 15

Shenzhou 5

China

Shenzhou 5: first chinese in space


Shenzhou 5 was the first manned spaceflight launched by the People's Republic of China. The spacecraft was launched on October 15, 2003, and carried astronaut Yang Liwei into orbit for 21 hours and 23 minutes. The spacecraft was launched using a Long March 2F rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China. The mission was considered a success, and it marked a significant milestone for China's space program. Shenzhou 5 was the first time a Chinese astronaut had been sent into space, and it made China the third country in the world, after Russia and the United States, to have independently launched a human into space.


2008 Jan 1

2008 Summer Olympics

Beijing, China

2008 Summer Olympics | ©Olympics


At the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China, the People's Republic of China was awarded the hosting of the Games on July 13th, 2001, beating out four other competitors for the honor. To prepare for the event, the Chinese government invested heavily in new facilities and transport systems, with 37 venues being used to host the events, including twelve that were built specifically for the 2008 Games. The equestrian events were held in Hong Kong, while the sailing events were held in Qingdao and the football events were held in various cities. The logo for the 2008 Games, titled "Dancing Beijing", was created by Guo Chunning and featured the Chinese character for capital (京) stylized into the shape of a human being. As 3.5 billion people around the world watched, the 2008 Olympics were the most expensive Summer Olympics of all time, and the longest distance for an Olympic Torch relay was run.


Hu Jintao's administration received a great deal of attention due to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This event, which was meant to be a celebration of the People's Republic of China, was overshadowed by the March 2008 Tibet protests and the demonstrations that met the Olympic torch as it made its way across the globe. This prompted a strong resurgence of nationalism within China, with people accusing the West of being unfair to their country.


2008 Mar 1

Tibetan Unrest

Lhasa, Tibet, China

Tibetan Unrest | ©AP Archive


The 2008 Tibetan unrest was a series of protests and demonstrations against Chinese rule in Tibet that began in March of 2008 and continued into the following year. The protests were sparked by a number of factors, including long-standing grievances over Chinese suppression of Tibetan culture and religion, as well as frustration over economic and social marginalization.


The unrest began in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, with peaceful protests by monks and nuns calling for greater religious freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama, who had been exiled from Tibet by the Chinese government in 1959. These initial protests were met with a heavy-handed response from the Chinese authorities, with thousands of troops being deployed to quell the unrest and dozens of protesters being arrested.


The protests quickly spread to other parts of Tibet and surrounding areas with significant Tibetan populations, including Sichuan, Qinghai, and Gansu provinces. Demonstrations and clashes between protesters and security forces grew increasingly violent, leading to a number of deaths and injuries.


In response to the unrest, the Chinese government imposed a strict curfew in Lhasa and other areas, and imposed a media blackout, preventing journalists and foreign observers from entering Tibet. The Chinese government also accused the Dalai Lama and his supporters of fomenting the unrest, and accused the protesters of being "rioters" and "criminals."


The 2008 Tibetan unrest was one of the most significant challenges to Chinese rule in Tibet in recent history. While the protests were eventually put down by the Chinese authorities, they highlighted the deep-seated grievances and resentment felt by many Tibetans towards Chinese rule, and have led to ongoing tensions between Tibetans and the Chinese government.


2012 Nov 15

Xi Jinping

China

Three Key Moments in Xi Jinping’s Monumental Rise to Power in China | © Wall Street Journal


On November 15, 2012, Xi Jinping took on the role of General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, which are considered to be the two most powerful positions in China. One month later, on March 14, 2013, he became the 7th President of China. Additionally, in March 2013, Li Keqiang was appointed as the Premier of China. In October 2022, Xi Jinping was re-elected as the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party for a third term, breaking the precedent set by Mao Zedong's death and becoming the paramount leader of China.


2018 Jan 1

China–United States Trade War

United States

The real winners (and losers) of the US-China trade dispute | ©DW News


The China–United States trade war refers to the ongoing economic conflict between China and the United States. It began in 2018 when President Donald Trump's administration imposed tariffs on Chinese goods in an effort to reduce the United States' trade deficit with China and to address what the administration saw as unfair Chinese trade practices. China responded by imposing tariffs on American goods.


The tariffs have affected a wide range of products, including automobiles, agricultural products, and technology. The trade war has led to increased costs for businesses and consumers in both countries, and has caused uncertainty in global markets. The two countries have engaged in several rounds of negotiations in an effort to resolve the trade war, but so far, a comprehensive agreement has not been reached.


The Trump administration has also taken several other actions to pressure China, such as limiting Chinese investment in the US and restricting the activities of Chinese technology companies like Huawei. The Trump administration has also placed tariffs on several other countries' goods, in addition to China.


The trade war has had a negative impact on the global economy, as it has led to a slowdown in trade and increased costs for businesses. It has also led to job losses in industries that rely on exports to China and the US. The trade war has also strained relations between the two countries, with China and the US accusing each other of unfair trade practices.


After the Trump Administration, the current president Joe Biden has announced that his administration wants to continue talks with China to resolve trade disputes, but has also stated that they will not back down on issues such as human rights, intellectual property theft and forced labor.


2019 Jun 1 - 2020

Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong

Hong Kong protests | ©BBC News


The 2019–2020 Hong Kong protests, also known as the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill (Anti-ELAB) protests, were a series of protests, strikes, and civil unrest in Hong Kong that began in June 2019. The protests were sparked by a proposed extradition bill that would have allowed for the extradition of criminal suspects from Hong Kong to mainland China. The bill was met with widespread opposition from citizens and human rights groups, who feared that it would be used to target political dissidents and undermine the autonomy of Hong Kong.


The protests quickly grew in size and scope, with large-scale marches and rallies taking place throughout the city. Many of the protests were peaceful, but some turned violent, with clashes between protesters and police. The police were criticized for their heavy-handed tactics, including the use of tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons.


The protesters demanded the withdrawal of the extradition bill, an independent inquiry into the police's handling of the protests, amnesty for arrested protesters, and universal suffrage in Hong Kong. They also adopted several other demands, such as "Five Demands, Not One Less" and "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time".


The Hong Kong government, led by Chief Executive Carrie Lam, initially refused to withdraw the bill, but later suspended it in June 2019. However, the protests continued, with many protesters calling for Lam's resignation. Lam announced the formal withdrawal of the bill in September 2019, but the protests continued, with many protesters calling for her resignation and for an investigation into police brutality.


The protests continued throughout 2019 and 2020, with the police making a number of arrests and charging many protesters with various offenses. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a decrease in the size and frequency of the protests in 2020, but they continued to take place.


The Hong Kong government has been criticized by various countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, for its handling of the protests and for its treatment of the protesters. The Chinese government has also been criticized for its role in the protests, with some countries accusing it of violating the autonomy of Hong Kong and violating human rights. The situation in Hong Kong is ongoing and continues to be a source of international concern and attention.


2019 Dec 1

COVID-19 in China

Wuhan, Hubei, China

Zero-Covid strategy in China | ©DW Documentary


The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, first emerged in Wuhan, Hubei province, China in late 2019. The virus is believed to have originated in bats and was transmitted to humans through an intermediate host, possibly a pangolin.


The Chinese government's initial response to the outbreak was criticized for being slow and inadequate, as local officials in Wuhan initially sought to downplay the severity of the outbreak and suppress information about it. This allowed the virus to spread unchecked in the early days of the outbreak.


As the number of cases began to rise, the Chinese government took a number of steps to try to contain the outbreak. On January 23, 2020, Wuhan and several other cities in Hubei province were placed under lockdown in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. This involved the closure of transportation and public gatherings, as well as strict quarantine measures for those who had been in contact with infected individuals.


Despite these efforts, the virus continued to spread rapidly in China and throughout the world. The Chinese government also implemented several measures to try to mitigate the economic impact of the outbreak, such as tax cuts and financial support for businesses affected by the lockdown.


As the number of cases began to decline in China, the government started to ease the lockdown measures, and the country began to return to some sense of normalcy. However, the pandemic continued to spread globally and the Chinese government faced a lot of criticism for their initial handling of the outbreak.


As of 2021, mainland China has reported a total of around 100 million confirmed cases and a death toll of around 4,634. Chinese authorities have put in place a wide range of measures to curb the spread of the virus, including closing borders, imposing quarantine measures, and restrictions on travel and gatherings. They also launched mass testing campaigns, vaccine distribution, and implemented digital tracking systems to monitor the health of citizens.


China has also been providing aid and medical supplies to several countries to assist in their fight against the pandemic. The Chinese government has also been criticized for its handling of the pandemic particularly in terms of transparency and censorship of information regarding the virus.


2021 Apr 29

Tiangong Space Station

China

Life Inside China's New Space Station! (Tiangong) | ©The Space Race
Tiangong Space Station


Tiangong, also known as the "Sky Palace," is a Chinese-constructed and operated space station in low Earth orbit at an altitude of between 210 and 280 miles above the surface. It is China's first long-term space station, part of the Tiangong program, and the core of the "Third Step" of China's Manned Space Program. Its pressurized volume is around one third the size of the International Space Station. The construction of the station is based on the experience gained from its precursors Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2. The first module, called Tianhe or "Harmony of the Heavens," was launched on April 29, 2021, and was followed by multiple manned and unmanned missions, as well as two additional laboratory cabin modules, Wentian and Mengtian, launched on July 24, 2022 and October 31, 2022 respectively. The main goal of the research conducted on the station is to improve scientists' ability to conduct experiments in space.


2023 Jan 1

Epilogue

China

Epilogue


The establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949 had far-reaching consequences and effects, both domestically and internationally.

Domestically, the CCP implemented a series of policies aimed at modernizing and industrializing the country, such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. These policies had a significant impact on the lives of the Chinese people. The Great Leap Forward led to widespread famine and economic devastation, while the Cultural Revolution was characterized by political purges, violence, and the suppression of civil liberties. These policies resulted in the deaths of millions of people, and had long-term effects on Chinese society and politics.

On the other hand, the People's Republic of China also implemented policies that led to significant economic and social developments. The establishment of the People's Republic of China led to a period of rapid economic growth and modernization, which lifted millions of people out of poverty and improved living standards. The country also made significant advancements in education, healthcare, and infrastructure. The CCP also brought stability and unity to a country that had been plagued by war and civil unrest.

Internationally, the establishment of the People's Republic of China had a major impact on global politics. The CCP's victory in the civil war led to the eventual withdrawal of foreign powers from China and the end of the "Century of Humiliation." The People's Republic of China emerged as a powerful, independent nation, and quickly established itself as a major player on the global stage.

The People's Republic of China also had an impact on the ideological struggle between communism and capitalism, as the country's success in the Cold War and the success of its economic reforms led to a shift in the global balance of power and the emergence of a new model of development.


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Characters

Key Figures for History of the People's Republic of China



Li Peng

Li Peng

Premier of the PRC

Jiang Zemin

Jiang Zemin

Paramount Leader of China

Hu Jintao

Hu Jintao

Paramount Leader of China

Zhu Rongji

Zhu Rongji

Premier of China

Zhao Ziyang

Zhao Ziyang

Third Premier of the PRC

Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping

Paramount Leader of China

Deng Xiaoping

Deng Xiaoping

Paramount Leader of the PRC

Mao Zedong

Mao Zedong

Founder of People's Republic of China

Wen Jiabao

Wen Jiabao

Premier of China

Red Guards

Red Guards

Student-led Paramilitary





Further Reading

Book Recommenations for History of the People's Republic of China



  • Benson, Linda. China since 1949 (3rd ed. Routledge, 2016).
  • Chang, Gordon H. Friends and enemies: the United States, China, and the Soviet Union, 1948-1972 (1990)
  • Coase, Ronald, and Ning Wang. How China became capitalist. (Springer, 2016).
  • Economy, Elizabeth C. "China's New Revolution: The Reign of Xi Jinping." Foreign Affairs 97 (2018): 60+.
  • Economy, Elizabeth C. The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State (Oxford UP, 2018), 343 pp.
  • Evans, Richard. Deng Xiaoping and the making of modern China (1997)
  • Ezra F. Vogel. Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China. ISBN 9780674725867. 2013.
  • Falkenheim, Victor C. ed. Chinese Politics from Mao to Deng (1989) 11 essays by scholars
  • Fenby, Jonathan. The Penguin History of Modern China: The Fall and Rise of a Great Power 1850 to the Present (3rd ed. 2019)
  • Fravel, M. Taylor. Active Defense: China's Military Strategy since 1949 (Princeton University Press, 2019)
  • Garver, John W. China's Quest: The History of the Foreign Relations of the People's Republic (2nd ed. 2018) comprehensive scholarly history. excerpt
  • Lampton, David M. Following the Leader: Ruling China, from Deng Xiaoping to Xi Jinping (2014)
  • Lynch, Michael. Access to History: Mao's China 1936–97 (3rd ed. Hachette UK, 2015)
  • MacFarquhar, Roderick, ed. The politics of China: The eras of Mao and Deng (Cambridge UP, 1997).
  • Meisner, Maurice. Mao's China and after: A history of the People's Republic (3rd ed. 1999).
  • Mühlhahn, Klaus. Making China Modern: From the Great Qing to Xi Jinping (Harvard UP, 2019) excerpt
  • Shambaugh, David, ed. China and the World (Oxford UP, 2020). essays by scholars. excerpt
  • Sullivan, Lawrence R. Historical Dictionary of the People's Republic of China (2007)
  • Wasserstrom, Jeffrey. Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink (2020) Political protest 2003–2019.
  • Westad, Odd Arne. Restless empire: China and the world since 1750 (2012)




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Last Updated: Thu, 19 Jan 2023 18:39:38 GMT