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China History
  • Prehistoric Age (1.7 million years ago-20th cent. B.C.)
    As a very advanced civilization, Chinese culture is probably not the oldest one, but the only one of the ancient cultures that has survived until today: "5000 years of history, and 7000 years of culture". China's earliest primitive human discovered so far is known as "Yuanmou Man," a fossil anthropoid unearthed in Yuanmou in Yunnan Province who lived approximately 1.7 million years ago. The better-known "Peking Man," discovered in the Zhoukoudian area in the suburbs of Beijing, lived about 600,000 years ago. Peking Man was able to walk upright, make and use simple tools, and make fire. By the start of the Neolithic Age in China about 10,000 years ago, people were cultivating rice and millet with farming tools, something revealed by relics found in the ruins of Hemudu in Yuyao, Zhejiang Province, and Banpo, near Xi'an City, Shaanxi Province. The Hemudu site, about 7,000 years old, was one of the earliest New Stone Age locations along the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Archaeologists have unearthed in the area of Hemudu piles of rice grains, husks, stalks and leaves — and other indications of abundant rice cultivation. The rice grown at Hemudu was long-grained non-glutinous rice, and is the earliest example of artificially cultivated rice that has been found in China to date. The relics are also the oldest rice found so far in Asia.
    Ancient Times (from Antiquity to A.D. 1840)
    China, one of the world’s most ancient civilizations, has a recorded history of nearly 4,000 years.
    Anthropologists working in Yuanmou, in Yunnan Province, have uncovered the remains of China’s earliest discovered hominid, “Yuanmou Man,” who lived in this area approximately 1.7 million years ago. “Peking Man,” who lived in Zhoukoudian, to the southwest of modern Beijing 400,000 to 500,000 years ago, had the basic characteristics of Homo Sapiens. Peking Man walked upright,made and used simple tools, and knew how to make
    fire.Man in China passed from primitive society to slave society in the 21st century B.C., with the founding of China’s first dynasty, that of the Xia. The subsequent dynasties, the Shang (16th-11th century B.C.) and the Western Zhou (11th century-770 B.C.) saw further development of slave society. This era was followed by the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods (770-221 B.C.), marking the transition from the slave society to feudal society.
    Modern Period (1840-1919)
    The Opium War of 1840 marked a turning point in Chinese history. From early in the 19th century, Britain started smuggling large quantities of opium into China, causing a great outflow of Chinese silver and grave economic disruption in China. In 1839, the Qing government sent Commissioner Lin Zexu to Guangdong to put into
    effect the prohibition on opium trafficking. When, in an effort to protect its opium trade, Britain initiated the First Opium War in 1840, the Chinese people rose in armed struggle against the invaders under the leadership of Lin Zexu and other patriotic generals. But the corrupt and incompetent Qing government capitulated to the foreign invaders time and again, and finally signed the Treaty of Nanjing with Britain, a treaty of national betrayal and humiliation. From then on, China was reduced to a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country.
    New Democratic Revolution Period (1919-1949)
    Under the influence of the October Revolution in Russia, China’s May 4th Movement arose. During this great anti-imperialist, anti-feudal revolutionary movement led by patriotic students, the Chinese proletariat for the first time mounted the political stage. The May 4th Movement marked the change of the old democratic revolution  to the new democratic revolution. It enabled Marxism-Leninism to further spread and link up with the Chinese people’s revolutionary practice, and prepared the ideology as well as the cadres necessary for the founding of the Communist Party of China. In 1921, Mao Zedong, Dong Biwu, Chen Tanqiu, He Shuheng, Wang Jinmei, Deng Enming and Li Da, representing the communist groups in different places throughout the nation, held the First National Congress in Shanghai, founding the Communist Party of China (CPC). In 1924, Sun Yat-sen, pioneer of China’s democratic revolution and the founder of the Kuomintang (KMT), worked together with the Communist Party of China to organize workers and peasants for the Northern Expedition (historically known as the Great Revolution). After Sun Yat-sen passed away, the right-wing clique of the KMT headed by Chiang Kai-shek staged a counter-revolutionary coup d’etat in 1927, murdering Communists and revolutionary people, and founded the Kuomintang regime in Nanjing. Thus the Great Revolution ended in failure. After that, the CPC led the Chinese people to wage the 10-year Agrarian Revolution War against the reactionary rule of the Kuomintang, which is also known as the “10-Year Civil War.”
    Contemporary Period (1949- )
    From September 21 to 30, 1949, the First Plenum of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) was held in Beijing, with the participation of various political parties, popular organizations, non-Party democrats and representatives from all walks of life. The CPPCC drew up a Common Program, which served as a provisional constitution. It elected a Central People's Government Council, with Mao Zedong as Chairman, and appointed Zhou Enlai Premier of the Government Administration Council and concurrently Minister of Foreign Affairs. On October 1, 1949, a grand ceremony inaugurating the People’s Republic of China was witnessed by 300,000 people in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. On that day, Chairman Mao Zedong solemnly proclaimed the formal establishment of the People’s Republic of China.