October 1 marks the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China and to all our friends in China, China Law & Policy wishes you a happy birthday!
China’s history spans over 2,000 years, but the existence of China as a communist country has only been for the past 60. Up until 1911, China was ruled by various different Chinese dynasties. The last imperial dynasty, the Qing, ruled China from 1644 until its overthrow in 1911 (The Last Empror tells the story of the final days of the Qing). While the Kuomintang (pronounced Gwo-Min-Dang and also known in English as the Nationalist Party) nominally ruled China, control really rested with the various Chinese warlords. It was not until 1927 that Nationalist leader and Republic of China president, Chiang Kai-shek, was able to eliminate the warlords and truly unify a modern China.
However, while the Nationalists unified the country, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which was founded in 1921 as
an urban intellectual movement, was quickly becoming a revolution in the countryside under the leadership of Mao Zedong. Soon, the Nationalists had to contended with the growing forces and guerilla tactics of the CCP, beginning the Chinese Civil War. However, both sides came to a truce in order to fight the Japanese invasion and World War II (1937-1945).
At the conclusion of the War, the Nationalists and the CCP resumed their civil war. By 1949, CCP victory was all but certain and the Nationalist forces began to flee to Taiwan.
Sixty years ago, On October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong stood on the gate of Tiananmen in Beijing and declared the People’s Republic of China.
60th Aniiversary festivities have already started in Beijing and will continue throughout the day Thursday. Pictures have yet to be released from the celebrations (it started 10 AM Beijing time), but Reuters has a great live blog going. According to Reuters, President Hu Jintao has dusted off his Mao suit and is going retro! Only question remains – is it a blue, green or a black Mao suit? Inquiring minds want to know.