Monday, August 26, 2019

2019 Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

In 2019, the Mid-Autumn Festival will be held on September 13th (Friday). China's public holiday will be from September 13th to 15th.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is also called the Moon Festival or the Mooncake Festival. It traditionally falls on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese lunar calendar, which is in September or early October in the Gregorian calendar.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated in many East Asian communities. In China, it's a reunion time for families, just like Thanksgiving, while in Vietnam, it's more like a children's day.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is the second most important festival in China after Chinese New Year. Chinese people celebrate it by gathering for dinners and lighting paper lanterns.

Festival Facts

Name in Chinese: 中秋节 Zhōngqiūjié /jong-chyoh-jyeah/ 'middle autumn festival'
2019 date: Friday, September 13th. See the Mid-Autumn Festival Dates.

  • How it began: moon worship, over 3,000 years
  • Must-eat food: moon cakes
  • Popular activities: admiring the full moon, eating moon cakes, traveling
  • Greetings: The simplest is "Happy Mid-Autumn Festival" (中秋快乐 'Mid-Autumn happy')

How the Chinese Celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival

The common customs of the Mid-Autumn Festival include family members eating dinner together, just like a Thanksgiving dinner, sharing moon cakes, worshiping the moon with gifts, displaying lanterns, and regional activities.

In Hong Kong, a unique annual fire dragon show is held in the Tai Hang neighborhood during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The special Mid-Autumn Festival customs of China's ethnic minorities are also very interesting.

How the Mid-Autumn Festival Is Celebrated in Asian Countries

In many East Asian communities, the Mid-Autumn Festival is widely celebrated. Many interesting activities with unique local features are held.

In Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines – three countries with many ethnic Chinese citizens– the celebrations are more Chinese, such as lighting lanterns and dragon dances.

In other countries, such as Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam, which have also been influenced deeply by Chinese culture, new celebrations have been derived from their unique cultures.

Why the Moon Festival Is Celebrated

In the past, the Moon Festival was celebrated at harvest time. Ancient Chinese emperors worshiped the moon in autumn to thank it for the harvest. The ordinary people took the Mid-Autumn Festival to be a celebration of their hard work and harvest. Nowadays, people mainly celebrate the Moon Festival is a time for family reunions. Read about the Mid-Autumn Festival Origins.

When the Moon Festival Become a Festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival has a history of over 3,000 years. It was derived from the custom of moon worshiping during the Shang Dynasty (c.1600–1046 BC). After that, it was first celebrated as a national festival during the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127).

People have long believed that worshiping the moon and eating together around a round table will bring them good luck and happiness.

What the Chinese Eat for Mid-Autumn Festival

Moon cakes are the must-eat Mid-Autumn food in China. They are a traditional Chinese pastry. Chinese people see in the roundness of moon cakes a symbol of reunion and happiness.

Other foods eaten during the festival are harvest foods, such as crabs, pumpkins, pomelos, and grapes. People enjoy them at their freshest, most nutritious, and auspicious meanings are particularly associated with round foods.

Festival food traditions are also changing. The younger generation has its own ideas about what should be eaten. Most of them don't like mooncakes and prefer to eat what they like.

Traveling During Mid-Autumn Festival

The festival has long been a statutory day for a public holiday in mainland China. The Mid-Autumn Festival holiday schedule is always combined with two adjacent days (if these are not weekend days then the closest weekend days are worked to compensate).

In 2019, the Mid-Autumn Festival falls conveniently on Friday, September 13th so the weekend directly after it makes up the 3-day holiday. The Mid-Autumn Festival is a national holiday for the Chinese.

Chinese people increasingly love to travel during their holidays, so expect crowds at China’s tourist attractions if you travel in this period. Book in advance and let somebody in the know, like China Highlights, help you to arrange your trip so that you avoid the crowds.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

The state and empire of Ch'in - Political and social background

Here it need only be said that the most important single source is Ssu-Ma Ch'ien's monumental Sbih-chi or Historical records, covering all of Chinese history from legendary times to around roo B.C. Its fifth and sixth chapters provide a chronicle of events in the Ch'in state and empire from beginning to end and are the normal sources for what is narrated here unless otherwise specified. In addition, the Shib-chi contains other chapters of chronicle, monograph, and biography that are likewise important for Ch'in. Many, but not all of these, are included in the partial French translation of the Shih-chi by Edouard Chavannes, Les Memoires historiques de Se-ma Ts'ien.

The limitations of the Sbih-chi and other literary sources for the study of Ch'in history are touched upon, which also refers to the increasing importance of archeology for the historian of ancient China. Preeminent among the several archeological discoveries which the appendix enumerates is the group of Ch'in legal texts recovered from a single tomb in 1975. These will be referred to frequently.


As a preliminary to any meaningful survey of Ch'in history before 221, it is necessary to understand in broad terms the political and social conditions that obtained during the Chou dynasty (trad. 1122-256 B.C.). Particularly important are the many varieties of changes that convulsed the Chinese world during the last two or three centuries of that epoch.

When the house of Chou overthrew the Shang dynasty (probably somewhere near the year 1025 rather than at the traditional date of 1122), the new rulers allocated the conquered lands as fiefs to members or close allies of their own family, descendants of the former Shang rulers, and certain local potentates who were allowed to keep their previous holdings. In this way the Chinese world became divided into a multitude of political entities; some 170 are believed to have existed during the Chou subperiod known as the Spring and Autumn period (722—481). Most of these, of course, was extremely small, and they, in turn, were internally fragmented by subdivision into estates given to relatives or officials of each ruling house. In the course of time many principalities were destroyed or greatly reduced in size by constant warfare, so that by the advent of the next Chou
subperiod, appropriately known as that of the Warring States (403-2 21), only seven major states remained.4 This number included Ch'in in the far western extremity of the Chinese oikoumene, but not the house of Chou itself. The latter had lost most of the political power it once exercised when in 770 it was forced by a barbarian attack to abandon its western capital near modern Sian (in Shensi) and to reestablish itself, much shrunken in size and significance, at its secondary eastern capital near the modern Loyang (Honan).

Both non-Marxist and Marxist historians have been exercised over the appropriate use of the term feudalism. Non-Marxists have debated whether it is the appropriate word to characterize the sociopolitical conditions of Chou China and if so whether it applies to all or only some of its approximately eight centuries. In the opinion of this writer, parallels with European feudalism are sufficiently close to justify the use of the term during the first four or five centuries of the Chou period. Thereafter, however, it must be applied in an increasingly restricted sense to describe only the vestiges of feudal conditions persisting in varying degrees within the major principalities. These, by the beginning of the Warring States period, had become completely independent nation-states.

For Marxist historians, the major problem is that of periodization. The transition from slavery to feudalism (in the Marxist sense) is taken for granted, the only question is when. To this, the answer has been less than unanimous. Chinese Marxists, after earlier fluctuations, seemed to reach general agreement in the 1970s that the transition took place during or just prior to the final two and a half centuries of the Chou. Following Mao Tse-tung's death in 1976, however, there were discreet indications of renewed interest
in the question of periodization, suggesting the possibility that this topic might again be opened to scholarly debate. Meanwhile, Soviet historians remained less ready to commit themselves, and when they did, tended to place the transition considerably later than did Chinese scholars-perhaps as late as the third century A.D. (the end of the Han empire).

What is important at this point is to gain a bird's-eye view of the major changes of the last two or three centuries of the Chou period. The nine suggested categories that follow are overlapping to some extent and are not necessarily presented in order of importance.

Technological changes

Current archeological opinion dates the beginnings of the use of iron in China not later than the seventh or, at the most, the sixth century B.C. On the literary side, the earliest reference is that in the Tso Chuan history,7 which under the year 513 records that penal laws were inscribed on a set of iron tripod vessels in the state of Chin. Weapons, agricultural implements, and vessels, all made of iron, have been recovered from tombs of Warring States times, and it is quite possible that a developing iron technology was one factor in the increase in agricultural production believed by many scholars to have taken place during these centuries. Other factors would have been the growing use of irrigation and draining techniques and of fertilizer, and especially the bringing of large new land areas under cultivation.

Yet the effects of these and other technological improvements should not be overrated. Iron still remained relatively rare throughout the Warring States period, and what there was of it was frequently cast, not forged, and hence relatively soft and brittle. Many implements continued to be made of bronze, stone, wood, or shell. Furthermore, some vital aspects of the improved agricultural technology are extraordinarily difficult to measure and date. Thus there is great controversy as to when animal-drawn ploughs began to replace a much more primitive but apparently long-persisting hoe cultivation. On the basis of exceedingly slender evidence, the beginnings of the traction plough in China are variously ascribed by Chinese scholars to around 400, to an age one or two centuries earlier, or even to pre-Chou
times. The earliest unequivocal reference in literature-one, however, which points to a considerable period of earlier development-is datable only to the Han dynasty (around 90 or 85 B.C.)

Demographic changes

The improvement in agriculture was probably accompanied by a growth of population, despite the simultaneous intensification of warfare. During the Warring States period cities seem to have increased significantly in number, size, and complexity of the plan. One of several indications is the considerable length of several of their walls, as revealed by archeology. Yet here again the evidence is scattered and quite inadequate to provide anything approaching specific population figures. The one exception, a literary statement
which suggests a population of 350,000 for one of the state capitals, is rhetorical and cannot be seriously considered, despite the use that has been made of it by some scholars.

Military changes

The overwhelming impression given by the Warring States sources is that of intensifying warfare. At first sight, therefore, the statistical information prepared by Cho-yun Hsu appear surprising: According to this, the 259-year span of 722-464 witnessed only 38 years without war, whereas the 242-year span of 463-222 had no less than 89 such years.9 In this case, however, the subjective impression is more meaningful than the statistical
measurement, for the latter obscures the fact that the wars of the Spring and Autumn period, while more frequent and involving more states simultaneously than those of the Warring States, were also much smaller, shorter, and less intense.

Warfare during the earlier period was dominated by chariot-riding aristocrats who fought one another according to rules of chivalry and for whom prestige and "face" meant more than practical gain. The later wars were dominated by professional generals who fought grimly to acquire territory and resources for whatever state employed them. The role of war chariots (always hard to maneuver in irregular terrain) diminished greatly, while that of massed infantry correspondingly increased. From the horseback-riding pastoral peoples of Inner Asia, the Chinese learned, at the end of the fourth century (specifically in the state of Chao in 307), how to use mounted archers as an important supplement to infantry. Probably around the same period the Chinese also invented the crossbow, which remained a major weapon throughout much of Chinese history. Other advances in military technology included those connected with the defending and attacking of walled cities.

On the quantitative side, a problem of credibility arises in connection with the sizes of armies reported for the latter years of the Warring States. A similar problem occurs in connection with the large battle casualty figures. 

Political changes

The nobles who had been allocated territories by the house of Chou at the beginning of that dynasty became the founders of hereditary ruling houses which in the course of time increasingly separated themselves from the Chou rulers. Especially after the forced shift of Chou from west to east in 770, its rulers came to be disregarded and even virtually forgotten by their one-time vassals. Hence the final destruction of Chou by Ch'in in 256 no longer carried much political significance. Well before that time, the principalities previously subject to Chou leadership had evolved into separate nation-states sharing, in varying degrees, a common language and culture, but maintaining military and customs barriers between one another, and ever ready to intrigue orally, to make war or peace.

Meanwhile, within several of the individual states themselves, increasing centralization of political power was taking place at the expense of subordinate hereditary landholders and officials. The major procedure for doing so was the organizing of land into new administrative units known as commanderies (chiiri) and counties (hsien). Such units were administered, respectively, by governors and magistrates who were usually appointed and paid by the central state government, to which they were responsible; their positions were also usually not hereditary. Initially, this system was probably instituted to govern land either newly colonized or newly captured from another state. Gradually, however, it probably came to be applied to the lands of the internal fiefholders, whose power and wealth was thereby circumscribed.

The county, which is the earlier of the two units, is first mentioned in Ch'in in 688. However, there are reasons for questioning this date and believing that such administrative entities may really have originated in the southern state of Ch'u, where the county is definitely mentioned in 598 and may conceivably have existed considerably earlier. The commandery came a good deal later, its earliest mention being in the state of Wei around 400. The military origin of the commandery-its uses for bringing newly acquired borderland under central state control is much more evident than that of the county, which is a fair number of cases appears to have been left in the hands of hereditary local administrators. At first, the commandery may have been regarded as less important than the county because of its location on the frontiers; but if so, this condition was soon reversed. The county came to form a level of administration subordinate to the commandery. By the final Chou century, a single commandery might be subdivided into anywhere from one to two dozen counties. The significance of the commandery/county system for the Ch'in empire and later history will be discussed below.

Administrative changes

In Ch'in and several contemporary principalities, the political changes just noted were accompanied by an evolution toward more sophisticated institutions and organs of central government. There were a growing professionalization and specialization in the holding of office-in short, a trend toward that bureaucratic form of administration which was to become the most distinctive aspect of the imperial Chinese state.

One significant development was the adoption of various quantitative procedures, such as the maintenance of population and taxation registers, statistics on crop returns, and the like. The use of these techniques in Ch'in will be referred to repeatedly below.

Another important institutional innovation was the introduction of written, codified law. Such law increasingly came to replace the traditional and largely unwritten, but tacitly accepted, rules of customary behavior known as li (a word varyingly rendered as "traditional mores," "rules of polite behavior," "ceremonial practices," etc.). The first really clear-cut instance was the inscribing of books of punishments (Hsing Shu) on a set of bronze tripod vessels in the state of Cheng in 536. Similar steps were taken in this and other states in 513, 301, and later; in Ch'in, the major steps in legal codification took place under Duke Hsiao and his adviser Shang Yang, in the middle of the fourth century.

As the term Hsing Shu suggests, the laws were primarily penal in nature. They were not promulgated in all states, nor were they always applied equally to all sectors of the population. Together with other administrative changes, however, their advent was important in the gradually quickening movement toward the creation of the imperial bureaucratic state. The statesmen and thinkers who advocated changes in this direction became known in later times as the School of Legalists, and the wholehearted adoption of such ideas and techniques by Ch'in was undoubtedly a major the reason why it was able to move from state to empire."

Changes in agrarian relationships

During the early Chou centuries, the peasants who constituted the overwhelming the bulk of the population was apparently attached as dependents to the land cultivated by them, in family units, for their overlord. Such a system of land tenure, an idealized form of which was described as the good field (cbing fieri) system, almost surely existed, though modern scholars have questioned almost every aspect of its operation. In reality, it could hardly have confirmed with the rigidly geometrical pattern ascribed to it by Mencius (ca. 372-ca. 289) and other writers of late Chou and Han. According to the idealized accounts of these men, each large square of land, known as a well (cbing), was subdivided in checkerboard fashion into nine lesser land plots, of which eight were individually cultivated by eight occupying families for their own needs. The ninth and central plot was cultivated communally by all eight families to provide the usufruct for the overlord.

The good field system has been the subject of a good deal of sentimentalizing by much later writers looking back nostalgically at the imagined virtues of communal living in an earlier and simpler age. As the system actually functioned, however, it probably provided little incentive to the cultivators to increase their output above required minimum needs, aside from pressures exerted by the bailiff of the overlord. On the other hand, the overlord had certain obligations to feed, clothe, and otherwise protect his dependents, as well as their families.

Beginning in 594 in the state of Lu, however, new systems of taxation are recorded as having been instituted in several states. Though the entries are brief and enigmatic, it would seem, generally speaking, that the new taxes consisted essentially of payments made in kind by the peasants in place of the former personal labor service. In some instances, these payments may have gone directly to the central state government instead of to the immediate overlord, thus resulting in a gradual dissolution of the traditional relationship between overlord and dependent. Probably the dissolution was hastened by the growing amounts of former wasteland brought under cultivation in each state, which lay outside the traditional system of enfeoffed domains.

It has been argued that the new freedom of the peasants as semi-independent cultivators may have encouraged them to work harder, thus contributing to the increase in agricultural output postulated for the late Chou period. But the new freedom also forced the peasants to become wholly responsible for their own needs, without the protection formerly provided

by the overlords. By the last century of Chou, the buying and selling of land had become widespread; the result was the acquisition of large amounts of land by the wealthy, while the peasants were often reduced once more to tenancy or to hiring themselves out as farm laborers. If anything, the disparity between rich and poor may have increased rather than diminished from late Chou times through Ch'in and so into Han. However, the paucity and obscurity of the sources often make such generalizations little more than guesswork.
Changes in power relationships.

It should not be supposed that those who in late Chou times exercised political power or bought land for themselves were necessarily descendants of the aristocratic families that had ruled principalities or held estates in the early Chou period. On the contrary, the dynamics of change led to an increasing degree of social mobility among the top political strata. Many of the old noble families declined or disappeared and were replaced by persons of obscure origin who were not directly connected by birth to the top families.

Most of the upstarts probably came from that lower fringe of the aristocracy known as gentlemen (shih) — men of good birth but without titles of nobility, who served as warriors, officials, and supervisors in the state governments and noble households, or who lived on the land, which in some cases they may even have cultivated themselves. Cho-yun Hsu, on the basis of a statistical study of 516 persons politically active during the Spring and Autumn period and 713 persons likewise active during the Warring States period, finds that the percentage of persons of obscure origin more than doubled from the one period to the other: from 26 percent for the Spring and Autumn period to 5 5 percent for the age of the Warring States.

During the final century or so, the ranks of the social unknowns were further swollen by men of plebeian birth, such as merchants, whose wealth enabled them to acquire land and power. In these various ways, by the late Warring States period a new class of landlords and officeholders had already come into being - the direct ancestors of that class of scholar-gentry which was to continue as the dominant elite throughout Chinese imperial history.

Commercial and industrial changes

The late Chou period undoubtedly witnessed a considerable development of commerce and industry even though, as, in the case of so much else, there is no way of measuring what happened with any exactness. A significant indication is the appearance of various kinds of metal currency of fixed value in different states, especially during the fifth and fourth centuries. (The currency of Ch'in is said to have been first issued in the year 336.)

Such coinage obviously facilitated commercial transactions, even though certain commodities, such as grain and cloth, continued to be used as exchange media, especially for large transactions. Commercial development, of course, helped the growth of cities, and there was also a tendency toward specialization of industry according to locale. The names of some prominent merchants are recorded in the Shih chi and elsewhere, beginning with Tzu-Kung, a disciple of Confucius, and culminating with Lii Pu-Wei, chancellor of Ch'in shortly before the Ch'in unification. The great merchants did not deal with staples, which were bulky and perishable, and profitable only in times of shortage; rather, they concentrated on luxury goods or the products of hills and lakes. The government was not immediately concerned with these, as it was with the collection and distribution of staples.

Intellectual changes

Beginning with Confucius (551-479), the last three centuries of Chou saw the rise of systematic speculative thinking, mainly embodied in some half-dozen schools of thought, but also expressed by individual thinkers not readily classifiable under any school. These schools and thinkers probably originated chiefly from the emerging Shih class, and their discussions and writings inevitably focused on the political and social problems the dynamic changes of the age had made so urgent. In this chapter it will be convenient to use the names Confucian, Legalist, Taoist, etc., to designate these intellectual configurations, even though the Chou thinkers to whom such labels are commonly applied were probably much less aware of belonging to distinctly separate "schools" than the Han scholars by whom they were thus initially classified.

Among the many new intellectual trends (frequently found expressed in more than one "school"), only a very few can be listed here:
  1. A tendency to discard the old supernatural and mythological explanations of how the universe operates, and to interpret it instead in terms of nonanthropomorphic natural forces and tendencies (i.e., the Too or Way, the negative and positive principles known as yin and yang, the so-called Five Elements). 
  2. An emphasis upon the need, at least in theory, for the ruler's basic prerequisite of noble birth to be positively complemented by intellectual and moral qualifications making him worthy of the all-important task of rulership. 
  3. But, inasmuch as rulership is normally hereditary, a parallel emphasis on the training of an educated class of nonhereditary officials to serve as advisers to the ruler. This emphasis marks a sharp departure from the traditional view of officeholding as based solely on good birth, and at the same time points toward the civil service system of imperial China, with its recruitment of personnel based on competitive examinations. 
  4. Emphasis on the ideal of social harmony, albeit a harmony based on inequality. In other words, the emphasis is on the readiness of each individual to accept his particular place in a structured hierarchy and to perform to the best of his ability the social duties that pertain to that place. 
  5. Emphasis on a universalism consisting not only of political but also of ideological and cultural unity, and providing the indispensable basis for peace, good government, and social well-being. 
Hints of this last theme can be traced back to early Chou times, as expressed politically in the idea that under Heaven there can be only a single ruler. (It has, in fact, been a dominant motif throughout Chinese history.) During the late Chou period it constituted the intellectual counterpart of the political movement toward centralized power discussed under "Political Changes" above. Thus to the rulers, statesmen, and generals of the age, it supplied potent ideological justification for conducting the intensifying military struggles that finally led to the empire.

from the book of The.Cambridge.History.of.China

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

China Contemporary Period

On October 1st, 1949, from the magnificent Tiananmen Rostrum, Chairman Mao Zedong solemnly declared to the world: “The People’s Republic of China is founded! The Chinese people have stood up!” That day, which became the National Day, marked the beginning of contemporary Chinese history. After the founding of New China, under the direction of the CPC and the People’s Republic’s first-generation of leadership under Mao Zedong, the war-torn national economy was recovered, a socialist system established and people’s living standard improved. Meanwhile, with the unity of all ethnic groups being strengthened within the country, China developed relations with foreign countries and resumed her legal status in the United Nations and that of the permanent membership of the UN Security Council. China took on an entirely new look, both politically and economically.
In 1978, under the direction of the CPC and New China’s second-generation leadership under Deng Xiaoping, with the influence and boosting of the third wave of technological revolution worldwide, China entered a new period of reform, opening-up and socialist modernization, with her economy developing rapidly, her undertakings in the fields of scientific, educational, cultural, sports and health making constant progress and her international status increasing by leaps and bounds. Using the policy of “one country, two systems”, China successfully settled the issues of Hong Kong and Macao.
The third-generation leadership of the Central Committee with Jiang Zemin at the core stuck to the policy of reforms and opening-up to the outside world. China entered the WTO in 2001, which has exerted a positive influence on China’s socialist construction.
At the present time, under the direction of the CPC Central Committee headed by General Secretary Hu Jintao, China is continuing to advance steadily to build a harmonious socialist society with the well-off living standard.

Mao Zedong and the Founding of New China
In September 1949, the First Plenary Session of the Chinese Peopled Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) was held in Beiping. The Session decided to found the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and elected Mao Zedong chairman of the Central Peopled Government of the PRC, and Zhu De, Liu Shaoqi and others vice-chairmen. The Session also decided to change the name of Beiping to Beijing and make it the capital of the PRC and decided to adopt March of the Volunteers as the national anthem, and the five-starred red flag as the national flag.
At 2 pm on October 1 st, the state leaders were sworn into office, and Zhou Enlai was appointed Premier of the Government Administration Council of the Central People’s Government.
At 3 pm, the founding ceremony of the PRC was held. In Beijing, 300 000 people gathered in Tiananmen Square. Standing on
the Tiananmen Rostrum, Mao Zedong solemnly declared to the world, “The Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China is founded!” He raised in person the first five-starred red flag to the accompaniment of an artillery salute. This was followed by a grand military review, and fireworks display in the evening.
The founding of the PRC marked the end of a 100-year-old history of semi-colonial, semi-feudal society in the old China, and opened a new chapter in Chinese history. Since then, China, with nearly a quarter of the world’s population within her territory, has been an independent country, and her people have become their own masters.

The Heroic Death of Mao Anying
When the Korean War broke out, Mao Anying, the eldest son of Mao Zedong volunteered to join the Chinese People’s Volunteers to fight in Korea. He became an interpreter of Russian and secretary in the headquarters. On November 25th, 1950, US bombers raided the headquarters of the Chinese People’s Volunteers and dropped napalm. Mao Anying died a heroic death at his working post in the campaign room. He sleeps eternally on the Korean soil.

The War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea
On June 25, 1950, a civil war broke out on the Korean Peninsula. The US immediately sent troops to interfere in the internal affairs of Korea. At the same time, it sent warships into the Taiwan Straits. On July 7th, the US manipulated the UN Security Council to pass a resolution to organize a UN Command, consisting mainly of US troops in order to enlarge the aggression against Korea. US President H. S. Truman appointed General Douglas MacArthur Commander-in-Chief of the UN Command.
China insisted on a peaceful solution to the Korean issue and strongly protested against the US armed interference in Korea’s internal affairs as well as intrusion into China’s territory.
On September 15, US troops landed on the west coast of the Korean Peninsula and began attacking the Korean People’s Army. In early October 1950, US troops crossed the 38 degrees of north latitude (the 38th Parallel), attempting to seize the whole of Korea. At the same time, the US air force bombed Chinese villages and towns near the Chinese-Korean border, and the US navy bombarded Chinese ships. Chinese national security was thus endangered.
In early October, upon the request of the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Chinese government made the decision to resist the US and aid Korea, and protect our motherland. On October 19th, 1950, under Commander-in-Chief Peng Dehuai, the Chinese People’s Volunteers crossed the Yalu River and marched to the Korean battlefield to fight side by side with the Korean People’s Army against the US invaders. From October 1950 to June 1951, they launched five strategic campaigns in succession, which forced the UN forces back beyond the 38th Parallel, turning the tide of the Korean War. In July 1951, the two belligerent parties began armistice talks. On July 27th, 195S, they signed the armistice agreement, and the Korean War ended.
The war to resist US aggression and aid Korea crushed the imperialists’ aggressive ambitions, helped to safeguard Asian and global peace, enhanced China’s international prestige and won a peaceful environment of relative stability for the construction of New China.

Zhou Enlai and New China’s Diplomacy
Zhou Enlai was an important leader of the CPC. He was an outstanding statesman and diplomat who played an important role in a series of major historical events, such as the Northern Expedition, the Nanchang Uprising, the Zunyi Conference, the Long March, the Xi’an Incident, the Chongqing Negotiations and the founding of the PRC. As the first premier and concurrently minister of foreign affairs of New China, he possessed superb diplomatic skills and personal charm. Every time he appeared on diplomatic occasions, he would bring hope to those who loved peace. He was a symbol of success and victory.
From April to July 1954, the US, the Soviet Union, China, France and other belligerent parties in the Korean War and the Indochina War held a conference in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss the armistice issue. This was the first important international conference in which New China participated as a great nation. The Chinese delegation, led by Zhou Enlai, accomplished their task at the conference with flying colors and made a great contribution to the restoration of peace.
Zhou Enlai also made exceptional contributions to the improvement of Sino-US relations. Relations between China and the US were suspended for over 20 years after the founding of New China. But in the late 1960s, the Chinese and US governments decided to improve their relations. On October 1st, 1970, during the National Day celebrations held in Tiananmen Square, at Zhou Enlai’s invitation, the US reporter Edgar Snow and his wife appeared on the Tiananmen Rostrum, sending a signal of friendship to the US.
On February 21st, 1972, US President Richard Nixon visited China, a country with no formal diplomatic relations at that time. Zhou Enlai went to the airport to welcome him, and said, as they shook hands, “You stretched out your hand across the broadest ocean in the world to shake hands with me.” From that moment on, relations between the two countries began to be orbited on to the road of normalization. Zhou Enlai played an indispensable role in this process, displaying great creativity, flexibility, and extraordinary diplomatic skills in working out and implementing China’s policy concerning the US.

The Ping-Pong Diplomacy
From April 10th to 17th, 1971, a US table tennis (Ping-Pong) delegation toured China and played matches with their Chinese counterparts. This was the first US delegation to be invited to visit China since the founding of the PRC. The visit brought about “China Craze” in the US and drew great attention internationally. From April 12th to 29th, 1972, a Chinese table tennis delegation toured the US, opening doors for the friendly communication between the two peoples. Using small balls to move the globe, this “Ping-Pong Diplomacy” named by the international media gave momentum to the process of normalizing relations between the PRC and the US.

Deng Xiaoping and the Reform and Opening-up Policies
The Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the CPC, held in late 1978, saw the introduction of China’s reform and opening-up policies. The process of the new policies was from rural reform to urban reform, from reform of the economic structure to structures in all aspects, and from internal vitalization to external opening-up. Deng Xiaoping was the major leader and chief architect of China’s reform and opening-up policies.
Deng Xiaoping initiated the theory of “building socialism with Chinese characteristics”, i.e. carrying out construction to realize modernization with economic construction as the central task, implementing the household contract responsibility system with remuneration linked to output in rural areas, practicing various economic systems of responsibility to prevent people from “eating from the same big pot” (getting the same reward or pay as everyone else regardless of one’s work performance) in urban areas, and establishing a socialist market economy based on public ownership of the means of production. At the same time, the political systems were also reformed, such as separating the functions of the Party and the Government, transferring power to lower levels, simplifying the administrative structure and developing a democratic style of work.
Deng Xiaoping advocated combining reform and opening-up and set up special economic zones (SEZs). In July 1979, the State Council decided to set up the first group of SEZs in Guangdong and Fujian provinces on a trial basis. In 1980, the four SEZs of Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Shantou, and Xiamen were formally set up. Over a dozen coastal cities were opened, and open economic regions were established in the Yangtze Delta, the Pearl River Delta, southeast Fujian area and the area around the Bohai Sea. Hainan Island was made a full-fledged province and an SEZ. In January 1984, Deng Xiaoping and other leaders went on an inspection tour of the
Shenzhen and Zhuhai SEZs. In 1992, Deng inspected Wuchang, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, and Shanghai, and issued instructions, emphasizing boldness in the reform and opening-up tasks, telling people to grasp opportunities, taking economic development as the key to progress.
Deng emphasized that “science and technology are the first productive forces”, and urged more respect for knowledge and talented people. He also noted the need to develop education and strengthen the construction of socialist spiritual civilization.
As for the Hong Kong and Macao issues, Deng initiated the principle of “one country, two systems” to realize the reunification of the country. This principle underlays the successful reunion of Hong Kong and Macao with the motherland.
After more than 20 years of reform and opening-up, China has made enormous achievements in the economic, political, cultural and social construction. As a result, China’s comprehensive national power and people’s living standards have increased greatly.

Hong Kong-Pearl of the Orient
Situated south of the Pearl River Delta, Hong Kong is a trade, finance, transportation and tourism center both for the Asian-Pacific region and the world. Its economy is based mainly on trade. It's manufacturing, financial, real estate and tourism sectors are highly developed. Victoria Habor is one of the world’s busiest ports, and the Hong Kong International Airport on Lantau Island is one of the world’s most advanced airports.

Hong Kong’s Return to China
In June 1840, the Opium War between China and Britain broke out. On January 26th, 1841, Britain seized Hong Kong. On August 29th, 1842, the government of the Qing Dynasty was forced to sign the Treaty of Nanking with Britain, formally ceding Hong Kong.
In September 1982, Deng Xiaoping proposed the principle of “one country, two systems” to solve the Hong Kong issue when he met with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Under this principle, Hong Kong would be administered by Hong Kong people as a highly autonomous region, and Hong Kong’s capitalist system and lifestyle would not be changed for 50 years. After many rounds of consultation, on December 19th, 1984, China and Britain reached an agreement, and signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration on the Issue of Hong Kong, which declared that “the Chinese government will resume exercise of its sovereignty over Hong Kong from July 1st, 1997, and at the same time Britain will return Hong Kong to China.”
On the midnight of June 30th, 1997, the handover ceremony was held solemnly at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. At zero hour on July 1st, the national flag of the PRC and the regional flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) were raised. Jiang Zemin, president of the PRC, solemnly declared the resumption of the exercise of China’s sovereignty over Hong Kong according to the Simo-British Joint Declaration on the Issue of Hong Kong, and the founding of the HKSAR. Then Tung Chee Hwa, the first Chief Executive of the HKSAR, took the oath of office.
The one and a half centuries of British colonial rule of Hong Kong came to an end, and Hong Kong finally returned to the motherland.

Macao’s Return to China
Macao was the first Chinese territory to fall into the hands of Western colonialists, as, starting in 1553, the Portuguese gradually asserted their power over it.
At the end of the 1970s, China and Portugal reached agreement in principle on the issue of Macao. From 1986 to 1987, after peaceful and friendly negotiations, China and Portugal signed the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration on the Issue of Macao on April 13th, 1987, affirming that Macao is a part of China, and the Chinese government would resume the exercise of its sovereignty over the territory on December 20th, 1999.
At 23:42 on December 19th, 1999, the hand-over ceremony formally opened, in the presence of PRC President Jiang Zemin, Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio, and other leading governmental officials. At zero hour on December 20th, Jiang Zemin declared the resumption of the exercise of China’s sovereignty over Macao by the Chinese government. Then, Ho Hau-wah, the first Chief Executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) took the oath of office.

Situated on the west bank of the Pearl River Delta, Macao covers an area of 23.5 square kilometers, with a population of about 440 000. It is a place where Eastern and Western cultures converge. Macao has a free economic system. In recent years, tourism, gambling and various services and trades have gradually replaced manufacturing industry in becoming the economic mainstay.

Great Achievement in Manned Spaceflight
It is a common dream of humanity to explore the vast outer space and to utilize the common space resources of mankind. China initiated a manned spaceflight program in 1992. The program, with its peaceful nature, aims to contribute to the development of sciences and world peace by scientific and technological research and experiment in the outer space.
After launching four un-manned spaceships, on October 15th, 2003, Shenzhou-5 sent Yang Liwei, the first Chinese astronaut to the outer space, who orbited the Earth for 14 rounds and returned safely. The success of dies manned spaceship Shenzhou-5 marked a breakthrough for China to grasp the basic technology of manned spaceflight, as well as the completion of the first stage of the country’s manned space program.
Shenzhou-5 is a realization of a thousand-year-old dream of the Chinese people, putting China on the list of countries with independent development of manned spaceflight, following the former Soviet Union and the US.
On October 12th, 2005, Shenzhou-6, another spaceship developed by China independently, made its trip a success by sending two astronauts, Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng to the outer space to carry out various experiments. They came back safely on October 17th.
Shenzhou-6 became another milestone in China’s development of manned spaceflight and manned outer space experiment.
The success of manned spaceflight has a tremendous impact on boosting the international standing of China and increasing the country’s economic, scientific and technological, and national defense capacity, helping to raise the national morale and the solidarity of all ethnic groups around the CPC Central Committee in the great course of socialist development with Chinese characteristics.

Yang Liwei, Hero of Spaceflight
With the launch of the spaceship Shenzhou-5, a Chinese named Yang Liwei became world famous. Yang is among the first-generation astronauts in China. After training for a few years, he finished training tasks in dozens of subjects in eight categories, i.e. fundamental theory, adaptation in the outer space environment, specialized technologies, etc. He passed the comprehensive assessment of specialized space-flight technology with flying colors and was chosen to be a member of the first team of the first manned spaceflight of China. After becoming “the first Chinese in outer space”, he was awarded as the “Hero of Spaceflight” in the assembly celebrating the first manned spaceflight of China.

2008 Beijing Olympics
Beijing won the bid for hosting the 29th Olympic Games. This is another milestone to enhance China’s international standing and another great event in the renaissance of Chinese people.
Under the request of the International Olympic Committee, the Organization Committee of the 29th Olympic Games was established in Beijing. Chinese people began to prepare for the game with great enthusiasm.
In August 2003, the logo for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, “Chinese seal-dancing Beijing” was publicized.
In June 2005, the theme slogan of 2008 Beijing Olympics, “One World, One Dream” was announced.
In November 2005, mascots of the 2008 Beijing Olympics were unveiled. Five of them in total, they are called Fuwa, namely Beibei, Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying arid Nini. When the rhyming two-syllable names are put together, they say in Chinese, “Welcome to Beijing.” The mascots embody good wishes of Chinese people for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the warm welcome to people all over the world.

China as a World Power in Sports
In 1924, the All-China Sports Association was founded, with the efforts of Zhang Boling, Wang Zhengting and others. In 1931, the International Olympic Committee formally recognized the Association as the Chinese Olympic Committee. China was represented for the first time, by runner Liu Changchun, at the Olympic Games when the 10th Olympics were held in Los Angeles in 1932.
China won its first Olympic medal when Yang Chuanguang from Taiwan won the silver medal for the decathlon at the 17th Olympics in 1960. In the 19th Olympics in 1968, Taiwan athlete Ji Zheng won the bronze medal in the women’s 80-meter hurdle, which was the first Olympic medal won by a Chinese female athlete.
In 1979, the International Olympic Committee restored the PRC’s legal seat on the committee.
In July 1984, Chinese marksman Xu Haifeng won China’s first gold medal at the 23rd Olympics held in Los Angeles. At this Olympics, China ranked fourth in the gold medal standings. The Chinese women’s volleyball team also won a gold medal, attaining three successive Championships for the sport (the other two being the World Cup and the World Championships).
China attended the Seoul (24th), Barcelona (25th) and Atlanta (26th) Olympics.
At the 27th Olympics held in Sydney in September 2000, Chinese athletes won 59 medals, ranking China third in the medal standings.
At the 28th Athens Olympics in August 2004, Chinese athletes won a record of 63 medals, among which 32 were gold. By then, China had been represented at 14 sessions of the Olympic Games.
On July 13th, 2001, China’s bid for the 2008 Olympics was successful; in September that year, China hosted the 21st Universiade, which vigorously promoted the development of China’s sports, demonstrated the increase of China’s overall national strength and enhanced China’s international status.

The Oriental Roses
The Chinese women’s national football team has achieved very good results in international matches since its founding in the 1980s. Its achievements include seven Asian Cup championships in succession-from 1986 to 1999; three Asian Games championships in succession; runner-up in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics; and runner-up in the third Women’s Football World Cup in 1999. The women players are popularly known as the “Oriental Roses”.


A Brief Chronology of Chinese History
Ancient Period
c. 1 700 000 years ago-1840 AD
Paleolithic Period
c. l 700 000 years ago-c.10 000 years ago
Neolithic Period
c. 10 000 years ago-4 000 years ago
Xia Dynasty
c. 2070 BC-1600 BC
Shang Dynasty
c. 1600 BC-1046 BC
Western Zhou Dynasty
c. 1046 BC-771 BC
Spring and Autumn Period
770 BC-476 BC
Warring States Period
475 BC-221 BC
Qin Dynasty
221 BC-206 BC
Han Dynasty (Western Han and Eastern Han)
206 BC-220 AD
Three Kingdoms (Wei, Shu, Wu)
220-280 AD
Jin Dynasty (Western Jin and Eastern Jin)
265-420 AD
Southern and Northern Dynasties
420-589 AD
Sui Dynasty
581-618 AD
Tang Dynasty
618-907 AD
Five Dynasties
907-960 AD
Liao Dynasty
907-1125 AD
Song Dynasty (Northern Song and Southern Song)
960-1279 AD
Western Xia Dynasty
1038-1227 AD
Jin Dynasty
1115-1234 AD
Yuan Dynasty
1206-1368 AD
Ming Dynasty
1368-1644 AD
Qing Dynasty (before the Opium War of 1840)
1616-1840 AD
Modem Period
1840-1949 AD
Qing Dynasty (after the Opium War of 1840)
1840-1911 AD
Republic of China
1912-1949 AD
Contemporary Period
1949 AD-
People’s Republic of China
1949 AD-