History of the People's Republic of China 1949-Present


Map of People's Republic of China
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 held in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, witnessed by 300,000 people. On that day, Chairman Mao Zedong solemnly proclaimed the formal establishment of the People’s Republic of China.

The foundation of a new state prepared the chance to alter traditional rules and structures, and to wipe away the shame from China that had been imposed on her by the unequal treaties in the 19th century. But the construction of a new China was less than a smooth transgression into a new age. Questions about the implementation of socialist ideas and the fear of a domination by a Russian-style socialist bureaucracy lead to the split within China's leadership after the Great Leap Forward and thus directly lead into the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution that was only ended with Mao Zedong's dead in 1976.

Open Door Policy

A new leadership under Deng Xiaoping stressed the need of reform and opening to ameliorate the life conditions of the Chinese population and to re-strengthen China's economy. In 1979, China opened its door to the rest of the world. The errors made during the Cultural Revolution and before were redressed, and the focus of the work was shifted to the modernization drive. Great efforts were made to regulate the proportions within the national economy, reform economic and political systems and gradually establish a road to build socialist modernization with Chinese characteristics. Central government has decentralized decision making for exporting and importing trades to local governments. A series of special economic zones such as Shenzhen, Xiamen have been designated for the purpose of stimulating exporting trades and attracting foreign investment. Administrative restrictions on exporting and importing trades have been replaced by tariffs, quotas and licensing. Foreign exchange restrictions have been loosened, particularly for foreign invested managed companies. Since then, China has made real great leaps in the economic sphere and in international politics again becoming one of the leading powers of the world. The first astronaut of China, Yang Liwei, has proved that China in certain fields, is on the way of becoming a technological challenger for other nations.

Learn more about Chinese history, please visit History of China