As part of the Visual Timeline series
– (Oct 1) Mao defeats Nationalist army of Chiang-Kai-shek, ending civil war and founds People’s Republic of China
– (Dec) Kuomintang establish Republic of China in Taiwan
– (Feb) Mao and Stalin sign Treaty of Friendship, Alliance, and Mutual Assistance
– (Nov) China enters the Korea War and drive Allies back to 38th parallel. Fighting continues with more casualties and no major territorial gain on either side for next 2.5 years.
1953: Stalin, whom Mao respected, dies; Mao disapproves of new leader Kruschev
– China-Pakistan Military Aid Pact
– US-Taiwan Defence Treaty; First Taiwan Strait Crisis
1955: US passes Formosa Resolution; allowing US president to use force to defend Taiwan
1956: Hundred Flowers in Mao China; freedom of opinions
1958: Mao China launches “Great Leap Forward”, a 5-year plan to collectivize agriculture and industry; but abandoned after 2 years; economy contracts by 25%, 20m-40m die of starvation making it the largest famine in human history
1959: Tibet uprising suppressed
1960: Soviet Union shifts from being ally to enemy to China
1964: China becomes nuclear power
1965: Tibet War
1966: Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) in Mao China; a sociopolitical movement aimed at purging traditional elements and intellectuals.
1967: China explodes hydrogen bomb
1969: Sino-Soviet clashes at Xinjiang, but further escalations prevented by diplomacy
– (Jul) US secretary of state Kissinger secretly visits China
– (Oct) Mainland China joins UN while Taiwan is expelled.
1972: (Feb) Nixon visits China spooking Soviet Union and Vietnam
1974: Terracotta Army discovered (Qin army to guard emperor tomb)
– (Jan) Vice chairman Zhou Enlai dies
– (Sep 9th) Mao dies; “Gang of Four” including Mao’s widow vies for power but are arrested for crimes against the state.
1978: Deng Xiaoping (r. 1978-1991) emerges as China’s leader following Mao’s death in 1976; launches economic reforms (Open Door Policy), starting with agriculture.
– One Child policy in China (1979-2015)
– (Jan) US officially recognizes People’s Republic of China
– (Feb) Deng Xiaoping China invades Vietnam briefly before withdrawing; to deter Vietnam expansionism
1989: (Jun 4th) Tienanmen square protests massacre; student-led democracy movement following death of Hu Yaobang (political leader that pushed for reforms)
1990: Pudong area within Shanghai becomes Special Economic Zone (SEZ) with even more flexibility than the original four SEZs earlier.
– Jiang Zemin takes over as Chinese Communist Party general secretary.
– Deng Xiaoping tours Southern China to quell influence of Party conservatives opposed to market liberalization
– Falun Gong founded
1995: China tests missiles and holds military exericses in Taiwan Strait.
1996: (Mar) Third Taiwan Strait Crisis: China conducts missile tests to discourage Taiwan from holding referendum; US sends 2 aircraft carriers
– (Feb) Deng Xiaoping dies; separatist terrorist attacks in Xinjiang on Deng’s funeral day
– (1st Jul) China regains sovereignty over HK from UK; One country two systems
– China regains Macau from Portugal
– (May) US Embassy in Beijing attacked by protesters after US (accidentally) bomb embassy in Belgrade during NATO bombing of Yugoslavia – symbolizes rising anti-US sentiment in China
2001: (Nov) China joins World Trade Organization, marking new phase in globalization
2002: Hu Jintao succeeds Jiang Zemin as head of Communist Party
– (Mar-Apr) China and HK hit hardest by SARS outbreak
– (Oct) China first manned space flight
– (Jul) Three Gorges Dam opens (construction began 1994)
– (Jul) China-Tibet railway opens
2007: (Feb) China president Hu Jin Tao tours 8 African countries for trade and investment.
– (May) Earthquake in Sichuan kills tens of thousands.
– (Aug) Beijing hosts Olympics, showcasing ‘new China’ to the world
– (Sep) Sanlu (state-run company) contaminated baby milk powder case (300k fall ill)
– (Nov) Chinese govt announces $586b GFC stimulus package.
2009: (Feb) $25b Russia-China deal; Russia supplies oil for next 20 years; China supplies loans.
– (Mar) Google leaves China after its services are blocked; YouTube blocked year before after Tibetan suppression footage uploaded, Facebook blocked after 2009 Urumqi riots
– (Oct) China VP Xi Jinping becomes vice-chairman of Central Military Commission
– (Dec) Activist writer Liu Xiaobo receives Nobel Peace Prize, but is unable to collect it (dies in prison in 2017 after 11 year sentence)
2011: (Jul) High speed rail derails in Wenzhou, highglihting aggressive peace of rail expansion
US Treasury holdings throughout the 2010s, and now it’s subsided to levels a decade ago.
– China launches Belt and Road Initiative.
– China starts building artificial islands in South China Sea
– (Mar) Xi Jinping becomes president of China; launches anti-corruption drive and consolidates his power.
– (Dec) China lands robotic rover on moon, first soft landing in 37 years
– (Sep) ‘Umbrella movement’ in Hong Kong, protesting for genuinely representative direct elections, shuts city down for 3 months but ends with no results
2015: (Nov) China’s Xi and Taiwan’s Ma hold historic talks in Singapore, first such meeting since 1949.
– (Jun) New cybersecurity law in China gives government even more control over company data, domestic and foreign.
– (Jul) China issues AI plan
– (Oct) Xi Jinping’s name and ideology amended into constitution, elevating him status on par with Mao’s.
– (Mar) Constitution amendment removes tenure limitations on Chinese presidency, allowing Xi to remain in power indefinitely.
– (Apr) China imposes 25% tariffs on range of US imports in response to similar measures by US.
– (Mar19-late20) HK extradition bill protests
– COVID-19 spreads globally from Wuhan
– China enforces strongest COVID-19 lockdowns in world for next 3 years