Revolutionary China

People's Republic of China Timeline

Revolutionary China

Chronicling major events in the first 40 years of the People's Republic of China 1949-1989. Reprinted from SACU's China Now magazine 1989.

YearEvents in ChinaInternational Relations
1949 October 1st: Founding of the People's Republic by Chairman Mao
Mao goes to Moscow
NATO founded
1950 Marriage Law promulgated
People's Liberation Army enters Tibet
Agrarian Reform Law
Sino-Soviet Pact of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance
Nationalists establish government on Taiwan
Britain recognises PRC
1951 'Three-Antis' Campaign (waste; corruption; bureacracy) Chinese forces enter the Korean War
1952 'Five-Anti's' Campaign
Democratic reforms and nationalisation of private industry completed
1953 First Five-Year Plan begins
Population census
Campaign to introduce co-operatives
State monopoly of grain trade set up
Death of Stalin
Armistice in Korea
1954 First National People's Congress Geneva Conference on Indochina
Khrushchev visits China
Defence Pact between Taiwan and USA
1955   Warsaw Pact founded
Bandung Conference
1956 Collective farms introduced
Eighth Party Congress
Hundred Flowers Campaign begins
Khrushchev denounces Stalin
Hungarian Uprising
1957 Open criticism of Communist Party at Beijing University
Anti-Rightist Campaign
Sino-Soviet nuclear agreement
Mao visits Moscow
1958 Second Five-Year Plan
First People's Communes
Great Leap Forward launched
People's Militia established
Khrushchev visits Beijing
1959 Tibetan uprising
Second National People's Congress
Liu Shaoqi becomes President of China
Lushan Conference
Peng Dehuai dismissed for criticising Great Leap
Khrushchev visits Beijing
1960 Severe food shortages begin Soviet technicians withdraw
1961 Reversal of Great Leap policies  
1962 Border war with India U.S./Cuba missile crisis
1963 Socialist Education Movement
'Learn from Lei Feng' Campaign
Exchange of hostile letters with USSR
1964 'Learn from PLA' Campaign
Third National People's Congress
China tests a nuclear bomb
France recognises PRC
1965 All army ranks abolished
Dazhai hailed as model brigade for agriculture
Daqing hailed as model brigade for industry
1966 Third Five Year Plan begins
May 16th Directive
First Cultural Revolution posters
Red Guards formed
Schools and Colleges closed
1967 First Revolutionary Committees set up
Serious clashes in Wushan
PLA restores order
Deng Xiaoping sent to cadre school in Hebei
1968 Liu Shaoqi expelled from the Party
Call for Educated Youths to go to the countryside
USSR invades Czechoslovakia
1969 Ninth Party Congress
Lin Biao named as Mao's successor
Death of Liu Shaoqi
Clashes with USSR on the Ussuri River
1970  Nixon invited to China
1971 Lin Biao tries to assassinate Mao
Lin Biao dies in a plane crash
Ping-pong diplomacy
China joins United nations
1972  Nixon visits China
1973 Deng Xiaoping returns to power
'Criticise Lin Biao and Confucius' Campaign
Tenth Party Congress
1974  Edward Heath visits China
1975 Fourth National People's Congress Death of Chiang Kaishek
1976 Death of Zhou Enlai
Hua Guofeng becomes Premier
Tiananmen riot
Deng Xiaoping stripped of all his posts
Death of Zhu De
Death of Mao
Hua Guofeng becomes Chairman
1977 Gang of Four arrested
Deng Xiaoping returns to power
Eleventh Party Congress
1978 Fifth National People's Congress
First open criticism of Mao
Posters appear on Democracy Wall
Third Plenum of the Party Congress proposes economic and political reforms
Sino-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Friendship
1979 Deng Xiaoping proposes four principles
Special Economic Zones proposed
One-Child policy introduced
Responsibility system introduced into agriculture
Diplomatic relations between China and US
Border War with Vietnam
1980 New Marriage Law
Hu Yaobang becomes General Secretary
Memorial service for Liu Shaoqi
Zhao Ziyang replaces Hua as Premier
Trial of the Gang of Four begins
1981 Sixth Five-Year Plan begins
Hua steps down as Party Chairman
1982 Population census
Twelfth Party Congress: New Party Constitution
New State Constitution
1983 Sixth National People's Congress
Deng's Selected Works published
Campaign against 'Spiritual Pollution' 84
Managerial responsibility system in industry
1984 Managerial responsibility system in industry
'Open Cities' announced
President Reagan visits China
Sino-British accord on Hong Kong
1985 Reforms of education system promulgated
Decision to reduce PLA by one million
Anti-Japanese demonstrations
1986 Seventh Five-Year Plan begins
Student demonstrations
HM The Queen visits China
1987 Resignation of Hu Yaobang
Campaign against 'bourgeois liberalism'
Deng resigns from Politburo
Thirteenth Party Congress
Sino-Portuguese accord on Macau
1988 Li Peng becomes Premier
Zhao Ziyang becomes General Secretary
Seventh National People's Congress
Riots in Tibet
Martial law declared in Lhasa
1989 Death of Hu Yaobang
Student demonstrations: martial law declared in Beijing
Soviet and Chinese party relations restored
Massacre in Tiananmen Square
Zhao Ziyang stripped of party and state posts
Japan withholds loans
Jiang Zemin elected General Secretary
Gorbachev visits China.

© Copyright Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding (SACU) 2006 reprinted from SACU's magazine China Now 131, Page 89, September 1989

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of SACU.
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