Understanding China’s history on the national holiday

Today China celebrates its national holiday, marking the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China (PPC). To understand the significance of this date in China’s history, we invite you to check out the June 2008 World Savvy Monitor edition on China.

In 1919, Mao Zedong, founder of the PPC, was still a teacher in China. During this time, he became interested in the Russian Revolution as he saw the poor governance and independence movements building in his country. By 1921 he formed the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and began recruiting revolutionaries in rural areas in opposition to ruling Nationalist Party (KMT) of Sun Yat-sen. Throughout 1939-1943, Japan occupied China while Civil War raged on between Chiang (KMT) and Mao (CCP). After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, significant tensions developed between US and Chiang and the US provided support and weaponry to Mao and the CCP. Chiang and KMT retreated to Taiwan in 1949 to establish the Republic of China (ROC) on the island with US support. Then, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was established under leadership of Mao Zedong. Today, the doctrine of Maoism prevails as a hybrid of Marxism, a celebration of peasant life, and perpetual revolutionary struggle.

As part of this week’s celebration, 5,000 soldiers will march, some of which have been receiving counseling for the strict formations required. 150 planes will fly in formation and 60,000 pigeons will be released. 10,000 police officers and security guards will be present, along with about 800,000 volunteers. However, there will be a limit of 187,000 for the number of people involved in the main parade. Because of China’s environmental woes, which were also spotlighted during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the New York Times reported that “Meteorologists said their efforts to prevent foul weather on Oct. 1 involved satellites, 400 scientists, cloud-probing lasers and a squadron of transport planes capable of sprinkling liquid nitrogen into pregnant clouds.”

As China draws international attention on its 60th anniversary, the world will continue to watch to see how this country, which is taking a strong lead in global economic stage, will address concerns over human rights and political freedoms. As noted in the Monitor, “true democracy in a country with close to a billion not so satisfied customers (rural peasants and migrant/lower class laborers) would endanger the future of the CCP and, potentially, its beneficiaries.”

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