China History Timeline

By | October 15, 2021

According to, China (official name: People’s Republic of China) is the largest country in East Asia and the fourth largest country in the world ( Russia, Canada and the United States are larger). With a population of more than 1.3 billion people, which is approx. one-fifth of the earth’s population, it is the world’s most populous country. The capital is Beijing.


1000 BC – The first evidence of Acupuncture comes from a 3000 year old Shang Dynasty inscription found on bones and turtle shields in China. It is common knowledge that the development of this type of medicine in the Stone Age is more than 10,000 years old. Acupuncture and other healing methods developed in China, then spread to Japan, Korea, Vietnam, other Asian countries, and later Europe and America. Today, acupuncture and Chinese medicine are a huge success worldwide because it can treat a lot of different diseases.

1000 years BCE – The Chinese use coal as fuel and ice blocks for cooling.

352 years BCE – Chinese astronomers record the first observation of a supernova.

240 years BCE – Chinese astronomers see the famous Halley’s Comet for the first time.

100 – The Chinese discover that a magnetic metal rod always points north / south, a discovery that later led to the invention of the compass.

105 – The Chinese Tsai Lun invents modern paper, which is made cheaply from raw materials such as wood or cloth fibers. Only 1215 years later does the invention come to Europe.

190 – The Chinese calculate the PI to be 3.14159.

270 – Chinese alchemists succeed in producing black powder by mixing sulfur and nitrates.

400 – The Chinese invent the wheelbarrow.

1250 – Cannons are invented in China.

1277 – Landmines are invented in China.

1412 – The use of sea mines is published in China.

1838-1840 – The Opium Wars.

1860 – English and French troops occupy Beijing.

1900 – Boxing uprising with attacks on foreigners in China.

1911-1912 – Civil Revolution in China. The Empress is deposed and Sun Yat-sen becomes president.

1916 – Yuan Shikai dies after trying unsuccessfully to become emperor. The time of the warlords begins.

1919 – May 4 movement with patriotic student demonstrations.

1921 – The Communist Party of China ( CCP ) is founded and their first congress is held.

1922 – Communists are persuaded to join Guomindang by Russian agents stationed in China.

1926 – Chiang Kai-shek, the new leader of the Nationalists, launches the Northern Expedition against the warlords to reunite the country.

1927 – Shianghai cleansing. Massacre of the Communists in Shanghai. Mao Zedong writes report on the peasant movement in Hunan. He tries to gather the peasants for battle.

1928 – Chiang Kai-shek unites China and becomes leader of a nationalist government. Nanking becomes the capital.

1930 – Famine in northwestern China after three years of drought. It is estimated that between 3 and 6 million died as a result of the famine.

1931 – Japan occupies Manchuria.

1934-1935 – The Long March.

1935 – Mao is elected leader of the Communist Party.

1936 – Jiang is kidnapped and forced to negotiate with the Communists for a common struggle against the Japanese.

1945 – Japan surrenders to Jiang. The United States is trying to mediate between Mao and Jiang.

1947 – Jiang’s forces capture the Communist capital, Yenan.

1949 – Jiang’s armies flee and flee to Taiwan. The People’s Republic of China is established. Mao continues as party chairman and is elected president. Zhou Enlai becomes Prime Minister.

1950 – The People’s Republic of China applies to join the United Nations. They are rejected on the basis of a veto from the United States. Mao travels to Moscow to get support from Stalin. He pledges technical assistance, and the Soviet Union is a great help to China until cooperation is broken at the start of the Great Leap Forward in the period 1958-1960.

1950-1953 – Korean War. China moves into Korea in November 1950, and it is only considered a huge victory when Chinese troops strike back the Americans. At the end of the war, however, the Chinese have to withdraw. Many Chinese are lost, however, Mao still considered it a victory. He believed it was proof of China’s power and strength. And that China was gaining status as a superpower.

1953-1957 – China’s first five-year plan. 10,000 engineers and technicians from the USSR are helping to build China. The production and growth of this five-year plan was explosive. If the trend had continued, China’s GDP would have doubled in just 11 years. One must still keep in mind that when Mao took over China in 1949, it was incredibly poor.

1955 – The establishment of rural collectives begins. The collectivization merged some lots of land, and then a village was given responsibility for the combined lot. Childcare, cooking and other daily routine tasks were deprived of the women so that they too could work in the field. The principle was a shared responsibility. This method was rewarding for Chinese society.

1957 – 97% of the agricultural land is placed under collectives. The “Let a hundred flowers bloom” campaign is launched. This campaign was to benefit the scholars. It provided a limited form of freedom of expression where the people could come up with criticisms of the way of governing and amendments. The name comes from a speech given by Mao in 1956, in which he stated ” Let a hundred flowers bloom and let a hundred schools of thought be cut “. The flower part is meant for the artists and poets, while the thinking school part is meant for the scholars. It was the Minister of Propaganda who presented the campaign in 1957, at its inception. The campaign was quickly ended again when Mao was not satisfied with the criticism that came. This was despite the fact that the criticism was limited and vague. As a result of the detected opposition to communism, a powerful “anti-right” campaign is launched. It purged so – called right – wingers from the Party and many were censored until Mao’s death in 1976.

1958-1960 (-1963) – “The great leap forward” is launched. The creation of the people’s municipalities. Mao gets his ideas implemented and they turn out to create a catastrophic famine. The result of this famine is assumed differently. Chinese researchers believe that there are 17 million dead, while American researchers believe that the number is up to 26 million. One of the ideas of this plan was that everyone was equal, and therefore peasants were put to machine work and workers were put to peasant work. The logic that this would create greater growth is not known.

1960 – A rift between China and the USSR. The Russian technicians are brought home. Mao resigns as president, due to the failure, “The great leap forward”. Liu Shaoqi takes over the post. Mao continues as party chairman.

1962 – China – India border dispute.

1964 – China’s first atomic bomb is tested. Despite the fact that the Russian technicians withdrew in 1960, the Chinese succeed in building an atomic bomb, based on the plans left behind.

1966 – The Cultural Revolution is launched. President Liu Shaoqi is deposed, as are Deng Xiaoping and several opponents of Mao’s ideas.

1967 – Mao travels around China to reconcile the warring parties.

1970 – Mao invites President Nixon of the United States to visit China.

1971 – The People’s Republic of China takes over China’s place in the UN ; Taiwan resigns.

1972 – Richard Nixon visits China.

1972 – January 9. The world’s largest passenger ship, Queen Elizabeth, catches fire and sinks in Hong Kong’s port. The ship has most recently been used as a floating university.

1976 – Zhou Enlai dies. Mao Zedong dies. Deng Xiaoping is removed from the management. The fire band, with Mao’s wife, is imprisoned. Hua Guofeng takes power in China.

1977 – Deng Xiaoping resumes leadership.

1979 – China takes out foreign loans. Border conflict between Vietnam and China.

1982 – People’s municipalities are abolished by law.

1983 – A report claims that collective bargaining has largely been abolished.

1984 – Cooperation with foreign companies opens in special “economic zones” along the coast of China.

1987 – The old leaders resign. Among them is Deng Xiaoping. Younger people are elected into the management. Li Peng becomes Prime Minister. Zhao Ziyang is the chairman of the CCP.

1989 – Demonstrations for democracy are bloodily suppressed in Tiananmen Square.

1992 – The United States grants China the status of a “highly favored nation”.

1997 – Deng Xiaoping dies. Britain gives Hong Kong back to Chinese control.

Archeology. The Chinese came to South America more than 3,000 years ago. This is a new provocative message from an American China expert. Thus, he differs significantly from most archaeologists who believe that the Chinese first set foot on the continent in the early 1800s. China expert Professor Mike Xu from Texas Christian University has compared ancient Chinese characters to the corresponding South American ones. And the characters are so similar that there must have been a contact between the two cultures, is his controversial conclusion. Mike Xu believes that the resemblance between characters from the ancient South American olmec culture and the Chinese Shang dynasty is striking (1600-1100 BC). The Olmecs are usually perceived as the ancestors of the Maya. The characters of such different phenomena as agriculture, crop, astronomy, rain, religion, sacrifice, sky, sun, trees and water are very similar in both written languages. There are also great cultural and religious similarities between the two peoples, Xu believes. Both cultures, for example, valued jade highly and cut memorials for burials of the semi-precious stone, just as both cultures used altarpieces for sacrifices. Another archaeologist, Betty Meggers of the American Smithsonian Institution, is also convinced that Asians have been to South America. long before what is the common assumption. She points to similarities between 5,000-year-old pottery found in Valdivia, Ecuador and pottery from the contemporary Jomon period in Japan. There is also a striking resemblance between the pyramids of the Maya people and the Southeast Asian pyramids, she believes. The two researchers, Meggers and Xu, also have an explanation for how the Chinese of the time should have come to America. They claim that natural ocean currents in the Pacific Ocean may have created contact between the two cultures. For example, the two scientists believe that the so-called Kuroshio ocean current from Japan and the current Black Current from China could have brought boats from Asia to South America. ( Ill. Vid. 3/2000)

Archeology. Two new finds of fish fossils have now been identified as the petrified remains of the world’s oldest known fish. The fossils were found in the Chinese province of Yunnan, where it is becoming commonplace for new and exciting fossils to appear. The two well-preserved fossils are now causing scientists to make some drastic adjustments to their previous notions of the composition of life in the oceans of the past more than half a billion years ago. The fossils have been found to be about 530 million years old. And that discovery brings the fish into the many at least 50 million years earlier of evolution than scientists have hitherto thought. The two fossilized fish belong to quite different species that scientists have not encountered before. They are both best compared to jawless fish. ( Ill. Wide. 6/2000 )

2007 – January 11. China is shooting down one of its own satellites. The incident raises significant international crisis.

China History Timeline