Key Events in Modern Chinese History

1842 Opium War with Great Britain ended in China’s defeat and the Treaty of Nanjing opening up 5 cities–Canton, Fuzhou, Xiamen, Ningbo, and Shanghai–to residency by British subjects for the purpose of trade
1851-64 Taiping Rebellion led by Hong Xiuquan as Heavenly King against the Qing government;
1860 Anglo-French expedition entered Peking, plundered and destroyed the great imperial palace: Yuanming Yuan
1860-70 Reform Movement led by people such as Kang Youwei, Liang Qichao, Tan Sitong, and later Sun Zhongshan
1898-1901 Boxer Uprising, backed by the Empress Dowager who declared war against “all foreigners in the world;” second expedition by the Allied forces (of 8 nations: Britain, The United States, Russia, Japan, France, Germany, Italy and Austria) entered Peking; the Imperial Court fled to Shanxi; Peace Treaty signed
1904-5 Russo-Japanese War; Japan received Russian rights in Liaodong Peninsula; Lu Xun in Japan 1902-09
1911 October 10: outbreak in Wuhan of Chinese Revolution; national day for Republic of China
1912 Founding of Guomindang, (GMD); abdication of last emperor, young Xuantong; empire and royal dynasties ended; Yuan Shikai became president of the Republic of China
1919 Versailles Treaty; students’ protest against the treaty; May Fourth Movement broke out from Peking and spread to major Chinese cities; this new cultural movement was characterized by its anti-traditionalism;
1921 Founding of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Shanghai
1926 Beginning of Northern Expedition against warlords; during 1924-27, first united front of CCP and GMD
1927 Shanghai Massacre; the GMD crack down on Shanghai communists and expel CCP and Soviets
1928 Nan Chang Military Uprising, instigated by CCP; the birth of the Red Army
1931 Japan’s invasion of Manchuria; five “encirclement campaigns” were launched by GMD to stamp out CCP forces
1934 Long March of the Red Army began, led by Mao Zedong, elected chairman of Central Committee of CCP
1936 Red Army reached Shaanxi soviet base; Yan’an Border Government; Xi’an incident in which Jiang Kai-shek as commander-in-chief of the army and the chairman of GMD was kidnapped by his subordinates urging him to fight the Japanese
1937 Japanese bombed and occupied Shanghai; 2nd United Front formed between GMD and CCP
1938 Japan occupied north, central and south coastal Chinese areas; the rape of Nanking; GMD government moved to Chongqing
1941 China declared war on Japan, Germany, and Italy, and became formally a member of the allied nations in the world war
1945 End of Pacific and Sino-Japanese War, immediately followed by Civil War between the CCP and GMD
1946 Japanese pulled out from Taiwan, a colony of Japan for half a century
1949 People’s Republic of China formally established by CCP; the defeated GMD nationalist troops fled to Taiwan
1950 3-anti- (corruption, waste, bureaucracy) 5-anti- (bribery, tax-evasion, fraud, do shoddy work and inferior material, steal economic secrets) campaigns; Korean War;
1953 First Five-Year Plan began
1957 Anti-Rightist Movement; Great Leap Forward; agrarian collectives (communes) formed; campaign to eliminate four harmful insects: rats, sparrows, mosquitoes, flies
1959 Sino-Soviet alliance collapsed; Indian Border Wars
1961-63 Three-Year difficult period: famine and paying debts to U.S.S.R after the Sino-Soviet rift
1966-76 The Proletarian Cultural Revolution began; under his theory of “uninterrupted revolution,” Mao’s Red Guards were mobilized against “Capitalist Roaders;” national economy paralyzed; education came to a halt; high school and college students by the millions went to countryside to be “re-educated”
1972 Nixon visited China in February;
1975 Education Reform toenroll “workers, peasants, and soldiers” as college students;
1976 Premier Zhou Enlai died; Tiananmen Square demonstration; Mao died; “Gang of Four” arrested
1978 Deng Xiaoping, exonerated, emerged as top party man; approved economic reform programme; Four Modernizations; diplomatic relation with the U.S. formalized; “Democracy Wall” appeared in Beijing to voice dissending opinions
1979 Deng visited the United States; Deng opened the door for 10,000 students going abroad; crackdown on “democracy Wall” dissidents; China-Vietnam 14-day war
1980 The trial of “Gang of Four;’
1984 Urban reform programme introduced
1986 Reform campaign and cultural thaw
1987 Anti-bourgeois liberalism campaign; further price reform postponed
1988 Spiraling inflation and panic buying leads to the State Council slamming brakes on further economic reform; the Great Cultural Debate
1989 Mikhail Gorbachev visited China; Tiananmen Pro-Democracy protest of one million people demanding Premier Li Peng resign and martial law be withdrawn; and June Fourth massacre
1997 Deng died; Hong Kong handed over to Chinese administration
1999 Macao handed over to Chinese administration