The Period of Socialist Revolution and Construction
(October, 1949-December, 1978)
The Founding of the People’s Republic of China
On October 1, 1949, some 300,000 military and civilian people gathered at the Tian’anmen Square in Beijing to celebrate the founding of the PRC. Chairman Mao Zedong pressed the control button to raise the national flag over the square. After the raising of the flag, Mao proclaimed the establishment of the PRC and the Central People’s Government before a military parade and a mass parade. The founding of the PRC signified the victory of the New Democratic Revolution and the end of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. It also marked the establishment of the new-democratic regime and the start of China’s transition to a socialist society.
The War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea
After the Korean War began on June 25, 1950, the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army crossed the Yalu River on October 19, 1950, marking the beginning of the War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea (1950-53). After entering the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the volunteer army launched attacks and quickly drove the U.S.-led troops from the Chinese border back to the south of the 38th Parallel. The volunteer army stood its ground along the 38th Parallel and forced the U.S. to propose ceasefire talks. An armistice was signed on July 27, 1953, putting an end to the war.
Following the liberation of China in 1949, the Central Government of the PRC published a Land Reform Law on June 30, 1950. The law abrogated ownership of land by landlords and introduced peasant land ownership. During the winter of 1950-51, land was confiscated from former landlords and redistributed to landless peasants and owners of small plots, as well as to the landlords themselves, who now had to till the land to earn a living.
The reform liberated productive forces, increased the productivity of agriculture, and laid the basis for the industrialization of China.
The Geneva Conference
The Geneva Conference, from April to July 1954, aimed to resolve the issues of the Korean War and the First Indochina War. It was an important international conference after the end of WWII in 1945 and marked the first time that China and the United States sat down together following the conclusion of the Korean War, thus attracting worldwide attention. The con- ference lasted for nearly three months and aroused heated debates. With the resolve and fortitude of a statesman and diplomat, Zhou Enlai, then Premier and Foreign Minister, facilitated a peaceful settlement on Indochina at the conference despite the difficulties encountered.
The Bandung Conference, also known as the first Asian- African Conference, took place in Bandung in Indonesia from April 18-24, 1955. In April 1954, the Indonesian Government proposed the convocation of an Asian- African conference. The conference was attended by 29 Asian and African countries and regions. The Asian- African Conference was held at a time when the post-war movement for national liberation in Asia, Africa and Latin America was on the rise and the forces of imperialism and colonialism were dealt heavy blows. It was the first inter- national conference hosted by Asian and African countries and regions without the participation of any Western colonial power.
The First Session of the First National People’s Congress
From September 15 to 28, 1954, the founders of the PRC, together with more than 1,200 deputies elected to the National People’s Congress (NPC) convened the First Session of the First NPC, and adopted the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, thus establishing the country’s fundamental political system—the system of people’s congresses. This was an epoch-making event in the political history of both China and the world, as China, a country with a history spanning 5,000 years and a population then numbering hundreds of millions, put in place a new type of political system in which the people became masters of their country.
Socialist transformation was carried out in agriculture, individual craft industries, and capitalist industry and commerce. Under the guidance of CPC’s general line, the Chinese people engaged themselves in large-scale economic construction in a planned way. The socialist transformation of private ownership of the means of production was basically completed in most parts of the country, thus paving the way for the development of productive forces and laying the initial groundwork for socialist industrialization. In the later stages of the socialist transformation, however, a series of mistakes were made. Too urgent a demand was imposed on the transformation and patient persuasion endeavors were forgone; the transition was made too rapidly and too uniformly. Nevertheless, from a fundamental point of view, the transformation was a historic victory, as it wiped out the exploiting classes in China while a brand new socialist system was put in place. The completion of the socialist transformation laid the foundation for the subsequent progress and development of China. During the First Five-Year Plan period (1953-57), socialist construction in various fields developed dynami- cally, the people’s living standard was improving and China had come to enjoy much higher international standing. All this proved that the Chinese people had made a correct de-cision in opting for the socialist system.
Richard Nixon’s Visit to China
Then U.S. President Richard Nixon’s visit, starting on February 21, 1972, was one of the first steps—and a decisive one—in the budding rapprochement between China and the United States after more than two decades of estrangement. Following the icebreaking tour, Beijing and Washington offcially established their diplomatic ties in 1979.
The Restoration of China’s Lawful Seat in the United Nations
On October 25, the 26th United Nations (UN) General Assembly passed, with an overwhelming majority of the vote (76 votes for, 35 votes against and 17 abstentions), a resolution sponsored by Albania, Algeria and other 21 countries, which decided to restore all the lawful rights of the PRC in the UN and immediately expel the representatives of the KMT authorities from the UN and all its affiliated agencies. This is the famous UN General Assembly Resolution 2758, which resulted in the thorough and fair settlement of China’s representation in the UN politically, legally and procedurally. The restoration of China’s lawful rights by the 26th UN General Assembly represented a major victory won on this issue through protracted struggle on the part of China and many justice-upholding developing countries. It was a major breakthrough in China’s diplomacy and marked the complete failure of the anti-China forces in their attempt to block the restoration of the lawful rights ofthe PRC in the UN.