China 2005 CE

Under Communist rule, China has seen the biggest economic expansion in world history.

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What is happening in China in 2005CE

The history of Communist China since 1960 has been in two distinct phases, the first one of upheaval, the second one of great economic expansion.

The “Great Leap Forward” (1956-60) ended in the deadliest famine of the 20th century. Some years of economic recovery followed before China suffered a second great upheaval, the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). “Red Guards” – school and university students – roamed the country meeting out violence and extreme humiliation to anyone they deemed too conservative. Half a million lives were lost, and millions of other lives were greatly disrupted.

Mao Zedong died in 1976. Immediately the pent-up disgust with the radicals saw the rise of Deng Xiaoping, who dominated Chinese politics until his death in 1997. He opened up China’s economy to the outside world, and since then China has seen the most dramatic economic expansion in world history. It has not been accompanied by political liberalization, as was shown most famously in 1989, when student demonstrations in favour of democracy in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square ended in a violent clamp-down. Nevertheless, countless millions of people have been lifted out of poverty and gained a measure of prosperity, which their parents and grandparents could never have dreamt of.

The return of Hong Kong from Britain (1997) and Macao from Portugal (1999) to China finally ended European rule on Chinese soil.

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