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On this day October 1, 1949

Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong proclaimed the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.

毛泽东 Mao Zedong Mao Tse-tung

毛泽东 Mao Zedong Mao Tse-tung

Mao’s first goal was a total overhaul of the land ownership system, and extensive land reforms.

China’s old system of landlord ownership of farmland and tenant peasants was replaced with a distribution system in favor of poor/landless peasants.

Mao laid heavy emphasis on class struggle and theoretical work, and in 1953 began various campaigns to persecute former landlords and merchants, including the execution of more powerful landlords.

Drug trafficking in the country as well as Foreign investment were largely wiped out. Many buildings of historical and cultural significance as well as countless artifacts were destroyed by the Maoist regime, since they were considered reminders of the “feudal” past. Read More…

On this day September 25, 2008

China launches the spacecraft Shenzhou 7, the third human spaceflight mission of the Chinese space program. The mission, which included an extra-vehicular activity (EVA) carried out by crewmembers Zhai Zhigang and Liu Boming, marked the commencement of the second phase of the Chinese government’s Project 921.

Shenzhou 7 Launch

Shenzhou 7 Launch

The Shenzhou spacecraft carrying the three crewmembers was launched 25 September 2008, by a Long March 2F (CZ-2F) rocket which lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 21:10 CST.

The mission lasted three days, after which the craft landed safely in Siziwang Banner in central Inner Mongolia on 28 September 2008, at 17:37 CST. The EVA carried out during the flight makes China the third country to have conducted an EVA, after the Soviet Union and the United States. Read More…

On this day May 4, 1919

The May Fourth Movement began in China with large-scale student demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, Peking against the Paris Peace Conference and Japan’s Twenty-One Demands.

Students riot in Beijing

These demonstrations sparked national protests and marked the upsurge of Chinese nationalism, a shift towards political mobilization and away from cultural activities, and a move towards populist base rather than intellectual elites.

The broader use of the term “May Fourth Movement” often refers to the period during 1915-1921 more usually called the New Culture Movement.

On the afternoon of May 4th over 3,000 students of Peking University and other schools gathered together in front of Tiananmen and held a demonstration. The general opinion was that the Chinese government was “spineless”. Read More…

On this day June 10, 1786

A landslide dam on the Dadu River created by Kangding Loudingan earthquake collapses and the resulting flood extended 1400 km downstream, and killed 100,000 people. It is the second-deadliest landslide disaster on record.

On this day June 3, 1839

In Humen, China, Lin Tse-hsü destroys 1.2 million kg of opium confiscated from British merchants, providing Britain with a casus belli to open hostilities, resulting in the First Opium War.

Lin Zexu 林则徐

Lin Zexu 林则徐

A formidable bureaucrat known for his competence and high moral standards, Lin was sent to Guangdong as imperial commissioner by the Daoguang Emperor in late 1838 to halt the illegal importation of opium from the British.

He arrived in March 1839 and made a huge impact on the opium trade within a matter of months.

He arrested more than 1,700 Chinese opium dealers and confiscated over 70,000 opium pipes. He initially attempted to get foreign companies to forfeit their opium stores in exchange for tea, but this ultimately failed and Lin resorted to using force in the western merchants’ enclave. Read More…

Hong Kong police confiscate Tiananmen statue

Two sculptures have been confiscated and thirteen pro-democracy activists arrested in Hong Kong, in what critics have described as “politically motivated” censorship.

Goddess of Democracy

The sculptures, a new replica of the “Goddess of Democracy” and a carving called the “Tiananmen Massacre Relief”, had been placed in the piazza of Hong Kong’s Times Square shopping mall in remembrance of the 21st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Incident.

Although the Causeway Bay piazza is designated as a public space, its day to day operations are run by the shopping mall’s management. They made a complaint that the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, or the “Alliance” for short, had failed to ask permission for their activities.

When police and officials from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department attempted to remove the sculptures on the grounds for obstructing public access, they were prevented from doing so by activists for two hours. The police made 13 arrests, including that of a legislator for preventing the police from carrying out their duties. The statue was removed and is currently in the custody of the Customs and Excise department (C&ED). The 13 persons arrested were released on bail the same day. Read More…

China derailment kills many

A train in China has derailed after hitting damaged tracks as it traveled between Shanghai and Guilin, a tourist destination in southeast China.

According to the Chinese Ministry of Railways, the accident occurred at around 0210 local time (1810 UTC) when the train hit a section of track that had been damaged by a mudslide. The derailment killed at least nineteen, and an additional 71 people were injured. Eleven of the injured have been seriously wounded.

The rescue operation cleared the tracks of both the derailed train and around 8,000 cubic meters of debris from the mudslide. An estimated 2,000 people took part in the rescue effort. Read More…

Hong Kong by-elections underway

Hong Kong’s by-elections, triggered by the resignation of five legislators, Wong Yuk-man, Tanya Chan, Leung Kwok-hung, Albert Chan and Alan Leong, will take place today.

Hong Kong skyline

The five legislators left the Legislative Council earlier this year in protest of the government’s indifference towards universal suffrage and the abolishment of functional constituencies.

The elections started at 07.30 (23.30) local time today, and are due to end at ten o’clock tonight. Results are expected to be released tomorrow morning.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang has decided not to vote. Financial Secretary John Tsang, who was in Shanghai, stated that “Donald Tsang will expound on his opinions”. Read More…