Modern China at 70

Published: 1st October 2019

Right now some of you are thinking ‘but China is far older than 70’, and while you are correct, the China we know today – Modern China – is indeed only 70 years old. The Ancient China of the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors and priceless Ming vases was upended and redeveloped after it had fallen (like all Empires) into a state of collapse and disharmony. On 1 October 1949, Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Communist Party of China, formally proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China in Tiananmen Square, Beijing.

However, the creation of modern China was far from smooth and its history is far from simple. The creation of the China of today is one of war, starvation, brutality and political ideologies that has left deep scars in a history that was not unused to either war or brutality.

The establishment of communist China took place in an era of global realignment and led to some of the most heated of the Cold War battles fought by proxy. While those early days of the state saw China’s status in the world being disputed and contested, the years since its establishment have also contributed to a new global dynamic and a powerful economy.

Modern China has crammed a lot into its 70 years and we suspect will cram plenty more into the next 70. To find out more Chinese modern history, download and listen to our podcasts on modern China, Mao Zedong, the Communist and Cultural Revolutions, and change and reform since 1976, via the link below: