people republic of china

Cultural Dictionary

People's Republic of China definition


The government of China set up in 1949 after the victory of the communist forces of Mao Zedong. The People's Republic ruled the mainland of China, forcing the government of Nationalist China into exile on the island of Taiwan. For years, many Western nations, especially the United States, refused to recognize the People's Republic as the government of mainland China; instead, they exchanged ambassadors only with Nationalist China. The United States recognized the People's Republic as the government of China in 1979.

American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

China definition


Nation in eastern Asia, bordered by Russia and North Korea to the east; Russia and Mongolia to the north; Russia and Afghanistan to the west; and Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, Laos, and Vietnam to the south. Its capital is Beijing, and its largest city is Shanghai.

Note: China is the most populous country in the world and the third largest, after Russia and Canada.
Note: The Boxer Rebellion of 1900 grew out of strong resentment of foreign influence in China.
Note: A revolution in 1911 overthrew the Qing dynasty, ending the two-thousand-year-old imperial system.
Note: Chiang Kai-shek, the leader of the Chinese Nationalists, established the government of Nationalist China in 1928 in Nanjing.
Note: The Second Sino-Japanese War, which lasted from 1937 to 1945 (merging with World War II in 1941), grew out of Japanese encroachments on Chinese land.
Note: The Chinese communists, with Mao Zedong as their leader, defeated Chiang's Nationalists in 1949, proclaiming the People's Republic of China. The Nationalists withdrew to the island of Taiwan.
Note: In 1950, Chinese forces joined the North Korean army in the Korean War.
Note: In 1958, Mao undertook the “Great Leap Forward” campaign, a crash program of industrialization, but none of its goals were reached, and the effort collapsed.
Note: In 1960, the ideological split between the Soviet Union and China widened, and the Soviets withdrew all aid.
Note: In the mid-1960s, Mao's wife, acting on his behalf, and three colleagues, later known as the Gang of Four, advanced the goals of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, aimed at eliminating old ideas and customs. Mobs attacked schools and cultural centers, brutally disrupting the entire nation. With the death of Mao in 1976 and the trial of the Gang of Four in 1980, the Cultural Revolution came to an end.
Note: In 1972, President Richard Nixon visited China, reopening relations between mainland China and the United States.
Note: In 1989, the government brutally suppressed pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square.
Note: Although China remains officially communist, its government encourages capitalism in designated areas, especially in its southeastern provinces. China has experienced considerable economic development in recent decades. Relations with the United States remain tense, especially over Taiwan, but the United States supported China's admission to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

People's Republic of China definition


The official name for mainland China, which has a communist government.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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