China’s National Day Special: News Keywords of Past 60 Years, Part 1, 50s – 60s

20090929-chinaNews keywords are snapshots of the history. These words not only reflect the 60 years of PRC history, but also represent 60 years of Chinese people’s emotions. These 61 news keywords taken from Netease, recorded China as a country from just stood up and limping to walking with confidence in the world, it also recorded the vicissitudes of fate with every Chinese person. (Contents are selected translation of Netease articles and from Wikipedia)

1949 Founding Ceremony of China | 开国大典

20090929-china-01 October 1st, 1949 founding ceremony of China, marked the establishment of The People’s Republic of China, also started the journey of Chinese Communist Party to achieve political ideals and ambitions in mainland China. At that time there were 540 million people in Mainland imagining a spectacular new China, from intellectuals to ordinary people were in the fate of choosing between leaving and stay. For those who stayed, in the later decades all have gradually proved their original imagination with their destiny.

1950 Korean War | 朝鲜战争


October 8th, 1950 the Central Committee of the Communist Party made a decision, issued the order to send Chinese volunteer army into North Korea. The People’s Republic of China has just barely established the foundation, but the Korean Peninsula was once again ignited with the flames of war. This “Hot War” in the middle of the “Cold War” after World War II had changed China’s development trajectory while everything was in desperate need of being started. It also had a profound effect on the situation in East Asia today.

1951 Counter-movement | 镇反


Counter-movement was because the Central Committee was under pressure from both at home and overseas, launched a political movement aimed at consolidating the new regime. “Counter” movement and the land reform movement were the most important two major steps to establish and consolidate CPC’s dominant position in the urban and rural areas.




1952 Land reform | 土改


The land reform of this year ensured farmers having fields to work on except for the Tibet region. Land reform overthrow landlords, a large number of peasants without land got them. It strengthened the new CPC regime and also laid the foundation for the socialism public ownership of land later.

1953 State monopoly for purchase and marketing | 统购统销


Because the new country was still on its weak footing, external help was blocked and internal production was not enough, led to food shortages. The central committee established a unified purchase and marketing system, which as a representative of the planned economy system.

1954 Constitution of the People’s Republic of China  | 五四宪法


The 1954 Constitution of the People’s Republic of China was promulgated by the 1st National People’s Congress meeting in Beijing on September 20, 1954, apparently unanimously in favor. The 1954 Constitution defined national identities such as the national flag, emblem and the capital.

1955 Ten Field Marshals | 十大元帅

In recognition of distinguished war heroes, China first introduced the ranking system for military construction. At 17:00 on the September 27th 1955, ten were awarded the rank of Field Marshal at a ceremony. At the same time appointed 10 senior generals, 55 generals, 175 lieutenant generals and over 800 majors.

 20090929-china-05-1 20090929-china-05-2








Liu Bocheng                                  Ye Jianying











Peng Dehuai                                           Xu Xiangqian











Zhu De                                                     Lin Biao











Chen Yi                                                 Luo Ronghuan

20090929-china-05-8 20090929-china-05-9









Nie Rongzhen                                        He Long

20090929-china-061956 Join state-private ownership | 公私合营

Join state-private ownership was launched in 1956, the principal form of state capitalism adopted during the socialist transformation of capitalist enterprises in China. It gaurateed state-owned enterprises absolutely dominated China’s economy, so that all industries which mattered to nation’s lifeline were all in government’s hands. It was not till the 1980s, with the reflection on the inefficiency of state-owned enterprises, private enterprises began to develop.

1957 Five-Year Plans of China  | 五年计划

20090929-china-07 Having restored a viable economic base, the leadership under Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, and other revolutionary veterans was prepared to embark on an intensive program of industrial growth and socialization. For this purpose the administration adopted the Soviet economic model, based on state ownership in the modern sector, large collective units in agriculture, and centralized economic planning. The Soviet approach to economic development was manifested in the First Five-Year Plan (1953-57).

1958 Four Pests campaign | 除四害


The Four Pests campaign was one of the first actions taken in the Great Leap Forward from 1958 to 1962. The four pests to be eliminated were rats, flies, mosquitoes, and sparrows.
Sparrows were included on the list because they ate grain seeds, causing disruption to agriculture. It was decided that all the peasants in China should bang pots and pans and run around to make the sparrows fly away in fear. Sparrow nests were torn down, eggs were broken, and nestlings were killed.

Initially, the campaign did improve the harvest. By April 1960 the National Academy of Science found that sparrows ate insects more than seeds. Mao declared "forget it" and ordered the end of the campaign against sparrows. By this time, however, it was too late. With no sparrows to eat them, locust populations ballooned, swarming the country and compounding the problems already caused by the Great Leap Forward and adverse weather conditions, leading to the Great Chinese Famine in which around 30 million people died of starvation.

1959 Daqing Field | 大庆油田


Discovered in 1959 by Wang Jinxi (known as ‘Iron man’ Wang, who led No. 1205 drilling team), this field has produced over 10 billion barrels (1.6 km³) of oil since production started in 1960. Daqing contained 16 billion barrels (2.5 km³) or 2.2 billion tons in the beginning; the remaining recoverable reserves are about 3.6 billion barrels (572,000,000 m³) or 500 million tons. The current production rate is about 1 million barrels (160,000 m³) per day, making it the fourth most productive oil field in the world.

20090929-china-10 1960 Sino-Soviet split | 中苏交恶

From being China’s teacher to China’s enemy, Sino-Soviet relation deteriorated was known as the biggest diplomatic event since 1949. Later China joint the United Sates formed anti-Soviet Union has also changed the geopolitics of Northeast Asia.


1961 The eight-character principle  | 八字方针

“Adjust 调整、Strengthen 巩固、Enrich 充实、Improve提高” The eight-character principle was seen as a major policy adjustment dealing with the disastrous consequences of the “Great Leap Forward”.

1962 Sino-Indian War | 中印战争

65px-Flag_of_the_People's_Republic_of_China_svg 65px-Flag_of_India_svg The Sino-Indian War, also known as the Sino-Indian Border Conflict, was a war between China and India that occurred in 1962.20090929-china-12

1963 Learn from Lei Feng | 学雷锋

Lei Feng was characterized as a selfless and modest person who was devoted to the Communist Party, Chairman Mao Zedong, and the people of China. In the posthumous "Learn from Comrade Lei Feng" campaign, initiated by Mao in 1963, Lei become the symbol of nationwide propaganda; the youth of the country were indoctrinated to follow his example.

1964 Learn from Dazhai in agriculture |农业学大寨20090929-china-017


Learn from Dazhai in agriculture campaign was a campaign organized by Mao Zedong in the early 1960s. The campaign encouraged peasants from all over China to learn from the example of the farmers of DaZhai, Shanxi by practicing self-sacrifice and political activity.




1965 Development of the Third-line region |三线建设20090929-china-15

The third-line region is a national defense term that referred to the rear areas of the mainland in the early 1960s. Mao Zedong poured in over 2000 billion yuan and 4 million workers, officials, intellects, soldiers and peasants started the development of these areas.


1966 Cultural Revolution |  文革

20090929-china-16 1966 marks the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, widespread social and political upheaval in China, resulting in nation-wide chaos and economic disarray. It was launched by Mao Zedong, on May 16, 1966, who alleged that "liberal bourgeois" elements were permeating the party and society at large who wanted to restore Capitalism. He insisted that these elements be removed through post-revolutionary class struggle by mobilizing the thoughts and actions of China’s youth, who formed Red Guards groups around the country.

1967 TAZARA Railway | 坦赞铁路

100px-TAZARA_Logo Only a year after Zambia’s independence, Rhodesia’s white-supremacist government issued its Unilateral Declaration of Independence from Britain, threatening Zambia’s trade routes. President Nyerere of Tanzania and President Kaunda of Zambia pursued different avenues for the construction of an alternative rail route. Nyerere, after a visit to Beijing, accepted a team of Chinese surveyors, who produced a short report in October 1966. Kaunda was more skeptical of Communist involvement and pursued Western backing. The resulting Canadian-British aerial survey produced a favorable report in July 1966, but Western funding was not forthcoming

After a visit to China in January 1967, Kaunda dropped his objections to Chinese involvement. On September 6, 1967, an agreement was signed in Beijing by the three nations. China committed itself to building a railroad between Tanzania and Zambia, supplying an interest-free loan to be repaid over 30 years.

1968 Down to the Countryside Movement | 上山下乡

20090929-china-018 20 million educated youth and their large family members, youth, revolution, emotion, life and death, love and hate, “Down to the Countryside Movement” perhaps was the most emotional contemporary mainstream phrase at the time.

The Down to the Countryside Movement (literally "Up to the mountains and down to the villages") was a policy instituted in the People’s Republic of China in the late 1960s and early 1970s. As a result of the anti-bourgeois thinking prevalent during the Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong declared certain privileged urban youth would be sent to mountainous areas or farming villages, in order that they could learn from the workers and farmers there.

1969 Zhenbao Island | 珍宝岛180px-Zhenbao_island

It was the subject of a territorial dispute between the Soviet Union and the PRC. Battles were fought over Zhenbao Island by the Soviet Union and the PRC, with a considerable loss of life, during the Sino-Soviet border conflict of March 1969. The conflict over Zhenbao raised concerns that it could ignite another World War until an initial resolution of the conflict in November, 1969.

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