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This Month in History (JULY)


July 30, 1932

Chinese runner Liu Changchun competed in the 100 and 200 meter events at the 10th Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, marking China’s first entry to this arena. On the recommendation of Zhang Xueliang (1901-2001), a general in Northeast China, the Republic of China sent a six-member delegation to Los Angeles, with Liu being the only athlete. Although Liu failed in the qualifiers, he became China’s first Olympic athlete.

July 7, 1937

Japanese troops stationed by the ancient Lugou Bridge on the outskirts of Beijing started an offensive on Wanping Town (today’s Lugouqiao Town). China’s National Revolutionary Army stationed in the area returned fire. This became known in history as the Lugou Bridge Incident, or the July 7 Incident, which signaled the beginning of overall aggression toward China by imperialist Japan. Soon more Japanese forces swooped into the region, and took Wanping Town after days of bloody fighting. They then moved on to Beijing and Tianjin. This incident eventually prompted the Kuomintang government to declare war against Japan, and sparked off a national movement to fight against the Japanese invaders.

July 9, 1971

Henry Kissinger, then National Security Adviser to U.S. President, made a secret trip to China, during which Premier Zhou Enlai had six meetings with him. On July 16 the two nations released a joint communiqué. His trip opened the dialogue between the PRC and the U.S. and paved the way for the groundbreaking 1972 summit meeting between then U.S. President Nixon and Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong. The visits eventually led to the normalization of Sino-U.S. diplomatic relations in 1979.

July 28, 1976

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the city of Tangshan in North China’s Hebei Province. The deadly disaster came close to flattening the entire city, leaving over 240,000 dead and 165,000 seriously injured. It is considered to be one of the most devastating earthquakes of the 20th century by measure of death toll. To mark the 34th anniversary of the Tangshan quake this year Chinese director Feng Xiaogang will release his film Aftershock this July, an adaptation of Chinese-Canadian writer Zhang Ling’s novel of the same title.

July 1, 1997

The Chinese government resumed exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Hong Kong, consisting of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories, has been a part of China’s territory since ancient times. It was leased to the U.K. under three unfair treaties signed between the Qing imperial government and the colonizing foreign governments, namely the Treaty of Nanking (1842), the Convention of Peking (1860) and the Kowloon Extension Agreement (1898) following the Chinese defeat in the Opium Wars. After the founding of the PRC, the Chinese people endeavored to bring about the country’s reunification. In an effort to do this China conducted several rounds of negotiations with Britain. In 1984, the Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed, stating that the PRC Government would effectively resume exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong from July 1, 1997. Following reunification, the world financial center enjoyed a high degree of autonomy and maintained a capitalist economy under the policy of “One country, two systems,” which has shown to be a success in ensuring the region’s continued prosperity and stability.

July 13, 2001

Beijing won the bid to host the 2008 Olympic Games. Eight years after a narrow and unexpected defeat by Sydney, Beijing outran rival cities Toronto, Paris, Istanbul and Osaka in 2001. The announcement that Beijing won the bid was greeted with jubilation across China. To make the city ready for the Games, the Chinese government and people spent years diligently improving all aspects of the city, particularly its environmental protection, traffic, communications, construction of venues and assuring security.

July 4, 2002

Construction on a west-east natural gas pipeline commenced. The 4,000-kilometer gas pipeline was designed to transport fuel from Xinjiang to the energy-hungry Yangtze River Delta. International energy giants like the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, Exxon Mobil and Russia’s Gazprom took part in the construction.

July 1, 2006

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway that links Tibet to the rest of the country went into operation. The railway stretches 1,956 km from Xining, capital of the neighboring Qinghai Province, to Lhasa. Work on the 814 km section from Xining to Golmud began in 1984 and construction of the Golmud-Lhasa section started in 2001. The project was dubbed an “engineering marvel” because it was formerly believed that the perennial frozen tundra and slush along the route would make it impossible to support tracks and trains. As the jewel in the crown of China’s Western Development Strategy, the line has played a significant role in accelerating the social and economic development of Qinghai Province and Tibet Autonomous Region.

VOL.59 NO.12 December 2010 Advertise on Site Contact Us