This Month in History
October 10, 1934
The start of the Long March of the Central Red Army. After five offensives by the Kuomintang and a leftist policy that had severely sapped Communist strength, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China decided to leave its bases in the south, heading for the north where the Kuomintang forces had a weaker hold. The retreat took several routes, the most noted one being from Jiangxi Province to Shaanxi Province, a trek of 12,500 kilometers that took 370 days to complete. Nearly three fourths of the soldiers succumbed to a combination of starvation, combat, harsh weather and tough terrain en route. The survivors finally arrived at Wuqi, a town in northern Shaanxi revolutionary base area, in October 1935. The success of the Long March was a key element in the later victory of China's revolution.
October 1, 1949
Chairman Mao Zedong (1893-1976) declared the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC) on Tian'anmen Rostrum in Beijing, where he personally hoisted the national flag. A grand military parade followed. Altogether 16,400 troops and vehicles paraded westward across Tian'anmen Square, first the navy, then the army and then the air force, the latter represented by 17 military aircraft. The event was broadcast as it happened by Xinhua Radio, making the first live broadcast in Chinese history. October 1 has since become National Day.
October 13, 1949
The Youth and Children of China Movement, a mass youth organization in the PRC, was established. The name changed in 1953 to Young Pioneers of China. Children between the ages of six and 14 may apply to join the organization, which is under the leadership of the Communist Youth League. Members are required to wear the red scarf, the color honoring the sacrifices made by the founding fathers of the PRC and the triangular shape representing a corner of the national flag. On reaching 14, they automatically exit the group, and can apply to join the Communist Youth League.
October 19, 1950
The War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea was launched. After the Korean War (1950-1953) broke out, the U.S. sent troops to aid the South Koreans against the North. In the fighting American planes intruded into Chinese airspace, repeatedly bombing Chinese towns along the border. At the same time it sent its Seventh Fleet into the Taiwan Straits. In face of these provocations and threats, Chinese troops under the name Chinese People's Volunteer Army entered the peninsula. They, hand in hand with the North's Korean People's Army, soon drove the U.S. back south of the 38th Parallel, the post-World War II political demarcation line between South and North Korea. In July 1953 the Korean War Armistice Agreement was signed, putting an end to the war on the peninsula. In 1958, the Chinese People's Volunteer Army returned to China in a phased withdrawal.
October 1, 1955
Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region was founded, ushering Xinjiang into a new era of growth. Xinjiang in northwestern China covers an area of over 1.6 million square kilometers, about one sixth of China's total territory. There are 47 ethnic groups in the region, and minority ethnic groups account for some 60 percent of its population. At the heart of the Eurasian Continent, Xinjiang sits on the ancient Silk Road, and has been a bridge for economic and cultural exchange between East and West for many centuries.
October 16, 1964
China successfully detonated its first atomic bomb, following the U.S., the Soviet Union, the U.K. and France. The Soviet Union helped China start the project in mid-1956, but recalled its technical personnel and ceased equipment supply in 1959 after bilateral relations turned sour. China decided to continue the work on its own and established a supervising committee headed by Premier Zhou Enlai. After thousands of experiments the Chinese people finally developed their own nuclear technology. The day after the explosion Premier Zhou sent telegrams to state leaders around the world, promising that China would never be the first to use nuclear weapons in any circumstances.
October 7, 1985
China became a consultative party in the Antarctic Treaty System, to which it had acceded in 1983. The country started scientific activities in Antarctica in the early 1980s, launching its first expedition in late 1984. These missions have since been conducted on an annual basis. In 1985 China established Changcheng (Great Wall), its first Antarctic station, located south of King George Island. The second station, Zhongshan, in the eastern Larsemann Hills, followed in 1989, and in 2009 Kunlun Station was established, the third in the program but China's first in the interior of the continent.
October 31, 2009
Qian Xuesen (1911-2009), the "father of China's space technology," passed away at the age of 98. He graduated from Shanghai Jiaotong University in 1934, and left the same year on a scholarship to the U.S. to study at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After returning home, Qian headed the development of China's first space satellite and first-generation "Long March" missiles.
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