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Chinese Revolution timeline to 1911

This Chinese Revolution timeline lists significant events and developments up to and including
1911. This timeline has been written and compiled by Alpha History authors. If you would like to
suggest an event for inclusion in this timeline please contact Alpha History.
The Qing dynasty begins in Manchuria. Manchu influence spreads to Korea and China
throughout the rest of the 1600s.

The British East India Company establishes a trading post in Guangzhou.
The first British envoy to Beijing, Lord Macartney, is appointed.
The first Protestant Christian missionary, Robert Morrison from the London Missionary Society,
arrives in China.
The first recorded conversion of Chinese people to Christianity. The number of Christian
converts in China grows steadily through the 1800s.
The First Opium War with Britain. The war ends with a comprehensive Chinese defeat and a
treaty that permits an increased British trading and military presence.
The Taiping Rebellion. A Westernised Christian-based group in south-eastern China, calling itself
the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, engages in a long civil war with the Qing rulers. This leads to
some perceptions that the Qing dynasty was losing its Mandate of Heaven.
The Second Opium War with Britain and France. Another defeat for the Qing results in a treaty
forcing the legalisation of opium and Christianity. This humiliating defeat gives rise to the Self
Strengthening Movement, an attempt to industrialise China and increase her capacity for self

November 12th: Sun Yixian is born to an affluent middle class family in Guangdong province.
June 12th: The death of the Tongzhi Emperor. The infant Guangxu Emperor ascends to the
throne, aged three. He is adopted by Dowager Empress Cixi, who becomes his regent.
1885-95: This decade marks the third and weakest phase of the Self-Strengthening movement.
Qing conservatives block or undermine proposed reforms and programs and prevent significant
political change.
October 31st: Jiang Jieshi is born in Zhejiang province.
December 26th: Mao Zedong is born to a peasant family in Hunan province.
August 1st: The outbreak of the first Sino-Japanese War, caused by disputes over territorial
control of Korea.
November 24th: Sun Yixian forms the Revive China Society in Hawaii. Its membership consists
of Chinese nationalist expatriates and exiles.
April 17th: The first Sino-Japanese War ends after seven months, the outcome a humiliating
defeat for China which is forced to cede control of Korea and Taiwan.
October 26th: Sun Yixian leads an anti-Qing uprising in Guangzhou. It is quickly defeated and
Sun is forced into exile in Japan.
November 1st: A ground of anti-foreign bandits storm a German precinct in Juye, Shandong
province and kill two German missionaries. This incident is a forerunner to violence by the
Boxers in subsequent years.
January: Kang Youwei holds meetings with mandarins of the imperial court and proposes social
and political reforms.
March 5th: Zhou Enlai is born in Jiangsu province.
June 11th: The Guangxu Emperor issues his first reform edict, marking the beginning the
Hundred Days of Reform.
September 21st: Conservatives, soldiers and Empress Dowager Cixi collaborate to remove the
Guangxu Emperor from power.
September 28th: Six liberal reformists are beheaded. Kang Youwei manages to escape to Japan.
October: A group of Boxers attack a Christian temple in Liyuantun, Shandong. They are later
dispersed by Qing troops.

March: The Fists of Righteous Harmony movement, or Boxers, begin significant anti-foreign
activity against Germans in Shandong province, attacking a church.
September 6th: Seeking entry into Chinese commerce, the United States proposes the Qing
rulers adopt an open door trade policy.

January 11th: Dowager Empress Cixi issues edicts expressing support for Boxers, drawing
protests from foreign governments.
April: Fearing a massacre of foreigners in China, Western navies begin increasing their presence
off the Chinese coast.
June 13th: Boxer forces reach Beijing. The Boxers and sections of the Qing Imperial Army
begin attacking foreign legations in Tianjin and Beijing.
June 16th: After convening a meeting with advisors, Dowager Empress Cixi decides to support
the Boxer movement.
June 20th: The German ambassador Baron von Ketteler is murdered.
June 21th: Against the advice of prominent ministers, Dowager Empress Cixi declares war on
all foreigners in China, however local governors and military commanders refuse to follow her
July 9th: The Taiyuan Massacre. The pro-Boxer governor of Shanxi offers 45 Christians, most
of them Western foreigners, safe passage to Taiyuan. They are subsequently murdered.
August: Foreign troops relieve the besieged legations in Beijing and occupy the city.
August 15th: Cixi flees the Forbidden City in disguise. The Imperial Court takes refuge in
October 22nd: Almost five years to the day after the failed Guangzhou uprising, Sun Yixian
launches another republican uprising in Huizhou, Guangdong province. This also fails.
September 7th: The Boxer Protocol is signed by the Eight Nation Alliance and three other
nations. It imposes severe restrictions and reparations on the Qing government.
January: Dowager Empress Cixi and the Imperial Court return to Beijing.
July: The Qing court decides to send two missions abroad to study foreign political systems,
suggesting that it is considering political and constitutional reform.
August 20th: In Japan, Sun Yixian and others form the Tongmenghui or Chinese Revolutionary
September: Imperial examinations are abolished, part of the late-Qing reforms.

September: Under pressure from the provinces, the Qing government agrees to consider
constitutional reform.
August 27th: The Qinding Xianfa Dagang (Outline of the Imperial Constitution) is passed, a
belated attempt to create a constitutional monarchy in China.
November 14th: The death of the Guangxu Emperor, probably from arsenic poisoning. The
dying Cixi anoints the infant Puyi as the new emperor.
November 15th: The death of Empress Dowager Cixi.
May: The Qing government unveils its first constitutional cabinet. It is dominated by Manchu
and royalty, which disappoints reformists.
May 9th: The Qing government orders that locally funded railways be nationalised and
transferred to foreign banks. This was done to fund reparations imposed by the Boxer Protocol.
August: The nationalisation of the railways gives rise to various Railways Recovery movements.
Thousands of nationalists, students and local investors rally in defiance of the Qing government.
October 10th: The Wuchang Uprising or Double Tenth Uprising breaks out among soldiers in
Hubei, sparking other localised revolts.Over the next six weeks, more provinces declare their
independence from the Qing regime.
November 1st: The Qing rulers summon Yuan Shikai from retirement and appoint him prime
minister. Three days later they pass the Nineteen Articles, ending autocratic imperial rule.
December 25th: Sun Yixian returns from exile to China.
December 29th: Provincial delegates elect Sun Yixian as provisional president of the newly
formed Republic of China.
January 1st: The Republic of China is officially proclaimed and Sun Yixian is sworn in as its
first president.
January: Republican politicians negotiate with the Qing, using Yuan Shikai as an intermediary.
Yuan Shikai agrees to provide the republic with military support against the Qing, provided Sun
Yixian cedes the presidency to Yuan.
February 12th: Abdication of the infant emperor Puyi and the end of the Qing dynasty.
February 14th: Sun Yixian resigns from the presidency in favour of Yuan Shikai.
March 10th: Yuan Shikai is inaugurated as president.
August 25th: The Guomindang is formed as a political party, after the consolidation of various
revolutionary and anti-monarchist groups.
October: Foreign powers recognise Yuan Shikais government.
February: Elections for a new National Assembly return a significant Guomindang majority.
March 22nd: Song Jiaoren, the Guomindangs leader in the assembly, is assassinated, probably
on the orders of Yuan Shikai.
July: Sun Yixian launches a second revolution, an attempt to remove Yuan Shikai from the

September: Yuan Shikais troops retake Nanjing. Sun Yixians revolution attempt fails and he is
forced into exile.
November 4th: Yuan Shikai declares the Guomindang an illegal organisation.
January: Yuan Shikai dissolves the National Assembly and implements a self-appointed
cabinet. Provincial governors are replaced with military governors.
January 18th: The Japanese issue the Twenty-One Demands to Yuan Shikai, who accepts them
with little change or resistance.
September 15th: Chen Duxiu begins publishing the New Youth magazine, a starting point for the
New Culture movement.
November 20th: A national assembly, largely handpicked by Yuan Shikai, recommends the
restoration of the monarchy with Yuan at its head.
December 12th: Yuan Shikai proclaims himself Emperor of China.
December 25th: Provincial uprisings erupt in response to Yuan Shikais declaration that he
intends to restore the monarchy.
January 1st: This date marks the formation of the Emperor of China and the imperial rule of
Yuan Shikai, according to Yuans decree of December 12th.
March 22nd: Facing military opposition in the provinces and a shortage of funds, Yuan Shikai
abandons his plans to revive the monarchy.
June 6th: The death of Yuan Shikai. This further weakens the national government and increases
the power of provincial warlords.
1916-27: the Warlord Era. China is disunited and divided into fiefdoms, ruled by several
powerful warlords who act in their own self interest. There is no effective national government.
February: Sun Yixian finishes writing his political manifesto Principles for National
August 14th: The Provisional government in Guangdong declares war on Germany in World
War I.
July: Former president Sun Yixian arrives in Guangzhou from Shanghai and invites politicians
from the former National Assembly to form a republican government there.
August 25th: The republicans in Guangzhou form a military government there, aimed at
eliminating warlordism and reestablishing a national republican government.
September 1st: Sun Yixian is elected generalissimo of the Guangzhou military government.
November 8th: The Bolshevik Revolution brings Vladimir Lenin and his communist followers
to power in Russia.
May 21st: Sun Yixian goes into exile in Shanghai, after warlordists gain control of the

Guangzhou military government.

November 11th: An armistice on the Western Front in Europe brings an end to World War I.
April 30th: At the Paris peace conference, the United States, Britain and France decide to
transfer German interests in Shandong province to Japan, ignoring Chinas claims to sovereignty.
May 4th: The May Fourth Movement erupts among students in Beijing. They protest against
Chinas treatment at the Paris peace conference and the continued undermining of Chinese
sovereignty by Western powers.
May 6th: In Paris, Lu Zhengxiang lodges a strong protest against the granting of Shandong to
the Japanese. As a consequence China refuses to sign the Treaty of Versailles.
July 25th: Now under communist control, Russia surrenders all its colonial claims and territory
in China.
Delegates from the Soviet Comintern visit Shanghai and meet with left-wing activists. Chen
Duxiu, later a founding member of the Chinese Communist Party, is appointed as a delegate to
the Comintern. Communist study groups founded in various cities.
July 1st: The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is formed. Thirteen delegates attend the partys
first congress in Shanghai.
November: Comintern representatives from Moscow enter China to assist and advise the CCP.
August 22nd: Sun Yixian begins talks with Comintern agents Henk Sneevliet and Adolf Joffe.
On their advice he makes changes to the Guomindang command structure.
January 16th: Nationalist forces led by Sun Yixian regain control of Guangzhou province.
January 26th: Sun Yixian and Russian socialist Adolph Joffe sign a statement of co-operation in
May: Henk Sneevliet, a Dutch communist, is appointed as a Comintern advisor to the CCP.
June: The third CCP congress adopts a policy of co-operation with the Guomindang.
September 2nd: Jiang Jieshi arrives in Moscow and meets with Russian leaders including Stalin
and Trotsky. He concludes that Soviet policy aims to make the CCP its chosen instrument.
October 6th: Comintern agent Mikhail Borodin arrives to advise both the CCP and the
1924-27: the First United Front: The Guomindang and Chinese Communist Party work together
to form a military academy and a national army. Their aim is to suppress warlords and reunite
January: The Guomindang National Congress is attended by several communists, including
Mao Zedong (Wade-Giles: Mao Tse-tung).

May: Instruction and training begins at the Huangpu Military Academy in Guangzhou, with
lectures given by Guomindang, CCP and Comintern agents. Jiang Jieshi is appointed
commandant of the Academy and commander in chief of the Nationalist Revolutionary Army.
June: General Pavlov arrives from the USSR to act as Sun Yixians military adviser.
July: Zhou Enlai returns to China after several years abroad, most notably working with the
Soviet government and Comintern in Moscow.
December 31st: Three warlords invite Sun Yixian to Beijing to discuss the peaceful reunification
of China. Sun dies before these negotiations are completed.
March 12th: Sun Yixian dies of cancer in Beijing.
May: A general strike in Shanghai. Eleven people are killed when British troops fire on a crowd
of students.
August 20th: Liao Zhongkai, a prominent Guomindang leader and an architect of the First
United Front, is assassinated in Guangzhou. This leaves Jiang Jieshi and Wang Jingwei to vie for
the leadership of the Guomindang.
August 26th: The Guomindang forms the National Revolutionary Army. Graduates of Huangpu
are commissioned as its first officers.
July 1st: The National Revolutionary Army begins mobilising in preparation for the Northern
Expedition, a campaign to end warlordism and reunify China.
July 27th: The Northern Expedition begins.
October 10th: The Nationalist army gains control of Wuhan.

January: The Nationalist government relocates to Wuhan, which is declared the provisional
national capital.
March: Mao Zedong, then a little known provincial leader, delivers a report on the peasant
movement in Hunan, highlighting the revolutionary potential of the Chinese peasantry.
March 21st: As Nationalist troops approach Shanghai, they are assisted by Zhou Enlai and other
communists, who organise a general strike and urban uprising.
March 22nd: Nationalist troops led by Jiang Jieshi take control of Shanghai.
March 23rd: Following violence, looting and attacks on foreigners, British and American
warships open fire on Nanjing, shelling parts of the city. Jiang Jieshi blames the Nanjing Incident
on agents of the CCP.
March 26th: In Shanghai, Jiang Jieshi meets with wealthy businessmen who promise him
financial support, provided he dissolves his ties with the CCP.
April 2nd: Fearing political instability and danger to British citizens in China, Great Britain
declares an increase in its troop presence there (from 17,000 to 22,000).
April 7th: A Guomindang meeting determines that communists are plotting to take over the
April 12th: On the orders of Jiang Jieshi, police and soldiers carry out a series of raids, arrests

and executions in Shanghai. Hundreds of CCP members are detained, executed or go missing. It
becomes known as the Shanghai Massacre (CCP terminology) or the April 12th Incident
(Nationalist terminology). The suppression of communists from April 12th becomes known as
the White Terror.
April 17th: In Wuhan, prominent Guomindang leader Wang Jingwei attempts to take control of
the party by expelling Jiang Jieshi.
April 18th: Jiang Jieshi declares himself chairman of the National Government Committee and
President of China. He decrees Nanjing as the national capital.
April 28th: Li Dazhou, a founding member of the CCP, is executed by a pro-Nationalist warlord
in Beijing.
June: The Comintern orders the recall of its advisors, in protest to the massacre of communists
in Shanghai.
August 1st: CCP forces attempt to seize control of Nanchang from the Guomindang. This marks
the first engagement of the Chinese Civil War.
August 7th: Chen Duxiu is replaced as leader of the CCP.
September 7th: The Autumn Harvest uprising in Hunan. Mao Zedong forms a soviet in his
home province, however it is overrun after a week.
December 11th: Communists launch the Guangzhou uprising, another short lived attempt to
form a communist soviet. It is defeated after a few days.
April: Mao Zedong promulgates the Three Rules of Discipline and Eight Points for Attention, a
document instructing the Red Army on tactics, method and behaviour.
July 11th: The CCP concludes its month long party congress in Moscow, having affirmed that
China was semi-feudal and in a state of bourgeois-democratic revolution.
October 1st: Jiang Jieshi is elected chairman of the National government of China, based in
Nanjing. His government is quickly recognised by most foreign powers.
February 10th: Communist troops commanded by Mao Zedong and Zhu De establish a base at
Ruijin, Jiangxi province.
February: The CCP implements the Li Lisan Line, named for one of its leaders, urging large
uprisings of workers in urban areas. This stands in contrast to the peasant-based revolution
promoted by Mao Zedong.
June: The Hunan Soviet is established.
July-August: Following the Li Lisan Line, the CCP attempts a series of assaults on urban
November: Jiang Jieshi orders the Nationalist army to begin Bandit Suppression campaigns
against the communists in Jiangxi.
November 14th: Yang Kaihui, Mao Zedongs second wife, is tortured and executed by a proNationalist warlord in Changsha, after refusing to renounce her husband.
December 8th: The Futian Incident: a Red Army regiment in Futian mutinies, in protest against
Maos attacks on the Jiangxi Action Committee. The Futian regiment is later purged on Maos

January: The CCP comes under the leadership of Wang Ming, Bo Gu and the 28 Bolsheviks.
April-May: The Nationalists carry out the Second Encirclement Campaign against the Red
Army in Jiangxi, which eventually fails.
July-September: Jiang Jieshis Third Encirclement Campaign against the communists in Jiangxi
also fails and leads to some territorial gains by the Red Army.
September 18th: The Mukden Incident leads to a Japanese military occupation of Manchuria
and the installation of a Japanese puppet regime.
November: The Chinese Soviet Republic is proclaimed in Jiangxi, with Mao Zedong as its
January 28th; The January 28th or Shanghai Incident: Japanese forces attack Shanghai,
following staged assaults on Japanese persons and property there.
January: The Nationalists launch the Fourth Encirclement Campaign against Jiangxi. It fails
within three months.
September 25th: Jiang Jieshi initiates the Fifth Encirclement Campaign, this time recruiting
warlord armies to increase Nationalist forces to more than one million men. He also adopts
tactics suggested by German military advisor Hans von Seeckt.

February 19th: Jiang and his wife Soong Mei-ling initiate the New Life Movement, a campaign
promoting Confucian and neo-fascist social values.
August: Jiang Jieshis government signs a trade deal with Nazi Germany, agreeing to export raw
materials and food in return for German industrial goods.
August: Through Zhou Enlais spies in the Nationalist government, the CCP learns that Jiang
Jieshis forces are planning a massive offensive against Ruijin in late September or October.
October 16th: Mao Zedongs First Red Army breaks out of the Nationalist encirclement at
Jiangxi and heads west. This marks the beginning of the Long March.
November 30th: The Battle of Xiang River ends with a catastrophic defeat for Red Army, which
loses 40,000 soldiers.
January 15-17th: The Zunyi Conference leads to a transferral of power within the CCP;
command of the First Red Army passes to Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai.
February: Mao Zedongs wife He Zizhen gives birth to a daughter on the Long March and is
forced to abandon her.
May 29th: The Battle of Luding Bridge: the Red Army takes control of a key river crossing in
Sichuan province.
October: Maos First Red Army arrives in Shaanxi province.
November: The Second Red Army under He Long embarks on its own march to Shaanxi.

December 12-25th: The Xian incident. Jiang Jieshi is kidnapped by Zhang Xueliang and forced
or persuaded to an anti-Japanese military alliance with the CCP.
December: As Red Army numbers in Shaanxi province increase, the CCP moves its headquarters
from Baoan to Yanan.
1937-45: the Sino-Japanese War and the Second United Front: The Guomindang and CCP agree
to suspend the civil war and coordinate their resistance against the Japanese. This alliance will
prove fragile, with little cooperation and many skirmishes between both groups.
July 7th: The Marco Polo Bridge incident sparks a war with Japan and a full scale invasion of
China by Japanese troops.
November 21st: With the Japanese threatening Nanjing, the Nationalist government is moved to
December 13th: Japanese forces occupy the former Nationalist capital Nanjing.
December 13th-January 1938: The Rape of Nanjing. Japanese forces occupying Nanjing
engage in weeks of systematic violence, rape and murder. The violence in Nanjing is a matter of
much historical dispute and estimated death tolls vary between 50,000 and 300,000, the vast
majority of them civilians.
June 7th: Nationalist soldiers blow up dykes alone the Yellow River to slow the Japanese
advance into central and southern China. The resulting flood drowns an unknown number of
peasants, possibly as many as one million. It also ruins vast amounts of crops and farmlands.
October 27th: Japanese forces capture Wuhan.
September 1st: German forces invade Poland, in defiance of Anglo-French warnings. This
triggers the start of World War II.
December: Former Guomindang leader Wang Jingwei signs a secret deal with the Japanese and
becomes head of a puppet government in Nanjing.
January: Mao Zedong publishes On New Democracy, one of his most significant ideological
August 20th: The CCP and Red Army launch the Hundred Regiments Offensive, a major
campaign against the Japanese. It lasted almost four months and was mostly successful.
January: Nationalist and CCP forces come into conflict in Anhui, with the CCP suffering losses
of 7,000. This clash effectively ends the Second United Front.
December 7th: The Japanese attack Pearl Harbour and the United States enters the war against
Japan and Germany.
December 8th: China formally declares war on Germany, Italy and Japan.

May: Mao Zedong initiates rectification campaigns in CCP-controlled regions like Yanan. He
encourages criticism of corrupt leaders and commanders.
July 22nd: The first members of the US Dixie Mission arrive in Yanan.
June: The CCP party congress endorses Mao Zedong Thought as the partys guiding ideology.
August 6th and 15th: The US Air Force drops atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of
Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
August 9th: Soviet Russian troops enter Manchuria to combat the Japanese.
August 14th: Jiang Jieshis Nationalist government signs the Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship
and Alliance with the USSR. Moscow promises to stop supplying and supporting the CCP but
does not adhere to this promise.
August 28th: Mao Zedong arrives in Chongqing for a series of peace talks with Jiang Jieshi,
organised by the Americans.
September 2nd: Japanese forces in the Pacific and China sign the instruments of surrender,
bringing World War II and the Sino-Japanese War to an end.
October: The Chongqing peace talks end after six weeks, with no firm agreement on Chinese
unity, government or reconstruction.
December 23rd: General George C. Marshall (US Army) arrives in China, tasked with
negotiating a ceasefire and organising a coalition government. Around the same time, however,
the United States was increasing supplies of military equipment to the Nationalist army.
January 10th: General Marshall announces a ceasefire between the Nationalists and the CCP, to
come into effect on January 13th.
January 11th-31st: A consultative committee meets to negotiate a settlement to the civil war and
organise a coalition government.
May 1st: The CCP Red Army is reformed as the Peoples Liberation Army.
May 5th: The Nationalist capital moves from Chongqing back to Nanjing.
June: The Nationalist-CCP truce collapses and fighting in the post-World War II civil war
February 28th: The 228 Massacre. Nationalist troops massacre 10,000-20,000 dissidents and
protesters in Taiwan.
March 19th: Nationalist troops overrun the former CCP soviet in Yanan, now abandoned by
Mao and the Red Army.
April-May: Communist troops launch offensives against Nationalist positions in Shaanxi,
Shandong and Manchuria.
September 12th: The PLA launches the Liaoshen campaign, a military operation to expel the

Nationalists from northern China.

November 2nd: The Liaoshen campaign ends with Manchuria under communist control.
January: CCP forces capture Beijing with minimal resistance.
April: CCP forces cross the Yangtze and capture Nanjing, the Nationalist capital.
June 30th: Mao Zedong delivers his speech On the Peoples Democratic Dictatorship, praising
the role of the CCP in guiding the revolution and improving the lives of Chinese workers.
October 1st: Mao Zedong addresses a large crowd in Tiananmen Square, Beijing and proclaims
the formation of the Peoples Republic of China.
October: The Soviet Union recognises the new regime in China.
October 25th: The PLA launches an amphibious assault on the island of Jinmen, between
mainland China and Taiwan. The attack fails and 9,000 PLA soldiers are killed or taken prisoner,
and the invasion of Taiwan is put on hold.
November: The new government of the Peoples Republic of China founds a scientific academy.
December 10th: Jiang Jieshi flees to Taiwan, where he establishes the Republic of China in
December: Mao Zedong travels to Moscow to negotiate a treaty and an alliance with Soviet
leader Joseph Stalin.
January: Britain formally recognises the Peoples Republic of China as a sovereign nation.
February 14th: The signing of Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual
March-April: The first Speak Bitterness campaigns begin in rural areas; landlords are publicly
accused, denounced, ridiculed and often killed.
May 1st: New Marriage Law passed, outlawing polygamy, arranged and child marriages, and
facilitating easier divorces.
June 25th: North Korean Army launches an attack on South Korea, at the order of its dictatorpresident Kim Il Sung.
June 30th: Agrarian Reform Law passed, formalising transfer of farmland from landlords to
peasant communities.
September: US forces land in Inchon and beginning driving the North Koreans back to the
Chinese border.
October 6th: Following negotiations about Tibetan autonomy, PLA forces cross the border and
invade Tibet. After some border fighting and around 300 deaths, the Tibetans surrender on
October 19th.
October 8th: Mao Zedong agrees to Chinese intervention in the Korean War. Peng Dehuai
named as commander of Chinese volunteer forces in Korea.
November: Lin Biao travels to USSR to receive medical treatment for an unspecified illness.
May: Armed resistance in Tibet ends. China now claims sovereignty over Tibet, which becomes
an autonomous province.

July: Beijing and the Vatican formally cut ties, after persecution of Christians within the PRC.
November: The Three Antis campaign (san fan) is launched.
January: The Five Antis campaign (wu fan) is launched.
February: The CCP government claims to have received 210,000 letters accusing individuals
and businesses of the Five Antis.
October 10th: Gao Gang is appointed head of the State Planning Commission.
March 5th: The death of Soviet Russian leader Joseph Stalin.
July 27th: A multinational armistice ends fighting in the Korean War.
September 16th: The Peoples Daily outline the principles of the CCP governments Five Year
September 8th: Several Western nations, including the US, form the South East Asia Treaty
Organisation (SEATO) to contain communism.
A year of widespread famine across China.
February 25th: Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gives his Secret Speech, publicly denouncing
Stalin and his political violence and suppression.
February 27th: The Hundred Flowers campaign is formally announced by Mao.
June: Millions of letters pour into the governments offices, most strongly critical of its policies.
July: Mao orders a halt to the Hundred Flowers campaign.
March: Mao gives a speech announcing the second Five-Year Plan, also dubbed the Great Leap
April: An experimental peoples commune, a gigantic farming collective, is established in
August: The CCP Politburo decides to adopt a policy of collectivised peoples communes in
rural areas.
September: Mao unveils a scheme to establish and run backyard furnaces for producing steel.
Lin Biao is elevated to Politburo Standing Committee. Iron production increases by 45 percent.

The first of the Three Bitter Years, called the Three Years of Natural Disasters by the party.
January: Mao visits a steel factory in Manchuria and learns that backyard furnaces are

April 28th: Liu Shaoqi is appointed president of the Peoples Republic of China.
July 2nd: The Lushan Conference begins. Maos policies are heavily criticised by Peng Dehuai.
July: Flooding of the Yellow River drowns thousands and causes massive crop devastation.
August: Peng Dehuai sacked as defence minister and held under house arrest.
September: Lin Biao replaces Peng Dehuai as defence minister. Chinas annual grain production
drops 15 percent from the previous year (1958).
Chinas grain production drops another 15 percent, a total reduction of 30 percent in two
years. Officials also record a population decrease of 13.48 million from the previous year. Iron
production continues to increase by 30 percent over the previous two years (1959-60). Soviet
advisors and technical experts are gradually withdrawn from China.
January: The CCP government begins a reversal of Great Leap Forward policies.
February: Grain exports halted and importation of foreign grain begins, alleviating some
famine. Iron production plummets to below the levels of 1958.
August 15th: A 20-year-old PLA soldier, Lei Feng, is killed in an accident in Anshan.
September: Mao initiates the Socialist Education Movement, a rectification-style campaign to
remove reactionaries from the CCP.
November: China wins a brief war with India over disputed borders.
March: The diaries of Lei Feng are published and distributed as pro-Mao and pro-party
propaganda. The Learn From Lei Feng campaign commences.
April: The first publication of Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong, the famous little red
October 16th: China explodes an atomic weapon at Lop Nur, becoming the worlds fifth nuclear
power after the US, Britain, Soviet Russia and France.
November 10th: Yao Wenyuan publishes critical reviews of the play Hai Rui Dismissed from

May: The CCP Politburo formally proclaims the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.
May: The first organised brigade of Red Guards is formed at Tsinghua University High School.
June: The Peoples Daily, the partys official newspaper, calls for the purging of all
imperialists from the government, the CCP and the bureaucracy.

July 16th: Maos Good Swim: the 72-year-old leader takes a leisurely swim across the Yangzte
River, dispelling rumours about his failing health.
August 6th: A Mao Zedong-penned article titled Bombard the Headquarters calls for mass
purges of rightists.
August 8th: The CCP Central Committee issues its 16 Points, calling for a mass revolution.
August 18th: The first of eight Red Guard rallies in Tiananmen Square.
September: Lin Biao gives a speech encouraging students to criticise and purge
September: More than a thousand people in Shanghai are murdered or forced to suicide by Red
October: Peng Dehuai is publicly ridiculed and beaten by Red Guards.
Schools and universities resume teaching classes.
January: Lin Biao and Jiang Qing initiate the January storm, a purging of Shanghai city
October: Liu Shaoqi, under pressure from the Red Guards, resigns all his government and party
October 31st: Liu Shaoqi is formally expelled from the CCP.
December: Mao initiates an Up to the Mountains, Down to the Countryside movement, forcing
many urban students to relocate and work in rural areas.
March: Chinese forces clash with USSR troops in the Ussiri River border region.
April: Mao proclaims the active phase of the Cultural Revolution to be over.
April: CCP ninth congress formalises Lin Biao as Maos second-in-charge and successor.
November 12th: Liu Shaoqi dies in prison after months of beatings and denial of medical
September 6th: The Ninth Party Congress winds up, after purging Chen Boda and ordering his
April 10th: A table tennis team from the United States accepts an invitation to visit Beijing. This
ping pong diplomacy, as it becomes known, contributes to a thaw in US-Chinese relations.
July 9th: US National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger makes a secret visit to China.
September 11th: Assassination attempts against Mao and a thwarted coup attempt, allegedly
orchestrated by Lin Biao.
September 13th: Lin Biao and his family die after their plane crashes attempting to flee China.
November: China is granted one of five seats in the United Nations Security Council.

February 1st: US president Richard Nixon travels to China and meets Mao, Zhou Enlai and
other officials.
September: China re-establishes diplomatic relations with Japan.
April: Deng Xiaoping is rehabilitated and reinstated as vice-premier, at the behest of Zhou Enlai.
August 24-28th: The Tenth Party Congress of the CCP accepts a program of moderate economic
January 8th-10th: The Fourth Peoples Congress approves the Four Modernisations, a program
to strengthen Chinese agriculture, industry, national defence and technology.
January: Zhou Enlai proclaims the Four Modernisations in the Peoples Congress, his last
significant public act.
January: Deng Xiaoping becomes CCP vice chairman and a member of the Politburo Standing
April 5th: Guomindang leader and former generalissimo Jiang Jieshi dies in Taiwan.
September: Mao Zedong becomes gravely ill and is admitted to hospital.
January 8th: The death of Zhou Enlai from bladder cancer.
February: Deng Xiaoping is purged from the CCP for a second time.
April 4th: The Tiananmen incident. The Gang of Four orders the suppression of mourners for
Zhou Enlai.
July 6th: The death of Red Army and PLA commander Zhu De.
September 9th: The death of Mao Zedong from motor neurone disease.
July 28th: The city of Tangshan in Hebei province is struck by an earthquake measuring 7.8 on
the Richter scale. Approximately one quarter million people are killed.
October 6th: Members of the Gang of Four are arrested.
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