Friday, October 02, 2009

Contemporary China in 60 years (1955 - 1959)

(1949 - 1954)

1955: Food Stamp (粮票)

The food stamp printed by Hunan province in 1955.

Food stamp played important role in China since 1955 until 1993. It was not only certificate of food supply for regular Chinese citizens, but also a restriction to Chinese people on free relocation around the nation. During these years, generally people would not be able to get food supply unless they had the food stamps. Because the majority of food stamps were printed by specific provinces and they could be used only inside the respective province, however, the policy objectively prohibited people from free relocation.

1956: Xinjiang-Tibet Highway (新藏公路)

A picture of the Xinjiang-Tibet Highway. The construction of the highway began at 1956.

The highway is the key connection that links two most vulnerable provinces of China---Xinjiang and Tibet. In particular, the highway went through Aksai Chin, a disputed critical region between China and India. The construction of this highway not only helped foster the economy of the two provinces, but also protected the integrity of China by allowing rapid military reaction in the western board.

1957: New Population Theory (新人口论)

The book New Population Theory authored by Ma Yinchu.

Having examined the high rate population growth of the early 1950s, Ma concluded that such a trend would be detrimental to China's long-term economic progress. Therefore, he advocated government control of fertility, which was the key point in his New Population Theory. The Chinese government began by totally rejecting the theory and accused Ma's attempting to discredit the superiority of socialism. After nearly all the negative prediction in Ma's theory came true, however, the Chinese government later on ironically turned the decision entirely around by enforcing the One-child Policy all over the nation---the other extreme about Ma's theory.

1958: Pinyin (汉语拼音)

The table of Hanyu Pinyin first published in 1958.

Pinyin is until now the most commonly used Romanization system for Standard Mandarin. The publication of Pinyin is one of the most influential events in the history of China. It significantly helped the Chinese character learning for children as well as for the foreigners in western countries. On one side, it quickly reduced the rate of Chinese population who could not read. On the other side, it greatly accelerated the prevalence of Chinese in the world.

1959: Dalai Lama exile from Tibet (达赖出逃)

Dalai Lama greeted reporters in 1959.

The Tibet problem became international wise afterward.

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