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A Reader's Guide


Becoming Madame Mao

Timeline of Modern Chinese History

1893
Mao Tse-tung is born.

1911
The Ch'ing Dynasty, which has held power since 1644, ends; the period of instability that follows, characterized by feuding warlords, lasts until 1927.

August 1912
The National People's Party, or Kuomintang, is founded.

1913
Jiang Ching, the future Madame Mao, is born.

1914
World War I begins; Japan seizes German holdings in Shantung Province.

1915
The Peking government recognizes Japan's authority over the Shantung territory, southern Manchuria, and eastern Inner Mongolia; Germany and Britain also lay claim to Chinese territory.

1917
China declares war on Germany.

1918
Peking signs a secret deal with Japan accepting Japan's claim to Shantung.

May 4, 1919
In response, massive student demonstrations against the Peking government take place.

July 1, 1921
The Chinese Communist Party founded, with Mao as one of its key members.

1925
Chiang Kai-shek becomes leader of the National People's Party.

1927
The Communist Party seizes control of the southeastern province of Kiangsi; Nationalist forces surround the province and institute a blockade; an estimated one million people die of starvation and disease.

October 1934
The Long March of 86,000 Communists from Kiangsi propels Mao Tse-tung to power.

July 1937
Japan invades China; Mao Tse-tung uses World War II and nationalistic fervor to further communism in China.

1938
Jiang Ching marries Mao Tse-tung.

August 1945
World War II ends.

October 1, 1949
China's Independence Day. The People's Republic of China is established, and Mao Tse-tung is elected chairman.

February 1950
China signs the Treaty of Friendship, Alliance, and Mutual Assistance with the Soviet Union.

1953
China initiates its first Five-Year Plan, the Transition to Socialism.

1958–1960
The Great Leap Forward is marked by propaganda championing human willpower as the means to industrialization and economic growth.

1966–1976
The Cultural Revolution, led by Mao and the Red Guard, causes great suffering and unrest; the Gang of Four comprising Jiang Ching, Mao's wife; Chang Ch'un-ch'iao, a Shanghai Propaganda Department official; Yao Wen-yüan, a literary critic; and Wang Hung-wen, a Shanghai security guard — rises to power.

1971
Lin Piao, the leader of the People's Liberation Army and Mao's official successor, plots Mao's assassination, is exposed, and dies.

1976
Mao Tse-tung dies; Hua Kuo-feng succeeds him; Cho En-lai, premier of the People's Republic, dies.

1978
Teng Hsiao-p'ing, as head of the People's Republic, begins economic modernization.

1980
The members of the Gang of Four are tried in court and sentenced to prison.

1991
Jiang Ching dies.



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