China's 1.4 billion people have gone through periods of tremendous upheaval and change under 70 years of Communist rule.
The once impoverished war-torn country has grown into the world's second-largest economy. In between, tens of millions died in the Great Leap Forward, which was anything but that; the Cultural Revolution ushered in a decade of chaos and a brutal crackdown on student protesters snuffed out hopes for democracy.
It has been a long march for the Chinese Communist Party, which came to power on Oct. 1, 1949, after defeating the Nationalist Party in a civil war. The Nationalists retreated to Taiwan, moving their rival government there.
EARLY UPS AND DOWNS
In this Oct. 1, 1949, file photo, Mao Zedong stands in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, declaring a New China.
1950: Korean War
1950: China backs North Korea in the Korean War and fights the U.S-led coalition to a standstill at the 38th parallel in 1953.
ROK MPs bring in captured Chinese Pvt. Li Tsu, taken on drive to Manchurian border near Kujangdong on Oct. 28, 1950. He reportedly is from Hopei Province in China and is one of one thousand Chinese soldiers sent over China to fight in the Korean War.
1950s: Soviet assistance
1950s: Technical assistance from the Soviet Union helps develop industry and agriculture. Landlords are executed, their land given to peasants.
In this Nov. 7, 1957, file photo, China's Mao Tse-tung, third from left, and top Russian leaders salute from Lenin Mausoleum as parade passes below in Red Square in Moscow. China and Soviet Union enjoy a smooth relationship in the beginning of the 50s. From left are then President Dmitri, Voroshilov, Defense Minister Marshal Rodion Y. Malinovsky, who replaced Marshal Zhukov; Mao; communist party boss Nikita Khrushchev; Premier Nikolai Bulganin; Deputy Premier A.I. Mikoyan and M.A. Suslov, a member of ruling presidium.
In this Oct. 30, 1951, file photo, Chinese army men prepare food with Tibetan cowherds in Tibet.
1957: An anti-rightist campaign begins to purge intellectuals deemed to be anti-socialist.
1958-1960: Great Leap Forward
1958-1960: The Great Leap Forward to transform the agricultural nation into an industrial power is an economic disaster. By some estimates, 30 million people die in a resulting famine.
Young girls labor after school on Chungchow Street, shown April 1961.
1959: Dalai Lama flees
1959: The Dalai Lama, Tibet's leader, flees into exile.
In this March 1959, file photo, the Dalai Lama, sitting center, rests with warriors who protected him in the Himalayas after fleeing the sacred capital Lhasa. Despite pursuit and road blocks, the Dalai Lama reached the free zone of India on March 31.
JOINING THE WORLD, THE RED GUARDS
Oct. 16, 1964, file photo, a cloud of an atomic explosion billows skywards as China conducts its first successful atomic bomb test.
1966: Mao launches Cultural Revolution
1966: Leader Mao Zedong launches the ultra-radical Cultural Revolution to reassert his authority. Schools are shut, youthful Red Guards attack political enemies and intellectuals are persecuted or driven to suicide.
In this August 1966, file photo, Chinese leader Mao Zedong meets with representatives of the revolutionary teachers and students from Peking and other parts of the country.
In this file photo from 1966, former Chinese leader Mao Zedong observes Cultural Revolution inspired Red Guards assembled in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.
1971: Pingpong diplomacy
1971: The U.N. recognizes the communist government in Beijing as China's representative, replacing Taiwan. A U.S. table tennis team visits Beijing in "pingpong diplomacy" that sets the stage for further exchanges.
Members of the United States Table Tennis team face a barrage of cameras and reporters as they emerge forma a British customs building after crossing the border from China in to Hong Kong in this April 17, 1971 photo. At center, first in line is Graham B. Steenhoven of Detroit, Mich., followed by Rufford Harrison of Wilmington, Del.
1972: Nixon visits
1972: Richard Nixon becomes the first American president to visit Communist China.
In this Feb. 28, 1972, file photo, then U.S. President Richard Nixon, right, is serious-faced as he eats with chopsticks with then Chinese Premier Chou En-lai in Shanghai, China.
1976: Mao dies; earthquake kills 240,000
1976: Mao dies at age 82. The Tangshan earthquake in northeastern China kills more than 240,000 people.
In this Sept. 13, 1976, file photo, party and state leaders stand vigil before the remains of leader of Mao Zedong, in China.
OPENING UP, BUT NOT POLITICALLY
1978: Leader Deng Xiaoping (pictured) introduces market-style reforms, allowing small-scale free enterprise but leaving in place the dominant state-owned companies. 1979: China and the U.S. establish diplomatic relations.
1980: A policy allowing most couples only one child is launched nationwide. Special economic zones are created in Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Shantou and Xiamen.
1989: Tiananmen Square
1989: Thousands of students demonstrate for democracy in Tiananmen Square. Hundreds die when Deng decides to send in troops.
CHINA'S RISE: 1990-2008
1990: Beijing hosts the Asian Games, the first major international sports event in China. McDonald's opens its first Chinese outlet.
1997: Returning to Chinese rule
1997: Hong Kong, the former British colony, returns to Chinese rule under the principle of "one country, two systems."
In this July 1, 1997, file photo, fireworks explode above performers at a show at Beijing's Workers Stadium which marked the return of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty.
2001: China joins WTO
2001: China joins the World Trade Organization.
Long Yongtu, left, head of the Chinese delegation to the World Trade Organization (WTO), briefs the press upon his arrival at Geneva airport in Switzerland, Monday, Sept. 10, 2001.
2003: The SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus kills more than 770 people, mostly in mainland China and Hong Kong. China send a person into space on its own, the third country to do so after the Soviet Union and the United States.
Students at Hong Kong's Chinese University help a friend adjust her surgical mask as they wait on campus for a bus, Thursday, March 27, 2003.
2008: Beijing Olympics
2008: Beijing hosts the Summer Olympics. Violent anti-government protests erupt in Tibet. An earthquake in Sichuan province kills nearly 90,000 people.
In this Aug. 8, 2008, file photo, fireworks explode over the National Stadium during the opening ceremony for the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Beijing hosts the Summer Olympics in 2008.
GLOBAL POWER, FRICTIONS
June 26, 2010, anti-China demonstrators hold placards as they march in a street, denouncing the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) planned with China, in Taipei, Taiwan.
2010: Second-largest economy
2010: China surpasses Japan to become the second-largest economy. Imprisoned activist writer Liu Xiaobo is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
In this Nov. 8, 2018, file photo, containers are piled high at a port in Qingdao in eastern China's Shandong province. China, the once impoverished war-torn country has grown into the world's second-largest economy. (Chinatopix via AP, File)
In this undated file photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, made available on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, a carrier-borne J-15 fighter jet takes off from China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning.
2013: Belt and Road Initiative
2013: China launches the Belt and Road Initiative to expand its trade and influence by building roads, ports and other infrastructure overseas.
In this Dec. 22, 2017, file photo, a Pakistani motorcyclist drives on a newly built Pakistan China Silk Road in Haripur, Pakistan. China launched the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013 to expand its trade and influence by building roads, ports and other infrastructure overseas.
In this March 14, 2013, file photo, Chinese President Xi Jinping bows next to his predecessor Hu Jintao, center, after Xi was elected as president at a plenary session of the National People's Congress held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
In this Sept. 28, 2015, China's President Xi Jinping addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, in New York.
In this file photo taken Friday, May 22, 2015, people walk on the Bund against buildings in Pudong, China's financial and commercial hub, in Shanghai.
2016: South China Sea ruling
2016: An international panel rules against China's definition of its South China Sea territorial claims, but China continues to expand its presence in the strategically important waters.
Filipinos applaud moments after the Hague-based U.N. international arbitration tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines in its case against China on the dispute in South China Sea Tuesday, July 12, 2016 in Manila, Philippines.
In this Aug. 16, 2016, file photo, a fan wears Chinese flags on her face at the women's team gold medal team table tennis match at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
2018: Tariff and trade war with US
2018: President Donald Trump starts a tariff and trade war with China as concern grows over China's challenge to U.S. technological might. The legislature scraps term limits, setting the stage for Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely.
In this April 7, 2017, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he and Chinese President Xi Jinping walk together after their meetings at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Fla.
In this May 15, 2019, file photo, founder of Alibaba group Jack Ma arrives for the Tech for Good summit in Paris.
2019: Hong Kong protests
2019: Major democracy protests erupt in Hong Kong, raising questions about the viability of the "one country, two systems" framework that China applies there and wants to extend to Taiwan.
A protester throws back an exploded tear gas shell at police officers in Hong Kong, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019.