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Objective chronological listing of significant events leading up to modern China.



  • January - Anti-Communist members of the Nationalist Party decide to establish separate headquarters in Nanchang.
  • March – Nationalist party headquarters in Wuhan transfer Chiang Kai-shek’s key party posts to Wang Jingwei and issue a secret order for Chiang’s arrest.
  • March – Nationalist forces capture Shanghai.
  • March - Nationalist forces capture Nanjing.
  • March - Chiang Kai-shek goes to Nanjing.
  • March - Mao Zedong publishes a report on peasant movement in Hunan province, calling for the confiscation of land from landlords.
  • April – Wang Jingwei returns from France on a Soviet ship and goes to Wuhan.
  • April - In Beijing, search of the Soviet embassy reveals plans of a Communist revolution. Li Dazhao and other Communists are arrested in the embassy and later executed.
  • April – The long civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists begins. Nationalist leaders meeting in Shanghai decide to purge Communist members in the party. Thousands of Communists are killed or arrested all over the country.
  • April – Chiang Kai-shek forms a rival Nationalist government in Nanjing, independent of the leftist government in Wuhan.
  • May - In Hunan province, to stop confiscation of land by Communist leaning troops, Nationalist officers launch an attack in Changsha.
  • June - Comintern sends message to the Chinese Communist Party ordering confiscation of land.
  • July – Nationalist government in Wuhan also decides to expel the Communists.
  • August – Nanchang Uprising. Founding of the Red Army. Communist forces led by Zhou Enlai and Zhu De stage an uprising in the city of Nanchang in Jiangxi province. The uprising is suppressed by Nationalist forces.
  • August - Emergency meeting of the Communist Party. General Secretary Chen Duxiu is replaced by Qu Qiubai. Future Communist developments would focus on the countryside.
  • August - In order to facilitate reunification of Nanjing and Wuhan governments, Chiang Kai-shek resigns from his posts.
  • September - Autumn Harvest Uprising in Hunan province. Communist forces led by Mao Zedong attack towns near Changsha without authorization from the Central Committee.
  • September - Nationalist governments in Nanjing and Wuhan, along with the Western Hills faction in Beijing, meet in Shanghai to negotiate for reunification.
  • September - A united Nationalist government is installed in Nanjing.
  • October - Mao Zedong retreats to Jianggang Mountain in Jiangxi province with about 1,000 men; establishing the first sustainable Communist base.
  • December - Communist uprising in Guangzhou. Nanjing government breaks off relations with Moscow.
  • December - Wang Jingwei steps down from the Nanjing government and leaves for France.