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



  • January – Zhou Enlai dies of cancer. Mao Zedong does not attend the funeral due to illness. Deng Xiaoping delivers the eulogy. State media largely ignores the event.
  • April – Qingming Festival. Birth of modern-day democracy movement in Communist China. Thousands of tributes and wreaths are laid in Tiananmen Square by average citizens in memory of Zhou Enlai.
  • April – Tributes and wreaths in Tiananmen Square are removed. Angry crowds enter Tiananmen Square. Large-scale public demonstrations are suppressed.
  • April – Hua Guofeng appointed chairman of the Party’s Central Committee and premier of the state council. Deng Xiaoping is removed from all government and party posts.
  • May - Prime minister of Pakistan is the last head of state to meet Mao Zedong.
  • July – Earthquakes in Tangshan registering 7.8 on the Richter scale. Over 200,000 people are killed.
  • September - Mao Zedong dies.
  • October – Hua Guofeng becomes chairman of the Chinese Communist Party.
  • October - End of the Cultural Revolution. The Gang of Four are arrested. About one million people celebrate in Tiananmen Square. Official accounts estimate that the ten-year long Cultural Revolution might have caused the violent deaths of at least 3 million people. Millions more suffered in the process.