Happy birthday modern China, 70 this week!

A new dream: This 70-year-old poster celebrates the birth of the modern country

Is China the world’s most important country? It certainly has the most people. And for most of history it has also been the richest — the inventor of paper, gunpowder and the compass…

What’s happening

China is celebrating its 70th birthday. On 1 October 1949, the Chinese leader Mao Zedong declared the start of the People’s Republic of China.

In 2019, China is much more powerful than it was then. However, it has been shaping history for thousands of years.

Find out more

What do the umbrella, the compass and the toothbrush have in common?

They were all invented in China. Ancient China was the source of many inventions that changed the world forever.

Some have done lots of good, like the paper that lets us read and write. However, others have brought destruction — like gunpowder.

Perhaps the most useful of all, paper banknotes were first used in China over 1,000 years ago. A merchant would get a certificate for money they paid.

Today, China is very important once again. It is the second-richest country in the world apart from the USA, and President Xi Jinping is more powerful than ever.

Some people think that the 2000s will be the “Chinese century”.

Is China the most important country of all?

Some say…

Yes, it is. Not only is China home to many of the most important inventions in history, it is also shaping the world around us today. For example, by helping countries in Africa to build railways and ports. It is only getting stronger.

Others think…

No way. There are many countries that have changed history. The wheel was invented in ancient Iraq. The steam engine was invented in Britain. It does not make sense to put one country above all the others, especially one that does not value democracy. We all have something to give.

You Decide

  1. Would you like to live in China?


  1. Make a nice birthday card for China. Maybe there is a Chinese person in your school that you could give it to?

Some People Say...

“Let her sleep. For when she wakes, she will shake the world.”

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), Emperor of France, on China

What do you think?

Word Watch

Where something comes from.
When something is heavily damaged or ruined.
Someone who sells things.
When the people can choose their own government through elections.


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