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The ancient history of China

About two million years ago at the latest, the ancestors of the Chinese nation had already dwelled and procreated in the vast land of China. The fossil of a primitive human discovered in Yuanmou, Yunnan Province dated back to over 1,700,000 years ago. The well-known fossil of the skull of Peking Man was a cultural relic of 700,000 to 200,000 years ago.

Architectural Detail of Traditional Decorative Animal Themed Sculptures on Roof of Chinese Temple on Overcast Hazy Day in Historical Complex

 
Before the unification of China by the Qin Dynasty, the Chinese history experienced the Xia, Shang and Zhou dynasties. Xia (about the 21st century BC – the 17th century BC) was the first dynasty in the Chinese history. Beginning from the Shang Dynasty (the 17th century BC – the 11th century BC), the Chinese history entered into a period with written records. In this period, the casting of bronze was at its zenith.
 
The Zhou Dynasty was divided into two historical periods-Western Zhou (the 11th century BC-771 BC) and Eastern Zhou (770-221BC). Large numbers of regional powerful states such as the five overlords of the Spring and Autumn Period (Qi, Jin, Chu, Qin and Song) and the seven powerful states of the Warring States Period (Zhao, Han, Wei, Qi, Chu, Yan and Qin) came forth successively. The Warring States Period was a period with enlivened ideas and animated academic discussions, resulting in a contention of numerous schools of thoughts. Of the renowned schools, apart from Confucianism and Mohism, there were such schools of thought as the Taoist School, the Legalist School, the Yin-Yang School, and the School of Logicians. Those schools of thought were important component parts of the cultural relics of ancient China.
The Qin State vanquished other six states and established the first unified political power in the Chinese history (221 – 207 BC). The Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) inherited the Qin system and further established and improved it. Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty seized the Gansu Corridor. This made 36 states in the western region belong to Han, promoted the prosperity of trade on the Silk Road and played an important part in the expansion of foreign exchanges in ancient China and the development of the northwestern region. Paper, one of the four great inventions in ancient China, was the creation of the people of the Han Dynasty. The invention and use of paper played an irreplaceable and important role in the development of human civilization.
 
As a result of the chaos by war in the late Eastern Han, the Chinese history entered into a period of longterm division: the Period of Three Kingdoms (220-265 AD), Western Jin (265-316 AD) and Eastern Jin (317-420 AD). Henceforth, to the south of the Yangzi River, after Eastern Jin, four dynasties, Song, Qi, Liang and Chen, were established successively while the north experienced the rule of North Wei and Eastern Wei (and Northern Qi), Western Wei (and Northern Zhou), and finally the Sui Dynasty that succeeded Northern Zhou unified the whole country.
 
The Sui Dynasty (581-618 AD) had its capital in Chang’an (now Xi’an). Following the Qin and Han dynasties, Sui marked that the Chinese history once again entered into a new period of unification and great strength and prosperity. The Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) was not only the most powerful and prosperous country in the world at that time, but also one of the most prosperous eras in the Chinese history. The Tang Dynasty exerted major influence on later generations.
 
Towards the end of the Tang Dynasty, the chaos caused by wars among warlords once again disinte-grated the Chinese society. Compared with the 16 states in Eastern Jin and the Northern and Southern Dynasties, the period of division into 10 states in Five Dynasties (907-960) had more separatist regimes, of which nine states were established in the south. It showed that after the shift of the economic focus to the south, the position of the south was strengthened step by step. The Song Dynasty (960-1279) was a period in which the scientific, technological and cultural levels in ancient China reached the summit.
 
In about the same time of the Song Dynasty, in the north, Qidan nationality established the Liao Dynasty (916-1125), Dangxiang nationality established the Western Xia Dynasty (1038-1127) and Nuzhi nationality established the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234). Those regimes stood side by side with the Song Dynasty. The establishment of the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368) not only put an end to the division of the south and the north, but also realized a greater unification to incorporate such areas as Liaodong, Mobei, Tubo and Yunnan. Various Chinese ethnic groups once again were united under one political power since the Han and Tang dynasties.
 

A Brief Chinese Chronology
Dynasty Date
Xia C.21st-17th century B.C.
Shang C.17th-11th century B.C.
Western Zhou C11th century B.C.-771B.C.
Eastern Zhou 
(Spring and Autumn and
Warring States periods) 770-221 B.C.
Qin 221-206B.C.
Western Han 206B.C.-25A.D.
Eastern Han 25-220
Three Kingdoms (Wei,Shu and Wu) 220-265
Western Jin 265-316
Eastern Jin 317-420
Southern and Northern Dynasties 420-589
Sui 581-618
Tang 618-907
Five Dynasties 907-960
Northern Song 960-1127
Southern Song 1127-1279
Yuan 1271-1368
Ming 1368-1644
Qing 1644-1911
 
On the basis of the Song and Yuan dynasties, in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the handicraft production was further developed, and showed a trend to break away from agriculture and become independent. Handicraft categories such as papermaking, printing, sugar-refining, tea-manufacturing and edible oil pressing trades made considerable progress, particularly the porcelain processing, cotton spinning and silk knitting trades attained even more rapid development. Simultaneously with the development of production, the maritime exchanges with foreign countries in the Ming Dynasty entered into a new stage. Zheng He led a fleet to make seven voyages to the Western Seas, and reached early or late more than 30 Asian and African countries. Starting from the Ming Dynasty, with the eastward expansion of western colonialists, the Chinese ancient civilization gradually fell behind the modern European civilization and lost its leading position in the world. The Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) established by the rulers of the Manchu nationality was the last dynasty in the Chinese history. On the eve of the total invasion of the imperialist powers, the rulers of the Qing Dynasty appeased the Inner and Outer Mongolia, quelled rebellion in Xingjiang, strengthened the jurisdiction over Tibet and unified Taiwan, achieving the great cause of national unification and defining the territory of modern China.
 
Of the ancient civilizations of mankind, only the Chinese civilization has continued endlessly for thousands of years and still maintains its vigorous vitality in the modem society. In the protracted historical process, the Chinese nation has made outstanding contributions to the world civilization. Of the contributions of the Chinese civilization to the world, what should be mentioned particularly was the influence of the Confucian culture. It not only played a key role in the formation of the characteristics of the Chinese nation, but also was disseminated extensively to the East Asian and the Southeast Asian regions, playing a significant role in shaping the structure of the modern world civilization.
 
The modern history of China (1840-1949)
 
The modern history of China from 1840 to 1949 was a period in which the Chinese society changed most violently since the dawn of history, a period in which China was attacked for being lagged behind and gradually marched towards a semicolonial and semi-feudal society, a period in which the Chinese people rose up to fight against the imperialist aggression and the feudal rulers for national independence, democracy and social modernization and a period in which old China marched towards new China. The modern history of China may also be divided into the early stage and later stage with the May Fourth Movement as the dividing line.
 
The Opium War in 1840 was a turning point of the Chinese history. In the middle of the 19th century, Britain began to export a great quantity of opium to China, with the result that large quantity of silver flew out from China and the Qinggovernment got bogged down in a serious financial crisis. In 1839, the Qing government sent Lin Zexu as an imperial commissioner to Guangdong to ban opium. In order to protect the opium trade, Britain started the first Opium War in 1840. The Chinese people, under the leadership of Lin Zexu and other patriotic generals, launched an armed resistance. Because the Qing government was corrupt and impotent, China was finally forced to conclude a humiliating Nanjing Treaty with Britain, ceding Hong Kong Island and seriously impairing the integrity of the sovereignty of China. Since then, China was reduced step by step into a semicolonial and semi-feudal country.
 
Following the Opium War,Britain, the United States, France, Russia and Japan forced the Qing government to conclude a series of unequal treaties, compelling the Qing government to cede territory and pay indemnities, open trading ports and permit them to set up concessions and carve out their spheres of influence. The Revolution of 1911 led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen was a bourgeois national democratic revolution that put an end to the feudal imperial system which had lasted for thousands of years and declared the establishment of the Provisional Government of the Republic of China. The Revolution of 1911 was of far-reaching importance in the modern history of China. But after that, the political power of the country was grasped by Yuan Shikai and northern warlords. The Warlords engaged in wrangled warfare and the people were driven into dire poverty.
 
In 1919, influenced by the Russian October Revolution, a great anti-imperialist and anti-feudal May Fourth Movement led by patriotic students broke out in China. The Chinese people rose up in resistance against the humiliation imposed by the Paris Peace Conference. The May Fourth Movement marked the change of the old democratic revolution in China into the new democratic revolution. It promoted the extensive dissemination of Marxism-Leninism in China and the integration of Marxism-Leninism with the workers’ movement in China, making preparations in terms of ideology and cadres for the establishment of the Communist Party of China. In 1921, on behalf of different communist groups throughout the country, Mao Zedong and others convened the first national conference in Shanghai and established the Communist Party of China. In 1924, Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the forerunner of the Chinese democratic revolution and the founder of the National Party (Kuomintang), cooperated with the Communist Party of China and organized the workers and peasants to carry out the Northern Expedition (known as the Great Revolution in history), aiming to overthrow the rule of the imperialists and the northern warlords in China. After the passing away of Sun Yat-sen, the right wing of the Kuomintang headed by Chiang Kai-shek mounted a counterrevolutionary coup d’état and slaughtered the communists and the revolutionary people and established the Kuomintang regime in Nanjing.
 
The Great Revolution failed.
 
In July 1937, Japan launched an overall aggressive war against China. The Communist Party of China and the Kuomintang cooperated once again to resist the fascist aggression. The Kuominting troops launched a series of campaigns, dealing heavy blows to the Japanese aggressors. In the rear of the enemy, the Eighth Route Army and the New Fourth Army led by the Communist Party of China fought bravely against most of the aggressive Japanese troops and almost all puppet troops under the extremely difficult conditions. The victory of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression was the only victory China won in the wars of resistance against foreign aggression in modern times and was also a turning point from decline to prosperity in the modern Chinese history. At the same time, China participated in preparing the founding of the United Nations.
 
Beginning from June 1946, The Kuomintang started a large-scale undeclared civil war. The Chinese people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China waged a nation-wide liberation war. After hard struggles, the Communist Party of China overthrew the Kuomintang regime and won a great victory in he new democratic revolution.
 
The People’s Republic of China (1949- )
 
In September 1949, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference was convened in Beijing. The conference decided to establish the People’s Republic of China and elected Mao Zedong as the Chairman of the Central People’s Government. On October 1, a ceremony for founding new China was held.
 
In the initial period of new China, China was in the stage of recovering the national economy and it creatively opened up a road of socialist transformation of the national economy suited to the Chinese special features.
 
After 1957, China experienced the Second Five-Year Plan for the development of the national economy (1958-1962) and the period of three-year readjustment of the economy, and carried out a largescale socialist construction. The people’s living standards have been elevated obviously. An industrial system with a considerable scale and a certain technical level began to take shape. Science and technology, especially the sophisticated technology for national defense marked by atom bomb, hydrogen bomb and manmade satellite, yielded splendid results. During this period, the Communist Party of China made mistakes in the course of exploration. The “Cultural Revolution” (1966-1976), in particular, seriousl affected the development of the national economy. After the “gang of four” was smashed in 1976, The Communist Party of China set right the mistakes and the cause of the socialist construction was put back to the right track.
 
The Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China held in December 1978 was a great turn with far-reaching significance in the history of the Communist Party of China since the founding of new China. It opened a new period of the development of China’s socialist cause. The second generation of the collective leadership of the Party Central Committee with Deng Xiaoping at the core creatively applied Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought to the contemporary China, shifted the focus of the work of the Party and state to the modernization drive centered on economic construction, made a vital decision of implementing the policy of reform and opening-up, and successfully embarked on a new road of building socialism with distinct Chinese characteristics.The socialist China demonstrates its flourishing vitality and vigor.
 
China has consistently followed an independent foreign policy of peace and developed friendly and cooperative relations with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence. China has established diplomatic relations with over 160 countries in the world, and at the end of the 20th century realized a smooth return of Hong Kong and Macao to the motherland. Under the guidance of the policy of “peaceful unification and one country, two systems”, China will finally achieve the unification of Taiwan with the mainland of the motherland.
 
The third generation of collective leadership of the Party Central Committee with Jiang Zemin at the core, holding high the great banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory, has continued to deepen reform, opening wider to the outside world and carry forward in an all-round way the great cause of building socialism with distinct Chinese characteristics into the new century.
The People’s Republic of China is a unitary multi-national state built up jointly by the people of all its nationalities. Taiwan is part of the sacred territory of the People’s Republic of China. It is the lofty duty of the entire Chinese people, including our compatriots in Taiwan, to accomplish the great task of reunifying the motherland.
 
The People’s Republic of China is a socialist state under the people’s democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants. The socialist system is the basic system of the People’s Republic of China. The aim of the state development is to build China into a strong and modernized country with Chinese characteristics.
 
The political system of the People’s Republic of China mainly include the people’s congress system and the system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation.
 
The People’s Congress System
 
All power in the People’s Republic of China belongs to the people. The organs through which the people exercise state power are the National People’s Congress and the local people’s congresses. The NPC, the highest organ of state power in the PRC, consists of deputies elected by all the provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government, special administrative region and the armed forces. It exercises legislative power, revises the Constitution and supervises the implementation of the Constitution; examines and approves national economic and social development plans and reports on their implementation; and elects and decides on the choice of leading personnel of the highest state organs, i.e., elects the members of the Standing Committee of the NPC, the state president and vice-president, decides on the premier and other members of the State Council, and elects the chairman and other members of the Central Military Commission, the president of the Supreme People’s Court, and the procurator-general of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate.
 
Multi-Party Cooperation and Political Consultation
 
China is a country of many peoples and many political parties. The system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation led by the CPC is a basic political system in China. This system take two principal forms: 1. The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC); 2. consultative conferences and forums participated in by non-Communist parties and unaffiliated democrats at the invitation of the CPC Central Committed and local Party committees. The CPPCC is neither a state organ, nor an ordinary mass organization. It is a widely representative, patriotic united front organization of the Chinese people. The CPPCC has a national committee and local committees established in the provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities directly under the Central Government and counties (cities). The CPPCC consists of representatives of the CPC, the non-Communist parties, unaffiliated individuals, people’s organizations, ethnic minorities and other social strata, compatriots from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, returned overseas Chinese, and specially invited individuals. When the committee is not in session, special activities for the committee members are organized, including inspection tours of various localities. Consultative discussions are held on significant issues relating to major state policies, important local affairs, the people’s livelihood and united front work. Democratic supervision is exercised over the work of state organs and the fulfillment of the Constitution and laws through the offering of opinions, proposals and criticisms. Once a year, the leaders of the CPC Central Committee invite the leaders of the non-Commu-nist parties and representatives of non-Party democrats to meetings for consultation.
 
Organizational Setup of the State
 
The state organs of the People’s Republic of China include: 
Organs of state power-the National People’s Congress and the local people’s congresses; 
President of the state; 
State administrative organs-the State Council and the local people’s governments;
State leading military organ-the Central Military Commission;
State judicial organs-the Supreme People’s Court, local people’s courts and special people’s courts; 
State procuratorial organs—the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, local people’s procuratorates and special people’s procuratorates.
 
National People’s Congress
 
The NPC is the highest organ of state power in the PRC. It is elected for a term of five years. It usually meets once year.When it is not in session, its Standing Committee exercses state power.
 
President of the People’s Republic of China
 
In combination with the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, the president of the PRC exercises his or her functions and powers as the head of state. The president, in pursuance of decisions of the NPC or its Standing Committee, promulgates laws, appoints and removes members of the State Council, issues orders, receives foreign diplomatic representatives on behalf of the PRC, dispatches and recalls plenipotentiary representatives abroad, and ratifies and abrogates treaties and important agreements reached with foreign states.
 
State Council
 
The State Council is the highest state administrative body. It carries out the laws enacted and decisions adopted by the NPC and its Standing Committee. It is responsible to the NPC and its Standing Committee, and reports to them on its work. It exercises the following functions and powers: in accordance with the Constitution and statutes, formulates administrative measures, enacts administrative regulations, promulgates decisions and orders; exercises unified leadership over the work of the ministries and commissions and the work of other organizations under its jurisdiction; exercises unified leadership over the work of local state administrative bodies at different levels throughout the country; draws up and implements national economic and social development plans, and the state budget; directs and administers economic work, urban and rural development, and work in education, science, culture, public health, physical culture and family planning; directs and administers civil affairs, public security, judicial administration and supervision, as well as national defense construction; manages foreign affairs and concludes treaties and agreements with foreign states; and in accordance with the law, appoints, removes and trains administrative officers, appraises their work, and rewards or penalizes them.
 
The State Council is composed of the premier, vice-premiers, state councillors, the heads of the various ministries and commissions, the president of Bank of China, the auditor-general and the secretary-general.
 
Central Military Commission
 
It is the nation’s leading military organ and commander of its armed forces: the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force and the Militia. It is composed of a chairman, vice-
chairmen and other members.
 
Local People’s Congresses and  Local People’s Governments
 
In accordance with the existing administrative divisions of the country, the people’s congresses of the provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government), counties (cities) and townships (towns) are established (people’s congresses at or above the county level having standing committees), and people’s governments set up at all levels.
 
People’s Courts
 
They are judicial organs of the state. The Supreme People’s Court is established at the state level, higher people’s courts are established in provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government, and intermediate and basic people’s courts at lower levels. The Supreme People’s Court is responsible to the NPC and its Standing Committee and supervises the judicial work of the local people’s courts, military courts and other special courts.
 
People’s Procuratorates
 
They are state organs for legal supervision. Their organization corresponds to that of the people’s courts. The people’s procuratorates have the right to exercise procuratorial authority.
 
The people’s procuratorates, as well as the people’s courts, exercise their own authority, independent of interference by any administrative organ, social organization or individual person. All citizens are equal regarding application of the law.

In a short span of over 50 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, it has gained considerably in overall national strength with progress in every field of construction, rapid development of its open economy and remarkable upgrading of the people’s living standard.

1.The strategic goal of tripling China’s GDP was realized five years ahead of schedule contributing to the marked increase of the overall national strength.

Since the founding of New China, a host of strategic targets of developing the national economy has been successively set out by the government. Especially after 1978-the year marked by the start of reform and opening up to the outside world, Deng Xiaoping came up with the strategic concept of “three steps” in China’s efforts to develop its economy, namely, as a first step, the GDP must be doubled from 1981 through 1990 in order to solve the problem of feeding and clothing the people; this is to be followed by the second step:

from 1991 to the end of the 20th century, the per capita GDP should be doubled again enabling the people to lead a well-to-do life; and the third step will last to the middle of the 21st century when per capita GDP will reach the level of medium-developed countries characterized by a relative affluent living standard and a basically modernized society. After the hard struggle waged by the Chinese people, the first step of doubling the GDP had become a reality way back in 1987. And by 1995, the second step had taken place five years ahead of schedule. As a result of the effort made over the last 50 years or so, the overall national strength had been increased remarkably. Way back in 1952, the GDP totaled 67.9 billion yuan. And the year 2000 had already witnessed a total of 8,940.4 billion yuan, an annual increase of 7.7% adjusted for inflation, which was far greater than the 3% growth of the world average. According to the World Bank estimate, the total output of China’s economy in 1999 had hopped to the seventh place in the world.

A great number of industrial and agricultural products have topped the world. In the early stage of New China, its steel output took the 26th place, petrol 27th place, electricity 25th place. By the end of 1999, the output of grain, meat, cotton, peanut, rape-seed, and fruits had all led the world. The output of steel, coal, cement, chemical fertilizer, television sets topped the world list.

The economic structure is getting optimal. In 1952, China’s primary industry accounted for 50.5% of the GDP whereas the secondary industry was 20.9%. As of 2000, their respective shares in the GDP were 15.9% and 50.9%. Compared with 1952, the share of the primary industry decreased 34.6% whereas the share of the secondary industry surged 30% and the share of the tertiary industry increased 4.6%.

Science and technology have made leaps and bounds resulting in stronger productive force. Over the last five decades, the Chinese scientists and technicians have grown in strength; their R&D has covered a wide-range of fields and has been quite prolific in scientific achievements. China had ranked itself among advanced countries in terms of many high-grade, precision and advanced industrial products in nuclear technology, biotechnique, high power physics, aeronautic technology, information technology, automation technology, new material and new technology.

  1. The all-round development of the primary, secondary and tertiary industry has brought toan end the short supply of merchandises.

Agriculture is developing steadily. Since the PRC came into existence, especially since the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Congress of CPC, the family responsibility system based on the changed productive relationship, the agriculture product purchase and sales system reform, higher purchasing price of farm produce and a spate of other vital policies pursued in the rural areas have considerably motivated the farmers and contributed to the all-round development of the countryside. The output value of the agriculture had increased from 34.29 billion yuan in 1952 to 1.4212 trillion yuan in 2000, an increase of 4.7 times adjusted for inflation, in other words, an annual average growth of 3.3%. China has sueceeded in feeding and clothing 22% of the total world population by means of 10% of the world total farmland; this is a miracle indeed and a tremendous contribution to the global food safety and the worldwide economic development.

The industry has experienced a speedy development.

The industrial output had grown from 11.98 billion yuan in 1952 to 3.957 trillion yuan in 2000. Adjusted for inflation, it had been increased 190.7 fold, i.e. an average annual growth of 11.5%.

The tertiary industry has made big progress and is supportive of the economic development. The value of the post and telecom service augmented from 2.9 billion yuan in 1952 to 491.9 billion yuan in 2000, and adjusted for inflation, they had increased 54.3 times which meant an annual growth of 8.7%. Meanwhile, various sorts of new services came into being and the gradual emergence of community service network, in particular, has made life more enjoyable.

3.The infrastructure has made noticeable improvements and the economic development is getting more sustainable.

During the period from 1950 to 2000, 24.0483 trillion yuan had been invested in fixed assets of which 9.7747 trillion yuan went to capital construction while renovation and refurbishment accounted for 3.9729 trillion yuan. From 1950 to 1999, 700,000 capital construction projects had been completed of which major and medium-sized projects numbered about 6,300. Infrastructure and equipment of various professions and trades had experienced immense upgrading, which not only gave tremendous boost to the economic development in the different periods but also paved the way for the further development in the following stages and the realization of the third strategic target.

In the industry field, an independent industrial system has been established and the industrial capability greatly enhanced. Oil output had shot up from 120 thousand tons in 1949 to 163 million tons in 2000. China’s steel production has already been on the top of the world; the annual output of steel soared from 158 thousand tons in 1949 to 128.5 million tons in 2000, an increase of 813 times. The car industry that started from scratch also leapt forward at a swift manner. Now, China has had scores of sizable automotive enterprises with car and vehicle output undergoing a dynamic change from around 100 in 1955 to 2.07 million in 2000. The actual capacity had reached 2.9 million in 1999. The blossoming electricity construction has brought an end to the China’s history of insufficient power supply following the construction of a dozen of hydro-electric, coal-fired and nuclear power stations. The total power output had been shot up from 4.3 billion KW-hr to 1.3556 trillion KW-hr in 2000, a 315-fold increase. In addition, the production capability of coal, cement and electronics, communication and shipbuilding has also been strengthened. The overall technological level has been upgraded too. Over the 50 years or so, many gaps have been filled through domestic innovation and transfer of technology form overseas and a host of industries symbolizing the strength of a nation have come into existence and have been thriving starting from square one and from small to big. The manufacture of metallurgical equipment, airplane, automobile, major precision lathe, high-grade alloy and the establishment of key non-ferrous metallurgy, petro chemical industry, synthetic material industry, aeronautic and space industry, computer industry, shipbuilding are all indicative of the high level China’s industrial technology has attained.

In farmland water conservancy field. New China has made great effort to develop rural water conservancy and as a result, the irrigation of farmland has been improved. Countless flood prevention, draining, irrigation and power-generating projects have been constructed. As of the end of 1998, there were 85 thousand major and medium reservoirs with total water storage volume reaching 492.4 billion cubic meters. The effective coverage of irrigation had recorded an increase from 19.96 million hectares in 1952 to 53.85 million hectares in 2000. The total motive power of agricultural machinery had seen a steep increase from 186.5 thousand kw in 1952 to 525.74 million kw in 2000; the number of all types of tractors had risen from 1,307 to 827,003, and the heavy-duty truck from 280 to 942,000.

In the field of transport and communication, a multi-modal transport network involving railway, highway, inland waterway, civil aviation and pipelining transport with the railway as the key component has basically been available. The length of railway tracks in commercial use had extended from 21.8 thousand km in 1949 to 68.6 thousand km in 2000. With the exception of the Tibet Autonomous Region, all the other provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions are linked by railways thus basically altering the marginalized and culturally backward status of the vast areas of hinterland. The length of highways had soared from 80.7 thousand km in 1949 to 1.403 million km in 2000, a 17.4 fold increase. Besides, the highways have been upgraded, and become more roadworthy. Inland waterway has become more navigable thanks to the dredging, and the navigable length had extended from 73.6 thousand km in 1949 to 119.3 thousand km in 2000. Civil aviation is one of the fastest-growing modes of transportation. As of the end of 2000, it had operated 1,165 overseas and domestic flight services, constituting a crisscrossing77