The National Flag of China: History, Meaning and Symbolism

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The national flag symbolizes a country's culture, identity and historical background. Some depict the most revered organizations, such as religious institutions and royal families. Given China's vast size, numerous nationalities, and ethnicities, the Chinese flag has remained relatively stable for quite a long time. Like all flags, the Chinese flag has different definitions and ideologies in its color schemes and designs. Throughout history, the flags of many countries have been redesigned – even one as large as China with rich origins. So, what are the roots of the Chinese flag? This article delves into the history, meaning and symbolism of the Chinese flag along with other interesting facts. let's start!

main features of china

The People's Republic of China is one of the oldest civilizations in the world, the largest country in Asia, and the most populous country in the world. It occupies almost the entire territory of East Asia, accounting for about one-fourteenth of the Earth's landmass. Only Russia and Canada are larger in land area than China, almost as large as the entire European continent. Beijing is the capital of the country and has many historical landmarks worth visiting. Beijing is the home of the seventh wonder of the world and the longest wall in the world, the Great Wall.

Brief introduction to the flag of China

Officially, the Chinese flag is known as the Five-Star Red Flag. The flag of the People's Republic of China has a red field topped by a large yellow star and four smaller yellow stars (arranged in a vertical arc towards the center of the flag). The ratio of the length to the height of the flag is three to two.

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History of the Flag of the People's Republic of China

The historical and symbolic significance of the Chinese flag 1
On October 1, 1949, the Chinese flag was officially raised.

©iStock.com/Sky_Blue

During the Qing (Manchu) dynasty, which ruled from 1644 to 1911/12, most Chinese flags were yellow, the color of the Manchu national culture. The centuries-old Qing dynasty collapsed in the early 20th century, leading to the establishment of a republic in China in 1912. During this period, however, the country was stained by a bitter civil war and Japanese attacks.

After the civil war ended in 1949, the Communist Party led by Mao Zedong took over the country. On July 4, 1949, the Preparatory Committee for the New Deal organized a competition for the design of the national flag of New China and issued a notice to solicit the design drawings of the national flag. By August 20, 1949, the committee had collected 2,992 designs. On September 29, 1949, Zeng Liansong's design was selected and published in the People's Daily. On October 1, 1949, the People's Liberation Army raised the first national flag to commemorate the founding of the People's Republic of China.

Colors and Symbolism of the Chinese Flag

The five-pointed star on the Chinese flag symbolizes the five elements of Chinese culture.

© iStock.com/Anchiy

The red color of the Chinese flag represents the communist revolution and the blood of those who died during the Japanese invasion and civil war. Red is also a familiar color in Chinese culture. The vast red earth exudes brilliant golden light, represented by yellow stars. The large gold symbol represents the Chinese Communist Party and its role in governance.

The four smaller stars represent different social classes—working class, commoners, local urban elite, and national ruling class (capitalists)—and their interaction, depicting unity under the rule of the Chinese Communist Party.

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The five stars also represent the significance of the number five in Chinese ideology and origin. In addition, the pentagram symbolizes the five elements of Chinese culture: water, fire, earth, wood, and metal.

The Chinese flag that has gone through the years

During different authorities and eras, the Chinese government used different flags. From 1862 to the early 1900s, the Chinese national flag had five colors: yellow, red, white, blue, and black.

The Qing Dynasty implemented the "Yellow Dragon Banner" in the nineteenth century, which features a green dragon with a fiery red pearl on its head, set on a yellow ground. Yellow represents the Chinese royal family, because only the royal family would choose to wear yellow. The ruler used the blue dragon on the flag to depict the power and strength of China. Red flame pearls represent good luck, wealth and success. The original model was triangular, but the Qing Dynasty opted for the rectangular Huanglong flag in 1889.

In 1912, the last emperor of China, Puyi, stepped down and the Qing Dynasty was overthrown. The new constitution headed by Sun Yat-sen created a new flag consisting of parallel stripes of yellow, blue, black, white, and red, called the five-colored flag, which symbolized the five races of the Chinese: Mongols (blue), Manchus ( Yellow), Tibetan (black), Hui (white), Han (red).

Five is an important number in Chinese symbolism, it corresponds to the square plus the center (i.e. China itself), and the traditional five classics, five elements, five feet,
Five virtues. The yellow star on the upper part of the flag of the People's Republic of China, first officially raised on October 1, 1949, primarily reflects the number five.

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In summary…

As we can see, the Chinese flag provides a lot of historical information, it reflects the history and development of the country from its founding to the present. Also, it's not just the colors and design of the flag that help non-natives learn more about the country; the flag itself is a graphic overview of its culture.

Next:

Every Flag in the World: Photos, History, and More

10 countries with blue and white flags, all listed

29 different countries with red, white and blue flags

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chinese flag
The Chinese flag has a red area with a large yellow star above it and four smaller yellow stars arranged in a vertical arc towards the center of the flag.

© iStock.com/lorozco3D


about the author

Victor Victor


For six years, I have been a professional writer and editor of books, blogs and websites, with a particular focus on animals, technology and finance. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games with my friends.

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  1. , available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_China
  2. , available here: https://unacademy.com/content/upsc/study-material/general-awareness/flag-of-china-history-meaning/
  3. , available here: https://www.worldatlas.com/flags/china
  4. , available here: https://www.ilmkidunya.com/flags/china
  5. (1970) http://gh.china-embassy.gov.cn/eng/gyzg/gjgk/#:~:text=The red color of the, smaller ones%2C the Chinese people