How a small coastal suburb witnessed the rise of China

How a small coastal suburb witnessed the rise of China

Chronicle of events in Beidaihe

For more than 60 years, the country's most influential leaders, from Mao Zedong to Deng Xiaoping, have been moving their desks to a small costal town in the eastern tip of Hebei province between July and September to avoid the sizzling heat in downtown Beijing. Beidaihe, a small coastal suburb of Qinghuangdao city, has witnessed almost every step of China rise from a scattered empire to the world's second largest economy.

Here are some key events that have transpired at Beidaihe:

Late 19th century - Qing government decides to build a summer resort for wealthy Chinese and the large number of foreign diplomats and business men who had been pouring into the capital. It was the first resort in Chinese history to allow local residents and expats to live in the same place.

1910s - Beidaihe becomes a hotspot for the nation's warlords following the collapse of Qing dynasty in 1912.

Kuomingtang era - Beidaihe and Lushan in South China become the two major summer resorts for government officials.

November 1948 - Towards the end of the Chinese civil war (1945-49), Beidaihe served as a sanatorium for injured China's People's Liberation Army soldiers and officers.

June 1949 - Zhu De, then commander in chief of PLA, was the first high-ranking Party official to recuperate in Beidaihe.

1954 - the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CCCPC) starts tradition of leadership moving their offices to Beidaihe during summer. Former chairman Mao Zedong, first visits the resort five years after the establishment of the People's Republic of China.

1958 - Mao Zedong is in Beidaihe when he makes the decision to shell Jimen island, Kuomingtang's nearest post to the Chinese mainland after it retreated to Taiwan.

From 1954 to 1966 - Beidaihe is frequently mentioned on newspapers' front pages sometimes involving important political news

1966 - The Cultural Revolution (1966-76) halts the high-ranking officials' annual tradition to leave Beijing in summer. Beidaihe goes back to being a quiet area.

1979 - Beidaihe is given the task of boosting the tourism industry. Government-funded sanatoriums are refurbished to hotels.

1983 - The government announces in Beidaihe that it is introducing the first nationwide crackdown on criminal offences.

Aug 16, 1984 - Deng Xiaoping, then China's top leader, regards Beidaihe as a perfect rendezvous place to hold high-level meetings. He meets with Samuel Chao Chung Ting, a Chinese-American Nobel Prize laureate in Physics.

1992 - Deng comes to Beidaihe for the last time after a tour to South China

Aug, 1995 - Li Peng, former Chinese premier, comes to Beidaihe meeting with Singapore officials in the highest-level foreign affair in Beidaihe's history.

2000 - Jiang Zemin, then China's president, is interviewed in Beidaihe with US journalist Mike Wallace from CBS.

2001 - The government starts inviting experts to travel in Beidaihe during summer every year.

2003 - A newly elected central government decides to call off the tradition of working in Beidaihe in summer once again.

Aug 5, 2001 - Hu Jintao meets with Japanese officials as China's vice president.

Aug 4, 2005 - Hu, then general secretary of the Communist Party of China, pays a special trip to Beidaihe to visit Lyu Zhengcao, 101, one of the two living generals who helped build the People's Republic of China in 1949.

Aug 5, 2014 - President Xi Jinping meets up with experts from across China who had been invited to spend vacation in Beidaihe, thanking for their contributions to the country.

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