Flag of the People's Republic of China
History of the design
The design went through several changes and was finally approved by the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference on September 27, 1949 at their First Plenary Session. The original design plans contained several alterations in comparison with the modern-day flag.
Three of the original flag candidates showed the large golden star (with no additional stars anywhere else) along with one, two, or three yellow bars (horizontal) at the bottom of the flag, representing the Yangtze, Huang He (Yellow River) and the Zhujiang River (Pearl River). They were not chosen by the officials, however, because the very presence of these bars appeared to suggest the idea of a tearing or splitting of the nation.
The final design was red with a large golden five-pointed star and four smaller golden five-pointed stars (arranged in a vertical arc toward the middle of the flag) in the upper hoist-side corner. The color red symbolizes the spirit of the revolution, and the five stars signify the unity of the people of China under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. The flag was officially unveiled in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on October 1, 1949, the formal announcement of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
The current design uses red as its background and golden for its stars. The red background symbolizes the blood of heroes who died during the revolution. The golden colour mainly symbolizes the glorious history and culture of the Chinese people and was partly inherited from the colours of the flag of Soviet Union, which was also a combination of red and gold, in which case the gold symbolizes the brightness of the communist future.
The larger star symbolizes the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the four smaller stars that surround the big star symbolize the four classes of Chinese that were considered unitable by Mao at that historical time (from one of Mao's work: On The People's Democratic Dictatorship); these are the Workers, Peasants, Petty Bourgeoisie (i.e. Small Business Class), and National Bourgeoisie (i.e. Chinese non-governmental businessmen). The most popular modern interpretation is the four stars represent the four occupations most esteemed by the Communist Party of China, which are farmers, workers, teachers, and soldiers. An interpretation under a more historical context is the four stars represent the traditional four categories of the people in the state, which are Workers (gōng, 工), Farmers (nóng, 农), Intellectual (shì, 士), and Businessmen (shāng, 商) (see also Four occupations).
National Emblem of the People's Republic of China
The National Emblem of the People's Republic of China (中华人民共和国国徽) contains a representation of Tiananmen Gate, the entrance gate of the Forbidden City from the Tiananmen Square in Beijing, in a red circle. Above this representation are the five stars found on the national flag. The five stars represented the union of Chinese peoples. This was interpreted as the union of the five major ethnicities in China by many people, but other people interpreted as the five social classes. The emblem is described as being "Composed of patterns of the national flag." These elements were described as
...The red color of the flag symbolizes revolution and the yellow color of the stars the golden brilliant rays radiating from the vast red land. The design of four smaller stars surrounding a bigger one signifies the unity of the Chinese people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC)
—China Yearbook 2004
The circle has a border that contains sheaves of wheat reflecting the Maoist philosophy of an agricultural revolution. At the center of the bottom portion of the border is a cog-wheel that represents the industrial workers.
These elements together were designed to symbolise the revolutionary struggles of the Chinese people since the May Fourth Movement, and the coalition of the proletariats which succeeded in founding the People's Republic of China.
The emblem was designed by Liang Sicheng, a famous architect, in a competition held at the founding of the People's Republic with obvious similarities to the symbols used by the USSR. It was determined as the National Emblem (September 20, 1950) by the Central People's Government.