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National Day, Hubei Province, China

Photo: National Day

A young child carries a red balloon on October 1, the anniversary of the day communist leader Mao Zedong inaugurated the People's Republic of China in 1949. The proclamation came after half a century of conflict: the fall of the last Chinese emperor, the Japanese invasion, World War II, and a civil war between communist and nationalist forces. The second half of the 20th century was no more peaceful as the new government attempted to rebuild and unify the country under communism's strict guidelines.

(Text adapted from and photograph shot on assignment for, but not published in, the National Geographic book Journey Into China, 1982)

Photograph by Bruce Dale

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