VIDEO: Mao Zedong declares the founding of the People's Republic of China
On 1 October 1949, Mao Zedong declared the foundation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
As a result of the Chinese Civil War (1927-1937; 1946-1950), Mao’s communist forces defeated the Chinese Nationalist Party (known as the Kuomintang, or KMT) and gained control of mainland China. Soon after, the KMT leader Chiang Kai-shek left mainland for Taiwan, where he set up his government in exile.
On 1 October 1949, Mao proclaimed The People's Republic of China, and named himself head of state. The first public parade of the People's Liberation Army was held in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The Soviet Union and its allies immediately recognised the People's Republic of China.
The civil war between the communists and the nationalists is thought to have killed 6-10 million, a much larger number of casualties resulted from systematic terror, repressions and social reforms launched in the mid-1940s by the communists.
Estimates of the number of Mao's regime (1949-1975) victims vary and fully reliable figures do not exist. China's official statistics have not been made available for thorough research. According to an analysis of ten different Western sources, a total of 45-60 million have lost their lives during forced collectivization, purges (2-5 million killed), the Great Leap Forward and the ensuing famine (30-40 million deaths), Cultural Revolution (2-7 million killed), occupation of Tibet (0,6-1 million killed) or died in laogai, the world's largest network of concentration camps (15-20 million deaths), and because of other repressions.
On 2 December 1949, the "Resolution on the National Day of the People's Republic of China" was passed, making October 1 a national holiday. Chinese National Day is celebrated on October 1st every year to commemorate the founding of People’s Republic of China.