China Flag_Beau Sides_Lessons from China


During each of my trips to China, I am reminded of how proud the Chinese are of their flag because it is displayed so often. Many of the cranes at construction sites will display the flag on top so that it waves in the breeze, and everyone can see it. I’ve often seen China’s flag displayed on office desks in pen and pencil holders. The pen holder’s flat base will have holes in the top of the base to place pens and pencils, and standing out from the writing utensils will be a small Chinese flag on a short stick.


The History of China’s Flag


The history of China’s flag is very interesting, to say the least. It is often referenced as the Five-star Red Flag or wu xing hong qi. The Five-star Red Flag has one large star in the upper left corner and 4 smaller stars to the right of the large star set in an arching formation. The red represents the communist revolution. The 5 stars and their placement represent the unity of the Chinese people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China.


Zeng Liansong designed China’s flag in 1949 after the Chinese Civil War. Liansong’s Five-star Red Flag was first raised by the People’s Liberation Army on October 1, 1949 over Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Although Chinese government regulations do not allow cities and provinces to have their own flags, Hong Kong and Macau do, but only because they are Special Administrative Regions.


China Flag_Beau Sides_Tiananmen Sq


Symbolism of the Flag


Many people think the 5 stars represent the 5 largest ethnic groups: Han, Manchus, Mongols, Hui, and Tibetans. The truth is, the largest star represents the Communist Party, and the 4 smaller stars symbolize the 4 classes of people in China in 1949: the working class, the peasants, the urban petite bourgeoisie, and the national bourgeoisie.


China Flag_Beau Sides_Five stars


Wikipedia was a big help with this information!


To learn more about China, check out Lessons from China: A Westerner’s Cultural Education!


How to Get Lessons from China


Lessons from China: A Westerner’s Cultural Education now available as a paperback and as an e-book on Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook!


You can buy Lessons from China on, (to donate a portion of the sale to Global Partners in Life),, and in Barnes and Noble stores and a variety of other bookstores and online booksellers.


Note: If you don’t see the book on the shelf at your local bookstore, just ask the sales clerk to order it for you. The booksellers are eager to accommodate you, whenever possible. Independent bookstores can order the book through Bookmasters.