The flag of the People's Republic of China (popularly called '五星紅旗' meaning 'Five-star Red Flag') is a red field with a large yellow five-pointed star and four smaller yellow five-pointed stars (arranged in a vertical arc toward the middle of the flag) in the upper hoist-side corner.
The red color symbolizes communist revolution. Red is also the traditional color in Chinese culture.
Golden yellow is the official color of the Manchu dynasty and is very dear to Chinese people. Yellow also implies that China belongs to the Chinese people, a "yellow race"
The large star represents the Communist Party. The four smaller stars represent the four social classes of the traditional Chinese society - the working class, the peasantry, the urban petty bourgeoisie, and the national bourgeoisie (capitalists) - united under the Communist Party of China. Five 5-pointed stars reflects the importance of the number five in Chinese philosophy (The number 5 is associated with the five elements - Water, Fire, Earth, Wood, and Metal - and hence, it was historically associated with the Emperor of China)
Following the Chinese Civil War, on October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong proclaimed the establishment of the People's Republic of China. Months prior to that, the Preparatory Committee of the New Political Consultative Conference announced a design competition to design the national flag by specifying shape (rectangular) proportion (3:2) and background color (bright red)
China Flag origin
Zeng Liansong submitted a design that was inspired by the stars shining in the night sky of Shanghai, which reminded him of a Chinese proverb "longing for the stars, longing for the moon". He represented the Communist Party of China with a larger star with a hammer and sickle in it. The idea of four small stars came from Mao Zedong's classification of Chinese people into four social classes - - the working class, the peasantry, the urban petty bourgeoisie, and the national bourgeoisie (capitalists) Chinese people, a "yellow race", were represented by the yellow color. Zeng Liansong design, the 'Five-star Red Flag', one among 2,992 entries received, was chosen as the national flag with slight modifications. The hammer and sickle from Zeng's original design was removed since it was similar to the flag of the Soviet Union.
China Flag history
On September 29, the new flag was published in the People's Daily, so the design could be copied by other local authorities. 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 first flag flown over Tiananmen Square was sewn together by a seamstress named Zhao Wenrei. Zeng was officially congratulated by the General Office of the People's Government as the designer of the flag and received 5 million yuan for his work.
China’s first national flag - yellow field with a blue dragon - was flown during Qing Dynasty which ruled China from 1644 to 1912.
China’s first national flag (1644 - 1912)
The Five-coloured flag was used as a national flag from 1912 to 1928. The Five-coloured flag, also called 'Five Races Under One Union flag', had five horizontal stripes representing the five major nationalities of China - the Han (red), the Manchu (yellow), the Mongol (blue), the Hui (white), and the Tibetan (black)
The Flag of the Republic of China 1912 - 1928
The Flag of the Republic of Taiwan (Blue Sky, White Sun, and a Wholly Red Earth) flown during 1928 - 1949 period is red with a navy blue canton bearing a white sun with twelve triangular rays. It was made the official national flag on December 17, 1928 after the successful Northern Expedition that toppled the Beijing government. After the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the government of Chiang Kai-shek relocated to the island of Taiwan and continued the Republic of China and its symbols including the flag. The Republic of China is generally referred to as Taiwan. On the mainland, the communist forces of Mao Zedong established the People's Republic of China and adopted their own national flag called 'Five-star Red Flag'
Flag of the Republic of China 1928 - 1949