At the center of Tiananmen Square in Beijing is the Monument to the Heroes of the People. An epitaph on the monument reads:
“Eternal glory to the heroes of the people who laid down their lives in the people’s war of liberation and the people’s revolution in the past three years!
“Eternal glory to the heroes of the people who laid down their lives in the people’s war of liberation and the people’s revolution in the past thirty years!
“Eternal glory to the heroes of the people who from 1840 laid down their lives in the many struggles against domestic and foreign enemies and for national independence and the freedom and well- being of the people!”
After the Opium War in 1840, the Chinese people were subjected to oppression by both domestic and foreign forces. To fight for national independence and liberation and for democracy and freedom, tens of millions of Chinese laid down their lives. The Monument to the Heroes of the People is dedicated to their memory.
In 1945 China won the War of Resistance against Japan after eight years of hard struggle, and it was then the urgent desire of the Chinese people to work for peace, democracy, unity and national reconstruction. However, depending on support from the United States, the Kuomintang government headed by Chiang Kai-shek, in disregard of the strong desire of the people of the whole nation, discarded the agreement between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China, other agreements conducive to domestic peace and people’s democracy, and all agreements on armistice, and launched a civil war against the Communist Party and the people. Led by the Communist Party of China, the people of the whole nation fought for more than three years in the war of liberation, and won the final victory.
On October 1, 1949 the People’s Republic of China was established. As the founding leader Mao Zedong put it, this demonstrated that “the Chinese people, comprising one quarter of humanity, have now stood up.”
For more than 100 years before 1949, the Chinese people had been fighting to rid the country of imperialist oppression and control, and they had always desired to become masters of their country and decide its foreign policy in its own interests and in accordance with the norms of international law. Ever since its establishment, New China has consistently pursued an independent foreign policy of peace, and firmly safeguarded its independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interests and national dignity.