Timeline of U.S.-Chinese Relations

1844 to Present

Flag of People's Republic of China
Flag of People's Republic of China. Photo: Getty/China Photo
1844
Treaty of Wanghia

First diplomatic treaty between the U.S. and China, granting Americans various immunities and privileges in China.

1935-36
The Long March

In a strategic retreat, thousands of Chinese Communists travel for an estimated 12000 kilometers over almost a year to evade the Nationalist forces of Chiang Kai-shek. The march remains engrained in the Chinese psyche, symbolizing the Chinese struggle under the leadership of Mao Zedong.

1937
War with Japan

Though there have been various localized conflicts between Japan and China, 1937 marked the year those conflicts turned into a war which would later become a part of World War II.

1949
People's Republic of China and Republic of China Established

Communists led by Mao Zedong win the long civil war against the Nationalists establishing the People's Republic of China. Nationalist retreat to Taiwan and establish the Republic of China.

1950
Korean War

The Chinese intervene in the Korean War to counter U.S. support for South Korea.

1958
Great Leap Forward

Disastrous economic program launched by Mao, causes the death of millions of Chinese.

1969
Chinese-USSR Border Clashes

A series of border clashes between the Soviet Union and China eventually lead to rapprochement between the U.S. and China.

1972
Nixon's Historic Visit

U.S. President Richard Nixon visits Beijing, establishing diplomatic channels for both countries to counter the Soviet threat.

1989
Tian'anmen Square Massacre

Students and a coalition of activists demonstrate in Beijing in April of 1989, demanding more political freedom and democracy, culminating in a brutal crackdown on the protestors by the government leaving many dead and injured.

1999
Embassy Bombed

During NATO air strikes against Serbia, the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade was hit killing three Chinese citizens.

Anti-American protests were held across China.

2001
US Spy Plane Incident

A US spy plane collides with 2 Chinese fighter jets over the South China Sea heightening tensions between both countries.

2008
The Summer Games

China welcomes the world as host of the 2008 Olympic Games.