In October, China will celebrate it's 60th birthday. "But wait a minute," you might be thinking, "I thought China had long and glorious history of 5000 years?" Well, it does, but like everything else about China, 'nothing is as it seems.'
October 1 marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, the 'current' China, and every dynasty and government of China has typically counted the beginning of THEIR rule as the birthday of China. In dynastic times, this was reflected in the calendars. Day one of the dynasty was day one of the calendar. So the 145th year of the Ming Dynasty was the year 145. The Peoples' Republic of China didn't go that far (they officially use the western calendar), but they still the anniversary of the beginning of their rule.
National Public Radio is currently broadcasting a 3 part series titled "Three Generations View China at 60." I commend it to you as an excellent glimpse of modern-day China and how things are viewed from the perspective of different generations. You can listen online or read the text of the reports.