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Communist China at 70

After 7 decades, China's Communists still strive for legitimacy

Turning Hong Kong into a second Tiananmen would invite global isolation

BEIJING/TOKYO -- The 70th anniversary of Chinese Communist Party rule comes amid a confluence of political and economic threats to a leadership team determined to build China into the world's preeminent superpower.

The first three decades or so after the founding of the People's Republic of China, on Oct. 1, 1949, was defined by a series of hardships and crises brought about by Mao Zedong. Mao's Great Leap Forward ended as a massive failure; it brought on a famine that claimed an estimated 30 million lives. Later, Mao's Cultural Revolution plunged the Chinese economy into dire straits.

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