The flag of the People's Republic of China (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Zhnghu Rnmn Gnghgu guq) is a red field charged in the canton (upper corner nearest the flagpole) with five golden stars. The design features one large star, with four smaller stars in a semicircle set off towards the fly (the side farthest from the flag pole). The red represents the communist revolution; the five stars and their relationship represent the unity of the Chinese people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Sometimes, the flag is referred to as the "Five-star Red Flag" (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: w xng hng q).
The flag was designed by Zeng Liansong, a citizen from Wenzhou, Zhejiang. He designed it in response to a circular distributed by the Preparatory Committee of the New Political Consultative Conference (, Xn zhngzh xishng huy chubi hu) in July 1949, shortly after they came to power following the Chinese Civil War. The design competition received 2,992 (or 3,012, see below) entries, and Zeng's design was put into a pool of 38 finalists. After several meetings and slight modifications, Zeng's design was chosen as the national flag. The first flag was hoisted by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) on a pole overlooking Beijing's Tiananmen Square on October 1, 1949, at a ceremony announcing the founding of the People's Republic.
Other flags used in the People's Republic of China use a red background to symbolize the revolution in conjunction with other symbols. The flag of the PLA uses the gold star with the Chinese characters 8-1 (for August 1, the date of the PLA's founding). The flag of the Communist Party of China replaces all of the stars with the party emblem. Due to government regulations, cities and provinces of China cannot have their own flags; the only sub-national flags that exist are those of the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions. Despite this, at least two cities have adopted flags after the law was passed. The cities of Kaifeng and Shangrao adopted their flags in March 2006 and March 2009 respectively. This implies that the law is either repealed or not enforced.
The roughly 4000-year old Chinese civilisation has endured through millennia of tumultuous upheaval and revolutions, periods of golden ages and anarchy alike. Through the recent economic boom initiated by the reforms of Deng Xiaoping, China is once again one of the leading nations in the world, buoyed by its large, industrious population and abundant natural resources. The depth and complexity of the Chinese civilization, with its rich heritage, has fascinated Westerners such as Marco Polo and Gottfried Leibniz through the Great Silk Road and more ways of culture exchange in centuries past, and will continue to excite - and bewilder - the traveller today.
The recorded history of Chinese civilization can be traced to the Yellow River valley, said to be the 'cradle of Chinese civilization'. The Xia Dynasty was the first dynasty to be described in ancient historical chronicles, though to date, no concrete proof of its existence has been found. Nevertheless, archaeological evidence has shown that at the very least, an early bronze age Chinese civilization had developed by the period described.