When the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) seized power in October 1949 China was one of the poorest nations in the world. In fact, it was so weak it had been conquered by Japan, a country one-tenth its size, a decade earlier. Now, more than fifty years later, the People's Republic of China (PRC) is an emerging economic, political, and military superpower with the world's fastest growing economy and largest population (1.3 billion in 2005). A member of the United Nations Security Council since the early 1970s and a nuclear power, China wields enormous influence in the world community. The second edition of the Historical Dictionary of the People's Republic of China contains more than 400 cross-referenced dictionary entries on individual topics spanning China's political, economic, and social system along with short biographies on important figures--from politicians to writers and movie directors--who have shaped Chinese history during the period of Communist rule from 1949 to 2006. Supplementing the entries are a chronology, an introduction, charts outlining the structure of the Chinese government, and a bibliography of works in English, making this a superb resource for college and high school students needing a quick reference on contemporary China.