10 China Flag Symbolism, Meaning, History, Facts, and Trivia

Flag of China Symbolism Facts & Meaning: History & Trivia

China Flag History

Prior to 221 BC, various rulers in ancient China used emblems and banners in the absence of a defined national flag. Military banners and emblems were used throughout the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC), despite the absence of a known official flag. The Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) followed the same trend with banners and emblems.

A national flag was not flown during the Six Dynasties Period (220–589 AD), even though many states and dynasties used a variety of emblems and banners. The Sui Dynasty (581-618 AD) is acknowledged for designing one of the first known flags, which included a bird and a sun. Each of the Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties had their own flag, with motifs including dragons, stylized tigers, golden suns, and dragons.

After the Qing Dynasty fell, the Republic of China (ROC), which was established, chose a flag with five horizontal stripes in diverse hues (blue, yellow, red, white, and black) and a blue canton with a white sun with twelve points.

The flag of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), established by the Communist Party in 1949 and still in use today, is red with five yellow stars on it.

China First vs Present-Day Flag Design

The first design of the Chinese flag was a yellow background with a blue dragon painted across it during the Qing Dynasty, representing the strength of the Qing Dynasty from 1636 to 1912.

The present flag design, on the other hand, portrays the People’s Republic of China (PRC) with a huge golden star inside an arc of four smaller golden stars in the canton on a field of Chinese red. The bigger star stands for the Chinese Communist Party, while the four lesser stars symbolize the four socioeconomic groups of the people: merchants, workers, peasants, and scholars.  The Qing Dynasty and the former Republic of China administration ended with the adoption of this flag in 1949, when the PRC became a Communist-ruled republic.

Designer of China Flag

The designer of the original Chinese flag, which was used throughout the Qing Dynasty, is unknown. It is a historic design that has withstood the test of time and is connected with imperial imagery.

Zeng Liansong designed the present Chinese flag, which was adopted in 1949 following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. Zeng’s design was selected from thousands of submissions in a national flag design competition. His design consists of a red backdrop with five golden stars, representing the new communist administration.

Symbolic Meaning of China Flag Design

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) flag’s design, colors, and figures all have major symbolic meanings:


The flag has a background of red with five golden stars placed in a five-pointed design in the top left canton. Despite its simplicity, the design is rich with meaning.


  • RedThe color red on the flag stands for the communist philosophy and the spirit of revolution. It relates to the suffering and carnage endured during the fight to create the People’s Republic of China. Red likewise symbolizes socialism and the working class.
  • Yellow (Golden): The profound significance of a future lit by communist ideals is expressed by the golden color of the stars. It represents the optimistic prospects for China’s progress, advancement, and prosperity that lie ahead.


  • Five Golden Stars: The five golden stars stand for the Chinese people’s unification under the Communist Party’s rule.
  • Large Star: The largest of the five stars signifies the Communist Party of China (CPC), the country’s dominant political force. It stands for the Party’s administration of the country’s affairs and its leadership.
  • Four Smaller Stars: The four smaller stars symbolize the working class, peasants, urban petty bourgeoisie, and national bourgeoisie, respectively. The four smaller stars are positioned in an arc to the right of the bigger star, representing the CPC as the people’s leader.

China Flag Symbolic Importance

The Chinese flag, sometimes known as the five-star Red Flag, is extremely iconic for the country. The brilliant yellow stars signify the radiance of the Communist ideal, while the red backdrop represents the uprising that brought the Communist Party to power in 1949. As a result, the flag represents both China’s independence struggle and its socialist beliefs. The Chinese people hold it in great regard and exhibit it publicly during key national events and festivals. The Chinese flag expresses the Chinese people’s hopes for a better tomorrow and acts as a uniting symbol of national pride.

China Flag Raising Ceremony

China has a daily flag-raising ceremony in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. This official event takes place at daybreak and features troops in uniform hoisting the national flag as the national song plays. This ceremony is accessible to the public and is a prominent nationalistic rite in China. Similar events are held around the country, involving regional capitals and major government buildings.

The raising of the national flag at half-mast is an expression of sadness and respect for those who have died. China has strict rules on when and how to fly the flag at half-mast. This often includes moments of widespread sorrow, such as the passing of a well-known national figure or a significant disaster.

The Chinese people place great importance on the observance of ceremonial traditions and flag-related protocols. These practices serve as significant symbols of the country’s reverence for its rich history, esteemed leaders, and collective values.

China Flag Rules and Etiquette

Flag etiquette is strictly enforced in China. The national flag must be maintained with respect and kept free of damage or defacement at all times. When displayed with other flags, it should be in the center and tallest position, or centered in a row, with foreign flags to the right and others to the left. It should be firmly connected to vehicles and not lowered while in motion. When performed indoors, the flag should be hoisted so that the audience can see it on the stage’s right side. With suitable seriousness, the flag should be raised at daybreak and lowered at dusk, or as per local norms. Its size should be appropriate for the event, and there are size criteria for each. In parades, the national flag takes the lead position.

Men are expected to take off their hats and stand in attention during flag presentations and the national anthem. When the flag is flown in observance of a mourning period, it should momentarily soar to the peak before being lowered to half-mast, and it should do the same when it is down for the day.

Traditional China Flag Display Customs

The national flag of China is displayed according to conventions that highlight its value in Chinese history and cultural traditions. They serve as a reflection of the nation’s historic past and its efforts to instill a feeling of nationalism and harmony among its people.

Unique traditions surround the national flag of China. The stars on the flag are oriented in a certain way: the bigger star tends to be closer to the flagstaff, while the four smaller stars face the opposite direction.

In contrast to the rectangular folding observed elsewhere, it is traditional to fold the flag into a triangle with the red field facing outward. The flag is a symbol of honor in traditional Chinese ceremonies and events, especially during state banquets, official gatherings, and important festivities. It is also used in martial arts, dances, and cultural displays to demonstrate Chinese history and national pride. The flag can be seen during celebrations, uniting the nation as a whole. In school settings, daily flag-raising rituals encourage patriotism and inform students about the flag’s significance and history.

China Flag Trivia

The Guinness World Record for the biggest human national flag formation, set in 1999, has something to do with China’s flag and is an intriguing and distinctive flag fact. A whopping 10,008 individuals came together to form a giant living depiction of the Chinese national flag on September 29, 1999, in Beijing, China. This outstanding performance shattered the previous record and showed the togetherness and pride of the country. It’s evidence of the zeal and organization that China can muster for such occasions.

China Flag in Legends and Mythology

The flag of China, distinguished by its red backdrop and yellow stars, has a history intertwined with legends. One tale suggests Emperor Huangdi envisioned a yellow dragon with red scales, inspiring the flag’s colors. Another legend connects Confucius to the design, as he dreamt of a yellow star emitting red rays, symbolizing wisdom’s spread. Today, the flag signifies China’s cultural legacy and global influence. Its vibrant colors and captivating design inspire people worldwide, symbolizing the nation’s strength and perseverance.

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