Communications in the People's Republic of China

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The People's Republic of China possesses a diversified communications system that links all parts of the country by Internet, telephone, telegraph, radio, and television. None of the telecommunications forms are as prevalent or as advanced as those in modern Western countries, but the system includes some of the most sophisticated technology in the world and constitutes a foundation for further development of a modern network.



When the People's Republic was founded in 1949, the telecommunications systems and facilities in China were outdated and rudimentary, and many had been damaged or destroyed during the war years. Those that did exist were largely limited to the eastern coastal cities, the Nanjing-Shanghai region, and a few interior cities. In the 1950s existing facilities were repaired, and, with Soviet assistance, considerable progress was made toward establishing a long-distance telephone wire network connecting Beijing to provincial-level capitals.

Communications in China were established rapidly in the early 1950s. By 1952 the principal telecommunications network centered on Beijing, and links to all large cities had finally been established. Work quickly got under way to repair, renovate and expand the system, and from 1956 telecommunications routes were extended more rapidly. To increase the efficiency of the communications system, the same lines were used for both telegraphic and telephone service, while Teletype and television (broadcasting) services were also added.

In addition, conference telephone service was initiated, radio communications were improved, and the production of telecommunications equipment was accelerated. Growth in telecommunications halted with the general economic collapse after the Great Leap Forward (1958–60) but revived in the 1960s after the telephone network was expanded and improved equipment was introduced, including imports of Western plants and equipment.

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