When Li Xueqin was born in Beijing on 28 March, 1933, the Republic of China was in power, with its capital in Nanjing, and the Japanese occupied Manchuria. On 29 July 1937 Japanese troops invaded Beijing and brought it under control in little more than a week. The occupation of Beijing lasted until the Japanese surrender in August 1945. The People's Liberation Army entered Beijing in the end of January of 1949 and on 1 October 1949, when Li Xueqin was sixteen, Mao Zedong proclaimed the establishment of the People's Republic of China. This period of warfare was followed by periods of political turmoil which often centered around intellectuals—thought reform in the early fifties, the anti-rightest campaigns and the Great Leap Forward of the late fifties and early sixties, the Cultural Revolution from the mid-sixties to the mid-seventies.
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