The rectangular flag has a red background with five bright golden-yellow stars, each with five points on the top left corner. There is one large and four small stars arranged in a vertical arc. Red represents the spirit of the revolution, the blood of the soldiers who gave their lives, while the five stars represent a union of people under a common leadership. The large star symbolizes the control of the Communist Party, which rules China and the small stars stand for the people of the land. They represent the four classes - the workers, the peasants, the middle-class citizens or the petty bourgeoisie and the loyal capitalists. Alternatively, the four revolutionary classes-workers, farmers, students and soldiers-constituted the Chinese society.
According to another interpretation, the large golden-yellow star stands for the Han people and the small stars represent the Manchu, the Mongols, the Uighur and the Tibetans. On the other hand, this conviction is frowned upon by the central government owing to the fact that the Chinese government officially recognizes 56 and not 4 ethnic minorities in China. In addition, it does not want the Han majority to be given special recognition. The design went through many changes and was eventually approved by the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference on 27 th September 1949 at their First Plenary Session. The original draft contained quite a few alterations in comparison with the modern day flag.
Three of the original flag design candidates showed only one big golden-yellow star with one, two or three horizontal bars at the bottom of the flag, representing the three great rivers of China, the Yangtze River, the Huang He River, also called the Yellow or the Golden River, and the Zhu Jiang or the Pearl River. However, assuming that the bars in the design might evoke negative interpretations, threatening the integrity of the nation, officials did not give approval to it. A design featuring the large star and four stars in a vertical line below the large golden-yellow star was rejected in fear that it suggested struggle and incompatibilities. Another flag very much like the present day PRC flag had a hammer and sickle in red inside the large golden-yellow star. But the Communist symbol was removed because the PRC would have a Maoist leader and not a Communist state.
The flag is hoisted in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. The flag should only be handled in the way decreed by the Law of the National Flag of the People's Republic of China.
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