British leased Hong Kong from China in 1898. The lease was good for 99 years, and Hong Kong returned to Chinese control July 1, 1997. According to the CIA World Factbook, Hong Kong is about six times the size of Washington, DC.
National Day of the People’s Republic of China is celebrated today. The present government came into being in 1949. Slightly smaller than the United States, China has a variety of habitats, from Mount Everest to deserts to tropics. About 1.349 billion people live in China, and the capital is Beijing.
Supernova 1604 first appeared in northern Italy in 1604. Johannes Kepler, while not the first scientist to see it, made observations of it while he was in Prague. Also known as Kepler’s Nova, the supernova, of the type to happen in the Milky Way, was the brightest star in the sky and was visible during the day for three weeks. Supernova 1604 was also observed and noted in China and in Korea.
Cassini-Huygens spacecraft was launched in 1997. The unmanned NASA craft reached Saturn, its goal, in 2004. Huygens broke away from Cassini and landed on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, on January 14, 2005.
Shenzhou 5 was launched from China in 2003. China’s first successful manned space venture sent Yang Liwei into earth orbit. He orbited earth 14 times and spent over 21 hours in space.
Taiwan was returned to Chinese rule in 1945 after being controlled by the Japanese for fifty years. During its reign Japan had the Taiwanese adopt the Japanese language and customs. Many young Taiwanese males served in the Japanese army during World War II. The transition back to Chinese daily life was not smooth.
Nepal celebrates Republic Day. It declared itself a republic in 2008. Located in the Himalayas between China and India, the country is about the size of Arkansas. Eight of the ten highest mountains, including Mount Everest, are within the country’s boundaries. Almost 31 million people live in Nepal, and Kathmandu is the capital.
Tiananmen Square Massacre occurred in Beijing, China, in 1989. Several thousand people were killed when Chinese troops opened fire on demonstrators. The protesters were demanding more freedom from the Chinese government. In the weeks following the massacre, thousands of demonstrators were imprisoned.