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Manchuria, officially referred to as the People's Republic of Manchuria (PRM) (Mandarin: 满洲人民共和国), is a nation in East Asia. It borders the Soviet Union to the north, Mongolia and China to the west, and Korea to the south. A population of 107,350,000 makes Manchuria the 14th-largest nation in the world.
Once a province of neighboring China, Manchuria was granted its independence by Qing Emperor Pu Yi (the Xuantong Emperor) in October 1949, three years following the region's liberation from Japanese rule (as the puppet state of Manchukuo) at the end of World War II, in September 1945. Pu Yi's decision to grant Manchuria its independence stemmed from a necessity to rebuild a war-torn China without attempting to reintegrate Manchuria into the Empire. Within four years of its independence, Manchuria was overtaken in a Communist revolution led by Mao Zedong and the exiled former Communist Party of China, which was reformed into the Communist Party of Manchuria in 1950, with support from the neighboring Soviet Union.
With the economy stagnating by the late 1970s, the moderate reformists came to power, and began a major overhaul of the Manchurian economy, starting in 1978 with the 'First Wave' Reforms that de-collectivized national agriculture and opened Manchuria to foreign investment. Since then, the national economy has grown at an unprecedented rate, and drastically improved working conditions have become the norm; as well, private sector businesses have outstripped state-owned enterprises in overall profit since 1994. The Hulun Protests of 1989 were brought about in part by continuing corruption in the bureaucracy that had inhibited economic improvement programs since the beginning of the 'Second Wave' Reforms in 1984. The protests also led to a violent crackdown by the military in which hundreds, possibly thousands, were killed, in an event now known as the Hulun Massacre - an event largely condemned by the international community. This also led to a near-reversal of many of the economic reforms which had begun to open the country to the outside world.
The intervening eight years since have brought about major governmental reforms as well as a rapidly-increased presence of private and foreign businesses, namely American retail corporations like Sears and Montgomery Ward in the mid-'80s, followed by fast food and pizza chains like McDonald's and Little Caesar's in 1991 and 1993, respectively. Today, Manchuria is a far cry from its Cold War-era self, and at its current rate of growth, the economy is poised to become one of the world's largest by 2005.
World War II and Japanese Domination (1938-1945)
Main Article: World War II (1938-1945)