10-yuan bills from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) contain a number of elements that remain consistent over time. Look for their similarities, and see how they reflect Chinese society in the late 20th century.

Bill A

Bill B

Compare a bill from 1965 with one from 1999. Notice details on both that symbolize the PRC as a multinational and multiethnic state officially composed of 56 nationalities.


The text “People’s Republic of China” appears both in large Chinese script and in smaller Manchu, Tibetan, Uyghur, and Mongolian scripts. These five languages are the most widely used in the PRC.


The five-star medallion of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) symbolizes the official policy of ethnic tolerance within the multinational state. The expansion of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) left the PRC with five major ethnic groups: Han Chinese, Manchus, Tibetans, Uyguhrs, and Mongolians. Officially these ethnic groups are free to develop their own cultures and languages and are not required to assimilate into a dominant culture. In practice, many tensions exist, particularly within the Tibetan and Uyguhr communities.




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