The five stars
Only the flag of the People's Republic of China is accepted as an authority. Nevertheless, two Special Administrative Regions, Hong Kong and Macau, are allowed to use their own flag in strictly regulated conditions.
As the People's Republic of China does not recognize the Republic of China (Taiwan), it does not recognize le Taiwanese flag either. During the meetings where both countries have to come close, such as the Olympic Games, Taiwan unfurls another flag than the national one.
The red flag displaying five yellow five-branched stars in the canton was officially adopted in 1949, on the day the republic was founded. Let us notice that the four little stars are in a semicircle and oriented towards the biggest one, as to underline their relationship around a single central point.
Red and yellow are the traditional colours of the Imperial China. However, according to official sources, red symbolizes the blood of the heroes who died during the Chinese revolution. Yellow is associated with the history and culture of the Chinese people. Nevertheless, it would seem that the colours of the flag have been inspired by the flag of the former Soviet Union.
Still according to official sources, the large star represents the common programme of the Chinese Communist Party while the four smaller ones appear as the social classes gathered under its leadership: workers, peasants, petty bourgeois and capitalists in favour of the Party. Other classifications were suggested that all depict the people's unity under the authority of the Party.
In fact, it is easy to multiply social interpretations, but China is a too old civilization not to evoke other symbols dating back to the dawn of time. The five-branched star, in particular, wonderfully illustrates the process of manifestation of the physical aspects in relation with yin and yang principles, which are so deeply rooted in the Chinese tradition.