Beijing CNN  — 

When the People’s Republic of China was founded 70 years ago, China was a poor and underdeveloped country described colloquially in the West as “the poor man of Asia.”

Seven decades later and it is one of the most powerful nations in the world, boasting the second-largest economy globally. On Tuesday, Beijing held a massive celebration to mark the occasion, presided over by President Xi Jinping.

But the journey there has made for one of the most chaotic and costly periods in modern Chinese history. Here are five graphics which help break down the 70 years of the People’s Republic of China.

China’s economy has rapidly expanded since the beginning of market reforms by the government in the 1980s, and the country’s infrastructure has grown quickly to match it.

For example, China’s rail system is now the second largest in the world, after the United States.

As the country has grown richer, China’s population has slowly become wealthier as well.

They now buy vast numbers of consumer goods including smartphones, designer clothes and new cars. But a simple measure to show the rising quality of life in China is the growing consumption of pork across the country.

Despite the many advancements, the Chinese government is facing a number of challenges.

The draconian One Child policy, combined with rising costs of living, has led to a rapid drop in China’s birth rate and there is now a demographic crisis looming for the country.

Domestic security including policing and surveillance has been rapidly beefed up in the past decade, even overtaking external security in 2010.

Top illustration by Gabrielle Smith, CNN