This paper exhibits the historical evolution of the balance sheet in the People's Republic of China. In particular, we examine three major changes in the balance sheet (which reports the financial position of an economic or business entity) since the founding of the new China in 1949 and the political, social and economic changes during this period. The content, structure and presentation of the balance sheet (or alternative forms of the statement in use) are illustrated. The political and economic factors driving its evolution are analyzed to assist readers in understanding the rapid changes in Chinese accounting over the last six decades. The implications of the Chinese experience for international accounting convergence are also briefly outlined.

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