How China Got the Atomic Bomb

On 1964-10-16, Red China detonated its first nuclear device, called “Project 596” at its test site at Lop Nor (which the Americans now spell as “Lop Nur” because they believe names are more authentic when misspelled) in Sinkiang (“Xinjiang”, idem) province. This was a 22 kiloton enriched uranium implosion bomb similar to the first Soviet nuclear test and the U.S.Trinity “Fat Man” design. The history of China’s nuclear weapon development project was complicated by the shifting landscape of cooperation between the Soviet Union and China over the years, with the Soviets alternating between a desire to aid their socialist brethren and strengthen the position of their alliance vs. the West and distrust of Chinese intentions and the risk of China starting a conflict that might result in retaliation against the Soviet Union.