The EAST superconducting tokamak, based at the Institute of Plasma Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Hefei, China, achieved its first plasma discharge on September 27th. The plasma current reached up to 220 kA, and the maximum pulse length was 2.7 seconds. EAST, which is the most advanced fusion research device in China, is the largest superconducting tokamak equipped with a divertor. It will be used to study steady-state plasma operation issues.