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People's Republic of China

中华人民共和国
Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó
{{{coat_alt}}}
National Emblem
Anthem: 
"March of the Volunteers"
义勇军进行曲
Official area of the People's Republic of China shown in dark red; area claimed but disputed shown in light red.
Official area of the People's Republic of China shown in dark red; area claimed but disputed shown in light red.
Capital Beijing
Largest city Shanghai
Official languages Standard Chinese
(or Putonghua)
Recognised regional languages Mongolian, Tibetan, Uyghur, Zhuang, and various others
Official written language
Chinese
Official script
Simplified Chinese
Ethnic groups
91.51% Han; 55 recognised minorities
Demonym(s) Chinese
Government Unitary socialist one-party state
Xi Jinping
• Premier
Li Keqiang
• Congress Chairman
Zhang Dejiang
• Conference Chairman
Yu Zhengsheng
Legislature National People's Congress
Establishment
• Unification of China under the Qin Dynasty
221 BC
1 January 1912
1 October 1949
Area
• Total
9,640,821 km2 (3,722,342 sq mi)or 9,671,018 km² (3rd/4th)
• Water (%)
2.8
Population
• 2010 census
1,339,724,852 (1st)
• Density
139.6/km2 (361.6/sq mi) (83rd)
GDP (PPP) 2012 estimate
• Total
$12.382 trillion (2nd)
• Per capita
$9,146 (91st)
GDP (nominal) 2012 estimate
• Total
$8.250 trillion (2nd)
• Per capita
$6,094 (90th)
Gini (2012) 47.4
high
HDI (2011) Increase 0.699
medium · 101st
Currency Renminbi (yuan) (¥) (CNY)
Time zone UTC+8 (China Standard Time)
Date format yyyy-mm-dd
or yyyymd
(CE; CE-1949)
Driving side right, except for Hong Kong & Macau
Calling code +86
ISO 3166 code CN
Internet TLD

.cn .中國

.中国
a. Simple descriptions of the political structure since the 1980s are no longer possible.

b. 9,598,086 km2 (3,705,842 sq mi) excludes all disputed territories.
9,640,821 km2 (3,722,342 sq mi) includes Chinese-administered area (Aksai Chin and Trans-Karakoram Tract, both territories claimed by India), Taiwan is not included.

c. Information for mainland China only. Does not include Hong Kong, Macau, and territories under the control of the Republic of China (Taiwan).

The People's Republic of China (PRC) (simplified Chinese: 中华人民共和国; traditional Chinese: 中華人民共和國) is a one-party state in East Asia governed by the Communist Party of China. It was founded on 1 October 1949. It has more than 1.3 billion people, which is more than any other country in the world. It covers an area of 9.6 million square kilometers.

The capital city is Beijing, and Shanghai is the city with the most people living in it. Along with the cities of Tianjin and Chongqing, these four cities are "municipalities" directly controlled by the national government. Two other cities are given the status of "special administrative region". They are Hong Kong, which was once a colony of the United Kingdom and given back to China in 1997; and Macau, which Portugal gave back in 1999. These two cities remain highly autonomous. Aside from the "municipalities" and the "SAR's", there are 23 provinces and five "autonomous regions", or regions with more law-making rights than the provinces and with a large number of people of a minority group population. They are the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the Tibet Autonomous Region or Xizang Autonomous Region, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region or Nei Mongol Autonomous Region, and the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

The central government is responsible for defense and foreign affairs but not the daily operations for 50 years. PRC claims Taiwan as one of its many provinces. However, PRC does not have control of Taiwan which has an entirely different political system and officially known as the Republic of China (Taiwan).

History

See also: History of China

China has one of the world's oldest civilizations and has the oldest continuous civilization. It has archaeological evidence over 5,000 years old. It also has one of the world's oldest writing systems (and the oldest in use today), and is viewed as the source of many major inventions.

Ancient (2100 B.C. - 1500 A.D.)

Ancient China was one of the first civilizations and was active since the 2nd millennium BC as a feudal society. Chinese civilization was also one of the few to invent writing, with the others being Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley civilization, the Maya civilization, the Minoan civilization of ancient Greece, and Ancient Egypt. It reached its golden age during the Tang Dynasty (c. A.D. 10th century). Home of Confucianism and Daoism, it had great influence on nearby countries including Japan, Korea, and Vietnam in the areas of political system, philosophy, religion, art, and even writing and literature. China is home to some of the oldest artwork in the world. Statues and pottery, as well as decorations made of jade, are some classic examples.

Before the Qin Dynasty united China, there were hundreds of small states that fought each other for hundreds of years in a war to control China. This is known as the Warring States Period. Although the continuing wars made people suffer, it was at this time when many of the great philosophies of the East were born, including Confucianism and Daoism. Confucianism and Daoism alone have been the foundation of many social values seen in modern eastern-Asian cultures today.

Its geography mostly looked like that of modern China, except with northern and western edges that varied. It was often attacked by northern nomadic people such as the Turkic tribes and the Mongols lead by Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan. During the history of ancient China, the northern nomadic people and the Chinese people had been fighting each other and taking turns to rule the land and the people of China. However, when the northern people beat the Chinese people and came to rule the kingdom, they also Incorporated the Chinese way of living and became like the Chinese. Many of the strongest dynasties of China were ruled by the northern people, including the Qin, Tang, Yuan (Mongolian), and Qing (Manchu). Each time, they also brought new elements into the Chinese culture.

A new age

While China achieved many things in the First millennium and early 2nd millennium, it became an isolationist country in the 15th century C.E. This was because Spain found enormous silver in the new continent, which was the main currency (money) in China and Europe at the time, and China did not want to be bought by the foreigners.

By the time of the Renaissance, European powers started to take over other countries in Asia. While China was never actually taken over, many European countries, such as Britain and France built spheres of influence in China. Since China had cut itself off from the world over the previous few centuries, by the Qing Dynasty, it had fallen behind other countries in technology, and was helpless to stop this from happening. This had become clear when it lost the Opium Wars to Britain in the 19th century.

In 1912, the Qing dynasty was overthrown by the Sun Yat-sen and the Kuomintang, a nationalist party, and the Republic of China established. Over time, Marxist ideas grew popular and the Communist party was formed.

The Chinese Civil War later started between the Kuomintang (Nationalists) of the Republic of China (ROC) and the Communists of the People's Republic of China (PRC). The Communists wanted to make China like the Soviet Union, whereas the other side wanted to keep China in its current state at the time. The Communists were led by Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi and others. Later Liu lost influence with Mao and his death to this day remains unresolved. The Communists eventually won the war. The Nationalists (led by Chiang Kai-shek) fled to the island of Taiwan and set up their new capital city in Taipei. After the Chinese Civil War, the Communist leader Mao Zedong declared a new country, the People's Republic of China (PRC), in Beijing on October 1, 1949.

In 1927, the Chinese Civil War began as the Kuomintang, led by Chiang Kai-shek, and the Communists fought one another. By 1949, the Red Army of the Chinese Communist Party had gained control over mainland China and Mao Zedong announced the creation of the People's Republic of China. Chiang Kai-shek and the other nationalists fled to Taiwan.

China, Mao (2)
Mao Zedong founding the People's Republic of China in 1949

As the leader of the People's Republic of China, Mao began many social and economic reform projects with mixed results. The Great Leap Forward, from 1958 to 1961, tried to industrialize China and increase its food production, but resulted in one of the largest famines in history. It is estimated that 45 million people died as a result of this reform project. In 1966, Mao began the Cultural Revolution to remove capitalist influences from society and government. Major government officials and ordinary citizens were accused of being "revisionists" - people who disagreed with some parts of Marxism - or "counter-revolutionaries" and were persecuted. Many universities and schools were closed, and historical and religious sites were destroyed. Although the program officially ended in 1969, it continued until Mao's death in 1976.

During this time period, the People's Republic of China did not get along with the capitalist countries of the Western world. Beginning in the 1960s, relationships between the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union also became increasingly unfriendly in the Sino-Soviet Split. In 1972, to counter the power of the Soviet Union, Mao and Zhou Enlai met with US President Richard Nixon in Beijing. This began to improve relationships between China and the Western world.

After Mao's death, there was a power struggle between the Gang of Four and Hua Guofeng, the man Mao had chosen to be the next leader of China. Eventually, Deng Xiaoping, one of the veterans of the revolution, took power. He began a "Reform and Opening Up" (simplified Chinese: 改革开放; traditional Chinese: 改革開放) campaign. These reforms tried to make the People's Republic of China a modern, industrial - but still socialist - nation by moving towards a market system. Deng's policies would be known as "socialism with Chinese characteristics."

Although Deng's policy helped loosen restrictions on citizens, the People's Republic of China continues to have problems with the amount of control the government has over citizens' private lives. In 1979, the one-child policy, which limits most couples to one child, was created because of the overpopulation problem in the People's Republic of China. This policy is highly controversial and many Westerners have criticized it. News and Internet sites are also censored by the government.

In 1989, the Chinese government used soldiers and tanks to stop a protest in Beijing's Tiananmen Square organized by students seeking political reform. This action received worldwide criticism and led to economic sanctions being placed on the Chinese government.

In August 2008, China hosted the Summer Olympics for the first time.

Geography

China's landscape is vast and diverse, ranging from the Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts in the arid north to subtropical forests in the wetter south. The Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamir and Tian Shan mountain ranges separate China from much of South and Central Asia. The Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, the third- and sixth-longest in the world, respectively, run from the Tibetan Plateau to the densely populated eastern seaboard. China's coastline along the Pacific Ocean is 14,500 kilometers (9,000 mi) long and is bounded by the Bohai, Yellow, East China and South China seas. China connects through the Kazakh border to the Eurasian Steppe which has been an artery of communication between East and West since the Neolithic through the Steppe route – the ancestor of the terrestrial Silk Road(s).

Landscape and climate

The territory of China lies between latitudes 18° and 54° N, and longitudes 73° and 135° E. China's landscapes vary significantly across its vast width. In the east, along the shores of the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea, there are extensive and densely populated alluvial plains, while on the edges of the Inner Mongolian plateau in the north, broad grasslands predominate. Southern China is dominated by hills and low mountain ranges, while the central-east hosts the deltas of China's two major rivers, the Yellow River and the Yangtze River. Other major rivers include the Xi, Mekong, Brahmaputra and Amur. To the west sit major mountain ranges, most notably the Himalayas. High plateaus feature among the more arid landscapes of the north, such as the Taklamakan and the Gobi Desert. The world's highest point, Mount Everest (8,848m), lies on the Sino-Nepalese border. The country's lowest point, and the world's third-lowest, is the dried lake bed of Ayding Lake (−154m) in the Turpan Depression.

Biluthu Yinderitu
Yinderitu Lake in the Badain Jaran Desert in Inner Mongolia

China's climate is mainly dominated by dry seasons and wet monsoons, which lead to pronounced temperature differences between winter and summer. In the winter, northern winds coming from high-latitude areas are cold and dry; in summer, southern winds from coastal areas at lower latitudes are warm and moist. The climate in China differs from region to region because of the country's highly complex topography.

A major environmental issue in China is the continued expansion of its deserts, particularly the Gobi Desert. Although barrier tree lines planted since the 1970s have reduced the frequency of sandstorms, prolonged drought and poor agricultural practices have resulted in dust storms plaguing northern China each spring, which then spread to other parts of east Asia, including Korea and Japan. China's environmental watchdog, SEPA, stated in 2007 that China is losing 4,000 km2 (1,500 sq mi) per year to desertification. Water quality, erosion, and pollution control have become important issues in China's relations with other countries. Melting glaciers in the Himalayas could potentially lead to water shortages for hundreds of millions of people.
China apparently has a very good agriculturally suitable climate and has been the largest producer of rice, wheat, tomatoes, brinjal, grapes, water melon, spinach in the world.

Biodiversity

Panda Cub from Wolong, Sichuan, China
A giant panda photographed in Sichuan.

China is one of 17 megadiverse countries. It is in two of the world's major ecozones: the Palearctic and the Indomalaya. In the Palearctic zone, mammals such as the horse, camel, tapir, and jerboa can be found. Among the species in the Indomalaya region are the Leopard Cat, bamboo rat, treeshrew, and various monkey and ape species. Some overlap is between the two regions; deer, antelope, bears, wolves, pigs, and many rodent species can all be found in China's environments. The famous giant panda is found only in a limited area along the Yangtze River. China has a continuing problem with trade in endangered species. There are now laws to stop such activities.

China also has a variety of forest types. Cold coniferous forests cover most of the north of the country. The forest have animal species such as moose and the Asian black bear, along with over 120 bird species. Moist conifer forests can have thickets of bamboo. It is replaced by rhododendrons in higher montane stands of juniper and yew. Subtropical forests, which are mostly in central and southern China. These support as many as 146,000 species of flora. Tropical and seasonal rainforests, though confined to Yunnan and Hainan Island, have a quarter of all the plant and animal species found in China.

Military

The PRC Armed Forces, also known as the People's Liberation Army (PLA), is one of the most powerful armies in the world. Nowadays PRC is among the atomic powers in the world. It also has the largest standing army in the world of over 2 million soldiers on active duty.

Economy

Graph of Major Developing Economies by Real GDP per capita at PPP 1990-2013
China and other major developing economies by GDP per capita at purchasing-power parity, 1990–2013. The rapid economic growth of China (blue) is readily apparent.

China had the largest economy in the world for most of the past two thousand years, during which it has seen cycles of prosperity and decline. As of 2018, China had the world's second-largest economy in terms of nominal GDP, totaling approximately US$13.5 trillion (90 trillion Yuan).

In terms of purchasing power parity (PPP GDP), China's economy has been the largest in the world since 2014, according to the World Bank.

Since economic reforms began in 1978, China has developed into a highly diversified economy and one of the most consequential players in international trade. Major sectors of competitive strength include manufacturing, retail, mining, steel, textiles, automobiles, energy generation, green energy, banking, electronics, telecommunications, real estate, e-commerce, and tourism.

China has been the world's #1 manufacturer since 2010, after overtaking the US, which had been #1 for the previous hundred years. China has also been #2 in high-tech manufacturing since 2012, according to US National Science Foundation.

China is the second largest retail market in the world, next to the United States. China leads the world in e-commerce, accounting for 40% of the global market share. China is the leader in electric vehicles, manufacturing and buying half of all the plug-in electric cars (BEV and PHEV) in the world in 2018.

China had 174 GW of installed solar capacity by the end of 2018, which amounts to more than 40% of the global capacity.

China brought more people out of extreme poverty than any other country in history—between 1978 and 2018, China reduced extreme poverty by 800 million. China reduced the extreme poverty rate—per international standard, it refers to an income of less than $1.90/day—from 88% in 1981 to 1.85% by 2013. According to the World Bank, the number of Chinese in extreme poverty fell from 756 million to 25 million between 1990 and 2013.

Economic history and growth

People's Bank of China in Beijing is the central bank of the People's Republic of China.
The Shanghai Stock Exchange building in Shanghai's Lujiazui financial district. Shanghai has the 25th-largest city GDP in the world, totalling US$304 billion in 2011.
The headquarters of the oil company Sinopec in Beijing. Sinopec was China's largest and the world's third-largest company by revenue in 2014, with a total annual revenue of over US$450 billion.
Headquarters of Alibaba Group in Hangzhou. Alibaba is the world's largest retailer and e-commerce company, one of the largest Internet and AI companies.

From its founding in 1949 until late 1978, the People's Republic of China was a Soviet-style centrally planned economy. Following Mao's death in 1976 and the consequent end of the Cultural Revolution, Deng Xiaoping and the new Chinese leadership began to reform the economy and move towards a more market-oriented mixed economy under one-party rule. Agricultural collectivization was dismantled and farmlands privatized, while foreign trade became a major new focus, leading to the creation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Inefficient state-owned enterprises (SOEs) were restructured and unprofitable ones were closed outright, resulting in massive job losses.

Modern-day China is mainly characterized as having a market economy based on private property ownership, and is one of the leading examples of state capitalism. The state still dominates in strategic "pillar" sectors such as energy production and heavy industries, but private enterprise has expanded enormously, with around 30 million private businesses recorded in 2008. In 2018, private enterprises in China accounted for 60% of GDP, 80% of urban employment and 90% of new jobs.

In 2015, China's Middle Class became the largest in the world. Since economic liberalization began in 1978, China has been among the world's fastest-growing economies, relying largely on investment- and export-led growth.

Its high productivity, low labor costs and relatively good infrastructure have made it a global leader in manufacturing. China ranks #1 in the production of steel, aluminum and automobiles—China's global market shares are 50% in steel, 50% in aluminum and 30% in automobile manufacturing. China has also been increasingly turning to automation, becoming the world's largest market for industrial robots in 2013. Between 2010 and 2015, China installed 90,000 industrial robots, or one-third of the world's total. In 2017, China bought 36% of all the new industrial robots in the world. China's plan is to also domestically design and manufacture 100,000 industrial robots by 2020.

However, the Chinese economy is highly energy-intensive and inefficient; China became the world's largest energy consumer in 2010, relies on coal to supply over 70% of its energy needs, and surpassed the US to become the world's largest oil importer in 2013. In the last decade, China has become #1 in the world in terms of installed solar power capacity, hydro-power and wind power. According to the World Economic Forum, China will account for 40% of the global renewable energy by 2022.

In the early 2010s, China's economic growth rate began to slow amid domestic credit troubles, weakening international demand for Chinese exports and fragility in the global economy. China's GDP was smaller than Germany's in 2007; however, by 2017, China's $12.2 trillion-economy became larger than those of Germany, UK, France and Italy combined.

In 2018, the IMF reiterated its forecast that China will overtake the US in terms of nominal GDP by the year 2030. Economists also expect China's middle class to expand to 600 million people by 2025.

Tourism is a major contributor to the economy. In 2017, this sector contributed about CNY 8.77 trillion (US$1.35 trillion), 11.04% of the GDP, and contributed direct and indirect employment of up to 28.25 million people. There were 139.48 million inbound trips and five billion domestic trips.

China is now #1 in the number of skyscrapers (buildings taller than 200m), accounting for about 50% of world's total. In four years—2015 through 2018—China built 310 skyscrapers, while the corresponding number for the US was 33.

Hi-Tech Industry in China

China is the world's largest e-commerce market, amounting to 42% of the global market by 2016. China's e-commerce market had online sales of more than $1 trillion in 2018, according to PWC.

China is also second only to the United States in venture capital activity.

In late 2018, the world's most valuable startup was ByteDance, a Chinese company; and the two most valuable AI (Artificial Intelligence) startups in the world were SenseTime and Face++, both from China. In 2017, China's State Council released its Artificial Intelligence Development Plan, which declared AI technology a priority economic growth and investment sector. In 2018, China created 97 "unicorns" – startups that are worth more than $1 billion – which amounted to 1 unicorn every 3.8 days.

Chinese smartphone brands – Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus etc. – have captured more than 40% of the global market. In 2018, Huawei became the largest telecom infrastructure provider and also took the #2 spot from Apple as a smartphone vendor.

People and culture

There are 56 recognized minority ethnic minority groups in China. Han is the largest ethnic group in China (92% of the population). Mandarin Chinese is the main spoken language.

China is the origin of Eastern martial arts, called Kung Fu or its first name Wushu. China is also the home of the well-respected Spa Monastery and Wudang Mountains. Martial art started more for the purpose of survival, defense, and warfare than art. Over time some art forms have branched off, while others have retained their distinct Chinese flavor.

China has had renoned artists including Wong Fei Hung (Huang Fei Hung or Hwang Fei Hung) and many others. Art has also co-existed with a variety of paints including the more standard 18 colors. Legendary and controversial moves like Big Mak are also praised and talked about within the culture.

China has many traditional festivals, such as Spring Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-autumn Festival and so on. The most significant is Chinese New Year. People in China will have holidays to celebrate these festivals.

Festivals

Spring Festival is the Chinese New Year. It lasts fifteen days. It starts with the first day of the Chinese lunar year and ends with the full moon fifteen days later. On the first day of the Spring Festival, people call on friends and relatives. Because most of people watch the Spring Festival Celebrations on CCTV all the night on New Year's Eve and don't go to bed until 12:00 AM, they usually get up later in the next day. The fifth day of the Spring Festival is the day to welcome the god of Wealth (Chinese:财神爷), many people make and eat dumplings (Chinese:饺子). They believe that dumplings can hold the god of Wealth and bring luck.The last day of the Spring Festival is the Lantern Festival. On this day, the moon becomes the full moon. People go out and watch the lantern festivals everywhere. After that, they eat sweet dumpling (Chinese:汤圆,元宵), a kind of dumpling which is round and looks like the full moon.

Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated to commemorate the death of Qu Yuan, a patriotic poet of the State of Chu during the Warring States period. He persuaded his emperor not to accept Qin's diplomats' offers several times but his emperor did not listen to him. He was very sad and ended up jumping into the river to end his life. The people loved him so much that they did not want the fish to eat his corpse. They made and threw rice dumplings into the river. They hope the fish eat these dumplings instead of the poet's corpse. They also rowed dragon boats in the river to get rid of the fish. Such practices, eating rice dumplings and holding dragon boat races, become what Chinese do in this festival nowadays.

Held on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month, Mid-Autumn Festival is a festival for families. Now when the festival sets in, people would sit together to eat moon cakes, appreciate the bright full moon cakes, appreciate the bright full moon, celebrate the bumper harvest and enjoy the family love and happiness. To the Chinese people, the full moon symbolizes family reunion, as does the "moon cakes." Hence the Mid-Autumn Festival is also called the Family Reunion Festival.

Transport

Trains are commonly used for moving from one place to another, mainly for long distances. Bullet trains are faster and more common in the cities. China has more high-speed trains than any other country in the world. Buses and air transport are also very common.

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