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People's Republic of China

  • 中华人民共和国 (Chinese)
  • Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó (Pinyin)
National Emblem of China
National Emblem
Anthem: 义勇军进行曲
Yìyǒngjūn Jìnxíngqǔ
("March of the Volunteers")
Land controlled by the People's Republic of China shown in dark green; land claimed but uncontrolled shown in light green.
Land controlled by the People's Republic of China shown in dark green; land claimed but uncontrolled shown in light green.
Capital Beijing
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Largest city Shanghai (urban area)
Chongqing (city proper)
Official languages Standard Chinese
Recognised regional languages
Official script Simplified Chinese
Ethnic groups
  • Majority Han Chinese
Religion
Demonym(s) Chinese
Government Unitary Marxist–Leninist one-party socialist republic
• Party General Secretary
and President
Xi Jinping
• Premier
Li Keqiang
• Congress Chairman
Li Zhanshu
• Conference Chairman
Wang Yang
• First Secretary of the Party Secretariat
Wang Huning
• Secretary of the Discipline Inspection Commission
Zhao Leji
• First Vice Premier
Han Zheng
• Vice President
Wang Qishan
Legislature National People's Congress
Formation
c. 2070 BCE
221 BCE
1 January 1912
• Proclamation of the People's Republic
1 October 1949
• Current constitution
4 December 1982
• Last polity admitted
20 December 1999
Area
• Total
9,596,961 km2 (3,705,407 sq mi) (3rd/4th)
• Water (%)
2.8
Population
• 2019 estimate
Increase 1,400,050,000 (1st)
• 2010 census
1,340,910,000 (1st)
• Density
145/km2 (375.5/sq mi) (83rd)
GDP (PPP) 2020 estimate
• Total
Increase $24.2 trillion (1st)
• Per capita
Increase $17,206 (67th)
GDP (nominal) 2020 estimate
• Total
Increase $15.2 trillion (2nd)
• Per capita
Increase $10,839 (67th)
Gini (2018)  46.7
high
HDI (2018) Increase 0.758
high · 85th
Currency Renminbi (yuan; ¥) (CNY)
Time zone UTC+8 (China Standard Time)
Date format
Driving side right
Calling code +86
ISO 3166 code CN
Internet TLD
  • .cn
  • .中国
  • .中國

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 a population of 1.4 billion as of 2019, 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.

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).

China is the largest economy in the world by PPP since 2014, the world's second-largest economy by nominal GDP since 2010, and the largest economy in Eurasia.

China has been characterized as an emerging superpower, mainly because of its large economy, fast infrastructural development, and powerful military.

History

Yinxu
Yinxu, the ruins of the capital of the late Shang dynasty (14th century BCE)
Chinesische-mauer
China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, is famed for having united the Warring States' walls to form the Great Wall of China. Most of the present structure, however, dates to the Ming dynasty.
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, 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 great philosophies 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 peoples and the Mongols led 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. 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.

Still influenced by Western sources, China faced internal strife. The Taiping Rebellion or Taiping War occurred in China from 1851 through 1864. The Taiping Rebellion was led by Hong Xiuquan from Guangdon. Hong Xiuquan was influenced by Christian missionaries and declared himself the brother of Jesus. Hong made his mission to bring down the Qing Dynasty. Gaining influence on the southern Chinese population, the Taiping Rebellion attracted tens of thousands of supporters. The Taiping regime successfully created a state within the Qing Empire with the capital at Nanjing. Hong called his new state the Taiping Tianguo or "The Heavenly State of Great Peace". Local armies eventually suppressed the rebellion at the final battle of Nanjing.

In 1911, the Republic of China was founded by Sun Yat-sen, but its government was very weak. Warlords controlled many areas. Chiang Kai-shek led wars against them, and he became President and dictator.

In 1931, Japan invaded Manchuria, a place in the northeastern part of China. On July 7, 1937, the Japanese attacked the rest of the country, starting what was called the Second Sino-Japanese War. The war later became part of World War II. The war was fought for eight years and millions of Chinese people were killed.

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

However, 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.

Under Mao the country stayed poor while Taiwan became richer. His attempt at industrialization and collectivization with the Great Leap Forward led to the deaths of many people from famine. The Cultural Revolution caused great social upheaval. After 1976, China underwent market economy reforms under Deng Xiaoping, and experienced rapid economic growth. China is now one of the largest economies in the world, relying mainly on exports.

In recent history, China has had problems with protests, blocking of information on the Internet, and censorship of news. 1989 was notable for the controversial Tian An Men Massacre.

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.

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.

Politics

The Great Hall of the People
where the National People's Congress convenes
The Zhongnanhai, a headquarter of the Chinese government and Chinese Communist Party.

The Chinese constitution states that The People's Republic of China "is a socialist state under the people's democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants," and that the state organs "apply the principle of democratic centralism."

The PRC is one of the world's only socialist states explicitly aiming to build communism.

The Chinese government has been variously described as communist and socialist, but also as authoritarian and corporatist, with heavy restrictions in many areas, most notably against free access to the Internet, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, the right to have children, free formation of social organizations and freedom of religion.

Military

J-10a zhas
A PLAAF Chengdu J-10 fighter aircraft

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

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.

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.

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 three out of the ten largest stock exchanges in the world—Shanghai, Hong Kong and Shenzhen—that together have a market capitalization of over $10 trillion, as of 2019.

China has been the world's No. 1 manufacturer since 2010, after overtaking the US, which had been No. 1 for the previous hundred years. China has also been No. 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 in 2016 and more than 50% of the global market share in 2019.

China is the world's 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 solar 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.

Cities

China has over 160 cities with a population of over one million, including the seven megacities (cities with a population of over 10 million) of Chongqing, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Shenzhen, and Wuhan. Shanghai is China's most populous urban area while Chongqing is its largest city proper.

By 2025, it is estimated that the country will be home to 221 cities with over a million inhabitants.

Largest cities in China
Sixth National Population Census of the People's Republic of China (2010)
Rank Pop.
1 Shanghai 20,217,700
2 Beijing 16,446,900
3 Chongqing 11,871,200
4 Guangzhou 10,641,400
5 Shenzhen 10,358,400
6 Tianjin 9,562,300
7 Wuhan 7,541,500
8 Dongguan 7,271,300
9 Hong Kong 7,055,071
10 Foshan 6,771,900

People and culture

Yellow Register Archives of the Ming Dynasty, Nanjing (flickr 1559896574)
A Moon gate in a Chinese garden.

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

Dragon boat racing
Dragon boat racing, a popular traditional Chinese sport

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.

Cuisine

Chinese foods from different regional cuisines
Foods from different regional cuisines: laziji from Sichuan cuisine; xiaolongbao from Jiangsu cuisine; rice noodle roll from Cantonese cuisine; and Peking duck from Shandong cuisine

Chinese cuisine is highly diverse.

Generally, China's staple food is rice in the south, wheat-based breads and noodles in the north.

The diet of the common people in pre-modern times was largely grain and simple vegetables, with meat reserved for special occasions. And the bean products, such as tofu and soy milk, remain as a popular source of protein. Pork is now the most popular meat in China, accounting for about three-fourths of the country's total meat consumption.

While pork dominates the meat market, there is also the vegetarian Buddhist cuisine and the pork-free Chinese Islamic cuisine.

Southern cuisine, due to the area's proximity to the ocean and milder climate, has a wide variety of seafood and vegetables; it differs in many respects from the wheat-based diets across dry northern China.

Numerous offshoots of Chinese food, such as Hong Kong cuisine and American Chinese food, have emerged in the nations that play host to the Chinese diaspora.

Music

Pekin przedstawienie tradycjnego teatru chinskiego 7
The stories in Journey to the West are common themes in Peking opera

Chinese music covers a highly diverse range of music from the traditional music to the modern music. Chinese music dates back before the pre-imperial times. Traditional Chinese musical instruments were traditionally grouped into eight categories known as bayin (八音). Traditional Chinese opera is a form of musical theatre in China originating thousands of years and has regional style forms such as Beijing opera and Cantonese opera. Chinese pop (C-Pop) includes mandopop and cantopop. Chinese rap, Chinese hip hop and Hong Kong hip hop have become popular in contemporary times.

Transport

Duge Bridge
The Duge Bridge is the highest bridge in the world.

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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