China

China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion.[10] Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area.[k][16] Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

China emerged as one of the world's earliest civilizations, in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. For millennia, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies, or dynasties, beginning with the semi-legendary Xia dynasty in 21st century BCE.[17] Since then, China has expanded, fractured, and re-unified numerous times. In the 3rd century BCE, the Qin reunited core China and established the first Chinese empire. The succeeding Han dynasty, which ruled from 206 BC until 220 AD, saw some of the most advanced technology at that time, including papermaking and the compass,[18] along with agricultural and medical improvements. The invention of gunpowder and movable type in the Tang dynasty (618–907) and Northern Song (960–1127) completed the Four Great Inventions. Tang culture spread widely in Asia, as the new Silk Route brought traders to as far as Mesopotamia and Horn of Africa.[19] Dynastic rule ended in 1912 with the Xinhai Revolution, when a republic replaced the Qing dynasty. The Chinese Civil War resulted in a division of territory in 1949, when the Communist Party of China established the People's Republic of China, a unitary one-party sovereign state on Mainland China, while the Kuomintang-led government retreated to the island of Taiwan. The political status of Taiwan remains disputed.

Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China's economy has been one of the world's fastest-growing with annual growth rates consistently above 6 percent.[20] According to the World Bank, China's GDP grew from $150 billion in 1978 to $12.24 trillion by 2017.[21] Since 2010, China has been the world's second-largest economy by nominal GDP[22] and since 2014, the largest economy in the world by purchasing power parity (PPP).[23] China is also the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods.[24] China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army and second-largest defense budget.[25][26] The PRC is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as it replaced the ROC in 1971, as well as an active global partner of ASEAN Plus mechanism. China is also a leading member of numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), WTO, APEC, BRICS, the BCIM, and the G20. In recent times, China has been widely characterized as a global superpower.[27][28][29]

People's Republic of China

  • 中华人民共和国 (Chinese)
    Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó (Pinyin)
Anthem: 
Area controlled by the People's Republic of China shown in dark green; claimed but uncontrolled regions shown in light green.
Area controlled by the People's Republic of China shown in dark green; claimed but uncontrolled regions shown in light green.
CapitalBeijing[a]
39°55′N 116°23′E / 39.917°N 116.383°E
Largest cityShanghai[1]
Official languagesStandard Chinese[2][b]
Recognised regional languages
Official scriptSimplified Chinese[c]
Ethnic groups
Religion
See Religion in China
Demonym(s)Chinese
GovernmentUnitary one-party socialist republic[5]
Xi Jinping[e]
• Premier
Li Keqiang
Li Zhanshu
Wang Yang
• First Secretary of the Party Secretariat
Wang Huning
Zhao Leji
• First Vice Premier
Han Zheng
Wang Qishan[f]
LegislatureNational People's Congress
Formation
c. 2070 BCE
221 BCE
1 January 1912
1 October 1949
4 December 1982
20 December 1999
Area
• Total
9,596,961 km2 (3,705,407 sq mi)[g] (3rd/4th)
• Water (%)
2.8%[h]
Population
• 2016 estimate
Increase1,403,500,365 [10] (1st)
• 2010 census
1,339,724,852[11] (1st)
• Density
145[12]/km2 (375.5/sq mi) (83rd)
GDP (PPP)2019 estimate
• Total
$27.449 trillion[13] (1st)
• Per capita
$19,559[13] (79th)
GDP (nominal)2019 estimate
• Total
$14.172 trillion[13] (2nd)
• Per capita
$10,099[13] (71st)
Gini (2015)46.2[14]
high
HDI (2017)Increase 0.752[15]
high · 86th
CurrencyRenminbi (yuan; ¥)[i] (CNY)
Time zoneUTC+8 (China Standard Time)
Date format
Driving sideright[j]
Calling code+86
ISO 3166 codeCN
Internet TLD

Names

China
China (Chinese characters)
"China" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters
Chinese name
Hanyu PinyinZhōngguó
Literal meaningMiddle or Central State[30]
Portuguese name
PortugueseChina
People's Republic of China
PRC (Chinese characters
"People's Republic of China" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters
Chinese name
Hanyu PinyinZhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó
Tibetan name
Tibetanཀྲུང་ཧྭ་མི་དམངས་སྤྱི
མཐུན་རྒྱལ་ཁབ
Zhuang name
ZhuangCunghvaz Yinzminz Gunghozgoz
Mongolian name
Mongolian Cyrillic
Mongolian-PRC2
Uyghur name
Uyghurجۇڭخۇا خەلق جۇمھۇرىيىتى
Portuguese name
PortugueseRepública Popular da China

The word "China" has been used in English since the 16th century. It is not a word used by the Chinese themselves. It has been traced through Portuguese, Malay, and Persian back to the Sanskrit word Cīna, used in ancient India.[31]

"China" appears in Richard Eden's 1555 translation[l] of the 1516 journal of the Portuguese explorer Duarte Barbosa.[m][31] Barbosa's usage was derived from Persian Chīn (چین), which was in turn derived from Sanskrit Cīna (चीन).[36] Cīna was first used in early Hindu scripture, including the Mahābhārata (5th century BCE) and the Laws of Manu (2nd century BCE).[37] In 1655, Martino Martini suggested that the word China is derived ultimately from the name of the Qin dynasty (221–206 BC).[38] Although this derivation is still given in various sources,[39] it is complicated by the fact that the Sanskrit word appears in pre-Qin literature. The word may have originally referred to a state such as Yelang. Later, the meaning transferred to China as a whole.[37][40] The origin of the Sanskrit word is still a matter of debate, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.[31]

The official name of the modern state is the "People's Republic of China" (Chinese: 中华人民共和国; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó). The shorter form is "China" Zhōngguó (中国), from zhōng ("central") and guó ("state"),[n] a term which developed under the Western Zhou dynasty in reference to its royal demesne.[o] It was then applied to the area around Luoyi (present-day Luoyang) during the Eastern Zhou and then to China's Central Plain before being used as an occasional synonym for the state under the Qing.[42] It was often used as a cultural concept to distinguish the Huaxia people from perceived "barbarians".[42] The name Zhongguo is also translated as "Middle Kingdom" in English.[44]

History

Prehistory

National Museum of China 2014.02.01 14-43-38
10,000 years old pottery, Xianren Cave culture (18000–7000 BCE)

Archaeological evidence suggests that early hominids inhabited China between 2.24 million and 250,000 years ago.[45] The hominid fossils of Peking Man, a Homo erectus who used fire,[46] were discovered in a cave at Zhoukoudian near Beijing; they have been dated to between 680,000 and 780,000 years ago.[47] The fossilized teeth of Homo sapiens (dated to 125,000–80,000 years ago) have been discovered in Fuyan Cave in Dao County, Hunan.[48] Chinese proto-writing existed in Jiahu around 7000 BCE,[49] Damaidi around 6000 BCE,[50] Dadiwan from 5800–5400 BCE, and Banpo dating from the 5th millennium BCE. Some scholars have suggested that the Jiahu symbols (7th millennium BCE) constituted the earliest Chinese writing system.[49]

Early dynastic rule

Yinxu
Yinxu, the ruins of the capital of the late Shang dynasty (14th century BCE)

According to Chinese tradition, the first dynasty was the Xia, which emerged around 2100 BCE.[51] The dynasty was considered mythical by historians until scientific excavations found early Bronze Age sites at Erlitou, Henan in 1959.[52] It remains unclear whether these sites are the remains of the Xia dynasty or of another culture from the same period.[53] The succeeding Shang dynasty is the earliest to be confirmed by contemporary records.[54] The Shang ruled the plain of the Yellow River in eastern China from the 17th to the 11th century BCE.[55] Their oracle bone script (from c. 1500 BCE)[56][57] represents the oldest form of Chinese writing yet found,[58] and is a direct ancestor of modern Chinese characters.[59]

The Shang was conquered by the Zhou, who ruled between the 11th and 5th centuries BCE, though centralized authority was slowly eroded by feudal warlords. Some principalities eventually emerged from the weakened Zhou, no longer fully obeyed the Zhou king and continually waged war with each other in the 300-year Spring and Autumn period. By the time of the Warring States period of the 5th–3rd centuries BCE, there were only seven powerful states left.

Imperial China

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.

The Warring States period ended in 221 BCE after the state of Qin conquered the other six kingdoms, reunited China and established the dominant order of totalitarian autocracy. King Zheng of Qin proclaimed himself the First Emperor of the Qin dynasty. He enacted Qin's legalist reforms throughout China, notably the forced standardization of Chinese characters, measurements, road widths (i.e., cart axles' length), and currency. His dynasty also conquered the Yue tribes in Guangxi, Guangdong, and Vietnam.[60] The Qin dynasty lasted only fifteen years, falling soon after the First Emperor's death, as his harsh authoritarian policies led to widespread rebellion.[61][62]

Following a widespread civil war during which the imperial library at Xianyang was burned,[p] the Han dynasty emerged to rule China between 206 BCE and CE 220, creating a cultural identity among its populace still remembered in the ethnonym of the Han Chinese.[61][62] The Han expanded the empire's territory considerably, with military campaigns reaching Central Asia, Mongolia, South Korea, and Yunnan, and the recovery of Guangdong and northern Vietnam from Nanyue. Han involvement in Central Asia and Sogdia helped establish the land route of the Silk Road, replacing the earlier path over the Himalayas to India. Han China gradually became the largest economy of the ancient world.[64] Despite the Han's initial decentralization and the official abandonment of the Qin philosophy of Legalism in favor of Confucianism, Qin's legalist institutions and policies continued to be employed by the Han government and its successors.[65]

Terracotta pmorgan
The Terracotta Army (c. 210 BCE) discovered outside the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, now Xi'an

After the end of the Han dynasty, a period of strife known as Three Kingdoms followed,[66] whose central figures were later immortalized in one of the Four Classics of Chinese literature. At its end, Wei was swiftly overthrown by the Jin dynasty. The Jin fell to civil war upon the ascension of a developmentally-disabled emperor; the Five Barbarians then invaded and ruled northern China as the Sixteen States. The Xianbei unified them as the Northern Wei, whose Emperor Xiaowen reversed his predecessors' apartheid policies and enforced a drastic sinification on his subjects, largely integrating them into Chinese culture. In the south, the general Liu Yu secured the abdication of the Jin in favor of the Liu Song. The various successors of these states became known as the Northern and Southern dynasties, with the two areas finally reunited by the Sui in 581. The Sui restored the Han to power through China, reformed its agriculture and economy, constructed the Grand Canal, and patronized Buddhism. However, they fell quickly when their conscription for public works and a failed war in northern Korea provoked widespread unrest.[67][68]

Under the succeeding Tang and Song dynasties, Chinese economy, technology, and culture entered a golden age.[69] The Tang Empire returned control of the Western Regions and the Silk Road,[70] and made the capital Chang'an a cosmopolitan urban center. However, it was devastated and weakened by the An Shi Rebellion in the 8th century.[71] In 907, the Tang disintegrated completely when the local military governors became ungovernable. The Song dynasty ended the separatist situation in 960, leading to a balance of power between the Song and Khitan Liao. The Song was the first government in world history to issue paper money and the first Chinese polity to establish a permanent standing navy which was supported by the developed shipbuilding industry along with the sea trade.[72]

Along the River During the Qingming Festival (detail of original)
A detail from Along the River During the Qingming Festival, a 12th-century painting showing everyday life in the Song dynasty's capital, Bianjing (present-day Kaifeng)

Between the 10th and 11th centuries, the population of China doubled in size to around 100 million people, mostly because of the expansion of rice cultivation in central and southern China, and the production of abundant food surpluses. The Song dynasty also saw a revival of Confucianism, in response to the growth of Buddhism during the Tang,[73] and a flourishing of philosophy and the arts, as landscape art and porcelain were brought to new levels of maturity and complexity.[74][75] However, the military weakness of the Song army was observed by the Jurchen Jin dynasty. In 1127, Emperor Huizong of Song and the capital Bianjing were captured during the Jin–Song Wars. The remnants of the Song retreated to southern China.[76]

The 13th century brought the Mongol conquest of China. In 1271, the Mongol leader Kublai Khan established the Yuan dynasty; the Yuan conquered the last remnant of the Song dynasty in 1279. Before the Mongol invasion, the population of Song China was 120 million citizens; this was reduced to 60 million by the time of the census in 1300.[77] A peasant named Zhu Yuanzhang overthrew the Yuan in 1368 and founded the Ming dynasty as the Hongwu Emperor. Under the Ming dynasty, China enjoyed another golden age, developing one of the strongest navies in the world and a rich and prosperous economy amid a flourishing of art and culture. It was during this period that admiral Zheng He led the Ming treasure voyages throughout the Indian Ocean, reaching as far as East Africa.[78]

In the early years of the Ming dynasty, China's capital was moved from Nanjing to Beijing. With the budding of capitalism, philosophers such as Wang Yangming further critiqued and expanded Neo-Confucianism with concepts of individualism and equality of four occupations.[79] The scholar-official stratum became a supporting force of industry and commerce in the tax boycott movements, which, together with the famines and defense against Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–98) and Manchu invasions led to an exhausted treasury.[80]

In 1644, Beijing was captured by a coalition of peasant rebel forces led by Li Zicheng. The Chongzhen Emperor committed suicide when the city fell. The Manchu Qing dynasty, then allied with Ming dynasty general Wu Sangui, overthrew Li's short-lived Shun dynasty and subsequently seized control of Beijing, which became the new capital of the Qing dynasty.

End of dynastic rule

Regaining the Provincial Capital of Ruizhou
A 19th-century depiction of the Taiping Rebellion (1850–1864)

The Qing dynasty, which lasted from 1644 until 1912, was the last imperial dynasty of China. Its conquest of the Ming (1618–1683) cost 25 million lives and the economy of China shrank drastically.[81] After the Southern Ming ended, the further conquest of the Dzungar Khanate added Mongolia, Tibet and Xinjiang to the empire.[82] The centralized autocracy was strengthened to crack down on anti-Qing sentiment with the policy of valuing agriculture and restraining commerce, the Haijin ("sea ban"), and ideological control as represented by the literary inquisition, causing social and technological stagnation.[83][84] In the mid-19th century, the dynasty experienced Western imperialism in the Opium Wars with Britain and France. China was forced to pay compensation, open treaty ports, allow extraterritoriality for foreign nationals, and cede Hong Kong to the British[85] under the 1842 Treaty of Nanking, the first of the Unequal Treaties. The First Sino-Japanese War (1894–95) resulted in Qing China's loss of influence in the Korean Peninsula, as well as the cession of Taiwan to Japan.[86]

EightNationsCrime02
The Eight-Nation Alliance invaded China to defeat the anti-foreign Boxers and their Qing backers.

The Qing dynasty also began experiencing internal unrest in which tens of millions of people died, especially in the White Lotus Rebellion, the failed Taiping Rebellion that ravaged southern China in the 1850s and 1860s and the Dungan Revolt (1862–77) in the northwest. The initial success of the Self-Strengthening Movement of the 1860s was frustrated by a series of military defeats in the 1880s and 1890s.

In the 19th century, the great Chinese diaspora began. Losses due to emigration were added to by conflicts and catastrophes such as the Northern Chinese Famine of 1876–79, in which between 9 and 13 million people died.[87] The Guangxu Emperor drafted a reform plan in 1898 to establish a modern constitutional monarchy, but these plans were thwarted by the Empress Dowager Cixi. The ill-fated anti-foreign Boxer Rebellion of 1899–1901 further weakened the dynasty. Although Cixi sponsored a program of reforms, the Xinhai Revolution of 1911–12 brought an end to the Qing dynasty and established the Republic of China.

Republic of China (1912–1949)

Republic of China proclaimtion
Sun Yat-sen proclaiming the establishment of the ROC in 1912

On 1 January 1912, the Republic of China was established, and Sun Yat-sen of the Kuomintang (the KMT or Nationalist Party) was proclaimed provisional president.[88] However, the presidency was later given to Yuan Shikai, a former Qing general who in 1915 proclaimed himself Emperor of China. In the face of popular condemnation and opposition from his own Beiyang Army, he was forced to abdicate and re-establish the republic.[89]

Chinese republic forever
Yuan Shikai (left) and Sun Yat-sen (right) with flags representing the early republic

After Yuan Shikai's death in 1916, China was politically fragmented. Its Beijing-based government was internationally recognized but virtually powerless; regional warlords controlled most of its territory.[90][91] In the late 1920s, the Kuomintang, under Chiang Kai-shek, the then Principal of the Republic of China Military Academy, was able to reunify the country under its own control with a series of deft military and political maneuverings, known collectively as the Northern Expedition.[92][93] The Kuomintang moved the nation's capital to Nanjing and implemented "political tutelage", an intermediate stage of political development outlined in Sun Yat-sen's San-min program for transforming China into a modern democratic state.[94][95] The political division in China made it difficult for Chiang to battle the Communist, People's Liberation Army (PLA) against whom the Kuomintang had been warring since 1927 in the Chinese Civil War. This war continued successfully for the Kuomintang, especially after the PLA retreated in the Long March, until Japanese aggression and the 1936 Xi'an Incident forced Chiang to confront Imperial Japan.[96]

1945 Mao and Chiang
Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong toasting together in 1946 following the end of World War II

The Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), a theater of World War II, forced an uneasy alliance between the Kuomintang and the PLA. Japanese forces committed numerous war atrocities against the civilian population; in all, as many as 20 million Chinese civilians died.[97] An estimated 200,000 Chinese were massacred in the city of Nanjing alone during the Japanese occupation.[98] During the war, China, along with the UK, the US, and the Soviet Union, were referred to as "trusteeship of the powerful"[99] and were recognized as the Allied "Big Four" in the Declaration by United Nations.[100][101] Along with the other three great powers, China was one of the four major Allies of World War II, and was later considered one of the primary victors in the war.[102][103] After the surrender of Japan in 1945, Taiwan, including the Pescadores, was returned to Chinese control. China emerged victorious but war-ravaged and financially drained. The continued distrust between the Kuomintang and the Communists led to the resumption of civil war. Constitutional rule was established in 1947, but because of the ongoing unrest, many provisions of the ROC constitution were never implemented in mainland China.[104]

People's Republic of China (1949–present)

Mao proclaiming the establishment of the PRC in 1949
Mao Zedong proclaiming the establishment of the PRC in 1949

Major combat in the Chinese Civil War ended in 1949 with the Communist Party in control of most of mainland China, and the Kuomintang retreating offshore, reducing the ROC's territory to only Taiwan, Hainan, and their surrounding islands. On 21 September 1949, Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the establishment of the People's Republic of China.[105][106][107] This was followed by a mass celebration in Tiananmen Square on 1 October, which became the new country's first National Day. In 1950, the People's Liberation Army succeeded in capturing Hainan from the ROC[108] and incorporating Tibet.[109] However, remaining Kuomintang forces continued to wage an insurgency in western China throughout the 1950s.[110] In modern US history studies, the founding of PRC China is often termed as "the loss of China" as reflected in US state policy documents of the time, which thinkers such as Noam Chomsky call the beginning of McCarthyism.[111]

The regime consolidated its popularity among the peasants through land reform, which included the execution of between 1 and 2 million landlords.[112] China developed an independent industrial system and its own nuclear weapons.[113] The Chinese population increased from 550 million in 1950 to 900 million in 1974.[114] However, the Great Leap Forward, a large-scale economic and social reform project, resulted in an estimated 45 million deaths between 1958 and 1961, mostly from starvation.[115] In 1966, Mao and his allies launched the Cultural Revolution, sparking a decade of political recrimination and social upheaval which lasted until Mao's death in 1976. In October 1971, the PRC replaced the Republic of China in the United Nations, and took its seat as a permanent member of the Security Council.[116]

After Mao's death, the Gang of Four was quickly arrested and held responsible for the excesses of the Cultural Revolution. Deng Xiaoping took power in 1978, and instituted significant economic reforms. The Communist Party loosened governmental control over citizens' personal lives, and the communes were gradually disbanded in favor of working contracted to households. This marked China's transition from a planned economy to a mixed economy with an increasingly open-market environment.[117] China adopted its current constitution on 4 December 1982. In 1989, the violent suppression of student protests in Tiananmen Square brought sanctions against the Chinese government from various countries.[118]

Jiang Zemin, Li Peng and Zhu Rongji led the nation in the 1990s. Under their administration, China's economic performance pulled an estimated 150 million peasants out of poverty and sustained an average annual gross domestic product growth rate of 11.2%.[119][120] The country formally joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, and maintained its high rate of economic growth under Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao's leadership in the 2000s. However, rapid growth also severely impacted the country's resources and environment,[121][122] and caused major social displacement.[123][124] Living standards continued to improve rapidly despite the late-2000s recession, but centralized political control remained tight.[125]

Preparations for a decadal Communist Party leadership change in 2012 were marked by factional disputes and political scandals.[126] During China's 18th National Communist Party Congress in November 2012, Hu Jintao was replaced as General Secretary of the Communist Party by Xi Jinping.[127][128] Under Xi, the Chinese government began large-scale efforts to reform its economy,[129][130] which has suffered from structural instabilities and slowing growth.[131][132][133][134][135] The Xi–Li Administration also announced major reforms to the one-child policy and prison system.[136]

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

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

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.[138] The country's lowest point, and the world's third-lowest, is the dried lake bed of Ayding Lake (−154m) in the Turpan Depression.[139]

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.[140] 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.[141][142] 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.[143] 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.[144]

Biodiversity

China is one of 17 megadiverse countries,[145] lying in two of the world's major ecozones: the Palearctic and the Indomalaya. By one measure, China has over 34,687 species of animals and vascular plants, making it the third-most biodiverse country in the world, after Brazil and Colombia.[146] The country signed the Rio de Janeiro Convention on Biological Diversity on 11 June 1992, and became a party to the convention on 5 January 1993.[147] It later produced a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, with one revision that was received by the convention on 21 September 2010.[148]

China is home to at least 551 species of mammals (the third-highest such number in the world),[149] 1,221 species of birds (eighth),[150] 424 species of reptiles (seventh)[151] and 333 species of amphibians (seventh).[152] Wildlife in China share habitat with and bear acute pressure from the world's largest population of Homo sapiens. At least 840 animal species are threatened, vulnerable or in danger of local extinction in China, due mainly to human activity such as habitat destruction, pollution and poaching for food, fur and ingredients for traditional Chinese medicine.[153] Endangered wildlife is protected by law, and as of 2005, the country has over 2,349 nature reserves, covering a total area of 149.95 million hectares, 15 percent of China's total land area.[154] The Baiji has recently been confirmed extinct.

China has over 32,000 species of vascular plants,[155] and is home to a variety of forest types. Cold coniferous forests predominate in the north of the country, supporting animal species such as moose and Asian black bear, along with over 120 bird species.[156] The understorey of moist conifer forests may contain thickets of bamboo. In higher montane stands of juniper and yew, the bamboo is replaced by rhododendrons. Subtropical forests, which are predominate in central and southern China, support as many as 146,000 species of flora.[156] Tropical and seasonal rainforests, though confined to Yunnan and Hainan Island, contain a quarter of all the animal and plant species found in China.[156] China has over 10,000 recorded species of fungi,[157] and of them, nearly 6,000 are higher fungi.[158]

Environmental issues

Chang'an avenue in Beijing
The traffic in Beijing

In recent decades, China has suffered from severe environmental deterioration and pollution.[159][160] While regulations such as the 1979 Environmental Protection Law are fairly stringent, they are poorly enforced, as they are frequently disregarded by local communities and government officials in favor of rapid economic development.[161] Urban air pollution is a severe health issue in the country; the World Bank estimated in 2013 that 16 of the world's 20 most-polluted cities are located in China.[162] And China is the country with the highest death toll because of air pollution. There are 1.14 million deaths caused by exposure to ambient air pollution.[163] China is the world's largest carbon dioxide emitter.[164] The country also has significant water pollution problems: 40% of China's rivers had been polluted by industrial and agricultural waste by late 2011.[165] In 2014, the internal freshwater resources per capita of China reduced to 2,062m3, and it was below 500m3 in the North China Plain, while 5,920m3 in the world.[166][167][168]

In China, heavy metals also cause environmental pollution. Heavy metal pollution is an inorganic chemical hazard, which is mainly caused by lead (Pb), chromium (Cr), arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), cobalt (Co), and nickel (Ni). Five metals among them, Pb, Cr, As, Cd, and Hg, are the key heavy metal pollutants in China. Heavy metal pollutants mainly come from mining, sewage irrigation, the manufacturing of metal-containing products, and other related production activities. High level of heavy metal exposure can also cause permanent intellectual and developmental disabilities, including reading and learning disabilities, behavioral problems, hearing loss, attention problems, and disruption in the development of visual and motor function. According to the data of a national census of pollution, China has more than 1.5 million sites of heavy metals exposure. The total volume of discharged heavy metals in the waste water, waste gas and solid wastes are around 900,000 tons each year from 2005–2011.[169]

However, China is the world's leading investor in renewable energy and its commercialization, with $52 billion invested in 2011 alone;[170][171][172] it is a major manufacturer of renewable energy technologies and invests heavily in local-scale renewable energy projects.[173][174][175] By 2015, over 24% of China's energy was derived from renewable sources, while most notably from hydroelectric power: a total installed capacity of 197 GW makes China the largest hydroelectric power producer in the world.[176][177] China also has the largest power capacity of installed solar photovoltaics system and wind power system in the world.[178][179] In 2011, the Chinese government announced plans to invest four trillion yuan (US$619 billion) in water infrastructure and desalination projects over a ten-year period, and to complete construction of a flood prevention and anti-drought system by 2020.[167][180] In 2013, China began a five-year, US$277 billion effort to reduce air pollution, particularly in the north of the country.[181]

Political geography

ROC Administrative and Claims
Map showing the ROC and PRC claims

The People's Republic of China is the second-largest country in the world by land area[182] after Russia, and is either the third- or fourth-largest by total area, after Russia, Canada and, depending on the definition of total area, the United States.[q] China's total area is generally stated as being approximately 9,600,000 km2 (3,700,000 sq mi).[183] Specific area figures range from 9,572,900 km2 (3,696,100 sq mi) according to the Encyclopædia Britannica,[184] to 9,596,961 km2 (3,705,407 sq mi) according to the UN Demographic Yearbook,[7] and the CIA World Factbook.[9]

China has the longest combined land border in the world, measuring 22,117 km (13,743 mi) from the mouth of the Yalu River to the Gulf of Tonkin.[9] China borders 14 nations, more than any other country except Russia, which also borders 14.[185] China extends across much of East Asia, bordering Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar (Burma) in Southeast Asia; India, Bhutan, Nepal, Afghanistan, and Pakistan[r] in South Asia; Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in Central Asia; and Russia, Mongolia, and North Korea in Inner Asia and Northeast Asia. Additionally, China shares maritime boundaries with South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

Politics

China's 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."[186] The PRC is one of the world's only socialist states openly endorsing communism (see Ideology of the Communist Party of China). The Chinese government has been variously described as communist and socialist, but also as authoritarian and corporatist,[187] 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.[188] Its current political, ideological and economic system has been termed by its leaders as the "people's democratic dictatorship", "socialism with Chinese characteristics" (which is Marxism adapted to Chinese circumstances) and the "socialist market economy" respectively.[189]

Communist Party

HammerSickle Tiananmen
Sign in Tiananmen Square marking the 90th anniversary of the Communist Party of China

China's constitution declares that the country is ruled "under the leadership" of the Communist Party of China (CPC).[190] As China is a de facto one-party state, the General Secretary (party leader) holds ultimate power and authority over state and government serving as the paramount leader.[191] The electoral system is pyramidal. Local People's Congresses are directly elected, and higher levels of People's Congresses up to the National People's Congress (NPC) are indirectly elected by the People's Congress of the level immediately below.[192] The political system is decentralized, and provincial and sub-provincial leaders have a significant amount of autonomy.[193] Another eight political parties, have representatives in the NPC and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).[194] China supports the Leninist principle of "democratic centralism",[195] but critics describe the elected National People's Congress as a "rubber stamp" body.[196]

Government

Xi Jinping in 2016 Li Keqiang (cropped)
Xi Jinping
General Secretary
and President
Li Keqiang
Premier

The President is the titular head of state, elected by the National People's Congress. The Premier is the head of government, presiding over the State Council composed of four vice premiers and the heads of ministries and commissions. The incumbent president is Xi Jinping, who is also the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, making him China's paramount leader. The incumbent premier is Li Keqiang, who is also a senior member of the CPC Politburo Standing Committee, China's de facto top decision-making body.[197][127]

There have been some moves toward political liberalization, in that open contested elections are now held at the village and town levels.[198][199] However, the party retains effective control over government appointments: in the absence of meaningful opposition, the CPC wins by default most of the time. Political concerns in China include the growing gap between rich and poor and government corruption.[200][201] Nonetheless, the level of public support for the government and its management of the nation is high, with 80–95% of Chinese citizens expressing satisfaction with the central government, according to a 2011 survey.[202]

Administrative divisions

The People's Republic of China is divided into 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, each with a designated minority group; four municipalities; and two special administrative regions (SARs) which enjoy a degree of political autonomy. These 31 provincial-level divisions can be collectively referred to as "mainland China", a term which usually excludes two SARs of Hong Kong and Macau. Geographically, all 31 provincial divisions can be grouped into six regions, including North China, Northeast China, East China, South Central China, Southwest China and Northwest China.

China considers Taiwan to be its 23rd province, although Taiwan is governed by the Republic of China, which rejects the PRC's claim.[203] None of the divisions are recognized by the ROC government, which claims the entirety of the PRC's territory.

Provinces ()
Claimed Province
Autonomous regions (自治区)
Municipalities (直辖市)
Special administrative regions (特别行政区)
  • Hong Kong / Xianggang (香港特别行政区)
  • Macau / Aomen (澳门特别行政区)

Foreign relations

Cumbre de Líderes del G20 (35741193546)
Chinese President Xi Jinping and G20 leaders from around the world

The PRC has diplomatic relations with 175 countries and maintains embassies in 162. Its legitimacy is disputed by the Republic of China and a few other countries; it is thus the largest and most populous state with limited recognition. In 1971, the PRC replaced the Republic of China as the sole representative of China in the United Nations and as one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.[204] China was also a former member and leader of the Non-Aligned Movement, and still considers itself an advocate for developing countries.[205] Along with Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, China is a member of the BRICS group of emerging major economies and hosted the group's third official summit at Sanya, Hainan in April 2011.[206]

SCO (orthographic projection)
Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)
  Members   Observers   Dialogue partners   Observer applicants   Disputed territories

Under its interpretation of the One-China policy, Beijing has made it a precondition to establishing diplomatic relations that the other country acknowledges its claim to Taiwan and severs official ties with the government of the Republic of China. Chinese officials have protested on numerous occasions when foreign countries have made diplomatic overtures to Taiwan,[207] especially in the matter of armament sales.[208]

Diplomatic relations of the People's Republic of China
Diplomatic relations of China

Much of current Chinese foreign policy is reportedly based on Premier Zhou Enlai's Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and is also driven by the concept of "harmony without uniformity", which encourages diplomatic relations between states despite ideological differences.[209] This policy may have led China to support states that are regarded as dangerous or repressive by Western nations, such as Zimbabwe, North Korea and Iran.[210] China has a close economic and military relationship with Russia,[211] and the two states often vote in unison in the UN Security Council.[212][213][214]

Trade relations

In recent decades, China has played an increasing role in calling for free trade areas and security pacts amongst its Asia-Pacific neighbours. China became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on 11 December 2001. In 2004, it proposed an entirely new East Asia Summit (EAS) framework as a forum for regional security issues.[215] The EAS, which includes ASEAN Plus Three, India, Australia and New Zealand, held its inaugural summit in 2005. China is also a founding member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), along with Russia and the Central Asian republics.

China has had a long and complex trade relationship with the United States. In 2000, the United States Congress approved "permanent normal trade relations" (PNTR) with China, allowing Chinese exports in at the same low tariffs as goods from most other countries.[216] China has a significant trade surplus with the United States, its most important export market.[217] In the early 2010s, US politicians argued that the Chinese yuan was significantly undervalued, giving China an unfair trade advantage.[218][219][220]

Since the turn of the century, China has followed a policy of engaging with African nations for trade and bilateral co-operation;[221][222][223] in 2012, Sino-African trade totalled over US$160 billion.[224] China maintains healthy and highly diversified trade links with the European Union. China has furthermore strengthened its ties with major South American economies, becoming the largest trading partner of Brazil and building strategic links with Argentina.[225][226]

Russia and China sign major gas deal.jpeg
On 21 May 2014, China and Russia signed a $400 billion gas deal. Starting 2019, Russia plans to provide natural gas to China for the next 30 years.

Territorial disputes

China administrative
Map depicting territorial disputes between the PRC and neighbouring states. For a larger map, see here.

Ever since its establishment after the second Chinese Civil War, the PRC has claimed the territories governed by the Republic of China (ROC), a separate political entity today commonly known as Taiwan, as a part of its territory. It regards the island of Taiwan as its Taiwan Province, Kinmen and Matsu as a part of Fujian Province and islands the ROC controls in the South China Sea as a part of Hainan Province and Guangdong Province. These claims are controversial because of the complicated Cross-Strait relations, with the PRC treating the One-China policy as one of its most important diplomatic principles.[227]

In addition to Taiwan, China is also involved in other international territorial disputes. Since the 1990s, China has been involved in negotiations to resolve its disputed land borders, including a disputed border with India and an undefined border with Bhutan. China is additionally involved in multilateral disputes over the ownership of several small islands in the East and South China Seas, such as the Senkaku Islands and the Scarborough Shoal.[228][229] On 21 May 2014 Xi Jinping, speaking at a conference in Shanghai, pledged to settle China's territorial disputes peacefully. "China stays committed to seeking peaceful settlement of disputes with other countries over territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests", he said.[230]

Emerging superpower status

China is regularly hailed as a potential new superpower, with certain commentators citing its rapid economic progress, growing military might, very large population, and increasing international influence as signs that it will play a prominent global role in the 21st century.[231][232] Others, however, warn that economic bubbles and demographic imbalances could slow or even halt China's growth as the century progresses.[233][234] Some authors also question the definition of "superpower", arguing that China's large economy alone would not qualify it as a superpower, and noting that it lacks the military power and cultural influence of the United States.[235]

Sociopolitical issues, human rights and reform

港人燭光遊行至中聯辦悼念劉曉波 12
March in memory of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo who died of organ failure while in government custody in 2017

The Chinese democracy movement, social activists, and some members of the Communist Party of China have all identified the need for social and political reform. While economic and social controls have been significantly relaxed in China since the 1970s, political freedom is still tightly restricted. The Constitution of the People's Republic of China states that the "fundamental rights" of citizens include freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to a fair trial, freedom of religion, universal suffrage, and property rights. However, in practice, these provisions do not afford significant protection against criminal prosecution by the state.[236][237] Although some criticisms of government policies and the ruling Communist Party are tolerated, censorship of political speech and information, most notably on the Internet,[238][239] are routinely used to prevent collective action.[240] In 2005, Reporters Without Borders ranked China 159th out of 167 states in its Annual World Press Freedom Index, indicating a very low level of press freedom.[241] In 2014, China ranked 175th out of 180 countries.[242]

Rural migrants to China's cities often find themselves treated as second class citizens by the hukou household registration system, which controls access to state benefits.[243][244] Property rights are often poorly protected,[243] and taxation disproportionately affects poorer citizens.[244] However, a number of rural taxes have been reduced or abolished since the early 2000s, and additional social services provided to rural dwellers.[245][246]

A number of foreign governments, foreign press agencies, and NGOs also routinely criticize China's human rights record, alleging widespread civil rights violations such as detention without trial, forced abortions,[247] forced confessions, torture, restrictions of fundamental rights,[188][248] and excessive use of the death penalty.[249][250] The government suppresses popular protests and demonstrations that it considers a potential threat to "social stability", as was the case with the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

On the 20th anniversary of 8964 (1)
Candlelight vigil on the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests

Falun Gong was first taught publicly in 1992. In 1999, when there were 70 million practitioners,[251] the persecution of Falun Gong began, resulting in mass arrests, extralegal detention, and reports of torture and deaths in custody.[252][253] The Chinese state is regularly accused of large-scale repression and human rights abuses in Tibet and Xinjiang, including violent police crackdowns and religious suppression.[254][255] At least 120,000 members of China's Muslim Uyghur minority have been detained in mass detention camps, termed "reeducation camps", aimed at changing the political thinking of detainees, their identities, and their religious beliefs.[256] In January 2019 the United Nations asked for direct access to the detention camps after a panel said it had received “credible reports” that 1.1 million Uighurs, Kazakhs, Hui and other ethnic minorities had been detained in the Xinjiang re-education camps.[257] The state has even sought to control offshore reporting of tensions in Xinjiang, intimidating foreign-based reporters by detaining their family members.[258]

The Chinese government has responded to foreign criticism by arguing that the right to subsistence and economic development is a prerequisite to other types of human rights, and that the notion of human rights should take into account a country's present level of economic development.[259] It emphasizes the rise in the Chinese standard of living, literacy rate, and average life expectancy since the 1970s, as well as improvements in workplace safety and efforts to combat natural disasters such as the perennial Yangtze River floods.[259][260][261] Furthermore, some Chinese politicians have spoken out in support of democratization, although others remain more conservative.[262] Some major reform efforts have been conducted. For instance, in November 2013 the government announced plans to relax the one-child policy and abolish the much-criticized re-education through labour program,[136] although human rights groups note that reforms to the latter have been largely cosmetic.[252] During the 2000s and early 2010s, the Chinese government was increasingly tolerant of NGOs that offer practical, efficient solutions to social problems, but such "third sector" activity remained heavily regulated.[263][264]

The Global Slavery Index estimated that in 2016 more than 3.8 million people were living in "conditions of modern slavery", or 0.25% of the population, including victims of human trafficking, forced labor, forced marriage, child labor, and state-imposed forced labor. All except the last category are illegal. The state-imposed forced system was formally abolished in 2013 but it is not clear the extent to which its various practices have stopped.[265] The Chinese penal system includes labor prison factories, detention centers, and re-education camps, which fall under the heading Laogai ("reform through labor"). The Laogai Research Foundation in the United States estimated that there were over a thousand slave labour prisons and camps, known collectively as the Laogai.[266] Prisoners are not paid at all, and need their families to send money to them. Prisoners who refuse to work are beaten, and some are beaten to death. Many of the prisoners are political or religious dissidents, and some are recognized internationally as prisoners of conscience. A Chinese leader said that they want to see two products coming out of the prisons: the man who has been reformed, and the product made by the man. Harry Wu, himself a former prisoner of the Laogai, filmed undercover footage of the Laogai, and was charged with stealing state secrets. For this, Harry Wu was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but only served 66 days before being deported to the United States.[267][268][269]

In 2019 a world-first study called for the mass retraction of more than 400 scientific papers on organ transplantation, because of fears the organs were obtained unethically from Chinese prisoners. The study was published in the medical journal BMJ Open. A report published in 2016 found a large discrepancy between official transplant figures from the Chinese government and the number of transplants reported by hospitals. While the government says 10,000 transplants occur each year, hospital data shows between 60,000 to 100,000 organs are transplanted each year. The report provided evidence that this gap is being made up by executed prisoners of conscience.[270]

Military

With 2.3 million active troops, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is the largest standing military force in the world, commanded by the Central Military Commission (CMC).[271] China has the second-biggest military reserve force, only behind North Korea. The PLA consists of the Ground Force (PLAGF), the Navy (PLAN), the Air Force (PLAAF), and the People's Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF). According to the Chinese government, China's military budget for 2017 totalled US$151.5 billion, constituting the world's second-largest military budget, although the military expenditures-GDP ratio with 1,3% of GDP is below world average.[26] However, many authorities – including SIPRI and the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense – argue that China does not report its real level of military spending, which is allegedly much higher than the official budget.[26][272]

As a recognized nuclear weapons state, China is considered both a major regional military power and a potential military superpower.[273] According to a 2013 report by the US Department of Defense, China fields between 50 and 75 nuclear ICBMs, along with a number of SRBMs.[25] However, compared with the other four UN Security Council Permanent Members, China has relatively limited power projection capabilities.[274] To offset this, it has developed numerous power projection assets since the early 2000s – its first aircraft carrier entered service in 2012,[275][276][277] and it maintains a substantial fleet of submarines, including several nuclear-powered attack and ballistic missile submarines.[278] China has furthermore established a network of foreign military relationships along critical sea lanes.[279]

China has made significant progress in modernising its air force in recent decades, purchasing Russian fighter jets such as the Sukhoi Su-30, and also manufacturing its own modern fighters, most notably the Chengdu J-10, J-20 and the Shenyang J-11, J-15, J-16, and J-31.[275][280] China is furthermore engaged in developing an indigenous stealth aircraft and numerous combat drones.[281][282][283] Air and Sea denial weaponry advances have increased the regional threat from the perspective of Japan as well as Washington.[284][285] China has also updated its ground forces, replacing its ageing Soviet-derived tank inventory with numerous variants of the modern Type 99 tank, and upgrading its battlefield C3I and C4I systems to enhance its network-centric warfare capabilities.[286] In addition, China has developed or acquired numerous advanced missile systems,[287][288] including anti-satellite missiles,[289] cruise missiles[290] and submarine-launched nuclear ICBMs.[291] According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute's data, China became the world's third largest exporter of major arms in 2010–14, an increase of 143 percent from the period 2005–09.[292] Chinese officials stated that spending on the military will rise to U.S. $173B in 2018. fox

In August 2018, China tested its first hypersonic flight. The China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA) claims to have successfully conducted the test with the aircraft Starry Sky-2 that touched a speed of Mach 6 - which is six times the speed of sound.[293]

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.[294]

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.[295][296] 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. In 2018, China had 9 out of the Top 20 most valuable Internet companies in the world.[297] In 2019, the Chinese retail market is expected to overtake that of the US and become #1 in the world.[298] China leads the world in e-commerce, accounting for 40% of the global market share.[299] 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.[300] China had 174 GW of installed solar capacity by the end of 2018, which amounts to more than 40% of the global capacity.[301][302] 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).[303] 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.[304] As of 2018, China was second in the world in total number of billionaires and millionaires -- there were 338 Chinese billionaires[305] and 3.5 million millionaires.[306] However, it ranks behind over 70 countries (out of around 180) in per capita economic output, making it a middle income country.[304] Additionally, its development is highly uneven. Its major cities and coastal areas are far more prosperous compared to rural and interior regions.[307] China brought more people out of extreme poverty than any other country in history[308] -- between 1978 and 2018, China reduced extreme poverty by 800 million, and 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.[309]According to the World Bank, the number of Chinese in extreme poverty fell from 756 million to 25 million between 1990 and 2013.[310] China's own national poverty standards are higher and thus the national poverty rates were 3.1% in 2017[311] and 1% in 2018.[312]

Economic history and growth

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,[313] and is one of the leading examples of state capitalism.[314][315] 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.[316][317][318][319] In 2018, private enterprises in China accounted for 60% of GDP, 80% of urban employment and 90% of new jobs.[320]

Alibaba group Headquarters
Headquarters of Alibaba Group in Hangzhou

In 2015, China's Middle Class became the largest in the world.[321] Since economic liberalization began in 1978, China has been among the world's fastest-growing economies,[322] relying largely on investment- and export-led growth.[323][324][325] According to the IMF, China's annual average GDP growth between 2001 and 2010 was 10.5%. In the years immediately following the financial crisis of 2007, China's economic growth rate was equivalent to all of the G7 countries' growth combined.[326] According to the Global Growth Generators index announced by Citigroup in February 2011, China has a very high 3G growth rating.[327] 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[328], 50% in aluminum[329] and 30% in automobile manufacturing.[330] 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.[331] In 2017, China bought 36% of all the new industrial robots in the world.[332] China's plan is to also domestically design and manufacture 100,000 industrial robots by 2020.[333] However, the Chinese economy is highly energy-intensive and inefficient;[334] China became the world's largest energy consumer in 2010,[335] 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.[336][337] 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.[338] In addition, official GDP figures are seen as unreliable and there have been several well-publicized cases of data manipulation.[339][340][341] 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.[342][343][344] 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[345]. In 2018, the IMF reiterated its forecast that China will overtake the US in terms of nominal GDP by the year 2030.[346] Economists also expect China's middle class to expand to 600 million people by 2025.[347]

Shanghaistockexchange
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.[348]
Pudong area of Shanghai, at night
Sightseeing boats ply the river in Shanghai; China has a wide range of natural and historical sights that generate tourist revenue

China is the world's largest e-commerce market, amounting to 42% of the global market by 2016.[349] China's e-commerce market had online sales of more than $1 trillion in 2018, according to PWC.[350] China's e-commerce industry took off in 2009, marked by the growth of internet giants Tencent Alibaba - purveyors of products such as WeChat and Tmall that have become ubiquitous in contemporary Chinese life. Tencent's WeChat Pay and Alibaba's Ali Pay have helped China become a world leader in mobile payments, which amounted to about $30 trillion in China in 2017.[351] China is also second only to the United States in venture capital activity and is home to a large number of unicorn startup companies.[352][353] In 2018, China attracted $105 billion of venture capital investments, amounting to 38% of global VC investments that year.[354] In late 2018, the world's most valuable startup was ByteDance, a Chinese company[355]; and the two most valuable AI (Artificial Intelligence) startups in the world were SenseTime and Face++, both from China.[356] In 2017, China's State Council released its Artificial Intelligence Development Plan, which declared AI technology a priority economic growth and investment sector.[357] In 2018, China created 97 "unicorns" - startups that are worth more than $1 billion - which amounted to 1 unicorn every 3.8 days.[358] Chinese smartphone brands -- Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus etc. -- have captured more than 40% of the global market.[359][360] In 2018, Huawei became the largest telecom infrastructure provider and also took the #2 spot from Apple as a smartphone vendor.[361] 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.[362][363]

China is now #1 in the number of skyscrapers (buildings taller than 200m), accounting for about 50% of world's total.[364] In four years -- 2015 through 2018 -- China built 310 skyscrapers, while the corresponding number for the US was 33. [365][366] [367][368]

China in the global economy

Share of world GDP (PPP)[369]
Year Share
1980 2.32%
1990 4.11%
2000 7.40%
2010 13.89%
2018 18.72%

China is a member of the WTO and is the world's largest trading power, with a total international trade value of US$3.87 trillion in 2012.[24] Its foreign exchange reserves reached US$2.85 trillion by the end of 2010, an increase of 18.7% over the previous year, making its reserves by far the world's largest.[370][371] In 2012, China was the world's largest recipient of inward foreign direct investment (FDI), attracting $253 billion.[372] In 2014, China's foreign exchange remittances were $US64 billion making it the second largest recipient of remittances in the world.[373] China also invests abroad, with a total outward FDI of $62.4 billion in 2012,[372] and a number of major takeovers of foreign firms by Chinese companies.[374] China is a major owner of US public debt, holding trillions of dollars worth of U.S. Treasury bonds.[375][376] China's undervalued exchange rate has caused friction with other major economies,[219][377][378] and it has also been widely criticized for manufacturing large quantities of counterfeit goods.[379][380]

Major economies by nominal GDP (2017)[381]

China ranks 28th out of 140 countries in the Global Competitiveness Index, above many advanced economies and making it by far the most competitive major emerging economy. This is largely owing to its strength in infrastructure and wide adoption of communication and information technology. However, it lags behind advanced economies in labour market efficiency, institutional strength, and openness of market competition, especially for foreign players attempting to enter the domestic market.[382] In 2018, Fortune's Global 500 list of the world's largest corporations included 120 Chinese companies.[383] Many of the largest public companies in the world were Chinese, including the world's largest bank by total assets, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.[384]

Following the 2007-8 financial crisis, Chinese authorities sought to actively wean off of its dependence on the U.S. Dollar as a result of perceived weaknesses of the international monetary system.[385] To achieve those ends, China took a series of actions to further the internationalization of the Renminbi. In 2008, China established dim sum bond market and expanded the Cross-Border Trade RMB Settlement Pilot Project, which helps establish pools of offshore RMB liquidity.[386][387] This was followed with bilateral agreements to settle trades directly in renminbi with Russia,[388] Japan,[389] Australia,[390] Singapore,[391] the United Kingdom,[392] and Canada.[393] As a result of the rapid internationalization of the renminbi, it became the eighth-most-traded currency in the world, an emerging international reserve currency,[394] and a component of the IMF's special drawing rights; however, partly due to capital controls that make the renminbi fall short of being a fully convertible currency, it remains far behind the Euro, Dollar and Japanese Yen in international trade volumes.[395]

Class and income inequality

China's middle-class population (if defined as those with annual income of between US$10,000 and US$60,000) had reached more than 300 million by 2012.[396] Wages in China have grown exponentially in the last 40 years -- real wages grew seven-fold from 1978 to 2007.[397] By 2018, median wages in Chinese cities such as Shanghai were about the same as or higher than the wages in Eastern European countries.[398] More than 75 percent of China's urban consumers are expected to earn between 60.000 and 229.000 RMB per year by 2022.[399] China has the world's second-highest number of billionaires, with nearly 400 as of 2018, increasing at the rate of roughly two per week.[400][401] China's domestic retail market was worth over 20 trillion yuan (US$3.2 trillion) in 2012[402] and is growing at over 12% annually as of 2013,[403] while the country's luxury goods market has expanded immensely, with 27.5% of the global share.[404] However, in recent years, China's rapid economic growth has contributed to severe consumer inflation,[405][406] leading to increased government regulation.[407] China has a high level of economic inequality,[408] which has increased in the past few decades.[409] In 2012, China's official Gini coefficient was 0.474.[410][411] A study conducted by Southwestern University of Finance and Economics showed that China's Gini coefficient actually had reached 0.61 in 2012, and top 1% Chinese held more than 25% of China's wealth.[412]In comparison, the Top 1% of Americans held 40% of the wealth.[413] [414]

Science and technology

Historical

Chinese Gunpowder Formula
Earliest known written formula for gunpowder, from the Wujing Zongyao of 1044 CE

China was once a world leader in science and technology up until the Ming dynasty. Ancient Chinese discoveries and inventions, such as papermaking, printing, the compass, and gunpowder (the Four Great Inventions), became widespread across East Asia, the Middle East and later to Europe. Chinese mathematicians were the first to use negative numbers.[415][416] By the 17th century, Europe and the Western world surpassed China in scientific and technological advancement.[417] The causes of this early modern Great Divergence continue to be debated by scholars to this day.[418]

After repeated military defeats by the European colonial powers and Japan in the 19th century, Chinese reformers began promoting modern science and technology as part of the Self-Strengthening Movement. After the Communists came to power in 1949, efforts were made to organize science and technology based on the model of the Soviet Union, in which scientific research was part of central planning.[419] After Mao's death in 1976, science and technology was established as one of the Four Modernizations,[420] and the Soviet-inspired academic system was gradually reformed.[421]

Modern era

Since the end of the Cultural Revolution, China has made significant investments in scientific research[422] and is quickly catching up with the US in R&D spending.[423] In 2017, China spent $279 billion on scientific research and development.[424] According to OECD, China spent 2.11% of its GDP on Research and Development (R&D) in 2016.[425] Science and technology are seen as vital for achieving China's economic and political goals, and are held as a source of national pride to a degree sometimes described as "techno-nationalism".[426] Nonetheless, China's investment in basic and applied scientific research remains behind that of leading technological powers such as the United States and Japan.[422][427] According to the US National Science Board, China had, for the first time, more science and engineering publications than the US, in 2016.[428] Also, in 2016, China spent $409 billion (by PPP) on Research and Development.[429] In 2018, China is estimated to have spent $475 billion (by PPP), second only to the USA.[430] In 2017, China was #2 in international patents application, behind the US but ahead of Japan.[431] Chinese tech companies Huawei and ZTE were the top 2 filers of international patents in 2017.[432][433] Chinese-born scientists have won the Nobel Prize in Physics four times, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and Physiology or Medicine once respectively, though most of these scientists conducted their Nobel-winning research in western nations.[s]

Long March 2D launching off pad with VRSS-1
Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, one of the first Chinese spaceport

China is developing its education system with an emphasis on science, mathematics and engineering; in 2009, China graduated over 10,000 Ph.D. engineers, and as many as 500,000 BSc graduates, more than any other country.[439] In 2016, there were 4.7 million STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) graduates in China, which was more than eight times the corresponding number for the US.[440] China also became the world's largest publisher of scientific papers, by 2016.[441] Chinese technology companies such as Huawei and Lenovo have become world leaders in telecommunications and personal computing,[442][443][444] and Chinese supercomputers are consistently ranked among the world's most powerful.[445][446] China is also expanding its use of industrial robots; from 2008 to 2011, the installation of multi-role robots in Chinese factories rose by 136 percent.[447]

The Chinese space program is one of the world's most active, and is a major source of national pride.[448][449] In 2018, China successfully launched more satellites (35) than any other country, including the USA (30).[450] In 1970, China launched its first satellite, Dong Fang Hong I, becoming the fifth country to do so independently.[451] In 2003, China became the third country to independently send humans into space, with Yang Liwei's spaceflight aboard Shenzhou 5; as of 2015, ten Chinese nationals have journeyed into space, including two women. In 2011, China's first space station module, Tiangong-1, was launched, marking the first step in a project to assemble a large manned station by the early 2020s.[452] In 2013, China successfully landed the Chang'e 3 lander and Yutu rover onto the lunar surface; China plans to collect lunar soil samples by 2017.[453] In 2016, China's 2nd space station module, Tiangong-2, was launched from Jiuquan aboard a Long March 2F rocket on 15 September 2016. Then Shenzhou 11 successfully docked with Tiangong-2 on 19 October 2016. In 2019, China became the first country to land a probe -- Chang'e 4 -- on the far side of the moon.

Infrastructure

A 2016 report by McKinsey consulting group, revealed that China has been annually spending more on infrastructure than North America and Western Europe combined.[454] [455]

Telecommunications

P1994-2011
Internet penetration rates in East Asian and Chinese Regions 1995-2012

China is the largest telecom market in the world and currently has the largest number of active cellphones of any country in the world, with over 1.5 billion subscribers, as of 2018.[456] It also has the world's largest number of internet and broadband users, with over 800 million Internet users as of 2018 -- equivalent to around 60% of its population -- and almost all of them being mobile as well.[457] Almost entire China’s population had access to 4G network by 2017.[458] By 2018, China had more than 1 billion 4G users, accounting for 40% of world's total.[459][460] In terms of unique mobile subscribers as percentage of population, China came in at 82%, placing the country #3 in the world (as of 2018).[461] As of early 2019, the average mobile connection speed in China was 30 Mbit/s (megabits per second)[462], which is 9% slower than the US.[463] As for fixed broadband in China, the average download speed was 76 Mbit/s[464]; and 60% of fixed broadband Chinese users (or 200 million Chinese households) were able to access the Internet at 100 Mbit/s or higher (as of 2018).[465] [466] [467] China is making rapid progress in 1 Gbit/s (1000 Mbit/s) internet, and 42% of Chinese homes are expected to have 1 Gbit/s broadband link by 2023.[468] In 2018, China had 378 million fixed broadband users and 87% of them were fiber-optic users, making China #1 in the world in deployment of fiber-optic cables for broadband.[469] By the end of 2017, China had 29 million kilometers of fiber-optic cable.[470] In 2019, China is expected to account for 24% of the world's spending on IoT or internet-connected devices.[471] Since 2011 China has been the nation with the most installed telecommunication bandwidth in the world. By 2014, China hosted more than twice as much national bandwidth potential than the U.S., the historical leader in terms of installed telecommunication bandwidth (China: 29% versus US:13% of the global total).[472] China is making rapid advances in 5G -- by late 2018, China had started large-scale and commercial 5G trials.[473] In early 2019, Shanghai railway station introduced 5G WiFi that has an internet speed of 1,200 Mbit/s.[474] [475]

China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, are the three large providers of mobile and internet in China. China Telecom alone served more than 145 million broadband subscribers and 300 million mobile users; China Unicom had about 300 million subscribers; and China Mobile, the biggest of them all, had 925 million users, as of 2018.[476][477][478] Combined, the three operators had over 3.4 million 4G base-stations in China.[469] Several Chinese telecommunications companies, most notably Huawei and ZTE, have been accused of spying for the Chinese military.[479] British intelligence -- GCHQ and NCSC -- said in 2019 that there have been no evidence of malicious activity or spying by Huawei.[480][481]

China is developing its own satellite navigation system, dubbed Beidou, which began offering commercial navigation services across Asia in 2012[482] and it started providing global services by the end of 2018.[483][484]Now China belongs to the elite group of three countries -- US and Russia being the other two members -- that provide global satellite navigation.

Transport

Since the late 1990s, China's national road network has been significantly expanded through the creation of a network of national highways and expressways. In 2018, China's highways had reached a total length of 142,500 km (88,500 mi), making it the longest highway system in the world[485]; and China's railways reached a total length of 127,000 km by 2017.[486] By the end of 2018, China's high-speed railway network reached a length of 29,000 km, representing more than 60% of the world's total.[487] In 1991, there were only six bridges across the main stretch of the Yangtze River, which bisects the country into northern and southern halves. By October 2014, there were 81 such bridges and tunnels. China has the world's largest market for automobiles, having surpassed the United States in both auto sales and production. Sales of passenger cars in 2016 exceeded 24 million.[488] A side-effect of the rapid growth of China's road network has been a significant rise in traffic accidents,[489] with poorly enforced traffic laws cited as a possible cause—in 2011 alone, around 62,000 Chinese died in road accidents.[490] In urban areas, bicycles remain a common mode of transport, despite the increasing prevalence of automobiles – as of 2012, there are approximately 470 million bicycles in China.[491]

PEKT3E
Terminal 3 of Beijing Capital International Airport is the 2nd-largest airport terminal in the world.

China's railways, which are state-owned, are among the busiest in the world, handling a quarter of the world's rail traffic volume on only 6 percent of the world's tracks in 2006.[492][493] as of 2017, the country had 127,000 km (78,914 mi) of railways, the second longest network in the world.[494][495] The railways strain to meet enormous demand particularly during the Chinese New Year holiday, when the world's largest annual human migration takes place.[493] In 2013, Chinese railways delivered 2.106 billion passenger trips, generating 1,059.56 billion passenger-kilometers and carried 3.967 billion tons of freight, generating 2,917.4 billion cargo tons-kilometers.[494]

China's high-speed rail (HSR) system started construction in the early 2000s. By the end of 2018, high speed rail in China had over 29,000 kilometers (18,020 miles) of dedicated lines alone, a length that exceeds rest of the world's high-speed rail tracks combined, making it the longest HSR network in the world.[496] With an annual ridership of over 1.1 billion passengers in 2015 it is the world's busiest.[497] The network includes the Beijing–Guangzhou–Shenzhen High-Speed Railway, the single longest HSR line in the world, and the Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Railway, which has three of longest railroad bridges in the world.[498] The HSR track network is set to reach approximately 16,000 km (9,900 mi) by 2020.[499] The Shanghai Maglev Train, which reaches 431 km/h (268 mph), is the fastest commercial train service in the world.[500]

A maglev train coming out, Pudong International Airport, Shanghai
The fastest train service measured by peak operational speed is the Shanghai Maglev Train which can reach 431 km/h (268 mph).

Since 2000, the growth of rapid transit systems in Chinese cities has accelerated. As of January 2016, 26 Chinese cities have urban mass transit systems in operation and 39 more have metro systems approved[501] with a dozen more to join them by 2020.[502] The Shanghai Metro, Beijing Subway, Guangzhou Metro, Hong Kong MTR and Shenzhen Metro are among the longest and busiest in the world.

West section of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (20180902174105)
The Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge is the longest sea crossing and the longest fixed link on earth.

There were approximately 229 airports in 2017, with around 240 planned by 2020. More than two-thirds of the airports under construction worldwide in 2013 were in China,[503] and Boeing expects that China's fleet of active commercial aircraft in China will grow from 1,910 in 2011 to 5,980 in 2031.[503] In just five years -- from 2013 to 2018 -- China bought 1000 planes from Boeing.[504] With rapid expansion in civil aviation, the largest airports in China have also joined the ranks of the busiest in the world. In 2018, Beijing's Capital Airport ranked second in the world by passenger traffic (it was 26th in 2002). Since 2010, the Hong Kong International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport have ranked first and third in air cargo tonnage.

Some 80% of China's airspace remains restricted for military use, and Chinese airlines made up eight of the 10 worst-performing Asian airlines in terms of delays.[505] China has over 2,000 river and seaports, about 130 of which are open to foreign shipping. In 2017, the Ports of Shanghai, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Ningbo-Zhoushan, Guangzhou, Qingdao and Tianjin ranked in the Top 10 in the world in container traffic and cargo tonnage.[506]

The Port of Shanghai's deep water harbor on Yangshan Island in the Hangzhou Bay is from 2010 the world's busiest container port.
The Port of Shanghai's deep water harbor on Yangshan Island in the Hangzhou Bay is from 2010 the world's busiest container port.

Water supply and sanitation

Water supply and sanitation infrastructure in China is facing challenges such as rapid urbanization, as well as water scarcity, contamination, and pollution.[507] According to data presented by the Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply and Sanitation of WHO and UNICEF in 2015, about 36% of the rural population in China still did not have access to improved sanitation.[508] In June 2010, there were 1,519 sewage treatment plants in China and 18 plants were added each week.[509] The ongoing South–North Water Transfer Project intends to abate water shortage in the north.[510]

Demographics

PRC Population Density
A 2009 population density map of the People's Republic of China and Taiwan. The eastern coastal provinces are much more densely populated than the western interior.
China population
Population of China from 1960 to 2017

The national census of 2010 recorded the population of the People's Republic of China as approximately 1,370,536,875. About 16.60% of the population were 14 years old or younger, 70.14% were between 15 and 59 years old, and 13.26% were over 60 years old.[511] The population growth rate for 2013 is estimated to be 0.46%.[512]

China used to make up much of the world’s poor; now China makes up much of the world’s middle class.[513] Although a middle-income country by Western standards, China's rapid growth has pulled hundreds of millions -- 800 million, to be more precise[514] -- of its people out of poverty since 1978. By 2013, less than 2% of the Chinese population lived below the international poverty line of US$1.9 per day, down from 88% in 1981.[309] China's own standards for poverty are higher and still the country is on its way to eradicate national poverty completely by 2019.[515] From 2009-2018, the unemployment rate in China has averaged about 4%.[516]

Given concerns about population growth, China implemented a two-child limit during the 1970s, and, in 1979, began to advocate for an even stricter limit of one child per family. Beginning in the mid 1980s, however, given the unpopularity of the strict limits, China began to allow some major exemptions, particularly in rural areas, resulting in what was actually a "1.5"-child policy from the mid-1980s to 2015 (ethnic minorities were also exempt from one child limits). The next major loosening of the policy was enacted in December 2013, allowing families to have two children if one parent is an only child.[517] In 2016, the one-child policy was replaced in favor of a two-child policy.[518] Data from the 2010 census implies that the total fertility rate may be around 1.4, although due to underreporting of births it may be closer to 1.5–1.6.[519]

According to one group of scholars, one-child limits had little effect on population growth[520] or the size of the total population.[521] However, these scholars have been challenged. Their own counterfactual model of fertility decline without such restrictions implies that China averted more than 500 million births between 1970 and 2015, a number which may reach one billion by 2060 given all the lost descendants of births averted during the era of fertility restrictions, with one-child restrictions accounting for the great bulk of that reduction.[522]

The policy, along with traditional preference for boys, may have contributed to an imbalance in the sex ratio at birth.[523][524] According to the 2010 census, the sex ratio at birth was 118.06 boys for every 100 girls,[525] which is beyond the normal range of around 105 boys for every 100 girls.[526] The 2010 census found that males accounted for 51.27 percent of the total population.[525] However, China's sex ratio is more balanced than it was in 1953, when males accounted for 51.82 percent of the total population.[525]

Ethnic groups

China Post logo with (New) Tai Lü script in Mohan, Yunnan
A trilingual sign in Sibsongbanna, with Tai Lü language on the top

China officially recognizes 56 distinct ethnic groups, the largest of which are the Han Chinese, who constitute about 91.51% of the total population.[11] The Han Chinese – the world's largest single ethnic group[527] – outnumber other ethnic groups in every provincial-level division except Tibet and Xinjiang.[528] Ethnic minorities account for about 8.49% of the population of China, according to the 2010 census.[11] Compared with the 2000 population census, the Han population increased by 66,537,177 persons, or 5.74%, while the population of the 55 national minorities combined increased by 7,362,627 persons, or 6.92%.[11] The 2010 census recorded a total of 593,832 foreign nationals living in China. The largest such groups were from South Korea (120,750), the United States (71,493) and Japan (66,159).[529]

Languages

China linguistic map
1990 map of Chinese ethnolinguistic groups

There are as many as 292 living languages in China.[530] The languages most commonly spoken belong to the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family, which contains Mandarin (spoken by 70% of the population),[531] and other varieties of Chinese language: Yue (including Cantonese and Taishanese), Wu (including Shanghainese and Suzhounese), Min (including Fuzhounese, Hokkien and Teochew), Xiang, Gan and Hakka. Languages of the Tibeto-Burman branch, including Tibetan, Qiang, Naxi and Yi, are spoken across the Tibetan and Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau. Other ethnic minority languages in southwest China include Zhuang, Thai, Dong and Sui of the Tai-Kadai family, Miao and Yao of the Hmong–Mien family, and Wa of the Austroasiatic family. Across northeastern and northwestern China, local ethnic groups speak Altaic languages including Manchu, Mongolian and several Turkic languages: Uyghur, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Salar and Western Yugur. Korean is spoken natively along the border with North Korea. Sarikoli, the language of Tajiks in western Xinjiang, is an Indo-European language. Taiwanese aborigines, including a small population on the mainland, speak Austronesian languages.[532]

Standard Mandarin, a variety of Mandarin based on the Beijing dialect, is the official national language of China and is used as a lingua franca in the country between people of different linguistic backgrounds.[533]

Chinese characters have been used as the written script for the Sinitic languages for thousands of years. They allow speakers of mutually unintelligible Chinese varieties to communicate with each other through writing. In 1956, the government introduced simplified characters, which have supplanted the older traditional characters in mainland China. Chinese characters are romanized using the Pinyin system. Tibetan uses an alphabet based on an Indic script. Uyghur is most commonly written in Persian alphabet based Uyghur Arabic alphabet. The Mongolian script used in China and the Manchu script are both derived from the Old Uyghur alphabet. Zhuang uses both an official Latin alphabet script and a traditional Chinese character script.

Urbanization

China Top 10 Biggest Cities
Map of the ten largest cities in China (2010)

China has urbanized significantly in recent decades. The percent of the country's population living in urban areas increased from 20% in 1980 to over 55% in 2016.[534][535][536][537] It is estimated that China's urban population will reach one billion by 2030, potentially equivalent to one-eighth of the world population.[535][536] As of 2012, there are more than 262 million migrant workers in China, mostly rural migrants seeking work in cities.[538]

China has over 160 cities with a population of over one million,[539] including the seven megacities (cities with a population of over 10 million) of Chongqing, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Shenzhen, and Wuhan.[540][541][542] By 2025, it is estimated that the country will be home to 221 cities with over a million inhabitants.[535] The figures in the table below are from the 2010 census,[4] and are only estimates of the urban populations within administrative city limits; a different ranking exists when considering the total municipal populations (which includes suburban and rural populations). The large "floating populations" of migrant workers make conducting censuses in urban areas difficult;[543] the figures below include only long-term residents.

Education

Since 1986, compulsory education in China comprises primary and junior secondary school, which together last for nine years.[545] In 2010, about 82.5 percent of students continued their education at a three-year senior secondary school.[546] The Gaokao, China's national university entrance exam, is a prerequisite for entrance into most higher education institutions. In 2010, 27 percent of secondary school graduates are enrolled in higher education.[547] This number increased significantly over the last years, reaching a tertiary school enrollment of 48.4 percent in 2016.[548] Vocational education is available to students at the secondary and tertiary level.[549]

In February 2006, the government pledged to provide completely free nine-year education, including textbooks and fees.[550] Annual education investment went from less than US$50 billion in 2003 to more than US$250 billion in 2011.[551] However, there remains an inequality in education spending. In 2010, the annual education expenditure per secondary school student in Beijing totalled ¥20,023, while in Guizhou, one of the poorest provinces in China, only totalled ¥3,204.[552] Free compulsory education in China consists of primary school and junior secondary school between the ages of 6 and 15. In 2011, around 81.4% of Chinese have received secondary education.[553] By 2007, there were 396,567 primary schools, 94,116 secondary schools, and 2,236 higher education institutions in China.[554]

As of 2010, 94% of the population over age 15 are literate.[555] In 1949, only 20% of the population could read, compared to 65.5% thirty years later.[556] In 2009, Chinese students from Shanghai achieved the world's best results in mathematics, science and literacy, as tested by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a worldwide evaluation of 15-year-old school pupils' scholastic performance.[557] Despite the high results, Chinese education has also faced both native and international criticism for its emphasis on rote memorization and its gap in quality from rural to urban areas.[558]

Health

China Human Dev SVG
Chart showing the rise of China's Human Development Index from 1970 to 2010

The National Health and Family Planning Commission, together with its counterparts in the local commissions, oversees the health needs of the Chinese population.[559] An emphasis on public health and preventive medicine has characterized Chinese health policy since the early 1950s. At that time, the Communist Party started the Patriotic Health Campaign, which was aimed at improving sanitation and hygiene, as well as treating and preventing several diseases. Diseases such as cholera, typhoid and scarlet fever, which were previously rife in China, were nearly eradicated by the campaign. After Deng Xiaoping began instituting economic reforms in 1978, the health of the Chinese public improved rapidly because of better nutrition, although many of the free public health services provided in the countryside disappeared along with the People's Communes. Healthcare in China became mostly privatized, and experienced a significant rise in quality. In 2009, the government began a 3-year large-scale healthcare provision initiative worth US$124 billion.[560] By 2011, the campaign resulted in 95% of China's population having basic health insurance coverage.[561] In 2011, China was estimated to be the world's third-largest supplier of pharmaceuticals, but its population has suffered from the development and distribution of counterfeit medications.[562]

As of 2012, the average life expectancy at birth in China is 75 years,[563] and the infant mortality rate is 12 per thousand.[564] Both have improved significantly since the 1950s.[t] Rates of stunting, a condition caused by malnutrition, have declined from 33.1% in 1990 to 9.9% in 2010.[567] Despite significant improvements in health and the construction of advanced medical facilities, China has several emerging public health problems, such as respiratory illnesses caused by widespread air pollution,[568] hundreds of millions of cigarette smokers,[569] and an increase in obesity among urban youths.[570][571] China's large population and densely populated cities have led to serious disease outbreaks in recent years, such as the 2003 outbreak of SARS, although this has since been largely contained.[572] In 2010, air pollution caused 1.2 million premature deaths in China.[573]

Religion

Religion in China (CFPS 2014)[574][575][note 1]

  Buddhism (15.87%)
  Other religions, including folk salvationism and Taoist sects[note 2] (7.60%)
  Christianity (2.53%)
  Islam[note 3] (0.45%)

Notes

  1. ^ CFPS 2014 surveyed a sample of 13,857 families and 31,665 individuals.[575]:27, note 4 As noted by Katharina Wenzel-Teuber of China Zentrum, German institute for research on religion in China, compared to CFPS 2012, CFPS 2014 asked the Chinese about personal belief in certain conceptions of divinity (i.e. "Buddha", "Tao", "God of the Christians/Jesus", "Heavenly Lord of the Catholics") rather than membership in a religious group.[575]:27 It also included regions, such as those in the west of China, that were excluded in CFPS 2012,[575]:27, note 3 and unregistered Christians.[575]:28 For these reasons, she concludes that CFPS 2014 results are more accurate than 2012 ones.
  2. ^ CFPS 2017 found that 5.94% of the population declared that they belonged to "other" religious categories besides the five state-sanctioned religions. An additional 0.85% of the population responded that they were "Taoists". Note that the title of "Taoist", in common Chinese usage, is generally attributed only to the Taoist clergy. CFPS 2014 found that a further 0.81% declared that they belonged to the popular salvationist sects, while CFPS 2012 found 2.2%, and CGSS 2006-2010 surveys found an average 3% of the population declaring that they belonged to such religions, while government estimates give higher figures (see the "statistics" section of the present article).
  3. ^ CFPS 2014 surveyed predominantly people of Han ethnicity. This may have resulted in an underestimation of Muslims. CGSS 2006–2010 surveys found an average 2-3% of the population of China declaring to be Muslim.

The government of the People's Republic of China officially espouses state atheism,[576] and has conducted antireligious campaigns to this end.[577] Religious affairs and issues in the country are overseen by the State Administration for Religious Affairs.[578] Freedom of religion is guaranteed by China's constitution, although religious organizations that lack official approval can be subject to state persecution.[248][579]

Fushou (Fortune and Longevity) Taoist Temple at Tianchi (Heavenly Lake) in Fukang, Changji, Xinjiang
Temple of Fortune and Longevity, at the Heavenly Lake of Tianshan in Fukang, Changji, Xinjiang. It is an example of Taoist temple that hosts various chapels dedicated to popular gods.

Over the millennia, Chinese civilization has been influenced by various religious movements. The "three teachings", including Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism (Chinese Buddhism), historically have a significant role in shaping Chinese culture,[580][581] enriching a theological and spiritual framework which harkens back to the early Shang and Zhou dynasty. Chinese popular or folk religion, which is framed by the three teachings and other traditions,[582] consists in allegiance to the shen (), a character that signifies the "energies of generation", who can be deities of the environment or ancestral principles of human groups, concepts of civility, culture heroes, many of whom feature in Chinese mythology and history.[583] Among the most popular cults are those of Mazu (goddess of the seas),[584] Huangdi (one of the two divine patriarchs of the Chinese race),[584][585] Guandi (god of war and business), Caishen (god of prosperity and richness), Pangu and many others. China is home to many of the world's tallest religious statues, including the tallest of all, the Spring Temple Buddha in Henan.

Clear data on religious affiliation in China is difficult to gather due to varying definitions of "religion" and the unorganized, diffusive nature of Chinese religious traditions. Scholars note that in China there is no clear boundary between three teachings religions, Buddhism, Taoism and local folk religious practice.[580] A 2015 poll conducted by Gallup International found that 61% of Chinese people self-identified as "convinced atheist",[586] though it is worthwhile to note that Chinese religions or some of their strands are definable as non-theistic and humanistic religions, since they do not believe that divine creativity is completely transcendent, but it is inherent in the world and in particular in the human being.[587] According to a 2014 study, approximately 74% are either non-religious or practise Chinese folk belief, 16% are Buddhists, 2% are Christians, 1% are Muslims, and 8% adhere to other religions including Taoists and folk salvationism.[588][575] In addition to Han people's local religious practices, there are also various ethnic minority groups in China who maintain their traditional autochthone religions. The various folk religions today comprise 2–3% of the population, while Confucianism as a religious self-identification is common within the intellectual class. Significant faiths specifically connected to certain ethnic groups include Tibetan Buddhism and the Islamic religion of the Hui, Uyghur, Kazakh, Kyrgyz and other peoples in Northwest China.

Culture

11 Temple of Heaven
The Temple of Heaven, a center of heaven worship and an UNESCO World Heritage site, symbolizes the Interactions Between Heaven and Mankind.[589]

Since ancient times, Chinese culture has been heavily influenced by Confucianism and conservative philosophies. For much of the country's dynastic era, opportunities for social advancement could be provided by high performance in the prestigious imperial examinations, which have their origins in the Han dynasty.[590] The literary emphasis of the exams affected the general perception of cultural refinement in China, such as the belief that calligraphy, poetry and painting were higher forms of art than dancing or drama. Chinese culture has long emphasized a sense of deep history and a largely inward-looking national perspective.[231] Examinations and a culture of merit remain greatly valued in China today.[591]

The first leaders of the People's Republic of China were born into the traditional imperial order, but were influenced by the May Fourth Movement and reformist ideals. They sought to change some traditional aspects of Chinese culture, such as rural land tenure, sexism, and the Confucian system of education, while preserving others, such as the family structure and culture of obedience to the state. Some observers see the period following the establishment of the PRC in 1949 as a continuation of traditional Chinese dynastic history, while others claim that the Communist Party's rule has damaged the foundations of Chinese culture, especially through political movements such as the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, where many aspects of traditional culture were destroyed, having been denounced as "regressive and harmful" or "vestiges of feudalism". Many important aspects of traditional Chinese morals and culture, such as Confucianism, art, literature, and performing arts like Peking opera,[592] were altered to conform to government policies and propaganda at the time. Access to foreign media remains heavily restricted.[593]

Today, the Chinese government has accepted numerous elements of traditional Chinese culture as being integral to Chinese society. With the rise of Chinese nationalism and the end of the Cultural Revolution, various forms of traditional Chinese art, literature, music, film, fashion and architecture have seen a vigorous revival,[594][595] and folk and variety art in particular have sparked interest nationally and even worldwide.[596] China is now the third-most-visited country in the world,[597] with 55.7 million inbound international visitors in 2010.[598] It also experiences an enormous volume of domestic tourism; an estimated 740 million Chinese holidaymakers travelled within the country in October 2012 alone.[599]

Literature

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

Chinese literature is based on the literature of the Zhou dynasty.[600] Concepts covered within the Chinese classic texts present a wide range of thoughts and subjects including calendar, military, astrology, herbology, geography and many others.[601] Some of the most important early texts include the I Ching and the Shujing within the Four Books and Five Classics which served as the Confucian authoritative books for the state-sponsored curriculum in dynastic era.[602] Inherited from the Classic of Poetry, classical Chinese poetry developed to its floruit during the Tang dynasty. Li Bai and Du Fu opened the forking ways for the poetic circles through romanticism and realism respectively.[603] Chinese historiography began with the Shiji, the overall scope of the historiographical tradition in China is termed the Twenty-Four Histories, which set a vast stage for Chinese fictions along with Chinese mythology and folklore.[604] Pushed by a burgeoning citizen class in the Ming dynasty, Chinese classical fiction rose to a boom of the historical, town and gods and demons fictions as represented by the Four Great Classical Novels which include Water Margin, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Journey to the West and Dream of the Red Chamber.[605] Along with the wuxia fictions of Jin Yong and Liang Yusheng,[606] it remains an enduring source of popular culture in the East Asian cultural sphere.[607]

Bianlian
Bian Lian (Face-Changing) Performer

In the wake of the New Culture Movement after the end of the Qing dynasty, Chinese literature embarked on a new era with written vernacular Chinese for ordinary citizens. Hu Shih and Lu Xun were pioneers in modern literature.[608] Various literary genres, such as misty poetry, scar literature, young adult fiction and the xungen literature, which is influenced by magic realism,[609] emerged following the Cultural Revolution. Mo Yan, a xungen literature author, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012.[610]

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[611]

Chinese cuisine is highly diverse, drawing on several millennia of culinary history and geographical variety, in which the most influential are known as the "Eight Major Cuisines", including Sichuan, Cantonese, Jiangsu, Shandong, Fujian, Hunan, Anhui, and Zhejiang cuisines.[612] All of them are featured by the precise skills of shaping, heating, colorway and flavoring.[613] Chinese cuisine is also known for its width of cooking methods and ingredients,[614] as well as food therapy that is emphasized by traditional Chinese medicine.[615] 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.[616] Pork is now the most popular meat in China, accounting for about three-fourths of the country's total meat consumption.[617] While pork dominates the meat market, there is also pork-free Buddhist cuisine and 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.

Sports

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

China has become a prime sports destination worldwide. The country gained the hosting rights for several major global sports tournaments including the 2008 Summer Olympics, the 2015 World Championships in Athletics, the upcoming 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup and the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics.

China has one of the oldest sporting cultures in the world. There is evidence that archery (shèjiàn) was practiced during the Western Zhou dynasty. Swordplay (jiànshù) and cuju, a sport loosely related to association football[618] date back to China's early dynasties as well.[619]

FloorGoban
Go is an abstract strategy board game for two players, in which the aim is to surround more territory than the opponent and was invented in China more than 2,500 years ago.
Echecs chinois
Xiangqi, or Chinese chess, which the earliest indications reveal the game may have been played as early as the third century BCE.

Physical fitness is widely emphasized in Chinese culture, with morning exercises such as qigong and t'ai chi ch'uan widely practiced,[620] and commercial gyms and private fitness clubs are gaining popularity across the country.[621] Basketball is currently the most popular spectator sport in China.[622] The Chinese Basketball Association and the American National Basketball Association have a huge following among the people, with native or ethnic Chinese players such as Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian held in high esteem.[623] China's professional football league, now known as Chinese Super League, was established in 1994, it is the largest football market in Asia.[624] Other popular sports in the country include martial arts, table tennis, badminton, swimming and snooker. Board games such as go (known as wéiqí in Chinese), xiangqi, mahjong, and more recently chess, are also played at a professional level.[625] In addition, China is home to a huge number of cyclists, with an estimated 470 million bicycles as of 2012.[491] Many more traditional sports, such as dragon boat racing, Mongolian-style wrestling and horse racing are also popular.[626]

China has participated in the Olympic Games since 1932, although it has only participated as the PRC since 1952. China hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, where its athletes received 51 gold medals – the highest number of gold medals of any participating nation that year.[627] China also won the most medals of any nation at the 2012 Summer Paralympics, with 231 overall, including 95 gold medals.[628][629] In 2011, Shenzhen in Guangdong, China hosted the 2011 Summer Universiade. China hosted the 2013 East Asian Games in Tianjin and the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics in Nanjing. Beijing and its nearby city Zhangjiakou of Hebei province will also collaboratively host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, which will make Beijing the first city in the world to hold both the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics.[630]

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Romanized as "Peking" prior to the adoption of Pinyin.
  2. ^ Portuguese (Macau only), English (Hong Kong only).
  3. ^ In the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, Traditional Chinese characters are used
  4. ^ Ethnic minorities that are recognized officially.
  5. ^ Xi Jinping holds four concurrent positions: General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (de facto paramount leader), President of the People's Republic of China (head of state), and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (Commander-in-chief) for both state and party.[6]
  6. ^ According to the official Orders of precedence in China (i.e. party comes first), the order of Wang would be inferior to the members of the Standing Committee of Politburo of CPC as he was not appointed office in the 19th Central Committee.
  7. ^ The area given is the official United Nations figure for the mainland and excludes Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.[7] It also excludes the Trans-Karakoram Tract (5,800 km2 or 2,200 sq mi), Aksai Chin (37,244 km2 or 14,380 sq mi) and other territories in dispute with India. The total area of China is listed as 9,572,900 km2 (3,696,100 sq mi) by the Encyclopædia Britannica.[8] For further information, see Territorial changes of the People's Republic of China.
  8. ^ This figure was calculated using data from the CIA World Factbook.[9]
  9. ^ The Hong Kong Dollar is used in Hong Kong and Macau while the Macanese pataca is used in Macau only.
  10. ^ Motor vehicles and metros drive on the right in mainland China. Hong Kong and Macau use left-hand traffic except several parts of metro lines. The majority of the country's trains drive on the left.
  11. ^ The total area ranking relative to the United States depends on the measurement of the total areas of China and the United States. See List of countries and dependencies by area for more information.
  12. ^ "[...] Next vnto this, is found the great China, whose kyng is thought to bee the greatest prince in the worlde, and is named Santoa Raia".[32][33]
  13. ^ "[...] The Very Great Kingdom of China".[34] (Portuguese: ...O Grande Reino da China...).[35]
  14. ^ Although this is the present meaning of guó, in Old Chinese (when its pronunciation was something like /*qʷˤək/)[41] it meant the walled city of the Chinese and the areas they could control from them.[42]
  15. ^ Its use is attested from the 6th-century Classic of History, which states "Huangtian bestowed the lands and the peoples of the central state to the ancestors" (皇天既付中國民越厥疆土于先王).[43]
  16. ^ Owing to Qin Shi Huang's earlier policy involving the "burning of books and burying of scholars", the destruction of the confiscated copies at Xianyang was an event similar to the destructions of the Library of Alexandria in the west. Even those texts that did survive had to be painstakingly reconstructed from memory, luck, or forgery.[63] The Old Texts of the Five Classics were said to have been found hidden in a wall at the Kong residence in Qufu. Mei Ze's "rediscovered" edition of the Book of Documents was only shown to be a forgery in the Qing dynasty.
  17. ^ According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, the total area of the United States, at 9,522,055 km2 (3,676,486 sq mi), is slightly smaller than that of China. Meanwhile, the CIA World Factbook states that China's total area was greater than that of the United States until the coastal waters of the Great Lakes was added to the United States' total area in 1996. From 1989 through 1996, the total area of US was listed as 9,372,610 km2 (3,618,780 sq mi) (land area plus inland water only). The listed total area changed to 9,629,091 km2 (3,717,813 sq mi) in 1997 (with the Great Lakes areas and the coastal waters added), to 9,631,418 km2 (3,718,711 sq mi) in 2004, to 9,631,420 km2 (3,718,710 sq mi) in 2006, and to 9,826,630 km2 (3,794,080 sq mi) in 2007 (territorial waters added).
  18. ^ China's border with Pakistan and part of its border with India falls in the disputed region of Kashmir. The area under Pakistani administration is claimed by India, while the area under Indian administration is claimed by Pakistan.
  19. ^ Tsung-Dao Lee,[434] Chen Ning Yang,[434] Daniel C. Tsui,[435] Charles K. Kao,[436] Yuan T. Lee,[437] Tu Youyou[438]
  20. ^ The national life expectancy at birth rose from about 31 years in 1949 to 75 years in 2008,[565] and infant mortality decreased from 300 per thousand in the 1950s to around 33 per thousand in 2001.[566]

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Further reading

  • Meng, Fanhua (2011). Phenomenon of Chinese Culture at the Turn of the 21st century. Singapore: Silkroad Press. ISBN 978-981-4332-35-4.
  • Farah, Paolo (2006). "Five Years of China's WTO Membership: EU and US Perspectives on China's Compliance with Transparency Commitments and the Transitional Review Mechanism". Legal Issues of Economic Integration. Kluwer Law International. Volume 33, Number 3. pp. 263–304. Abstract.
  • Heilig, Gerhard K. (2006/2007). China Bibliography – Online. China-Profile.com.
  • Jacques, Martin (2009).When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order. Penguin Books. Rev. ed. (28 August 2012). ISBN 978-1-59420-185-1
  • Jaffe, Amy Myers, "Green Giant: Renewable Energy and Chinese Power", Foreign Affairs, vol. 97, no. 2 (March / April 2018), pp. 83–93.
  • Lagerwey, John (2010). China: A Religious State. Hong Kong: University of Hong Kong Press. ISBN 978-988-8028-04-7.
  • Sang Ye (2006). China Candid: The People on the People's Republic. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-24514-3.
  • Selden, Mark (1979). The People's Republic of China: Documentary History of Revolutionary Change. New York: Monthly Review Press. ISBN 978-0-85345-532-5.
  • Shambaugh, David L. (2008). China's Communist Party: Atrophy and Adaptation. Washington, D.C.; Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-25492-3.

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Coordinates: 35°N 103°E / 35°N 103°E

1989 Tiananmen Square protests

The 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, commonly known in mainland China as the June Fourth Incident (Chinese: 六四事件, liùsì shìjiàn), were student-led demonstrations in Beijing (the capital of the People's Republic of China) in 1989. More broadly, it refers to the popular national movement inspired by the Beijing protests during that period, sometimes called the '89 Democracy Movement (Chinese: 八九民运, bājiǔ mínyùn). The protests were forcibly suppressed after Chinese Premier Li Peng declared martial law. In what became known in the West as the Tiananmen Square Massacre, troops with assault rifles and tanks fired at the demonstrators trying to block the military's advance towards Tiananmen Square. The number of civilian deaths was internally estimated by the Chinese government to be near or above 10,000.Set against a backdrop of rapid economic development and social changes in post-Mao Zedong China, the protests reflected anxieties about the country's future in the popular consciousness and among the political elite. The reforms of the 1980s had led to a nascent market economy which benefited some people but seriously disaffected others, and the one-party political system also faced a challenge of legitimacy. Common grievances at the time included inflation, limited preparedness of graduates for the new economy, and restrictions on political participation. The students called for democracy, greater accountability, freedom of the press, and freedom of speech, although they were loosely organized and their goals varied. At the height of the protests, about 1 million people assembled in the Square.As the protests developed, the authorities veered back and forth between conciliatory and hardline tactics, exposing deep divisions within the party leadership. By May, a student-led hunger strike galvanized support for the demonstrators around the country, and the protests spread to some 400 cities. Ultimately, China's paramount leader Deng Xiaoping and other Communist Party elders believed the protests to be a political threat and resolved to use force. The State Council declared martial law on May 20 and mobilized as many as 300,000 troops to Beijing. The troops suppressed the protests by firing at demonstrators with automatic weapons, killing multiple protesters and leading to mass civil unrest in the days following.

The international community, human rights organizations, and political analysts condemned the Chinese government for the massacre. Western countries imposed arms embargoes on China. The Chinese government made widespread arrests of protesters and their supporters, suppressed other protests around China, expelled foreign journalists, strictly controlled coverage of the events in the domestic press, strengthened the police and internal security forces, and demoted or purged officials it deemed sympathetic to the protests. More broadly, the suppression temporarily halted the policies of liberalization in the 1980s. Considered a watershed event, the protests also set the limits on political expression in China well into the 21st century. Its memory is widely associated with questioning the legitimacy of Communist Party rule and remains one of the most sensitive and most widely censored political topics in mainland China.

Beijing

Beijing (, nonstandard ;

Mandarin pronunciation: [pèi.tɕíŋ] (listen)), formerly romanized as Peking, is the capital of the People's Republic of China, the world's third most populous city proper, and most populous capital city. The city, located in northern China, is governed as a municipality under the direct administration of central government with 16 urban, suburban, and rural districts. Beijing Municipality is surrounded by Hebei Province with the exception of neighboring Tianjin Municipality to the southeast; together the three divisions form the Jingjinji metropolitan region and the national capital region of China.Beijing is an important world capital and global power city, and one of the world's leading centers for politics, economy and business, finance, education, culture, innovation and technology, architecture, language, and diplomacy. A megacity, Beijing is the second largest Chinese city by urban population after Shanghai and is the nation's political, cultural, and educational center. It is home to the headquarters of most of China's largest state-owned companies and houses the largest number of Fortune Global 500 companies in the world, as well as the world's four biggest financial institutions. It is also a major hub for the national highway, expressway, railway, and high-speed rail networks. The Beijing Capital International Airport has been the second busiest in the world by passenger traffic since 2010, and, as of 2016, the city's subway network is the busiest and second longest in the world.

Combining both modern and traditional architecture, Beijing is one of the oldest cities in the world, with a rich history dating back three millennia. As the last of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, Beijing has been the political center of the country for most of the past eight centuries, and was the largest city in the world by population for much of the second millennium A.D. Encyclopædia Britannica notes that "few cities in the world have served for so long as the political headquarters and cultural center of an area as immense as China." With mountains surrounding the inland city on three sides, in addition to the old inner and outer city walls, Beijing was strategically poised and developed to be the residence of the emperor and thus was the perfect location for the imperial capital. The city is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, parks, gardens, tombs, walls and gates. It has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites—the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Ming Tombs, Zhoukoudian, and parts of the Great Wall and the Grand Canal— all tourist locations. Siheyuans, the city's traditional housing style, and hutongs, the narrow alleys between siheyuans, are major tourist attractions and are common in urban Beijing.

Many of Beijing's 91 universities consistently rank among the best in China, such as the Peking University and Tsinghua University. Beijing CBD is a center for Beijing's economic expansion, with the ongoing or recently completed construction of multiple skyscrapers. Beijing's Zhongguancun area is known as China's Silicon Valley and a center of innovation and technology entrepreneurship.

Communist Party of China

The Communist Party of China (CPC), also referred to as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China. The Communist Party is the sole governing party within mainland China, permitting only eight other, subordinated parties to co-exist, those making up the United Front. It was founded in 1921, chiefly by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao. The party grew quickly, and by 1949 it had driven the nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) government from mainland China after the Chinese Civil War, leading to the establishment of the People's Republic of China. It also controls the world's largest armed forces, the People's Liberation Army.

The CPC is officially organised on the basis of democratic centralism, a principle conceived by Russian Marxist theoretician Vladimir Lenin which entails democratic and open discussion on policy on the condition of unity in upholding the agreed upon policies. The highest body of the CPC is the National Congress, convened every fifth year. When the National Congress is not in session, the Central Committee is the highest body, but since the body meets normally only once a year most duties and responsibilities are vested in the Politburo and its Standing Committee. The party's leader holds the offices of General Secretary (responsible for civilian party duties), Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) (responsible for military affairs) and State President (a largely ceremonial position). Through these posts, the party leader is the country's paramount leader. The current paramount leader is Xi Jinping, elected at the 18th National Congress held in October 2012.

The CPC is committed to communism and continues to participate in the International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties each year. According to the party constitution, the CPC adheres to Marxism–Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, socialism with Chinese characteristics, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Three Represents, the Scientific Outlook on Development and Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a New Era. The official explanation for China's economic reforms is that the country is in the primary stage of socialism, a developmental stage similar to the capitalist mode of production. The command economy established under Mao Zedong was replaced by the socialist market economy, the current economic system, on the basis that "Practice is the Sole Criterion for the Truth".

Since the collapse of Eastern European communist governments in 1989–1990 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the CPC has emphasised its party-to-party relations with the ruling parties of the remaining socialist states. While the CPC still maintains party-to-party relations with non-ruling communist parties around the world, since the 1980s it has established relations with several non-communist parties, most notably with ruling parties of one-party states (whatever their ideology), dominant parties in democracies (whatever their ideology) and social democratic parties.

Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe with an eye to expansion. Several walls were being built from as early as the 7th century BC; these were later joined together and made bigger by Qin Shi Huang (220–206 BC), the first Emperor of China. Little of that wall remains. Later on, many successive dynasties have repaired, maintained, and newly built multiple stretches of border walls. The most well-known of the walls were built during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644).

Apart from defense, other purposes of the Great Wall have included border controls, allowing the imposition of duties on goods transported along the Silk Road, regulation or encouragement of trade and the control of immigration and emigration. Furthermore, the defensive characteristics of the Great Wall were enhanced by the construction of watch towers, troop barracks, garrison stations, signaling capabilities through the means of smoke or fire, and the fact that the path of the Great Wall also served as a transportation corridor.

The frontier walls built by different dynasties have multiple courses. Collectively, they stretch from Dandong in the east to Lop Lake in the west, from present-day Sino-Russian border in the north to Qinghai in the south; along an arc that roughly delineates the edge of Mongolian steppe. A comprehensive archaeological survey, using advanced technologies, has concluded that the walls built by the Ming dynasty measure 8,850 km (5,500 mi). This is made up of 6,259 km (3,889 mi) sections of actual wall, 359 km (223 mi) of trenches and 2,232 km (1,387 mi) of natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers. Another archaeological survey found that the entire wall with all of its branches measures out to be 21,196 km (13,171 mi). Today, the Great Wall is generally recognized as one of the most impressive architectural feats in history.

Guangzhou

Guangzhou (simplified Chinese: 广州; traditional Chinese: 廣州; Cantonese pronunciation: [kʷɔ̌ːŋ.tsɐ̂u] or [kʷɔ̌ːŋ.tsɐ́u] (listen); Mandarin pronunciation: [kwàŋ.ʈʂóu] (listen)), also known as Canton, is the capital and most populous city of the province of Guangdong in southern China. On the Pearl River about 120 km (75 mi) north-northwest of Hong Kong and 145 km (90 mi) north of Macau, Guangzhou has a history of over 2,200 years and was a major terminus of the maritime Silk Road, and continues to serve as a major port and transportation hub, as well as one of China's three largest cities.Guangzhou is at the heart of the most-populous built-up metropolitan area in mainland China that extends into the neighboring cities of Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan and Shenzhen, forming one of the largest urban agglomerations on the planet. Administratively, the city holds sub-provincial status and is one of China's nine National Central Cities. In 2018 year end, the city's expansive administrative area is estimated at 14,904,400 by city authorities, up 3.8% year on year. Guangzhou is ranked as an Alpha global city. There is a rapidly increasing number of foreign temporary residents and immigrants from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa. This has led to it being dubbed the "Capital of the Third World".The domestic migrant population from other provinces of China in Guangzhou was 40% of the city's total population in 2008. Together with Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen, Guangzhou has one of the most expensive real estate markets in China. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, nationals of sub-Saharan Africa who had initially settled in the Middle East and other parts of Southeast Asia moved in unprecedented numbers to Guangzhou, China in response to the 1997/98 Asian financial crisis.Long the only Chinese port accessible to most foreign traders, Guangzhou fell to the British during the First Opium War. No longer enjoying a monopoly after the war, it lost trade to other ports such as Hong Kong and Shanghai, but continued to serve as a major entrepôt. In modern commerce, Guangzhou is best known for its annual Canton Fair, the oldest and largest trade fair in China. For three consecutive years (2013–2015), Forbes ranked Guangzhou as the best commercial city in mainland China.

History of China

The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the king Wu Ding's reign, who was recorded as the twenty-first Shang king by the written records of Shang dynasty unearthed. Ancient historical texts such as the Records of the Grand Historian (c. 100 BC) and the Bamboo Annals (296 BC) describe a Xia dynasty (c. 2070–1600 BC) before the Shang, but no writing is known from the period, and Shang writings do not indicate the existence of the Xia. The Shang ruled in the Yellow River valley, which is commonly held to be the cradle of Chinese civilization. However, Neolithic civilizations originated at various cultural centers along both the Yellow River and Yangtze River. These Yellow River and Yangtze civilizations arose millennia before the Shang. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest civilizations, and is regarded as one of the cradles of civilization.The Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BC) supplanted the Shang, and introduced the concept of the Mandate of Heaven to justify their rule. The central Zhou government began to weaken due to external and internal pressures in the 8th century BC, and the country eventually splintered into smaller states during the Spring and Autumn period. These states became independent and warred with one another in the following Warring States period. Much of traditional Chinese culture, literature and philosophy first developed during those troubled times.

In 221 BC Qin Shi Huang conquered the various warring states and created for himself the title of Huangdi or "emperor" of the Qin, marking the beginning of imperial China. However, the oppressive government fell soon after his death, and was supplanted by the longer-lived Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). Successive dynasties developed bureaucratic systems that enabled the emperor to control vast territories directly. In the 21 centuries from 206 BC until AD 1912, routine administrative tasks were handled by a special elite of scholar-officials. Young men, well-versed in calligraphy, history, literature, and philosophy, were carefully selected through difficult government examinations. China's last dynasty was the Qing (1644–1912), which was replaced by the Republic of China in 1912, and in the mainland by the People's Republic of China in 1949, resulting in two de facto states claiming to be the legitimate government of all China.

Chinese history has alternated between periods of political unity and peace, and periods of war and failed statehood – the most recent being the Chinese Civil War (1927–1949). China was occasionally dominated by steppe peoples, most of whom were eventually assimilated into the Han Chinese culture and population. Between eras of multiple kingdoms and warlordism, Chinese dynasties have ruled parts or all of China; in some eras control stretched as far as Xinjiang and Tibet, as at present. Traditional culture, and influences from other parts of Asia and the Western world (carried by waves of immigration, cultural assimilation, expansion, and foreign contact), form the basis of the modern culture of China.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong ( (listen); Chinese: 香港, Hong Kong Cantonese: [hœ́ːŋ.kɔ̌ːŋ] (listen)), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China and commonly abbreviated as HK, is a special administrative region on the eastern side of the Pearl River estuary in southern China. With over 7.4 million people of various nationalities in a 1,104-square-kilometre (426 sq mi) territory, Hong Kong is the world's fourth most densely populated region.

Hong Kong became a colony of the British Empire after Qing China ceded Hong Kong Island at the end of the First Opium War in 1842. The colony expanded to the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 after the Second Opium War, and was further extended when Britain obtained a 99-year lease of the New Territories in 1898. The entire territory was returned to China in 1997. As a special administrative region, Hong Kong's system of government is separate from that of mainland China and its people overwhelmingly identify as Hongkongers rather than Chinese.Originally a sparsely populated area of farming and fishing villages, the territory has become one of the world's most significant financial centres and commercial ports. It is the world's seventh-largest trading entity, and its legal tender (the Hong Kong dollar) is the world's 13th-most traded currency. Although the city has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, it has severe income inequality.The territory has the largest number of skyscrapers in the world, most surrounding Victoria Harbour. Hong Kong ranks seventh on the UN Human Development Index, and has the sixth-longest life expectancy in the world. Although over 90 per cent of its population uses public transportation, air pollution from neighbouring industrial areas of mainland China has resulted in a high level of atmospheric particulates.

List of tallest buildings

This list of tallest buildings includes skyscrapers with continuously occupiable floors and a height of at least 350 m. Non-building structures, such as towers, are not included in this list (see list of tallest buildings and structures).

Macau

Macau or Macao ( (listen); Chinese: 澳門, Cantonese: [ōu.mǔːn]; Portuguese: Macau [mɐˈkaw]), officially the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is a special administrative region on the western side of the Pearl River estuary in southern China. With a population of 653,100 in an area of 32.9 km2 (12.7 sq mi), it is the most densely populated region in the world.

Macau was formerly a colony of the Portuguese Empire, after Ming China leased the territory as a trading post in 1557. Originally governing under Chinese authority and sovereignty, Portugal was given perpetual occupation rights for Macau in 1887. The colony remained under Portuguese control until 1999, when it was returned to China. As a special administrative region, Macau's system of government is separate from that of mainland China.Originally a sparsely populated collection of coastal islands, the territory has become a major resort city and the top destination for gambling tourism. It is the ninth-highest recipient of tourism revenue and its gaming industry is seven times larger than that of Las Vegas. Although the city has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, it has severe income inequality.Macau has a very high Human Development Index and the fourth-highest life expectancy in the world. The territory is highly urbanised and most development is built on reclaimed land; two-thirds of total land area is reclaimed from the sea.

Mao Zedong

Mao Zedong (; December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976), also known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who became the founding father of the People's Republic of China, which he ruled as the Chairman of the Communist Party of China from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976. His theories, military strategies, and political policies are collectively known as Maoism.

Mao was the son of a wealthy farmer in Shaoshan, Hunan. He had a Chinese nationalist and anti-imperialist outlook early in his life, and was particularly influenced by the events of the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 and May Fourth Movement of 1919. He later adopted Marxism–Leninism while working at Peking University, and became a founding member of the Communist Party of China (CPC), leading the Autumn Harvest Uprising in 1927. During the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang (KMT) and the CPC, Mao helped to found the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, led the Jiangxi Soviet's radical land policies, and ultimately became head of the CPC during the Long March. Although the CPC temporarily allied with the KMT under the United Front during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), China's civil war resumed after Japan's surrender and in 1949 Mao's forces defeated the Nationalist government, which withdrew to Taiwan.

On October 1, 1949, Mao proclaimed the foundation of the People's Republic of China (PRC), a single-party state controlled by the CPC. In the following years he solidified his control through land reforms and through a psychological victory in the Korean War, as well as through campaigns against landlords, people he termed "counter-revolutionaries", and other perceived enemies of the state. In 1957, he launched a campaign known as the Great Leap Forward that aimed to rapidly transform China's economy from agrarian to industrial. This campaign led to the deadliest famine in history and the deaths of 20–45 million people between 1958 and 1962. In 1966, Mao initiated the Cultural Revolution, a program to remove "counter-revolutionary" elements in Chinese society which lasted 10 years and was marked by violent class struggle, widespread destruction of cultural artifacts, and an unprecedented elevation of Mao's cult of personality. The program is now officially regarded as a "severe setback" for the PRC. In 1972, Mao welcomed American President Richard Nixon in Beijing, signalling the start of a policy of opening China to the world. After years of ill health, Mao suffered a series of heart attacks in 1976 and died at the age of 82. He was succeeded as paramount leader by Premier Hua Guofeng, who was quickly sidelined and replaced by Deng Xiaoping.

A controversial figure, Mao is regarded as one of the most important and influential individuals in modern world history. He is also known as a political intellect, theorist, military strategist, poet, and visionary. Supporters credit him with driving imperialism out of China, modernising the nation and building it into a world power, promoting the status of women, improving education and health care, as well as increasing life expectancy as China's population grew from around 550 million to over 900 million under his leadership. Conversely, his regime has been called autocratic and totalitarian, and condemned for bringing about mass repression and destroying religious and cultural artifacts and sites. It was additionally responsible for vast numbers of deaths with estimates ranging from 30 to 70 million victims through starvation, prison labour and mass executions.

People's Liberation Army

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) is the armed forces of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and its founding and ruling political party, the Communist Party of China (CPC). The PLA consists of five professional service branches: the Ground Force, Navy, Air Force, Rocket Force, and the Strategic Support Force. Units around the country are assigned to one of five Theater commands by geographical location. The PLA is the world's largest military force and constitutes the second largest defence budget in the world. It is one of the fastest modernising military powers in the world and has been termed as a potential military superpower, with significant regional defense and rising global power projection capabilities. China is also the third largest arms exporter in the world.

The PLA is under the command of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the CPC. It is legally obliged to follow the principle of civilian control of the military, although in practical terms this principle has been implemented in such a way as to ensure the PLA is under the absolute control of the Communist Party of China. Its commander in chief is the Chairman of the Central Military Commission (usually the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China). The Ministry of National Defense, which operates under the State Council, does not exercise any authority over the PLA and is far less powerful than the CMC.

Military service is compulsory by law; however, compulsory military service in China has never been enforced due to large numbers of military and paramilitary personnel. In times of national emergency, the People's Armed Police and the People's Liberation Army militia act as a reserve and support element for the PLAGF.

Qing dynasty

The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last imperial dynasty of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912. It was preceded by the Ming dynasty and succeeded by the Republic of China. The Qing multi-cultural empire lasted for almost three centuries and formed the territorial base for modern China. It was the fifth largest empire in world history. The dynasty was founded by the Manchu Aisin Gioro clan in Manchuria. In the late sixteenth century, Nurhaci, originally a Ming Jianzhou Guard vassal, began organizing "Banners", military-social units that included Manchu, Han, and Mongol elements. Nurhaci formed the Manchu clans into a unified entity. By 1636, his son Hong Taiji began driving Ming forces out of the Liaodong Peninsula and declared a new dynasty, the Qing.

In an unrelated development, peasant rebels led by Li Zicheng conquered the Ming capital, Beijing, in 1644. Rather than serve them, Ming general Wu Sangui made an alliance with the Manchus and opened the Shanhai Pass to the Banner Armies led by the regent Prince Dorgon. He defeated the rebels and seized the capital. Resistance from the Southern Ming and the Revolt of the Three Feudatories led by Wu Sangui delayed the Qing conquest of China proper by nearly four decades. The conquest was only completed in 1683 under the Kangxi Emperor reign (1661–1722). The Ten Great Campaigns of the Qianlong Emperor from the 1750s to the 1790s extended Qing control into Inner Asia. The early Qing rulers maintained their Manchu customs, and while their title was Emperor, they used "Bogd khaan" when dealing with the Mongols and they were patrons of Tibetan Buddhism. They governed using Confucian styles and institutions of bureaucratic government and retained the imperial examinations to recruit Han Chinese to work under or in parallel with Manchus. They also adapted the ideals of the tributary system in dealing with neighboring territories.

During the Qianlong Emperor reign (1735–1796) the dynasty reached its apogee, but then began its initial decline in prosperity and imperial control. The population rose to some 400 millions, but taxes and government revenues were fixed at a low rate, virtually guaranteeing eventual fiscal crisis. Corruption set in, rebels tested government legitimacy, and ruling elites failed to change their mindsets in the face of changes in the world system. Following the Opium Wars, European powers imposed "unequal treaties", free trade, extraterritoriality and treaty ports under foreign control. The Taiping Rebellion (1850–1864) and the Dungan Revolt (1862–1877) in Central Asia led to the deaths of some 20 million people, most of them due to famines caused by war. In spite of these disasters, in the Tongzhi Restoration of the 1860s, Han Chinese elites rallied to the defense of the Confucian order and the Qing rulers. The initial gains in the Self-Strengthening Movement were destroyed in the First Sino-Japanese War of 1895, in which the Qing lost its influence over Korea and the possession of Taiwan. New Armies were organized, but the ambitious Hundred Days' Reform of 1898 was turned back in a coup by the conservative Empress Dowager Cixi. When the Scramble for Concessions by foreign powers triggered the violently anti-foreign "Boxers", the foreign powers invaded China, Cixi declared war on them, leading to defeat and the flight of the Imperial Court to Xi'an.

After agreeing to sign the Boxer Protocol, the government initiated unprecedented fiscal and administrative reforms, including elections, a new legal code, and abolition of the examination system. Sun Yat-sen and other revolutionaries competed with constitutional monarchists such as Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao to transform the Qing Empire into a modern nation. After the deaths of Cixi and the Guangxu Emperor in 1908, the hardline Manchu court alienated reformers and local elites alike by obstructing social reform. The Wuchang Uprising on 11 October 1911, led to the Xinhai Revolution. General Yuan Shikai negotiated the abdication of Puyi, the last emperor, on 12 February 1912.

Republic of China (1912–1949)

The Republic of China (ROC) was a state in East Asia which controlled the Chinese mainland between 1912 and 1949. The state was established in January 1912 after the Xinhai Revolution, which overthrew the Qing dynasty, the last imperial dynasty of China. Its government fled to Taipei in 1949 due to the Kuomintang's defeat in the Chinese Civil War. The Republic of China's first president, Sun Yat-sen, served only briefly before handing over the position to Yuan Shikai, leader of the Beiyang Army. His party, then led by Song Jiaoren won the parliamentary election held in December 1912. Song Jiaoren was assassinated shortly after and the Beiyang Army led by Yuan Shikai maintained full control of the Beiyang government. Between late 1915 and early 1916, Yuan Shikai tried to reinstate the monarchy before abdicating due to popular unrest. After Yuan Shikai's death in 1916, members of cliques in the Beiyang Army claimed their autonomy and clashed with each other. During this period, the authority of the Beiyang government was weakened by a restoration of the Qing dynasty.

In 1921, Sun Yat-sen's Kuomintang (KMT) established a rival government in Canton City, Canton Province, together with the fledgling Communist Party of China (CPC). The economy of North China, overtaxed to support warlord adventurism, collapsed between 1927 and 1928. General Chiang Kai-shek, who became KMT leader after Sun Yat-sen's death, started his Northern Expedition military campaign in 1926 to overthrow the Beiyang government, which was completed in 1928. In April 1927, Chiang established a Nationalist government in Nanking, and massacred communists in Shanghai, which forced the CPC into armed rebellion, marking the beginning of the Chinese Civil War.

There were industrialization and modernization, but also conflict between the Nationalist government in Nanking, the CPC, remnant warlords, and the Empire of Japan. Nation-building took a backseat to the Second Sino-Japanese War when the Imperial Japanese Army launched an offensive against China in 1937 that turned into a full-scale invasion. After the surrender of Japan at the end of World War II in 1945, the Chinese Civil War quickly resumed in 1946 between the KMT and CPC, with both sides receiving foreign assistance due to the Cold War between the USSR and USA. During this period, the 1946 Constitution of the Republic of China replaced the 1928 Organic Law as the Republic of China's fundamental law. Near the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party established the People's Republic of China, overthrowing the Nationalist government on the Chinese mainland. The Government of the Republic of China fled from Nanking to Taipei in 1949, controlling only Taiwan after 1949.

Second Sino-Japanese War

The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from July 7, 1937, to September 2, 1945. It began with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in 1937 in which a dispute between Japanese and Chinese troops escalated into a battle.

China fought Japan with aid from the Soviet Union and the United States. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the war merged with other conflicts of World War II as a major sector known as the China Burma India Theater. Some scholars consider the start of the full-scale Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 to have been the beginning of World War II. The Second Sino-Japanese War was the largest Asian war in the 20th century. It accounted for the majority of civilian and military casualties in the Pacific War, with between 10 and 25 million Chinese civilians and over 4 million Chinese and Japanese military personnel dying from war-related violence, famine, and other causes.

The war was the result of a decades-long Japanese imperialist policy to expand its influence politically and militarily in order to secure access to raw material reserves, food, and labor. The period after World War I brought about increasing stress on the Japanese polity. Leftists sought universal suffrage and greater rights for workers. Increasing textile production from Chinese mills was adversely affecting Japanese production. The Great Depression brought about a large slowdown in exports. All of this contributed to militant nationalism, culminating in the rise to power of a militarist fascist faction. This faction was led at its height by the Hideki Tojo cabinet of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association under edict from Emperor Hirohito. In 1931, the Mukden Incident helped spark the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. The Chinese were defeated and Japan created a new puppet state, Manchukuo; many historians cite 1931 as the beginning of the war. The view has been adopted by the PRC government. From 1931 to 1937, China and Japan continued to skirmish in small, localized engagements, so-called "incidents".

Initially the Japanese scored major victories, capturing both Shanghai and the Chinese capital of Nanjing in 1937. After failing to stop the Japanese in the Battle of Wuhan, the Chinese central government was relocated to Chongqing (Chungking) in the Chinese interior. By 1939, after Chinese victories in Changsha and Guangxi, and with Japan's lines of communications stretched deep into the Chinese interior, the war reached a stalemate. The Japanese were also unable to defeat the Chinese communist forces in Shaanxi, which waged a campaign of sabotage and guerrilla warfare against the invaders. While Japan ruled the large cities, they lacked sufficient manpower to control China's vast countryside. During this time, Chinese communist forces launched a counter offensive in Central China while Chinese nationalist forces launched a large scale winter offensive.

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and the following day the United States declared war on Japan. The United States began to aid China by airlifting material over the Himalayas after the Allied defeat in Burma that closed the Burma Road. In 1944 Japan launched the invasion, Operation Ichi-Go, that conquered Henan and Changsha. However, this failed to bring about the surrender of Chinese forces. In 1945, the Chinese Expeditionary Force resumed its advance in Burma and completed the Ledo Road linking India to China. At the same time, China launched large counteroffensives in South China and retook West Hunan and Guangxi.

Despite continuing to occupy part of China's territory, Japan eventually surrendered on September 2, 1945, to Allied forces following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Soviet invasion of Japanese-held Manchuria. The remaining Japanese occupation forces (excluding Manchuria) formally surrendered on September 9, 1945, with the following International Military Tribunal for the Far East convened on April 29, 1946. At the outcome of the Cairo Conference of November 22–26, 1943, the Allies of World War II decided to restrain and punish the aggression of Japan by restoring all the territories that Japan annexed from China, including Manchuria, Taiwan/Formosa, and the Pescadores, to China, and to expel Japan from the Korean Peninsula. China was recognized as one of the Big Four of the Allies during the war and became one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

Shanghai

Shanghai (Chinese: 上海, Shanghainese pronunciation: [zɑ̃.hɛ] (listen), Mandarin pronunciation: [ʂâŋ.xài] (listen)) is one of the four municipalities under the direct administration of the central government of the People's Republic of China, the largest city in China by population, and the second most populous city proper in the world, with a population of 24.18 million as of 2017. It is a global financial centre and transport hub, with the world's busiest container port. Located in the Yangtze River Delta, it sits on the south edge of the estuary of the Yangtze in the middle portion of the East China coast. The municipality borders the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang to the north, south and west, and is bounded to the east by the East China Sea.As a major administrative, shipping and trading city, Shanghai grew in importance in the 19th century due to trade and recognition of its favourable port location and economic potential. The city was one of five treaty ports forced open to foreign trade following the British victory over China in the First Opium War. The subsequent 1842 Treaty of Nanking and 1844 Treaty of Whampoa allowed the establishment of the Shanghai International Settlement and the French Concession. The city then flourished as a centre of commerce between China and other parts of the world (predominantly the Occident), and became the primary financial hub of the Asia-Pacific region in the 1930s. During the World War II, the city was the site of the major Battle of Shanghai. After the war, with the Communist Party takeover of the mainland in 1949, trade was limited to other socialist countries, and the city's global influence declined. In the 1990s, the economic reforms introduced by Deng Xiaoping resulted in an intense re-development of the city, aiding the return of finance and foreign investment to the city. It has since re-emerged as a hub for international trade and finance; it is the home of the Shanghai Stock Exchange, one of the world's largest by market capitalization.Shanghai has been described as the "showpiece" of the booming economy of mainland China; renowned for its Lujiazui skyline, and museums and historic buildings, such as those along The Bund, as well as the City God Temple and the Yu Garden.

Taiwan

Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a state in East Asia. Neighbouring states include the People's Republic of China (PRC) to the west, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south. Taiwan is the most populous state and largest economy that is not a member of the United Nations (UN).

The island of Taiwan was inhabited by indigenous peoples for thousands of years before the 17th century, when Dutch colonialists opened the island to mass Han immigration. After a brief rule by the Kingdom of Tungning, the island was annexed in 1683 by the Qing dynasty of China, and ceded to Japan in 1895. Following the surrender of Japan in 1945, the Republic of China, which had overthrown and succeeded the Qing in 1911, took control of Taiwan. The resumption of the Chinese Civil War led to the loss of the mainland to the Communists and the flight of the ROC government to Taiwan in 1949. Although the ROC government continued to claim to be the legitimate representative of China, since 1950 its effective jurisdiction has been limited to Taiwan and several small islands. In the early 1960s, Taiwan entered a period of rapid economic growth and industrialisation. In the 1980s and early 1990s, it changed from a one-party military dictatorship to a multi-party democracy with a semi-presidential system.

As a founding member, the ROC represented China in the UN until it was replaced by the PRC in 1971. The PRC has consistently claimed sovereignty over Taiwan and refused diplomatic relations with any country that recognises the ROC. As of 2019, Taiwan maintains official ties with 17 out of 193 UN member states. Most international organisations in which the PRC participates either refuse to grant membership to Taiwan or allow it to participate only as a non-state actor. Nevertheless, most major powers maintain unofficial ties with Taiwan through representative offices and institutions that function as de facto embassies and consulates. In Taiwan, the major political division is between parties favouring eventual Chinese unification and promoting a Chinese identity contrasted with those aspiring to independence and promoting a Taiwanese identity, though both sides have moderated their positions to broaden their appeal.Taiwan is a high-income advanced economy, with a highly skilled and educated workforce. It has the 22nd-largest economy in the world, and its high-tech industry plays a key role in the global economy. It is highly urbanised, and is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with most of the population concentrated on the western coast. The state is ranked highly in terms of civil and political liberties, education, health care and human development.

Tibet

Tibet ( (listen); Tibetan: བོད་, Lhasa dialect IPA: /pʰøː˨˧˩/; Chinese: 西藏; pinyin: Xīzàng) is a historical region covering much of the Tibetan Plateau in Inner Asia. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpa, Tamang, Qiang, Sherpa, and Lhoba peoples and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han Chinese and Hui people. Tibet is the highest region on Earth, with an average elevation of 4,900 metres (16,000 ft). The highest elevation in Tibet is Mount Everest, Earth's highest mountain, rising 8,848 m (29,029 ft) above sea level.

The Tibetan Empire emerged in the 7th century, but with the fall of the empire the region soon divided into a variety of territories. The bulk of western and central Tibet (Ü-Tsang) was often at least nominally unified under a series of Tibetan governments in Lhasa, Shigatse, or nearby locations; these governments were at various times under Mongol and Chinese overlordship. Thus Tibet remained a suzerainty of the Mongol and later Chinese rulers in Nanjing and Beijing, with reasonable autonomy given to the Tibetan leaders. The eastern regions of Kham and Amdo often maintained a more decentralized indigenous political structure, being divided among a number of small principalities and tribal groups, while also often falling more directly under Chinese rule after the Battle of Chamdo; most of this area was eventually incorporated into the Chinese provinces of Sichuan and Qinghai. The current borders of Tibet were generally established in the 18th century.Following the Xinhai Revolution against the Qing dynasty in 1912, Qing soldiers were disarmed and escorted out of Tibet Area (Ü-Tsang). The region subsequently declared its independence in 1913 without recognition by the subsequent Chinese Republican government. Later, Lhasa took control of the western part of Xikang, China. The region maintained its autonomy until 1951 when, following the Battle of Chamdo, Tibet became incorporated into the People's Republic of China, and the previous Tibetan government was abolished in 1959 after a failed uprising. Today, China governs western and central Tibet as the Tibet Autonomous Region while the eastern areas are now mostly ethnic autonomous prefectures within Sichuan, Qinghai and other neighbouring provinces. There are tensions regarding Tibet's political status and dissident groups that are active in exile.

Tibetan activists in Tibet have reportedly been arrested or tortured.The economy of Tibet is dominated by subsistence agriculture, though tourism has become a growing industry in recent decades. The dominant religion in Tibet is Tibetan Buddhism; in addition there is Bön, which is similar to Tibetan Buddhism, and there are also Tibetan Muslims and Christian minorities. Tibetan Buddhism is a primary influence on the art, music, and festivals of the region. Tibetan architecture reflects Chinese and Indian influences. Staple foods in Tibet are roasted barley, yak meat, and butter tea.

Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping (; Chinese: 习近平; Mandarin pronunciation: [ɕǐ tɕîn.pʰǐŋ]; born 15 June 1953) is a Chinese politician serving as general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), president of the People's Republic of China (PRC), and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC). Often described as China's "paramount leader" since 2012, he officially received the title of "core leader" from the CPC in 2016. As general secretary, Xi holds an ex-officio seat on the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, China's top decision-making body.Xi is the first general secretary born after the Second World War and the establishment of the People's Republic of China. The son of Chinese Communist veteran Xi Zhongxun, he was exiled to rural Yanchuan County as a teenager following his father's purge during the Cultural Revolution, and lived in a cave in the village of Liangjiahe, where he organised communal labourers. After studying at the Tsinghua University as a "Worker-Peasant-Soldier student", Xi rose through the ranks politically in China's coastal provinces. Xi was governor of Fujian province from 1999 to 2002, and governor, then party secretary of neighbouring Zhejiang province from 2002 to 2007. Following the dismissal of Chen Liangyu, Xi was transferred to Shanghai as party secretary for a brief period in 2007. He joined the Politburo Standing Committee and central secretariat in October 2007, spending the next five years as Hu Jintao's presumed successor. Xi was vice president from 2008 to 2013 and vice chairman of the Central Military Commission from 2010 to 2012.

Since assuming power, Xi has introduced far-ranging measures to enforce party discipline and to ensure internal unity. His signature anti-corruption campaign has led to the downfall of prominent incumbent and retired Communist Party officials, including members of the Politburo Standing Committee. Described as a Chinese nationalist, he has tightened restrictions over civil society and ideological discourse, advocating Internet censorship in China as the concept of "internet sovereignty". Xi has called for further socialist market economic reforms, for governing according to the law and for strengthening legal institutions, with an emphasis on individual and national aspirations under the slogan "Chinese Dream". He has also championed a more assertive foreign policy, particularly with regard to China–Japan relations, China's claims in the South China Sea, and its role as a leading advocate of free trade and globalization. Xi has sought to expand China's Eurasian influence through the One Belt One Road Initiative. The 2015 meeting between Xi and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou marked the first time the political leaders of both sides of the Taiwan Strait have met since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1950.Considered the central figure of the fifth generation of leadership of the People's Republic, Xi has significantly centralised institutional power by taking on a wide range of leadership positions, including chairing the newly formed National Security Commission, as well as new steering committees on economic and social reforms, military restructuring and modernization, and the Internet. Said to be one of the most powerful leaders in modern Chinese history, Xi's political thoughts have been written into the party and state constitutions, and under his leadership the latter was amended to abolish term limits for the presidency. In 2018, Forbes ranked him as the most powerful and influential person in the world, dethroning Russian President Vladimir Putin who held the accolade for five consecutive years.

Xinjiang

Xinjiang (Uyghur: شىنجاڭ; SASM/GNC: Xinjang; Chinese: 新疆; pinyin: Xīnjiāng; formerly romanised as Sinkiang), officially the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR), is a provincial-level autonomous region of China in the northwest of the country. It is the largest Chinese administrative division and the eighth largest country subdivision in the world, spanning over 1.6 million km2 (640,000 square miles). Xinjiang contains the disputed territory of Aksai Chin, which is administered by China and claimed by India. Xinjiang borders the countries of Mongolia (Bayan-Ölgii, Khovd and Govi-Altai Provinces), Russia (Altai Republic), Kazakhstan (East Kazakhstan and Almaty Provinces), Kyrgyzstan (Issyk Kul, Naryn and Osh Regions), Tajikistan (Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region), Afghanistan (Badakhshan Province), Pakistan (Gilgit-Baltistan), and India (Jammu and Kashmir). The rugged Karakoram, Kunlun, and Tian Shan mountain ranges occupy much of Xinjiang's borders, as well as its western and southern regions. Xinjiang also borders Tibet Autonomous Region and the provinces of Gansu and Qinghai. The most well-known route of the historical Silk Road ran through the territory from the east to its northwestern border. In recent decades, abundant oil and mineral reserves have been found in Xinjiang, and it is currently China's largest natural gas-producing region.

It is home to a number of ethnic groups, including the Uyghur, Han, Kazakhs, Tibetans, Hui, Tajiks, Kyrgyz, Mongols and Russians. More than a dozen autonomous prefectures and counties for minorities are in Xinjiang. Older English-language reference works often refer to the area as Chinese Turkestan. Xinjiang is divided into the Dzungarian Basin in the north and the Tarim Basin in the south by a mountain range. Only about 9.7% of Xinjiang's land area is fit for human habitation.With a documented history of at least 2,500 years, a succession of people and empires have vied for control over all or parts of this territory. The territory came under the rule of the Qing dynasty in the 18th century, which was later replaced by the Republic of China government. Since 1949, it has been part of the People's Republic of China following the Chinese Civil War. In 1954, Xinjiang Bingtuan was set up to strengthen the border defense against the Soviet Union, and also promote the local economy. In 1955, Xinjiang was turned into an autonomous region from a province. In the last decades, the East Turkistan independent movement, separatist conflict and the influence of radical Islam have both resulted in unrest in the region, with occasional terrorist attacks and clashes between separatist and government forces.

Transcriptions
Standard Mandarin
Hanyu PinyinZhōngguó
Bopomofoㄓㄨㄥ   ㄍㄨㄛˊ
Gwoyeu RomatzyhJonggwo
Wade–GilesChung¹-kuo²
Tongyong PinyinJhongguó
Yale RomanizationJūnggwó
MPS2Jūngguó
IPA[ʈʂʊ́ŋ.kwǒ]
other Mandarin
Xiao'erjingﺟْﻮﻗُﻮَع
DunganҖунгуй
Sichuanese PinyinZong1 gwe2
Wu
RomanizationTson-koh
Gan
RomanizationTung-koe̍t
Xiang
IPATan33-kwɛ24/
Hakka
RomanizationDung24-gued2
Pha̍k-fa-sṳChûng-koet
Yue: Cantonese
Yale RomanizationJùnggwok or Jūnggwok
IPA[tsôŋ.kʷɔ̄ːk̚] or [tsóŋ.kʷɔ̄ːk̚]
JyutpingZung1gwok3
Southern Min
Hokkien POJTiong-kok
Tâi-lôTiong-kok
Eastern Min
Fuzhou BUCDṳ̆ng-guók
Pu-Xian Min
Hinghwa BUCDe̤ng-go̤h
Northern Min
Jian'ou RomanizedDô̤ng-gŏ
Transcriptions
Standard Mandarin
Hanyu PinyinZhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó
Bopomofoㄓㄨㄥ   ㄏㄨㄚˊ
ㄖㄣˊ   ㄇㄧㄣˊ
ㄍㄨㄥˋ   ㄏㄜˊ   ㄍㄨㄛˊ
Gwoyeu RomatzyhJonghwa Renmin Gonqhergwo
Wade–GilesChung¹-hua² Jên²-min²
Kung⁴-ho²-kuo²
Tongyong PinyinJhonghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó
Yale RomanizationJūnghwá Rénmín Gùnghégwó
MPS2Jūnghuá Rénmín Gùnghéguó
IPA[ʈʂʊ́ŋ.xwǎ ɻə̌n.mǐn kʊ̂ŋ.xɤ̌.kwǒ]
other Mandarin
Xiao'erjingﺟْﻮﺧُﻮَ ژٌمٍ ﻗْﻮحْقُوَع
DunganҖунхуа Жынмин Гунхәгуй
Sichuanese PinyinZong1 hua2 Zen2 min2
Gong4 hwe2 gwe2
Wu
RomanizationTson gho zin min
gon ghu koh
Gan
RomanizationChungfa Ninmin Khungfokoet
Xiang
IPA/tan33 go13 ŋin13 min13
gan45 gu13 kwɛ24/
Hakka
RomanizationDung24 fa11 ngin11 min11 kiung55 fo11 gued2
Pha̍k-fa-sṳChûng-fà Ngìn-mìn
Khiung-fò-koet
Yue: Cantonese
Yale RomanizationJùng'wàh Yàhnmàhn Guhng'wòhgwok
or
Jūng'wàh Yàhnmàhn Guhng'wòhgwok
IPA[tsôŋ.wȁː jɐ̏n.mɐ̏n kòŋ.wɔ̏ː.kʷɔ̄ːk̚]
or
[tsóŋ.wȁː jɐ̏n.mɐ̏n kòŋ.wɔ̏ː.kʷɔ̄ːk̚]
JyutpingZung1waa4 Jan4man4 Gung6wo4gwok3
Southern Min
Hokkien POJTiong-hôa Jîn-bîn Kiōng-hô-kok
Tâi-lôTiong-huâ Jîn-bîn Kiōng-hô-kok
Eastern Min
Fuzhou BUCDṳ̆ng-huà Ìng-mìng
Gê̤ṳng-huò-guók
Pu-Xian Min
Hinghwa BUCDe̤ng-huá Cíng-míng
Gē̤ng-hó̤-go̤h
Northern Min
Jian'ou RomanizedDô̤ng-uǎ Nêng-měng
Gō̤ng-uǎ-gŏ
Transcriptions
Wyliekrung hwa mi dmangs spyi mthun rgyal khab
Tibetan PinyinZhunghua Mimang Jitun Gyalkab
Transcriptions
SASM/GNCBügüde nayiramdaqu dumdadu arad ulus
Transcriptions
Latin YëziqiJungxua Xelq Jumhuriyiti
Yengi YeziⱪJunghua Həlⱪ Jumⱨuriyiti
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