China

Coordinates: 35°N 103°E / 35°N 103°E / 35; 103
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People's Republic of China
中华人民共和国 (Chinese)
Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó (pinyin)
Anthem: 
义勇军进行曲
Yìyǒngjūn Jìnxíngqǔ
"March of the Volunteers"
Buddhism
  • 25.2% no religion
  • 19.6% Taoism
  • 17.7% other folk beliefs
  • 2.5% Christianity
  • 1.6% Islam
  • Demonym(s)Chinese
    GovernmentUnitary Marxist–Leninist one-party socialist state
    Xi Jinping
    • Premier
    Li Qiang
    Zhao Leji
    Wang Huning
    Han Zheng
    Legislature
    Most recent polity admitted
    20 December 1999
    .澳門
    (Macau)

    China,

    financial center
    .

    One of the

    dynasties emerging in the Yellow River basin before the late second millennium BCE. The eighth to third centuries BCE saw a breakdown in the authority of the Zhou dynasty, accompanied by the emergence of administrative and military techniques, literature, philosophy, and historiography. In 221 BCE, China was unified under an emperor for the first time. Appointed non-hereditary officials began ruling counties instead of the aristocracy, ushering in more than two millennia of imperial dynasties including the Qin, Han, Tang, Yuan, Ming, and Qing. With the invention of gunpowder and paper, the establishment of the Silk Road, and the building of the Great Wall, Chinese culture—including languages, traditions, architecture, philosophy and technology—flourished and has heavily influenced East Asia
    and beyond.

    After decades of struggle, the monarchy

    capitalist market economy, spurring significant economic growth, although liberal and democratic political reforms stalled after the June Fourth Incident
    in 1989.

    China is a

    .

    Etymology

    China (today's Guangdong), Mangi (inland of Xanton), and Cataio (inland of China and Chequan, and including the capital Cambalu, Xandu, and a marble bridge) are all shown as separate regions on this 1570 map by Abraham Ortelius.

    The word "China" has been used in English since the 16th century; however, it was not used by the Chinese themselves during this period. Its origin has been traced through

    Hindu scripture, including the Mahabharata (5th century BCE) and the Laws of Manu (2nd century BCE).[21] In 1655, Martino Martini suggested that the word China is derived ultimately from the name of the Qin dynasty (221–206 BCE).[22][21] Although use in Indian sources precedes this dynasty, this derivation is still given in various sources.[23] The origin of the Sanskrit word is a matter of debate.[15] Alternative suggestions include the names for Yelang and the Jing or Chu state.[21][24]

    The official name of the modern state is the "People's Republic of China" (

    History

    Prehistory

    10,000-year-old pottery, Xianren Cave culture (18000–7000 BCE)

    Archaeological evidence suggests that early hominids inhabited China 2.25 million years ago.[33] The hominid fossils of Peking Man, a Homo erectus who used fire,[34] have been dated to between 680,000 and 780,000 years ago.[35] The fossilized teeth of Homo sapiens (dated to 125,000–80,000 years ago) have been discovered in Fuyan Cave.[36] Chinese proto-writing existed in Jiahu around 6600 BCE,[37] at Damaidi around 6000 BCE,[38] Dadiwan from 5800 to 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.[37]

    Early dynastic rule

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

    According to traditional Chinese historiography, the Xia dynasty was established during the late third millennium BC, marking the beginning of the dynastic cycle that was understood to underpin China's entire political history. In the modern era, the Xia's historicity came under increasing scrutiny, in part due to the earliest known attestation of the Xia being written millennia after the date given for their collapse. In 1959, archaeologists discovered sites belonging to the Erlitou culture that existed during the early Bronze Age; they have since been characterized as the remains of the historical Xia, but this conception is often rejected.[39][40][41] The Shang dynasty that traditionally succeeded the Xia is the earliest for which there are both contemporary written records and undisputed archaeological evidence.[42] The Shang ruled much of the Yellow River valley until the 11th century BCE, with the earliest hard evidence dating to c. 1300 BCE.[43] The oracle bone script, attested from c. 1250 BCE but generally assumed to be considerably older,[44][45] represents the oldest known form of written Chinese,[46] and is the direct ancestor of modern Chinese characters.[47]

    The Shang were overthrown by the Zhou, who ruled between the 11th and 5th centuries BCE, though the centralized authority of Tianzi was slowly eroded by Fengjiang lords. Some principalities eventually emerged from the weakened Zhou and continually waged war with each other during the 300-year Spring and Autumn period. By the time of the Warring States period of the 5th–3rd centuries BCE, there were seven major powerful states left.[48]

    Imperial China

    Qin and Han

    Map showing the expansion of Han dynasty in the 2nd century BC

    The Warring States period ended in 221 BCE after the

    King Zheng of Qin proclaimed himself the Emperor of the Qin dynasty, becoming the first emperor of a unified China. He enacted Qin's legalist reforms, notably the standardization of Chinese characters, measurements, road widths, and currency. His dynasty also conquered the Yue tribes in Guangxi, Guangdong, and Northern Vietnam.[49] The Qin dynasty lasted only fifteen years, falling soon after the First Emperor's death.[50][51]

    Following

    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.[53] 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.[54]

    Three Kingdoms, Jin, Northern and Southern dynasties

    After 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.

    Sui, Tang and Song

    The Sui restored the Han to power through China, reformed its agriculture, economy and

    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.[55][56]

    The Tang dynasty at its greatest extent and Tang's protectorates

    Under the succeeding Tang and Song dynasties, Chinese economy, technology, and culture entered a golden age.[57] The Tang dynasty retained control of the Western Regions and the Silk Road,[58] which brought traders to as far as Mesopotamia and the Horn of Africa,[59] and made the capital Chang'an a cosmopolitan urban center. However, it was devastated and weakened by the An Lushan rebellion in the 8th century.[60] 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 the Liao dynasty. The Song was the first government in world history to issue paper money and the first Chinese polity to establish a permanent navy which was supported by the developed shipbuilding industry along with the sea trade.[61]

    Between the 10th and 11th century CE, the population of China doubled 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

    Bianjing were captured during the Jin–Song Wars. The remnants of the Song retreated to southern China.[65]

    Yuan
    Warring States' walls to form the Great Wall of China. Most of the present structure, however, dates to the Ming dynasty

    The Mongol conquest of China began in 1205 with the gradual conquest of Western Xia by Genghis Khan,[66] who also invaded Jin territories.[67] In 1271, the Mongol leader Kublai Khan established the Yuan dynasty, which 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.[68] 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.[69]

    Ming

    In the early Ming dynasty, China's capital was moved from Nanjing to Beijing. With the budding of capitalism, philosophers such as Wang Yangming critiqued and expanded Neo-Confucianism with concepts of individualism and equality of four occupations.[70] 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 (1592–1598) and Later Jin incursions led to an exhausted treasury.[71] 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.[72]

    Qing

    Qing conquest of the Ming
    and expansion of the empire

    The Qing dynasty, which lasted from 1644 until 1912, was the last imperial dynasty of China. The

    Northern Song period (960–1127), and other during the Qing period (around 1700–1830).[75] By the High Qing era China was possibly the most commercialized country in the world, and imperial China experienced a second commercial revolution by the end of the 18th century.[76] On the other hand, the centralized autocracy was strengthened in part to suppress anti-Qing sentiment with the policy of valuing agriculture and restraining commerce, like the Haijin during the early Qing period and ideological control as represented by the literary inquisition, causing some social and technological stagnation.[77][78]

    Fall of the Qing dynasty

    The Eight-Nation Alliance invaded China to defeat the anti-foreign Boxers and their Qing backers. The image shows a celebration ceremony inside the Chinese imperial palace, the Forbidden City after the signing of the Boxer Protocol in 1901.

    In the mid-19th century, the

    Korean Peninsula, as well as the cession of Taiwan to Japan.[80] 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 (1862–1877) 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.[81]

    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 1876–1879, in which between 9 and 13 million people died.[82] 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 known as the late Qing reforms, the Xinhai Revolution of 1911–1912 ended the Qing dynasty and established the Republic of China.[83] Puyi, the last Emperor, abdicated in 1912.[84]

    Establishment of the Republic and World War II

    On 1 January 1912, the Republic of China was established, and Sun Yat-sen of the Kuomintang (KMT) was proclaimed provisional president.[85] In March 1912, the presidency was 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 in 1916.[86] 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.[87][88] During this period, China participated in World War I and saw a far-reaching popular uprising (the May Fourth Movement).[89]

    wiped out by the KMT armies in 1934, leading the CCP to initiate the Long March and relocate to Yan'an in Shaanxi
    . It would be the base of the communists before major combat in the Chinese Civil War ended in 1949.

    In 1931, Japan invaded and occupied Manchuria. Japan invaded other parts of China in 1937, precipitating the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), a theater of World War II. The war forced an uneasy alliance between the Kuomintang and the CCP. Japanese forces committed numerous war atrocities against the civilian population; as many as 20 million Chinese civilians died.[95] An estimated 40,000 to 300,000 Chinese were massacred in Nanjing alone during the Japanese occupation.[96] China, along with the UK, the United States, and the Soviet Union, were recognized as the Allied "Big Four" in the Declaration by United Nations.[97][98] 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.[99][100] After the surrender of Japan in 1945, Taiwan, including the Penghu, was handed over to Chinese control; however, the validity of this handover is controversial.[101]

    People's Republic

    The founding ceremony of the People's Republic of China was held at 3:00 pm on October 1, 1949. The picture above shows Mao Zedong's announcement of the founding of the People's Republic of China in Tiananmen Square.[102]

    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.[101] Afterwards, the CCP took control of most of mainland China, and the ROC government retreated offshore to Taiwan.

    On 1 October 1949, CCP Chairman Mao Zedong formally proclaimed the People's Republic of China in Tiananmen Square, Beijing.[103] In 1950, the PRC captured Hainan from the ROC[104] and annexed Tibet.[105] However, remaining Kuomintang forces continued to wage an insurgency in western China throughout the 1950s.[106] The CCP consolidated its popularity among the peasants through the Land Reform Movement, which included the state-tolerated executions of between 1 and 2 million landlords by peasants and former tenants.[107] Though the PRC initially allied closely with the Soviet Union, the relations between the two communist nations gradually deteriorated, leading China to develop an independent industrial system and its own nuclear weapons.[108]

    The Chinese population increased from 550 million in 1950 to 900 million in 1974.[109] However, the Great Leap Forward, an idealistic massive industrialization project, resulted in an estimated 15 to 55 million deaths between 1959 and 1961, mostly from starvation.[110][111] In 1964, China's first atomic bomb exploded successfully.[112] In 1966, Mao and his allies launched the Cultural Revolution, sparking a decade of political recrimination and social upheaval that lasted until Mao's death in 1976. In October 1971, the PRC replaced the ROC in the United Nations, and took its seat as a permanent member of the Security Council.[113]

    Reforms and contemporary history

    1989 Tiananmen Square protests
    was ended by a military-led massacre.

    After Mao's death, the Gang of Four was arrested by Hua Guofeng and held responsible for the Cultural Revolution. The Cultural Revolution was rebuked, with millions rehabilitated. Deng Xiaoping took power in 1978, and instituted large-scale political and economic reforms, together with the "Eight Elders", most senior and influential members of the party. The government loosened its control and the communes were gradually disbanded.[114] Agricultural collectivization was dismantled and farmlands privatized. While foreign trade became a major focus, special economic zones (SEZs) were created. Inefficient state-owned enterprises (SOEs) were restructured and some closed. This marked China's transition away from planned economy.[115] China adopted its current constitution on 4 December 1982.

    In 1989, the country saw the protests in Tiananmen Square unfold, and later saw other protests over the entire nation.[116] Zhao Ziyang was put under house arrest for his sympathies to the protests and was replaced by Jiang Zemin. Jiang continued economic reforms, closing many SOEs and trimming down "iron rice bowl" (life-tenure positions).[117][118][119] China's economy grew sevenfold during this time.[117] British Hong Kong and Portuguese Macau returned to China in 1997 and 1999, respectively, as special administrative regions under the principle of one country, two systems. The country joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.[117]

    Belt and Road Initiative and related projects

    On the 16th CCP National Congress in 2002, Hu Jintao succeeded Jiang as the general secretary.[117] Under Hu, China maintained its high rate of economic growth, overtaking the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan to become the world's second-largest economy.[120] However, the growth also severely impacted the country's resources and environment,[121][122] and caused major social displacement.[123][124] Xi Jinping succeeded Hu as paramount leader on the 18th CCP National Congress in 2012. Shortly after his ascension to power, Xi launched a vast anti-corruption crackdown,[125] that prosecuted more than 2 million officials by 2022.[126] During his tenure, Xi consolidated power unseen since the initiation of economic and political reforms.[127]

    Geography

    Topographic map of China

    China's landscape is vast and diverse, ranging from 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 km (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
    .

    The territory of China lies between

    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 (8,848 m), lies on the Sino-Nepalese border.[128] The country's lowest point, and the world's third-lowest, is the dried lake bed of Ayding Lake (−154 m) in the Turpan Depression.[129]

    Climate

    Köppen-Geiger climate classification map for mainland China[130]

    China's climate is mainly dominated by

    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.[131]

    A major environmental issue in China is the continued

    water shortages for hundreds of millions of people.[134] According to academics, in order to limit climate change in China to 1.5 °C (2.7 °F) electricity generation from coal in China without carbon capture must be phased out by 2045.[135] With current policies, the GHG emissions of China will probably peak in 2025, and by 2030 they will return to 2022 levels. However, such pathway still leads to three-degree temperature rise.[136]

    Official government statistics about Chinese agricultural productivity are considered unreliable, due to exaggeration of production at subsidiary government levels.[137][138] Much of China has a climate very suitable for agriculture and the country has been the world's largest producer of rice, wheat, tomatoes, eggplant, grapes, watermelon, spinach, and many other crops.[139] In 2021, 12 percent of global permanent meadows and pastures belonged to China, as well as 8% of global cropland.[140]

    Biodiversity

    endemic species, at the Chengdu Panda Base in Sichuan

    China is one of 17 megadiverse countries,[141] lying in two of the world's major biogeographic realms: the Palearctic and the Indomalayan. 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.[142] The country is a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity;[143] its National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan was received by the convention in 2010.[144]

    China is home to at least 551 species of

    nature reserves, covering a total area of 149.95 million hectares, 15 percent of China's total land area.[150] Most wild animals have been eliminated from the core agricultural regions of east and central China, but they have fared better in the mountainous south and west.[151][152] The Baiji was confirmed extinct on 12 December 2006.[153]

    China has over 32,000 species of vascular plants,

    Environment

    The Three Gorges Dam is the largest hydroelectric dam in the world.

    In the early 2000s, China has suffered from environmental deterioration and pollution due to its rapid pace of industrialization.[157][158] Regulations such as the 1979 Environmental Protection Law are fairly stringent, though they are poorly enforced, frequently disregarded in favor of rapid economic development.[159] China has the second highest death toll because of air pollution, after India, with approximately 1 million deaths.[160][161] Although China ranks as the highest CO2 emitting country,[162] it only emits 8 tons of CO2 per capita, significantly lower than developed countries such as the United States (16.1), Australia (16.8) and South Korea (13.6).[163] Greenhouse gas emissions by China are the world's largest.[163] The country has significant water pollution problems; only 87.9% of China's national surface water was graded suitable for human consumption by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment in 2022.[164]

    China has prioritized clamping down on pollution, bringing a significant decrease in air pollution in the 2010s.[165] In 2020, the Chinese government announced its aims for the country to reach its peak emissions levels before 2030, and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 in line with the Paris Agreement,[166] which, according to Climate Action Tracker, would lower the expected rise in global temperature by 0.2–0.3 degrees – "the biggest single reduction ever estimated by the Climate Action Tracker".[166]

    China is the world's leading investor in

    $546 billion invested in 2022;[167] it is a major manufacturer of renewable energy technologies and invests heavily in local-scale renewable energy projects.[168][167] Long heavily relying on non-renewable energy sources such as coal, China's adaptation of renewable energy has increased significantly in recent years, with their share increasing from 26.3 percent in 2016 to 31.9 percent in 2022.[169] In 2022, 61.2% of China's electricity came from coal (largest producer in the world), 14.9% from hydroelectric power (largest), 9.3% from wind (largest), 4.7% from solar energy (largest), 4.7% from nuclear energy (second-largest), 3.1% from natural gas (fifth-largest), and 1.9% from bioenergy (largest); in total, 30.8% of China's energy came from renewable energy sources.[170] Despite its emphasis on renewables, China remains deeply connected to global oil markets and next to India, has been the largest importer of Russian crude oil in 2022.[171][172]

    Political geography

    China is the third-largest country in the world by land area after Russia, and the third or fourth largest country in the world by total area.[t] China's total area is generally stated as being approximately 9,600,000 km2 (3,700,000 sq mi).[173] Specific area figures range from 9,572,900 km2 (3,696,100 sq mi) according to the Encyclopædia Britannica,[13] to 9,596,961 km2 (3,705,407 sq mi) according to the UN Demographic Yearbook,[4] and The World Factbook.[7]

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

    China has the longest combined land border in the world, measuring 22,117 km (13,743 mi) and its coastline covers approximately 14,500 km (9,000 mi) from the mouth of the Yalu River (Amnok River) to the Gulf of Tonkin.[7] China borders 14 nations and covers the bulk of East Asia, bordering Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar in Southeast Asia; India, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan[u] and Afghanistan in South Asia; Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in Central Asia; and Russia, Mongolia, and North Korea in Inner Asia and Northeast Asia. It is narrowly separated from Bangladesh and Thailand to the southwest and south, and has several maritime neighbors such as Japan, Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.[174]

    China has resolved its land borders with 12 out of 14 neighboring countries, having pursued substantial compromises in most of them.[175][176][177] China currently has a disputed land border with India[178] and Bhutan.[179] China is additionally involved in maritime disputes with multiple countries over territory in the East and South China Seas, such as the Senkaku Islands and the entirety of South China Sea Islands.[180][181]

    Politics

    The People's Republic of China is a one-party state governed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which considers itself to be Marxist–Leninist. This makes China one of the few countries governed by a communist party. The Chinese constitution states that the PRC "is a socialist state governed by a people's democratic dictatorship that is led by the working class and based on an alliance of workers and peasants," that the state institutions "shall practice the principle of democratic centralism,"[182] and that "the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party."[183]

    The PRC officially terms itself as a democracy, using terms such as "socialist consultative democracy",[184] and "whole-process people's democracy".[185] However, the country is commonly described as an authoritarian one-party state and a dictatorship,[186][187] with among the heaviest restrictions worldwide in many areas, most notably against freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, reproductive rights, free formation of social organizations, freedom of religion and free access to the Internet.[188] China has consistently been ranked amongst the lowest as an "authoritarian regime" by the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index, ranking at 148th out of 167 countries in 2023.[189]

    Chinese Communist Party

    The Chinese Communist Party is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China.

    According to the CCP constitution, its highest body is the National Congress held every five years.[190] The National Congress elects the Central Committee, who then elects the party's Politburo, Politburo Standing Committee and the general secretary (party leader), the top leadership of the country.[190] The general secretary holds ultimate power and authority over state and government and serves as the informal paramount leader.[191] The current general secretary is Xi Jinping, who took office on 15 November 2012.[192] At the local level, the secretary of the CCP committee of a subdivision outranks the local government level; CCP committee secretary of a provincial division outranks the governor while the CCP committee secretary of a city outranks the mayor.[193] The CCP is officially guided by Marxism adapted to Chinese circumstances.[194]

    Government

    The government in China is under the sole control of the CCP.[195] The CCP controls appointments in government bodies, with most senior government officials being CCP members.[195]

    The National People's Congress (NPC), with nearly 3,000-members, is constitutionally the "highest organ of state power",[182] though it has been also described as a "rubber stamp" body.[196] The NPC meets annually, while the NPC Standing Committee, around 150 members elected from NPC delegates, meets every couple of months.[196] Elections are indirect and not pluralistic, with nominations at all levels being controlled by the CCP.[185] The NPC is dominated by the CCP, with another eight minor parties having nominal representation under the condition of upholding CCP leadership.[197]

    The

    united front" system, which aims to gather non-CCP voices to support the CCP. Similar to the people's congresses, CPPCC's exist at various division, with the National Committee of the CPPCC being chaired by Wang Huning, fourth-ranking member of the PSC.[198]

    The governance of China is characterized by a high degree of political centralization but significant economic decentralization.[199]: 7  Policy instruments or processes are often tested locally before being applied more widely, resulting in a policy that involves experimentation and feedback.[200]: 14  Generally, central government leadership refrains from drafting specific policies, instead using the informal networks and site visits to affirm or suggest changes to the direction of local policy experiments or pilot programs.[201]: 71  The typical approach is that central government leadership begins drafting formal policies, law, or regulations after policy has been developed at local levels.[201]: 71 

    Administrative divisions

    The PRC is constitutionally a unitary state divided into 23 provinces,[v] five autonomous regions (each with a designated minority group), and four direct-administered municipalities—collectively referred to as "mainland China"—as well as the special administrative regions (SARs) of Hong Kong and Macau.[202] The PRC 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, although all these territories are governed by the Republic of China (ROC).[203][204] Geographically, all 31 provincial divisions of mainland China can be grouped into six regions: North China, Northeast China, East China, South Central China, Southwestern China, and Northwestern China.[205]

    Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous RegionTibet (Xizang) Autonomous RegionQinghai ProvinceGansu ProvinceSichuan ProvinceYunnan ProvinceNingxia Hui Autonomous RegionInner Mongolia (Nei Mongol) Autonomous RegionShaanxi ProvinceMunicipality of ChongqingGuizhou ProvinceGuangxi Zhuang Autonomous RegionShanxi ProvinceHenan ProvinceHubei ProvinceHunan ProvinceGuangdong ProvinceHainan ProvinceHebei ProvinceHeilongjiang ProvinceJilin ProvinceLiaoning ProvinceMunicipality of BeijingMunicipality of TianjinShandong ProvinceJiangsu ProvinceAnhui ProvinceMunicipality of ShanghaiZhejiang ProvinceJiangxi ProvinceFujian ProvinceHong Kong Special Administrative RegionMacau Special Administrative RegionTaiwan Province
    List of administrative divisions in the PRC
    Provinces ()
    Claimed Province

    Taiwan (台湾省), governed by the Republic of China

    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

    Diplomatic relations of China

    The PRC has diplomatic relations with 179 United Nation members states and maintains

    developing countries.[212] 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 in April 2011.[213]

    The PRC officially maintains the one-China principle, which holds the view that there is only one sovereign state in the name of China, represented by the PRC, and that Taiwan is part of that China.[214] The unique status of Taiwan has led to countries recognizing the PRC to maintain unique "one-China policies" that differ from each other; some countries explicitly recognize the PRC's claim over Taiwan, while others, including the US and Japan, only acknowledge the claim.[214] Chinese officials have protested on numerous occasions when foreign countries have made diplomatic overtures to Taiwan,[215] especially in the matter of armament sales.[216] Most countries have switched recognition from the ROC to the PRC since the latter replaced the former in the UN in 1971.[217]

    On 21 May 2014, China and Russia signed a $400 billion gas deal. Currently, Russia is supplying natural gas to 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.[218] This policy may have led China to support or maintain close ties with states that are regarded as dangerous and repressive by Western nations, such as Sudan,[219] North Korea and Iran.[220] China's close relationship with Myanmar has involved support for its ruling governments as well as for its ethnic rebel groups,[221] including the Arakan Army.[222] China has a close political, economic and military relationship with Russia,[223] and the two states often vote in unison in the UN Security Council.[224][225][226] China's relationship with the United States is complex, and includes deep trade ties but significant political differences.[227]

    Since the early 2000s, China has followed a policy of engaging with African nations for trade and bilateral co-operation.[228][229][230] It maintains extensive and highly diversified trade links with the European Union, and became its largest trading partner for goods.[231] China is increasing its influence in Central Asia[232] and South Pacific.[233] The country has strong trade ties with ASEAN countries[234] and major South American economies,[235] and is the largest trading partner of Brazil, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, and several others.[236]

    In 2013, China initiated the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a large global infrastructure building initiative with funding on the order of $50–100 billion per year.[237] BRI could be one of the largest development plans in modern history.[238] It has expanded significantly over the last six years and, as of April 2020, includes 138 countries and 30 international organizations. In addition to intensifying foreign policy relations, the focus is particularly on building efficient transport routes, especially the maritime Silk Road with its connections to East Africa and Europe. However many loans made under the program are unsustainable and China has faced a number of calls for debt relief from debtor nations.[239][240]

    Sociopolitical issues and human rights

    March in memory of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo who died of organ failure while in government custody in 2017

    The situation of human rights in China has attracted significant criticism from foreign governments, foreign press agencies, and non-governmental organizations, alleging widespread civil rights violations such as detention without trial, forced confessions, torture, restrictions of fundamental rights, and excessive use of the death penalty.[188][241] Since its inception, Freedom House has ranked China as "not free" in its Freedom in the World survey,[188] while Amnesty International has documented significant human rights abuses.[241] The Chinese constitution 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.[242][243] China has limited protections regarding LGBT rights.[244]

    Although some criticisms of government policies and the ruling CCP are tolerated, censorship of political speech and information are amongst the harshest in the world and routinely used to prevent collective action.[245] China also has the most comprehensive and sophisticated Internet censorship regime in the world, with numerous websites being blocked.[246] The government suppresses popular protests and demonstrations that it considers a potential threat to "social stability".[247] China additionally uses a massive espionage network of cameras, facial recognition software, sensors, and surveillance of personal technology as a means of social control of persons living in the country.[248]

    In Xinjiang, China has been accused of committing genocide against Uyghurs and detaining more than one million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in camps.[249]

    China is regularly accused of large-scale repression and human rights abuses in

    religious suppression.[253][254] Since 2017, the Chinese government has been engaged in a harsh crackdown in Xinjiang, with around one million Uyghurs and other ethnic and religion minorities being detained in internment camps aimed at changing the political thinking of detainees, their identities, and their religious beliefs.[255] According to Western reports, political indoctrination, torture, physical and psychological abuse, forced sterilization, sexual abuse, and forced labor are common in these facilities.[256] According to a 2020 Foreign Policy report, China's treatment of Uyghurs meets the UN definition of genocide,[257] while a separate UN Human Rights Office report said they could potentially meet the definitions for crimes against humanity.[258] The Chinese authorities have also cracked down on dissent in Hong Kong, especially after the passage of a national security law in 2020.[259]

    2019–20 Hong Kong protests

    In 2017 and 2020, the Pew Research Center ranked the severity of Chinese government restrictions on religion as being among the world's highest, despite ranking religious-related social hostilities in China as low in severity.[260][261] The Global Slavery Index estimated that in 2016 more than 3.8 million people (0.25% of the population) were living in "conditions of modern slavery", including victims of human trafficking, forced labor, forced marriage, child labor, and state-imposed forced labor. The state-imposed re-education through labor (laojiao) system was formally abolished in 2013, but it is not clear to what extent its practices have stopped.[262] The much larger reform through labor (laogai) system includes labor prison factories, detention centers, and re-education camps; the Laogai Research Foundation has estimated in June 2008 that there were nearly 1,422 of these facilities, though it cautioned that this number was likely an underestimate.[263]

    Public views of government

    Political concerns in China include the growing gap between rich and poor and government corruption.[264] Nonetheless, international surveys show the Chinese public have a high level of satisfaction with their government.[199]: 137  These views are generally attributed to the material comforts and security available to large segments of the Chinese populace as well as the government's attentiveness and responsiveness.[199] : 136  According to the World Values Survey (2022), 91% of Chinese respondents have significant confidence in their government.[199]: 13  A Harvard University survey published in July 2020 found that citizen satisfaction with the government had increased since 2003, also rating China's government as more effective and capable than ever in the survey's history.[265]

    Military

    Chengdu J-20 5th generation stealth fighter

    The

    commander-in-chief of the PLA.[275]

    Economy

    China has the world's second-largest economy in terms of nominal GDP,[276] and the world's largest in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP).[277] As of 2022, China accounts for around 18% of global economy by nominal GDP.[278] China is one of the world's fastest-growing major economies,[279] with its economic growth having been almost consistently above 6 percent since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978.[280] According to the World Bank, China's GDP grew from $150 billion in 1978 to $17.96 trillion by 2022.[281] It ranks at 64th at GDP (nominal) per capita, making it an upper-middle income country.[282] Of the world's 500 largest companies, 142 are headquartered in China.[283]

    China was one of the world's foremost economic powers throughout the arc of East Asian and global history. The country had one of the largest economies in the world for most of the past two millennia,[284] during which it has seen cycles of prosperity and decline.[285][286] Since economic reforms began in 1978, China has developed into a highly diversified economy and one of the most consequential players in international trade. Major sectors of competitive strength include manufacturing, retail, mining, steel, textiles, automobiles, energy generation, green energy, banking, electronics, telecommunications, real estate, e-commerce, and tourism. China has three out of the ten largest stock exchanges in the world[287]Shanghai, Hong Kong and Shenzhen—that together have a market capitalization of over $15.9 trillion, as of October 2020.[288] China has four (Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shenzhen) out of the world's top ten most competitive financial centers, which is more than any other country in the 2020 Global Financial Centres Index.[289]

    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.[290]

    Modern-day China is often described as an example of state capitalism or party-state capitalism.[291][292] The state 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.[293][294][295] According to official statistics, privately owned companies constitute more than 60% of China's GDP.[296]

    China has been the

    high-tech manufacturing country since 2012, according to US National Science Foundation.[299] China is the second largest retail market after the United States.[300] China leads the world in e-commerce, accounting for over 37% of the global market share in 2021.[301] China is the world's leader in electric vehicle consumption and production, manufacturing and buying half of all the plug-in electric cars (BEV and PHEV) in the world as of 2022.[302] China is also the leading producer of batteries for electric vehicles as well as several key raw materials for batteries.[303]

    Wealth

    Skyline of Lujiazui in Shanghai

    China accounted for 17.9% of the world's total wealth in 2021, second highest in the world after the US.[304] China brought more people out of extreme poverty than any other country in history[305][306]—between 1978 and 2018, China reduced extreme poverty by 800 million.[199]: 23  From 1990 to 2018, the proportion of the Chinese population living with an income of less than $1.90 per day (2011 PPP) decreased from 66.3% to 0.3%, the share living with an income of less than $3.20 per day from 90.0% to 2.9%, and the share living with an income of less than $5.50 per day decreased from 98.3% to 17.0%.[307]

    From 1978 to 2018, the average standard of living multiplied by a factor of twenty-six.[308] Wages in China have grown significantly in the last 40 years—real (inflation-adjusted) wages grew seven-fold from 1978 to 2007.[309] Per capita incomes have also risen significantly – when the PRC was founded in 1949, per capita income in China was one-fifth of the world average; per capita incomes now equal the world average itself.[308] China's development is highly uneven. Its major cities and coastal areas are far more prosperous compared to rural and interior regions.[310] It has a high level of economic inequality,[311] which has increased quickly after the economic reforms,[312] though has decreased significantly in the 2010s.[313] In 2020, China's Gini coefficient was 0.371, according to the World Bank.[11]

    As of April 2023, China was second in the world, after the US, in total number of billionaires and total number of millionaires, with 495 Chinese billionaires[314] and 6.2 million millionaires.[304] In 2019, China overtook the US as the home to the highest number of people who have a net personal wealth of at least $110,000, according to the global wealth report by Credit Suisse.[315][316] China had 85 female billionaires as of January 2021, two-thirds of the global total.[317] China has had the world's largest middle-class population since 2015;[318] the middle-class grew to 400 million by 2018.[319]

    China in the global economy

    Largest economies by nominal GDP in 2023[320]

    China has been a member of the WTO since 2001 and is the world's largest trading power.[321] By 2016, China was the largest trading partner of 124 countries.[322] China became the world's largest trading nation in 2013 by the sum of imports and exports, as well as the world's largest commodity importer, comprising roughly 45% of maritime's dry-bulk market.[323][324]

    China's foreign exchange reserves reached US$3.128 trillion as of December 2022, making its reserves by far the world's largest.[325] In 2022, China was amongst the world's largest recipient of inward foreign direct investment (FDI), attracting $180 billion, though most of these were speculated to be from Hong Kong.[326] In 2021, China's foreign exchange remittances were $US53 billion making it the second largest recipient of remittances in the world.[327] China also invests abroad, with a total outward FDI of $146.5 billion in 2022,[328] and a number of major takeovers of foreign firms by Chinese companies.[329]

    Economists have argued that the renminbi is undervalued, due to currency intervention from the Chinese government, giving China an unfair trade advantage.[330] China has also been widely criticized for manufacturing large quantities of counterfeit goods.[331][332] The US government has also alleged that China does not respect intellectual property (IP) rights and steals IP through espionage operations.[333] In 2020, Harvard University's Economic Complexity Index ranked complexity of China's exports 17th in the world, up from 24th in 2010.[334]

    The Chinese government has promoted the internationalization of the renminbi in order to wean off of its dependence on the U.S. dollar as a result of perceived weaknesses of the international monetary system.[335] The renminbi is a component of the IMF's special drawing rights and the world's fifth-most traded currency as of 2022.[336] However, partly due to capital controls that make the renminbi fall short of being a fully convertible currency, it remains far behind the Euro, the U.S. Dollar and the Japanese Yen in international trade volumes.[337]

    Science and technology

    Historical

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

    China was a world leader in science and technology until the

    negative numbers.[339][340] By the 17th century, the Western World surpassed China in scientific and technological advancement.[341] The causes of this early modern Great Divergence continue to be debated by scholars.[342]

    After repeated military defeats by the European colonial powers and Imperial 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.[343] After Mao's death in 1976, science and technology were promoted as one of the Four Modernizations,[344] and the Soviet-inspired academic system was gradually reformed.[345]

    Modern era

    Since the end of the Cultural Revolution, China has made significant investments in scientific research[346] and is quickly catching up with the US in R&D spending.[347][348] China officially spent around 2.4% of its GDP on R&D in 2020, totaling to around $377.8 billion.[349] According to the World Intellectual Property Indicators, China received more applications than the US did in 2018 and 2019 and ranked first globally in patents, utility models, trademarks, industrial designs, and creative goods exports in 2021.[350][351][352] It was ranked 12th in the Global Innovation Index in 2023, a considerable improvement from its rank of 35th in 2013.[353][354][355] Chinese supercomputers ranked among the fastest in the world.[356][w] Its efforts to develop the most advanced semiconductors and jet engines have seen delays and setbacks.[357][358]

    China is developing its education system with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).[359] It became the world's largest publisher of scientific papers in 2016.[360][361][362]

    Space program

    Launch of Shenzhou 13 by a Long March 2F rocket. China is one of the only three countries with independent human spaceflight capability.

    The Chinese space program started in 1958 with some technology transfers from the Soviet Union. However, it did not launch the nation's first satellite until 1970 with the

    Dong Fang Hong I, which made China the fifth country to do so independently.[363]

    In 2003, China became the third country in the world to independently send humans into space with Yang Liwei's spaceflight aboard Shenzhou 5. As of 2023, eighteen Chinese nationals have journeyed into space, including two women. In 2011, China launched its first space station testbed, Tiangong-1.[364] In 2013, a Chinese robotic rover Yutu successfully touched down on the lunar surface as part of the Chang'e 3 mission.[365]

    In 2019, China became the first country to land a probe—Chang'e 4—on the far side of the Moon.[366] In 2020, Chang'e 5 successfully returned Moon samples to the Earth, making China the third country to do so independently.[367] In 2021, China became the third country to land a spacecraft on Mars and the second one to deploy a rover (Zhurong) on Mars.[368] China completed its own modular space station, the Tiangong, in low Earth orbit on 3 November 2022.[369][370][371] On 29 November 2022, China performed its first in-orbit crew handover aboard the Tiangong.[372][373]

    In May 2023, China announced a plan to

    crewed lunar lander.[375][376]

    Infrastructure

    After a decades-long infrastructural boom,[377] China has produced numerous world-leading infrastructural projects: it has the largest high-speed rail network,[378] the most supertall skyscrapers,[379] the largest power plant (the Three Gorges Dam),[380] and a global satellite navigation system with the largest number of satellites.[381]

    Telecommunications

    Internet penetration rates in China in the context of East Asia and Southeast Asia, 1995–2012

    China is the largest telecom market in the world and currently has the largest number of active cellphones of any country, with over 1.7 billion subscribers, as of February 2023. It has the largest number of internet and broadband users, with over 1.05 billion Internet users since 2021[382]—equivalent to around 73.7% of its population. By 2018, China had more than 1 billion 4G users, accounting for 40% of world's total.[383] China is making rapid advances in 5G—by late 2018, China had started large-scale and commercial 5G trials.[384] As of March 2022, China had over 500 million 5G users and 1.45 million base stations installed.[385]

    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 largest of them all, had 925 million users, as of 2018.[386] Combined, the three operators had over 3.4 million 4G base-stations in China.[387] Several Chinese telecommunications companies, most notably Huawei and ZTE, have been accused of spying for the Chinese military.[388]

    China has developed its own satellite navigation system, dubbed BeiDou, which began offering commercial navigation services across Asia in 2012[389] as well as global services by the end of 2018.[390] Beidou followed GPS and GLONASS as the third completed global navigation satellite.[391]

    Transport

    The Duge Bridge is the highest bridge in the world.
    A Fuxing high-speed train running near the Beijing CBD.

    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 161,000 km (100,000 mi), making it the longest highway system in the world.[392] China has the world's largest market for automobiles,[393][394] having surpassed the United States in both auto sales and production. The country is the world's largest exporter of cars as of 2023.[395][396] A side-effect of the rapid growth of China's road network has been a significant rise in traffic accidents.[397] 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.[398]

    China's railways, which are operated by the state-owned China State Railway Group Company, 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.[399] As of 2021, the country had 150,000 km (93,206 mi) of railways, the second longest network in the world.[400] The railways strain to meet enormous demand particularly during the Chinese New Year holiday, when the world's largest annual human migration takes place.[401] China's high-speed rail (HSR) system started construction in the early 2000s. By the end of 2022, high speed rail in China had reached 42,000 kilometers (26,098 miles) of dedicated lines alone, making it the longest HSR network in the world.[402] Services on the Beijing–Shanghai, Beijing–Tianjin, and Chengdu–Chongqing lines reach up to 350 km/h (217 mph), making them the fastest conventional high speed railway services in the world. With an annual ridership of over 2.3 billion passengers in 2019, it is the world's busiest.[403] The network includes the Beijing–Guangzhou 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.[404] The Shanghai maglev train, which reaches 431 km/h (268 mph), is the fastest commercial train service in the world.[405] Since 2000, the growth of rapid transit systems in Chinese cities has accelerated.[406] As of January 2021, 44 Chinese cities have urban mass transit systems in operation.[407] As of 2020, China boasts the five longest metro systems in the world with the networks in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Shenzhen being the largest.

    The civil aviation industry in China is mostly state-dominated, with the Chinese government retaining a majority stake in the majority of Chinese airlines. The top three airlines in China, which collectively made up 71% of the market in 2018, are all state-owned. Air travel has expanded rapidly in the last decades, with the number of passengers increasing from 16.6 million in 1990 to 551.2 million in 2017.[408] China had approximately 259 airports in 2024.[409]

    China has over 2,000 river and seaports, about 130 of which are open to foreign shipping.[410] Of the fifty busiest container ports, 15 are located in China, of which the busiest is the Port of Shanghai, also the busiest port in the world.[411] The country's inland waterways are the world's sixth-longest, and total 27,700 km (17,212 mi).[412]

    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.[413] According to the Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply and Sanitation in 2015, about 36% of the rural population in China still did not have access to improved sanitation.[414][needs update] The ongoing South–North Water Transfer Project intends to abate water shortage in the north.[415]

    Demographics

    Population density map of the People's Republic of China (2000)

    The 2020 Chinese census recorded the population as approximately 1,411,778,724. About 17.95% were 14 years old or younger, 63.35% were between 15 and 59 years old, and 18.7% were over 60 years old.[416] Between 2010 and 2020, the average population growth rate was 0.53%.[416]

    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.[417] 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.[418] In 2016, the one-child policy was replaced in favor of a two-child policy.[419] A three-child policy was announced on 31 May 2021, due to population aging,[419] and in July 2021, all family size limits as well as penalties for exceeding them were removed.[420] In 2023, the total fertility rate was reported to be 1.09, ranking among the lowest in the world.[421] In 2023, National Bureau of Statistics estimated that the population fell 850,000 from 2021 to 2022, the first decline since 1961.[422]

    According to one group of scholars, one-child limits had little effect on population growth[423] or total population size.[424] However, these scholars have been challenged.[425] The policy, along with traditional preference for boys, may have contributed to an imbalance in the sex ratio at birth.[426][427] The 2020 census found that males accounted for 51.2% of the total population.[428] However, China's sex ratio is more balanced than it was in 1953, when males accounted for 51.8% of the population.[429]

    Ethnic groups

    Ethnolinguistic map of China in 1967

    China legally recognizes 56 distinct ethnic groups, who comprise the Zhonghua minzu. The largest of these nationalities are the Han Chinese, who constitute more than 91% of the total population.[416] The Han Chinese – the world's largest single ethnic group[430] – outnumber other ethnic groups in every place excluding Tibet, Xinjiang,[431] Linxia,[432] and autonomous prefectures like Xishuangbanna.[433] Ethnic minorities account for less than 10% of the population of China, according to the 2020 census.[416] Compared with the 2010 population census, the Han population increased by 60,378,693 persons, or 4.93%, while the population of the 55 national minorities combined increased by 11,675,179 persons, or 10.26%.[416] The 2020 census recorded a total of 845,697 foreign nationals living in mainland China.[434]

    Languages

    Jianshui, Yunnan. The sign is in Hani (Latin alphabet), Nisu (Yi script
    ), and Chinese.

    There are as many as 292

    Indo-European language. Taiwanese indigenous peoples, including a small population on the mainland, speak Austronesian languages.[441]

    Standard Mandarin, a variety of Mandarin based on the Beijing dialect, is the national language and de facto official language of China.[1] It is used as a lingua franca between people of different linguistic backgrounds.[442][443] In the autonomous regions of China, other languages may also serve as a lingua franca, such as Uyghur in Xinjiang, where governmental services in Uyghur are constitutionally guaranteed.[444][445]

    Urbanization

    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 66% in 2023.[446][447][448] China has over 160 cities with a population of over one million,[449] including the 17 megacities as of 2021[450][451] (cities with a population of over 10 million) of Chongqing, Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Xi'an, Suzhou, Zhengzhou, Wuhan, Hangzhou, Linyi, Shijiazhuang, Dongguan, Qingdao and Changsha.[452] The total permanent population of Chongqing, Shanghai, Beijing and Chengdu is above 20 million.[453] Shanghai is China's most populous urban area[454][455] while Chongqing is its largest city proper, the only city in China with a permanent population of over 30 million.[456] The figures in the table below are from the 2020 census, and are only estimates of the urban populations within administrative city limits; a different ranking exists for total municipal populations. The large "floating populations" of migrant workers make conducting censuses in urban areas difficult;[457] the figures below include only long-term residents.

     
    Largest cities or municipalities in China
    China Urban Construction Statistical Yearbook 2020 Urban Population and Urban Temporary Population [458][note 1][note 2]
    Rank Name Province Pop. Rank Name Province Pop.
    Shanghai
    Shanghai
    Beijing
    Beijing
    1 Shanghai SH 24,281,400 11 Hong Kong HK 7,448,900 Guangzhou
    Guangzhou
    Shenzhen
    Shenzhen
    2 Beijing BJ 19,164,000 12 Zhengzhou HA 7,179,400
    3 Guangzhou GD 13,858,700 13 Nanjing JS 6,823,500
    4 Shenzhen GD 13,438,800 14 Xi'an SN 6,642,100
    5 Tianjin TJ 11,744,400 15 Jinan SD 6,409,600
    6 Chongqing CQ 11,488,000 16 Shenyang LN 5,900,000
    7 Dongguan GD 9,752,500 17 Qingdao SD 5,501,400
    8 Chengdu SC 8,875,600 18 Harbin HL 5,054,500
    9 Wuhan HB 8,652,900 19 Hefei AH 4,750,100
    10 Hangzhou ZJ 8,109,000 20 Changchun JL 4,730,900
    1. ^ Population of Hong Kong as of 2018 estimate.[459]
    2. Rongchang, has the urban population of 5,841,700.[460]
      Total urban population of all 26 districts of Chongqing are up to 15,076,600.

    Education

    Beijing's Peking University, one of the top-ranked universities in China[461][462]

    Compulsory education in China comprises primary and junior secondary school, which together last for nine years from the age of 6 and 15.[463] The Gaokao, China's national university entrance exam, is a prerequisite for entrance into most higher education institutions. Vocational education is available to students at the secondary and tertiary level.[464] More than 10 million Chinese students graduated from vocational colleges every year.[465] In 2023, about 91.8 percent of students continued their education at a three-year senior secondary school, while 60.2 percent of secondary school graduates were enrolled in higher education.[466]

    China has the largest education system in the world, with about 282 million students and 17.32 million full-time teachers in over 530,000 schools.[467] Annual education investment went from less than US$50 billion in 2003 to more than US$817 billion in 2020.[468][469] 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, only totalled ¥3,204.[470] China's literacy rate has grown dramatically, from only 20% in 1949 and 65.5% in 1979,[471] to 97% of the population over age 15 in 2020.[472]

    As of 2021, China has over 3,000 universities, with over 44.3 million students enrolled in mainland China and 240 million Chinese citizens have received high education, making China the largest higher education system in the world.

    Chinese universities offering comprehensive and leading education.[480]

    Health

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

    The

    typhoid and scarlet fever, which were previously rife in China, were nearly eradicated by the campaign.[482]

    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. Healthcare in China became mostly privatized, and experienced a significant rise in quality. In 2009, the government began a three-year large-scale healthcare provision initiative worth US$124 billion.[483] By 2011, the campaign resulted in 95% of China's population having basic health insurance coverage.[484] By 2022, China had established itself as a key producer and exporter of pharmaceuticals, producing around 40 percent of active pharmaceutical ingredients in 2017.[485]

    As of 2023, the life expectancy at birth exceeds 78 years.

    SARS in 2003, although this has since been largely contained.[497] The COVID-19 pandemic was first identified in Wuhan in December 2019;[498][499] pandemic led the government to enforce strict public health measures intended to completely eradicate the virus, a goal that was eventually abandoned in December 2022 after protests against the policy.[500][501]

    Religion

    Mongolian folk religion
    Northeast China folk religion influenced by Tungus and Manchu shamanism; widespread Shanrendao

    atheist. Religious affairs and issues in the country are overseen by the National Religious Affairs Administration, under the United Front Work Department.[506]

    Over the millennia, the Chinese civilization has been influenced by various religious movements. The "

    world's tallest religious statues, representing either deities of Chinese folk religion or enlightened beings of Buddhism; the tallest of all is the Spring Temple Buddha in Henan
    .

    Taoism has been nominated as a state religion a number of times throughout China's history.[516]

    Statistics on religious affiliation in China are difficult to gather due to complex and varying definitions of religion and the diffusive nature of Chinese religious traditions. Scholars note that in China there is no clear boundary between the three doctrines and local folk religious practices.

    Uyghur, Kazakh,[444] and Kyrgyz
    peoples, and other ethnicities in the northern and northwestern regions of the country.

    Culture and society

    The Temple of Heaven, a center of heaven worship and an UNESCO World Heritage site, symbolizes the Interactions Between Heaven and Mankind.[520]
    A moon gate in a Chinese garden

    Since

    ancient times, Chinese culture has been heavily influenced by Confucianism. Chinese culture, in turn, has heavily influenced East Asia and Southeast Asia.[521] 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.[522] 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.[523] Examinations and a culture of merit remain greatly valued in China today.[524]

    Fenghuang County, an ancient town that harbors many architectural remains of Ming and Qing styles[525]

    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,[526][527] and folk and variety art in particular have sparked interest nationally and even worldwide.[528] Access to foreign media remains heavily restricted.[529]

    Tourism

    China received 65.7 million international visitors in 2019,[530] and in 2018 was the fourth-most-visited country in the world.[530] It also experiences an enormous volume of domestic tourism; Chinese tourists made an estimated 6 billion travels within the country in 2019.[531] China hosts the world's second-largest number of World Heritage Sites (56) after Italy, and is one of the most popular tourist destinations (first in the Asia-Pacific).

    Literature

    The stories in Journey to the West are common themes in Peking opera.

    Chinese literature has its roots in the Zhou dynasty's literary tradition.

    Four Great Classical Novels which include Water Margin, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Journey to the West and Dream of the Red Chamber.[535] Along with the wuxia fictions of Jin Yong and Liang Yusheng,[536] it remains an enduring source of popular culture in the Chinese sphere of influence.[537]

    In the wake of the

    young adult fiction and the xungen literature, which is influenced by magic realism,[539] emerged following the Cultural Revolution. Mo Yan, a xungen literature author, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012.[540]

    Cuisine

    Map showing major regional cuisines of China

    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

    Chinese diaspora
    .

    Architecture

    Chinese architecture has developed over millennia in China and has remained a vestigial source of perennial influence on the development of East Asian architecture,[544][545][546] including in Japan, Korea, and Mongolia.[547] and minor influences on the architecture of Southeast and South Asia including the countries of Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines.[548][549]

    Chinese architecture is characterized by bilateral symmetry, use of enclosed open spaces,

    pagodas to palaces.[551][547]

    Chinese architecture varies widely based on status or affiliation, such as whether the structures were constructed for emperors, commoners, or for religious purposes. Other variations in Chinese architecture are shown in vernacular styles associated with different geographic regions and different ethnic heritages, such as the stilt houses in the south, the Yaodong buildings in the northwest, the yurt buildings of nomadic people, and the Siheyuan buildings in the north.[552]

    Music

    Chinese music covers a highly diverse range of music from traditional music to modern music. Chinese music dates back before the pre-imperial times.

    Hong Kong hip hop have become popular.[554]

    Cinema

    Cinema was first introduced to China in 1896 and the first Chinese film, Dingjun Mountain, was released in 1905.[555] China has the largest number of movie screens in the world since 2016;[556] China became the largest cinema market in 2020.[557][558] The top three highest-grossing films in China as of 2023 were The Battle at Lake Changjin (2021), Wolf Warrior 2 (2017), and Hi, Mom (2021).[559]

    Fashion

    hanfu movement has been popular in contemporary times and seeks to revitalize Hanfu clothing.[561] China Fashion Week is the country's only national-level fashion festival.[562]

    Sports

    Go is an abstract strategy board game for two players, in which the aim is to surround more territory than the opponent, and which was invented in China more than 2,500 years ago.

    China has one of the

    Western Zhou dynasty. Swordplay (jiànshù) and cuju, a sport loosely related to association football[563] date back to China's early dynasties as well.[564]

    Physical fitness is widely emphasized in Chinese culture, with morning exercises such as qigong and tai chi widely practiced,[565] and commercial gyms and private fitness clubs are gaining popularity.[566] Basketball is the most popular spectator sport in China.[567] The Chinese Basketball Association and the American National Basketball Association also have a huge national following amongst the Chinese populace, with native-born and NBA-bound Chinese players and well-known national household names such as Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian being held in high esteem.[568] China's professional football league, known as Chinese Super League, is the largest football market in East Asia.[569] Other popular sports include martial arts, table tennis, badminton, swimming and snooker. China is home to a huge number of cyclists, with an estimated 470 million bicycles as of 2012.[398] China has the world's largest esports market.[570] Many more traditional sports, such as dragon boat racing, Mongolian-style wrestling and horse racing are also popular.[571]

    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 48 gold medals – the highest number of any participating nation that year.[572] China also won the most medals at the 2012 Summer Paralympics, with 231 overall, including 95 gold.[573][574] In 2011, Shenzhen hosted the 2011 Summer Universiade. China hosted the 2013 East Asian Games in Tianjin and the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics in Nanjing, the first country to host both regular and Youth Olympics. Beijing and its nearby city Zhangjiakou collaboratively hosted the 2022 Winter Olympics, making Beijing the first dual Olympic city by holding both the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics.[575][576]

    See also

    Notes

    1. ^ Paramount leader of China
    2. Supreme Commander
      of the Armed Forces
    3. ^ Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
    4. ^ While not an upper house of the legislature, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference exists as an advisory body. However, much of the parliamentary functions are held by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress when ordinary congress is not in session.
    5. ^ Joined as the Republic of China on Mainland China. Representation changed to the People's Republic of China from 25 October 1971 and began representing China at the UN from 15 November 1971.
    6. ^ The area given is the official United Nations figure for the mainland and excludes Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.[4] It also excludes the Trans-Karakoram Tract (5,180 km2 (2,000 sq mi)), Aksai Chin (38,000 km2 (15,000 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.[5] For further information, see Territorial changes of the People's Republic of China.
    7. ^ This figure was calculated using data from the CIA World Factbook.[7]
    8. ^ GDP figures exclude Taiwan, and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.
    9. ^
    10. ^ Chinese: 中国; pinyin: Zhōngguó
    11. ^ Chinese: 中华人民共和国; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó
    12. ^ China's border with Pakistan is disputed by India, which claims the entire Kashmir region as its territory. China is tied with Russia as having the most land borders of any country.
    13. ^ The total area ranking relative to the United States depends on the measurement of the total areas of both countries. See List of countries and dependencies by area for more information. The following two primary sources (non-mirrored) represent the range (min./max.) of estimates of China's and the United States' total areas. Both sources (1) exclude Taiwan from the area of China; (2) exclude China's coastal and territorial waters. However, the CIA World Factbook includes the United States coastal and territorial waters, while Encyclopædia Britannica excludes the United States coastal and territorial waters.
      1. The Encyclopædia Britannica lists China as world's third-largest country (after Russia and Canada) with a total area of 9,572,900 km2,[5] and the United States as fourth-largest at 9,525,067 km2.[13]
      2. The CIA World Factbook lists China as the fourth-largest country (after Russia, Canada and the United States) with a total area of 9,596,960 km2,[7] and the United States as the third-largest at 9,833,517 km2.[14]

      Notably, the Encyclopædia Britannica specifies the United States' area (excluding coastal and territorial waters) as 9,525,067 km2, which is less than either source's figure given for China's area.[13] Therefore, while it can be determined that China has a larger area excluding coastal and territorial waters, it is unclear which country has a larger area including coastal and territorial waters.


      The United Nations Statistics Division's figure for the United States is 9,833,517 km2 (3,796,742 sq mi) and China is 9,596,961 km2 (3,705,407 sq mi). These closely match the CIA World Factbook figures and similarly include coastal and territorial waters for the United States, but exclude coastal and territorial waters for China.


      Further explanation of disputed ranking: The dispute about which is the world's third-largest country arose from the inclusion of coastal and territorial waters for the United States. This discrepancy was deduced from comparing the CIA World Factbook and its previous iterations against the information for United States in Encyclopædia Britannica, particularly its footnote section.

      excessive detail?
      ]

    14. ^
      ROC (Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu), which it does not control, as its disputed 23rd province, Taiwan Province. See § Administrative divisions
      for more details.
    15. ^ "... Next into this, is found the great China, whose king is thought to be the greatest prince in the world, and is named Santoa Raia".[16][17]
    16. ^ "... The Very Great Kingdom of China".[18] (Portuguese: ... O Grande Reino da China ...).[19]
    17. ritual bronze vessel He zun, where it apparently refers to only the Shang's immediate demesne conquered by the Zhou.[25]
    18. 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).[26]
    19. 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
      .
    20. ^ 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).
    21. ^ 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.
    22. ^ The People's Republic of China claims the islands of Taiwan and Penghu, which it does not control, as its disputed 23rd province, i.e. Taiwan Province; along with Kinmen and Matsu Islands as part of Fujian Province. These are controlled by the Taipei-based Republic of China (ROC). See § Administrative divisions for more details.
    23. ^ Some of the chips used were not domestically developed until Sunway TaihuLight in 2016. China has not submitted newer entries to TOP500 amid tensions with the United States.
    24. ^ The national life expectancy at birth rose from about 31 years in 1949 to 75 years in 2008,[488] and infant mortality decreased from 300 per thousand in the 1950s to around 33 per thousand in 2001.[489]

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