People's Republic of China
Land controlled by the People's Republic of China shown in dark green; land claimed but uncontrolled shown in light green.
|Official languages||Standard Chinese[lower-alpha 1]|
|Recognised regional languages|
|Official script||Simplified Chinese[lower-alpha 2]|
|Government||Unitary Marxist–Leninist one-party socialist republic|
• 1st CCP Secretariat's Member
• 1st Vice Premier
|Wang Qishan[lower-alpha 7]|
|Legislature||National People's Congress|
|c. 2070 BCE|
|1 January 1912|
|1 October 1949|
|20 September 1954|
|4 December 1982|
|20 December 1999|
|9,596,961 km2 (3,705,407 sq mi)[lower-alpha 8] (3rd/4th)|
• Water (%)
• 2019 estimate
• 2010 census
|145/km2 (375.5/sq mi) (83rd)|
|GDP (PPP)||2020 estimate|
|$24.162 trillion (1st)|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2020 estimate|
|$14.861 trillion (2nd)|
• Per capita
|Gini (2018)|| 46.7|
|HDI (2019)|| 0.761|
high · 85th
|Currency||Renminbi (yuan; ¥)[lower-alpha 10] (CNY-Renminbi)|
|Time zone||UTC+8 (China Standard Time)|
|Driving side||right (mainland); left (Hong Kong and Macau)|
|Calling code||+86 (mainland); +852 (Hong Kong); +853 (Macau)|
|ISO 3166 code||CN|
China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion. Covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometers (3.7 million mi2), it is the world's third or fourth-largest country by area.[lower-alpha 11] The country is officially divided into 23 provinces,[lower-alpha 12] 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 first civilizations, in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. China was one of the world's foremost economic powers for most of the two millennia from the 1st until the 19th century. For millennia, China's political system was based on absolute hereditary monarchies, or dynasties, beginning with the Xia dynasty in 21st century BCE. 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 (206 BCE–220 CE) saw some of the most advanced technology at that time, including papermaking and the compass, along with agricultural and medical improvements. The invention of gunpowder and movable type in the Tang dynasty (618–907) and Northern Song Dynasty (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 the Horn of Africa. The Qing Empire, China's last dynasty, which formed the territorial basis for modern China suffered heavy losses to foreign imperialism. The Chinese monarchy collapsed in 1912 with the 1911 Revolution, when the Republic of China (ROC) replaced the Qing dynasty. China was invaded by the Empire of Japan during World War II. The Chinese Civil War resulted in a division of territory in 1949 when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) led by Mao Zedong established the People's Republic of China on mainland China while the Kuomintang-led ROC government retreated to the island of Taiwan.[lower-alpha 13] Both the PRC and the ROC currently claim to be the sole legitimate government of China, resulting in an ongoing dispute even after the United Nations recognized the PRC as the government to represent China at all UN conferences in 1971.
China is nominally a unitary one-party socialist republic. The country is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since replacing the ROC in 1971. China is a founding member of several multilateral and regional cooperation organizations such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the New Development Bank, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and is a member of the BRICS nations and the East Asia Summit. It ranks among the lowest in international measurements of civil liberties, government transparency, freedom of the press, freedom of religion and ethnic minorities. Chinese authorities have been criticized by political dissidents and human rights activists for widespread human rights abuses, including political repression, mass censorship, mass surveillance of their citizens and violent suppression of protests.
After economic reforms in 1978, and its entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001, China's economy became the second-largest country by nominal GDP in 2010 and grew to the largest in the world by PPP in 2014. China is the world's fastest-growing major economy, the second-wealthiest nation in the world, and the world's largest manufacturer and exporter. The nation has the world's largest standing army—the People's Liberation Army—the second-largest defense budget, and is a recognized nuclear-weapons state. China has been characterized as an emerging superpower due to its large economy and powerful military.
The word "China" has been used in English since the 16th century; however, it was not a word used by the Chinese themselves during this period in time. Its origin has been traced through Portuguese, Malay, and Persian back to the Sanskrit word Chīna, used in ancient India.
"China" appears in Richard Eden's 1555 translation[lower-alpha 14] of the 1516 journal of the Portuguese explorer Duarte Barbosa.[lower-alpha 15] Barbosa's usage was derived from Persian Chīn (چین), which was in turn derived from Sanskrit Cīna (चीन). Cīna was first used in early Hindu scripture, including the Mahābhārata (5th century BCE) and the Laws of Manu (2nd century BCE). In 1655, Martino Martini suggested that the word China is derived ultimately from the name of the Qin dynasty (221–206 BCE). Although this derivation is still given in various sources, the origin of the Sanskrit word is a matter of debate, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Alternative suggestions include the names for Yelang and the Jing or Chu state.
The official name of the modern state is the "People's Republic of China" (simplified Chinese: 中华人民共和国; traditional Chinese: 中華人民共和國; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó). The shorter form is "China" Zhōngguó (中国; 中國) from zhōng ("central") and guó ("state"),[lower-alpha 16] a term which developed under the Western Zhou dynasty in reference to its royal demesne.[lower-alpha 17] 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. It was often used as a cultural concept to distinguish the Huaxia people from perceived "barbarians". The name Zhongguo is also translated as "Middle Kingdom" in English. China (PRC) is sometimes referred to as the Mainland when distinguishing the ROC from the PRC.
- Portuguese (Macau only), English (Hong Kong only).
- In the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, Traditional Chinese characters are used. The Mongolian script is used in Inner Mongolia and the Tibetan script is used in the Tibet Autonomous Region, alongside simplified Chinese.
- Ethnic minorities that are recognized officially.
- Although PRC President is head of state, it is a largely ceremonial office with limited power under CCP General Secretary.
- Including both state and party's central military chairs.
- Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
- 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 CCP as he was not appointed to office in the 19th Central Committee.
- The area given is the official United Nations figure for the mainland and excludes Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. 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. For further information, see Territorial changes of the People's Republic of China.
- This figure was calculated using data from the CIA World Factbook.
- The Hong Kong dollar is used in Hong Kong and Macau while the Macanese pataca is used in Macau only.
- 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.
- The Encyclopædia Britannica lists China as world's third-largest country (after Russia and Canada) with a total area of 9,572,900 km2, and the United States as fourth-largest at 9,525,067 km2.
- The CIA World Factbook lists China as fourth-largest country (after Russia, Canada and the United States) with a total area of 9,596,960 km2, and the United States as the third-largest at 9,833,517 km2.
Notably, 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. 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.
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 for 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. In sum, according to older versions of the CIA World Factbook (from 1982 to 1996), the U.S. was listed as the world's fourth-largest country (after Russia, Canada, and China) with a total area of 9,372,610 km2 (3,618,780 sq mi). However, in the 1997 edition, the U.S. added coastal waters to its total area (increasing it to 9,629,091 square kilometres [3,717,813 sq mi]). And then again in 2007, U.S. added territorial water to its total area (increasing it to 9,833,517 square kilometres [3,796,742 sq mi]). During this time, China's total area remained unchanged. In other words, no coastal or territorial water area was added to China's total area figure. The United States has a coastal water area of 109,362 km2 (42,225 sq mi), and a territorial water area of 195,213 km2 (75,372 sq mi), for a total of 304,575 km2 (117,597 sq mi) of additional water space. This is larger than entire countries like Italy, New Zealand] and the United Kingdom. Adding this figure to the U.S. will boost it over China in ranking since China's coastal and territorial water figures are currently unknown (no official publication) and thus cannot be added into China's total area figure.
- The disputed 23rd province of Taiwan is claimed by People's Republic of China but it does not administer it. See § Administrative divisions
- The KMT solely governed the island until its transition to democracy in 1996.
- "[...] 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".
- "[...] The Very Great Kingdom of China". (Portuguese: ...O Grande Reino da China...).
- Although this is the present meaning of guó, in Old Chinese (when its pronunciation was something like /*qʷˤək/) it meant the walled city of the Chinese and the areas they could control from them.
- Its use is attested from the 6th-century BC 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).
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The Gini coefficient, a measure of overall income inequality, declined to 0.462 in 2015, and has since risen to 0.467 in 2018 (Figure 27). Higher income inequality is partly driven by unequal regional income distribution. The eastern coastal regions have been the driver of China's rapid growth, due to its geographic location and the early introduction of reforms. As a result, the eastern coastal region is now home to 38 percent of the population, and its per capita GDP was 77 percent higher than that of the central, western, and northeastern regions in 2018. This gap widened further in the first three quarters of 2019. This is in part due to a disproportionate slowdown in interior provinces, which are more dependent on commodities and heavy industry. The slowdown has been negatively affected by structural shifts, especially necessary cuts in overcapacity (Figure 28).
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Seen from this perspective, such trends clearly that show that China already is a true economic superpower with growing resources and a steadily improving technology base. Its military structure is evolving to the point where China can compare or compete with the U.S. — at least in Asia.
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China has emerged as a global economic superpower in recent decades. It is not only the world’s second largest economy and the largest exporter by value, but it has also been investing in overseas infrastructure and development at a rapid clip
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China, the emerging superpower, netted the highest gains in overall power in 2019, ranking first in half of the eight Index measures. For the first time, China narrowly edged out the United States in the Index’s assessment of economic resources. In absolute terms China’s economy grew by more than the total size of Australia’s economy in 2018. The world’s largest trading nation has also paradoxically seen its GDP become less dependent on exports. This makes China less vulnerable to an escalating trade war than most other Asian economies.
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|Library resources about |
- China at a Glance from People's Daily
- BBC News – China Profile
- China. The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency.
- China, People's Republic of from UCB Libraries GovPubs
- China at Curlie
- China's Encyclopædia Britannica entry