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 more than 1.4 billion. China spans five geographical time zones and borders 14 countries, the second most of any country in the world after Russia. Covering an area of approximately , it is the world's third or fourth largest country. The country consists of 23 provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities, and two Special Administrative Regions (Hong Kong and Macau). The national capital is Beijing and the largest city is Shanghai.
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 Pax Sinica from the 1st until the 19th century. For millennia, China's political system was based on absolute hereditary monarchies, or dynasties, beginning with the semi-legendary Xia dynasty in the 21st century Common Era. Since then, China has expanded, fractured, and re-unified numerous times. In the 3rd century BCE, the Qin reunited core China and established Qin dynasty. 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 Road brought traders to as far as Mesopotamia and the Horn of Africa. The Qing dynasty, China's last dynasty, which formed the territorial basis for modern China, suffered heavy Unequal treaty to foreign imperialism in the 19th century.
The Chinese monarchy collapsed in 1912 with the Xinhai Revolution, when the Republic of China (ROC) replaced the Qing dynasty. Japan invaded China in 1937, starting the Second Sino-Japanese War and temporarily halting the civil war between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Kuomintang. The surrender and expulsion of Japanese forces from China in 1945 left a power vacuum in the country, which led to renewed fighting between the CCP and the Kuomintang. The civil war ended in 1949 with the Two Chinas; the CCP established the People's Republic of China on the mainland China while the Kuomintang-led ROC government retreated to the island of Taiwan. Both claim to be the sole legitimate government of China, although the United Nations has recognized the PRC as the sole representation since 1971. China conducted a series of economic reforms since 1978, and entered into the World Trade Organization in 2001.
China is currently governed as an Unitary State One-party state Republic by the CCP. China is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and a founding member of several multilateral and regional cooperation organizations such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Silk Road Fund, the New Development Bank, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and the RCEP, and is a member of the BRICS, the G8+5, the G20, the APEC, 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. The 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.
China is the world's largest economy by GDP at purchasing power parity, the second-largest economy by nominal GDP, and the second-wealthiest country. The country is one of the fastest growing major economies and is the world's largest manufacturer and exporter. China is a recognized nuclear-weapon state with the world's largest standing army by military personnel and second-largest defense budget.
The Shang was conquered by the Zhou dynasty, who ruled between the 11th and 5th centuries BCE, though centralized authority was slowly eroded by feudal warlords. Some principalities eventually emerged from the weakened Zhou, no longer fully obeyed the Zhou king, and continually waged war with each other during the 300-year Spring and Autumn period. By the time of the Warring States period of the 5th–3rd centuries BCE, there were only seven powerful states left.
Following a widespread civil war during which the imperial library at Xianyang was burned, the Han dynasty emerged to rule China between 206 BCE and CE 220, creating a cultural identity among its populace still remembered in the ethnonym of the Han Chinese. The Han expanded the empire's territory considerably, with military campaigns reaching Central Asia, Mongolia, South Korea, and Yunnan, and the recovery of Guangdong and northern Vietnam from Nanyue. Han involvement in Central Asia and Sogdia helped establish the land route of the Silk Road, replacing the earlier path over the Himalayas to India. Han China gradually became the largest economy of the ancient world. 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.
Under the succeeding Tang dynasty and Song dynasty dynasties, Chinese economy, technology, and culture entered a golden age.Adshead, S. A. M. (2004). T'ang China: The Rise of the East in World History. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 54 The Tang Empire retained control of the Western Regions and the Silk Road, which brought traders to as far as Mesopotamia and the Horn of Africa, 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.
The Mongol conquest of China began in 1205 with the gradual conquest of Western Xia by Genghis Khan, who also invaded Jin territories. In 1271, the Mongols Khagan 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.Ping-ti Ho. "An Estimate of the Total Population of Sung-Chin China", in Études Song, Series 1, No 1, (1970). pp. 33–53. A peasant named Zhu Yuanzhang led a rebellion that 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.
In the early years of the Ming dynasty, China's capital was moved from Nanjing to Beijing. With the budding of capitalism, philosophers such as Wang Yangming further critiqued and expanded Neo-Confucianism with concepts of individualism and equality of four occupations. 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 Manchu invasions led to an exhausted treasury. 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.
The Qing dynasty, which lasted from 1644 until 1912, was the last imperial dynasty of China. Its conquest of the Ming (1618–1683) cost 25 million lives and the economy of China shrank drastically.John M. Roberts (1997) A Short History of the World Oxford University Press p. 272 After the Southern Ming ended, the further conquest of the Dzungar Khanate added Mongolia, Tibet and Xinjiang to the empire.The Cambridge History of China: Volume 10, Part 1, by John K. Fairbank, p.37 The centralized autocracy was strengthened to suppress anti-Qing sentiment with the policy of valuing agriculture and restraining commerce, the Haijin ("sea ban"), and ideological control as represented by the literary inquisition, causing social and technological stagnation.
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. The Guangxu Emperor drafted a reform plan in 1898 to establish a modern constitutional monarchy, but these plans were thwarted by the Empress Dowager Cixi. The ill-fated anti-foreign Boxer Rebellion of 1899–1901 further weakened the dynasty. Although Cixi sponsored a program of reforms, the Xinhai Revolution of 1911–1912 brought an end to the Qing dynasty and established the Republic of China. Puyi, the last Emperor of China, abdicated in 1912.
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.Bruce Elleman (2001) Modern Chinese Warfare Routledge p.149Graham Hutchings (2003) Modern China: A Guide to a Century of Change Harvard University Press p.459 In the late 1920s, the Kuomintang under Chiang Kai-shek, the then Principal of the Republic of China Military Academy, was able to reunify the country under its own control with a series of deft military and political maneuverings, known collectively as the Northern Expedition.Peter Zarrow (2005) China in War and Revolution, 1895–1949 Routledge p.230M. Leutner (2002) The Chinese Revolution in the 1920s: Between Triumph and Disaster Routledge p.129 The Kuomintang moved the nation's capital to Nanjing and implemented "political tutelage", an intermediate stage of political development outlined in Sun Yat-sen's San-min Doctrine program for transforming China into a modern democratic state.Hung-Mao Tien (1972) Government and Politics in Kuomintang China, 1927–1937 (Volume 53) Stanford University Press pp. 60–72Suisheng Zhao (2000) China and Democracy: Reconsidering the Prospects for a Democratic China Routledge p.43 The political division in China made it difficult for Chiang to battle the communist-led People's Liberation Army (PLA), against whom the Kuomintang had been warring since 1927 in the Chinese Civil War. This war continued successfully for the Kuomintang, especially after the PLA retreated in the Long March, until Japanese aggression and the 1936 Xi'an Incident forced Chiang to confront Imperial Japan.David Ernest Apter, Tony Saich (1994) Revolutionary Discourse in Mao's Republic Harvard University Press p.198
The Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), a theater of World War II, forced an uneasy alliance between the Kuomintang and the Communists. Japanese forces committed numerous war atrocities against the civilian population; in all, as many as 20 million Chinese civilians died. "Nuclear Power: The End of the War Against Japan". BBC — History. Retrieved 14 July 2013. An estimated 40,000 to 300,000 Chinese Nanking Massacre in the city of Nanjing alone during the Japanese occupation. "Judgement: International Military Tribunal for the Far East". Chapter VIII: Conventional War Crimes (Atrocities). November 1948. Retrieved 4 February 2013. During the war, China, along with the UK, the United States, and the Soviet Union, were referred to as "trusteeship of the powerful"
On 1 October 1949, CCP Chairman Mao Zedong formally proclaimed the establishment of the People's Republic of China at the new nation's founding ceremony and inaugural military parade in Tiananmen Square, Beijing. In 1950, the People's Liberation Army captured Hainan from the ROC and incorporated Tibet. However, remaining Kuomintang forces continued to wage an insurgency in western China throughout the 1950s.
The government consolidated its popularity among the peasants through land reform, which included the execution of between 1 and 2 million landlords.Busky, Donald F. (2002) Communism in History and Theory Greenwood Publishing Group. p.11 China developed an independent industrial system and its own nuclear weapons. The Chinese population increased from 550 million in 1950 to 900 million in 1974.
Jiang Zemin, Li Peng and Zhu Rongji led the nation in the 1990s. Under their administration, China's economic performance pulled an estimated 150 million peasants out of poverty and sustained an average annual gross domestic product growth rate of 11.2%. British Hong Kong and Portuguese Macau returned to China in 1997 and 1999, respectively, as the Hong Kong and Macau special administrative regions under the principle of One country, two systems. The country joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, and maintained its high rate of economic growth under Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao's leadership in the 2000s. However, the growth also severely impacted the country's resources and environment, and caused major social displacement. China: Migrants, Students, Taiwan UC Davis Migration News January 2006
Chinese Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping has ruled since 2012 and has pursued large-scale efforts to reform China's economy (which has suffered from structural instabilities and slowing growth), and has also reformed the one-child policy and penal system, as well as instituting a vast anti corruption crackdown. In 2013, China initiated the Belt and Road Initiative, a global infrastructure investment project.
The global COVID-19 pandemic originated in Wuhan and was first identified from an outbreak in December 2019. The Chinese government response has included a zero-COVID strategy, making it one of few countries to pursue this approach. The country's economy continued to broaden recovery from the recession during the pandemic, with stable job creation and record international trade growth, although retail consumption was still slower than predicted.
On 1 July 2021, the People's Republic of China celebrated the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the CCP (first of the Two Centenaries) with a huge gathering in Tiananmen Square and cultural artistic performance in Beijing National Stadium in Beijing.
The territory of China lies between 18° and 54° N, and 73° and 135° E. The geographical center of China is marked by the Center of the Country Monument at . China's landscapes vary significantly across its vast territory. In the east, along the shores of the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea, there are extensive and densely populated alluvium, while on the edges of the Inner Mongolian plateau in the north, broad predominate. Southern China is dominated by hills and low mountain ranges, while the central-east hosts the river delta of China's two major rivers, the Yellow River and the Yangtze River. Other major rivers include the Xi River, Mekong, Brahmaputra and Amur River. To the west sit major mountain ranges, most notably the Himalayas. High 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. 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.
A major environmental issue in China is the continued desertification, particularly the Gobi Desert. Although barrier tree lines planted since the 1970s have reduced the frequency of sandstorms, prolonged drought and poor agricultural practices have resulted in Asian dust plaguing northern China each spring, which then spread to other parts of East Asia, including Japan and Korea. China's environmental watchdog, SEPA, stated in 2007 that China is losing per year to desertification. Water quality, erosion, and pollution control have become important issues in China's relations with other countries. Melting glaciers in the Himalayas could potentially lead to for hundreds of millions of people. According to academics, in order to limit climate change in China to electricity generation from coal in China without carbon capture must be phased out by 2045. Official government statistics about Chinese agricultural productivity are considered unreliable, due to exaggeration of production at subsidiary government levels.Chow, Gregory (2006) Are Chinese Official Statistics Reliable? CESifo Economic Studies 52. 396–414. 10.1093/cesifo/ifl003 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.
China is home to at least 551 species of mammals (the third-highest such number in the world), IUCN Initiatives – Mammals – Analysis of Data – Geographic Patterns 2012 . IUCN. Retrieved 24 April 2013. Data does not include species in Taiwan. 1,221 species of birds (eighth), Countries with the most bird species . Mongabay.com. 2004 data. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 424 species of reptiles (seventh) Countries with the most reptile species. Mongabay.com. 2004 data. Retrieved 24 April 2013. and 333 species of amphibians (seventh). IUCN Initiatives – Amphibians – Analysis of Data – Geographic Patterns 2012 . IUCN. Retrieved 24 April 2013. Data does not include species in Taiwan. Wildlife in China shares habitat with, and bears acute pressure from, the world's largest population of humans. At least 840 animal species are threatened, vulnerable or in danger of local extinction in China, due mainly to human activity such as habitat destruction, pollution and poaching for food, fur and ingredients for traditional Chinese medicine. Top 20 countries with most endangered species IUCN Red List . 5 March 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2013. Endangered wildlife is protected by law, and , the country has over 2,349 nature reserves, covering a total area of 149.95 million hectares, 15 percent of China's total land area. 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. The Baiji was confirmed extinct on 12 December 2006.
China has over 32,000 species of vascular plants, Countries with the most vascular plant species . Mongabay.com. 2004 data. Retrieved 24 April 2013. and is home to a variety of forest types. Cold coniferous forests predominate in the north of the country, supporting animal species such as moose and Asian black bear, along with over 120 bird species. The understory of moist conifer forests may contain thickets of bamboo. In higher montane stands of juniper and taxus, the bamboo is replaced by . Subtropical forests, which are predominate in central and southern China, support a high density of plant species including numerous rare endemics. Tropical and seasonal , though confined to Yunnan and Hainan Island, contain a quarter of all the animal and plant species found in China. China has over 10,000 recorded species of fungi,
In recent years, China has clamped down on pollution. In March 2014, CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping "declared war" on pollution during the opening of the National People's Congress. After extensive debate lasting nearly two years, the parliament approved a new environmental law in April. The new law empowers environmental enforcement agencies with great punitive power and large fines for offenders, defines areas which require extra protection, and gives independent environmental groups more ability to operate in the country. In 2020, Chinese Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping announced that China aims to peak emissions before 2030 and go carbon-neutral by 2060 in accordance with the Paris climate accord. According to Climate Action Tracker, if accomplished it 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". In September 2021 Xi Jinping announced that China will not build "coal-fired power projects abroad". The decision can be "pivotal" in reducing emissions. The Belt and Road Initiative did not include financing such projects already in the first half of 2021.
The country also had significant water pollution problems: 8.2% of China's rivers had been polluted by industrial and agricultural waste in 2019. "China's decade plan for water" . The Earth Institute. Columbia University. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2011. China had a 2018 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 7.14/10, ranking it 53rd globally out of 172 countries. In 2020, a sweeping law was passed by the Chinese government to protect the ecology of the Yangtze River. The new laws include strengthening ecological protection rules for hydropower projects along the river, banning chemical plants within 1 kilometer of the river, relocating polluting industries, severely restricting sand mining as well as a complete fishing ban on all the natural waterways of the river, including all its major tributaries and lakes.
China is also the world's leading investor in renewable energy and its commercialization, with $52 billion invested in 2011 alone; it is a major manufacturer of renewable energy technologies and invests heavily in local-scale renewable energy projects. "China's big push for renewable energy". Scientific American. 4 August 2008. Retrieved 24 September 2011. By 2015, over 24% of China's energy was derived from renewable sources, while most notably from hydroelectric power: a total installed capacity of 197 Gigawatt makes China the largest hydroelectric power producer in the world. China also has the largest power capacity of installed solar photovoltaics system and wind power system in the world. 2016 Snapshot of Global Photovoltaic Markets, p.7, International Energy Agency, 2017 Greenhouse gas emissions by China are the world's largest, as is renewable energy in China. Despite its emphasis on renewables, China remains deeply connected to global oil markets. Russia's single largest buyer, China takes in 20% of Russian oil exports, averaging 1.6 million barrels of Petroleum
China has the longest combined land border in the world, measuring and its coastline covers approximately from the mouth of the Yalu River (Amnok River) to the Gulf of Tonkin. China borders 14 nations and extends across much of East Asia, bordering Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar in Southeast Asia; India, Bhutan, Nepal, Afghanistan, and Pakistan in South Asia; Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in Central Asia; and Russia, Mongolia, and North Korea in Inner Asia and Northeast Asia. Additionally, China shares maritime boundaries with South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
Since both the CCP and the People's Liberation Army (PLA) promote according to seniority, it is possible to discern distinct generations of Chinese leadership.The landmark study of military generations and factions is William Whitson's The Chinese High Command, Praeger, 1973 In official discourse, each group of leadership is identified with a distinct extension of the ideology of the party. Historians have studied various periods in the development of the government of the People's Republic of China by reference to these "generations".
|+Generations of Chinese Leadership !Generation !Paramount leader !Start !End !Theory|
|Maoist China||Mao Zedong||1949||1976||Maoism|
|Hua Guofeng||1976||1978||Two Whatevers|
|Dengist China||Deng Xiaoping||1978||1989||Deng Xiaoping Theory|
|Third||Jiang Zemin||1989||2002||Three Represents|
|Fourth||Hu Jintao||2002||2012||Scientific Outlook on Development|
|Fifth||Xi Jinping||2012||Xi Jinping Thought|
In 2017, Xi called on the communist party to further tighten its grip on the country, to uphold the unity of the party leadership, and achieve the "Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation". Political concerns in China include the growing gap between rich and poor and government corruption. Nonetheless, the level of public support for the government and its management of the nation is high, with 80–95% of Chinese citizens expressing satisfaction with the central government, according to a 2011 survey. A 2020 survey from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research also found that 75% of Chinese were satisfied with the government on information dissemination amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, while 67% were satisfied with its delivery of daily necessities.
China considers Taiwan to be its 23rd province, although Taiwan is governed by the Republic of China (ROC), which rejects the PRC's claim. Conversely, the ROC constitution claims sovereignty over all divisions governed by the PRC.
Under its interpretation of the One-China policy, Beijing has made it a precondition to establishing diplomatic relations that the other country acknowledges its claim to Taiwan and severs official ties with the government of the Republic of China. Chinese officials have protested on numerous occasions when foreign countries have made diplomatic overtures to Taiwan, especially in the matter of armament sales.
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. This policy may have led China to support states that are rogue state or repressive by Western nations, such as Zimbabwe, North Korea and Iran. China has a close economic and military relationship with Russia, and the two states often vote in unison in the UN Security Council.
China has had a long and complex trade relationship with the United States. In 2000, the United States Congress approved "permanent normal trade relations" (PNTR) with China, allowing Chinese exports in at the same low tariffs as goods from most other countries. China has a significant trade surplus with the United States, its most important export market. In the early 2010s, US politicians argued that the Chinese yuan was significantly undervalued, giving China an unfair trade advantage.
Since the turn of the century, China has followed a policy of engaging with African nations for trade and bilateral co-operation; in 2019, Sino-African trade totalled $208 billion, having grown 20 times over two decades. According to Madison Condon "China finances more infrastructure projects in Africa than the World Bank and provides billions of dollars in low-interest loans to the continent's emerging economies." China maintains extensive and highly diversified trade links with the European Union. China has furthermore strengthened its trade ties with major South American economies, and is the largest trading partner of Brazil, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, and several others.
China's Belt and Road Initiative 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 here is particularly on building efficient transport routes. The focus is particularly on the maritime Silk Road with its connections to East Africa and Europe and there are Chinese investments or related declarations of intent at numerous ports such as Gwadar, Kuantan, Hambantota, Piraeus and Trieste. However many of these loans made under the Belt and Road program are unsustainable and China has faced a number of calls for debt relief from debtor nations.Harry G. Broadman "Afrika's Silk Road" (2007); Wolf D. Hartmann, Wolfgang Maennig, Run Wang: Chinas neue Seidenstraße. Frankfurt am Main 2017, pp 59; Marcus Hernig: Die Renaissance der Seidenstraße (2018), p 112; Harry de Wilt: Is One Belt, One Road a China crisis for North Sea main ports? in World Cargo News, 17. December 2019; Guido Santevecchi: Di Maio e la Via della Seta: «Faremo i conti nel 2020», siglato accordo su Trieste in Corriere della Sera: 5. November 2019.
A number of foreign governments, foreign press agencies, and have criticized China's human rights record, alleging widespread civil rights violations such as detention without trial, forced abortions, forced confessions, torture, restrictions of fundamental rights, and excessive use of the death penalty. The government suppresses popular protests and demonstrations that it considers a potential threat to "social stability", as was the case with the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.Christian Göbel and Lynette H. Ong, "Social unrest in China." Long Briefing, Europe China Research and Academic Network (ECRAN) (2012) p 18. Chatham House
The Chinese state is regularly accused of large-scale repression and human rights abuses in Tibet and Uyghur genocide, including violent police crackdowns and religious suppression throughout the Chinese nation. At least one million members of China's Muslim Uyghurs minority have been detained in mass detention camps, termed "Vocational Education and Training Centers", aimed at changing the political thinking of detainees, their identities, and their religious beliefs. According to the U.S. Department of State, actions including political indoctrination, torture, Physical abuse and psychological abuse, forced sterilization, sexual abuse, and Unfree labour are common in these facilities. The state has also sought to control offshore reporting of tensions in Xinjiang, intimidating foreign-based reporters by detaining their family members. According to a 2020 report, China's treatment of Uyghurs meets UN definition of genocide, and several groups called for a UN investigation. On 19 January 2021, the United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced that the United States Department of State had determined that "genocide and crimes against humanity" had been perpetrated by China against the Uyghurs.
Global studies from Pew Research Center in 2014 and 2017 ranked the Chinese government's restrictions on religion as among the highest in the world, despite low to moderate rankings for religious-related social hostilities in the country. The Global Slavery Index estimated that in 2016 more than 3.8 million people were living in "conditions of modern slavery", or 0.25% of the population, including victims of human trafficking, forced labor, forced marriage, child labor, and state-imposed forced labor. The state-imposed forced system was formally abolished in 2013, but it is not clear to which extent its various practices have stopped. The Chinese penal system includes labor prison factories, detention centers, and re-education camps, collectively known as laogai ("reform through labor"). The Laogai Research Foundation in the United States estimated that there were over a thousand slave labor prisons and camps in China.
In 2019, a study called for the mass retraction of more than 400 scientific papers on organ transplantation, because of fears the organs were obtained unethically from Chinese prisoners. While the government says 10,000 transplants occur each year, a report by the Falun Gong-linked IETAC alleged that between 60,000 and 100,000 organs are transplanted each year and claimed that this gap was being made up by executed prisoners of conscience.
China had one of the largest economies in the world for most of the Pax Sinica,
China has been the world's No. 1 manufacturer since 2010, after overtaking the US, which had been No. 1 for the previous hundred years. China has also been No. 2 in high-tech manufacturing since 2012, according to US National Science Foundation. China is the second largest retail market in the world, next to the United States. China leads the world in e-commerce, accounting for 40% of the global market share in 2016 and more than 50% of the global market share in 2019. China is the world's leader in electric vehicles, manufacturing and buying half of all the plug-in electric cars (BEV and PHEV) in the world in 2018. China is also the leading producer of batteries for electric vehicles as well as several key raw materials for batteries. China had 174 GW of installed solar capacity by the end of 2018, which amounts to more than 40% of the global solar capacity.
Foreign and some Chinese sources have claimed that official Chinese government statistics overstate China's economic growth. However, several Western academics and institutions have stated that China's economic growth is higher than indicated by official figures.
China has a large informal economy, which arose as a result of the country's economic opening. The informal economy is a source of employment and income for workers, but it is unrecognized and suffers from lower productivity.
However, it ranks behind over 60 countries (out of around 180) in per capita economic output, making it an upper-middle income country. Additionally, its development is highly uneven. Its major cities and coastal areas are far more prosperous compared to rural and interior regions. China brought more people out of extreme poverty than any other country in history—between 1978 and 2018, China reduced extreme poverty by 800 million. China reduced the extreme poverty rate—per international standard, it refers to an income of less than $1.90/day—from 88% in 1981 to 1.85% by 2013. According to the World Bank, the number of Chinese in extreme poverty fell from 756 million to 25 million between 1990 and 2013. The portion of people in China living below the international poverty line of $1.90 per day (2011 PPP) fell to 0.3% in 2018 from 66.3% in 1990. Using the lower-middle income poverty line of $3.20 per day, the portion fell to 2.9% in 2018 from 90.0% in 1990. Using the upper-middle income poverty line of $5.50 per day, the portion fell to 17.0% from 98.3% in 1990.
In the early 2010s, China's economic growth rate began to slow amid domestic credit troubles, weakening international demand for Chinese exports and fragility in the global economy. China's GDP was slightly larger than Germany's in 2007; however, by 2017, China's $12.2 trillion-economy became larger than those of Germany, UK, France and Italy combined. In 2018, the IMF reiterated its forecast that China will overtake the US in terms of nominal GDP by 2030. Economists also expect China's middle class to expand to 600 million people by 2025.
color:blue width:25 bar:US from:start till:20.513 bar:China from:start till:13.457 bar:Japan from:start till:5.071 bar:Germany from:start till:4.029 bar:UK from:start till:2.809
pos:(0,0) text:US$ Tn
|Largest economies by nominal GDP in 2018|
Following the 2007–08 financial crisis, Chinese authorities sought to actively wean off of its dependence on the U.S. dollar as a result of perceived weaknesses of the international monetary system. To achieve those ends, China took a series of actions to further the internationalization of the Renminbi. In 2008, China established dim sum bond market and expanded the Cross-Border Trade RMB Settlement Pilot Project, which helps establish pools of offshore RMB liquidity."RMB Settlement", Kasikorn Research Center, Bangkok, 8 February 2011 This was followed with bilateral agreements to settle trades directly in renminbi with Russia, Japan, Australia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and Canada. As a result of the rapid internationalization of the renminbi, it became the eighth-most-traded currency in the world, an emerging international reserve currency, and a component of the IMF's special drawing rights; however, partly due to capital controls that make the renminbi fall short of being a fully convertible currency, it remains far behind the Euro, Dollar and Japanese Yen in international trade volumes.
After repeated military defeats by the European colonial powers and Japan in the 19th century, Chinese reformers began promoting modern science and technology as part of the Self-Strengthening Movement. After the Communists came to power in 1949, efforts were made to organize science and technology based on the model of the Soviet Union, in which scientific research was part of central planning.
China is developing its education system with an emphasis on STEM fields; in 2009, China graduated over 10,000 PhD engineers, and as many as 500,000 BSc graduates, more than any other country. China also became the world's largest publisher of scientific papers in 2016. Chinese technology companies such as Huawei and Lenovo have become world leaders in telecommunications and personal computing, and Chinese are consistently ranked among the world's most powerful. China has been the world's largest market for industrial robots since 2013 and will account for 45% of newly installed robots from 2019 to 2021.
The Chinese space program is one of the world's most active. In 1970, China launched its first satellite, Dong Fang Hong I, becoming the fifth country to do so independently. In 2003, China became the third country to independently send humans into space, with Yang Liwei's spaceflight aboard Shenzhou 5; , thirteen Chinese nationals have journeyed into space, including two women. In 2011, China's first space station module, Tiangong-1, was launched, marking the first step in a project to assemble a large crewed station by the early 2020s. In 2013, China successfully landed the Chang'e 3 lander and Yutu rover onto the lunar surface. In 2016, the first quantum science satellite was launched in partnership with Austria dedicated to testing the fundamentals of quantum communication in space. In 2019, China became the first country to land a probe—Chang'e 4—on the Far side of the Moon. In 2020, the first experimental 6G test satellite was launched and Chang'e 5 successfully returned moon samples to the Earth, making China the third country to do so independently after the United States and the Soviet Union. In 2021, China became the second nation in history to independently land a rover (Zhurong) on Mars, joining the United States.
China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, are the three large providers of mobile and internet in China. China Telecom alone served more than 145 million broadband subscribers and 300 million mobile users; China Unicom had about 300 million subscribers; and China Mobile, the biggest of them all, had 925 million users, as of 2018. Combined, the three operators had over 3.4 million 4G base-stations in China. Several Chinese telecommunications companies, most notably Huawei and ZTE, have been accused of spying for the Chinese military.
China has developed its own satellite navigation system, dubbed Beidou, which began offering commercial navigation services across Asia in 2012 as well as global services by the end of 2018. Upon the completion of the 35th Beidou satellite, which was launched into orbit on 23 June 2020, Beidou followed GPS and GLONASS as the third completed global navigation satellite in the world.
China's high-speed rail (HSR) system started construction in the early 2000s. By the end of 2020, high speed rail in China had reached of dedicated lines alone, making it the longest HSR network in the world. Services on the Beijing–Shanghai, Beijing–Tianjin, and Chengdu–Chongqing Lines reach up to , making them the fastest conventional high speed railway services in the world. With an annual ridership of over 2.29 billion passengers in 2019 it is the world's busiest. The network includes the Beijing–Guangzhou–Shenzhen High-Speed Railway, the single longest HSR line in the world, and the Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Railway, which has three of longest railroad bridges in the world. The Shanghai Maglev Train, which reaches , is the fastest commercial train service in the world. "Top ten fastest trains in the world" railway-technology.com 29 August 2013 Since 2000, the growth of rapid transit systems in Chinese cities has accelerated. , 44 Chinese cities have urban mass transit systems in operation and 39 more have metro systems approved. As of 2020, China boasts the five longest metro systems in the world with the networks in Shanghai Metro, Beijing Subway, Guangzhou Metro, Chengdu Metro and Shenzhen Metro being the largest.
There were approximately 229 airports in 2017, with around 240 planned by 2020. China has over 2,000 river and seaports, about 130 of which are open to foreign shipping. In 2017, the Ports of Shanghai, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Ningbo-Zhoushan, Guangzhou, Qingdao and Tianjin ranked in the Top 10 in the world in container traffic and cargo tonnage. "Top 50 World Container Ports" World Shipping Council Accessed 2 June 2014
On 13 April 2022, a new freight railway route for freight trains from the city of Xi'an was launched, it will pass through Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and reach the German city of Mannheim. The length of the route is 11.3 thousand km.
Given concerns about population growth, China implemented a two-child limit during the 1970s, and, in 1979, began to advocate for an even stricter limit of one child per family. Beginning in the mid-1980s, however, given the unpopularity of the strict limits, China began to allow some major exemptions, particularly in rural areas, resulting in what was actually a "1.5"-child policy from the mid-1980s to 2015 (ethnic minorities were also exempt from one child limits). The next major loosening of the policy was enacted in December 2013, allowing families to have two children if one parent is an only child. In 2016, the one-child policy was replaced in favor of a two-child policy. According to data from the 2020 census, China's total fertility rate is 1.3, but some experts believe that after adjusting for the transient effects of the relaxation of restrictions, the country's actual total fertility rate is as low as 1.1.
According to one group of scholars, one-child limits had little effect on population growth or the size of the total population. However, these scholars have been challenged. Their own counterfactual model of fertility decline without such restrictions implies that China averted more than 500 million births between 1970 and 2015, a number which may reach one billion by 2060 given all the lost descendants of births averted during the era of fertility restrictions, with one-child restrictions accounting for the great bulk of that reduction.
The policy, along with traditional preference for boys, may have contributed to an imbalance in the sex ratio at birth. According to the 2010 census, the sex ratio at birth was 118.06 boys for every 100 girls, "Chinese mainland gender ratios most balanced since 1950s: census data". Xinhua News Agency. 28 April 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2011. which is beyond the normal range of around 105 boys for every 100 girls. The 2010 census found that males accounted for 51.27 percent of the total population. However, China's sex ratio is more balanced than it was in 1953, when males accounted for 51.82 percent of the total population.
Standard Mandarin, a variety of Mandarin based on the Beijing dialect, is the official national language of China and is used as a lingua franca in the country between people of different linguistic backgrounds.
Chinese characters have been used as the writing system for the Sinitic languages for thousands of years. They allow speakers of mutually unintelligible Chinese varieties to communicate with each other through writing. In 1956, the government introduced simplified characters, which have supplanted the older traditional characters in mainland China. Chinese characters are Romanization using the Pinyin. Tibetan uses an Tibetan alphabet based on an Brahmic scripts. Uyghur is most commonly written in Persian alphabet-based Uyghur Arabic alphabet. The Mongolian script and the Manchu alphabet are both derived from the Old Uyghur alphabet. Zhuang languages uses both an official Standard Zhuang and a traditional Sawndip.
China has over 160 cities with a population of over one million, including the 19 Megacity (cities with a population of over 10 million) of Chongqing, Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Harbin, Shijiazhuang, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Xi'an, Zhengzhou, Baoding, Linyi, Changsha, Dongguan and Qingdao. Shanghai is China's most populous urban area
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. In February 2006, the government pledged to provide completely free nine-year education, including textbooks and fees. "China pledges free 9-year education in rural west". China Economic Net. 21 February 2006. Retrieved 18 February 2013. Annual education investment went from less than US$50 billion in 2003 to more than US$817 billion in 2020. However, there remains an inequality in education spending. In 2010, the annual education expenditure per secondary school student in Beijing totalled ¥20,023, while in Guizhou, one of the poorest provinces in China, only totalled ¥3,204. Free compulsory education in China consists of primary school and junior secondary school between the ages of 6 and 15. In 2020, the graduation enrollment ratio at compulsory education level reached 95.2 percent, exceeding average levels recorded in high-income countries, and around 91.2% of Chinese have received secondary education.
China's literacy rate has grown dramatically, from only 20% in 1949 and 65.5% in 1979.
China had over 3,000 universities, with over 40 million students enrolled in mainland China. As of 2021, China had the world's second-highest number of top universities. Currently, China trails only the United States in terms of representation on lists of top 200 universities according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). China is home to the two best universities (Tsinghua University and Peking University) in the whole Asia-Oceania region and emerging countries according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Both are members of the C9 League, an alliance of elite Chinese universities offering comprehensive and leading education.
After Deng Xiaoping began instituting economic reforms in 1978, the health of the Chinese public improved rapidly because of better nutrition, although many of the free public health services provided in the countryside disappeared along with the People's Communes. Healthcare in China became mostly privatized, and experienced a significant rise in quality. In 2009, the government began a 3-year large-scale healthcare provision initiative worth US$124 billion. By 2011, the campaign resulted in 95% of China's population having basic health insurance coverage. In 2011, China was estimated to be the world's third-largest supplier of pharmaceuticals, but its population has suffered from the development and distribution of counterfeit medications.
, the average life expectancy at birth in China is 76 years, and the infant mortality rate is 7 per thousand. Both have improved significantly since the 1950s. Rates of Stunted growth, a condition caused by malnutrition, have declined from 33.1% in 1990 to 9.9% in 2010. Despite significant improvements in health and the construction of advanced medical facilities, China has several emerging public health problems, such as respiratory illnesses caused by widespread air pollution, hundreds of millions of tobacco smoking, and an increase in obesity among urban youths. "Serving the people?". 1999. Bruce Kennedy. CNN. Retrieved 17 April 2006. "Obesity Sickening China's Young Hearts". 4 August 2000. People's Daily. Retrieved 17 April 2006. China's large population and densely populated cities have led to serious disease outbreaks in recent years, such as the 2003 outbreak of SARS, although this has since been largely contained. "China's latest SARS outbreak has been contained, but biosafety concerns remain". 18 May 2004. World Health Organization. Retrieved 17 April 2006. In 2010, air pollution caused 1.2 million premature deaths in China.
The COVID-19 pandemic was first identified in Wuhan in December 2019. Further studies are being carried out around the world on a possible origin for the virus. The Chinese government has been criticized for its handling of the epidemic and accused of concealing the extent of the outbreak before it became an international pandemic.
Over the millennia, Chinese civilization has been influenced by various religious movements. The "three teachings", including Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism (Chinese Buddhism), historically have a significant role in shaping Chinese culture,
Clear data on religious affiliation in China is difficult to gather due to varying definitions of "religion" and the unorganized, diffusive nature of Chinese religious traditions. Scholars note that in China there is no clear boundary between three teachings religions and local folk religious practice. A 2015 poll conducted by Gallup International found that 61% of Chinese people self-identified as "convinced atheist", though it is worthwhile to note that Chinese religions or some of their strands are definable as nontheism and humanistic religions, since they do not believe that divine creativity is completely transcendent, but it is inherent in the world and in particular in the human being. According to a 2014 study, approximately 74% are either non-religious or practice Chinese folk belief, 16% are Buddhists, 2% are Christians, 1% are Muslims, and 8% adhere to other religions including Taoists and folk salvationism.China Family Panel Studies 2014 survey. See release #1 ( archived) and release #2 ( archived). The tables also contain the results of CFPS 2012 and Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) results for 2006, 2008 and 2010. In addition to Han people's local religious practices, there are also various ethnic minority groups in China who maintain their traditional autochthone religions. The various folk religions today comprise 2–3% of the population, while Confucianism as a religious self-identification is common within the intellectual class. Significant faiths specifically connected to certain ethnic groups include Tibetan Buddhism and the Islamic religion of the Hui people, Uyghur people, Kazakh, Kyrgyz and other peoples in Northwest China. The 2010 population census reported the total number of Muslims in the country as 23.14 million.
A 2021 poll from Ipsos and the Policy Institute at King's College London found that 35% of Chinese people said there was tension between different religious groups, which was the second lowest percentage of the 28 countries surveyed.
The first leaders of the People's Republic of China were born into the traditional imperial order but were influenced by the May Fourth Movement and reformist ideals. They sought to change some traditional aspects of Chinese culture, such as rural land tenure, sexism, and the Confucian system of education, while preserving others, such as the family structure and culture of obedience to the state. Some observers see the period following the establishment of the PRC in 1949 as a continuation of traditional Chinese dynastic history, while others claim that the Communist Party's rule has damaged the foundations of Chinese culture, especially through political movements such as the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, where many aspects of traditional culture were destroyed, having been denounced as "regressive and harmful" or "vestiges of feudalism". Many important aspects of traditional Chinese morals and culture, such as Confucianism, art, literature, and performing arts like Peking opera, were altered to conform to government policies and propaganda at the time. Access to foreign media remains heavily restricted.
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, and folk and variety art in particular have sparked interest nationally and even worldwide. A poll in October 2020 of respondents in Spain, Slovakia, Latvia, Serbia, and Russia found that majorities in those countries considered China to be "culturally attractive".
In the wake of the New Culture Movement after the end of the Qing dynasty, Chinese literature embarked on a new era with written vernacular Chinese for ordinary citizens. Hu Shih and Lu Xun were pioneers in modern literature. Various literary genres, such as misty poetry, scar literature, young adult fiction and the xungen movement, which is influenced by magic realism, emerged following the Cultural Revolution. Mo Yan, a xungen literature author, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012.
Physical fitness is widely emphasized in Chinese culture, with morning exercises such as qigong and t'ai chi ch'uan widely practiced, and commercial and private fitness clubs are gaining popularity across the country. Basketball is currently the most popular spectator sport in China. The Chinese Basketball Association and the American National Basketball Association have a huge following among the people, with native or ethnic Chinese players such as Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian held in high esteem. China's professional football league, now known as Chinese Super League, was established in 1994, it is the largest football market in Asia. Other popular sports in the country include martial arts, table tennis, badminton, swimming and snooker. such as go (known as wéiqí in Chinese), xiangqi, mahjong, and more recently chess, are also played at a professional level. "Chinese players dominate at Malaysia open chess championship". Toronto Star. 2 September 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2011. In addition, China is home to a huge number of cycling, with an estimated 470 million bicycles . Many more traditional sports, such as dragon boat racing, Mongolian-style wrestling and horse racing are also popular.Qinfa, Ye. "Sports History of China". About.Com. Retrieved 21 April 2006.
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 gold medals of any participating nation that year. China also won the most medals of any nation at the 2012 Summer Paralympics, with 231 overall, including 95 gold medals. In 2011, Shenzhen in Guangdong, China hosted the 2011 Summer Universiade. China hosted the 2013 East Asian Games in Tianjin and the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics in Nanjing; the first country to host both regular and Youth Olympics. Beijing and its nearby city Zhangjiakou of Hebei province collaboratively hosted the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, making Beijing the first dual olympic city in the world by holding both the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics.