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People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
Official area of the People's Republic of China shown in dark red; area claimed but disputed shown in light red.
Modern Standard Mandarin|
91.51% Han; 55 recognised minorities|
|Legislature||National People's Congress|
• Unification of China under the Qin Dynasty
|1 January 1912|
|1 October 1949|
|9,640,821 km2 (3,722,342 sq mi)[b] or 9,671,018 km²[b] (3rd/4th)|
• Water (%)
• 2010 census
|139.6/km2 (361.6/sq mi) (83rd)|
The People's Republic of China (PRC) (simplified Chinese: 中华人民共和国; traditional Chinese: 中華人民共和國) is a one-party state in East Asia governed by the Communist Party of China. It was founded on October 1, 1949. It has over 1.3 billion people, which is more than any other country in the world. It covers an area of 9.6 million square kilometers.
The capital city is Beijing, and Shanghai is the city with the most people living in it. United Kingdom gave Hong Kong back to China in 1997 and Portugal gave Macao back to China in 1999. These two cities remain highly autonomous. The central government is responsible for defense and foreign affairs but not the daily operations for 50 years. PRC claims Taiwan as one of its many provinces. However, PRC does not have control of Taiwan which has an entirely different political system and officially known as the Republic of China (Taiwan).
- See also: History of China
In 1912, the Qing Dynasty was overthrown by the Kuomintang, a nationalist party, and the Republic of China established. Over time, Marxist ideas grew popular and the Communist party was formed. In 1927, the Chinese Civil War began as the Kuomintang, led by Chiang Kai-shek, and the Communists fought one another. By 1949, the Red Army of the Chinese Communist Party had gained control over mainland China and Mao Zedong announced the creation of the People's Republic of China. Chiang Kai-shek and the other nationalists fled to Taiwan.
As the leader of the People's Republic of China, Mao began many social and economic reform projects with mixed results. The Great Leap Forward, from 1958 to 1961, tried to industrialize China and increase its food production, but resulted in one of the largest famines in history. It is estimated that 45 million people died as a result of this reform project. In 1966, Mao began the Cultural Revolution to remove capitalist influences from society and government. Major government officials and ordinary citizens were accused of being "revisionists" - people who disagreed with some parts of Marxism - or "counter-revolutionaries" and were persecuted. Many universities and schools were closed, and historical and religious sites were destroyed. Although the program officially ended in 1969, it continued until Mao's death in 1976.
During this time period, the People's Republic of China did not get along with the capitalist countries of the Western world. Beginning in the 1960s, relationships between the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union also became increasingly unfriendly in the Sino-Soviet Split. In 1972, to counter the power of the Soviet Union, Mao and Zhou Enlai met with US President Richard Nixon in Beijing. This began to improve relationships between China and the Western world.
After Mao's death, there was a power struggle between the Gang of Four and Hua Guofeng, the man Mao had chosen to be the next leader of China. Eventually, Deng Xiaoping, one of the veterans of the revolution, took power. He began a "Reform and Opening Up" (simplified Chinese: 改革开放; traditional Chinese: 改革開放) campaign. These reforms tried to make the People's Republic of China a modern, industrial - but still socialist - nation by moving towards a market system. Deng's policies would be known as "socialism with Chinese characteristics."
Although Deng's policy helped loosen restrictions on citizens, the People's Republic of China continues to have problems with the amount of control the government has over citizens' private lives. In 1979, the one-child policy, which limits most couples to one child, was created because of the overpopulation problem in the People's Republic of China. This policy is highly controversial and many Westerners have criticized it. News and Internet sites are also censored by the government.
In 1989, the Chinese government used soldiers and tanks to stop a protest in Beijing's Tiananmen Square organized by students seeking political reform. This action received worldwide criticism and led to economic sanctions being placed on the Chinese government.
The People's Republic of China is the third-largest country in the world by land area after Russia and Canada. China borders 14 nations. It borders Vietnam, Laos, and Burma in Southeast Asia; India, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan in South Asia; Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in Central Asia; a small section of Russian Altai and Mongolia in Inner Asia; and the Russian Far East and North Korea in Northeast Asia.
China is one of 17 megadiverse countries. It is in two of the world's major ecozones: the Palearctic and the Indomalaya. In the Palearctic zone, mammals such as the horse, camel, tapir, and jerboa can be found. Among the species in the Indomalaya region are the Leopard Cat, bamboo rat, treeshrew, and various monkey and ape species. Some overlap is between the two regions; deer, antelope, bears, wolves, pigs, and many rodent species can all be found in China's environments. The famous giant panda is found only in a limited area along the Yangtze River. China has a continuing problem with trade in endangered species. There are now laws to stop such activities.
China also has a variety of forest types. Cold coniferous forests cover most of the north of the country. The forest have animal species such as moose and the Asian black bear, along with over 120 bird species. Moist conifer forests can have thickets of bamboo. It is replaced by rhododendrons in higher montane stands of juniper and yew. Subtropical forests, which are mostly in central and southern China. These support as many as 146,000 species of flora. Tropical and seasonal rainforests, though confined to Yunnan and Hainan Island, have a quarter of all the plant and animal species found in China.
The PRC Armed Forces is one of the most powerful Army in the world. Nowadays PRC is among the atomic powers in the world. It also has the largest army in the world.
People and Culture
There are 56 recognized minority ethnic minority groups in China. Han is the largest ethnic group in China (92% of the population). The Communist Party of China controls the government. Mandarin Chinese is the main spoken language.
Ways of getting around
Trains are commonly used for moving from one place to another, mainly for long distances. Bullet trains are faster and more common in the cities. China has more high-speed trains than any other country in the world. Buses and air transport are also very common.
- Chan, Kam Wing (2007). "Misconceptions and Complexities in the Study of China's Cities: Definitions, Statistics, and Implications". Eurasian Geography and Economics 48 (4): 383–412. . http://courses.washington.edu/chinageo/ChanCityDefinitionsEGE2007.pdf. Retrieved 2011-08-07. p. 395
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- Akbar, Arifa (17 September 2010). "Mao's Great Leap Forward 'killed 45 million in four years'". The Independent (London). http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/maos-great-leap-forward-killed-45-million-in-four-years-2081630.html. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
- China's border with Pakistan falls in the disputed Kashmir province. The area under Pakistani-administration is claimed by India.
- "Biodiversity Theme Report". Environment.gov.au. 10 December 2009. http://www.environment.gov.au/soe/2001/publications/theme-reports/biodiversity/biodiversity01-3.html. Retrieved 27 April 2010.