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China i/tan/ (Chinese: /; pinyin: Zhngguo/Zhnghua; see also Names oI

China officially the People's Republic of China (PRC is the most populous country in the
world with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia the country covers approximately
9.6 million square kilometres (3.7 million square miles. t is the world's second-largest country
by land area and the third- or Iourth-largest in total area depending on the definition of
total area.
The People's Republic of China is a single-party state governed by the Communist Party oI
China (CPC. The PRC exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces five autonomous regions
four directly controlled municipalities (Beijing Tianjin Shanghai and Chongqing and
two mostly self-governing special administrative regions (SARs Hong Kong and Macau.
ts capital city is Beijing. The PRC also claims the island of Taiwan controlled by the
government of the Republic oI China (ROC as its 23rd province a claim controversial due to
the complex political status oI Taiwan and the unresolved Chinese Civil War.
China's landscape is vast and diverse with Iorest steppes and the Gobi and Taklamakan
deserts occupying the arid north and northwest near Mongolia and Central Asia and
subtropical forests being prevalent in the wetter south near Southeast Asia. The terrain of
western China is rugged and elevated with the towering Himalaya Karakorum Pamir and
Tian Shan mountain separating China from South and Central Asia. The world's apex Mt.
Everest (8848 m and second-highest point K2 (8611 m lie on China's borders
respectively with Nepal and Pakistan. The country's lowest and the world's third-lowest
point Lake Ayding (-154 m is located in the Turpan Depression. The Yangtze and Yellow
Rivers the third- and sixth-longest in the world have their sources in the Tibetan Plateau
and continue to the densely populated eastern seaboard. China's coastline along the PaciIic
Ocean is 14500 kilometres (9000 mi long (the 11th-longest in the world and is bounded
by the Bohai Yellow East and South China Seas.
The ancient Chinese civilizationone of the world's earliestflourished in the fertile basin of
the Yellow River in the North China Plain. China's political system was based on hereditary
monarchies known as dynasties beginning with the semi-mythological Xia of the Yellow
River basin (approx. 2000 BCE and ending with the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1912. Since
the Qin Dynasty first conquered several states to form China in 221 BCE the country has
fractured and been reformed numerous times. The Republic oI China (ROC founded in 1912
after the overthrow of the Qing ruled the Chinese mainland until 1949. n the 19461949
phase of the Chinese Civil War the Chinese Communists defeated the Chinese Nationalists
(Kuomintang on the mainland and established the People's Republic of China in Beijing on 1
October 1949. The Kuomintang relocated the ROC government to Taiwan with its capital
in Taipei. The ROC's jurisdiction is now limited to Taiwan Penghu Kinmen Matsu and
several outlying islands. Since then the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China
(subsequently became known as "Taiwan" have remained in dispute over the sovereignty of
China and the political status oI Taiwan mutually claiming each other's territory and
competing for international diplomatic recognition. n 1971 the PRC gained admission
to United Nations and took the Chinese seat as a permanent member of the U.N. Security
Council. The PRC is also a member of numerous formal and informal multilateral
organizations including the WTO APEC BRICS the Shanghai Cooperation
Organisation and the G-20. As of September 2011 all but 23 countries have recognized the
PRC as the sole legitimate government oI China.

Since the introduction of market-based economic reIorms in 1978 China has become the
world's Iastest-growing major economy and the world's largest exporter and second-
largest importer of goods. it is the world's second-largest economy after the United States by
both nominal GDP and purchasing power parity (PPP). On per capita terms however
China ranked only 90th by nominal GDP and 91st by GDP (PPP) in 2011 according to
the IMF. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing
army with the second-largest deIense budget. n 2003 China became the third nation in the
world after the Soviet Union and the United States to independently launch a successIul
manned space mission. China has been characterized as a potential superpower by a
number of academics military analysts and public policy and economics analysts.
religion
n mainland China the government allows a degree of religious freedom to members of state-
approved religious organizations. An accurate number of religious adherents is hard to obtain
because of a lack of official data but there is general consensus that religion has been enjoying
a resurgence over the past 20 years .A survey by Phil Zuckerman on Adherents.com found
that in 1998 59% (over 700 million of the population was irreligious. A later survey conducted
in 2007 found that there are 300 million believers in China constituting 23% of the population
as distinct from an official figure of 100 million.
Despite the surveys' varying results most agree that China's traditional religionsBuddhism
Taoism and Chinese Iolk religionsare the dominant faiths. According to a number of
sources Buddhism in China accounts for between 660 million (~50% and over 1 billion
(~80% while Taoists number 400 million (~30%. However because of the fact that one person
may subscribe to two or more of these traditional beliefs simultaneously and the difficulty in
clearly differentiating Buddhism Taoism and Chinese folk religions the number of adherents to
these religions can be overlaid. n addition subscribing to Buddhism and Taoism is not
necessarily considered religious by those who follow the philosophies in principle but stop short
of believing in any kind of deity or divinity.
Most Chinese Buddhists are merely nominal adherents because only a small proportion of the
population (around 8% or 100 million may have taken the formal step of going Ior
reIuge. Even then it is still difficult to estimate accurately the number of Buddhists because
they do not have congregational memberships and often do not participate in public
ceremonies. Mahayana (Dacheng and its subsets Pure Land (Amidism Tiantai and
Chan (better known in the west by its Japanese pronunciation Zen are the most widely
practiced denominations of Buddhism. Other forms such as Theravada and Tibetan are
practiced largely by ethnic minorities along the geographic fringes of the Chinese mainland.
Christianity was Iirst introduced to China during the Tang Dynasty with the arrival
of Nestorian Christianity in 635 CE. This was followed by Franciscan missionaries in the
13th century Jesuits in the 16th century and finally Protestants in the 19th century. Of China's
minority religions Christianity is one of the fastest-growing. The total number of Christians is
difficult to determine as many belong to unauthorized house churches but estimates of their
number have ranged from 40 million (3% of the total population|310||328| to 54 million
(4% to as many as 130 million (10%.Official government statistics put the number of Christians
at 16 million but these count only members of officially sanctioned church bodies. China is
believed to now have the world's second-largest evangelical Christian populationbehind
only the United Statesand if current growth rates continue China will become a global center
of evangelical Christianity in coming decades.
Islam in China dates to a mission in 651 only 18 years after Muhammad's death. Muslims
came to China for trade becoming prominent in the trading ports of the Song Dynasty. They
became influential in government circles including Zheng He Lan
Yu and Yeheidie'erding. Nanjing became an important center of slamic study. Statistics are
hard to find and most estimates give a figure of between 20 and 30 million Muslims (1.5% to
2% of the population.
China also plays host to numerous minority religions including Hinduism Dongbaism Bn
and a number of more modern religions and sects (particularly Xiantianism. n July 1999
the Falun Gong spiritual practice was officially banned by the authorities and many
international organizations have criticized the government's treatment oI Falun Gong that
has occurred since then. There are no reliable estimates of the number of Falun Gong
practitioners in China although informal estimates have given figures as high as 70 million.
culture
Since ancient times Chinese culture has been heavily influenced by various versions of
onIucianism and conservatism. For centuries opportunities for social advancement could be
provided by high performance in the prestigious Imperial examinations which were instituted
in 605 AD to help the Emperor select skilful bureaucrats. The literary emphasis of the exams
affected the general perception of cultural refinement in China such as the belief
that calligraphy and literati painting were higher forms of art than dancing or drama.
A number of more authoritarian and rational strains of thought were also influential
with Legalism being a prominent example. There was often conflict between the philosophies -
the individualistic Song Dynasty neo-ConIucians believed Legalism departed from the original
spirit of Confucianism. Examinations and a culture oI merit remain greatly valued in China
today. n recent years a number of New ConIucians have advocated that modern democratic
ideals and human rights are compatible with traditional Confucian values.
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 Ieudalism'. Many important aspects of traditional Chinese morals and culture such
as ConIucianism Chinese art literature and performing arts like Peking opera were altered
to conform to government policies and propaganda at the time. 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. Prior to the beginning of maritime Sino-European trade in the 16th
century medieval China and the European West were linked by the Silk Road which was a
key route of cultural as well as economic exchange. Artifacts from the history of the Road as
well as from the natural history of the Gobi desert are displayed in the Silk Route
Museum in Jiuquan.
cuisine
Chinese cuisine is highly diverse drawing on several millennia of culinary history. The dynastic
emperors of ancient China were known to host banquets with over 100 dishes served at a
time employing countless imperial kitchen staff and concubines to prepare the food.
Over time many royal dishes became part of everday Chinese culture. Numerous foreign
offshoots of Chinese food such as Hong Kong cuisine and American Chinese Iood have
emerged in the various nations which play host to the Chinese diaspora.
sports
China has one of the oldest sporting cultures in the world. There is evidence that a form
of association Iootball was played in China around 1000 AD. Besides football some of the
most popular sports in the country include martial arts table tennis badminton
swimming basketball and snooker. Board games such as Go (Weiqi Xiangqi and more
recently chess are also played at a professional level.
Physical Iitness is widely emphasized in Chinese culture. Morning exercises are a common
activity with elderly citizens encouraged to practice qigong and t'ai chi ch'uan. Young people
in China are also keen on basketball especially in urban centers with limited space and grass
areas. The American National Basketball Association has a huge following among Chinese
youths with Chinese players such as Yao Ming being held in high esteem.
Many more traditional sports are also played in China. Dragon boat racing occurs during the
annual nationwide Dragon Boat Festival and has since gained popularity abroad. n Inner
Mongolia sports such as Mongolian-style wrestling and horse racing are popular.
n Tibet archery and equestrianism are a part of traditional festivals.
China has participated at the Olympic Games since 1932 although it has only participated
as the PRC since 1952. China hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and
received the highest number oI gold medals of any participating nation that year. China will
host the2013 East Asian Games in Tianjin and the 2014 Youth Olympic
Games in Nanjing.













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