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China (/ˈnə/ (About this soundlisten); Chinese: 中国; pinyin: Zhōngguó), officially the People's Republic of China, is a sovereign state located in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population of over 1.35 billion. The PRC is a single-party state governed by the Communist Party, with its seat of government in the capital city of Beijing. It exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), and two mostly self-governing special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macau). The PRC also claims Taiwan – which is controlled by the Republic of China (ROC), a separate political entity – as its 23rd province, a claim controversial due to the complex political status of Taiwan and the unresolved Chinese Civil War.

Covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometres, China is the world's second-largest country by land area, but only the third or fourth-largest by total area, depending on the method of measurement. China's landscape is vast and diverse, ranging from forest steppes and the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts in the arid north to subtropical forests in the wetter south. The Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamir and Tian Shan mountain ranges separate China from South and Central Asia. The Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, the third- and sixth-longest in the world, run from the Tibetan Plateau to the densely populated eastern seaboard. China's coastline along the Pacific Ocean is 14,500 kilometres (9,000 mi) long, and is bounded by the Bohai, Yellow, East and South China Seas.

The ancient Chinese civilization – one of the world's earliest – flourished in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. For millennia, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies, known as dynasties, beginning with the semi-mythological Xia of the Yellow River basin (c. 2000 BCE). Since 221 BCE, when the Qin dynasty first conquered several states to form a Chinese empire, the country has expanded, fractured and been reformed numerous times. The Republic of China (ROC) overthrew the last dynasty in 1911, and ruled the Chinese mainland until 1949. After the defeat of the Empire of Japan in World War II, the Communist Party defeated the nationalist Kuomintang in mainland China and established the People's Republic of China in Beijing on 1 October 1949, while the Kuomintang relocated the ROC government to its present de facto temporary capital of Taipei. To date, the ROC and PRC claim to be the legitimate government of all of China

Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China has become one of the world's fastest-growing major economies. As of 2013, it is the world's second-largest economy by both nominal total GDP and purchasing power parity (PPP), and is also the world's largest exporter and importer of goods. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army, with the second-largest defense budget. The PRC has been a United Nations member since 1971, when it replaced the ROC as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. China is also a member of numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, including the WTO, APEC, BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the BCIM and the G20. China is a regional power within Asia and has been characterized as a potential superpower by a number of commentators.

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In Chinese, classifiers are words that must be used whenever a noun is modified by a number or a demonstrative such as "this" and "that". There are as many as 150 different classifiers, and many nouns are associated with certain ones—for example, flat objects such as tables use the classifier zhāng, whereas long objects such as lines use tiáo. How exactly these classifier–noun associations are formed has been a subject of debate, with some linguists proposing that they are based on innate semantic features (e.g., all nouns with "long" features use a certain classifier), and others suggesting that they are motivated by analogy to prototypical pairings (e.g., dictionaries and textbooks use whatever the more general noun "book" uses). There is also, however, a "general classifier", , which can be used in place of the specific classifiers; in informal speech, this one is used far more than any other. Furthermore, speakers often choose to use only a bare noun, dropping both the classifier and the number or demonstrative preceding it; therefore, some linguists believe that classifiers are used more for pragmatic reasons, such as foregrounding new information, rather than for strict grammatical reasons.

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Longhua Temple
Credit: Rolf Müller

The inner courtyard of Longhua Temple, in the center of Shanghai.

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Jiangsu cuisine (pinyin: Sū cài), also known as Su cuisine, is one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of Chinese cuisine. It is derived from the native cooking styles of Jiangsu Province. In general, Jiangsu cuisine's texture is characterised as soft, but not to the point of mushy or falling apart. In addition, Jiangsu cuisine also focuses on heating temperature. For example, the meat tastes quite soft but would not separate from the bone when picked up. As the style of Jiangsu cuisine is typically practised near the sea, fish is a very common ingredient in cooking. Other characteristics include the strict selection of ingredients according to the seasons, with emphasis on the matching colour and shape of each dish and using soup to improve flavour. Read more...

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Selected biography

Girl Playing a Jade Flute by Xue Susu

Xue Susu (c.1564–1650? C.E.) was a Chinese courtesan. Known as one of the "Eight Great Courtesans of the Ming Dynasty", she was an accomplished painter and poet, and was noted for her skill at mounted archery. She was particularly noted for her figure paintings, which included many Buddhist subjects. Her works are held in a number of museums both in China and elsewhere. Her archery was commented upon by a number of contemporary writers, as were her masculine, martial tendencies; these were regarded as an attractive feature by the literati of the period. She lived in Eastern China, residing for most of her life in the Zhejiang and Jiangsu districts. After a career as a celebrated courtesan in Nanjing, Xue married several times, but none of these unions lasted. During her later life, she eventually opted for the life of a Buddhist recluse.

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China's Politics

Emblem of the Communist Party of China
Xi Jinping

The General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, officially General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, is head of the Communist Party of China and the highest-ranking official within China, a standing member of the Politburo and head of the Secretariat. The officeholder is usually considered the paramount leader of China.

According to the Constitution, the General Secretary serves as an ex officio member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China's de facto top decision-making body. Since the early 1990s, the holder of the post has been, except for transitional periods, the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, making the holder the Commander-in-chief of the People's Liberation Army.

The current General Secretary is Xi Jinping (picture), who took the office at the 18th National Congress on 15 November 2012.

National Emblem of the Republic of China
Tsai Ing-wen

The President of the Republic of China is the head of state of the Republic of China (ROC).

The Constitution names the president as head of state and commander-in-chief of the Republic of China Armed Forces (formerly known as the National Revolutionary Army). The president is responsible for conducting foreign relations, such as concluding treaties, declaring war, and making peace. The president must promulgate all laws and has no right to veto. Other powers of the president include granting amnesty, pardon or clemency, declaring martial law, and conferring honors and decorations.

The current President is Tsai Ing-wen (picture), since May 20, 2016. The first woman to be elected to the office, Tsai is the seventh president of the Republic of China under the 1947 Constitution and the second president from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

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粵語 / 广东话 (Cantonese)           古文 / 文言文 (Classical Chinese)           赣语 (Gan)           Hak-kâ-fa (Hakka)           قازاق تىلى (Kazakh)           中文 / 普通话 (Mandarin) (Now unable to access in China Mainland because of the GFW)           闽东语 (Min Dong)           闽南语 (Min-nan)           བོད་ཡིག (Tibetan)           ئۇيغۇرچە (Uyghur)           吴语 (Wu)           Sawcuengh (Zhuang)

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