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Introduction

Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg

China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, 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 earliest civilizations, in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. For millennia, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies, or dynasties, beginning with the semi-legendary 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, which ruled from 206 BC until 220 AD, 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 (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 Horn of Africa. Dynastic rule ended in 1912 with the Xinhai Revolution, when a republic replaced the Qing dynasty. The Chinese Civil War resulted in a division of territory in 1949, when the Communist Party of China established the People's Republic of China, a unitary one-party sovereign state on Mainland China, while the Kuomintang-led government retreated to the island of Taiwan. The political status of Taiwan remains disputed.

Selected general articles

Did you know...

  • ... that Heroes of Remix is the first variety show in China to feature electronic dance music (EDM)?
  • ... that according to historian An Zuozhang, the governing principle of the Western Han dynasty of ancient China was "doing nothing against nature"?
  • ... that the Cup of Solid Gold, China's first national anthem, was never performed publicly?
  • ... that Otto Franke, the pre-eminent German sinologist of his time, died "practically from hunger and exhaustion" before he could complete his history of China?
  • ... that weaver ants were being used to control citrus pests in China as early as 304 A.D.?
  • ... that China can also be found outside China?

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In the news

23 March 2019 – China–Italy relations
Italy signs $2.8 billion in deals with the Belt and Road Initiative. (Reuters)
22 March 2019 – North Korea–United States relations, China–United States relations
U.S. President Donald Trump removes sanctions targeting North Korea that were imposed Thursday by the Treasury Department on two Chinese companies. (Fox News)
22 March 2019 –
The Inter-American Development Bank, Latin America’s largest development lender, cancels its scheduled annual 48-country meeting next week following China's refusal to allow a representative of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó to attend what would have been the first IADB meeting held in China. (Reuters)
22 March 2019 – Zaoyang car attack
A man is shot dead in the city of Zaoyang, China, after ramming his vehicle into a crowd of pedestrians, killing at least six and injuring seven others. (MSN)
21 March 2019 – 2019 Yancheng chemical plant explosion
A fire and explosion at a chemical plant that makes fertilizer in Yancheng, Jiangsu province, China, kills 47 people and injures 640 others. (BBC)
21 March 2019 – North Korea–United States relations, China–United States relations
The United States sanctions two Chinese shipping companies suspected of helping North Korea evade sanctions. These are the first actions targeting Pyongyang since last month's Hanoi Summit ended without agreement. (Time)

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