China (Chinese: 中国; pinyin: Zhōngguó), officially the People’s Republic of China (PRC; Chinese: 中华人民共和国; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó), 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 9.6 million square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), 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 most populous city and financial center 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 two millennia 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 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 (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 losses 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 division of Chinese territory; the CCP established the People’s Republic of China on the mainland while the Kuomintang-led ROC government retreated to the island of Taiwan.[k] Both claim to be the sole legitimate government of China, although the United Nations has recognized the PRC as the sole representation since 1971. From 1959–1961, the PRC implemented an economic and social campaign called the Great Leap Forward that resulted in an estimated 15 to 55 million deaths, mostly through starvation. China conducted a series of economic reforms since 1978, and entered into the World Trade Organization in 2001.
China is currently governed as a unitary one-party socialist 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. China is considered to be a potential superpower due to its large markets, growing military strength, economic potential, and influence in international affairs. (Wikipedia)