Chine

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les gens de la République de Chine
  • 中华人民共和国 ( chinois )
  • Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó ( Pinyin )
Hymne :  义勇军进行曲
Yìyǒngjūn Jìnxíngqǔ
 Marche des volontaires »)
Land controlled by the People's Republic of China shown in dark green; land claimed but uncontrolled shown in light green.
Terre contrôlée par la République populaire de Chine indiquée en vert foncé ; terres revendiquées mais non contrôlées indiquées en vert clair.
CapitalePékin
39°55′N 116°23′E / 39.917°N 116.383°E / 39.917; 116.383
Ville la plus grandeShanghaï
Langues officiellesChinois standard [a]
Langues régionales reconnues
Scénario officielChinois simplifié [b]
Groupes ethniques
(2020) [1]
Religion
(2020) [2]
Démonyme(s)Chinois
GouvernementUnitaire marxiste-léniniste [3] république socialiste à parti unique [4]
Xi Jinping
•  Premier
Li Keqiang
Li Zhanshu
Wang Yang
Corps législatifCongrès National du Peuple
Formation
c.  2070 AEC
221 avant notre ère
1er janvier 1912
1er octobre 1949
20 septembre 1954
4 décembre 1982
20 décembre 1999
Zone
• Le total
9 596 961 km 2 ( 3 705 407 milles carrés) [f] [7] ( 3e/4e )
• L'eau (%)
2,8 [g]
Population
• Recensement 2020
Increase1 411 778 724 [9] ( 1er )
• Densité
145 [10] /km 2 (375,5/sq mi) ( 83e )
PIB  ( PPA )Estimation 2021
• Le total
Increase26,66 billions de dollars [11] ( 1er )
• Par habitant
Increase18 931 $ [11] ( 100e )
PIB  (nominal)Estimation 2021
• Le total
Increase16,64 billions de dollars [11] ( 2e )
• Par habitant
Increase11 819 $ [11] ( 56e )
Gini  (2018)Negative increase 46,7 [12]
haut
IDH  (2019)Increase 0,761 [13]
haut  ·  85e
MonnaieRenminbi (元/¥) [h] ( CNY )
Fuseau horaireUTC +8 ( heure standard de Chine )
Format de date
Côté conduiteà droite ( continentale ) ;
Indicatif d'appel+86 ( Continent );
Code ISO 3166CN
TLD Internet

La Chine ( chinois :中国; pinyin : Zhōngguó ; lit. 'État central ; Empire du Milieu'), officiellement la République populaire de Chine ( chinois :中华人民共和国; pinyin : Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó ; abbr : RPC ), est un pays de l' Est Asie . C'est le pays le plus peuplé du monde , avec une population de plus de 1,4 milliard d'habitants. La Chine suit un seul décalage horaire standard UTC+08:00 même s'il s'étend sur cinq fuseaux horaires géographiqueset borde 14 pays différents, le deuxième plus grand pays du monde après la Russie . Couvrant une superficie d'environ 9,6 millions de kilomètres carrés (3,7 millions de mi 2 ), c'est le troisième ou le quatrième plus grand pays du monde . [i] Le pays est officiellement divisé en 23 provinces , [j] cinq régions autonomes , quatre municipalités sous contrôle direct ; Pékin ( capitale ), Chongqing , Shanghai (la plus grande ville ) et Tianjin, et deux régions administratives spéciales ; Hong Kong et Macao .

La Chine a émergé comme l'une des premières civilisations du monde dans le bassin fertile du fleuve Jaune dans la plaine de Chine du Nord . La Chine a été l'une des principales puissances économiques du monde pendant la majeure partie des deux millénaires du 1er au 19ème siècle. Pendant des millénaires, le système politique chinois était basé sur des monarchies héréditaires absolues, ou dynasties , à commencer par la dynastie semi-légendaire Xia au 21e siècle avant notre ère . Depuis lors, la Chine s'est agrandie, fracturée et réunifiée à de nombreuses reprises. Au 3ème siècle avant notre ère, les Qin ont réuni le cœur de la Chine et ont établi le premier empire chinois. La dynastie Han suivante (206 BCE-220 CE) a vu certaines des technologies les plus avancées à cette époque, y compris la fabrication du papier et la boussole , ainsi que des améliorations agricoles et médicales. L'invention de la poudre à canon et des caractères mobiles sous la dynastie Tang (618-907) et la dynastie Song du Nord (960-1127) acheva les quatre grandes inventions . La culture Tang s'est largement répandue en Asie, la nouvelle Route de la soie amenant les commerçants jusqu'en Mésopotamie et dans la Corne de l'Afrique . L' empire Qing, la dernière dynastie chinoise, qui formait la base territoriale de la Chine moderne, a subi de lourdes pertes face à l'impérialisme étranger. La monarchie chinoise s'effondre en 1912 avec la Révolution de 1911 , lorsque la République de Chine (ROC) remplace la dynastie Qing . La Chine a été envahie par l' Empire du Japon pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale . La guerre civile chinoise a entraîné une division du territoire en 1949 lorsque le Parti communiste chinois (PCC) dirigé par Mao Zedong a établi la République populaire de Chine sur la Chine continentaletandis que le gouvernement de la République de Chine dirigé par le Kuomintang s'est retiré sur l'île de Taiwan . [k] La RPC et la ROC prétendent actuellement être le seul gouvernement légitime de la Chine, ce qui a entraîné un différend en cours même après que les Nations Unies ont reconnu la RPC comme le gouvernement pour représenter la Chine à toutes les conférences des Nations Unies en 1971. La Chine est actuellement gouvernée en tant que république socialiste unitaire à parti unique par le PCC.

La Chine est un membre permanent du Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies et membre fondateur de plusieurs organisations de coopération multilatérales et régionales telles que la Banque d'infrastructure asiatique d' investissement , le Fonds Route de la Soie , la Banque nouveau développement , l' Organisation de coopération de Shanghai , et économique global régional Partenariat , et est membre des BRICS , du G8+5 , du G20 , de l' APEC et du Sommet de l'Asie de l'Est . Il se classe parmi les plus bas dans les mesures internationales delibertés civiles , transparence du gouvernement , liberté de la presse , liberté de religion et minorités ethniques . Les autorités chinoises ont été critiquées par des dissidents politiques et des militants des droits de l'homme pour des violations généralisées des droits de l'homme , notamment la répression politique , la censure de masse , la surveillance de masse de leurs citoyens et la répression violente des manifestations.

Après des réformes économiques en 1978 et son entrée dans l' Organisation mondiale du commerce en 2001, l'économie chinoise est devenue le deuxième pays en termes de PIB nominal en 2010 et est devenue la plus importante au monde en PPP en 2014. La Chine est le pays à la croissance la plus rapide au monde. grande économie, la deuxième nation la plus riche du monde et le plus grand fabricant et exportateur du monde . La nation a du monde la plus grande armée debout -les Armée de libération populaire -le deuxième budget de la défense , et est reconnu unÉtat doté d'armes nucléaires . En raison de sa puissance militaire et de sa grande économie, la Chine a été caractérisée comme une superpuissance potentielle , et parfois comme une superpuissance émergente, une caractérisation sujette à un large débat. [19] [20] [21] [22] [23]

Étymologie

Chine
China (Chinese characters).svg
"Chine" en caractères chinois simplifié (en haut) et traditionnel (en bas)
Chinois simplifié??
Chinois traditionnel??
Hanyu PinyinZhōngguó
Signification littérale« Empire du Milieu » ou « Royaume du Centre »
La Chine (aujourd'hui Guangdong ), Mangi (intérieur de Xanton ) et Cataio (intérieur de Chine et Chequan , et comprenant la capitale Cambalu , Xandu , et un pont de marbre ) sont tous présentés comme des régions distinctes sur cette carte de 1570 par Abraham Ortelius

Le mot « Chine » est utilisé en anglais depuis le XVIe siècle ; cependant, ce n'était pas un mot utilisé par les Chinois eux-mêmes pendant cette période. Son origine a été retracée à travers le portugais , le malais et le persan jusqu'au mot sanskrit Chīna , utilisé dans l'Inde ancienne . [24] "Chine" apparaît dans la traduction de 1555 de Richard Eden [l] du journal de 1516 de l' explorateur portugais Duarte Barbosa . [m] [24] L'usage de Barbosa était dérivé du persan Chīn ( چین ), qui était à son tour dérivé de Sanskrit Cīna ( चीन ). [29] Cīna a été utilisé pour la première fois dans les premières écritures hindoues , y compris le Mahābhārata (5ème siècle avant notre ère) et les Lois de Manu (2ème siècle avant notre ère). [30] En 1655, Martino Martini a suggéré que le mot Chine est dérivé finalement du nom de la dynastie Qin (221-206 BCE). [31] [30] Bien que l'usage dans les sources indiennes précède cette dynastie, cette dérivation est toujours donnée dans diverses sources. [32] L'origine du mot sanskrit est un sujet de débat, selon l' Oxford English Dictionary .[24] Les suggestions alternatives incluent les noms pour Yelang et l'état Jing ou Chu. [30] [33] Le nom officiel de l'État moderne est la "République populaire de Chine" ( chinois simplifié :中华人民共和国; chinois traditionnel :中華人民共和國; pinyin : Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó ). La forme plus courte est « Chine » Zhōngguó (中国;中國) de zhōng (« central ») et guó (« État »), [n] un terme qui s'est développé sous les Zhou occidentauxdynastie en référence à son domaine royal . [o] Il a ensuite été appliqué à la zone autour de Luoyi (aujourd'hui Luoyang) pendant les Zhou de l' Est , puis à la plaine centrale de la Chine avant d'être utilisé comme synonyme occasionnel de l'État sous les Qing . [35] Il a été souvent utilisé comme un concept culturel pour distinguer le peuple Huaxia des « barbares » perçus . [35] Le nom Zhongguo est également traduit par "Empire du Milieu" en anglais. [37] La Chine (RPC) est parfois appelée la partie continentalepour distinguer le ROC du PRC. [38] [39] [40] [41]

Histoire

Préhistoire

Poterie vieille de 10 000 ans, culture de la grotte de Xianren (18000-7000 avant notre ère)

Des preuves archéologiques suggèrent que les premiers hominidés ont habité la Chine il y a 2,25 millions d'années. [42] Les fossiles d'hominidés de l'Homme de Pékin , un Homo erectus qui utilisait le feu , [43] ont été découverts dans une grotte à Zhoukoudian près de Pékin ; ils ont été datés entre 680 000 et 780 000 ans . [44] Les dents fossilisées d' Homo sapiens (datées d' il y a 125 000 à 80 000 ans ) ont été découvertes dans la grotte de Fuyan dans le comté de Dao , Hunan . [45] Chinoisla proto-écriture existait à Jiahu vers 7000 avant notre ère, [46] à Damaidi vers 6000 avant notre ère, [47] Dadiwan de 5800 à 5400 avant notre ère, et Banpo datant du 5ème millénaire avant notre ère. Certains chercheurs ont suggéré que les symboles Jiahu (7e millénaire avant notre ère) constituaient le premier système d'écriture chinois. [46]

Premier règne dynastique

Yinxu , les ruines de la capitale de la fin de la dynastie Shang (XIVe siècle avant notre ère)

Selon la tradition chinoise, la première dynastie était les Xia , qui ont émergé vers 2100 avant notre ère. [48] La dynastie Xia a marqué le début du système politique chinois basé sur des monarchies héréditaires, ou dynasties , qui ont duré un millénaire. [49] La dynastie était considérée comme mythique par les historiens jusqu'à ce que des fouilles scientifiques aient trouvé des sites de l' âge du bronze à Erlitou , dans le Henan en 1959. [50] Il reste difficile de savoir si ces sites sont les vestiges de la dynastie Xia ou d'une autre culture de la même période. [51] La dynastie Shang qui succèdeest la plus ancienne confirmée par les archives contemporaines. [52] Les Shang ont régné sur la plaine du fleuve Jaune dans l'est de la Chine du 17e au 11e siècle avant notre ère. [53] Leur script d'os d'oracle (à partir d' environ  1500 avant notre ère) [54] [55] représente la plus ancienne forme d'écriture chinoise encore trouvée [56] et est un ancêtre direct des caractères chinois modernes . [57]

Les Shang ont été conquis par les Zhou , qui ont régné entre le XIe et le Ve siècle avant notre ère, bien que l'autorité centralisée ait été lentement érodée par les seigneurs de guerre féodaux. Certaines principautés ont finalement émergé des Zhou affaiblis, n'ont plus entièrement obéi au roi Zhou et se sont continuellement fait la guerre au cours de la période des printemps et automnes de 300 ans . À l'époque de la période des Royaumes combattants du 5e au 3e siècle avant notre ère, il ne restait plus que sept États puissants. [58]

Chine impériale

Le premier empereur de Chine, Qin Shi Huang , est célèbre pour avoir uni les murs des États en guerre pour former la Grande Muraille de Chine . La plupart de la structure actuelle, cependant, date de la dynastie Ming .

La période des Royaumes combattants s'est terminée en 221 avant notre ère après que l' État de Qin ait conquis les six autres royaumes, réuni la Chine et établi l'ordre dominant de l' autocratie . Le roi Zheng de Qin s'est proclamé premier empereur de la dynastie Qin . Il a promulgué les réformes légalistes de Qin dans toute la Chine, notamment la normalisation forcée des caractères chinois , des mesures , des largeurs de route (c'est-à-dire de la longueur des essieux des chariots) et de la monnaie . Sa dynastie a également conquis les tribus Yue du Guangxi , du Guangdong et du Vietnam.. [59] La dynastie Qin n'a duré que quinze ans, tombant peu de temps après la mort du Premier Empereur, alors que ses politiques autoritaires sévères menaient à une rébellion généralisée. [60] [61]

Après une guerre civile généralisée au cours de laquelle la bibliothèque impériale à Xianyang a été brûlé , [p] la dynastie des Han a émergé sur la Chine entre 206 BCE et CE 220, la création d' une identité culturelle parmi sa population se souvient encore dans l'ethnonyme du Han chinois . [60] [61] Les Han ont considérablement élargi le territoire de l'empire , avec des campagnes militaires atteignant l'Asie centrale, la Mongolie , la Corée du Sud et le Yunnan , et la récupération du Guangdong et du nord du Vietnam de Nanyue . Implication des Han en Asie centrale etSogdia a aidé à établir la route terrestre de la route de la soie , remplaçant le chemin précédent de l' Himalaya vers l'Inde. La Chine Han est progressivement devenue la plus grande économie du monde antique. [63] Malgré la décentralisation initiale des Han et l'abandon officiel de la philosophie Qin du légalisme en faveur du confucianisme , les institutions et politiques légalistes de Qin ont continué à être employées par le gouvernement Han et ses successeurs. [64]

Carte montrant l'expansion de la dynastie Han au IIe siècle av.

Après la fin de la dynastie Han , une période de conflits connue sous le nom de Trois Royaumes a suivi, [65] dont les figures centrales ont été immortalisées plus tard dans l' un des quatre classiques de la littérature chinoise . À sa fin, Wei est rapidement renversé par la dynastie Jin . Les Jin sont tombés dans la guerre civile lors de l'ascension d'un empereur handicapé du développement ; les Cinq Barbares ont alors envahi et gouverné le nord de la Chine en tant que Seize États . Les Xianbei les ont unifiés en tant que Wei du Nord, dont l' empereur Xiaowen a renversé la politique d'apartheid de ses prédécesseurs et a imposé une sinification drastique à ses sujets , les intégrant largement dans la culture chinoise. Au sud, le général Liu Yu obtint l'abdication des Jin en faveur des Liu Song . Les divers successeurs de ces États sont devenus connus sous le nom de dynasties du Nord et du Sud , les deux régions étant finalement réunies par les Sui en 581. Les Sui ont restauré les Han au pouvoir à travers la Chine, réformé son agriculture, son économie et son système d' examen impérial , construit le Grand Canal , et le bouddhisme patronné. Cependant, ils sont tombés rapidement lorsque leur conscription pour les travaux publics et une guerre ratée en Corée du Nord ont provoqué des troubles généralisés. [66] [67]

Sous les dynasties Tang et Song qui suivirent, l'économie, la technologie et la culture chinoises entrèrent dans un âge d'or. [68] L'empire Tang a conservé le contrôle des régions occidentales et de la route de la soie, [69] qui a amené les commerçants jusqu'en Mésopotamie et la Corne de l'Afrique , [70] et a fait de la capitale Chang'an un centre urbain cosmopolite. Cependant, il a été dévasté et affaibli par la rébellion d'An Lushan au 8ème siècle. [71] En 907, les Tang se sont complètement désintégrés lorsque les gouverneurs militaires locaux sont devenus ingouvernables. La dynastie Song a mis fin à lasituation séparatiste en 960, conduisant à un rapport de force entre les Song et les Khitan Liao . Les Song ont été le premier gouvernement de l'histoire du monde à émettre du papier-monnaie et le premier régime chinois à établir une marine permanente permanente qui était soutenue par l'industrie de la construction navale développée ainsi que par le commerce maritime. [72]

Un détail de Le long de la rivière pendant le festival Qingming , une peinture du XIIe siècle montrant la vie quotidienne dans la capitale de la dynastie Song , Bianjing (aujourd'hui Kaifeng )

Entre le Xe et le XIe siècle, la population de la Chine a doublé pour atteindre environ 100 millions de personnes, principalement en raison de l'expansion de la riziculture dans le centre et le sud de la Chine et de la production d'abondants excédents alimentaires. La dynastie Song a également vu un renouveau du confucianisme , en réponse à la croissance du bouddhisme pendant les Tang, [73] et un épanouissement de la philosophie et des arts, alors que l' art du paysage et la porcelaine étaient portés à de nouveaux niveaux de maturité et de complexité. [74] [75] Cependant, la faiblesse militaire de l'armée Song a été observée par la dynastie Jurchen Jin . En 1127, l' empereur Huizong de Song et la capitaleLes Bianjing ont été capturés pendant les guerres Jin-Song . Les restes des Song se sont retirés dans le sud de la Chine . [76]

Le 13ème siècle a apporté la conquête mongole de la Chine . En 1271, le chef mongol Kublai Khan établit la dynastie Yuan ; les Yuan conquirent le dernier vestige de la dynastie Song en 1279. Avant l'invasion mongole, la population de la Chine Song était de 120 millions de citoyens ; cela a été réduit à 60 millions au moment du recensement en 1300. [77] Un paysan nommé Zhu Yuanzhang a renversé les Yuan en 1368 et a fondé la dynastie Ming en tant qu'empereur Hongwu. Sous la dynastie Ming, la Chine a connu un autre âge d'or, développant l'une des marines les plus puissantes du monde et une économie riche et prospère au milieu d'un art et d'une culture florissants. C'est durant cette période que l'amiral Zheng He mena les voyages du trésor des Ming à travers l' océan Indien , atteignant l'Afrique de l'Est . [78]

La conquête Qing des Ming et l'expansion de l'empire

Dans les premières années de la dynastie Ming, la capitale chinoise a été déplacée de Nanjing à Pékin. Avec l'émergence du capitalisme, des philosophes tels que Wang Yangming ont encore critiqué et élargi le néo-confucianisme avec des concepts d' individualisme et d'égalité des quatre professions . [79] La strate universitaire-officielle est devenue une force de soutien de l'industrie et du commerce dans les mouvements de boycott fiscal, qui, avec les famines et la défense contre les invasions japonaises de la Corée (1592-1598) et les invasions mandchoues ont conduit à un trésor épuisé. [80]

En 1644, Pékin est capturé par une coalition de forces rebelles paysannes dirigée par Li Zicheng . L' empereur Chongzhen s'est suicidé lors de la chute de la ville. La dynastie mandchoue Qing , alors alliée au général de la dynastie Ming Wu Sangui , renversa l'éphémère dynastie Shun de Li et prit par la suite le contrôle de Pékin, qui devint la nouvelle capitale de la dynastie Qing. [ citation nécessaire ]

Impérial tardif

Une représentation du XIXe siècle de la rébellion des Taiping (1850-1864)

La dynastie Qing , qui dura de 1644 à 1912, fut la dernière dynastie impériale de Chine. Sa conquête des Ming (1618-1683) a coûté 25 millions de vies et l' économie de la Chine a considérablement diminué . [81] Après la fin des Ming du Sud , la poursuite de la conquête du Dzungar Khanate a ajouté la Mongolie, le Tibet et le Xinjiang à l'empire. [82] L'autocratie centralisée a été renforcée pour réprimer le sentiment anti-Qing avec la politique de valorisation de l'agriculture et de restriction du commerce, le Haijin ("interdiction de la mer") et le contrôle idéologique représenté par l' inquisition littéraire., provoquant une stagnation sociale et technologique. [83] [84] Au milieu du XIXe siècle, la dynastie a connu l'impérialisme occidental dans les guerres de l' opium avec la Grande-Bretagne et la France . La Chine a été forcée de payer une compensation, d'ouvrir des ports de traité, d'autoriser l' extraterritorialité pour les ressortissants étrangers et de céder Hong Kong aux Britanniques [85] en vertu du traité de Nankin de 1842 , le premier des traités inégaux . La première guerre sino-japonaise (1894-1895) a entraîné la perte d'influence de la Chine Qing dans la péninsule coréenne , ainsi que la cession de Taïwan au Japon . [86]

L' Alliance des huit nations a envahi la Chine pour vaincre les boxeurs anti-étrangers et leurs partisans Qing. L'image montre une cérémonie de célébration à l'intérieur du palais impérial chinois, la Cité interdite, après la signature du protocole des Boxers en 1901.

La dynastie Qing a également commencé à connaître des troubles internes au cours desquels des dizaines de millions de personnes sont mortes, en particulier lors de la rébellion du lotus blanc , de l'échec de la rébellion des Taiping qui a ravagé le sud de la Chine dans les années 1850 et 1860 et de la révolte de Dungan (1862-1877) dans le nord-ouest. Le succès initial du Mouvement d' auto-renforcement des années 1860 a été contrecarré par une série de défaites militaires dans les années 1880 et 1890. [ citation nécessaire ]

Au 19ème siècle, la grande diaspora chinoise a commencé. Aux pertes dues à l'émigration s'ajoutent des conflits et des catastrophes telles que la famine chinoise du Nord de 1876-1879 , au cours de laquelle entre 9 et 13 millions de personnes sont mortes. [87] L' empereur Guangxu a rédigé un plan de réforme en 1898 pour établir une monarchie constitutionnelle moderne , mais ces plans ont été contrecarrés par l' impératrice douairière Cixi . La malheureuse rébellion des Boxers anti-étrangers de 1899-1901 a encore affaibli la dynastie. Bien que Cixi ait parrainé un programme de réformes, la révolution Xinhai de 1911-1912 a mis fin à la dynastie Qing et a établi laRépublique de Chine . [88] Puyi , le dernier empereur de Chine, abdique en 1912. [89]

République (1912-1949)

Sun Yat-sen , le père fondateur de la République de Chine , la première république d'Asie.

Le 1er janvier 1912, la République de Chine est établie et Sun Yat-sen du Kuomintang (le KMT ou Parti nationaliste) est proclamé président provisoire. [90] Le 12 février 1912, la régente impératrice douairière Longyu a scellé le décret d'abdication impérial au nom de Puyi , 4 ans , le dernier empereur de Chine, mettant fin à 5 000 ans de monarchie en Chine . [91] En mars 1912, la présidence est confiée à Yuan Shikai , un ancien général Qing qui, en 1915, se proclame empereur de Chine . Face à la condamnation populaire et à l'opposition de sa propre armée de Beiyang, il fut contraint d'abdiquer et de rétablir la république en 1916. [92]

Après la mort de Yuan Shikai en 1916, la Chine était politiquement fragmentée. Son gouvernement basé à Pékin était internationalement reconnu mais pratiquement impuissant ; les seigneurs de la guerre régionaux contrôlaient la majeure partie de son territoire. [93] [94] À la fin des années 1920, le Kuomintang, sous Tchang Kaï-chek , alors directeur de l' Académie militaire de la République de Chine , a pu réunifier le pays sous son propre contrôle grâce à une série de manœuvres militaires et politiques habiles. , connu collectivement comme l' expédition du Nord . [95] [96] Le Kuomintang a déplacé la capitale nationale à Nanjinget mis en œuvre la « tutelle politique », une étape intermédiaire du développement politique décrite dans le programme San-min de Sun Yat-sen pour transformer la Chine en un État démocratique moderne. [97] [98] La division politique en Chine a rendu difficile pour Chiang de combattre l' Armée populaire de libération (APL) communiste , contre laquelle le Kuomintang était en guerre depuis 1927 dans la guerre civile chinoise . Cette guerre s'est poursuivie avec succès pour le Kuomintang, en particulier après le retrait de l'APL lors de la Longue Marche , jusqu'à ce que l'agression japonaise et l' incident de Xi'an de 1936 forcent Chiang à affronter le Japon impérial . [99]

Chiang Kai-shek et Mao Zedong trinquant ensemble en 1945 après la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale

La seconde guerre sino-japonaise (1937-1945), théâtre de la Seconde Guerre mondiale , força une alliance difficile entre le Kuomintang et l'APL. Les forces japonaises ont commis de nombreuses atrocités de guerre contre la population civile ; en tout, pas moins de 20 millions de civils chinois sont morts. [100] On estime que 40 000 à 300 000 Chinois ont été massacrés dans la seule ville de Nanjing pendant l'occupation japonaise. [101] Pendant la guerre, la Chine, ainsi que le Royaume-Uni, les États-Unis et l' Union soviétique , étaient appelés « tutelle des puissants » [102] et étaient reconnus comme les « Big Four » alliés dans leDéclaration des Nations Unies . [103] [104] Avec les trois autres grandes puissances, la Chine était l'un des quatre principaux Alliés de la Seconde Guerre mondiale et a été plus tard considérée comme l'un des principaux vainqueurs de la guerre. [105] [106] Après la capitulation du Japon en 1945, Taïwan, y compris les Pescadores , est revenu sous contrôle chinois . La Chine est sortie victorieuse mais ravagée par la guerre et épuisée financièrement. La méfiance persistante entre le Kuomintang et les communistes a conduit à la reprise de la guerre civile. La règle constitutionnelle a été établie en 1947, mais en raison des troubles en cours, de nombreuses dispositions de la constitution ROCn'ont jamais été mis en œuvre en Chine continentale. [107]

République populaire (1949-présent)

Mao Zedong proclamant la création de la RPC en 1949.

Les combats majeurs de la guerre civile chinoise ont pris fin en 1949 avec le PCC contrôlant la majeure partie de la Chine continentale et le Kuomintang se retirant au large de Taiwan , réduisant son territoire à seulement Taiwan , Hainan et leurs îles environnantes. Le 1er octobre 1949, le président du PCC Mao Zedong a officiellement proclamé l'établissement de la République populaire de Chine lors de la cérémonie de fondation de la nouvelle nation et du défilé militaire inaugural sur la place Tiananmen , à Pékin. [108] [109] En 1950, l'Armée populaire de libération a capturé Hainan de la ROC [110] etincorporé le Tibet . [111] Cependant, les forces restantes du Kuomintang ont continué à mener une insurrection dans l'ouest de la Chine tout au long des années 1950. [112]

Deng Xiaoping avec le président américain Jimmy Carter en 1979

Le gouvernement a consolidé sa popularité parmi les paysans grâce à une réforme agraire, qui comprenait l' exécution de 1 à 2 millions de propriétaires terriens . [113] La Chine a développé un système industriel indépendant et ses propres armes nucléaires . [114] La population chinoise est passée de 550 millions en 1950 à 900 millions en 1974. [115] Cependant, le Grand Bond en avant , un projet de réforme massive et idéaliste, a entraîné environ 15 à 35 millions de décès entre 1958 et 1961, principalement dus à famine. [116] [117] En 1966, Mao et ses alliés lancent la Révolution culturelle, déclenchant une décennie de récriminations politiques et de bouleversements sociaux qui ont duré jusqu'à la mort de Mao en 1976. En octobre 1971, la RPC a remplacé la République aux Nations Unies et a pris son siège en tant que membre permanent du Conseil de sécurité. [118]

Après la mort de Mao, la Bande des Quatre fut rapidement arrêtée par Hua Guofeng et tenue pour responsable des excès de la Révolution culturelle. Elder Deng Xiaoping a pris le pouvoir en 1978 et a institué d'importantes réformes économiques . Le Parti a relâché le contrôle gouvernemental sur la vie personnelle des citoyens et les communes ont été progressivement dissoutes en faveur du travail sous contrat avec les ménages. Cela a marqué la transition de la Chine d'une économie planifiée à une économie mixte avec un environnement de marché de plus en plus ouvert . [119] La Chine a adopté sa constitution actuelle le 4 décembre 1982. En 1989, la suppression deles manifestations étudiantes sur la place Tiananmen ont entraîné des condamnations et des sanctions contre le gouvernement chinois de divers pays étrangers. [120]

Sceau du gouvernement populaire de la République populaire de Chine , le sceau national de l'État utilisé entre 1949 et 1959

Jiang Zemin , Li Peng et Zhu Rongji ont dirigé la nation dans les années 1990. Sous leur administration, les performances économiques de la Chine ont tiré une estimation de [ par qui ? ] 150 millions de paysans sont sortis de la pauvreté et ont maintenu un taux de croissance annuel moyen du produit intérieur brut de 11,2 %. [121] [ meilleure source nécessaire ] Le pays a rejoint l' Organisation mondiale du commerce en 2001, et a maintenu son taux élevé de croissance économique sous la direction de Hu Jintao et Wen Jiabao dans les années 2000. Cependant, la croissance a également gravement affecté les ressources et l'environnement du pays, [122] [123]et causé d' importants déplacements sociaux . [124] [125]

Le secrétaire général du Parti communiste chinois Xi Jinping est au pouvoir depuis 2012 et a poursuivi des efforts à grande échelle pour réformer l'économie chinoise [126] [127] (qui a souffert d'instabilités structurelles et d'un ralentissement de la croissance), [128] [129] [130] et a également réformé la politique de l'enfant unique et le système pénal , [131] ainsi que la mise en place d'une vaste répression anti-corruption . [132] En 2013, la Chine a lancé la Belt and Road Initiative , un projet mondial d'investissement dans les infrastructures. [133]

Le 1er juillet 2021, la République populaire de Chine a célébré le 100e anniversaire de la création du PCC (premier des deux centenaires ) avec un grand rassemblement sur la place Tiananmen et une performance artistique culturelle au stade national de Pékin à Pékin . [134]

Géographie

Image satellite de la Chine de la NASA WorldWind
Carte de classification climatique de Köppen-Geiger pour la Chine continentale. [135]

Le paysage de la Chine est vaste et diversifié, allant des déserts de Gobi et de Taklamakan dans le nord aride aux forêts subtropicales du sud plus humide. Les chaînes de montagnes de l' Himalaya , du Karakoram , du Pamir et du Tian Shan séparent la Chine d'une grande partie de l'Asie du Sud et de l'Asie centrale . Les fleuves Yangtze et Jaune , respectivement les troisième et sixième plus longs du monde, vont du plateau tibétain à la côte est densément peuplée. Le littoral chinois le long de l' océan Pacifiquefait 14 500 km (9 000 mi) de long et est délimité par les mers de Bohai , Jaune , de Chine orientale et de Chine méridionale . La Chine se connecte par la frontière kazakhe à la steppe eurasienne qui a été une artère de communication entre l'Est et l'Ouest depuis le Néolithique à travers la route des steppes - l'ancêtre de la ou des Routes de la Soie terrestres . [ citation nécessaire ]

Paysage et climat

Le territoire de la Chine se situe entre les latitudes 18° et 54° N , et les longitudes 73° et 135° E . Le centre géographique de la Chine est marqué par le monument du centre du pays à 35°50′40.9″N 103°27′7.5″E . Les paysages de la Chine varient considérablement sur son vaste territoire. A l'est, le long des rives de la mer Jaune et de la mer de Chine orientale , se trouvent de vastes plaines alluviales densément peuplées , tandis que sur les bords du plateau de Mongolie intérieure au nord, de larges prairies  / 35.844694°N 103.452083°E / 35.844694; 103.452083 (Geographical center of China)prédominer. Le sud de la Chine est dominé par des collines et des chaînes de montagnes basses, tandis que le centre-est abrite les deltas des deux principaux fleuves chinois, le fleuve Jaune et le fleuve Yangtze . Les autres grands fleuves sont le Xi , le Mékong , le Brahmapoutre et l' Amour . À l'ouest se trouvent les principales chaînes de montagnes, notamment l'Himalaya. Les hauts plateaux figurent parmi les paysages les plus arides du nord, comme le Taklamakan et le désert de Gobi . Le point culminant du monde, le mont Everest (8 848 m), se situe à la frontière sino-népalaise. [136]Le point le plus bas du pays, et le troisième au monde, est le lit du lac asséché du lac Ayding (−154 m) dans la dépression de Turpan . [137]

Le climat de la Chine est principalement dominé par les saisons sèches et les moussons humides , qui entraînent des écarts de température prononcés entre l'hiver et l'été. En hiver, les vents du nord venant des régions de haute latitude sont froids et secs ; en été, les vents du sud provenant des zones côtières des basses latitudes sont chauds et humides. [138]

Un problème environnemental majeur en Chine est l' expansion continue de ses déserts , en particulier le désert de Gobi. [139] [140] Bien que les barrières forestières plantées depuis les années 1970 aient réduit la fréquence des tempêtes de sable , une sécheresse prolongée et de mauvaises pratiques agricoles ont entraîné des tempêtes de poussière qui sévit dans le nord de la Chine chaque printemps, qui se sont ensuite propagées à d'autres parties de l'Asie de l'Est, y compris le Japon et la Corée. L'organisme de surveillance environnemental de la Chine, SEPA , a déclaré en 2007 que la Chine perdait 4 000 km 2 (1 500 milles carrés) par an à cause de la désertification. [141] Qualité de l'eau, érosion et contrôle de la pollutionsont devenus des questions importantes dans les relations de la Chine avec d'autres pays. La fonte des glaciers dans l'Himalaya pourrait potentiellement entraîner des pénuries d'eau pour des centaines de millions de personnes. [142] Selon des universitaires, afin de limiter le changement climatique en Chine à 1,5 °C (2,7 °F), la production d'électricité à partir du charbon en Chine sans captage du carbone doit être progressivement supprimée d'ici 2045. [143] Statistiques officielles du gouvernement sur la productivité agricole chinoise sont considérés comme peu fiables, en raison de l'exagération de la production aux niveaux subsidiaires du gouvernement. [144] [145]Une grande partie de la Chine a un climat très propice à l'agriculture et le pays a été le plus grand producteur mondial de riz , de blé, de tomates, d'aubergines, de raisins, de pastèque, d'épinards et de nombreuses autres cultures. [146]

Biodiversité

La Chine est l'un des 17 pays mégadivers , [147] se trouvant dans deux des principaux royaumes biogéographiques du monde : le Paléarctique et l' Indomalais . Selon une mesure, la Chine compte plus de 34 687 espèces d'animaux et de plantes vasculaires, ce qui en fait le troisième pays le plus riche en biodiversité au monde, après le Brésil et la Colombie . [148] Le pays a signé la Convention de Rio de Janeiro sur la diversité biologique le 11 juin 1992 et est devenu partie à la convention le 5 janvier 1993. [149] Il a ensuite produit une stratégie et un plan d'action nationaux pour la biodiversité., avec une révision reçue par la convention le 21 septembre 2010. [150]

La Chine abrite au moins 551 espèces de mammifères (le troisième nombre le plus élevé au monde), [151] 1 221 espèces d'oiseaux (huitième), [152] 424 espèces de reptiles (septième) [153] et 333 espèces de amphibiens (septième). [154] La faune en Chine partage l'habitat avec, et supporte la pression aiguë, de la plus grande population d'humains du monde. Au moins 840 espèces animales sont menacées, vulnérables ou en danger d'extinction locale en Chine, principalement en raison des activités humaines telles que la destruction de l'habitat, la pollution et le braconnage pour la nourriture, la fourrure et les ingrédients de la médecine traditionnelle chinoise . [155] Les espèces sauvages menacées d'extinction sont protégées par la loi, et depuis 2005, le pays compte plus de 2 349 réserves naturelles , couvrant une superficie totale de 149,95 millions d'hectares, soit 15 % de la superficie totale de la Chine. [156] [une meilleure source nécessaire ] La plupart des animaux sauvages ont été éliminés des régions agricoles centrales de la Chine orientale et centrale, mais ils se sont mieux comportés dans le sud et l'ouest montagneux. [157] [158] Le Baiji a été confirmé éteint le 12 décembre 2006. [159]

La Chine compte plus de 32 000 espèces de plantes vasculaires [160] et abrite une variété de types de forêts. Les forêts de conifères froides prédominent dans le nord du pays, abritant des espèces animales telles que l' orignal et l'ours noir d'Asie , ainsi que plus de 120 espèces d'oiseaux. [161] Le sous - étage des forêts de conifères humides peut contenir des bosquets de bambou . Dans les peuplements de genévrier et d' if de haute montagne , le bambou est remplacé par des rhododendrons . Subtropicalles forêts, qui prédominent dans le centre et le sud de la Chine, abritent une forte densité d'espèces végétales, y compris de nombreuses espèces endémiques rares. Les forêts tropicales et saisonnières , bien que confinées au Yunnan et à l'île de Hainan , contiennent un quart de toutes les espèces animales et végétales trouvées en Chine. [161] La Chine compte plus de 10 000 espèces recensées de champignons , [162] et d'entre eux, près de 6000 sont des champignons supérieurs . [163]

Environnement

The Three Gorges Dam is the largest hydroelectric dam in the world.

In the early 2000s, China has suffered from environmental deterioration and pollution due to its rapid pace of industrialisation.[164][165] While regulations such as the 1979 Environmental Protection Law are fairly stringent, they are poorly enforced, as they are frequently disregarded by local communities and government officials in favor of rapid economic development.[166] China is the country with the second highest death toll because of air pollution, after India. There are approximately 1 million deaths caused by exposure to ambient air pollution.[167][168] Although China ranks as the highest CO2 emitting country in the world,[169] it only emits 8 tons of CO2 per capita, significantly lower than developed countries such as the United States (16.1), Australia (16.8) and South Korea (13.6).[170]

In recent years, China has clamped down on pollution. In March 2014, CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping "declared war" on pollution during the opening of the National People's Congress.[171] After extensive debate lasting nearly two years, the parliament approved a new environmental law in April. The new law empowers environmental enforcement agencies with great punitive power and large fines for offenders, defines areas which require extra protection, and gives independent environmental groups more ability to operate in the country.[citation needed] In 2020, Chinese Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping announced that China aims to peak emissions before 2030 and go carbon-neutral by 2060 in accordance with the Paris climate accord.[172]According to Climate Action Tracker, if accomplished it would lower the expected rise in global temperature by 0.2 - 0.3 degrees - "the biggest single reduction ever estimated by the Climate Action Tracker".[173] In September 2021 Xi Jinping announced that China will not build "coal-fired power projects abroad". The decision can be "pivotal" in reducing emissions. The Belt and Road Initiative did not include financing such projects already in the first half of 2021.[174]

The country also had significant water pollution problems: 8.2% of China's rivers had been polluted by industrial and agricultural waste in 2019.[175][176] China had a 2018 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 7.14/10, ranking it 53rd globally out of 172 countries.[177] In 2020, a sweeping law was passed by the Chinese government to protect the ecology of the Yangtze River. The new laws include strengthening ecological protection rules for hydropower projects along the river, banning chemical plants within 1 kilometer of the river, relocating polluting industries, severely restricting sand mining as well as a complete fishing ban on all the natural waterways of the river, including all its major tributaries and lakes.[178]

China is also the world's leading investor in renewable energy and its commercialization, with $52 billion invested in 2011 alone;[179][180][181] it is a major manufacturer of renewable energy technologies and invests heavily in local-scale renewable energy projects.[182][183][184] By 2015, over 24% of China's energy was derived from renewable sources, while most notably from hydroelectric power: a total installed capacity of 197 GW makes China the largest hydroelectric power producer in the world.[185][186] China also has the largest power capacity of installed solar photovoltaics system and wind power system in the world.[187][188] Greenhouse gas emissions by China are the world's largest,[170] as is renewable energy in China.[189]

Political geography

Map showing the territorial claims of the PRC.

The People's Republic of China is the third-largest country in the world by land area after Russia and Canada.[q] China's total area is generally stated as being approximately 9,600,000 km2 (3,700,000 sq mi).[190][better source needed] Specific area figures range from 9,572,900 km2 (3,696,100 sq mi) according to the Encyclopædia Britannica,[191] to 9,596,961 km2 (3,705,407 sq mi) according to the UN Demographic Yearbook,[5] and the CIA World Factbook.[8]

China has the longest combined land border in the world, measuring 22,117 km (13,743 mi) from the mouth of the Yalu River (Amnok River) to the Gulf of Tonkin.[8] China borders 14 nations and extends across much of East Asia, bordering Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar (Burma) in Southeast Asia; India, Bhutan, Nepal, Afghanistan, and Pakistan[r] in South Asia; Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in Central Asia; and Russia, Mongolia, and North Korea in Inner Asia and Northeast Asia. Additionally, China shares maritime boundaries with South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines.[citation needed]

Politics

The Chinese constitution states that The People's Republic of China "is a socialist state governed by a people’s democratic dictatorship that is led by the working class and based on an alliance of workers and peasants," and that the state institutions "shall practice the principle of democratic centralism."[192] The PRC is one of the world's only socialist states governed by a communist party. The Chinese government has been variously described as communist and socialist, but also as authoritarian[193] and corporatist,[194] with heavy restrictions in many areas, most notably against free access to the Internet, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, the right to have children, free formation of social organizations and freedom of religion.[195] Its current political, ideological and economic system has been termed by its leaders as a "consultative democracy" "people's democratic dictatorship", "socialism with Chinese characteristics" (which is Marxism adapted to Chinese circumstances) and the "socialist market economy" respectively.[196][197]

Communist Party

Chinese Communist Party is the founding and ruling political party of China.

Since 2018, the main body of the Chinese constitution declares that "the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)."[198] The 2018 amendments constitutionalized the de facto one-party state status of China,[198] wherein the CCP General Secretary (party leader) holds ultimate power and authority over state and government and serves as the informal Paramount leader.[199] The current General Secretary is Xi Jinping, who took office on November 15, 2012, and was re-elected on 25 October 2017.[200] The electoral system is pyramidal. Local People's Congresses are directly elected, and higher levels of People's Congresses up to the National People's Congress (NPC) are indirectly elected by the People's Congress of the level immediately below.[192]

Another eight political parties, have representatives in the NPC and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).[201] China supports the Leninist principle of "democratic centralism",[192] but critics describe the elected National People's Congress as a "rubber stamp" body.[202]

Since both the CCP and the People's Liberation Army (PLA) promote according to seniority, it is possible to discern distinct generations of Chinese leadership.[203] In official discourse, each group of leadership is identified with a distinct extension of the ideology of the party. Historians have studied various periods in the development of the government of the People's Republic of China by reference to these "generations".

Generations of Chinese Leadership[203]
Generation Paramount leader Start End Theory
First Mao Zedong 1949 1976 Mao Zedong Thought
Hua Guofeng 1976 1978 Two Whatevers
Second Deng Xiaoping 1978 1989 Deng Xiaoping Theory
Third Jiang Zemin 1989 2002 Three Represents
Fourth Hu Jintao 2002 2012 Scientific Outlook on Development
Fifth Xi Jinping 2012 Xi Jinping Thought

Government

China is a one-party state led by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The National People's Congress in 2018 altered the country's constitution to remove the two-term limit on holding the Presidency of China, permitting the current leader, Xi Jinping, to remain president of China (and General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party) for an unlimited time, earning criticism for creating dictatorial governance.[204][205] The President is the titular head of state, elected by the National People's Congress. The Premier is the head of government, presiding over the State Council composed of four vice premiers and the heads of ministries and commissions. The incumbent president is Xi Jinping, who is also the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, making him China's paramount leader. The incumbent premier is Li Keqiang, who is also a senior member of the CCP Politburo Standing Committee, China's de facto top decision-making body.[206][207]

In 2017, Xi called on the communist party to further tighten its grip on the country, to uphold the unity of the party leadership, and achieve the "Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation".[196][208] Political concerns in China include the growing gap between rich and poor and government corruption.[209] Nonetheless, the level of public support for the government and its management of the nation is high, with 80–95% of Chinese citizens expressing satisfaction with the central government, according to a 2011 survey.[210] A 2020 survey from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research also found that 75% of Chinese were satisfied with the government on information dissemination amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, while 67% were satisfied with its delivery of daily necessities.[211][212]

Administrative divisions

The People's Republic of China is officially divided into 23 provinces,[213] five autonomous regions (each with a designated minority group), and four municipalities—collectively referred to as "mainland China"—as well as the special administrative regions (SARs) of Hong Kong and Macau. Geographically, all 31 provincial divisions of mainland China can be grouped into six regions: North China, Northeast China, East China, South Central China, Southwest China, and Northwest China.[214]

China considers Taiwan to be its 23rd province,[213] although Taiwan is governed by the Republic of China (ROC), which rejects the PRC's claim. Conversely, the ROC constitution claims sovereignty over all divisions governed by the PRC.[215]

Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous RegionTibet (Xizang) Autonomous RegionQinghai ProvinceGansu ProvinceSichuan ProvinceYunnan ProvinceNingxia Hui Autonomous RegionInner Mongolia (Nei Mongol) Autonomous RegionShaanxi ProvinceMunicipality of ChongqingGuizhou ProvinceGuangxi Zhuang Autonomous RegionShanxi ProvinceHenan ProvinceHubei ProvinceHunan ProvinceGuangdong ProvinceHainan ProvinceHebei ProvinceHeilongjiang ProvinceJilin ProvinceLiaoning ProvinceMunicipality of BeijingMunicipality of TianjinShandong ProvinceJiangsu ProvinceAnhui ProvinceMunicipality of ShanghaiZhejiang ProvinceJiangxi ProvinceFujian ProvinceHong Kong Special Administrative RegionMacau Special Administrative RegionTaiwan ProvinceChina administrative claimed included.svg
About this image
Provinces () Claimed Province
Autonomous regions (自治区) Municipalities (直辖市) Special administrative regions (特别行政区)
  • Hong Kong / Xianggang (香港特别行政区)
  • Macau / Aomen (澳门特别行政区)

Foreign relations

Diplomatic relations of China

The PRC has diplomatic relations with 175 countries and maintains embassies in 162. In 2019, China had the largest diplomatic network in the world.[216][217] Its legitimacy is disputed by the Republic of China and a few other countries; it is thus the largest and most populous state with limited recognition, with a population of more than 1.4 billion.[218] In 1971, the PRC replaced the Republic of China as the sole representative of China in the United Nations and as one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.[219] China was also a former member and leader of the Non-Aligned Movement, and still considers itself an advocate for developing countries.[220] Along with Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, China is a member of the BRICS group of emerging major economies and hosted the group's third official summit at Sanya, Hainan in April 2011.[221]

Under its interpretation of the One-China policy, Beijing has made it a precondition to establishing diplomatic relations that the other country acknowledges its claim to Taiwan and severs official ties with the government of the Republic of China.[citation needed] Chinese officials have protested on numerous occasions when foreign countries have made diplomatic overtures to Taiwan,[222] especially in the matter of armament sales.[223]

Much of current Chinese foreign policy is reportedly based on Premier Zhou Enlai's Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and is also driven by the concept of "harmony without uniformity", which encourages diplomatic relations between states despite ideological differences.[224] This policy may have led China to support states that are regarded as dangerous or repressive by Western nations, such as Zimbabwe, North Korea and Iran.[225] China has a close economic and military relationship with Russia,[226] and the two states often vote in unison in the UN Security Council.[227][228][229]

Trade relations

On 21 May 2014, China and Russia signed a $400 billion gas deal. Currently, Russia is supplying natural gas to China.

China became the world's largest trading nation in 2013, as measured by the sum of imports and exports, as well as the world's biggest commodity importer. comprising roughly 45% of maritime's dry-bulk market.[230][231] By 2016, China was the largest trading partner of 124 other countries.[232] China is the largest trading partner for the ASEAN nations, with a total trade value of $345.8 billion in 2015 accounting for 15.2% of ASEAN's total trade.[233] ASEAN is also China's largest trading partner.[234] In 2020, China became the largest trading partner of the European Union for goods, with the total value of goods trade reaching nearly $700 billion.[235] China, along with ASEAN, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, is a member of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the world's largest free-trade area covering 30% of the world's population and economic output.[236] China became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. In 2004, it proposed an entirely new East Asia Summit (EAS) framework as a forum for regional security issues.[237] The EAS, which includes ASEAN Plus Three, India, Australia and New Zealand, held its inaugural summit in 2005.[238]

China has had a long and complex trade relationship with the United States. In 2000, the United States Congress approved "permanent normal trade relations" (PNTR) with China, allowing Chinese exports in at the same low tariffs as goods from most other countries.[239] China has a significant trade surplus with the United States, its most important export market.[240] In the early 2010s, US politicians argued that the Chinese yuan was significantly undervalued, giving China an unfair trade advantage.[241][242][243][needs update]

Since the turn of the century, China has followed a policy of engaging with African nations for trade and bilateral co-operation;[244][245][246] in 2019, Sino-African trade totalled $208 billion, having grown 20 times over two decades.[247] According to Madison Condon "China finances more infrastructure projects in Africa than the World Bank and provides billions of dollars in low-interest loans to the continent’s emerging economies."[248] China maintains extensive and highly diversified trade links with the European Union.[235] China has furthermore strengthened its trade ties with major South American economies,[249] and is the largest trading partner of Brazil, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, and several others.[250]

Plan of the Silk Road

China's Belt and Road Initiative has expanded significantly over the last six years and, as of April 2020, includes 138 countries and 30 international organizations. In addition to intensifying foreign policy relations, the focus here is particularly on building efficient transport routes. The focus is particularly on the maritime Silk Road with its connections to East Africa and Europe and there are Chinese investments or related declarations of intent at numerous ports such as Gwadar, Kuantan, Hambantota, Piraeus and Trieste. However many of these loans made under the Belt and Road program are unsustainable and China has faced a number of calls for debt relief from debtor nations.[251][252]

Territorial disputes

Taiwan
Map depicting territorial disputes between the PRC and neighbouring states. For a larger map, see here.

Ever since its establishment after the Chinese Civil War, the PRC has claimed the territories governed by the Republic of China (ROC), a separate political entity today commonly known as Taiwan, as a part of its territory. It regards the island of Taiwan as its Taiwan Province, Kinmen and Matsu as a part of Fujian Province and islands the ROC controls in the South China Sea as a part of Hainan Province and Guangdong Province. These claims are controversial because of the complicated Cross-Strait relations, with the PRC treating the One-China policy as one of its most important diplomatic principles.[253][better source needed]

Land border disputes

China has resolved its land borders with 12 out of 14 neighboring countries, having pursued substantial compromises in most of them.[254][255][256] As of 2020, China currently has a disputed land border with only India and Bhutan.[citation needed]

Maritime border disputes

China is additionally involved in maritime disputes with multiple countries over the ownership of several small islands in the East and South China Seas, such as the Senkaku Islands and the Scarborough Shoal.[257][258]

Sociopolitical issues and human rights

March in memory of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo who died of organ failure while in government custody in 2017

China uses a massive espionage network of cameras, facial recognition software, sensors, surveillance of personal technology, and a social credit system as a means of social control of persons living in China.[259] The Chinese democracy movement, social activists, and some members of the Chinese Communist Party believe in the need for social and political reform. While economic and social controls have been significantly relaxed in China since the 1970s, political freedom is still tightly restricted. The Constitution of the People's Republic of China states that the "fundamental rights" of citizens include freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to a fair trial, freedom of religion, universal suffrage, and property rights. However, in practice, these provisions do not afford significant protection against criminal prosecution by the state.[260][261] Although some criticisms of government policies and the ruling Communist Party are tolerated, censorship of political speech and information, most notably on the Internet,[262][263] are routinely used to prevent collective action.[264] By 2020, China plans to give all its citizens a personal "Social Credit" score based on how they behave.[265][needs update] The Social Credit System, now being piloted in a number of Chinese cities,[needs update] is considered a form of mass surveillance which uses big data analysis technology.[266][267]

A number of foreign governments, foreign press agencies, and NGOs have criticized China's human rights record, alleging widespread civil rights violations such as detention without trial, forced abortions,[268] forced confessions, torture, restrictions of fundamental rights,[195][269] and excessive use of the death penalty.[270][271] The government suppresses popular protests and demonstrations that it considers a potential threat to "social stability", as was the case with the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.[272]

Western governments accused China of committing genocide against Uyghurs and detaining more than one million Uyghurs and other Xinjiang minorities in camps.[273]

The Chinese state is regularly accused of large-scale repression and human rights abuses in Tibet[274][275] and Xinjiang,[276] including violent police crackdowns and religious suppression throughout the Chinese nation.[277][278] At least one million members of China's Muslim Uyghur minority have been detained in mass detention camps, termed "Vocational Education and Training Centers", aimed at changing the political thinking of detainees, their identities, and their religious beliefs.[279] According to the U.S. Department of State, actions including political indoctrination, torture, physical and psychological abuse, forced sterilization, sexual abuse, and forced labor are common in these facilities.[280] The state has also sought to control offshore reporting of tensions in Xinjiang, intimidating foreign-based reporters by detaining their family members.[281] According to a 2020 report, China's treatment of Uyghurs meets UN definition of genocide,[282] and several groups called for a UN investigation.[283] On 19 January 2021, the United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced that the United States Department of State had determined that "genocide and crimes against humanity" had been perpetrated by China against the Uyghurs.[284]

Global studies from Pew Research Center in 2014 and 2017 ranked the Chinese government's restrictions on religion as among the highest in the world, despite low to moderate rankings for religious-related social hostilities in the country.[285][286] The Global Slavery Index estimated that in 2016 more than 3.8 million people were living in "conditions of modern slavery", or 0.25% of the population, including victims of human trafficking, forced labor, forced marriage, child labor, and state-imposed forced labor. The state-imposed forced system was formally abolished in 2013, but it is not clear to which extent its various practices have stopped.[287] The Chinese penal system includes labor prison factories, detention centers, and re-education camps, which fall under the heading Laogai ("reform through labor"). The Laogai Research Foundation in the United States estimated that there were over a thousand slave labour prisons and camps, known collectively as the Laogai.[288]

In 2019, a study called for the mass retraction of more than 400 scientific papers on organ transplantation, because of fears the organs were obtained unethically from Chinese prisoners. While the government says 10,000 transplants occur each year, a report by the Falun Gong-linked IETAC alleged that between 60,000 and 100,000 organs are transplanted each year and claimed that this gap was being made up by executed prisoners of conscience.[289]

Military

With 2.3 million active troops, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is the largest standing military force in the world, commanded by the Central Military Commission (CMC).[290] China has the second-biggest military reserve force, only behind North Korea. The PLA consists of the Ground Force (PLAGF), the Navy (PLAN), the Air Force (PLAAF), and the People's Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF).[citation needed] According to the Chinese government, China's military budget for 2017 totalled US$151.5 billion, constituting the world's second-largest military budget, although the military expenditures-GDP ratio with 1.3% of GDP is below world average.[291] However, many authorities – including SIPRI and the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense – argue that China does not report its real level of military spending, which is allegedly much higher than the official budget.[291][292]

Economy

China and other major developing economies by GDP per capita at purchasing-power parity, 1990–2013. The rapid economic growth of China (blue) is readily apparent.[293]
A proportional representation of Chinese exports, 2019

Since 2010, China has had the world's second-largest economy in terms of nominal GDP,[294] totaling approximately US$15.66 trillion (101.6 trillion Yuan) as of 2020.[295][296] In terms of purchasing power parity (PPP GDP), China's economy has been the largest in the world since 2014, according to the World Bank.[297] China is also the world's fastest-growing major economy.[298] According to the World Bank, China's GDP grew from $150 billion in 1978 to $14.28 trillion by 2019.[299] China's economic growth has been consistently above 6 percent since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978.[300] China is also the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods.[301] Between 2010 and 2019, China's contribution to global GDP growth has been 25% to 39%.[302][303]

China had one of the largest economies in the world for most of the past two thousand years,[304] during which it has seen cycles of prosperity and decline.[305][306] Since economic reforms began in 1978, China has developed into a highly diversified economy and one of the most consequential players in international trade. Major sectors of competitive strength include manufacturing, retail, mining, steel, textiles, automobiles, energy generation, green energy, banking, electronics, telecommunications, real estate, e-commerce, and tourism. China has three out of the ten largest stock exchanges in the world[307]Shanghai, Hong Kong and Shenzhen—that together have a market capitalization of over $15.9 trillion, as of October 2020.[308] China has four (Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shenzhen) out of the world's top ten most competitive financial centers, which is more than any country in the 2020 Global Financial Centres Index.[309] By 2035, China's four cities (Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen) are projected to be among the global top ten largest cities by nominal GDP according to a report by Oxford Economics.[310]

China has been the world's No. 1 manufacturer since 2010, after overtaking the US, which had been No. 1 for the previous hundred years.[311][312] China has also been No. 2 in high-tech manufacturing since 2012, according to US National Science Foundation.[313] China is the second largest retail market in the world, next to the United States.[314] China leads the world in e-commerce, accounting for 40% of the global market share in 2016[315] and more than 50% of the global market share in 2019.[316] China is the world's leader in electric vehicles, manufacturing and buying half of all the plug-in electric cars (BEV and PHEV) in the world in 2018.[317] China is also the leading producer of batteries for electric vehicles as well as several key raw materials for batteries.[318] China had 174 GW of installed solar capacity by the end of 2018, which amounts to more than 40% of the global solar capacity.[319][320]

Foreign and Chinese sources have claimed that official Chinese government statistics overstate China's economic growth.[321][322][323][324] However, several Western academics and institutions have stated that China's economic growth is higher than indicated by official figures.[325][326][327][328][329][330]

China has a large informal economy, which arose as a result of the country's economic opening. The informal economy is a source of employment and income for workers, but it is unrecognized and suffers from lower productivity.[331] In 2021, China announced it had completely eliminated poverty through a series of direct-action poverty alleviation policies.[332] Chinese women in China work as prostitutes in bars in South Korea, such as Maggie's because of economy problems. Chinese women also work in the brothels of South Korea. Because Chinese citizens can stay in South Korea without registration or need for a visa, many of the prostitutes have been there for many years and return to China once a month.[333][334][335][336][337]

Wealth in China

As of 2020, China was second in the world, after the US, in total number of billionaires and total number of millionaires, with 698 Chinese billionaires and 4.4 million millionaires.[338][339] In 2019, China overtook the US as the home to the highest number of people who have a net personal wealth of at least $110,000, according to the global wealth report by Credit Suisse.[340][341] According to the Hurun Global Rich List 2020, China is home to five of the world's top ten cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 10th spots, respectively) by the highest number of billionaires, which is more than any other country.[342] China had 85 female billionaires as of January 2021, two-thirds of the global total, and minted 24 new female billionaires in 2020.[343]

However, it ranks behind over 60 countries (out of around 180) in per capita economic output, making it an upper-middle income country.[344] Additionally, its development is highly uneven. Its major cities and coastal areas are far more prosperous compared to rural and interior regions.[345] China brought more people out of extreme poverty than any other country in history[346]—between 1978 and 2018, China reduced extreme poverty by 800 million. China reduced the extreme poverty rate—per international standard, it refers to an income of less than $1.90/day—from 88% in 1981 to 1.85% by 2013.[347] According to the World Bank, the number of Chinese in extreme poverty fell from 756 million to 25 million between 1990 and 2013.[348] The portion of people in China living below the international poverty line of $1.90 per day (2011 PPP) fell to 0.3% in 2018 from 66.3% in 1990. Using the lower-middle income poverty line of $3.20 per day, the portion fell to 2.9% in 2018 from 90.0% in 1990. Using the upper-middle income poverty line of $5.50 per day, the portion fell to 17.0% from 98.3% in 1990.[349]

Economic growth

China's nominal GDP trend from 1952 to 2015

From its founding in 1949 until late 1978, the People's Republic of China was a Soviet-style centrally planned economy. Following Mao's death in 1976 and the consequent end of the Cultural Revolution, Deng Xiaoping and the new Chinese leadership began to reform the economy and move towards a more market-oriented mixed economy under one-party rule. Agricultural collectivization was dismantled and farmlands privatized, while foreign trade became a major new focus, leading to the creation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Inefficient state-owned enterprises (SOEs) were restructured and unprofitable ones were closed outright, resulting in massive job losses.[citation needed] Modern-day China is mainly characterized as having a market economy based on private property ownership,[350] and is one of the leading examples of state capitalism.[351][352] The state still dominates in strategic "pillar" sectors such as energy production and heavy industries, but private enterprise has expanded enormously, with around 30 million private businesses recorded in 2008.[353][354][better source needed][355][356] In 2018, private enterprises in China accounted for 60% of GDP, 80% of urban employment and 90% of new jobs.[357]

In the early 2010s, China's economic growth rate began to slow amid domestic credit troubles, weakening international demand for Chinese exports and fragility in the global economy.[358][359][360] China's GDP was slightly larger than Germany's in 2007; however, by 2017, China's $12.2 trillion-economy became larger than those of Germany, UK, France and Italy combined.[361] In 2018, the IMF reiterated its forecast that China will overtake the US in terms of nominal GDP by the year 2030.[362] Economists also expect China's middle class to expand to 600 million people by 2025.[363]

In 2020, China was the only major economy in the world to grow, recording a 2.3% growth due to its success in taming the coronavirus within its borders.[364]

China in the global economy

Share of world GDP (PPP)[365]
Year Share
1980 2.32%
1990 4.11%
2000 7.40%
2010 13.89%
2018 18.72%

China is a member of the WTO and is the world's largest trading power, with a total international trade value of US$4.62 trillion in 2018.[366] Its foreign exchange reserves reached US$3.1 trillion as of 2019,[367] making its reserves by far the world's largest.[368][369] In 2012, China was the world's largest recipient of inward foreign direct investment (FDI), attracting $253 billion.[370] In 2014, China's foreign exchange remittances were $US64 billion making it the second largest recipient of remittances in the world.[371] China also invests abroad, with a total outward FDI of $62.4 billion in 2012,[370] and a number of major takeovers of foreign firms by Chinese companies.[372] China is a major owner of US public debt, holding trillions of dollars worth of U.S. Treasury bonds.[373][374] China's undervalued exchange rate has caused friction with other major economies,[242] and it has also been widely criticized for manufacturing large quantities of counterfeit goods.[375][376]

Largest economies by nominal GDP in 2018[377]

Following the 2007–08 financial crisis, Chinese authorities sought to actively wean off of its dependence on the U.S. dollar as a result of perceived weaknesses of the international monetary system.[378] To achieve those ends, China took a series of actions to further the internationalization of the Renminbi. In 2008, China established dim sum bond market and expanded the Cross-Border Trade RMB Settlement Pilot Project, which helps establish pools of offshore RMB liquidity.[379][380] This was followed with bilateral agreements to settle trades directly in renminbi with Russia,[381] Japan,[382] Australia,[383] Singapore,[384] the United Kingdom,[385] and Canada.[386] As a result of the rapid internationalization of the renminbi, it became the eighth-most-traded currency in the world, an emerging international reserve currency,[387] and a component of the IMF's special drawing rights; however, partly due to capital controls that make the renminbi fall short of being a fully convertible currency, it remains far behind the Euro, Dollar and Japanese Yen in international trade volumes.[388]

Class and income inequality

China has had the world's largest middle class population since 2015,[389] and the middle class grew to a size of 400 million by 2018.[390] In 2020, a study by the Brookings Institution forecast that China's middle-class will reach 1.2 billion by 2027 (almost 4 times the entire U.S. population today), making up one fourth of the world total.[391] Wages in China have grown a lot in the last 40 years—real (inflation-adjusted) wages grew seven-fold from 1978 to 2007.[392] By 2018, median wages in Chinese cities such as Shanghai were about the same as or higher than the wages in Eastern European countries.[393] China has the world's highest number of billionaires, with nearly 878 as of October 2020, increasing at the rate of roughly five per week.[394][395][396] China has a high level of economic inequality,[397] which has increased in the past few decades.[398] In 2018 China's Gini coefficient was 0.467, according to the World Bank.[12]

Science and technology

Historical

Earliest known written formula for gunpowder, from the Wujing Zongyao of 1044 CE

China was once a world leader in science and technology up until the Ming dynasty.[399] Ancient Chinese discoveries and inventions, such as papermaking, printing, the compass, and gunpowder (the Four Great Inventions), became widespread across East Asia, the Middle East and later to Europe. Chinese mathematicians were the first to use negative numbers.[400][401] By the 17th century, Europe and the Western world surpassed China in scientific and technological advancement.[402] The causes of this early modern Great Divergence continue to be debated by scholars to this day.[403]

After repeated military defeats by the European colonial powers and Japan in the 19th century, Chinese reformers began promoting modern science and technology as part of the Self-Strengthening Movement. After the Communists came to power in 1949, efforts were made to organize science and technology based on the model of the Soviet Union, in which scientific research was part of central planning.[404] After Mao's death in 1976, science and technology was established as one of the Four Modernizations,[405] and the Soviet-inspired academic system was gradually reformed.[406]

Modern era

Huawei headquarters in Shenzhen. Huawei is the world's largest telecoms-equipment-maker and the second-largest manufacturer of smartphones in the world.[407]

Since the end of the Cultural Revolution,[citation needed] China has made significant investments in scientific research[408] and is quickly catching up with the US in R&D spending.[409][410] In 2017, China spent $279 billion on scientific research and development.[411] According to the OECD, China spent 2.11% of its GDP on research and development (R&D) in 2016.[412] Science and technology are seen as vital for achieving China's economic and political goals, and are held as a source of national pride to a degree sometimes described as "techno-nationalism".[413] According to the World Intellectual Property Indicators, China received 1.54 million patent applications in 2018, representing nearly half of patent applications worldwide, more than double the US.[414] In 2019, China was No. 1 in international patents application.[415] China was ranked 12th, 3rd in Asia & Oceania region and 2nd for countries with a population of over 100 million in the Global Innovation Index in 2021, it has increased its ranking considerably since 2013, where it was ranked 35th.[416][417][418][419] China ranks first globally in the important indicators, including patents, utility models, trademarks, industrial designs, and creative goods exports and it also has 2 (Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Guangzhou and Beijing in the 2nd and 3rd spots respectively) of the global top 5 science and technology clusters, which is more than any other country.[416] Chinese tech companies Huawei and ZTE were the top 2 filers of international patents in 2017.[420][421] Chinese-born academicians have won the Nobel Prize in Physics four times, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and Fields Medal once respectively, though most of them conducted their prize-winning research in western nations.[s][improper synthesis?]

Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, one of the first Chinese spaceports

China is developing its education system with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); in 2009, China graduated over 10,000 PhD engineers, and as many as 500,000 BSc graduates, more than any other country.[428] China also became the world's largest publisher of scientific papers in 2016.[429] Chinese technology companies such as Huawei and Lenovo have become world leaders in telecommunications and personal computing,[430][431][432] and Chinese supercomputers are consistently ranked among the world's most powerful.[433][434] China has been the world's largest market for industrial robots since 2013 and will account for 45% of newly installed robots from 2019 to 2021.[435]

The Chinese space program is one of the world's most active. In 1970, China launched its first satellite, Dong Fang Hong I, becoming the fifth country to do so independently.[436] In 2003, China became the third country to independently send humans into space, with Yang Liwei's spaceflight aboard Shenzhou 5; as of 2021, thirteen Chinese nationals have journeyed into space, including two women. In 2011, China's first space station module, Tiangong-1, was launched, marking the first step in a project to assemble a large crewed station by the early 2020s.[437] In 2013, China successfully landed the Chang'e 3 lander and Yutu rover onto the lunar surface.[438] In 2016, the first quantum science satellite was launched in partnership with Austria dedicated to testing the fundamentals of quantum communication in space.[439][440] In 2019, China became the first country to land a probe—Chang'e 4—on the far side of the moon.[441] In 2020, the first experimental 6G test satellite was launched[442][443] and Chang'e 5 successfully returned moon samples to the Earth, making China the third country to do so independently after the United States and the Soviet Union.[444] In 2021, China became the second nation in history to independently land a rover (Zhurong) on Mars, joining the United States.[445]

Infrastructure

After a decades-long infrastructural boom,[446] China has produced numerous world-leading infrastructural projects: China has the world's largest bullet train network,[447] the most supertall skyscrapers in the world,[448] the world's largest power plant (the Three Gorges Dam),[449] the largest energy generation capacity in the world,[450] a global satellite navigation system with the largest number of satellites in the world,[451] and has initiated the Belt and Road Initiative, a large global infrastructure building initiative with funding on the order of $50–100 billion per year.[452] The Belt and Road Initiative could be one of the largest development plans in modern history.[453]

Telecommunications

Internet penetration rates in China in the context of East Asia and Southeast Asia, 1995–2012

China is the largest telecom market in the world and currently has the largest number of active cellphones of any country in the world, with over 1.5 billion subscribers, as of 2018.[454] It also has the world's largest number of internet and broadband users, with over 800 million Internet users as of 2018—equivalent to around 60% of its population—and almost all of them being mobile as well.[455] By 2018, China had more than 1 billion 4G users, accounting for 40% of world's total.[456] China is making rapid advances in 5G—by late 2018, China had started large-scale and commercial 5G trials.[457]

China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, are the three large providers of mobile and internet in China. China Telecom alone served more than 145 million broadband subscribers and 300 million mobile users; China Unicom had about 300 million subscribers; and China Mobile, the biggest of them all, had 925 million users, as of 2018.[458][459][460] Combined, the three operators had over 3.4 million 4G base-stations in China.[461] Several Chinese telecommunications companies, most notably Huawei and ZTE, have been accused of spying for the Chinese military.[462]

China has developed its own satellite navigation system, dubbed Beidou, which began offering commercial navigation services across Asia in 2012[463] as well as global services by the end of 2018.[464][465] The 35th and final satellite of Beidou constellation was launched into orbit on 23 June 2020, thus becoming the 3rd completed global navigation satellite system in service after GPS and GLONASS.[466]

Transport

Since the late 1990s, China's national road network has been significantly expanded through the creation of a network of national highways and expressways. In 2018, China's highways had reached a total length of 142,500 km (88,500 mi), making it the longest highway system in the world.[467] China has the world's largest market for automobiles, having surpassed the United States in both auto sales and production. A side-effect of the rapid growth of China's road network has been a significant rise in traffic accidents,[468] though the number of fatalities in traffic accidents fell by 20% from 2007 to 2017.[469] In urban areas, bicycles remain a common mode of transport, despite the increasing prevalence of automobiles – as of 2012, there are approximately 470 million bicycles in China.[470]

The Beijing Daxing International Airport features the world's largest single-building airport terminal.

China's railways, which are state-owned, are among the busiest in the world, handling a quarter of the world's rail traffic volume on only 6 percent of the world's tracks in 2006.[471][better source needed] As of 2017, the country had 127,000 km (78,914 mi) of railways, the second longest network in the world.[472] The railways strain to meet enormous demand particularly during the Chinese New Year holiday, when the world's largest annual human migration takes place.[473]

China's high-speed rail (HSR) system started construction in the early 2000s. By the end of 2020, high speed rail in China had reached 37,900 kilometers (23,550 miles) of dedicated lines alone, making it the longest HSR network in the world.[474][475] Services on the Beijing–Shanghai, Beijing–Tianjin, and Chengdu–Chongqing Lines reach up to 350 km/h (217 mph), making them the fastest conventional high speed railway services in the world. With an annual ridership of over 2.29 billion passengers in 2019 it is the world's busiest.[476][better source needed] The network includes the Beijing–Guangzhou–Shenzhen High-Speed Railway, the single longest HSR line in the world, and the Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Railway, which has three of longest railroad bridges in the world.[477] The Shanghai Maglev Train, which reaches 431 km/h (268 mph), is the fastest commercial train service in the world.[478]

The Port of Shanghai's deep water harbor on Yangshan Island in the Hangzhou Bay is the world's busiest container port since 2010.

Since 2000, the growth of rapid transit systems in Chinese cities has accelerated.[479] As of January 2021, 44 Chinese cities have urban mass transit systems in operation[480] and 39 more have metro systems approved.[481] As of 2020, China boasts the five longest metro systems in the world with the networks in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu and Shenzhen being the largest.

There were approximately 229 airports in 2017, with around 240 planned by 2020. China has over 2,000 river and seaports, about 130 of which are open to foreign shipping.[citation needed] In 2017, the Ports of Shanghai, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Ningbo-Zhoushan, Guangzhou, Qingdao and Tianjin ranked in the Top 10 in the world in container traffic and cargo tonnage.[482]

Water supply and sanitation

Water supply and sanitation infrastructure in China is facing challenges such as rapid urbanization, as well as water scarcity, contamination, and pollution.[483] According to data presented by the Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply and Sanitation of WHO and UNICEF in 2015, about 36% of the rural population in China still did not have access to improved sanitation.[484] The ongoing South–North Water Transfer Project intends to abate water shortage in the north.[485]

Demographics

A 2009 population density map of the People's Republic of China and Taiwan. The eastern coastal provinces are much more densely populated than the western interior.

The national census of 2010 recorded the population of the People's Republic of China as approximately 1,370,536,875. About 16.60% of the population were 14 years old or younger, 70.14% were between 15 and 59 years old, and 13.26% were over 60 years old.[486] The population growth rate for 2013 is estimated to be 0.46%.[487] China used to make up much of the world's poor; now it makes up much of the world's middle class.[488] Although a middle-income country by Western standards, China's rapid growth has pulled hundreds of millions—800 million, to be more precise[489]—of its people out of poverty since 1978. By 2013, less than 2% of the Chinese population lived below the international poverty line of US$1.9 per day, down from 88% in 1981.[347] China's own standards for poverty are higher and still the country is on its way to eradicate national poverty completely by 2019.[490] From 2009 to 2018, the unemployment rate in China has averaged about 4%.[491]

Given concerns about population growth, China implemented a two-child limit during the 1970s, and, in 1979, began to advocate for an even stricter limit of one child per family. Beginning in the mid 1980s, however, given the unpopularity of the strict limits, China began to allow some major exemptions, particularly in rural areas, resulting in what was actually a "1.5"-child policy from the mid-1980s to 2015 (ethnic minorities were also exempt from one child limits). The next major loosening of the policy was enacted in December 2013, allowing families to have two children if one parent is an only child.[492] In 2016, the one-child policy was replaced in favor of a two-child policy.[493] Data from the 2010 census implies that the total fertility rate may be around 1.4, although due to under-reporting of births it may be closer to 1.5–1.6.[494]

According to one group of scholars, one-child limits had little effect on population growth[495] or the size of the total population.[496] However, these scholars have been challenged. Their own counterfactual model of fertility decline without such restrictions implies that China averted more than 500 million births between 1970 and 2015, a number which may reach one billion by 2060 given all the lost descendants of births averted during the era of fertility restrictions, with one-child restrictions accounting for the great bulk of that reduction.[497]

The policy, along with traditional preference for boys, may have contributed to an imbalance in the sex ratio at birth.[498][499] According to the 2010 census, the sex ratio at birth was 118.06 boys for every 100 girls,[500] which is beyond the normal range of around 105 boys for every 100 girls.[501] The 2010 census found that males accounted for 51.27 percent of the total population.[500] However, China's sex ratio is more balanced than it was in 1953, when males accounted for 51.82 percent of the total population.[500]

Ethnic groups

Ethnolinguistic map of China

China legally recognizes 56 distinct ethnic groups, who altogether comprise the Zhonghua Minzu. The largest of these nationalities are the ethnic Chinese or "Han", who constitute more than 90% of the total population.[502] The Han Chinese – the world's largest single ethnic group[503] – outnumber other ethnic groups in every provincial-level division except Tibet and Xinjiang.[504] Ethnic minorities account for less than 10% of the population of China, according to the 2010 census.[502] Compared with the 2000 population census, the Han population increased by 66,537,177 persons, or 5.74%, while the population of the 55 national minorities combined increased by 7,362,627 persons, or 6.92%.[502] The 2010 census recorded a total of 593,832 foreign nationals living in China. The largest such groups were from South Korea (120,750), the United States (71,493) and Japan (66,159).[505]

Languages

A trilingual sign in Sibsongbanna, with Tai Lü language on the top

There are as many as 292 living languages in China.[506] The languages most commonly spoken belong to the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family, which contains Mandarin (spoken by 70% of the population),[507] and other varieties of Chinese language: Yue (including Cantonese and Taishanese), Wu (including Shanghainese and Suzhounese), Min (including Fuzhounese, Hokkien and Teochew), Xiang, Gan and Hakka. Languages of the Tibeto-Burman branch, including Tibetan, Qiang, Naxi and Yi, are spoken across the Tibetan and Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau. Other ethnic minority languages in southwest China include Zhuang, Thai, Dong and Sui of the Tai-Kadai family, Miao and Yao of the Hmong–Mien family, and Wa of the Austroasiatic family. Across northeastern and northwestern China, local ethnic groups speak Altaic languages including Manchu, Mongolian and several Turkic languages: Uyghur, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Salar and Western Yugur. Korean is spoken natively along the border with North Korea. Sarikoli, the language of Tajiks in western Xinjiang, is an Indo-European language. Taiwanese aborigines, including a small population on the mainland, speak Austronesian languages.[508]

Standard Mandarin, a variety of Mandarin based on the Beijing dialect, is the official national language of China and is used as a lingua franca in the country between people of different linguistic backgrounds.[509][510] Mongolian, Uyghur, Tibetan, Zhuang and various other languages are also regionally recognized throughout the country.[511]

Chinese characters have been used as the written script for the Sinitic languages for thousands of years. They allow speakers of mutually unintelligible Chinese varieties to communicate with each other through writing. In 1956, the government introduced simplified characters, which have supplanted the older traditional characters in mainland China. Chinese characters are romanized using the Pinyin system. Tibetan uses an alphabet based on an Indic script. Uyghur is most commonly written in Persian alphabet-based Uyghur Arabic alphabet. The Mongolian script used in China and the Manchu script are both derived from the Old Uyghur alphabet. Zhuang uses both an official Latin alphabet script and a traditional Chinese character script.[citation needed]

Urbanization

Map of the ten largest cities in China (2010)

China has urbanized significantly in recent decades. The percent of the country's population living in urban areas increased from 20% in 1980 to over 60% in 2019.[512][513][514] It is estimated that China's urban population will reach one billion by 2030, potentially equivalent to one-eighth of the world population.[513][514]

China has over 160 cities with a population of over one million,[515] including the 10 megacities[516](cities with a population of over 10 million) of Chongqing, Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, Harbin, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Shijiazhuang and Suzhou.[517][518][519] Shanghai is China's most populous urban area[520][521] while Chongqing is its largest city proper.[522] By 2025, it is estimated that the country will be home to 221 cities with over a million inhabitants.[513] The figures in the table below are from the 2017 census,[523] and are only estimates of the urban populations within administrative city limits; a different ranking exists when considering the total municipal populations (which includes suburban and rural populations). The large "floating populations" of migrant workers make conducting censuses in urban areas difficult;[524] the figures below include only long-term residents.[citation needed]


Education

Since 1986, compulsory education in China comprises primary and junior secondary school, which together last for nine years.[527][better source needed] In 2010, about 82.5 percent of students continued their education at a three-year senior secondary school.[528][better source needed] The Gaokao, China's national university entrance exam, is a prerequisite for entrance into most higher education institutions. In 2010, 27 percent of secondary school graduates are enrolled in higher education.[529][better source needed] This number increased significantly over the last years, reaching a tertiary school enrolment of 50 percent in 2018.[530] Vocational education is available to students at the secondary and tertiary level.[531][better source needed]

In February 2006, the government pledged to provide completely free nine-year education, including textbooks and fees.[532] Annual education investment went from less than US$50 billion in 2003 to more than US$250 billion in 2011.[533] However, there remains an inequality in education spending. In 2010, the annual education expenditure per secondary school student in Beijing totalled ¥20,023, while in Guizhou, one of the poorest provinces in China, only totalled ¥3,204.[534] Free compulsory education in China consists of primary school and junior secondary school between the ages of 6 and 15. In 2011, around 81.4% of Chinese have received secondary education.[535]

China's literacy rate has grown dramatically, from only 20% in 1949 and 65.5% in 1979.[536] to 96% of the population over age 15 in 2018.[537] In the same year, China (Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang) was ranked the highest in the world in the Programme for International Student Assessment ranking for all three categories of Mathematics, Science and Reading.

As of 2020, China had the world's second-highest number of top universities.[538][539][540] Currently, China trails only the United States in terms of representation on lists of top 200 universities according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).[541] China is home to the two best universities (Tsinghua University and Peking University) in the whole Asia-Oceania region and emerging countries according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.[542][543][544] Both are members of the C9 League, an alliance of elite Chinese universities offering comprehensive and leading education.[545]

Health

Chart showing the rise of China's Human Development Index from 1970 to 2010

The National Health and Family Planning Commission, together with its counterparts in the local commissions, oversees the health needs of the Chinese population.[546] An emphasis on public health and preventive medicine has characterized Chinese health policy since the early 1950s. At that time, the Communist Party started the Patriotic Health Campaign, which was aimed at improving sanitation and hygiene, as well as treating and preventing several diseases. Diseases such as cholera, typhoid and scarlet fever, which were previously rife in China, were nearly eradicated by the campaign.[citation needed] After Deng Xiaoping began instituting economic reforms in 1978, the health of the Chinese public improved rapidly because of better nutrition, although many of the free public health services provided in the countryside disappeared along with the People's Communes. Healthcare in China became mostly privatized, and experienced a significant rise in quality. In 2009, the government began a 3-year large-scale healthcare provision initiative worth US$124 billion.[547] By 2011, the campaign resulted in 95% of China's population having basic health insurance coverage.[548] In 2011, China was estimated to be the world's third-largest supplier of pharmaceuticals, but its population has suffered from the development and distribution of counterfeit medications.[549]

As of 2017, the average life expectancy at birth in China is 76 years,[550] and the infant mortality rate is 7 per thousand.[551] Both have improved significantly since the 1950s.[t] Rates of stunting, a condition caused by malnutrition, have declined from 33.1% in 1990 to 9.9% in 2010.[554] Despite significant improvements in health and the construction of advanced medical facilities, China has several emerging public health problems, such as respiratory illnesses caused by widespread air pollution,[555] hundreds of millions of cigarette smokers,[556] and an increase in obesity among urban youths.[557][558] China's large population and densely populated cities have led to serious disease outbreaks in recent years, such as the 2003 outbreak of SARS, although this has since been largely contained.[559] In 2010, air pollution caused 1.2 million premature deaths in China.[560]

The COVID-19 pandemic was first identified in Wuhan in December 2019.[561][562] Despite this, there is no convincing scientific evidence on the virus's origin, and further studies are being carried out around the world on a possible origin for the virus.[563][564] The Chinese government has been criticized for its handling of the epidemic and accused of concealing the extent of the outbreak before it became an international pandemic.[565]

Religion

Geographic distribution of religions in China.[566][567][568][569]
Chinese folk religion (and Confucianism, Taoism, and groups of Chinese Buddhism)
Buddhism tout court
Islam
Ethnic minorities' indigenous religions
Mongolian folk religion
Northeast China folk religion influenced by Tungus and Manchu shamanism, widespread Shanrendao

The government of the People's Republic of China officially espouses state atheism,[570] and has conducted antireligious campaigns to this end.[571] Religious affairs and issues in the country are overseen by the State Administration for Religious Affairs.[572] Freedom of religion is guaranteed by China's constitution, although religious organizations that lack official approval can be subject to state persecution.[269][573]

Over the millennia, Chinese civilization has been influenced by various religious movements. The "three teachings", including Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism (Chinese Buddhism), historically have a significant role in shaping Chinese culture,[574][575] enriching a theological and spiritual framework which harks back to the early Shang and Zhou dynasty. Chinese popular or folk religion, which is framed by the three teachings and other traditions,[576] consists in allegiance to the shen (), a character that signifies the "energies of generation", who can be deities of the environment or ancestral principles of human groups, concepts of civility, culture heroes, many of whom feature in Chinese mythology and history.[577] Among the most popular cults are those of Mazu (goddess of the seas),[578] Huangdi (one of the two divine patriarchs of the Chinese race),[578][579] Guandi (god of war and business), Caishen (god of prosperity and richness), Pangu and many others. China is home to many of the world's tallest religious statues, including the tallest of all, the Spring Temple Buddha in Henan.[citation needed]

Clear data on religious affiliation in China is difficult to gather due to varying definitions of "religion" and the unorganized, diffusive nature of Chinese religious traditions. Scholars note that in China there is no clear boundary between three teachings religions and local folk religious practice.[574] A 2015 poll conducted by Gallup International found that 61% of Chinese people self-identified as "convinced atheist",[580] though it is worthwhile to note that Chinese religions or some of their strands are definable as non-theistic and humanistic religions, since they do not believe that divine creativity is completely transcendent, but it is inherent in the world and in particular in the human being.[581] According to a 2014 study, approximately 74% are either non-religious or practise Chinese folk belief, 16% are Buddhists, 2% are Christians, 1% are Muslims, and 8% adhere to other religions including Taoists and folk salvationism.[582][583] In addition to Han people's local religious practices, there are also various ethnic minority groups in China who maintain their traditional autochthone religions. The various folk religions today comprise 2–3% of the population, while Confucianism as a religious self-identification is common within the intellectual class. Significant faiths specifically connected to certain ethnic groups include Tibetan Buddhism and the Islamic religion of the Hui, Uyghur, Kazakh, Kyrgyz and other peoples in Northwest China.[citation needed] The 2010 population census reported the total number of Muslims in the country as 23.14 million.[584]

A 2021 poll from Ipsos and the Policy Institute at King's College London found that 35% of Chinese people said there was tension between different religious groups, which was the second lowest percentage of the 28 countries surveyed.[585][586]

Culture

The Temple of Heaven, a center of heaven worship and an UNESCO World Heritage site, symbolizes the Interactions Between Heaven and Mankind.[587]
Fenghuang County, an ancient town that harbors many architectural remains of Ming and Qing styles.

Since ancient times, Chinese culture has been heavily influenced by Confucianism. For much of the country's dynastic era, opportunities for social advancement could be provided by high performance in the prestigious imperial examinations, which have their origins in the Han dynasty.[588] The literary emphasis of the exams affected the general perception of cultural refinement in China, such as the belief that calligraphy, poetry and painting were higher forms of art than dancing or drama. Chinese culture has long emphasized a sense of deep history and a largely inward-looking national perspective.[589] Examinations and a culture of merit remain greatly valued in China today.[590]

A Moon gate in a Chinese garden.

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 feudalism". Many important aspects of traditional Chinese morals and culture, such as Confucianism, art, literature, and performing arts like Peking opera,[591] were altered to conform to government policies and propaganda at the time. Access to foreign media remains heavily restricted.[592]

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,[593][594] and folk and variety art in particular have sparked interest nationally and even worldwide.[595]

Tourism in China

China received 55.7 million inbound international visitors in 2010,[596] and in 2012 was the third-most-visited country in the world.[597] It also experiences an enormous volume of domestic tourism; an estimated 740 million Chinese holidaymakers travelled within the country in October 2012.[598] China hosts the world's second-largest number of World Heritage Sites (56) after Italy, and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world (first in the Asia-Pacific). It is forecast by Euromonitor International that China will become the world's most popular destination for tourists by 2030.[599]

Literature

The stories in Journey to the West are common themes in Peking opera.

Chinese literature is based on the literature of the Zhou dynasty.[600] Concepts covered within the Chinese classic texts present a wide range of thoughts and subjects including calendar, military, astrology, herbology, geography and many others.[601] Some of the most important early texts include the I Ching and the Shujing within the Four Books and Five Classics which served as the Confucian authoritative books for the state-sponsored curriculum in dynastic era.[602] Inherited from the Classic of Poetry, classical Chinese poetry developed to its floruit during the Tang dynasty. Li Bai and Du Fu opened the forking ways for the poetic circles through romanticism and realism respectively.[603] Chinese historiography began with the Shiji, the overall scope of the historiographical tradition in China is termed the Twenty-Four Histories, which set a vast stage for Chinese fictions along with Chinese mythology and folklore.[604] Pushed by a burgeoning citizen class in the Ming dynasty, Chinese classical fiction rose to a boom of the historical, town and gods and demons fictions as represented by the Four Great Classical Novels which include Water Margin, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Journey to the West and Dream of the Red Chamber.[605] Along with the wuxia fictions of Jin Yong and Liang Yusheng,[606] it remains an enduring source of popular culture in the East Asian cultural sphere.[607]

In the wake of the New Culture Movement after the end of the Qing dynasty, Chinese literature embarked on a new era with written vernacular Chinese for ordinary citizens. Hu Shih and Lu Xun were pioneers in modern literature.[608] Various literary genres, such as misty poetry, scar literature, young adult fiction and the xungen literature, which is influenced by magic realism,[609] emerged following the Cultural Revolution. Mo Yan, a xungen literature author, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012.[610]

Cuisine

Foods from different regional cuisines: laziji from Sichuan cuisine; xiaolongbao from Jiangsu cuisine; rice noodle roll from Cantonese cuisine; and Peking duck from Shandong cuisine[611]

Chinese cuisine is highly diverse, drawing on several millennia of culinary history and geographical variety, in which the most influential are known as the "Eight Major Cuisines", including Sichuan, Cantonese, Jiangsu, Shandong, Fujian, Hunan, Anhui, and Zhejiang cuisines.[612] All of them are featured by the precise skills of shaping, heating, and flavoring.[613][better source needed] Chinese cuisine is also known for its width of cooking methods and ingredients,[614] as well as food therapy that is emphasized by traditional Chinese medicine.[615][better source needed] Generally, China's staple food is rice in the south, wheat-based breads and noodles in the north. The diet of the common people in pre-modern times was largely grain and simple vegetables, with meat reserved for special occasions. The bean products, such as tofu and soy milk, remain as a popular source of protein.[616] Pork is now the most popular meat in China, accounting for about three-fourths of the country's total meat consumption.[617] While pork dominates the meat market, there is also the vegetarian Buddhist cuisine and the pork-free Chinese Islamic cuisine. Southern cuisine, due to the area's proximity to the ocean and milder climate, has a wide variety of seafood and vegetables; it differs in many respects from the wheat-based diets across dry northern China. Numerous offshoots of Chinese food, such as Hong Kong cuisine and American Chinese food, have emerged in the nations that play host to the Chinese diaspora.[citation needed]

Music

Chinese music covers a highly diverse range of music from traditional music to modern music. Chinese music dates back before the pre-imperial times. Traditional Chinese musical instruments were traditionally grouped into eight categories known as bayin (八音). Traditional Chinese opera is a form of musical theatre in China originating thousands of years and has regional style forms such as Beijing opera and Cantonese opera.[618] Chinese pop (C-Pop) includes mandopop and cantopop. Chinese rap, Chinese hip hop and Hong Kong hip hop have become popular in contemporary times.[citation needed]

Cinema

Cinema was first introduced to China in 1896 and the first Chinese film, Dingjun Mountain, was released in 1905.[619] China has the largest number of movie screens in the world since 2016,[620] China became the largest cinema market in the world in 2020.[621][622] The top 3 highest-grossing films in China currently are Wolf Warrior 2 (2017), Ne Zha (2019), and The Wandering Earth (2019).[623]

Fashion

Hanfu is the historical clothing of the Han people in China. The qipao or cheongsam is a popular Chinese female dress.[624] The hanfu movement has been popular in contemporary times and seeks to revitalize Hanfu clothing.[625]

Sports

China has one of the oldest sporting cultures in the world. There is evidence that archery (shèjiàn) was practiced during the Western Zhou dynasty. Swordplay (jiànshù) and cuju, a sport loosely related to association football[626] date back to China's early dynasties as well.[627]

Go is an abstract strategy board game for two players, in which the aim is to surround more territory than the opponent and was invented in China more than 2,500 years ago.

Physical fitness is widely emphasized in Chinese culture, with morning exercises such as qigong and t'ai chi ch'uan widely practiced,[628] and commercial gyms and private fitness clubs are gaining popularity across the country.[629] Basketball is currently the most popular spectator sport in China.[630] The Chinese Basketball Association and the American National Basketball Association have a huge following among the people, with native or ethnic Chinese players such as Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian held in high esteem.[631] China's professional football league, now known as Chinese Super League, was established in 1994, it is the largest football market in Asia.[632] Other popular sports in the country include martial arts, table tennis, badminton, swimming and snooker. Board games such as go (known as wéiqí in Chinese), xiangqi, mahjong, and more recently chess, are also played at a professional level.[633] In addition, China is home to a huge number of cyclists, with an estimated 470 million bicycles as of 2012.[470] Many more traditional sports, such as dragon boat racing, Mongolian-style wrestling and horse racing are also popular.[634]

China has participated in the Olympic Games since 1932, although it has only participated as the PRC since 1952. China hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, where its athletes received 51 gold medals – the highest number of gold medals of any participating nation that year.[635] China also won the most medals of any nation at the 2012 Summer Paralympics, with 231 overall, including 95 gold medals.[636][637] In 2011, Shenzhen in Guangdong, China hosted the 2011 Summer Universiade. China hosted the 2013 East Asian Games in Tianjin and the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics in Nanjing; the first country to host both regular and Youth Olympics. Beijing and its nearby city Zhangjiakou of Hebei province will also collaboratively host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, which will make Beijing the first city in the world to hold both the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics.[638]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ English (Hong Kong SAR only), Portuguese (Macau SAR only).
  2. ^
  3. ^ Although PRC President is head of state, it is a largely ceremonial office with limited power under CCP General Secretary.
  4. ^ Including both state and party's central military chairs.
  5. ^ Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
  6. ^ The area given is the official United Nations figure for the mainland and excludes Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.[5] It also excludes the Trans-Karakoram Tract (5,180 km2 (2,000 sq mi)), Aksai Chin (38,000 km2 (15,000 sq mi)) and other territories in dispute with India. The total area of China is listed as 9,572,900 km2 (3,696,100 sq mi) by the Encyclopædia Britannica.[6] For further information, see Territorial changes of the People's Republic of China.
  7. ^ This figure was calculated using data from the CIA World Factbook.[8]
  8. ^
  9. ^ The total area ranking relative to the United States depends on the measurement of the total areas of both countries. See List of countries and dependencies by area for more information. The following two primary sources (non-mirrored) represent the range (min./max.) of estimates of China's and the United States' total areas. Both sources (1) exclude Taiwan from the area of China; (2) exclude China's coastal and territorial waters. However, the CIA World Factbook includes the United States coastal and territorial waters, while Encyclopædia Britannica excludes the United States coastal and territorial waters.
    1. The Encyclopædia Britannica lists China as world's third-largest country (after Russia and Canada) with a total area of 9,572,900 km2,[14] and the United States as fourth-largest at 9,525,067 km2.[15]
    2. The CIA World Factbook lists China as fourth-largest country (after Russia, Canada and the United States) with a total area of 9,596,960 km2,[16] and the United States as the third-largest at 9,833,517 km2.[17]

    Notably, Encyclopædia Britannica specifies the United States' area (excluding coastal and territorial waters) as 9,525,067 km2, which is less than either source's figure given for China's area.[15] Therefore, while it can be determined that China has a larger area excluding coastal and territorial waters, it is unclear which country has a larger area including coastal and territorial waters.


    United Nations Statistics Division's figure for the United States is 9,833,517 km2 (3,796,742 sq mi) and China is 9,596,961 km2 (3,705,407 sq mi). These closely match the CIA World Factbook figures and similarly include coastal and territorial waters for the United States, but exclude coastal and territorial waters for China.


    Further explanation of disputed ranking: The dispute about which is the world's third-largest country arose from the inclusion of coastal and territorial waters for the United States. This discrepancy was deduced from comparing the CIA World Factbook and its previous iterations[18] against the information for United States in Encyclopædia Britannica, particularly its footnote section.[15] In sum, according to older versions of the CIA World Factbook (from 1982 to 1996), the U.S. was listed as the world's fourth-largest country (after Russia, Canada, and China) with a total area of 9,372,610 km2 (3,618,780 sq mi). However, in the 1997 edition, the U.S. added coastal waters to its total area (increasing it to 9,629,091 km2 (3,717,813 sq mi)). And then again in 2007, U.S. added territorial water to its total area (increasing it to 9,833,517 km2 (3,796,742 sq mi)). During this time, China's total area remained unchanged. In other words, no coastal or territorial water area was added to China's total area figure. The United States has a coastal water area of 109,362 km2 (42,225 sq mi), and a territorial water area of 195,213 km2 (75,372 sq mi), for a total of 304,575 km2 (117,597 sq mi) of additional water space. This is larger than entire countries like Italy, New Zealand] and the United Kingdom. Adding this figure to the U.S. will boost it over China in ranking since China's coastal and territorial water figures are currently unknown (no official publication) and thus cannot be added into China's total area figure.

  10. ^ The disputed 23rd province of Taiwan is claimed by People's Republic of China but it does not administer it. See § Administrative divisions
  11. ^ The KMT solely governed the island until its transition to democracy in 1996.
  12. ^ "[...] Next vnto this, is found the great China, whose kyng is thought to bee the greatest prince in the worlde, and is named Santoa Raia".[25][26]
  13. ^ "[...] The Very Great Kingdom of China".[27] (Portuguese: ...O Grande Reino da China...).[28]
  14. ^ Although this is the present meaning of guó, in Old Chinese (when its pronunciation was something like /*qʷˤək/)[34] it meant the walled city of the Chinese and the areas they could control from them.[35]
  15. ^ Its use is attested from the 6th-century BC Classic of History, which states "Huangtian bestowed the lands and the peoples of the central state to the ancestors" (皇天既付中國民越厥疆土于先王).[36]
  16. ^ Owing to Qin Shi Huang's earlier policy involving the "burning of books and burying of scholars", the destruction of the confiscated copies at Xianyang was an event similar to the destructions of the Library of Alexandria in the west. Even those texts that did survive had to be painstakingly reconstructed from memory, luck, or forgery.[62] The Old Texts of the Five Classics were said to have been found hidden in a wall at the Kong residence in Qufu. Mei Ze's "rediscovered" edition of the Book of Documents was only shown to be a forgery in the Qing dynasty.
  17. ^ According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, the total area of the United States, at 9,522,055 km2 (3,676,486 sq mi), is slightly smaller than that of China. Meanwhile, the CIA World Factbook states that China's total area was greater than that of the United States until the coastal waters of the Great Lakes was added to the United States' total area in 1996. From 1989 through 1996, the total area of US was listed as 9,372,610 km2 (3,618,780 sq mi) (land area plus inland water only). The listed total area changed to 9,629,091 km2 (3,717,813 sq mi) in 1997 (with the Great Lakes areas and the coastal waters added), to 9,631,418 km2 (3,718,711 sq mi) in 2004, to 9,631,420 km2 (3,718,710 sq mi) in 2006, and to 9,826,630 km2 (3,794,080 sq mi) in 2007 (territorial waters added).
  18. ^ China's border with Pakistan and part of its border with India falls in the disputed region of Kashmir. The area under Pakistani administration is claimed by India, while the area under Indian administration is claimed by Pakistan.
  19. ^ Tsung-Dao Lee,[422] Chen Ning Yang,[422] Daniel C. Tsui,[423] Charles K. Kao,[424] Yuan T. Lee,[425] Tu Youyou[426] Shing-Tung Yau[427]
  20. ^ The national life expectancy at birth rose from about 31 years in 1949 to 75 years in 2008,[552] and infant mortality decreased from 300 per thousand in the 1950s to around 33 per thousand in 2001.[553]

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