China

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People's Republic of China
  • 中华人民共和国
  • Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó
Flag National Emblem
Anthem: 
Area controlled by the People's Republic of China shown in dark green; claimed but uncontrolled regions shown in light green.
Area controlled by the People's Republic of China shown in dark green; claimed but uncontrolled regions shown in light green.
Capital Beijing[a]
39°55′N 116°23′E / 39.917°N 116.383°E / 39.917; 116.383
Largest city Shanghai[1]
Official languages Standard Chinese[2][b]
Recognised regional languages
Official written language Vernacular Chinese
Official script Simplified Chinese[2]
Ethnic groups
Demonym Chinese
Government Socialist, Single-party state[4]
 -  President Xi Jinping[d]
 -  Premier Li Keqiang
 -  Congress Chairman Zhang Dejiang
 -  Conference Chairman Yu Zhengsheng
 -  President of the Supreme People's Court Zhou Qiang
Legislature National People's Congress
Formation
 -  First Unification of China under the Qin Dynasty 221 BCE 
 -  Republic established 1 January 1912 
 -  People's Republic proclaimed 1 October 1949 
Area
 -  Total 9,596,961 km2[e] (3rd/4th)
3,705,407 sq mi
 -  Water (%) 0.28%[f]
Population
 -  2015 estimate 1,376,049,000[9] (1st)
 -  2010 census 1,339,724,852[10] (1st)
 -  Density 2013 :[11] 145/km2 (83rd)
373/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2015 estimate
 -  Total $18.976 trillion[12] (1st)
 -  Per capita $13,801[12] (87th)
GDP (nominal) 2015 estimate
 -  Total $11.212 trillion[12] (2nd)
 -  Per capita $8,154[12] (75th)
Gini (2012) 55.0[13][14]
high
HDI (2013) Increase 0.719[15]
high · 91st
Currency Renminbi (yuan)(¥)[g] (CNY)
Time zone China Standard Time (UTC+8)
Date format
  • yyyy-mm-dd
  • or yyyymd
  • (CE; CE-1949)
Drives on the right[h]
Calling code +86
Internet TLD
See also: People's Republic of China and Republic of China

China (simplified Chinese: 中国; traditional Chinese: 中國; Pinyin: Zhōngguó) is a cultural region, an ancient civilization, and a nation in East Asia.

The last Chinese Civil War(1927-1949) resulted in two political powers today, even though both governments agree they are one nation:

China has one of the world's oldest civilizations and has the oldest continuous civilization.[16] It has archaeological evidence over 5,000 years old.[17] It also has one of the world's oldest writing systems, and is viewed as the source of many major inventions.[17]

Origins[change | change source]

The first recorded use of the word "China" is dated 1555.[nb 1][18] It is derived from Cin, a Persian name for China popularized in Europe by Marco Polo.[18][19]

History[change | change source]

Ancient (2100B.C. -1500 A.D.)[change | change source]

Ancient China was one of the first civilizations and was active since the 2nd millennium BC as a feudal society. Chinese civilization was also one of the few to invent writing,[17] the others being Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley civilization, the Maya civilization, the Minoan civilization of ancient Greece, and Ancient Egypt.[20] It reached its golden age during the Tang Dynasty (about A.D. 10th century). Home of Confucianism and Daoism, it had great influence on nearby countries including Japan, Korea and Vietnam in the areas of political system, philosophy, religion, art, and even writing and literature. China is home to some of the oldest artwork in the world. Statues and pottery, as well as decorations made of jade, are some classic examples.

Before Qin Dynasty united China, for hundreds of years there were hundreds of small states that fight each other. Although the continuing wars made people suffer, it was the time when many great philosophies were born, including Confucianism and Daoism. Since Tang Dynasty has been the center of the eastern-asian culture for most time of the history. It had great influence on nearby countries including Japan, Korea and Vietnam in the areas of political system, philosophy, religion, art, and even writing and literature. Confucianism and Daoism alone, have been the foundation of many social values seen in modern eastern-asian culture.

Its land area has mostly looked like that of modern China, except with northern and western edges that varied. It was often attacked by northern nomadic people (people who live on horses), such as the Turkics, the Mongols with Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan. During the history of ancient China, the northern nomadic people and the Chinese people had been fighting each other, and taking turns to rule the land and the people of China. However, when the northern people beat the Chinese people and rule the kingdom, they always learned the Chinese way of living and became like Chinese. Many of the strongest dynasties of China were ruled by the northern people, including Qin, Tang, Yuan (Mongolian), and Qing. Each time, they also brought new elements into the Chinese culture. For example, the northern people made the clothes more suitable for activities.

A new age[change | change source]

While China achieved many things in the First millennium and early 2nd millennium, it became an isolationist country in the 15th century C.E. This was because Spain found enormous silver in the new continent, the main currency(money) in China and Eruope then, and China did not want to be bought by the foreigners.

By the Renaissance, European powers started to take over other countries in Asia. While China was never actually taken over, many European countries, such as Britain and France built spheres of influence in China. Since China had cut itself off from the world over the previous few centuries, by the Qing Dynasty, it had fallen behind other countries in technology, and was helpless to stop this from happening. This had become clear when it lost the Opium Wars to Britain in the 19th century.

In 1911, the Republic of China was founded by Sun Yat-sen, but its government was very weak. Warlords controlled many areas. Chiang Kai-shek led wars against them, and became President and dictator.

In 1931, Japan invaded Manchuria, a place in the northeastern part of China. On July 7, 1937, the Japanese attacked the rest of the country, starting what was called the Second Sino-Japanese War. The war later became part of World War II. The war was fought for eight years and millions of Chinese people were killed. In 1945, after the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan surrendered.

However, the Chinese Civil War later started between the Kuomintang (Nationalists) of the Republic of China (ROC) and the Communists of the People's Republic of China (PRC). The Communists wanted to make China like the Soviet Union, whereas the other side wanted to keep China in its current state at the time. The Chinese Civil War was going on throughout World War II. The Communists were led by Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi and others. Later Liu lost influence with Mao and his death to this day remains unresolved. The Communists eventually won the war. The Nationalists (led by Chiang Kai-shek) fled to the island of Taiwan and set up their new capital city in Taipei. After the Chinese Civil War, the Communist leader Mao Zedong declared a new country, the People's Republic of China (PRC), in Beijing on October 1, 1949.

Under Mao the country stayed poor while Taiwan became richer. His attempt at industrialization with the Great Leap Forward led to the deaths of many people from famine. The Cultural Revolution caused great social upheaval. Following his death in 1976, China underwent open market reforms under Deng Xiaoping, and experienced rapid economic growth. China is now one of the largest economies in the world, relying mainly on exports.

In recent history, China has had problems with protests, blocking of information on the Internet, and censorship in the news. 1989 was notable for the government killing thousands of protesters with tanks in Beijing.

Culture[change | change source]

China is the origin of Eastern martial arts, called Kung Fu or its first name Wushu. China is also the home of the well-respected Spa Monastery and Wudang Mountains. Martial art started more for the purpose of survival and warfare than art. Over time some art forms have branched off, while others have retained their distinct Chinese flavor.

China has had renowned artists including Wong Fei Hung (Huang Fei Hung or Hwang Fei Hung) and many others. Art has also co-existed with a variety of paints including the more standard 18 colors. Legendary and controversial moves like Big Mak are also praised and talked about within the culture.

China has many traditional festivals, such as Spring Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-autumn Festival and so on. The most significant is Chinese New Year. People in China will have holidays to celebrate these festivals.

Festivals[change | change source]

Spring Festival is the Chinese New Year. It lasts fifteen days. It starts with the first day of the Chinese lunar year and ends with the full moon fifteen days later. On the first day of the Spring Festival, people call on friends and relatives. Because most of people watch the Spring Festival Celebrations on CCTV all the night on New Year's Eve and don't go to bed until 12:00 AM, they usually get up later in the next day. The fifth day of the Spring Festival is the day to welcome the god of Wealth (Chinese:财神爷), many people make and eat dumplings (Chinese:饺子). They believe that dumplings can hold the god of Wealth and bring luck.The last day of the Spring Festival is the Lantern Festival. On this day, the moon becomes the full moon. People go out and watch the lantern festivals everywhere. After that, they eat sweet dumpling (Chinese:汤圆,元宵), a kind of dumpling which is round and looks like the full moon.

Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated to commemorate the death of Qu Yuan, a patriotic poet of the State of Chu during the Warring States period. He persuaded his emperor not to accept Qin's diplomats' offers several times but his emperor did not listen to him. He was very sad and ended up jumping into the river to end his life. The people loved him so much that they did not want the fish to eat his corpse. They made and threw rice dumplings into the river. They hope the fish eat these dumplings instead of the poet's corpse. They also rowed dragon boats in the river to get rid of the fish. Such practices, eating rice dumplings and holding dragon boat races, become what Chinese do in this festival nowadays.

Held on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month, Mid-Autumn Festival is a festival for families. Now when the festival sets in, people would sit together to eat moon cakes, appreciate the bright full moon cakes, appreciate the bright full moon, celebrate the bumper harvest and enjoy the family love and happiness. To the Chinese people, the full moon symbolizes family reunion, as does the "moon cakes." Hence the Mid-Autumn Festival is also called the Family Reunion Festival.

Notes[change | change source]

  1. Eden, Richard. Decades of the New World (1555) 'The great China whose kyng is thought the greatest prince in the world.'

Footnotes[change | change source]

  1. Or (previously) "Peking".
  2. Portuguese (Macau only), English (Hong Kong only).
  3. Ethnic minorities that are recognized officially.
  4. Xi Jinping holds four concurrent positions: General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, President of the People's Republic of China, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission for both state and party.[5]
  5. The area given is the official United Nations figure for the mainland and excludes Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.[6] It also excludes the Trans-Karakoram Tract (5,800 km2 (2,200 sq mi)), Aksai Chin (37,244 km2 (14,380 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.[7] For further information, see Territorial changes of the People's Republic of China.
  6. This figure was calculated using data from the CIA World Factbook.[8]
  7. The Hong Kong Dollar is used in Hong Kong and the Macanese pataca is used in Macau.
  8. Except Hong Kong and Macau.

References[change | change source]

  1. Chan, Kam Wing (2007). "Misconceptions and Complexities in the Study of China's Cities: Definitions, Statistics, and Implications" (PDF). Eurasian Geography and Economics 48 (4): 383–412. doi:10.2747/1538-7216.48.4.383 . Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. https://web.archive.org/web/20130115173048/http://courses.washington.edu/chinageo/ChanCityDefinitionsEGE2007.pdf. Retrieved 7 August 2011. p. 395
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Law of the People's Republic of China on the Standard Spoken and Written Chinese Language (Order of the President No.37)". Chinese Government. 31 October 2000. http://www.gov.cn/english/laws/2005-09/19/content_64906.htm. Retrieved 21 June 2013. "For purposes of this Law, the standard spoken and written Chinese language means Putonghua (a common speech with pronunciation based on the Beijing dialect) and the standardized Chinese characters."
  3. "Tabulation of the 2010 Census of the People's Republic of China". China Statistics Press. http://www.stats.gov.cn/english/statisticaldata/censusdata/rkpc2010/indexch.htm.
  4. "Constitution of the People's Republic of China". The National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China. 15 November 2007. http://www.npc.gov.cn/englishnpc/Constitution/2007-11/15/content_1372963.htm. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  5. "New man at helm: Xi Jinping elected to lead China". RT.com. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
  6. "Demographic Yearbook—Table 3: Population by sex, rate of population increase, surface area and density". UN Statistics. 2007. http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/products/dyb/dyb2007/Table03.pdf. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  7. "China". Encyclopædia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/111803/China. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  8. "CIA – The World Factbook". Cia.gov. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ch.html. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
  9. "United Nations world population prospects"(PDF) 2015 revision
  10. "Communiqué of the National Bureau of Statistics of People's Republic of China on Major Figures of the 2010 Population Census (No. 1)". National Bureau of Statistics of China. 28 April 2011. Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. https://web.archive.org/web/20130115173048/http://www.stats.gov.cn/english/newsandcomingevents/t20110428_402722244.htm. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  11. "Population density (people per sq. km of land area)". IMF. http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.POP.DNST. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects: China". World Economic Outlook. International Monetary Fund. April 2015. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2015/01/weodata/weorept.aspx?pr.x=35&pr.y=18&sy=2012&ey=2019&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=924&s=NGDPD%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP%2CPPPPC&grp=0&a=. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  13. "Income inequality in today's China". http://www.pnas.org/content/111/19/6928.short.
  14. "Rich-poor gap widens: study". http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/857619.shtml.
  15. "2014 Human Development Report Summary". United Nations Development Programme. 2014. pp. 21–25. http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/hdr14-summary-en.pdf. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  16. http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/ciai/socst/grade3/whatisa.html
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Haggett, Peter. [2001] (2001). Encyclopedia of World Geography, Volume 23. Edition 2, illustrated. Marshall Cavendish publishing. ISBN 0-7614-7289-4, 9780761472896. p 37. p 2836.
  18. 18.0 18.1 "China", Online Etymology Dictionary
  19. Wood, Francis, Did Marco Polo go to China (1995), p. 61.
  20. Gernet, Jacques. [1996] (1996). A history of Chinese civilization Edition 2, illustrated. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-49781-7, 9780521497817. p 40.

Other websites[change | change source]