China

Introduction For centuries China stood as a leading civilization, outpacing the rest of the world in the arts and sciences, but in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the country was beset by civil unrest, major famines, military defeats, and foreign occupation. After World War II, the Communists under MAO Zedong established an autocratic socialist system that, while ensuring China's sovereignty, imposed strict controls over everyday life and cost the lives of tens of millions of people. After 1978, his successor DENG Xiaoping and other leaders focused on market-oriented economic development and by 2000 output had quadrupled. For much of the population, living standards have improved dramatically and the room for personal choice has expanded, yet political controls remain tight.
History

Prehistory

Archaeological evidence suggests that the earliest humans in China date to 2.24 million to 250,000 years ago.[7][8] A cave in Zhoukoudian (near present-day Beijing) has fossils dated at somewhere between 300,000 to 550,000 years.

The earliest evidence of a fully modern human in China comes from Liujiang County, Guangxi, where a cranium has been found and dated to approximately 67,000 years ago. Although much controversy persists over the dating of the Liujiang remains,[9][10] a partial skeleton from Minatogawa in Okinawa, Japan has been dated to 18,250 ± 650 to 16,600 ± 300 years ago, so modern humans must have reached China before that time.

Dynastic rule
Main articles: Dynasties in Chinese history and Chinese sovereign

Chinese tradition names the first dynasty Xia, but it was considered mythical until scientific excavations found early bronze-age sites at Erlitou in Henan Province.[11] Archaeologists have since uncovered urban sites, bronze implements, and tombs in locations cited as Xia's in ancient historical texts, but it is impossible to verify that these remains are of the Xia without written records from the period.

The second dynasty, the loosely feudal Shang, definitely settled along the Yellow River in eastern China from the 18th to the 12th century BCE. They were invaded from the west by the Zhou, who ruled from the 12th to the 5th century BCE. The centralized authority of the Zhou was slowly eroded by warlords. Many strong, independent states continually waged war with each other in the Spring and Autumn period, only occasionally deferring to the Zhou king.

The first unified Chinese state was established by the Qin Dynasty in 221 BCE, when the office of the Emperor was set up and the Chinese language was forcibly standardized. This state did not last long, as its legalist policies soon led to widespread rebellion.

The subsequent Han Dynasty ruled China between 206 BCE and 220 CE, and created a lasting Han cultural identity among its populace that would last to the present day. The Han Dynasty expanded China's territory considerably with military campaigns reaching Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia and Central Asia, and also helped establish the Silk Road in Central Asia.

After Han's collapse, another period of disunion followed, including the highly chivalric period of the Three Kingdoms. Independent Chinese states of this period also opened diplomatic relations with Japan, introducing the Chinese writing system there. In 580 CE, China was reunited under the Sui. However, the Sui Dynasty was short-lived after a failure in the Goguryeo-Sui Wars (598–614) weakened it.

Under the succeeding Tang and Song dynasties, Chinese technology and culture reached its zenith. The Song dynasty was the first government in world history to issue paper money and the first Chinese polity to establish a permanent standing navy. Between the 10th and 11th centuries, the population of China doubled in size. This growth came about through expanded rice cultivation in central and southern China, along with its production of abundant food surpluses. Within its borders, the Northern Song Dynasty had a population of some 100 million people. The Song Dynasty was a culturally rich period in China for the arts, philosophy, and social life. Landscape art and portrait paintings were brought to new levels of maturity and complexity since the Tang Dynasty, and social elites gathered to view art, share their own, and make trades of precious artworks. Philosophers such as Cheng Yi and Chu Hsi reinvigorated Confucianism with new commentary, infused Buddhist ideals, and emphasis on new organization of classic texts that brought about the core doctrine of Neo-Confucianism.

In 1271, the Mongol leader and the fifth Khagan of the Mongol Empire Kublai Khan established the Yuan Dynasty, with the last remnant of the Song Dynasty falling to the Yuan in 1279. A peasant named Zhu Yuanzhang overthrew the Mongols in 1368 and founded the Ming Dynasty. Ming Dynasty thinkers such as Wang Yangming would further critique and expand Neo-Confucianism with ideas of individualism and innate morality that would have tremendous impact on later Japanese thought. Chosun Korea also became a nominal vassal state of Ming China and adopted much of its Neo-Confucian bureaucratic structure. China's capital was moved from Nanjing to Beijing during the early Ming Dynasty. The Ming fell to the Manchus in 1644, who then established the Qing Dynasty. An estimated 25 million people died during the Manchu conquest of Ming Dynasty (1616–1644).[12]

The Qing Dynasty, which lasted until 1912, was the last dynasty in China. In the 19th century the Qing Dynasty adopted a defensive posture towards European imperialism, even though it engaged in imperialistic expansion into Central Asia itself. At this time China awoke to the significance of the rest of the world, in particular the West. As China opened up to foreign trade and missionary activity, opium produced by British India was forced onto Qing China. Two Opium Wars with Britain weakened the Emperor's control.

One result was the Taiping Civil War which lasted from 1851 to 1862. It was led by Hong Xiuquan, who was partly influenced by a misinterpretation of Christianity. Hong believed himself to be the son of God and the younger brother of Jesus. Although the Qing forces were eventually victorious, the civil war was one of the bloodiest in human history, costing at least twenty million lives (more than the total number of fatalities in the First World War), with some estimates up to two-hundred million. In addition, more costly rebellions in terms of human lives and economics followed the Taiping Rebellion such as the Punti-Hakka Clan Wars (1855–1867), Nien Rebellion (1851–1868), Muslim Rebellion (1862–1877), Panthay Rebellion (1856–1873) and the Miao Rebellion (1854–1873).[13] [14] These rebellions resulted in an estimated loss of several million lives for each rebellion and in disastrous results for the economy and the countryside.[15][16] [17] The flow of British opium led to more decline.

While China was torn by continuous war, Meiji Japan succeeded in rapidly modernizing its military with its sights on Korea and Manchuria. Maneuvered by Japan, Korea declared independence from Qing China's suzerainty in 1894, leading to the First Sino-Japanese War, which resulted in China's cession of both Korea and Taiwan to Japan. Following these series of defeats, a reform plan for Qing China to become a modern Meiji-style constitutional monarchy was drafted by the Emperor Guangxu in 1898, but was opposed and stopped by the Empress Dowager Cixi, who placed Emperor Guangxu under house arrest in a coup d'état. Further destruction followed the ill-fated 1900 Boxer Rebellion against westerners in Beijing. By the early 20th century, mass civil disorder had begun, and calls for reform and revolution were heard across the country. The 38 year old Emperor Guangxu died under house arrest on November 14, 1908, suspiciously just a day before Cixi. With the throne empty, he was succeeded by Cixi's handpicked heir, his two year old nephew Puyi, who became the Xuantong Emperor, the last Chinese emperor. Guangxu's consort, who became the Empress Dowager Longyu, signed the abdication decree as regent in 1912, ending two thousand years of imperial rule in China. She died, childless, in 1913.

Republic of China (1912–1949)

On January 1, 1912, the Republic of China was established, heralding the end of the Qing Dynasty. Sun Yat-sen of the Kuomintang (KMT or Nationalist Party), was proclaimed provisional president of the republic. However, the presidency was latter given to Yuan Shikai, a former Qing general, who had ensured the defection of the entire Beiyang Army from the Qing Empire to the revolution. In 1915, Yuan proclaim himself Emperor of China, but was forced to abdicate, and return the state to a republic, when he realized it was an unpopular move, not only with the population, but also his own Beiyang Army and its commanders.

After Yuan Shikai's death in 1916, China was politically fragmented, with an internationally recognized, but virtually powerless, national government seated in Peking (modern day Beijing). Warlords in various regions exercised actual control over their respective territories. In the late 1920s, the Kuomintang, under Chiang Kai-shek, was able to reunify the country under its own control, moving the nation's capital to Nanking (modern day Nanjing) and implementing "political tutelage", an intermediate stage of political development outlined in Sun Yat-sen's program for transforming China into a modern, democratic state. Effectively, political tutelage meant one-party rule by the Kuomintang.

The Sino-Japanese War of 1937–1945 (part of World War II) forced an uneasy alliance between the Nationalists and the Communists as well as causing around 10 million Chinese civilian deaths. With the surrender of Japan in 1945, China emerged victorious but financially drained. The continued distrust between the Nationalists and the Communists led to the resumption of the Chinese Civil War. In 1947, constitutional rule was established, but because of the ongoing Civil War many provisions of the ROC constitution were never implemented on the mainland.

The People's Republic of China and the Republic of China (1949–present)

After its victory in the Chinese Civil War, the Communist Party of China, led by Mao Zedong, gained control of most of the Mainland China. On October 1, 1949, they established the People's Republic of China, laying claim as the successor state of the ROC. The central government of the Chinese Nationalist Party led by Chiang Kai-shek was forced to retreat to the island of Taiwan that it had occupied at the end of World War II and moved the ROC government there. Major armed hostilities ceased in 1950 but no peace treaty has been signed.

Beginning in the late 1970s, the Republic of China began the implementation of full, multi-party, representative democracy in the territories still under its control (Taiwan, and a number of smaller islands including Quemoy and Matsu). Today, the ROC has active political participation by all sectors of society. The main cleavage in ROC politics is the issue of eventual unification with China vs. formal independence.

After the Chinese Civil War, mainland China underwent a series of disruptive socioeconomic movements starting in the late 1950s with the Great Leap Forward and continued in the 1960s with the Cultural Revolution that left much of its education system and economy in shambles. With the death of its first generation Communist Party leaders such as Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, the PRC began implementing a series of political and economic reforms advocated by Deng Xiaoping that eventually formed the foundation for mainland China's rapid economic development starting in the 1990s.

Post-1978 reforms on the mainland have led to some relaxation of control over many areas of society. However, the PRC government still has almost absolute control over politics, and it continually seeks to eradicate threats to the social, political and economic stability of the country. Examples include the fight against terrorism, jailing of political opponents and journalists, custody regulation of the press, regulation of religion, and suppression of independence/secessionist movements. In 1989, the student protests at Tiananmen Square were violently put to an end by the Chinese military after 15 days of martial law. In 1997 Hong Kong was returned to the PRC by the United Kingdom and in 1999 Macau was returned by Portugal.

Today, mainland China is administered by the People's Republic of China—a one-party state under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party; while the island of Taiwan and surrounding islands are administered by the Republic of China—a democratic multi-party state. After the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, both states claimed to be the sole legitimate ruler of all of "China". After the Kuomintang retreat to Taiwan in 1949, the Republic of China had maintained official diplomatic relations with most states around the world, but by the 1970s, there was a shift in the international diplomatic circles and the People's Republic of China gained the upper hand in international diplomatic relations and recognition. In 1971, under resolution 2758, the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek to the United Nations were expelled from the intergovernmental organization. With the expulsion of the Chiang Kai-shek's representatives, and effectively the Republic of China, the representatives of the People's Republic of China were invited to assume China's seat on the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly and other United Nations councils and agencies. Later attempts by the Republic of China to rejoin the UN have either been blocked by the People's Republic of China, who has veto power on UN Security Council, or rejected by the United Nations Secretariat or a United Nations General Assembly committee responsible for the General Assembly's agenda[18].

Since its retreat to Taiwan, the Republic of China has not formally renounced its claim to all of China, nor has it changed its official maps, which includes the mainland and Mongolia. Following the introduction to full democracy and the electoral victory of DPP's Chen Shui-bian in the presidential elections, the Republic of China has not pursued its claims on the mainland and in Mongolia. The current DPP Administration has adopted a policy of separating the state's identity from "China", while moving towards identifying the state as "Taiwan". The ROC has not made formal moves to change the name, flag, or national anthem of the state to reflect a Taiwan identity due to pressure from the United States and the fear of invasion or military action from the People's Republic of China against the island. The People's Republic of China claims to have succeeded the Republic of China as the sole legitimate governing authority of all of China, which, from the official viewpoint of People's Republic of China, includes the island of Taiwan. Over the last 50 years, both the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China have used diplomatic and economic means to compete for recognition in the international arena. Due to the fact that most international, intergovernmental organizations observe the One-China policy of the People's Republic of China, the PRC has been able to pressure organizations, such as the World Health Organization and the International Olympic Committee, to refuse official recognition of the Republic of China. Due to the One-China policy, states around the world are pressured to refuse or to cut off diplomatic relations with the Republic of China. As a result, 24 U.N. member states currently maintain official diplomatic relations with the Republic of China while the majority of the U.N. member states maintain official diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China.

Geography Location: Eastern Asia, bordering the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea, between North Korea and Vietnam
Geographic coordinates: 35 00 N, 105 00 E
Map references: Asia
Area: total: 9,596,960 sq km
land: 9,326,410 sq km
water: 270,550 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than the US
Land boundaries: total: 22,117 km
border countries: Afghanistan 76 km, Bhutan 470 km, Burma 2,185 km, India 3,380 km, Kazakhstan 1,533 km, North Korea 1,416 km, Kyrgyzstan 858 km, Laos 423 km, Mongolia 4,677 km, Nepal 1,236 km, Pakistan 523 km, Russia (northeast) 3,605 km, Russia (northwest) 40 km, Tajikistan 414 km, Vietnam 1,281 km
regional borders: Hong Kong 30 km, Macau 0.34 km
Coastline: 14,500 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate: extremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in north
Terrain: mostly mountains, high plateaus, deserts in west; plains, deltas, and hills in east
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Turpan Pendi -154 m
highest point: Mount Everest 8,850 m
Natural resources: coal, iron ore, petroleum, natural gas, mercury, tin, tungsten, antimony, manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, magnetite, aluminum, lead, zinc, uranium, hydropower potential (world's largest)
Land use: arable land: 14.86%
permanent crops: 1.27%
other: 83.87% (2005)
Irrigated land: 545,960 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 2,829.6 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 549.76 cu km/yr (7%/26%/68%)
per capita: 415 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: frequent typhoons (about five per year along southern and eastern coasts); damaging floods; tsunamis; earthquakes; droughts; land subsidence
Environment - current issues: air pollution (greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide particulates) from reliance on coal produces acid rain; water shortages, particularly in the north; water pollution from untreated wastes; deforestation; estimated loss of one-fifth of agricultural land since 1949 to soil erosion and economic development; desertification; trade in endangered species
Environment - international agreements: party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: world's fourth largest country (after Russia, Canada, and US); Mount Everest on the border with Nepal is the world's tallest peak
Politics

Chinese nationalism has drawn from extremely diverse ideological sources including traditional Chinese thinking, American progressivism, Marxism, and Russian ethnological thought. The ideology also presents itself in many different and often conflicting manifestations. These manifestations have included the Three Principles of the People, the Communist Party of China, the anti-government views of students in the Tiananmen protests of 1989, Fascist blueshirts, and Japanese collaborationism under Wang Jingwei.

Although Chinese nationalists have agreed on the desirability of a centralized Chinese state, almost every other question has been the subject of intense and sometime bitter debate. Among the questions on which Chinese nationalists have disagreed is what policies would lead to a strong China, what is the structure of the state and its goal, what the relationship should be between China and foreign powers, and what should be the relationships between the majority Han Chinese, minority groups, and overseas Chinese.

The vast variation in how Chinese nationalism has been expressed has been noted by many commentators including Lucian Pye who argues that this reveals a lack of content in the Chinese identity. However, others have argued that the ability of Chinese nationalism to manifest itself in many forms is a positive trait in that it allows the ideology to transform itself in response to internal crises and external events.

Although the variations among conceptions of Chinese nationalism are great, Chinese nationalist groups maintain some similarities. Chinese nationalistic ideologies all regard Sun Yat-Sen very highly, and tend to claim to be ideological heirs of the Three Principles of the People. In addition, Chinese nationalistic ideologies tend to regard both democracy and science as positive forces, although they often have radically different notions of what democracy means.

People Population: 1,321,851,888 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 20.4% (male 143,527,634/female 126,607,344)
15-64 years: 71.7% (male 487,079,770/female 460,596,384)
65 years and over: 7.9% (male 49,683,856/female 54,356,900) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 33.2 years
male: 32.7 years
female: 33.7 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.606% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 13.45 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 7 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.39 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.11 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.134 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.057 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.914 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 22.12 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 20.01 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 24.47 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 72.88 years
male: 71.13 years
female: 74.82 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.75 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.1% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 840,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 44,000 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria
water contact disease: leptospirosis
animal contact disease: rabies
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2008)
Nationality: noun: Chinese (singular and plural)
adjective: Chinese
Ethnic groups: Han Chinese 91.9%, Zhuang, Uygur, Hui, Yi, Tibetan, Miao, Manchu, Mongol, Buyi, Korean, and other nationalities 8.1%
Religions: Daoist (Taoist), Buddhist, Christian 3%-4%, Muslim 1%-2%
note: officially atheist (2002 est.)
Languages: Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages (see Ethnic groups entry)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 90.9%
male: 95.1%
female: 86.5% (2000 census)
Government Country name: conventional long form: People's Republic of China
conventional short form: China
local long form: Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo
local short form: Zhongguo
abbreviation: PRC
Government type: Communist state
Capital: name: Beijing
geographic coordinates: 39 55 N, 116 23 E
time difference: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
note: despite its size, all of China falls within one time zone
Administrative divisions: 23 provinces (sheng, singular and plural), 5 autonomous regions (zizhiqu, singular and plural), and 4 municipalities (shi, singular and plural)
provinces: Anhui, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang; (see note on Taiwan)
autonomous regions: Guangxi, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Xinjiang Uygur, Xizang (Tibet)
municipalities: Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, Tianjin
note: China considers Taiwan its 23rd province; see separate entries for the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau
Independence: 221 BC (unification under the Qin or Ch'in Dynasty); 1 January 1912 (Manchu Dynasty replaced by a Republic); 1 October 1949 (People's Republic established)
National holiday: Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China, 1 October (1949)
Constitution: most recent promulgation 4 December 1982
Legal system: based on civil law system; derived from Soviet and continental civil code legal principles; legislature retains power to interpret statutes; constitution ambiguous on judicial review of legislation; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President HU Jintao (since 15 March 2003); Vice President ZENG Qinghong (since 15 March 2003)
head of government: Premier WEN Jiabao (since 16 March 2003); Vice Premier WU Yi (17 March 2003), Vice Premier ZENG Peiyan (since 17 March 2003), and Vice Premier HUI Liangyu (since 17 March 2003)
cabinet: State Council appointed by the National People's Congress (NPC)
elections: president and vice president elected by the National People's Congress for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); elections last held 15-17 March 2003 (next to be held in mid-March 2008); premier nominated by the president, confirmed by the National People's Congress
election results: HU Jintao elected president by the 10th National People's Congress with a total of 2,937 votes (4 delegates voted against him, 4 abstained, and 38 did not vote); ZENG Qinghong elected vice president by the 10th National People's Congress with a total of 2,578 votes (177 delegates voted against him, 190 abstained, and 38 did not vote); 2 seats were vacant
Legislative branch: unicameral National People's Congress or Quanguo Renmin Daibiao Dahui (2,987 seats; members elected by municipal, regional, and provincial people's congresses, and People's Liberation Army to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held December 2007-February 2008; date of next election - NA
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - 2,987
Judicial branch: Supreme People's Court (judges appointed by the National People's Congress); Local People's Courts (comprise higher, intermediate, and basic courts); Special People's Courts (primarily military, maritime, railway transportation, and forestry courts)
Political parties and leaders: Chinese Communist Party or CCP [HU Jintao]; eight registered small parties controlled by CCP
Political pressure groups and leaders: no substantial political opposition groups exist, although the government has identified the Falungong spiritual movement and the China Democracy Party as subversive groups
International organization participation: ADB, AfDB, APEC, APT, Arctic Council (observer), ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), BIS, CDB, EAS, FAO, G-24 (observer), G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, MONUC, NAM (observer), NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), SCO, UN, UN Security Council, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMEE, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNMIT, UNOCI, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador ZHOU Wenzhong
chancery: 2300 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 328-2500
FAX: [1] (202) 328-2582
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Clark T. RANDT, Jr.
embassy: Xiu Shui Bei Jie 3, 100600 Beijing
mailing address: PSC 461, Box 50, FPO AP 96521-0002
telephone: [86] (10) 6532-3831
FAX: [86] (10) 6532-3178
consulate(s) general: Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macau, Shanghai, Shenyang
Flag description: red with a large yellow five-pointed star and four smaller yellow five-pointed stars (arranged in a vertical arc toward the middle of the flag) in the upper hoist-side corner
Culture

Confucianism was the official philosophy throughout most of Imperial China's history, and mastery of Confucian texts was the primary criterion for entry into the imperial bureaucracy. China's traditional values were derived from various versions of Confucianism. A number of more authoritarian strains of thought have also been influential, such as Legalism. There was often conflict between the philosophies, e.g. the Song Dynasty Neo-Confucians believed Legalism departed from the original spirit of Confucianism. Examinations and a culture of merit remain greatly valued in China today. In recent years, a number of New Confucians (not to be confused with Neo-Confucianism) have advocated that democratic ideals and human rights are quite compatible with traditional Confucian "Asian values".[21]

With the rise of Western economic and military power beginning in the mid-19th century, non-Chinese systems of social and political organization gained adherents in China. Some of these would-be reformers totally rejected China's cultural legacy, while others sought to combine the strengths of Chinese and Western cultures. In essence, the history of 20th century China is one of experimentation with new systems of social, political, and economic organization that would allow for the reintegration of the nation in the wake of dynastic collapse.
See also: Chinese law, Chinese philosophy, and Confucianism

Arts, scholarship, and literature

Chinese characters have had many variants and styles throughout Chinese history. Tens of thousands of ancient written documents are still extant, from Oracle bones to Qing edicts. This literary emphasis affected the general perception of cultural refinement in China, e.g. the view that calligraphy was a higher art form than painting or drama. Manuscripts of the Classics and religious texts (mainly Confucian, Taoist, and Buddhist) were handwritten by ink brush. Calligraphy later became commercialized, and works by famous artists became prized possessions.

Chinese literature has a long past; the earliest classic work in Chinese, the I Ching or "Book of Changes" dates to around 1000 BCE. A flourishing of philosophy during the Warring States Period produced such noteworthy works as Confucius's Analects and Laozi's Tao Te Ching. (See also the Chinese classics.) Dynastic histories were often written, beginning with Sima Qian's seminal Records of the Historian written from 109 BCE to 91 BCE. The Tang Dynasty witnessed a poetic flowering, while the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature were written during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

Printmaking in the form of movable type was developed during the Song Dynasty. Academies of scholars sponsored by the empire were formed to comment on the classics in both printed and handwritten form. Royalty frequently participated in these discussions as well. The Song Dynasty was also a period of great scientific literature, such as Su Song's Xin Yixiang Fayao and Shen Kuo's Dream Pool Essays. There were also enormous works of historiography and large encyclopedias, such as Sima Guang's Zizhi Tongjian of 1084 CE or the Four Great Books of Song fully compiled and edited by the 11th century.

For centuries, economic and social advancement in China could be provided by high performance on the imperial examinations. This led to a meritocracy, although it was available only to males who could afford test preparation. Imperial examinations required applicants to write essays and demonstrate mastery of the Confucian classics. Those who passed the highest level of the exam became elite scholar-officials known as jinshi, a highly esteemed socio-economic position.

Chinese philosophers, writers and poets were highly respected and played key roles in preserving and promoting the culture of the empire. Some classical scholars, however, were noted for their daring depictions of the lives of the common people, often to the displeasure of authorities.

The Chinese invented numerous musical instruments, such as the zheng (zither with movable bridges), qin (bridgeless zither), sheng (free reed mouth organ), and xiao (vertical flute) and adopted and developed others such the erhu (alto fiddle or bowed lute) and pipa (pear-shaped plucked lute), many of which have later spread throughout East Asia and Southeast Asia, particularly to Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.

Economy Economy - overview: China's economy during the last quarter century has changed from a centrally planned system that was largely closed to international trade to a more market-oriented economy that has a rapidly growing private sector and is a major player in the global economy. Reforms started in the late 1970s with the phasing out of collectivized agriculture, and expanded to include the gradual liberalization of prices, fiscal decentralization, increased autonomy for state enterprises, the foundation of a diversified banking system, the development of stock markets, the rapid growth of the non-state sector, and the opening to foreign trade and investment. China has generally implemented reforms in a gradualist or piecemeal fashion, including the sale of minority shares in four of China's largest state banks to foreign investors and refinements in foreign exchange and bond markets in 2005. After keeping its currency tightly linked to the US dollar for years, China in July 2005 revalued its currency by 2.1% against the US dollar and moved to an exchange rate system that references a basket of currencies. Cumulative appreciation of the renminbi against the US dollar since the end of the dollar peg reached 15% in January 2008. The restructuring of the economy and resulting efficiency gains have contributed to a more than tenfold increase in GDP since 1978. Measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis, China in 2007 stood as the second-largest economy in the world after the US, although in per capita terms the country is still lower middle-income. Annual inflows of foreign direct investment in 2007 rose to $75 billion. By the end of 2007, more than 5,000 domestic Chinese enterprises had established direct investments in 172 countries and regions around the world. The Chinese government faces several economic development challenges: (a) to sustain adequate job growth for tens of millions of workers laid off from state-owned enterprises, migrants, and new entrants to the work force; (b) to reduce corruption and other economic crimes; and (c) to contain environmental damage and social strife related to the economy's rapid transformation. Economic development has been more rapid in coastal provinces than in the interior, and approximately 200 million rural laborers have relocated to urban areas to find work. One demographic consequence of the "one child" policy is that China is now one of the most rapidly aging countries in the world. Deterioration in the environment - notably air pollution, soil erosion, and the steady fall of the water table, especially in the north - is another long-term problem. China continues to lose arable land because of erosion and economic development. In 2007 China intensified government efforts to improve environmental conditions, tying the evaluation of local officials to environmental targets, publishing a national climate change policy, and establishing a high level leading group on climate change, headed by Premier WEN Jiabao. The Chinese government seeks to add energy production capacity from sources other than coal and oil as its double-digit economic growth increases demand. Chinese energy officials in 2007 agreed to purchase five third generation nuclear reactors from Western companies. More power generating capacity came on line in 2006 as large scale investments - including the Three Gorges Dam across the Yangtze River - were completed.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $7.043 trillion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $3.249 trillion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 11.4% (official data) (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $5,300 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 11.7%
industry: 49.2%
services: 39.1%
note: industry includes construction (2007 est.)
Labor force: 803.3 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 43%
industry: 25%
services: 32% (2006 est.)
Unemployment rate: 4% unemployment in urban areas; substantial unemployment and underemployment in rural areas (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line: 8%
note: 21.5 million rural population live below the official "absolute poverty" line (approximately $90 per year); and an additional 35.5 million rural population above that but below the official "low income" line (approximately $125 per year) (2006 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.6%
highest 10%: 34.9% (2004)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 47 (2007)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4.7% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 42.2% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $640.6 billion
expenditures: $634.6 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt: 18.9% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products: rice, wheat, potatoes, corn, peanuts, tea, millet, barley, apples, cotton, oilseed; pork; fish
Industries: mining and ore processing, iron, steel, aluminum, and other metals, coal; machine building; armaments; textiles and apparel; petroleum; cement; chemicals; fertilizers; consumer products, including footwear, toys, and electronics; food processing; transportation equipment, including automobiles, rail cars and locomotives, ships, and aircraft; telecommunications equipment, commercial space launch vehicles, satellites
Industrial production growth rate: 12.9% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production: 3.256 trillion kWh (2007)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 80.2%
hydro: 18.5%
nuclear: 1.2%
other: 0.1% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 2.859 trillion kWh (2006)
Electricity - exports: 11.27 billion kWh (2006)
Electricity - imports: 5.39 billion kWh (2006)
Oil - production: 3.73 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - consumption: 6.93 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - exports: 79,060 bbl/day (2007)
Oil - imports: 3.19 million bbl/day (2007)
Oil - proved reserves: 12.8 billion bbl (2007 est.)
Natural gas - production: 58.6 billion cu m (2006 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 55.6 billion cu m (2006 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 2.874 billion cu m (2006)
Natural gas - imports: 976 million cu m (2006)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 2.45 trillion cu m (2006 est.)
Current account balance: $363.3 billion (2007 est.)
Exports: $1.221 trillion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: machinery, electrical products, data processing equipment, apparel, textile, steel, mobile phones
Exports - partners: US 21%, Hong Kong 16%, Japan 9.5%, South Korea 4.6%, Germany 4.2% (2006)
Imports: $917.4 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, oil and mineral fuels, plastics, LED screens, data processing equipment, optical and medical equipment, organic chemicals, steel, copper
Imports - partners: Japan 14.6%, South Korea 11.3%, Taiwan 10.9%, US 7.5%, Germany 4.8% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: $1.641 billion (FY07)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $1.493 trillion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external: $363 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $758.9 billion (2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $93.75 billion ( 2007 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $4.477 trillion (31 December 2007 est.)
Currency (code): Renminbi (RMB); note - also referred to by the unit yuan (CNY)
Currency code: CNY
Exchange rates: yuan per US dollar - 7.61 (2007), 7.97 (2006), 8.1943 (2005), 8.2768 (2004), 8.277 (2003)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 368 million (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 461.1 million (2006)
Telephone system: general assessment: domestic and international services are increasingly available for private use; unevenly distributed domestic system serves principal cities, industrial centers, and many towns; China continues to develop its telecommunications infrastructure, and is partnering with foreign providers to expand its global reach; 3 of China's 6 major telecommunications operators are part of an international consortium which, in December 2006, signed an agreement with Verizon Business to build the first next-generation fiber optic submarine cable system directly linking the US mainland and China
domestic: interprovincial fiber-optic trunk lines and cellular telephone systems have been installed; mobile-cellular subscribership is increasing rapidly; the number of internet users reached 162 million in 2007; a domestic satellite system with 55 earth stations is in place
international: country code - 86; a number of submarine cables provide connectivity to Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the US; satellite earth stations - 5 Intelsat (4 Pacific Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean), 1 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean region) and 1 Inmarsat (Pacific and Indian Ocean regions) (2007)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 369, FM 259, shortwave 45 (1998)
Radios: 417 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 3,240 (of which 209 are operated by China Central Television, 31 are provincial TV stations, and nearly 3,000 are local city stations) (1997)
Televisions: 400 million (1997)
Internet country code: .cn
Internet hosts: 10.637 million (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 3 (2000)
Internet users: 162 million (2007)
Transportation Airports: 467 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 403
over 3,047 m: 58
2,438 to 3,047 m: 128
1,524 to 2,437 m: 130
914 to 1,523 m: 20
under 914 m: 67 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 64
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 13
914 to 1,523 m: 17
under 914 m: 26 (2007)
Heliports: 35 (2007)
Pipelines: gas 26,344 km; oil 17,240 km; refined products 6,106 km (2007)
Railways: total: 75,438 km
standard gauge: 75,438 km 1.435-m gauge (20,151 km electrified) (2005)
Roadways: total: 1,870,661 km
paved: 1,515,797 km (with at least 34,288 km of expressways)
unpaved: 354,864 km (2004)
Waterways: 124,000 km navigable (2006)
Merchant marine: total: 1,775 ships (1000 GRT or over) 22,219,786 GRT/33,819,636 DWT
by type: barge carrier 3, bulk carrier 415, cargo 689, carrier 3, chemical tanker 62, combination ore/oil 2, container 157, liquefied gas 35, passenger 8, passenger/cargo 84, petroleum tanker 250, refrigerated cargo 33, roll on/roll off 9, specialized tanker 8, vehicle carrier 17
foreign-owned: 12 (Ecuador 1, Greece 1, Hong Kong 6, Japan 2, South Korea 1, Norway 1)
registered in other countries: 1,366 (Bahamas 9, Bangladesh 1, Belize 107, Bermuda 10, Bolivia 1, Cambodia 166, Cyprus 10, France 5, Georgia 4, Germany 2, Honduras 3, Hong Kong 309, India 1, Indonesia 2, Liberia 32, Malaysia 1, Malta 13, Marshall Islands 3, Mongolia 3, Norway 47, Panama 473, Philippines 2, Sierra Leone 8, Singapore 19, St Vincent and The Grenadines 106, Thailand 1, Turkey 1, Tuvalu 25, unknown 33) (2007)
Ports and terminals: Dalian, Guangzhou, Ningbo, Qingdao, Qinhuangdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin
Military Military branches: People's Liberation Army (PLA): Ground Forces, Navy (includes marines and naval aviation), Air Force (includes airborne forces), and Second Artillery Corps (strategic missile force); People's Armed Police (PAP); Reserve and Militia Forces (2006)
Military service age and obligation: 18-22 years of age for selective compulsory military service, with 24-month service obligation; no minimum age for voluntary service (all officers are volunteers); 18-19 years of age for women high school graduates who meet requirements for specific military jobs (2007)
Manpower available for military service: males age 18-49: 342,956,265
females age 18-49: 324,701,244 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 18-49: 281,240,272
females age 18-49: 269,025,517 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually: males age 18-49: 13,186,433
females age 18-49: 12,298,149 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 4.3% (2006)
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: based on principles drafted in 2005, China and India continue discussions to resolve all aspects of their extensive boundary and territorial disputes together with a security and foreign policy dialogue to consolidate discussions related to the boundary, regional nuclear proliferation, and other matters; recent talks and confidence-building measures have begun to defuse tensions over Kashmir, site of the world's largest and most militarized territorial dispute with portions under the de facto administration of China (Aksai Chin), India (Jammu and Kashmir), and Pakistan (Azad Kashmir and Northern Areas); India does not recognize Pakistan's ceding historic Kashmir lands to China in 1964; lacking any treaty describing the boundary, Bhutan and China continue negotiations to establish a boundary alignment to resolve substantial cartographic discrepancies, the largest of which lies in Bhutan's northwest; China asserts sovereignty over the Spratly Islands together with Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, and possibly Brunei; the 2002 "Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea" eased tensions in the Spratly's but is not the legally binding "code of conduct" sought by some parties; Vietnam and China continue to expand construction of facilities in the Spratly's and in March 2005, the national oil companies of China, the Philippines, and Vietnam signed a joint accord on marine seismic activities in the Spratly Islands; China occupies some of the Paracel Islands also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan; China and Taiwan continue to reject both Japan's claims to the uninhabited islands of Senkaku-shoto (Diaoyu Tai) and Japan's unilaterally declared equidistance line in the East China Sea, the site of intensive hydrocarbon prospecting; certain islands in the Yalu and Tumen rivers are in dispute with North Korea; China seeks to stem illegal migration of North Koreans; China and Russia have demarcated the once disputed islands at the Amur and Ussuri confluence and in the Argun River in accordance with their 2004 Agreement; in 2006, China and Tajikistan pledged to commence demarcation of the revised boundary agreed to in the delimitation of 2002; demarcation of the China-Vietnam land boundary proceeds slowly and although the maritime boundary delimitation and fisheries agreements were ratified in June 2004, implementation remains stalled; in 2004, international environmentalist and political pressure from Burma and Thailand prompted China to halt construction of 13 dams on the Salween River
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 300,897 (Vietnam), estimated 30,000-50,000 (North Korea)
IDPs: 90,000 (2006)
Trafficking in persons: current situation: China is a source, transit, and destination country for women, men, and children trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor; the majority of trafficking in China is internal, but there is also international trafficking of Chinese citizens; women are lured through false promises of legitimate employment into commercial sexual exploitation in Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan; Chinese men and women are smuggled to countries throughout the world at enormous personal expense and then forced into commercial sexual exploitation or exploitative labor to repay debts to traffickers; women and children are trafficked into China from Mongolia, Burma, North Korea, Russia, and Vietnam for forced labor, marriage, and sexual slavery; most North Koreans enter northeastern China voluntarily, but others reportedly are trafficked into China from North Korea; domestic trafficking remains the most significant problem in China, with an estimated minimum of 10,000-20,000 victims trafficked each year; the actual number of victims could be much greater; some experts believe that the serious and prolonged imbalance in the male-female birth ratio may now be contributing to Chinese and foreign girls and women being trafficked as potential brides
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - China failed to show evidence of increasing efforts to address transnational trafficking; while the government provides reasonable protection to internal victims of trafficking, protection for Chinese and foreign victims of transnational trafficking remain inadequate
Illicit drugs: major transshipment point for heroin produced in the Golden Triangle region of Southeast Asia; growing domestic drug abuse problem; source country for chemical precursors, despite new regulations on its large chemical industry