China, officially the People's Republic of China, is a sovereign state located in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population of over 1.35 billion. Wikipedia Capital: Beijing
Dialing code: 86
Population: 1.344 billion (2011) World Bank
President: Xi Jinping
Government: Communist state, Socialist state, Single-party state Official language: Standard Mandarin
The People of China
Type of Government: Communist state
Languages Spoken: Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghaiese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages (see Ethnic groups entry) 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) Nationality: Chinese (singular and plural)
Religions: Daoist (Taoist), Buddhist, Christian 3%-4%, Muslim 1%-2% National Symbol: dragon
National Anthem or Song: Yiyongjun Jinxingqu (The March of the Volunteers)
China's history is rich with art, politics, science, and philosophy. It is home to the oldest of the major world civilizations.
China was ruled by various dynasties for much of its history. The first dynasty is believed to be the Xia dynasty which formed somewhere around 2000 BC. The Shang or Yin dynasty gained power around the 11th century BC. The Han Dynasty, which lasted over 400 years from 206 BC to 220 AD, was one of the most influential in China's history. Much of the culture today was created during the Han Dynasty. Later famous dynasties, like the Song and the Tang, continued to refine the culture and bring new innovations to the world including printed money, a permanent navy, and a government that ruled over 100 million people.
The last of the great dynasties began in 1644. The Ming dynasty was in power, but was overthrown by the Manchus who put the Qing dynasty into power. During the Qing dynasty western influences and European trade and wars began to weaken China. Britain gained control of Hong Kong after the Opium Wars.
In the early 1900s the people of China began to want reform. Revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen created the Chinese Nationalist Peoples Party, also called the KMT or Kuomintang. This was a communist party and was allied with the Soviet Union. After Sun Yat-sen died, Chiang Kai-shek became leader of the party. Chiang turned on the leaders of the CCP, the communist party, and had many of them killed. A new leader, Mao Zedong took over the communists and led the CCP on a famous ?Long March? to a distant area of China. There they regrouped and eventually would force Chiang Kai-shek out of China and to the island of Taiwan.
Mao Zedong established the Peoples Republic of China on October 1, 1949. They were strongly allied with the Soviet Union and modeled the government after Soviet communism.
In 1958, Mao Zedong embarked on a new plan called the Great Leap Forward. Unfortunately this plan backfired and China experienced a terrible famine including much starvation and death. Over the next several decades China would struggle with political reforms and economic policy, slowly recovering and becoming a major world power again.
Under the communist system, religion has been officially discouraged in China. Actual suppression has varied from one religion to another, and from year to year. Many Chinese are nominally Buddhist and/or Taoist, but don't practice regularly. People who self-identify as Buddhist total about 50 per cent, overlapping with the 30 per cent who are Taoist. Fourteen percent are atheists, four percent Christians, 1.5 per cent Moslems, and tiny percentages are Hindu, Bon, or Falun Gong adherents. Most Chinese Buddhists follow Mahayana or Pure Land Buddhism, with smaller...
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