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China (Chinese: 中国; pinyin: Zhōngguó; literally: 'Central State'), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion in 2017. Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third or fourth largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

China emerged as one of the world's first civilizations, in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. For millennia, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies, or dynasties, beginning with the semi-legendary Xia dynasty in 21st century BCE. Since then, China has expanded, fractured, and re-unified numerous times. In the 3rd century BCE, the Qin reunited core China and established the first Chinese empire. The succeeding Han dynasty, which ruled from 206 BCE until 220 CE, saw some of the most advanced technology at that time, including papermaking and the compass, along with agricultural and medical improvements. The invention of gunpowder and movable type in the Tang dynasty (618–907) and Northern Song (960–1127) completed the Four Great Inventions. Tang culture spread widely in Asia, as the new Silk Route brought traders to as far as Mesopotamia and the Horn of Africa. Dynastic rule ended in 1912 with the Xinhai Revolution, when the Republic of China (ROC) replaced the Qing dynasty. China as a whole was ravaged by feudal warlordism and Japan during World War II. The subsequent Chinese Civil War resulted in a division of territory in 1949, when the Communist Party of China led by Mao Zedong established the People's Republic of China, on mainland China while the Kuomintang-led nationalist government retreated to the island of Taiwan. The political status of Taiwan remains disputed to this day.

China is a unitary one-party socialist republic and is one of the few remaining countries openly endorsing communism. Political dissidents, human rights groups and independent outside observers have denounced and criticized the Chinese government of human rights abuses, suppression of religious and ethnic minorities, censorship and mass surveillance. The Chinese government has responded to this criticism by arguing that the right to subsistence and economic development is a prerequisite to other types of human rights, and that the notion of human rights should take into account a country's present level of economic development.

Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China's economy has been one of the world's fastest-growing with annual growth rates consistently above 6 percent. According to the World Bank, China's GDP grew from $150 billion in 1978 to $12.24 trillion by 2017. According to official data, China's GDP in 2018 was 90 trillion Yuan ($13.28 trillion). Since 2010, China has been the world's second-largest economy by nominal GDP and since 2014, the largest economy in the world by purchasing power parity (PPP). China is also the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army, the People's Liberation Army, and second-largest defense budget. The PRC is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as it replaced the ROC in 1971, as well as an active global partner of ASEAN Plus mechanism. China is also a leading member of numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), WTO, APEC, BRICS, the BCIM, and the G20. China has been characterized as an emerging superpower, mainly because of its massive population, economy, and military. Read more...

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The July 2009 Ürümqi riots were a series of violent riots over several days that broke out on 5 July 2009 in Ürümqi, the capital city of Xinjiang, China. Protests calling for a full investigation into the Shaoguan incident, a brawl in southern China several days earlier in which two Uyghurs had been killed, escalated into violence. During the first day's rioting mainly Han ("ethnic Chinese") were targeted; two days later hundreds of Han people gathered and clashed with both police and Uyghurs. Chinese officials said that a total of 197 people died, with 1,721 others injured and considerable damage to property; Uyghur groups say the death toll is higher than officially disclosed. Human Rights Watch documented numerous cases of arrests and disappearances in the wake of the riots. Rioting began when the police confronted the march, but observers disagree on what caused the protests to become violent. The Chinese central government alleges that the riots themselves were planned from abroad by the World Uyghur Congress and its leader Rebiya Kadeer, while Kadeer denies fomenting the violence in her struggle for her people's right to self-determination. Uyghur groups claim that the escalation was caused by the police's use of excessive force. Chinese media coverage of the Ürümqi riots was extensive.

Diagram of bracket and cantilever arms from the building manual Yingzao Fashi (published in 1103) of the Song Dynasty

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Henan cuisine, also known as Yu cuisine, is derived from the native cooking styles of Henan Province in China. It is a cross between Jiangsu cuisine, with which it shares the trait of selecting ingredients according to the four seasons, and to a lesser extent, Beijing cuisine, from which it adopted many cooking methods. The result is that Henan dishes are very seasonal, and taste lighter in comparison to Beijing cuisine, similar to Jiangsu cuisine.

Some characteristics of Henan cuisine include: Read more...

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Central Pier 9, Hong Kong
Credit: Baycrest

Central Pier 9 and the skyline of Hong Kong at night.

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Laozi (also Lao-Tzu or Lao-tze) was a philosopher and poet of ancient China. He is best known as the reputed author of the Tao Te Ching and the founder of philosophical Taoism, but he is also revered as a deity in religious Taoism and traditional Chinese religions. Although a legendary figure, he is usually dated to around the 6th century BC and reckoned a contemporary of Confucius, but some historians contend that he actually lived during the Warring States period of the 5th or 4th century BC. A central figure in Chinese culture, Laozi is claimed by both the emperors of the Tang dynasty and modern people of the Li surname as a founder of their lineage. Throughout history, Laozi's work has been embraced by various anti-authoritarian movements.

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China's Politics

Emblem of the Communist Party of China
Xi Jinping

The General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, officially General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, is head of the Communist Party of China and the highest-ranking official within China, a standing member of the Politburo and head of the Secretariat. The officeholder is usually considered the paramount leader of China.

According to the Constitution, the General Secretary serves as an ex officio member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China's de facto top decision-making body. Since the early 1990s, the holder of the post has been, except for transitional periods, the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, making the holder the Commander-in-chief of the People's Liberation Army.

The current General Secretary is Xi Jinping (picture), who took the office at the 18th National Congress on 15 November 2012.

National Emblem of the Republic of China
Tsai Ing-wen

The President of the Republic of China is the head of state of the Republic of China (ROC).

The Constitution names the president as head of state and commander-in-chief of the Republic of China Armed Forces (formerly known as the National Revolutionary Army). The president is responsible for conducting foreign relations, such as concluding treaties, declaring war, and making peace. The president must promulgate all laws and has no right to veto. Other powers of the president include granting amnesty, pardon or clemency, declaring martial law, and conferring honors and decorations.

The current President is Tsai Ing-wen (picture), since May 20, 2016. The first woman to be elected to the office, Tsai is the seventh president of the Republic of China under the 1947 Constitution and the second president from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Wikipedias in languages found in China

粵語 / 广东话 (Cantonese)           古文 / 文言文 (Classical Chinese)           赣语 (Gan)           Hak-kâ-fa (Hakka)           قازاق تىلى (Kazakh)           中文 / 普通话 (Mandarin) (Now unable to access in China Mainland because of the GFW)           闽东语 (Min Dong)           闽南语 (Min-nan)           བོད་ཡིག (Tibetan)           ئۇيغۇرچە (Uyghur)           吴语 (Wu)           Sawcuengh (Zhuang)

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