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China - Country facts

Map

Small map of China
Click for a larger map

Flag

Country flag: China

Capital

Beijing

Currency

yuan (CNY)
note::

Internet Code

.cn

Location

Eastern Asia, bordering the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea, between North Korea and Vietnam

Background

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.

Climate

extremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in north

Terrain

mostly mountains, high plateaus, deserts in west; plains, deltas, and hills in east

Population

1,306,313,812 (July 2005 est.)

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, Muslim 1%-2%, Christian 3%-4%
note: officially atheist (2002 est.)

Languages

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)

Map of China

Large map of China
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