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از ویکی‌پدیا، دانشنامهٔ آزاد
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مختصات: ۳۵° شمالی ۱۰۳° شرقی / ۳۵°شمالی ۱۰۳°شرقی / 35; 103

جمهوری خلق چین
中华人民共和国
نشان ملی
سرود ملی

پیش‌تاختن داوطلبان
پایتختپکن
۲°۲۰′ شمالی ۱°۴۰′ شرقی / ۲٫۳۳۳°شمالی ۱٫۶۶۷°شرقی / 2.333; 1.667
بزرگترین شهر شانگهای
زبان رسمی زبان ماندارین
نوع حکومت دولت سوسیالیستی تک‌حزبی
نام حاکمان 
رئیس‌جمهور
نخست‌وزیر

شی جین پینگ
لی که چیانگ 
موارد منجر به تشکیل
تأسیس جمهوری خلق چین
۱ اکتبر ۱۹۴۹
مساحت
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روند تاریخی شکل‌گیری کشور چین.
دیوار بزرگ چین در طول دو هزار سال برای محافظت از کشاورزان یکجانشین چین در مقابل عشایر دامدار استپهای شمالی ساخته شد
لشکر سفالین مجموعه از از هزاران مجسمه سنگی به اندازه انسان است که در سال ۲۱۰ پیش از میلاد ساخته شده‌اند.

چین با نام رسمی جمهوری خلق چین (به چینی: 中华人民共和国)، کشوری است که در شرق قاره آسیا واقع شده‌است. این کشور بر اساس فهرست کشورها بر پایه جمعیت با بیش از ۱٬۳ میلیارد نفر سکنه، پرجمعیت‌ترین کشور دنیاست و توسط حزب کمونیست چین در قالب نظام تک‌حزبی اداره می‌شود.[۱] این حزب بر ۲۲ استان، ۵ منطقهٔ خودمختار، ۴ شهر با مدیریت مستقیم (پکن، تیانجین، شانگهای و چونگ‌کینگ) و ۲ منطقهٔ اداری ویژهٔ بسیار خودمختارِ هنگ کنگ و ماکائو حکومت می‌کند. پایتخت کشور پکن است.

جمهوری مردمی چین با حدود ۹٫۶ میلیون کیلومتر مربع سومین یا چهارمین کشور وسیع دنیا و دومین کشور بزرگ دنیا از نظر وسعت خاکی (بدون احتساب آب‌های داخلی) است.[۲]

چین چشم‌انداز طبیعی متنوعی دارد، از استپ‌های جنگلی و بیابان‌هایی چون گبی و تکله‌مکان در ناحیهٔ خشک شمالی نزدیک به مغولستان و سیبری ِ روسیه گرفته تا جنگل‌های زیرگرمسیری در سرزمین‌های مرطوب جنوبی نزدیک به ویتنام، لائوس و برمه. مناطق غربی کشور ناهموار است و رشته‌کوه‌های هیمالیا و تیان شان مرز طبیعی آن را با هند و آسیای میانه ترسیم می‌کنند. در مقابل، نواحی شرقی این کشور کم‌ارتفاع است و با ساحلی به طول ۱۴٫۵۰۰ کیلومتر در جنوب شرقی با دریای جنوب چین و در شرق با دریای شرق چین همسایه‌است که در سوی دیگرش تایوان، کره و ژاپن قرار گرفته‌اند.

تمدن چین باستان یکی از کهن‌ترین تمدن‌های تاریخ است که در سواحل حاصل‌خیز رود زرد که در دشت شمال چین جاری‌ست شکوفا شد.[۳] نظام سیاسی چین بیش از ۶ هزار سال مبتنی بر سلطنت مطلقهٔ موروثی بود. نخستین دودمان پادشاهی این کشور دودمان شیا در حدود ۲ هزار سال پ. م بود. اما نخستین حکومتی که چین را متحد کرد دودمان چه‌این در ۲۲۱ پ. م بود. آخرین دودمان پادشاهی این کشور هم چینگ بود که در ۱۹۱۱ با تشکیل جمهوری چین به رهبری کومینتانگ حزب ملی چین، نابود شد. چین در نیمهٔ اول سدهٔ بیستم میلادی در دریایی از اختلافات و جنگ‌های داخلی غوطه‌ور بود که کشور را به دو اردوگاه سیاسی عمده تقسیم کرده بود؛ کومینتانگ و حزب کمونیست چین. مخاصمات اصلی در ۱۹۴۹ با پیروزی کمونیست‌ها در جنگ داخلی و تأسیس جمهوری مردمی چین در سرزمین اصلی پایان یافت. جمهوری چین به رهبری کومین‌تانگ پایتخت خود را به تایپه در تایوان منتقل کرد و حکومت آن امروزه به تایوان، کینمن، ماتسو و چند جزیره دوردست دیگر محدود شده‌است. از آن هنگام جمهوری مردمی چین و جمهوری چین درگیر اختلافات سیاسی شدیدی با یکدیگر در مورد حق حاکمیت و وضعیت سیاسی تایوان بوده‌اند.

از هنگام اجرای اصلاحات اقتصادی در چین برای پی‌ریزی یک اقتصاد مدرن، چین یکی از سریع‌ترین رشدهای اقتصادی دنیا را داشته‌است. این کشور هم‌اکنون بزرگترین صادرکننده و دومین واردکنندهٔ بزرگ کالا است و دومین اقتصاد بزرگ دنیا بر پایهٔ تولید ناخالص داخلی را در اختیار دارد.[۴] چین عضو دائم شورای امنیت سازمان ملل و سازمان‌های چندجانبه‌ای همچون سازمان تجارت جهانی، اپک، سازمان همکاری شانگهای و گروه ۲۰ است.[۵] چین به عنوان کشوری دارای سلاح هسته‌ای از بزرگترین ارتش دائمی دنیا و دومین بودجه دفاعی بزرگ دنیا برخوردار است. چین از سوی برخی از دانشگاهیان، تحلیل‌گران نظامی، اقتصادی و سیاسی یک ابرقدرت بالقوه لقب گرفته‌است.[۶][۷][۸]

زبان چینی با ۱٬۷۰۰٬۰۰۰٬۰۰۰ نفر گوینده پرشمارترین زبان دنیا به‌شمار می‌رود.[۹]

ریشه نام[ویرایش]

چین از نام «چین شی هوانگ» اولین پادشاه «دودمان چین» که برای اولین بار مناطق کشور چین امروزی را متحد کرد گرفته شده و برخلاف تصور فارسی زبانان یک واژهٔ فارسی نیست و China نیز از همین نام پادشاه مشتق شده و در قرن ۱۳ام میلادی توسط مارکو پولو در اروپا رواج پیدا کرده‌است.[۱۰]

تاریخ[ویرایش]

عصر پیشاتاریخ[ویرایش]

یافته‌های باستان‌شناسی نشان می‌دهد که انسان‌های نخستین از ۲٫۲۴ میلیون تا ۲۵۰ هزار سال پیش در چین سکونت داشتند. در غاری نزدیک پکن فسیل‌هایی از انسان‌ها مربوط به ۶۸۰ تا ۷۸۰ هزار سال پیش کشف شده‌است. این فسیل‌ها متعلق به مرد پکنی هستند که از گونهٔ انسان راست‌قامت بوده و توانایی ساخت آتش را داشت. در همین غار بقایای انسان خردمند (گونهٔ ما) نیز کشف شده که قدمت آن به ۱۱ تا ۱۸ هزار سال پیش از میلاد می‌رسد. برخی از محققان معتقدند شکل اولیه‌ای از نوشتار از حدود ۳ هزار سال پیش از میلاد در چین وجود داشته‌است.

در روایت‌های سنتی چینی نخستین دودمان پادشاهی کشور سیا نام دارد که در حدود ۲۰۷۰ پیش از میلاد پایه‌گذاری شد. مورخان در گذشته این دودمان را افسانه‌ای می‌دانستند اما کشف آثاری از اوایل عصر مفرغ در هِنان موجب شد تردیدهایی در این مورد ایجاد شود. البته هنوز مشخص نیست که آیا این آثار به دودمان سیا مربوط است یا فرهنگ دیگری در همان دوران.

حکومت‌های پادشاهی[ویرایش]

یک نقاشی قرن نوزدهمی که شورش تایپینگ را نشان می‌دهد

دودمان شانگ نخستین دودمان پادشاهی چین است که وجود آن از نظر تاریخ امروزی ثابت شده‌است. خاندان شانگ بین قرن هفدهم تا یازدهم پیش از میلاد بر دشت‌های کنارهٔ رود زرد در شرق چین حکومت می‌کرد. متن‌های نوشته شده بر روی استخوان که مربوط به ۱۲۰۰ پیش از میلاد است قدیمی‌ترین نمونه خط چینی را نشان می‌دهد، که نیای مستقیم حروف چینی امروزی است. پس از شانگ، دودمان جو به قدرت رسید، که بین قرن یازدهم تا پنجم قبل از میلاد حکومت می‌کرد. در این دوران قدرت حکومت مرکزی رفته‌رفته توسط جنگ سالاران زمین‌دار، کاهش یافت و با ضعف دودمان جو، دوران جنگ‌های داخلی ۳۰۰ ساله فرا رسید. بین قرن پنجم تا سوم پیش از میلاد حکومت‌های مستقل متعددی در نقاط مختلف چین سربرآورده و با یکدیگر وارد جنگ شدند. در این دوران هفت حکومت قدرتمند در نقاط مختلف چین وجود داشت که هر یک شاه، وزیران و ارتش خود را داشتند.

دوران جنگ داخلی در سال ۲۲۱ پیش از میلاد به پایان رسید. دودمان چین در این سال، شش پادشاهی دیگر را شکست داد و نخستین دولت متحد چینی را پایه گذاشت. چین شی هوانگ امپراتور این حکومت، خود را «نخستین امپراتور» نامید و اصلاحاتی را در سراسر چین به عمل آورد. او زبان چینی، واحدهای اندازه‌گیری، طول چرخ‌های ارابه‌ها و واحد پول را در سراسر کشور همسان کرد و ساخت دیوار بزرگ چین را آغاز نمود. اما قانون‌گرایی افراطی و حکومت استبدادی او موجب شد، تا شورش‌های گسترده‌ای علیه دودمان چین صورت گرفته و حکومت چین شی هوانگ تی با مرگ او از هم بپاشد. گرچه دوران حکومت این امپراتور تنها ۱۵ سال به طول انجامید، ولی تأثیراتی که وی ایجاد کرد، باعث شده که نام کنونی سرزمین چین، برگرفته از نام این دودمان باشد.

با مرگ چین شی هوانگ در سال ۲۰۶ قبل از میلاد، دودمان هان به قدرت رسیدند و تا سال ۲۲۰ میلادی بر چین حکومت کردند. این دودمان هویت فرهنگی جدیدی را ایجاد کرد که تا به امروز دوام آورده و اغلب مردم سرزمین چین امروزی، خود را از قوم هان می‌نامند. قلمرو این امپراتوری با لشکرکشی‌های متعدد به کره، ویتنام، مغولستان و آسیای میانه گسترش زیادی پیدا کرد و راه ابریشم نیز در آسیای میانه با کمک این سلسله پادشاهی احداث گردید و مکتب فلسفی کنفوسیوس به عنوان ایدئولوژی رسمی دولت انتخاب شد. چین تحت تسلط امپراتوری هان، به بزرگترین اقتصاد دنیا تبدیل شده بود.

با فروپاشی دولت هان، دوران دیگری از جنگ‌های داخلی در چین، آغاز شد و این سرزمین، به سه پادشاهی تقسیم گردید. دودمان سوی در سال ۵۸۱ میلادی چین را متحد کرد، اما با شکست از امپراتوری گوگوریو در جنگ‌های بین سال‌های ۵۹۸ تا ۶۱۴ قدرت این دودمان، رو به کاهش نهاد. در پی انقراض امپراتوری هان، بترتیب دودمان تانگ و دودمان سونگ به قدرت رسیدند و عصر طلایی فناوری و ظهور فرهنگ در چین فرا رسید. شورش آن شی، در قرن هشتم میلادی، به تضعیف دودمان تانگ و قدرت گرفتن دودمان سونگ انجامید. دودمان سونگ نخستین دولت جهان به‌شمار می‌آید، که اقدام به انتشار پول کاغذی نمود و نیروی دریایی دائمی تشکیل داد. در قرن‌های دهم و یازدهم میلادی، جمعیت چین دو برابر شد و برای نخستین بار، از مرز ۱۰۰ میلیون نفر فراتر رفت. این افزایش جمعیت، همگام با توسعه فناوری کشاورزی و تمرکز بر گسترش دامنه جغرافیایی کشت برنج، به نقاط جنوبی و مرکزی چین و تولید محصولات غذایی فراوان، پدید آمد. هنر و فلسفه نیز در دوران سونگ شکوفا شد و شیوه‌های نقاشی منظره و چهره‌نگاری، به اوج کمال و پیچیدگی رسید. در این دودمان مکتب کنفوسیوس دوباره مورد توجه قرار گرفت و این پاسخی به رشد مذهب بودایی در دودمان تانگ بود.

در قرن سیزدهم میلادی چین به تدریج به تصرف امپراتوری مغول درآمد. قوبلای قاآن امپراتور مغول در سال ۱۲۷۱ دودمان یوان را بنیان نهاد و هشت سال بعد سونگ را منقرض کرد. کم و بیش نیمی از جمعیت چین در یورش مغولان نابود شدند. جمعیت چین پیش از حملهٔ مغول به ۱۲۰ میلیون نفر رسیده بود، اما بیست سال بعد، به حدود ۶۰ میلیون نفر کاهش یافت. دهقانی به نام جو یونجانگ در سال ۱۳۶۸ میلادی، امپراتوری مغولان را برانداخت و سلسله مینگ را بنیان نهاد. به این ترتیب عصر طلایی دیگری برای چین فرا رسید. این کشور تحت رهبری دودمان مینگ، به یکی از قدرتمندترین نیروهای دریایی جهان تبدیل شد. در این دوره، اقتصاد چین غنی و متمول گردید و فصلی دیگر از شکوفایی فرهنگ و هنر در سرزمین چین، رقم خورد. در دوران امپراتوری مینگ، ژانگ هی سفرهای اکتشافی را به اقصی نقاط جهان آغاز کرد. در دوران حکومت مینگ، پایتخت چین از شهر نانجینگ به پکن منتقل شد، همچنین فیلسوفانی چون وانگ یانمینگ، مکتب نوکنفوسیوسی را با ادغام مفاهیم فردگرایانه و اخلاق فطری، در تعالیم کنفوسیوس گسترش دادند.

در سال ۱۶۴۴ میلادی پکن به تصرف نیروهای شورشی به رهبری لی جیچنگ درآمد و در پی آن، آخرین امپراتور دودمان مینگ خودکشی کرد و قدرت بدست جیچنگ افتاد، ولی دیری نپایید که دودمان چینگ از قوم منچو، با وو سانگوی؛ از فرماندهان سپاه امپراتوری منقرض شدهٔ مینگ، متحد شدند و حکومت نوپای لی جیچنگ را سرنگون کردند. سپس به شهر پکن یورش برده و آن را پایتخت جدید سلسله چینگ کردند.

دودمان چینگ آخرین حکومت پادشاهی این کشور بود و تا سال ۱۹۱۲ بر چین حکومت کرد. در قرن نوزدهم چینی‌ها دچار جنگی فرسایشی با دو کشور امپریالیستی آن زمان فرانسه و بریتانیا شدند و در جنگ اول تریاک (۱۸۳۹ تا ۱۸۴۲) و جنگ دوم تریاک (۱۸۵۶ تا ۱۸۶۰) شکست خوردند. سپس با امضای معاهده‌ای، سرزمین هنگ کنگ را به بریتانیا واگذار کردند. در فاصله سال‌های ۱۸۹۴ و ۱۸۹۵ جنگ اول چین و ژاپن به وقوع پیوست، که در پی شکست چین، سرزمین تایوان، به ژاپن واگذار شد و شبه جزیره کره نیز از حوزه نفوذ دودمان چینگ خارج گردید.

دودمان چینگ با ناآرامی‌های داخلی نیز روبرو شد، که در پی آن، میلیون‌ها نفر کشته شدند. شورش ناکام تایپینگ یکی از مهمترین این شورش‌ها بود که در دهه‌های ۱۸۵۰ و ۱۸۶۰ ویرانی‌های بسیار در جنوب چین به بار آورد. قرن نوزدهم شاهد آوارگی و مهاجرت‌های گسترده چینی‌ها بود. قحطی بزرگ شمال چین بین سال‌های ۱۸۷۶ تا ۱۸۷۹ جان ۹ تا ۱۳ میلیون نفر را گرفت. در سال ۱۸۹۸ امپراتور گوانگسو، فرمان برقراری حکومت مشروطه را صادر کرد، ولی امپراتریس دواگر سیسی، ملکهٔ بانفوذ چین، جلوی اجرای آن را گرفت. قیام مشت‌زن‌ها در سال‌های ۱۸۹۹ تا ۱۹۰۱ نیز کشور را بیشتر به کام هرج‌ومرج فرو برد. امپراتریس سیسی تلاش کرد با یک برنامه اصلاحی، دودمان چینگ را حفظ کند، اما انقلاب شین‌های در سال‌های ۱۹۱۱ و ۱۹۱۲ به عمر سلسله چینگ خاتمه داد و نخستین حکومت جمهوری را در این کشور برقرار کرد.

جمهوری چین[ویرایش]

سون یات سن «پدر چین مدرن» سیاست‌مدار و رهبرانقلابی چین در براندازی دودمان چینگ در انقلاب سال ۱۹۱۱ بود. در اوایل سال ۱۹۱۱ نیروهای انقلابی به رهبری سون یات سن بر امپراتوری منچو پیروز شدند. وقتی جمهوری چین در سال ۱۹۱۲ تأسیس شد سون یات سن اولین رئیس‌جمهور چین شد. او کومینتانگ (حزب ملی) را تأسیس کرد و تا سال ۱۹۲۱ رهبر این حزب بود. سون یات سن در سال ۱۹۲۱ در گذشت.

در سال ۱۹۱۵ ریاست‌جمهوری به یوان شیکای از فرماندهان سابق ارتش چینگ رسید. وی خود را امپراتور چین خواند اما با طغیان عمومی و مخالفت ارتش خودش روبرو شد. شیکای خیلی زود ناچار به استعفا شده و نظام جمهوری دوباره برقرار شد. با مرگ شیکای در سال ۱۹۱۶ وضعیت کشور بسیار به‌هم‌ریخته بود. دولت مستقر در پکن از نظٰر بین‌المللی دولت چین محسوب می‌شد اما تقریباً هیچ‌کاره بود و بیشتر کشور تحت حکومت جنگ سالاران مختلف بود. در اواخر دهه ۱۹۲۰ کومین‌تانگ به رهبری چیانگ کای شک با تلفیقی از عملیات‌های نظامی و مانورهای سیاسی زیرکانه کشور را دوباره متحد کرده و تحت تسلط خود درآورد. کومین‌تانگ پایتخت کشور را به نانجینگ منتقل کرده و اعلام «قیمومیت سیاسی» کرد. این اصطلاح به یک دوره انتقالی برای توسعه سیاسی گفته می‌شد که در برنامهٔ سون یات سن برای تبدیل چین به یک دولت دمکراتیک مدرن مطرح شده بود.

به قدرت رسیدن کمونیست‌ها[ویرایش]

چیان کای شک و مائو پیروزی در جنگ جهانی را جشن می‌گیرند
مائو در سال ۱۹۴۹ تأسیس جمهوری مردمی چین را اعلام می‌کند.

حزب کمونیست چین در سال ۱۹۲۱ میلادی تأسیس شده و از سال ۱۹۲۷ با حکومت کومین‌تانگ درگیر بود. هرچند اختلافات داخلی کار چیانگ کای شک را برای نبرد با کمونیست‌ها سخت می‌کرد اما جنگ در ابتدا به سود کومین‌تانگ پیش می‌رفت تا اینکه در سال ۱۹۳۶ ژاپن به چین حمله‌ور شد. در جنگ دوم چین و ژاپن (۴۵–۱۹۳۷) که بخشی از جنگ جهانی دوم بود، یک ائتلاف اجباری بین کومین‌تانگ و حزب کمونیست برای مقابله ژاپن شکل گرفت. در طول این جنگ حدود ۲۰ میلیون چینی کشته شده و موارد متعددی از جنایات وحشیانه جنگی از سوی سربازان ژاپنی مشاهده شد. تنها در جریان اشغال شهر نانجینگ حدود ۲۰۰ هزار چینی قتل‌عام شدند. در سال ۱۹۴۵ ژاپنی‌ها مجبور به تسلیم بدون قید و شرط در مقابل چین شدند و خاک این کشور را ترک کرده و تایوان را نیز به جمهوری چین پس دادند. چین فاتح جنگ شده اما بر اثر جنگ ویران شده بود. بی‌اعتمادی کمونیست‌ها و ملی‌گراها به یکدیگر موجب شد تا خیلی زود جنگ داخلی از سر گرفته شود.

حزب کمونیست در سال ۱۹۴۹ با پیروزی در چندین نبرد مهم بر بیشتر سرزمین اصلی چین مسلط شده و کومین‌تانگ مجبور شد به تایوان و جزایر اطراف بگریزد. مائو تسه تونگ رهبر حزب کمونیست در اول اکتبر ۱۹۴۹ تأسیس جمهوری مردمی چین را اعلام کرد. یک سال بعد ارتش آزادی‌بخش خلق موفق شد هاینان را نیز از چنگ نیروهای جمهوری چین به درآورده و تبت را نیز به اشغال خود درآورد، البته بقایای نیروهای ملی‌گرا تا اواخر دهه ۱۹۵۰ در مناطق غربی چین به مقاومت خود ادامه می‌دادند.

مائو به افزایش جمعیت چین معتقد بود و در دوران رهبری او جمعیت چین از ۵۵۰ میلیون به ۹۰۰ میلیون نفر افزایش یافت. برنامهٔ «جهش بزرگ رو به جلو» مائو که شامل پروژه‌های اصلاحی عظیم اقتصادی و اجتماعی بود نتیجه فاجعه‌باری داشت و به مرگ حدود ۴۵ میلیون نفر بین سال‌های ۶۱–۱۹۵۸ انجامید که بیشتر آن‌ها از گرسنگی جان می‌باختند. در همین دوران یک تا دو میلیون زمین‌دار نیز به عنوان ضدانقلاب اعدام شدند. در سال ۱۹۶۶ مائو و متحدانش انقلاب فرهنگی را اعلام کردند که دوره‌ای از اتهام زنی‌های سیاسی و تحولات اجتماعی را در چین پدیدآورد. انقلاب فرهنگی با مرگ مائو در سال ۱۹۷۶ به پایان رسید. جمهوری مردمی چین از سال ۱۹۷۱ به جای جمهوری چین وارد سازمان ملل شد و کرسی دائم چین در شورای امنیت نیز به آن واگذار شد.

با مرگ مائو گروهی از رهبران حزب کمونیست دستگیرشده و گناه تندروی‌های صورت گرفته در انقلاب فرهنگی به گردن آن‌ها انداخته شد. در این دوران دنگ ژیائوپینگ به قدرت رسیده و اصلاحات مهم اقتصادی را در کشور اجرا کرد. حزب کمونیست از آن پس کنترل زندگی خصوصی شهروندان را کمتر کرده و اشتراکی‌سازی بخش کشاورزی به نفع خصوصی‌سازی مزارع ملغی شد. این چرخش سیاسی موجب شد تا اقتصاد دستوری چین به یک اقتصاد مختلط تبدیل شود که جهت‌گیری بازار آزاد در آن به تدریج بیشتر می‌شد. قانون اساسی فعلی چین در سال ۱۹۸۲ نوشته شد و سرکوب خونین جنبش دانشجویی در میدان تیان آنمن در سال ۱۹۸۹ موجب تحریم‌های بین‌المللی علیه چین شد.

در طول دهه ۱۹۹۰ جیانگ زمین، لی پنگ و ژو رونگجی رهبری چین را به دست گرفتند. در این دوران حدود ۱۵۰ میلیون دهقان از فقر خارج شده و کشور شاهد رشد اقتصادی سریع و مستمری بود که به‌طور میانگین به ۱۱٫۲ درصد می‌رسید. چین در سال ۲۰۰۱ عضو رسمی سازمان جهانی تجارت شد و در دهه ۲۰۰۰ میلادی در دوران حکومت هو جینتائو و ون جیابائو رشد بالای اقتصادی کشور ادامه یافت. البته رشد اقتصادی سریع صدمات قابل توجهی را به محیط زیست و منابع چین وارد کرده‌است و موجب جابجایی‌های اجتماعی گسترده‌ای شده‌است. استانداردهای زندگی علی‌رغم رکورد اقتصادی اواخر دهه ۲۰۰۰ همچنان در حال پیشرفت است اما حکومت متمرکز سیاسی حفظ شده‌است.

تغییر هیئت رهبری حزب در سال ۲۰۱۲ با منازعات جناحی و رسوایی‌های سیاسی همراه بود. در این سال شی جینپینگ به جای هو جینتائو به عنوان دبیرکل حزب کمونیست انتخاب شد. چین در دوران حکومت شی تلاش‌های عظیمی را برای اصلاح اقتصاد خود آغاز کرده‌است، اقتصادی که از بی‌ثباتی ساختاری و کاهش نرخ رشد رنج می‌برد. حکومت جدید همچنین اصلاحات مهمی را در سیاست تک‌فرزندی و سیستم زندان‌ها به عمل آورده‌است.

سیاست[ویرایش]

تالار بزرگ خلق محل برگزاری جلسات کنگره ملی خلق

جمهوری خلق چین یکی از معدود دولت‌های سوسیالیستی دنیاست که آشکارا مدافع کمونیسم است. این دولت زیر نظر حزب کمونیست چین و بر مبنای قانون اساسی چین اداره می‌شود که در سال ۱۹۸۲ تصویب شده‌است. حکومت چین به دلیل محدودیت‌هایی که در بسیاری از زمینه‌های اجتماعی از جمله آزادی رسانه، دسترسی به اینترنت، آزادی تجمع، حقوق باروری، آزادی تأسیس سازمان‌های اجتماعی و آزادی ادیان برقرار کرده مورد انتقاد قرار گرفته‌است. رهبران چین نظام سیاسی، ایدئولوژیک و اقتصادی کشور خود را به ترتیب با اصطلاحات «استبداد دمکراتیک مردمی»، «سوسیالیسم با ویژگی‌های چینی» و «اقتصاد سوسیالیستی بازار» توصیف می‌کنند.

نظام سیاسی چین از طریق دمکراسی نمایندگی و انتخابات برگزیده می‌شود اما نظام انتخاباتی این کشور بسیار متفاوت از نظام موجود در کشورهای غربی است. سیستم انتخاباتی چینی‌ها به صورت سلسله‌مراتبی است. اعضای کنگره‌های محلی خلق با رأی مستقیم تمام مردم انتخاب می‌شوند اما اعضای کنگره‌های رده بالاتر فقط با رأی اعضای کنگره رده پائین خود انتخاب می‌شوند. نظام سیاسی چین به مقدار قابل توجهی مرکززدا است یعنی مقامات استانی و شهرستانی از خودمختاری قابل توجهی برخوردارند. به جز حزب کمونیست، حزب‌های دیگری هم در این کشور وجود دارند که در کنگره ملی خلق و کنفرانس مشورتی سیاسی خلق نیز حضور دارند اما اکثریت قریب به اتفاق نمایندگان از حزب کمونیست چین انتخاب می‌شوند و اپوزیسیون واقعی در مقابل آن وجود ندارد. با این وجود حمایت مردمی از حکومت رضایت عمومی از شیوه مدیریت کشور بالاست و بر اساس یک تحقیق در سال ۲۰۱۱ حدود ۸۰ تا ۹۵ درصد مردم از حکومت مرکزی خود رضایت دارند.

سرباز چینی در میدان تیان‌آن‌من

رئیس‌جمهور مقام ریاست کشور را در اختیار دارد. نخست‌وزیر نیز رئیس حکومت است و هیئت دولت را رهبری می‌کند که از وزیران و پنج معاون نخست‌وزیر تشکیل می‌شود. در عمل دبیرکل حزب کمونیست رهبر واقعی کشور است و مهمترین تصمیمات نیز در کمیته دائمی پُلیتبورو حزب کمونیست گرفته می‌شود. رئیس‌جمهور فعلی چین (۲۰۱۴) شی جینپینگ است که مقام دبیرکل حزب کمونیست و رئیس کمیسیون مرکزی نظامی را هم بر عهده دارد و در نتیجه رهبر اصلی چین است. نخست‌وزیر کنونی لی که‌کیانگ نیز از اعضای ارشد کمیته دائمی پلیتبورو است.

از نظر قانونی مجلس ملی نمایندگان خلق عالی‌ترین نهاد قانون‌گذاری کشور است. این مجلس با ۲۹۸۷ نماینده بزرگترین پارلمان دنیاست. اعضای آن برای یک دوره پنج ساله انتخاب شده و یک اجلاس سالانه را به مدت ۱۰ تا ۱۴ روز برگزار می‌کنند اما در عمل این مجلس فاقد قدرت تصمیم‌گیری واقعی است و ماشین امضای تصمیماتی است که قبلاً در نهادهای اجرایی دولت و حزب کمونیست گرفته شده. با این حال از دهه ۱۹۹۰ به بعد این مجلس به عنوان جایی برای میانجی‌گری و حل و فصل اختلافات جناح‌های مختلف حزب کمونیست و دولت مطرح شده‌است.

روابط خارجی[ویرایش]

جمهوری خلق چین با ۱۷۱ کشور دنیا روابط دیپلماتیک و در ۱۶۲ کشور سفارتخانه دارد. جمهوری چین مشروعیت این حکومت را زیر سؤال برده و گروهی از کشورها نیز جمهوری چین (حکومت تایوان) را حکومت مشروع می‌دانند و از برقراری روابط با جمهوری خلق چین خودداری کرده‌اند.

جمهوری خلق چین از سال ۱۹۷۱ به جای جمهوری چین وارد سازمان ملل شد و کرسی دائم چین در شورای امنیت نیز به آن واگذار شد. چین در گذشته یکی از اعضا و رهبران جنبش عدم تعهد بود و هنوز هم خود را مدافع کشورهای در حال توسعه می‌داند. این کشور همراه با برزیل، روسیه، هند و آفریقای جنوبی یکی از اعضای گروه بریکس است که از اقتصادهای مهم در حال ظهور تشکیل شده‌است.

سیاست خارجی مدرن چین تا حد زیادی برگرفته از نظریات نخست‌وزیر سابق چوئن لای است که به «پنج اصل همزیستی مسالمت‌آمیز» و «هماهنگی بدون همسانی» شهرت دارد و برقراری روابط دیپلماتیک بین کشورهایی با ایدئولوژی‌های متفاوت را تشویق می‌کند. همین سیاست موجب شده تا چین از دولت‌هایی که از نظر دولت‌های غربی خطرناک یا سرکوبگر محسوب می‌شوند همچون زیمبابوه، کره شمالی و ایران حمایت کند. چین همچنین روابط اقتصادی و نظامی نزدیکی با روسیه دارد و دو کشور معمولاً در شورای امنیت رأی مشابهی می‌دهند.

روابط خاص با ایالات متحده و روسیه و هند[ویرایش]

چین با وجود ایدئولوژی کمونیستی برگرفته از مارکس و نظریه‌های اصلاح شده مائو در باب کمونیسم یکی از دشمنان افراطی ایالات متحده سردمدار کشورهای کاپیتالیست است؛ گرچه در عرصه روابط دیپلماتیک تغییراتی مثبتی در سیاست خارجی در پیش گرفته اما هنوز هم تا حد زیادی رویکرد خصمانه خود را نسبت به غرب و ایالات متحده حفظ کرده‌است. چین فعال‌ترین کشور در عرصه اتهام زنی به ایالات متحده است یکی از این روابط خصمانه چاپ و نشر سالانه بیست میلیون دلار تقلبی است که به بازار اقتصادی ایالات متحده تزریق می‌کند، رواج باندهای مافیایی اقتصادی در آمریکا، همچنین عدم هماهنگی با سیاست‌های اقتصادی که به ایالات متحده در ثبات ارز آن کشور کمک می‌کند همچنین عدم هماهنگی با سیاست‌های خارجی ایالات متحده و بعضاً بین‌المللی از دیگر موارد عدم هماهنگی چین با جامعه جهانی می‌باشد، در زمان جنگ سرد در دهه پنجاه و شصت میلادی چین نگران عدم رشد نظامی خود بود و عمدتاً چشم به یاری نظامی و مالی شوروی داشت پس از فروپاشی شوروی، چین از وابستگی اش به کمک‌های اقتصادی روسیه فعلی تا حد زیادی کاسته‌است.

اختلافات مرزی[ویرایش]

چین تمام تایوان را بخشی از خاک خود می‌داند و علاوه بر این با چندین کشور دیگر نیز مناقشات مرزی قدیمی دارد. آن‌ها از دهه ۱۹۹۰ تلاش‌هایی را برای حل این منازعات قدیمی از طریق مذاکرات انجام داده‌است. نوار مرزی چین و هند که در کوه‌های هیمالیا قرار دارد مورد اختلاف دو کشور است و یکی از مهمترین اختلافات در مورد مرز دو کشور در ناحیه کشمیر است. دو کشور در دهه ۱۹۶۰ بر سر منطقه اقصای چین با هم وارد جنگ شدند که جنگ با موفقیت چین به پایان رسید و آن‌ها بیشتر این منطقه وسیع کوهستانی را به تصرف درآوردند. اقصای چین در شمال کشمیر منطقه‌ای خالی از سکنه است اما بهترین راه ارتباطی بین تبت و سین کیانگ محسوب می‌شود. چین با بوتان نیز اختلاف مرزی دارد و دو کشور هنوز نتوانسته‌اند مرز خود را مشخص کنند.

چینی‌ها همچنین در مورد حکومت بر جزایر متعدد واقع در سواحل شرقی و جنوبی با کشورهای مختلفی از جمله ژاپن، تایوان، فیلیپین و ویتنام اختلاف دارند. چین اختلافات مرزی مهمی نیز با اتحاد جماهیر شوروی داشت که حتی به جنگ کوتاهی در سال ۱۹۶۹ منجر شد. اما پس از دهه ۱۹۹۰ بیشتر این اختلافات با امضای معاهدات مرزی با کشورهای بازمانده از فروپاشی شوروی حل و فصل شده‌است.

ابرقدرت آینده[ویرایش]

چین معمولاً به عنوان یک ابرقدرت جدید بالقوه توصیف می‌شود و بسیاری از تحلیلگران معتقدند پیشرفت اقتصادی سریع، توانایی نظامی فزاینده، جمعیت بسیار زیاد و تأثیرگذاری روبه رشد بین‌المللی نشانه‌هایی هستند که از نقش برجستهٔ جهانی این کشور در در قرن بیست‌ویکم حکایت می‌کنند. اما برخی دیگر هشدار داده‌اند که حباب اقتصادی و عدم توازن جمعیت شناختی ممکن است موجب کاهش یا حتی توقف رشد چین در سال‌های آتی این قرن شود. گروه دیگری از نویسندگان هم تعریف مفهوم «ابرقدرت» را به چالش کشیده‌اند و معتقدند اقتصاد بزرگ چین نمی‌تواند به تنهایی این کشور را در موقعیت ابرقدرت قرار دهد چرا که این کشور از نفوذ فرهنگی و نظامی ایالات متحده بی‌بهره است.

حقوق بشر و اصلاحات سیاسی و اجتماعی[ویرایش]

بخش‌هایی از فعالان سیاسی و اجتماعی چین از جمله جنبش دمکراسی خواهی این کشور و برخی اعضای حزب کمونیست، اصلاحات سیاسی و اجتماعی را نیاز مبرم این کشور دانسته‌اند. هرچند از دهه ۱۹۷۰ به بعد محدودیت‌های اقتصادی و اجتماعی در چین به طرز چشمگیری کاهش یافته‌اند اما آزادی‌های سیاسی همچنان محدود است. قانون اساسی چین اعلام کرده که آزادی بیان، آزادی رسانه، حق محاکمه منصفانه، آزادی مذهب، حق رأی عمومی و حق مالکیت از جمله حقوق بنیادین شهروندان است اما این قوانین در عمل از شهروندان در مقابل تعقیب کیفری از ناحیه دولت حمایت چندانی نمی‌کنند. اظهارات سیاسی و اطلاعات به‌طور آشکار و مستمر برای جلوگیری از انتقاد از دولت یا حزب حاکم سانسور می‌شوند به‌طوری‌که گزارشگران بدون مرز در سال ۲۰۰۵ چین را در رتبه ۱۵۹ در بین ۱۶۷ کشور از نظر آزادی رسانه قرار داده‌است.

مهاجران روستایی که به شهر می‌آیند معمولاً خود را به عنوان شهروند درجه دو از نظر سیستم ثبت خانوار (که بر دسترسی به مزایای دولتی نظارت دارد) می‌یابند. از حقوق مالکیتی حمایت ضعیفی می‌شود و سیستم مالیاتی به ضرر شهروندان فقیرتر است با اینحال از اوایل دهه ۲۰۰۰ برخی مالیات‌های روستایی کاهش یافته یا لغو شده و خدمات اجتماعی بیشتری برای روستانشینان برقرار شده‌است.

برخی از حکومت‌ها، خبرگزاری‌ها و سازمان‌های مردم‌نهاد خارجی به‌طور مکرر از عملکرد حقوق بشری چین انتقاد می‌کنند و معتقدند که حقوق فردی در چین به‌طور گسترده‌ای زیر پا گذاشته می‌شود؛ بازداشت بدون محاکمه، سقط جنین اجباری، اعتراف‌گیری اجباری، شکنجه، محدودیت حقوق بنیادین فردی و صدور بی‌رویه مجازات اعدام از این موارد است. حکومت چین راهپیمایی‌ها و تجمع‌هایی را که تهدیدی بالقوه برای «ثبات اجتماعی» کشور تلقی کند، سرکوب می‌کند که معروفترین و خونبارترین آن‌ها واقعه میدان تیان آنمن در سال ۱۹۸۹ بوده‌است. دولت چین همچنین بارها به سرکوب گسترده اعتراضات و نقض حقوق بشر در تبت و سین‌کیانگ متهم شده‌است.

حکومت چین به این انتقادات این‌گونه پاسخ می‌دهد که برای تعریف مفهوم حقوق بشر بایستی سطح توسعهٔ اقتصادی یک کشور و «حق مردم برای معیشت و پیشرفت» در نظر گرفته شود. حکومت چین در این زمینه بر بهبود استانداردهای زندگی چینی‌ها، میزان باسوادی، و امید به زندگی از دهه ۱۹۷۰ به این سو و همچنین بهبود امنیت شغلی و تلاش‌هایی که برای مقابله با فجایع طبیعی همچون سیل‌های دوره‌ای و همیشگی رود یانگ‌تسه صورت گرفته تأکید دارد. همچنین برخی سیاستمداران چینی از دمکراتیزاسیون کشور حمایت کرده‌اند در حالی‌که بقیه رویکرد محافظه‌کارانه‌تری دارند.

نیروهای مسلح[ویرایش]

چنگدو جی-۱۰ مدرن‌ترین جنگنده چینی

ارتش آزادی‌بخش خلق با داشتن ۲٫۳ میلیون سرباز فعال یکی از بزرگترین نیروهای نظامی در دنیاست. این ارتش از چهار بخش؛ نیروی زمینی، نیروی دریایی، نیروی هوایی و یک نیروی استراتژیک اتمی تشکیل می‌شود. بر اساس گزارش دولت چین بودجه نظامی این کشور در سال ۲۰۱۲ حدود ۱۰۰ میلیارد دلار بوده که دومین بودجه بزرگ نظامی دنیا محسوب می‌شود. اما گزارش وزارت دفاع آمریکا در سال ۲۰۰۹ بیان داشته که مخارج نظامی واقعی چینی‌ها بسیار بیشتر از ارقامی است که اعلام می‌شود.

چین به عنوان یک قدرت هسته‌ای به رسمیت شناخته‌شده توسط جامعه بین‌المللی، یک قدرت منطقه‌ای مهم و یک ابرقدرت نظامی بالقوه محسوب می‌شود. البته چین در مقایسه با چهار عضو دیگر شورای امنیت توانایی محدودتری برای اعمال قدرت نظامی خود دارد. چینی‌ها برای برطرف ساختن این نقیصه برنامه‌های متعددی را برای تقویت توانایی اعمال قدرت خود ترتیب داده‌اند که یکی از آن‌ها تولید نخستین ناو هواپیمابر چین است که در سال ۲۰۱۲ وارد خدمت نظامی شد. این کشور همچنین ناوگان قابل توجهی از زیردریایی‌ها شامل چندین زیردریایی اتمی در اختیار دارند. چین از اوایل دهه ۲۰۰۰ پیشرفت قابل توجهی در نوسازی نیروی هوایی خود داشته‌است و با خریداری جنگنده‌های روسی سوخو-۳۰ و تولید جنگنده‌های مدرن داخلی همچون چنگدو جی-۱۰، شنیانگ جی-۱۱، جی-۱۵ و جی-۱۶ توانایی دفاعی و تهاجمی خود را در آسمان تقویت کرده‌است. چینی‌ها همچنین نیروی زمینی خود را نیز به‌روزرسانی کرده و تانک‌های سالخوردهٔ تایپ-۵۹ خود را با نمونه‌های مدرنی همچون تایپ-۹۹ تعویض کرده‌اند و با ترفیع سیستم‌های «فرماندهی، نظارت، ارتباطات و اطلاعات» قابلیت‌های خود را در میدان نبرد بهبود بخشیده‌اند. چین همچنین سیستم‌های موشکی استراتژیک متعددی شامل انواع موشک‌های ضدماهواره، کروز و قاره‌پیما را توسعه داده‌است.

اقتصاد[ویرایش]

مقایسه رشد اقتصادی هفت کشور بزرگ در حال توسعه بین سال‌های ۱۹۹۰ تا ۲۰۱۳ رشد اقتصادی سریع چین (خط آبی) را نشان می‌دهد.
آسمانخراش‌های شهر شانگهای

چین در سال ۲۰۱۳ دومین اقتصاد بزرگ دنیا پس از ایالات متحده بوده‌است. تولید ناخالص داخلی این کشور در این سال حدود ۹٫۴۶۹ تریلیون دلار بر اساس ارزش اسمی دلار و ۱۶٫۱۴۹ تریلیون بر اساس قدرت برابری خرید بوده‌است. سرانه تولید این کشور در همین سال ۱۱٬۱۸۶ دلار بر مبنای قدرت برابری خرید و ۶٬۹۵۹ دلار بر اساس ارزش اسمی بوده‌است که در هر دو حالت چین پس از حدود ۹۰ کشور (از ۱۸۳ کشوری که در فهرست صندوق بین‌المللی پول قرار دارند) قرار می‌گیرد.

جمهوری خلق چین از زمان بنیانگذاری در سال ۱۹۴۹ تا سال ۱۹۷۸ اقتصاد دستوری متمرکزی به سبک شوروی داشت. پس از مرگ مائو در ۱۹۷۶ و پایان انقلاب فرهنگی، دنگ شیائوپنگ و نسل جدید رهبران چین شروع به اصلاحات اقتصادی کرده و اقتصاد چین را به سوی نظام بازار سوق دادند. در این دوران اشتراکی‌سازی در بخش کشاورزی متوقف شده و مزارع خصوصی شدند. تجارت خارجی مورد توجه قرار گرفت. ساختار بنگاه‌های ناکارآمد دولتی تغییر اساسی پیدا کرده و بنگاه‌های زیان‌ده تعطیل شدند که این به بیکاری گسترده‌ای منجر شد.

اقتصاد چین امروزی یک اقتصاد بازار بر مبنای مالکیت خصوصی است. دولت هنوز بر بخش‌های استراتژیک زیربنایی اقتصاد همچون تولید انرژی و صنایع سنگین مسلط است اما سرمایه‌گذاری خصوصی به سرعت در حال افزایش است. از هنگام آغاز آزادسازی اقتصادی در سال ۱۹۷۸ چین یکی از بالاترین رشدهای اقتصادی را در دنیا داشته‌است. بر اساس آمار صندوق بین‌المللی پول رشد سالانه تولید چین از سال ۲۰۰۱ تا ۲۰۱۰ به‌طور میانگین ۱۰٫۵٪ بوده و بین سال‌های ۲۰۰۷ تا ۲۰۱۱ درصد رشد اقتصادی چین معادل مجموع درصدهای رشد اقتصادی کشورهای گروه ۷ (۷ کشور بزرگ صنعتی دنیا) بوده‌است.

بهره‌وری بالا در تولید، نیروی کار ارزان و زیرساخت‌های نسبتاً مناسب عواملی هستند که چین را به تولیدکننده پیشرو دنیا تبدیل کرده‌اند. اما اقتصاد چین از نظر مصرف انرژی بهره‌وری بسیار پایینی دارد. این کشور در سال ۲۰۱۰ بزرگترین مصرف‌کننده انرژی دنیا شد، در حالیکه بیش از ۷۰ درصد انرژی خود را از زغال سنگ تأمین می‌کرد. در سال ۲۰۱۳ چین جای آمریکا را در صدر فهرست واردکنندگان نفت خام گرفت. رشد اقتصادی سریع و صنعتی‌سازی این کشور به محیط زیست آن نیز آسیب زده‌است. از اوایل سال ۲۰۱۰ به بعد رشد اقتصادی چین شروع به کاهش کرده و از تقاضای بین‌المللی برای صادرات چین کاسته شده‌است که این موضوع تلاطماتی را در اقتصاد جهانی پدیدآورده است.

میزان ذخایر ارز خارجی چین در پایان سال ۲۰۱۰ حدود ۲٫۸۵ تریلیون دلار بوده‌است که این کشور را با اختلاف بسیار صاحب بزرگترین ذخایر ارزی دنیا کرده‌است. چین همچنین بیش از ۱٫۱۶ تریلیون دلار اوراق قرضه دولتی آمریکا را خریداری کرده و بزرگترین دارندهٔ خارجی دیون دولتی آمریکا محسوب می‌شود. چین همچنین در سال ۲۰۱۲ بیش از هر کشور دنیا سرمایه‌گذاری مستقیم خارجی به میزان ۲۵۳ میلیارد دلار دریافت کرده‌است. این موضوع که چین ارز خود را ارزان نگه داشته همواره موجب تنش‌هایی میان این کشور و اقتصادهای بزرگ دیگر شده‌است. چین همچنین به دلیل حجم وسیع تولید کالاهای تقلبی مورد انتقاد قرار گرفته‌است.

نابرابری اقتصادی[ویرایش]

طبقه متوسط چین (به معنی افرادی که حقوق سالانه ۱۰ تا ۶۰ هزار دلار دارند) در سال ۲۰۱۲ به ۳۰۰ میلیون رسیده‌است. بر اساس یک گزارش تعداد میلیاردرهای چین (ثروت بیش از یک میلیارد دلار آمریکا) از ۱۳۰ نفر در سال ۲۰۰۹ به ۲۵۱ نفر در سال ۲۰۱۲ رسیده و از این نظر چین دومین کشور دنیا از نظر تعداد میلیاردرهاست. بازار خرده‌فروشی داخلی کشور در همین سال بیش از ۲۰ تریلیون یوان (۳٫۲ تریلیون دلار) ارزش داشته و در سال ۲۰۱۳ حدود ۱۲ درصد رشد کرده‌است.

بازار کالاهای تجملی هم در چین به سرعت در حال گسترش است و ۲۷٫۵ درصد سهم جهانی این کالاها را به خود اختصاص داده‌است. رشد اقتصادی کشور همچنین به تورم مصرف‌کننده شدیدی منجر شده و و دولت را وادار به دخالت بیشتر کرده‌است. نابرابری اقتصادی در چین در چند دهه اخیر افزایش داشته و به سطح بسیار بالایی رسیده‌است. در سال ۲۰۱۴ شاخص جینی این کشور به رقم ۵۵ رسیده که بسیار بالاتر از میانگین جهانی است.[۱۱]

تقسیمات کشوری[ویرایش]

کشور جمهوری خلق چین از ۲۲ استان تشکیل شده‌است. علاوه بر آن چین، مدعی مالکیت تایوان به عنوان یکی از استانهای خود است. فهرست استانهای چین:

نقشه استان‌ها و مناطق خودگردان چین.

جغرافیا[ویرایش]

تصویر توپوگرافیک چین

مساحت جمهوری خلق چین حدود ۹٫۶ میلیون کیلومتر مربع است و پس از روسیه دومین کشور بزرگ دنیا از نظر وسعت خاکی (بدون احتساب آب‌های داخلی) است. از نظر مساحت کل کشور هم سومین یا چهارمین کشور وسیع دنیا (پس از روسیه و کانادا و با توجه به تعریف دقیق مساحت کلی ایالات متحده آمریکا) به‌شمار می‌آید.

چین با داشتن ۲۲٫۱۱۷ کیلومتر مربع مرز زمینی طولانیترین خط مرزی را در میان تمام کشورهای دنیا دارد. این کشور از شرق و جنوب با دریای چین شرقی، خلیج کره، دریای زرد، و دیگر آب‌های آزاد احاطه شده‌است و با ۱۴ کشور هم‌مرز است.

چین در عرض جغرافیایی ۱۸ تا ۵۴ درجه شمالی و طول ۷۳ تا ۱۳۵ درجه شرقی قرار دارد و چشم‌اندازهای طبیعی آن بسیار متنوع است. در شرق چین در کرانه‌های رود زرد و دریای چین شرقی دشت‌های آبرفتی پهناور و حاصلخیزی با تراکم جمعیتی بسیار بالا قرار گرفته‌اند. در بخش‌های شمالی در مرز فلات مغولستان داخلی علفزارهای وسیع مشاهده می‌شود و صحراهای خشک و سرد تکله‌مکان و گبی در فلات مرتفع مغولستان جای گرفته‌اند. تپه‌ها و رشته‌کوه‌های کم‌ارتفاع بیشتر نواحی جنوب چین را دربرگرفته‌اند و شرق میانی چین میزبان دلتای دو رودخانه اصلی این کشور یعنی رود زرد و یانگ‌تسه است. بخش غربی این سرزمین پوشیده از کوه‌های بسیار مرتفع از جمله هیمالیاست. مرتفع‌ترین نقطه دنیا یعنی قله اورست به ارتفاع ۸۸۴۸ متر مرز چین و نپال است و پست‌ترین نقطه چین که سومین نقطه پست دنیاست در بستر دریاچهٔ خشک آدینگ در فرونشست تورپان ۱۵۴ متر پایینتر از سطح دریاهای آزاد است.

فصل‌های خشک و فصل‌های مرطوب همراه با باران موسمی شرایط آب‌وهوایی غالب در بیشتر نقاط چین است که اختلاف دمای قابل توجه بین تابستان و زمستان را در پی دارد. در زمستان بادهای شمالی سرد و خشک می‌وزد و بادهای جنوبی از سواحل دریا در نقاط جنوبیتر گرم و مرطوب است. طوفان‌های موسمی (در حدود ۵ مورد در سال) در امتداد سواحل جنوبی و شرقی، سیل‌های مخرب، سونامی، زلزله، رانش زمین و خشکسالی از بلایای طبیعی منطقه چین هستند.

گسترش بیابان‌ها به ویژه بیابان گبی یک معضل زیست‌محیطی مهم در چین است. هرچند درختکاری در مرزهای بیابان از دهه ۱۹۷۰ به بعد تعداد طوفان‌های شن را کاهش داده اما خشکسالی مستمر و شیوه نامناسب کشاورزی موجب طوفان‌های شنی شده که بهار هر سال شمال چین را درمی‌نوردد و حتی به کره و ژاپن هم می‌رسد. دیده‌بان محیط زیست چین در سال ۲۰۰۷ اعلام کرده که هر سال چهار هزار کیلومتر مربع به بیابان‌های این کشور افزوده می‌شود. آب شدن یخچال‌های هیمالیا هم نگرانی دیگری است که می‌تواند بحران کمبود آب را برای صدها میلیون نفر به همراه بیاورد.

جمعیت‌شناسی[ویرایش]

جمعیت چین در سرشماری سال ۲۰۱۰ حدود یک میلیارد و ۳۷۰ میلیون نفر بوده‌است. رشد اقتصادی سریع چین موجب شده تا صدها میلیون نفر از فقر نجات پیدا کنند. اکنون ده درصد چینی‌ها با درآمدی کمتر از یک دلار در روز زندگی می‌کنند درحالیکه این رقم در سال ۱۹۷۸ به ۶۴ درصد می‌رسید. نرخ بیکاری شهری نیز در سال ۲۰۱۳ به چهار درصد رسیده‌است.

چین برای کنترل رشد سریع جمعیت کشور از سال ۱۹۷۹ برنامهٔ کنترل جمعیت سختگیرانه‌ای را با نام سیاست تک‌فرزندی را آغاز کرد. این سیاست به هر خانواده تنها اجازه داشتن یک فرزند را می‌داد. البته استثناهای زیادی هم برای آن در نظر گرفته شده‌است. اقلیت‌های قومی (همه اقوام بجز قوم هان) از آن مستثنی شده و اجازه داشتن فرزند دوم و حتی سوم را دارند. در بسیاری از روستاها هم برای افرادی که فرزند اولشان دختر یا معلول باشد اجازه داشتن فرزند دوم داده شده‌است. در سال ۲۰۱۳ این سیاست تا حد زیادی تلطیف شده و به خانواده‌هایی که یکی از والدین خودش تک‌فرزند بوده‌است اجازه داشتن فرزند دوم را می‌دهد. با این حال مقاومت‌هایی در مقابل این سیاست به ویژه در روستاها صورت گرفته که برای نیروی کار کشاورزی به فرزند نیاز داشته و به‌طور سنتی به داشتن فرزند پسر علاقه دارند.

سیاست تک‌فرزندی در کاهش رشد جمعیت چین مؤثر بود و نرخ رشد کشور را در سال ۲۰۱۳ به ۰٫۴۶٪ رساند اما تبعات ناخواسته‌ای هم داشت. ترجیح سنتی برای داشتن فرزند پسر موجب شد تا توازن جنسیتی کشور برهم بخورد. بر اساس سرشماری سال ۲۰۱۰ نسبت جنسی در هنگام تولد ۱۱۸ پسر به ازای ۱۰۰ دختر است که بسیار بالاتر از میزان طبیعی ۱۰۵ به ۱۰۰ محسوب می‌شود.

قانون منسوخ‌شده تک‌فرزندی در چین که از سال ۱۹۷۹ میلادی وضع شده بود، باعث شده‌است جمعیت این کشور حدود ۴۰۰ میلیون نفر کمتر از تعداد کنونی (۲۰۱۵) باشد.[۱۲]

شهرهای اصلی جمهوری خلق چین

شانگهای
شانگهای
هنگ کنگ
هنگ کنگ
گوانگ‌ژو
گوانگ‌ژو

شن‌ژن
شن‌ژن

رتبه شهرها استان یا فرمانداری جمعیت شهری جمعیت استانی منطقه


پکن
تیانجین
تیانجین
چونگ‌کینگ
چونگ‌کینگ
نانجینگ
نانجینگ

۱ شانگهای فرمانداری شانگهای ۹٬۴۹۵٬۷۰۱ ۱۸٬۵۴۲٬۲۰۰ شرق
۲ پکن فرمانداری پکن ۷٬۲۹۶٬۹۶۲ ۱۷٬۴۳۰٬۰۰۰ شمال
۳ هنگ کنگ هنگ کنگ ۶٬۹۸۵٬۲۰۰ ۶٬۹۸۵٬۲۰۰ جنوب
۴ تیانجین فرمانداری تیانجین ۵٬۰۶۶٬۱۲۹ ۱۱٬۵۰۰٬۰۰۰ شمال
۵ ووهان هوبئی ۶٬۶۶۰٬۰۰۰ ۹٬۱۰۰٬۰۰۰ جنوب مرکز
۶ گوانگ‌ژو گوانگ‌دونگ ۴٬۱۵۴٬۸۰۸ ۱۵٬۰۰۰٬۰۰۰ جنوب مرکز
۷ شن‌ژن گوانگ‌دونگ ۴٬۰۰۰٬۰۰۰ ۸٬۶۱۵٬۵۰۰ جنوب
۸ شن‌یانگ لیائونینگ ۳٬۹۸۱٬۰۲۳ ۷٬۵۰۰٬۰۰۰ شمال شرق
۹ چونگ‌کینگ فرمانداری چونگ‌کینگ ۳٬۹۳۴٬۲۳۹ ۳۱٬۴۴۲٬۳۰۰ جنوب غرب
۱۰ نانچانگ جیانگشی ۳٬۷۹۰٬۰۰۰ ۴٬۹۹۰٬۱۸۴ شرق
۱۱ نانجینگ جیانگسو ۲٬۸۲۲٬۱۱۷ ۸٬۰۰۴٬۰۰۰ شرق
۱۲ هاربین هیلونگ‌جیانگ ۲٬۶۷۲٬۰۶۹ ۸٬۴۹۹٬۰۰۰ شمال شرق
۱۳ شیجیاژوانگ هبئی ۲٬۶۲۰٬۳۵۷ ۹٬۶۳۰٬۰۰۰ شمال
۱۴ شی‌آن شاآنشی ۲٬۵۸۸٬۹۸۷ ۱۰٬۵۰۰٬۰۰۰ شمال غرب
۱۵ چنگدو سیچوآن ۲٬۳۴۱٬۲۰۳ ۱۱٬۳۰۰٬۰۰۰ جنوب غرب
۱۶ چانگچون جی‌لین ۲٬۲۲۳٬۱۷۰ ۷٬۴۰۰٬۰۰۰ شمال شرق
۱۷ دالیان لیائونینگ ۲٬۱۱۸٬۰۸۷ ۶٬۲۰۰٬۰۰۰ شمال شرق
۱۸ هانگژو چجیانگ ۱٬۹۳۲٬۶۱۲ ۷٬۰۰۰٬۰۰۰ شرق
۱۹ جینان شاندونگ ۱٬۹۱۷٬۲۰۴ ۶٬۳۰۰٬۰۰۰ شرق
۲۰ تائی‌یوان شانشی ۱٬۹۰۵٬۴۰۳ ۳٬۴۱۳٬۸۰۰ شمال
۲۱ چینگدائو شاندونگ ۱٬۸۶۷٬۳۶۵ ۸٬۰۰۰٬۰۰۰ شرق

قومیت[ویرایش]

دره جیژایگو در سیچوان
نقشه تراکم جمعیتی چین در سال ۲۰۰۹ نشان می‌دهد که بیشتر جمعیت در بخش شرقی کشور متمرکز است.

هان‌ها قوم غالب کشور هستند که بر اساس سرشماری سال ۲۰۱۰ حدود ۹۱٫۵ درصد جمعیت چین را تشکیل می‌دهد. هان‌ها در تمام استان‌های چین به جز ایالت‌های غربی تبت و سین‌کیانگ اکثریت دارند. ژوانگ با ۱٫۳ درصد، منچو با ۰٫۸۶٪، اویغور با ۰٫۸۶٪ که بیشتر در سین‌کیانگ زندگی می‌کنند، هویی‌ها که هان‌های مسلمان هستند با ۰٫۷۹٪، میاو با ۰٫۷۲٪، یی با ۶۵٪، توجیا با ۰٫۶۲٪، مغول با ۰٫۴۷٪ و تبتی با ۰٫۴۴٪ پرجمعیت‌ترین اقلیت‌های قومی پرجمعیت‌ترین کشور دنیا هستند.

دین[ویرایش]

چین در طول تاریخ تحت تأثیر مذاهب و مکاتب فکری مختلفی بوده‌است. به‌طور تاریخی سه مکتب اصلی این کشور کنفوسیوس‌گرایی، بودایی، و تائویی بوده‌اند که هر یک تأثیر به‌سزایی در شکل‌گیری فرهنگ چینی گذاشته‌اند. در سنت‌های مذهبی و بومی عناصری از هر سه آن‌ها دیده می‌شود. تحقیقی که در سال ۲۰۰۸ در روستاهای ۶ استان مختلف انجام شد به این نتیجه رسید که:

«بیش از دوسوم کل افرادی که خود را مذهبی می‌دانستند یعنی ۳۱ درصد کل افراد، نمی‌توانستند مشخص کنند که پیرو چه مذهبی هستند… آن‌ها معتقد بودند که نیروهای فراطبیعی بر سرنوشت انسان تسلط داشته یا بسیار تأثیرگذارند و باور داشتند که سرنوشت آن‌ها با پیشکش قربانی به خدایان یا ارواح نیاکان قابل تغییر است. این نوع باورها و سنت‌ها ریشه عمیقی در فرهنگ سنتی چینی و عرف جوامع محلی داشتند»

تحقیقات مختلف در مورد اینکه چه میزان از چینی‌ها مذهبی هستند، نتایج متفاوتی داشته‌است. یک تحقیق در سال ۲۰۰۷ به این نتیجه رسیده که تنها ۳۱ درصد چینی‌های بالای ۱۶ سال به مذهب اعتقاد دارند اما تحقیق دیگری در سال ۲۰۰۶ میزان بی‌دینی در چینی‌ها را ۴۶ درصد برآورد کرده‌است.

نظرسنجی دیگری از گروه تحقیقاتی هوریزون در سال ۲۰۰۷ نشان داد که ۱۱ تا ۱۶ درصد چینی‌ها خود را بودایی، ۳ تا ۴ درصد مسیحی و یک درصد مسلمان معرفی می‌کنند.

زبان[ویرایش]

زبان رسمی چین گویش استاندارد زبان ماندارین است. حدود ۷۰ درصد مردم چین به گویش‌های مختلف زبان ماندارین صحبت می‌کنند. گویش استاندارد این زبان که برگرفته از گویش پکنی است زبان ارتباطی گروه‌های مختلف زبانی در سراسر چین است. ۲۲۹ زبان زنده دیگر نیز در چین تکلم می‌شود که اغلب آن‌ها به گروه زبان‌های چینی از خانواده چینی-تبتی تعلق دارند. زبان‌های وو (شامل شانگهایی)، یوئه (شامل کانتونی و تایشانی)، مین (شامل هوکین)، شیانگ و هاکا از جمله مهمترین زبان‌های این گروه هستند.

زبان‌های شاخه تبتی - برمه‌ای مثل شیانگ، ناسی و یی نیز در نقاط مختلف تبت و دشت‌های یون‌نان-گویجو صحبت می‌شوند. سایر اقلیت‌های زبانی جنوب غرب چین هم جوانگ، تایلندی، دونگ و سویی از خانواده تایلندی-کادای، میائو و یائو از خانواده همونگ-مین، و وا از خانواده آستروآسیایی هستند. در شمال شرق و شمال غرب چین هم گروه‌های قومی اقلیتی زندگی می‌کنند که به زبان‌های آلتایی همچون منچو و مغولی و چندین زبان از گروه ترکی‌تبار مثل اویغوری، قزاقی، قرقیزی و سالار سخن می‌گویند. زبان کره‌ای نیز زبان مادری گروهی از اهالی مرز چین و کره شمالی است. سریکلی زبان تاجیک‌های غرب سین‌کیانگ است که به گروه زبان‌های ایرانی شرقی از خانواده هندواروپایی تعلق دارد. بومیان تایوانی نیز که اقلیت کوچکی در خاک اصلی چین هستند به زبان‌های خانواده آسترونزی سخن می‌گویند.

حروف چینی هزاران سال است که برای نوشتن زبان‌های چینی استفاده می‌شود. این نویسه‌ها به گویش‌وران زبان‌ها و گویش‌های مختلف که برای هم قابل فهم نیستند، اجازه می‌دهند که از طریق نوشتار منظور هم را متوجه شوند. در سال ۱۹۵۶ دولت چین حروف چینی ساده‌شده را معرفی کرد که امروزه چینی سنتی را منسوخ کرده‌است. الفبای استانداردی هم برای لاتین‌نویسی زبان چینی تهیه شده که به پین‌یین معروف است. زبان تبتی از الفبایی بهره می‌گیرد که از متن‌های هندی اقتباس شده و زبان اویغوری بیشتر با الفبای فارسی-عربی نگاشته می‌شود. خط مغولی و خط منچو نیز از الفبای باستانی اویغور اقتباس شده‌اند. زبان جوانگ نیز امروزه از الفبای لاتین برای نگارش بهره می‌برد.

تنوع زیستی[ویرایش]

چین میزبان بیشتر از ۳۴٬۶۸۷ گونهٔ جانوری و گیاه آوندی است که این کشور را پس از برزیل و کلمبیا در ردهٔ سوم تنوع زیستی دنیا قرار می‌دهد. دست‌کم ۵۵۱ گونه پستاندار (رتبه سوم دنیا)، ۱۲۲۱ گونه پرنده (رتبه هشتم دنیا)، ۴۲۴ گونه خزنده (هفتم) و ۳۳۳ گونه دوزیست (هفتم) در این کشور بودوباش دارند و چین در هر چهار زمینه رتبه نخست دنیا را در بین کشورهای غیر استوایی دارد اما این حیات وحش متنوع زیر فشار شدید از سوی بزرگترین جمعیت انسان‌های دنیاست. دست‌کم ۸۴۰ گونه جانوری در معرض تهدید، آسیب‌پذیر یا در خطر انقراض محلی در چین طبقه‌بندی شده‌اند که دلیل اصلی آن هم فعالیت‌های انسانی از جمله تخریب زیستگاه، آلودگی و شکار به منظور خوراک، پوست یا استفاده در طب سنتی است.

گونه‌های در معرض خطر مورد حفاظت قانونی قرار دارند و ۲۳۴۹ منطقه حفاظت شده در کشور تعیین شده که ۱۵ درصد کل سرزمین چین را شامل می‌شوند. چین بیش از ۳۲ هزار گونه گیاه آوندی دارد و میزبان انواع مختلفی از جنگل‌هاست. شمال کشور رویشگاه جنگل‌های درختان مخروطی بومی مناطق سردسیر و زیستگاه جانورانی چون گوزن شمالی و خرس سیاه آسیایی و بیش از ۱۲۰ گونه پرنده است. درختان بامبو نیز در همین جنگل‌ها می‌رویند و در مناطق مرتفعتر درختان سرو کوهی و سرخ‌دار پوشش گیاهی غالب را تشکیل می‌دهند. جنگل‌های زیرگرمسیری در بخش‌های مرکزی و جنوبی چین دیده می‌شوند. جنگل‌های گرمسیری فقط محدود به ایالت یون‌نان و جزیره هاینان هستند اما یک‌چهارم کل گونه‌های گیاهی و جانوری چین را در خود جای داده‌اند. بیش از ۱۰ هزار گونه قارچ نیز در این کشور شناسایی شده‌است.

آلودگی محیط زیست[ویرایش]

در چند دهه اخیر آلودگی و تخریب محیط زیست نیز با رشد اقتصادی شتابان چین همراه شده و مشکلان زیست‌محیطی بزرگی را برای این کشور ایجاد کرده‌است. با اینکه قانون حفاظت محیط زیست مصوب سال ۱۹۷۹ بسیار سختگیرانه تنظیم شده اما مقامات دولتی آن را نادیده می‌گیرند تا برنامه‌های اقتصادی سریعتر اجرا شود. آلودگی هوا در شهرها یک مشکل جدی برای سلامتی چینی‌ها محسوب می‌شود و بر اساس برآورد سال ۲۰۱۳ بانک جهانی از ۲۰ شهر آلوده دنیا ۱۶ شهر در چین قرار دارند. چین اکنون بزرگترین تولیدکننده دی‌اکسید کربن در دنیا است. آلودگی آب در کشور هم جدی است و حدود ۳۰۰ میلیون نفر در نقاط روستایی به آب سالم نوشیدنی دسترسی ندارند. در سال ۲۰۱۱ حدود ۴۰ درصد رودخانه‌های کشور با فاضلاب‌های صنعتی و کشاورزی آلوده شده‌اند و کمبود شدید آب به ویژه در نواحی شمالی و شرقی بحران آب کشور را دوچندان کرده‌است.

با این وجود چین بزرگترین سرمایه‌گذار دنیا در زمینه تجاری‌سازی انرژی‌های تجدیدپذیر است و فقط در سال ۲۰۱۱ حدود ۵۲ میلیارد دلار در این راه خرج کرده‌است. در سال ۲۰۰۹ بیش از ۱۷ درصد انرژی چین از منابع تجدیدپذیر به دست آمده که بخش عمده آن از نیروگاه‌های برق‌آبی به دست می‌آید. این کشور در سال ۲۰۱۱ اعلام کرد که برنامه‌ای ۱۰ ساله با هزینه ۶۱۸ میلیارد دلار برای توسعه زیرساخت‌های آبی کشور و تکمیل سیستم جلوگیری از سیل و خشکسالی را اجرا خواهد کرد. چین در سال ۲۰۱۳ یک پروژه کاهش آلودگی هوا را آغاز کرده که ۲۷۷ میلیارد دلار در طول پنج سال هزینه دارد و بیشتر در شمال کشور تمرکز دارد.

علم و فناوری[ویرایش]

چین تا دوران سلسله مینگ از کشورهای پیشرو دنیا در زمینه علم و فناوری بود. کاغذسازی، چاپ، قطب‌نما و باروت چهار اختراع بزرگ چینی‌ها هستند که بعدها به دیگر نقاط آسیا و اروپا گسترش یافتند و ریاضیدانان چینی نخستین کسانی بودند که از اعداد منفی استفاده می‌کردند. اما در قرن هفدهم جهان غرب از نظر پیشرفت علمی و تکنولوژیکی کاملاً چین را پشت سر گذاشته بود.

شکست‌های چندباره چین از قدرت‌های غربی در قرن نوزدهم موجب شد تا جنبشی اصلاح‌گرایانه برای ترویج علوم مدرن در این کشور شکل گیرد. کمونیست‌ها از هنگام به قدرت رسیدن در سال ۱۹۴۹ تلاش کردند تا علم و تکنولوژی را به شیوه برنامه‌ریزی مرکزی شوروی سازماندهی کنند. حکومت چین از هنگام پایان انقلاب فرهنگی، سرمایه‌گذاری قابل توجهی را در زمینه پژوهش‌های علمی به عمل آورده و تنها در سال ۲۰۱۱ بیش از ۱۰۰ میلیارد دلار برای تحقیق و توسعه علمی هزینه کرده‌است. دانشمندان متولد چین تاکنون چهار بار برنده نوبل فیزیک و یک بار برنده نوبل شیمی شده‌اند اما تمام آن‌ها مدارک دکترای خود را در غرب دریافت کرده و تحقیقات منجر به دریافت جایزه خود را در کشورهای غربی انجام داده‌اند.

چین به سرعت در حال توسعه سیستم آموزشی خود با تأکید بر رشته‌های علوم، مهندسی و ریاضیات است. چینی‌ها در سال ۲۰۱۱ دومین منتشرکننده مقالات علمی در دنیا بوده‌اند و شرکت‌هایی چون هواوی و لنوو از شرکت‌های پیشرو دنیا در زمینه‌های ارتباطات و کامپیوترهای شخصی هستند. ابرکامپیوترهای چینی اکنون از پرقدرت‌ترین‌ها در دنیا به‌شمار می‌آیند و استفاده از ربات‌های صنعتی رشد قابل توجهی داشته‌است.

برنامه فضایی چین نیز یکی از فعال‌ترین برنامه‌های فضایی دنیا و مایهٔ غرور ملی چینی‌هاست. این کشور در سال ۱۹۷۰ نخستین ماهواره خود را به فضا فرستاد و پنجمین کشوری شد که به‌طور مستقل این کار را انجام می‌دهد. آن‌ها در سال ۲۰۰۳ سومین کشوری شدند که به‌طور مستقل انسان‌هایی را روانه فضا می‌کنند و در سال ۲۰۱۱ ماکت ایستگاه فضایی خود را رونمایی کردند که قرار است در دهه ۲۰۲۰ به فضا ارسال شود.

اینترنت و فعالیت‌های سایبری[ویرایش]

چین یکی از معدود کشورهایی است که دسترسی آزادانه به اطلاعات را محدود می‌کند :در صد بالایی از مسدود کردن وب‌ها و سایتهای خبری اعمال می‌شود :همین‌طور سالانه حدود۱۵۰ میلیون مطالب با موضوعات مختلف توسط دولت در دسترس مخاطبان قرار می‌گیرد تا اذهان عمومی را نسبت به حساسیت موضوعات مهم سیاسی و حقوق بشر را منحرف کند:چین بالاترین رقم حملات سایبری که شامل به سرقت بردن اطلاعات شخصی، نفوذ به محدوده امنیتی و نظامی کشورهای مختلف به خصوص ایالات متحده و به سرقت بردن یا سعی در کشف اطلاعاتی مالی ثروتمندانی که شهروند دولت چین محسوب می‌شوند را دارا می‌باشد.

راه و ترابری[ویرایش]

از دهه ۱۹۹۰ به این سو شبکه راه‌های چین گسترش قابل توجهی یافته‌است. در سال ۲۰۱۱ بزرگراه‌های چین ۸۵ هزار کیلومتر طول داشته‌اند که این کشور را در رتبه اول دنیا قرار می‌دهد. در سال ۱۹۹۱ تنها ۶ پل بر روی شاخه اصلی رود یانگ‌تسه قرار داشت - رودی که شمال و جنوب چین را از هم جدا می‌کند - در حالیکه در اکتبر ۲۰۱۴ تعداد آن‌ها به ۸۱ پل و تونل رسیده‌است.

چین بزرگترین بازار اتومبیل دنیاست و هم از نظر تولید و هم از نظر فروش آمریکا را پشت‌سر گذاشته‌است. یکی از عوارض رشد سریع جاده‌های چین افزایش قابل توجه تصادفات جاده‌ای بوده‌است. در سال ۲۰۰۱ بیش از ۶۲ هزار چینی در این سوانح جان باختند. با وجود افزایش رواج اتومبیل‌های شخصی در شهرها همچنان دوچرخه شیوه رایج حمل‌ونقل است و در سال ۲۰۱۲ حدود ۴۷۰ میلیون دوچرخه در این کشور وجود داشته‌است.

شبکه ریلی چین که متعلق به دولت است یکی از شلوغ‌ترین خطوط دنیاست. این کشور در سال ۲۰۱۳ بیش از ۱۰۳ هزار کیلومتر راه‌آهن داشت که رتبه سوم دنیا را به این کشور اختصاص داده‌است. سیستم راه‌آهن سریع‌السیر چین که به‌طور کامل از اوایل دهه ۲۰۰۰ ساخته شده ۱۱٫۰۲۸ کیلومتر در سال ۲۰۱۳ طول داشته که طولانیترین شبکه دنیا محسوب می‌شود. خط پکن-گوانگ‌جو-شنژن طولانیترین مسیر ریلی سریع‌السیر دنیاست و خط پکن-شانگهای سه تا از طولانی‌ترین پل‌های راه‌آهن دنیا را دارد. بیست شهر چین هم تا مه ۲۰۱۴ از شبکه قطار شهری برخوردار بوده‌اند.

چین ۱۸۲ فرودگاه تجاری در سال ۲۰۱۲ داشته و ۸۲ فرودگاه دیگر تا سال ۲۰۱۵ افتتاح خواهد شد به این ترتیب دوسوم کل فرودگاه‌های درحال ساخت دنیا در چین قرار دارند و بوئینگ پیش‌بینی کرده که تعداد هواپیماهای تجاری چین از ۱۹۱۰ فروند در سال ۲۰۱۱ به ۵۹۸۰ فروند در سال ۲۰۳۱ خواهد رسید. فرودگاه پکن در سال ۲۰۱۳ دومین فرودگاه شلوغ دنیا از نظر ترافیک مسافری بوده‌است و فرودگاه بین‌المللی هنگ‌کنگ و شانگهای پودنگ به ترتیب اولین و سومین فرودگاه دنیا از نظر تناژ بار هوایی بوده‌اند.

با این وجود هشتاد درصد از آسمان چین محدود به کاربرد نظامی است و از ده ایرلاین آسیایی دارای بیشترین تأخیر هشت ایرلاین چینی هستند. چین بیش از ۲ هزار بندر دریایی و رودخانه‌ای دارد که ۱۳۰ تای آن‌ها برای کشتی‌رانی بین‌المللی باز است.

منابع[ویرایش]

  1. Walton, Greg (۲۰۰۱). "Executive Summary". China's golden shield: Corporations and the development of surveillance technology in the People's Republic of China. Rights & Democracy. p. ۵. ISBN ۹۷۸۲۹۲۲۰۸۴۴۲۹ Check |isbn= value: invalid character (help). Retrieved 29 Aug. 2009.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help); Check date values in: |access-date=, |date= (help)
  2. "Countries of the world ordered by land area". Listofcountriesoftheworld.com. Retrieved 27 Apr. 2010.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  3. "Rivers and Lakes". China.org.cn. Retrieved 15 Jun. 2009.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  4. "There's no stopping China". New York Post. ۱/۸/۱۰. Retrieved 2 August 2010.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. "Country profile: China". BBC News. 1 Jul. 2009. Retrieved 14 Jul. 2009.  Check date values in: |access-date=, |date= (help)
  6. Muldavin, Joshua (9 Feb. 2006). "From Rural Transformation to Global Integration: The Environmental and Social Impacts of China's Rise to Superpower". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved 17 Jan. 2010.  Check date values in: |access-date=, |date= (help)
  7. (Lt Colonel, USAF) Uckert, Merri B. (April 1995). "China as an Economic and Military Superpower: A Dangerous Combination?" (PDF). Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Air War College, Air University: ۳۳. 
  8. Bergsten, C. Fred; Gill, Bates; Lardy, Nicholas R.; Mitchell, Derek (17 Apr. 2006). China: The Balance Sheet: What the World Needs to Know about the Emerging Superpower (Illustrated Hardcover ed.). PublicAffairs. p. ۲۲۴. ISBN ۹۷۸۱۵۸۶۴۸۴۶۴۴ Check |isbn= value: invalid character (help).  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. Some continents have more languages than others washingtonpost.com
  10. Wood, Francis, Did Marco Polo go to China? (1995), p. 61. ISBN: 978-0-8133-8999-8.
  11. China’s Income Inequality Surpasses U.S., Posing Risk for Xi Bloomberg
  12. مجله دانستنی‌ها - صفحه ۱۸–۳۰ آبان ۱۳۹۴

China. (2014, December 26). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:48, December 26, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=China&oldid=639725545

پیوند به بیرون[ویرایش]

People's Republic of China
中华人民共和国 (simplified Chinese)
Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó (Pinyin)
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 script Simplified Chinese[c]
Ethnic groups
Religion See Religion in China
Demonym Chinese
Government Unitary one-party socialist republic[5]
Xi Jinping[e]
• Premier
Li Keqiang
Li Zhanshu
Wang Yang
• First Secretary of the Party Secretariat
Wang Huning
Zhao Leji
• First Vice Premier
Han Zheng
Wang Qishan[f]
Legislature National People's Congress
Formation
221 BCE
1 January 1912
21 September 1949[7][8][9]
1 October 1949
4 December 1982
20 December 1999
Area
• Total
9,596,961 km2 (3,705,407 sq mi)[g] (3rd/4th)
• Water (%)
2.8%[h]
Population
• 2016 estimate
Increase1,403,500,365 [13] (1st)
• 2010 census
1,339,724,852[14] (1st)
• Density
145[15]/km2 (375.5/sq mi) (83rd)
GDP (PPP) 2018 estimate
• Total
$25.238 trillion[16] (1st)
• Per capita
$18,066[16] (79th)
GDP (nominal) 2018 estimate
• Total
$14.092 trillion[16] (2nd)
• Per capita
$10,087[16] (71st)
Gini (2015) 46.2[17]
high
HDI (2017) Increase 0.752[18]
high · 86th
Currency Renminbi (yuan; ¥)[i] (CNY)
Time zone UTC+8 (China Standard Time)
Date format
Driving side right[j]
Calling code +86
ISO 3166 code CN
Internet TLD

China, 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.[13] Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area,[k][19] depending on the source consulted. 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 earliest 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.[20] Since then, China has expanded, fractured, and re-unified numerous times. In the 3rd century BCE, the Qin unified core China and established the first Chinese dynasty. The succeeding Han dynasty, which ruled from 206 BC until 220 AD, saw some of the most advanced technology at that time, including papermaking and the compass,[21] 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 maritime Silk Route brought traders to as far as Mesopotamia and Horn of Africa.[22] Dynastic rule ended in 1912 with the Xinhai Revolution, when a republic replaced the Qing dynasty. The Chinese Civil War resulted in a division of territory in 1949, when the Communist Party of China established the People's Republic of China, a unitary one-party sovereign state on Mainland China, while the Kuomintang-led government retreated to the island of Taiwan. The political status of Taiwan remains disputed.

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.[23] As of 2016, it is the world's second-largest economy by nominal GDP and largest by purchasing power parity (PPP).[24] China is also the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods.[25] China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army and second-largest defense budget.[26][27] 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 is a great power and a major regional power within Asia, and has been characterized as a potential superpower.[28][29]

Names

China
China (Chinese characters).svg
"China" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters
PRC (Chinese characters.svg
"People's Republic of China" in Simplified (top) and Traditional (bottom) Chinese characters
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese 中国
Traditional Chinese 中國
Literal meaning "Middle Kingdom"[30] or "Central State"[31]
People's Republic of China
Simplified Chinese 中华人民共和国
Traditional Chinese 中華人民共和國
Tibetan name
Tibetan ཀྲུང་ཧྭ་མི་དམངས་སྤྱི
མཐུན་རྒྱལ་ཁབ
Zhuang name
Zhuang Cunghvaz Yinzminz Gunghozgoz
Mongolian name
Mongolian Bügüde nayiramdaqu dumdadu arad ulus, ᠪᠦᠭᠦᠳᠡ ᠨᠠᠶᠢᠷᠠᠮᠳᠠᠬᠤ ᠳᠤᠮᠳᠠᠳᠤ ᠠᠷᠠᠳ ᠤᠯᠤᠰ
Uyghur name
Uyghur
جۇڭخۇا خەلق جۇمھۇرىيىتى
Manchu name
Manchu script ᡩᡠᠯᡳᠮᠪᠠᡳ
ᠨᡳᠶᠠᠯᠮᠠᡳᡵᡤᡝᠨ
ᡤᡠᠨᡥᡝ ᡤᡠᡵᡠᠨ
(ᡩᡡᠯᡳᠮᠪᠠᡳ
ᡤᡠᡵᡠᠨ)
Romanization Dulimbai niyalmairgen gungheg' gurun(Dulimbai Gurun)

The English word "China" is first attested in Richard Eden's 1555 translation[l] of the 1516 journal of the Portuguese explorer Duarte Barbosa.[m][36] The demonym, that is, the name for the people, and adjectival form "Chinese" developed later on the model of Portuguese chinês and French chinois.[37][n] Portuguese China is thought to derive from Persian Chīn (چین), which may be traced further back to Sanskrit Cīna (चीन).[39] Cīna was first used in early Hindu scripture, including the Mahābhārata (5th century BCE) and the Laws of Manu (2nd century BCE).[40] In 1655, Martino Martini suggested that the word China is derived ultimately from the name of the Qin dynasty (221–206 BC),[41] a proposal supported by many later scholars,[42][43][44] although there are also a number of alternative suggestions.[40][45]

The official name of the modern state is the "People's Republic of China" (Chinese: 中华人民共和国; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó). The shorter form is "China" Zhōngguó (中国), from zhōng ("central") and guó ("state"),[31][o] a term which developed under the Western Zhou dynasty in reference to its royal demesne.[p] It was then applied to the area around Luoyi (present-day Luoyang) during the Eastern Zhou and then to China's Central Plain before being used as an occasional synonym for the state under the Qing.[47] It was often used as a cultural concept to distinguish the Huaxia people from perceived "barbarians"[47] and was the source of the English name "Middle Kingdom".[49][50] A more literary or inclusive name, alluding to the "land of Chinese civilization", is Zhōnghuá (中华).[51] It developed during the Wei and Jin dynasties as a contraction of "the central state of the Huaxia".[47] Before the PRC's establishment, the proposed name of the country was the People's Democratic Republic of China (simplified Chinese: 中华人民共和国; traditional Chinese: 中華人民共和國; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Rénmín Mínzhǔ Gònghéguó) during the first CPPCC held on 15 June 1949.[52][53] During the 1950s and 1960s, after the defeat of the Kuomintang in the Chinese Civil War, it was also referred to as "Communist China" or "Red China", to be differentiated from "Nationalist China" or "Free China".[54]

History

History of China
History of China
ANCIENT
Neolithic c. 8500 – c. 2070 BCE
Xia dynasty c. 2070 – c. 1600 BCE
Shang dynasty c. 1600 – c. 1046 BCE
Zhou dynasty c. 1046 – 256 BCE
 Western Zhou
 Eastern Zhou
   Spring and Autumn
   Warring States
IMPERIAL
Qin dynasty 221–206 BCE
Han dynasty 206 BCE – 220 CE
  Western Han
  Xin dynasty
  Eastern Han
Three Kingdoms 220–280
  Wei, Shu and Wu
Jin dynasty 265–420
  Western Jin
  Eastern Jin Sixteen Kingdoms
Northern and Southern dynasties
420–589
Sui dynasty 581–618
Tang dynasty 618–907
  (Second Zhou dynasty 690–705)
Five Dynasties and
Ten Kingdoms

907–960
Liao dynasty
907–1125
Song dynasty
960–1279
  Northern Song Western Xia
  Southern Song Jin
Yuan dynasty 1271–1368
Ming dynasty 1368–1644
Qing dynasty 1644–1912
MODERN
Republic of China 1912–1949
People's Republic of China 1949–present

Prehistory

Archaeological evidence suggests that early hominids inhabited China between 2.24 million and 250,000 years ago.[55] The hominid fossils of Peking Man, a Homo erectus who used fire,[56] were discovered in a cave at Zhoukoudian near Beijing; they have been dated to between 680,000 and 780,000 years ago.[57] The fossilized teeth of Homo sapiens (dated to 125,000–80,000 years ago) have been discovered in Fuyan Cave in Dao County, Hunan.[58] Chinese proto-writing existed in Jiahu around 7000 BCE,[59] Damaidi around 6000 BCE,[60] Dadiwan from 5800–5400 BCE, and Banpo dating from the 5th millennium BCE. Some scholars have suggested that the Jiahu symbols (7th millennium BCE) constituted the earliest Chinese writing system.[59]

Early dynastic rule

Yinxu, the ruins of the capital of the late Shang dynasty (14th century BCE)

According to Chinese tradition, the first dynasty was the Xia, which emerged around 2100 BCE.[61] The dynasty was considered mythical by historians until scientific excavations found early Bronze Age sites at Erlitou, Henan in 1959.[62] It remains unclear whether these sites are the remains of the Xia dynasty or of another culture from the same period.[63] The succeeding Shang dynasty is the earliest to be confirmed by contemporary records.[64] The Shang ruled the plain of the Yellow River in eastern China from the 17th to the 11th century BCE.[65] Their oracle bone script (from c. 1500 BCE)[66][67] represents the oldest form of Chinese writing yet found,[68] and is a direct ancestor of modern Chinese characters.[69]

The Shang were conquered by the Zhou, who ruled between the 11th and 5th centuries BCE, though centralized authority was slowly eroded by feudal warlords. Many independent states eventually emerged from the weakened Zhou state and continually waged war with each other in the 300-year Spring and Autumn period, only occasionally deferring to the Zhou king. By the time of the Warring States period of the 5th–3rd centuries BCE, there were seven powerful sovereign states in what is now China, each with its own king, ministry and army.

Imperial China

China's First Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, is famed for having united the Warring States' walls to form the Great Wall of China. Most of the present structure, however, dates to the Ming dynasty.
The Terracotta Army (c. 210 BCE) discovered outside the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, now Xi'an

The Warring States period ended in 221 BCE after the state of Qin conquered the other six kingdoms and established the first unified Chinese state. King Zheng of Qin proclaimed himself the First Emperor of the Qin dynasty. He enacted Qin's legalist reforms throughout China, notably the forced standardization of Chinese characters, measurements, road widths (i.e., cart axles' length), and currency. His dynasty also conquered the Yue tribes in Guangxi, Guangdong, and Vietnam.[70] The Qin dynasty lasted only fifteen years, falling soon after the First Emperor's death, as his harsh authoritarian policies led to widespread rebellion.[71][72]

Following a widespread civil war during which the imperial library at Xianyang was burned,[q] the Han dynasty emerged to rule China between 206 BCE and CE 220, creating a cultural identity among its populace still remembered in the ethnonym of the Han Chinese.[71][72] The Han expanded the empire's territory considerably, with military campaigns reaching Central Asia, Mongolia, South Korea, and Yunnan, and the recovery of Guangdong and northern Vietnam from Nanyue. Han involvement in Central Asia and Sogdia helped establish the land route of the Silk Road, replacing the earlier path over the Himalayas to India. Han China gradually became the largest economy of the ancient world.[74] Despite the Han's initial decentralization and the official abandonment of the Qin philosophy of Legalism in favor of Confucianism, Qin's legalist institutions and policies continued to be employed by the Han government and its successors.[75]

After the end of the Han dynasty, a period of strife known as Three Kingdoms followed,[76] whose central figures were later immortalized in one of the Four Classics of Chinese literature. At its end, Wei was swiftly overthrown by the Jin dynasty. The Jin fell to civil war upon the ascension of a developmentally-disabled emperor; the Five Barbarians then invaded and ruled northern China as the Sixteen States. The Xianbei unified them as the Northern Wei, whose Emperor Xiaowen reversed his predecessors' apartheid policies and enforced a drastic sinification on his subjects, largely integrating them into Chinese culture. In the south, the general Liu Yu secured the abdication of the Jin in favor of the Liu Song. The various successors of these states became known as the Northern and Southern dynasties, with the two areas finally reunited by the Sui in 581. The Sui restored the Han to power through China, reformed its agriculture and economy, constructed the Grand Canal, and patronized Buddhism. However, they fell quickly when their conscription for public works and a failed war with Korea provoked widespread unrest.[77][78]

A detail from Along the River During the Qingming Festival, a 12th-century painting showing everyday life in the Song dynasty's capital, Bianjing (present-day Kaifeng)

Under the succeeding Tang and Song dynasties, Chinese economy, technology, and culture entered a golden age.[79] The Tang Empire returned control of the Western Regions and the Silk Road,[80] and made the capital Chang'an a cosmopolitan urban center. However, it was devastated and weakened by the An Shi Rebellion in the 8th century.[81] In 907, the Tang disintegrated completely when the local military governors became ungovernable. The Song dynasty ended the separatist situation in 960, leading to a balance of power between the Song and Khitan Liao. The Song was the first government in world history to issue paper money and the first Chinese polity to establish a permanent standing navy which was supported by the developed shipbuilding industry along with the sea trade.[82] Between the 10th and 11th centuries, the population of China doubled in size to around 100 million people, mostly because of the expansion of rice cultivation in central and southern China, and the production of abundant food surpluses. The Song dynasty also saw a revival of Confucianism, in response to the growth of Buddhism during the Tang,[83] and a flourishing of philosophy and the arts, as landscape art and porcelain were brought to new levels of maturity and complexity.[84][85] However, the military weakness of the Song army was observed by the Jurchen Jin dynasty. In 1127, Emperor Huizong of Song and the capital Bianjing were captured during the Jin–Song Wars. The remnants of the Song retreated to southern China.[86]

The 13th century brought the Mongol conquest of China. In 1271, the Mongol leader Kublai Khan established the Yuan dynasty; the Yuan conquered the last remnant of the Song dynasty in 1279. Before the Mongol invasion, the population of Song China was 120 million citizens; this was reduced to 60 million by the time of the census in 1300.[87] A peasant named Zhu Yuanzhang overthrew the Yuan in 1368 and founded the Ming dynasty as the Hongwu Emperor. Under the Ming dynasty, China enjoyed another golden age, developing one of the strongest navies in the world and a rich and prosperous economy amid a flourishing of art and culture. It was during this period that Zheng He led the Ming treasure voyages throughout the world, reaching as far as Africa.[88]

In the early years of the Ming dynasty, China's capital was moved from Nanjing to Beijing. With the budding of capitalism, philosophers such as Wang Yangming further critiqued and expanded Neo-Confucianism with concepts of individualism and equality of four occupations.[89] The scholar-official stratum became a supporting force of industry and commerce in the tax boycott movements, which, together with the famines and defense against Japanese invasions of Korea (1592–98) and Manchu invasions led to an exhausted treasury.[90]

In 1644, Beijing was captured by a coalition of peasant rebel forces led by Li Zicheng. The Chongzhen Emperor committed suicide when the city fell. The Manchu Qing dynasty, then allied with Ming dynasty general Wu Sangui, overthrew Li's short-lived Shun dynasty and subsequently seized control of Beijing, which became the new capital of the Qing dynasty.

End of dynastic rule

A 19th-century depiction of the Taiping Rebellion (1850–1864)

The Qing dynasty, which lasted from 1644 until 1912, was the last imperial dynasty of China. Its conquest of the Ming (1618–1683) cost 25 million lives and the economy of China shrank drastically.[91] After the Southern Ming ended, the further conquest of the Dzungar Khanate added Mongolia, Tibet and Xinjiang to the empire.[92] The centralized autocracy was strengthened to crack down on anti-Qing sentiment with the policy of valuing agriculture and restraining commerce, the Haijin ("sea ban"), and ideological control as represented by the literary inquisition, causing social and technological stagnation.[93][94] In the mid-19th century, the dynasty experienced Western imperialism in the Opium Wars with Britain and France. China was forced to pay compensation, open treaty ports, allow extraterritoriality for foreign nationals, and cede Hong Kong to the British[95] under the 1842 Treaty of Nanking, the first of the Unequal Treaties. The First Sino-Japanese War (1894–95) resulted in Qing China's loss of influence in the Korean Peninsula, as well as the cession of Taiwan to Japan.[96]

The Eight-Nation Alliance invaded China to defeat the anti-foreign Boxers and their Qing backers.

The Qing dynasty also began experiencing internal unrest in which tens of millions of people died, especially in the failed Taiping Rebellion that ravaged southern China in the 1850s and 1860s and the Dungan Revolt (1862–77) in the northwest. The initial success of the Self-Strengthening Movement of the 1860s was frustrated by a series of military defeats in the 1880s and 1890s.

In the 19th century, the great Chinese diaspora began. Losses due to emigration were added to by conflicts and catastrophes such as the Northern Chinese Famine of 1876–79, in which between 9 and 13 million people died.[97] The Guangxu Emperor drafted a reform plan in 1898 to establish a modern constitutional monarchy, but these plans were thwarted by the Empress Dowager Cixi. The ill-fated anti-foreign Boxer Rebellion of 1899–1901 further weakened the dynasty. Although Cixi sponsored a program of reforms, the Xinhai Revolution of 1911–12 brought an end to the Qing dynasty and established the Republic of China.

Republic of China (1912–1949)

Sun Yat-sen, the father of modern China (seated on right), and Chiang Kai-shek, later President of the Republic of China
Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong toasting together in 1946 following the end of World War II

On 1 January 1912, the Republic of China was established, and Sun Yat-sen of the Kuomintang (the KMT or Nationalist Party) was proclaimed provisional president.[98] However, the presidency was later given to Yuan Shikai, a former Qing general who in 1915 proclaimed himself Emperor of China. In the face of popular condemnation and opposition from his own Beiyang Army, he was forced to abdicate and re-establish the republic.[99]

After Yuan Shikai's death in 1916, China was politically fragmented. Its Beijing-based government was internationally recognized but virtually powerless; regional warlords controlled most of its territory.[100][101] In the late 1920s, the Kuomintang, under Chiang Kai-shek, the then Principal of the Republic of China Military Academy, was able to reunify the country under its own control with a series of deft military and political maneuverings, known collectively as the Northern Expedition.[102][103] The Kuomintang moved the nation's capital to Nanjing and implemented "political tutelage", an intermediate stage of political development outlined in Sun Yat-sen's San-min program for transforming China into a modern democratic state.[104][105] The political division in China made it difficult for Chiang to battle the Communist, People's Liberation Army (PLA) against whom the Kuomintang had been warring since 1927 in the Chinese Civil War. This war continued successfully for the Kuomintang, especially after the PLA retreated in the Long March, until Japanese aggression and the 1936 Xi'an Incident forced Chiang to confront Imperial Japan.[106]

The Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), a theater of World War II, forced an uneasy alliance between the Kuomintang and the PLA. Japanese forces committed numerous war atrocities against the civilian population; in all, as many as 20 million Chinese civilians died.[107] An estimated 200,000 Chinese were massacred in the city of Nanjing alone during the Japanese occupation.[108] During the war, China, along with the UK, the US and the Soviet Union, were referred to as "trusteeship of the powerful"[109] and were recognized as the Allied "Big Four" in the Declaration by United Nations.[110][111] Along with the other three great powers, China was one of the four major Allies of World War II, and was later considered one of the primary victors in the war.[112][113] After the surrender of Japan in 1945, Taiwan, including the Pescadores, was returned to Chinese control. China emerged victorious but war-ravaged and financially drained. The continued distrust between the Kuomintang and the Communists led to the resumption of civil war. Constitutional rule was established in 1947, but because of the ongoing unrest, many provisions of the ROC constitution were never implemented in mainland China.[114]

People's Republic of China (1949–present)

Major combat in the Chinese Civil War ended in 1949 with the Communist Party in control of most of mainland China, and the Kuomintang retreating offshore, reducing the ROC's territory to only Taiwan, Hainan, and their surrounding islands. On 21 September 1949, Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the establishment of the People's Republic of China.[7][8][9] This was followed by a mass celebration in Tiananmen Square on 1 October, which became the new country's first National Day. In 1950, the People's Liberation Army succeeded in capturing Hainan from the ROC[115] and incorporating Tibet.[116] However, remaining Kuomintang forces continued to wage an insurgency in western China throughout the 1950s.[117] In modern US history studies, the founding of PRC China is often termed as "the loss of China" as reflected in US state policy documents of the time, which thinkers such as Noam Chomsky call the beginning of McCarthyism.[118]

Mao Zedong proclaiming the establishment of the PRC in 1949

The regime consolidated its popularity among the peasants through land reform, which resulted in the execution of between 1 and 2 million landlords executed.[119] China developed an independent industrial system and its own nuclear weapons.[120] The Chinese population almost doubled from around 550 million to over 900 million.[121] However, the Great Leap Forward, a large-scale economic and social reform project, resulted in an estimated 45 million deaths between 1958 and 1961, mostly from starvation.[122] In 1966, Mao and his allies launched the Cultural Revolution, sparking a decade of political recrimination and social upheaval which lasted until Mao's death in 1976. In October 1971, the PRC replaced the Republic of China in the United Nations, and took its seat as a permanent member of the Security Council.[123]

After Mao's death, the Gang of Four was quickly arrested and held responsible for the excesses of the Cultural Revolution. Deng Xiaoping took power in 1978, and instituted significant economic reforms. The Communist Party loosened governmental control over citizens' personal lives, and the communes were gradually disbanded in favor of working contracted to households. This marked China's transition from a planned economy to a mixed economy with an increasingly open-market environment.[124] China adopted its current constitution on 4 December 1982. In 1989, the violent suppression of student protests in Tiananmen Square brought sanctions against the Chinese government from various countries.[125]

Jiang Zemin, Li Peng and Zhu Rongji led the nation in the 1990s. Under their administration, China's economic performance pulled an estimated 150 million peasants out of poverty and sustained an average annual gross domestic product growth rate of 11.2%.[126][127] The country formally joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, and maintained its high rate of economic growth under Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao's leadership in the 2000s. However, rapid growth also severely impacted the country's resources and environment,[128][129] and caused major social displacement.[130][131] Living standards continued to improve rapidly despite the late-2000s recession, but centralized political control remained tight.[132]

Preparations for a decadal Communist Party leadership change in 2012 were marked by factional disputes and political scandals.[133] During China's 18th National Communist Party Congress in November 2012, Hu Jintao was replaced as General Secretary of the Communist Party by Xi Jinping.[134][135] Under Xi, the Chinese government began large-scale efforts to reform its economy,[136][137] which has suffered from structural instabilities and slowing growth.[138][139][140][141][142] The Xi–Li Administration also announced major reforms to the one-child policy and prison system.[143]

Geography

A composite satellite image showing the topography of China

China's landscape is vast and diverse, ranging from the Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts in the arid north to subtropical forests in the wetter south. The Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamir and Tian Shan mountain ranges separate China from much of South and Central Asia. The Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, the third- and sixth-longest in the world, respectively, run from the Tibetan Plateau to the densely populated eastern seaboard. China's coastline along the Pacific Ocean is 14,500 kilometers (9,000 mi) long and is bounded by the Bohai, Yellow, East China and South China seas. China connects through the Kazakh border to the Eurasian Steppe which has been an artery of communication between East and West since the Neolithic through the Steppe route – the ancestor of the terrestrial Silk Road(s).

Political geography

The People's Republic of China is the second-largest country in the world by land area[144] after Russia, and is either the third- or fourth-largest by total area, after Russia, Canada and, depending on the definition of total area, the United States.[r] China's total area is generally stated as being approximately 9,600,000 km2 (3,700,000 sq mi).[145] Specific area figures range from 9,572,900 km2 (3,696,100 sq mi) according to the Encyclopædia Britannica,[146] 9,596,961 km2 (3,705,407 sq mi) according to the UN Demographic Yearbook,[10] to 9,596,961 km2 (3,705,407 sq mi) according to the CIA World Factbook.[12]

China has the longest combined land border in the world, measuring 22,117 km (13,743 mi) from the mouth of the Yalu River to the Gulf of Tonkin.[12] China borders 14 nations, more than any other country except Russia, which also borders 14.[147] China extends across much of East Asia, bordering Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar (Burma) in Southeast Asia; India, Bhutan, Nepal, Afghanistan, and Pakistan[s] in South Asia; Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in Central Asia; and Russia, Mongolia, and North Korea in Inner Asia and Northeast Asia. Additionally, China shares maritime boundaries with South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

Landscape and climate

The territory of China lies between latitudes 18° and 54° N, and longitudes 73° and 135° E. China's landscapes vary significantly across its vast width. In the east, along the shores of the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea, there are extensive and densely populated alluvial plains, while on the edges of the Inner Mongolian plateau in the north, broad grasslands predominate. Southern China is dominated by hills and low mountain ranges, while the central-east hosts the deltas of China's two major rivers, the Yellow River and the Yangtze River. Other major rivers include the Xi, Mekong, Brahmaputra and Amur. To the west sit major mountain ranges, most notably the Himalayas. High plateaus feature among the more arid landscapes of the north, such as the Taklamakan and the Gobi Desert. The world's highest point, Mount Everest (8,848m), lies on the Sino-Nepalese border.[148] The country's lowest point, and the world's third-lowest, is the dried lake bed of Ayding Lake (−154m) in the Turpan Depression.[149]

China's climate is mainly dominated by dry seasons and wet monsoons, which lead to pronounced temperature differences between winter and summer. In the winter, northern winds coming from high-latitude areas are cold and dry; in summer, southern winds from coastal areas at lower latitudes are warm and moist.[150] The climate in China differs from region to region because of the country's highly complex topography.

A major environmental issue in China is the continued expansion of its deserts, particularly the Gobi Desert.[151][152] Although barrier tree lines planted since the 1970s have reduced the frequency of sandstorms, prolonged drought and poor agricultural practices have resulted in dust storms plaguing northern China each spring, which then spread to other parts of east Asia, including Korea and Japan. China's environmental watchdog, SEPA, stated in 2007 that China is losing 4,000 km2 (1,500 sq mi) per year to desertification.[153] Water quality, erosion, and pollution control have become important issues in China's relations with other countries. Melting glaciers in the Himalayas could potentially lead to water shortages for hundreds of millions of people.[154]

Biodiversity

China is one of 17 megadiverse countries,[155] lying in two of the world's major ecozones: the Palearctic and the Indomalaya. By one measure, China has over 34,687 species of animals and vascular plants, making it the third-most biodiverse country in the world, after Brazil and Colombia.[156] The country signed the Rio de Janeiro Convention on Biological Diversity on 11 June 1992, and became a party to the convention on 5 January 1993.[157] It later produced a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, with one revision that was received by the convention on 21 September 2010.[158]

China is home to at least 551 species of mammals (the third-highest such number in the world),[159] 1,221 species of birds (eighth),[160] 424 species of reptiles (seventh)[161] and 333 species of amphibians (seventh).[162] Wildlife in China share habitat with and bear acute pressure from the world's largest population of Homo sapiens. At least 840 animal species are threatened, vulnerable or in danger of local extinction in China, due mainly to human activity such as habitat destruction, pollution and poaching for food, fur and ingredients for traditional Chinese medicine.[163] Endangered wildlife is protected by law, and as of 2005, the country has over 2,349 nature reserves, covering a total area of 149.95 million hectares, 15 percent of China's total land area.[164] The Baiji has recently been confirmed extinct.

China has over 32,000 species of vascular plants,[165] and is home to a variety of forest types. Cold coniferous forests predominate in the north of the country, supporting animal species such as moose and Asian black bear, along with over 120 bird species.[166] The understorey of moist conifer forests may contain thickets of bamboo. In higher montane stands of juniper and yew, the bamboo is replaced by rhododendrons. Subtropical forests, which are predominate in central and southern China, support as many as 146,000 species of flora.[166] Tropical and seasonal rainforests, though confined to Yunnan and Hainan Island, contain a quarter of all the animal and plant species found in China.[166] China has over 10,000 recorded species of fungi,[167] and of them, nearly 6,000 are higher fungi.[168]

Environmental issues

The traffic in Beijing

In recent decades, China has suffered from severe environmental deterioration and pollution.[169][170] While regulations such as the 1979 Environmental Protection Law are fairly stringent, they are poorly enforced, as they are frequently disregarded by local communities and government officials in favor of rapid economic development.[171] Urban air pollution is a severe health issue in the country; the World Bank estimated in 2013 that 16 of the world's 20 most-polluted cities are located in China.[172] And China is the country with the highest death toll because of air pollution. There are 1.14 million deaths caused by exposure to ambient air pollution.[173] China is the world's largest carbon dioxide emitter.[174] The country also has significant water pollution problems: 40% of China's rivers had been polluted by industrial and agricultural waste by late 2011.[175] In 2014, the internal freshwater resources per capita of China reduced to 2,062m3, and it was below 500m3 in the North China Plain, while 5,920m3 in the world.[176][177][178]

In China, heavy metals also cause environmental pollution. Heavy metal pollution is an inorganic chemical hazard, which is mainly caused by lead (Pb), chromium (Cr), arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), cobalt (Co), and nickel (Ni). Five metals among them, Pb, Cr, As, Cd, and Hg, are the key heavy metal pollutants in China. Heavy metal pollutants mainly come from mining, sewage irrigation, the manufacturing of metal-containing products, and other related production activities. High level of heavy metal exposure can also cause permanent intellectual and developmental disabilities, including reading and learning disabilities, behavioral problems, hearing loss, attention problems, and disruption in the development of visual and motor function. According to the data of a national census of pollution, China has more than 1.5 million sites of heavy metals exposure. The total volume of discharged heavy metals in the waste water, waste gas and solid wastes are around 900,000 tons each year from 2005–2011.[179]

However, China is the world's leading investor in renewable energy and its commercialization, with $52 billion invested in 2011 alone;[180][181][182] it is a major manufacturer of renewable energy technologies and invests heavily in local-scale renewable energy projects.[183][184][185] By 2015, over 24% of China's energy was derived from renewable sources, while most notably from hydroelectric power: a total installed capacity of 197 GW makes China the largest hydroelectric power producer in the world.[186][187] China also has the largest power capacity of installed solar photovoltaics system and wind power system in the world.[188][189] In 2011, the Chinese government announced plans to invest four trillion yuan (US$619 billion) in water infrastructure and desalination projects over a ten-year period, and to complete construction of a flood prevention and anti-drought system by 2020.[177][190] In 2013, China began a five-year, US$277 billion effort to reduce air pollution, particularly in the north of the country.[191]

Politics

Xi Jinping in 2016.jpg Li Keqiang (cropped).jpg
Xi Jinping
General Secretary
and President
Li Keqiang
Premier
The Zhongnanhai, home and workplace of the PRC President

China's constitution states that The People's Republic of China "is a socialist state under the people's democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants," and that the state organs "apply the principle of democratic centralism."[192] The PRC is one of the world's only socialist states openly endorsing communism (see Ideology of the Communist Party of China). The Chinese government has been variously described as communist and socialist, but also as authoritarian and corporatist,[193] with heavy restrictions in many areas, most notably against free access to the Internet, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, the right to have children, free formation of social organizations and freedom of religion.[194] Its current political, ideological and economic system has been termed by its leaders as the "people's democratic dictatorship", "socialism with Chinese characteristics" (which is Marxism adapted to Chinese circumstances) and the "socialist market economy" respectively.[195]

Communist Party

Sign in Tiananmen Square marking the 90th anniversary of the Communist Party of China

China's constitution declares that the country is ruled "under the leadership" of the Communist Party of China (CPC).[196] As China is a de facto one-party state, the General Secretary (party leader) holds ultimate power and authority over state and government serving as the paramount leader.[197] The electoral system is pyramidal. Local People's Congresses are directly elected, and higher levels of People's Congresses up to the National People's Congress (NPC) are indirectly elected by the People's Congress of the level immediately below.[198] The political system is decentralized, and provincial and sub-provincial leaders have a significant amount of autonomy.[199] Another eight political parties, have representatives in the NPC and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).[200] China supports the Leninist principle of "democratic centralism",[201] but critics describe the elected National People's Congress as a "rubber stamp" body.[202]

Government

Tiananmen with a portrait of Mao Zedong

The President is the titular head of state, elected by the National People's Congress. The Premier is the head of government, presiding over the State Council composed of four vice premiers and the heads of ministries and commissions. The incumbent president is Xi Jinping, who is also the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, making him China's paramount leader. The incumbent premier is Li Keqiang, who is also a senior member of the CPC Politburo Standing Committee, China's de facto top decision-making body.[203][134]

There have been some moves toward political liberalization, in that open contested elections are now held at the village and town levels.[204][205] However, the party retains effective control over government appointments: in the absence of meaningful opposition, the CPC wins by default most of the time. Political concerns in China include the growing gap between rich and poor and government corruption.[206][207] Nonetheless, the level of public support for the government and its management of the nation is high, with 80–95% of Chinese citizens expressing satisfaction with the central government, according to a 2011 survey.[208]

Administrative divisions

The People's Republic of China is divided into 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, each with a designated minority group; four municipalities; and two special administrative regions (SARs) which enjoy a degree of political autonomy. These 31 provincial-level divisions can be collectively referred to as "mainland China", a term which usually excludes two SARs of Hong Kong and Macau. Geographically, all 31 provincial divisions can be grouped into six regions, including North China, Northeast China, East China, South Central China, Southwest China and Northwest China.

China considers Taiwan to be its 23rd province, although Taiwan is governed by the Republic of China, which rejects the PRC's claim.[209] None of the divisions are recognized by the ROC government, which claims the entirety of the PRC's territory.

Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous RegionTibet (Xizang) Autonomous RegionQinghai ProvinceGansu ProvinceSichuan ProvinceYunnan ProvinceNingxia Hui Autonomous RegionInner Mongolia (Nei Mongol) Autonomous RegionShaanxi ProvinceMunicipality of ChongqingGuizhou ProvinceGuangxi Zhuang Autonomous RegionShanxi ProvinceHenan ProvinceHubei ProvinceHunan ProvinceGuangdong ProvinceHainan ProvinceHebei ProvinceHeilongjiang ProvinceJilin ProvinceLiaoning ProvinceMunicipality of BeijingMunicipality of TianjinShangdong ProvinceJiangsu ProvinceAnhui ProvinceMunicipality of ShanghaiZhejiang ProvinceJiangxi ProvinceFujian ProvinceHong Kong Special Administrative RegionMacau Special Administrative RegionTaiwan ProvinceChina administrative claimed included.svg
About this image

Foreign relations

Chinese President Xi Jinping met with U.S. President Donald Trump and their wives at the Mar Lago resort in Florida

The PRC has diplomatic relations with 175 countries and maintains embassies in 162. Its legitimacy is disputed by the Republic of China and a few other countries; it is thus the largest and most populous state with limited recognition. In 1971, the PRC replaced the Republic of China as the sole representative of China in the United Nations and as one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.[210] China was also a former member and leader of the Non-Aligned Movement, and still considers itself an advocate for developing countries.[211] Along with Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, China is a member of the BRICS group of emerging major economies and hosted the group's third official summit at Sanya, Hainan in April 2011.[212]

Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)
  Members   Observers   Dialogue partners   Observer applicants   Disputed territories

Under its interpretation of the One-China policy, Beijing has made it a precondition to establishing diplomatic relations that the other country acknowledges its claim to Taiwan and severs official ties with the government of the Republic of China. Chinese officials have protested on numerous occasions when foreign countries have made diplomatic overtures to Taiwan,[213] especially in the matter of armament sales.[214]

Diplomatic Relations of China

Much of current Chinese foreign policy is reportedly based on Premier Zhou Enlai's Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and is also driven by the concept of "harmony without uniformity", which encourages diplomatic relations between states despite ideological differences.[215] This policy may have led China to support states that are regarded as dangerous or repressive by Western nations, such as Zimbabwe, North Korea and Iran.[216] China has a close economic and military relationship with Russia,[217] and the two states often vote in unison in the UN Security Council.[218][219][220]

Trade relations

In recent decades, China has played an increasing role in calling for free trade areas and security pacts amongst its Asia-Pacific neighbours. China became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on 11 December 2001. In 2004, it proposed an entirely new East Asia Summit (EAS) framework as a forum for regional security issues.[221] The EAS, which includes ASEAN Plus Three, India, Australia and New Zealand, held its inaugural summit in 2005. China is also a founding member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), along with Russia and the Central Asian republics.

In 2000, the United States Congress approved "permanent normal trade relations" (PNTR) with China, allowing Chinese exports in at the same low tariffs as goods from most other countries.[222] China has a significant trade surplus with the United States, its most important export market.[223] In the early 2010s, US politicians argued that the Chinese yuan was significantly undervalued, giving China an unfair trade advantage.[224][225][226] In recent decades, China has followed a policy of engaging with African nations for trade and bilateral co-operation;[227][228][229] in 2012, Sino-African trade totalled over US$160 billion.[230] China has furthermore strengthened its ties with major South American economies, becoming the largest trading partner of Brazil and building strategic links with Argentina.[231][232]

China has the second biggest economy in the world. According to Bloomberg News, China is planning to reduce the average tariff rate on imports from its trading partners by October 2018. In July 2018, China had also cut import tariffs on approximately 1,500 consumer products so as to open up the economy of the country.[233]

Territorial disputes

Map depicting territorial disputes between the PRC and neighbouring states. For a larger map, see here.

Ever since its establishment after the second Chinese Civil War, the PRC has claimed the territories governed by the Republic of China (ROC), a separate political entity today commonly known as Taiwan, as a part of its territory. It regards the island of Taiwan as its Taiwan Province, Kinmen and Matsu as a part of Fujian Province and islands the ROC controls in the South China Sea as a part of Hainan Province and Guangdong Province. These claims are controversial because of the complicated Cross-Strait relations, with the PRC treating the One-China policy as one of its most important diplomatic principles.[234]

In addition to Taiwan, China is also involved in other international territorial disputes. Since the 1990s, China has been involved in negotiations to resolve its disputed land borders, including a disputed border with India and an undefined border with Bhutan. China is additionally involved in multilateral disputes over the ownership of several small islands in the East and South China Seas, such as the Senkaku Islands and the Scarborough Shoal.[235][236] On 21 May 2014 Xi Jinping, speaking at a conference in Shanghai, pledged to settle China's territorial disputes peacefully. "China stays committed to seeking peaceful settlement of disputes with other countries over territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests", he said.[237]

Emerging superpower status

China is regularly hailed as a potential new superpower, with certain commentators citing its rapid economic progress, growing military might, very large population, and increasing international influence as signs that it will play a prominent global role in the 21st century.[29][238] Others, however, warn that economic bubbles and demographic imbalances could slow or even halt China's growth as the century progresses.[239][240] Some authors also question the definition of "superpower", arguing that China's large economy alone would not qualify it as a superpower, and noting that it lacks the military power and cultural influence of the United States.[241]

Sociopolitical issues, human rights and reform

March in memory of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo who died of organ failure while in government custody in 2017

The Chinese democracy movement, social activists, and some members of the Communist Party of China have all identified the need for social and political reform. While economic and social controls have been significantly relaxed in China since the 1970s, political freedom is still tightly restricted. The Constitution of the People's Republic of China states that the "fundamental rights" of citizens include freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to a fair trial, freedom of religion, universal suffrage, and property rights. However, in practice, these provisions do not afford significant protection against criminal prosecution by the state.[242][243] Although some criticisms of government policies and the ruling Communist Party are tolerated, censorship of political speech and information, most notably on the Internet,[244][245] are routinely used to prevent collective action.[246] In 2005, Reporters Without Borders ranked China 159th out of 167 states in its Annual World Press Freedom Index, indicating a very low level of press freedom.[247] In 2014, China ranked 175th out of 180 countries.[248]

Rural migrants to China's cities often find themselves treated as second-class citizens by the hukou household registration system, which controls access to state benefits.[249][250] Property rights are often poorly protected,[249] and taxation disproportionately affects poorer citizens.[250] However, a number of rural taxes have been reduced or abolished since the early 2000s, and additional social services provided to rural dwellers.[251][252]

A number of foreign governments, foreign press agencies and NGOs also routinely criticize China's human rights record, alleging widespread civil rights violations such as detention without trial, forced abortions,[253] forced confessions, torture, restrictions of fundamental rights,[194][254] and excessive use of the death penalty.[255][256] The government has suppressed popular protests and demonstrations that it considers a potential threat to "social stability", as was the case with the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

Candlelight vigil on the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests

Falun Gong was first taught publicly in 1992. In 1999, when there were 70 million practitioners,[257] the persecution of Falun Gong began, resulting in mass arrests, extralegal detention, and reports of torture and deaths in custody.[258][259] The Chinese state is regularly accused of large-scale repression and human rights abuses in Tibet and Xinjiang, including violent police crackdowns and religious suppression.[260][261] At least 120,000 members of China's Muslim Uyghur minority have been detained in mass detention camps, termed "reeducation camps", aimed at changing the political thinking of detainees, their identities and their religious beliefs.[262] The state has even sought to control offshore reporting of tensions in Xinjiang, intimidating foreign-based reporters by detaining their family members.[263]

The Chinese government has responded to foreign 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.[264] It emphasizes the rise in the Chinese standard of living, literacy rate and average life expectancy since the 1970s, as well as improvements in workplace safety and efforts to combat natural disasters such as the perennial Yangtze River floods.[264][265][266] Furthermore, some Chinese politicians have spoken out in support of democratization, although others remain more conservative.[267] Some major reform efforts have been conducted; for an instance in November 2013, the government announced plans to relax the one-child policy and abolish the much-criticized re-education through labour program,[143] though human rights groups note that reforms to the latter have been largely cosmetic.[258] During the 2000s and early 2010s, the Chinese government was increasingly tolerant of NGOs that offer practical, efficient solutions to social problems, but such "third sector" activity remained heavily regulated.[268][269]

State-sponsored slavery

According to the 2016 Global Slavery Index, an estimated 3,388,400 people are enslaved in modern-day China, or 0.25% of the population.[270] State-sponsored slavery is part of the Chinese penal system, and there are over a thousand slave labour prisons and camps known collectively as the Laogai. Prisoners are not paid at all, and need their families to send money to them. Prisoners who refuse to work are beaten, and some are beaten to death. Many of the prisoners are political or religious dissidents, and some are recognized internationally as prisoners of conscience. Laogai in Chinese means forced labour and reform. A Chinese president said that they want to see two products coming out of the prisons: the man who has been reformed, and the product made by the man. Harry Wu, himself a former prisoner of the Laogai, filmed undercover footage of the Laogai, and was charged with stealing state secrets. For this, Harry Wu was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but only served 66 days before being deported to the United States.[271][272][273]

Military

With 2.3 million active troops, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is the largest standing military force in the world, commanded by the Central Military Commission (CMC).[274] China has the second-biggest military reserve force, only behind North Korea. The PLA consists of the Ground Force (PLAGF), the Navy (PLAN), the Air Force (PLAAF), and the People's Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF). According to the Chinese government, China's military budget for 2017 totalled US$151,5 billion, constituting the world's second-largest military budget, although the military expenditures-GDP ratio with 1,3% of GDP is below world average.[27] However, many authorities – including SIPRI and the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense – argue that China does not report its real level of military spending, which is allegedly much higher than the official budget.[27][275]

As a recognized nuclear weapons state, China is considered both a major regional military power and a potential military superpower.[276] According to a 2013 report by the US Department of Defense, China fields between 50 and 75 nuclear ICBMs, along with a number of SRBMs.[26] However, compared with the other four UN Security Council Permanent Members, China has relatively limited power projection capabilities.[277] To offset this, it has developed numerous power projection assets since the early 2000s – its first aircraft carrier entered service in 2012,[278][279][280] and it maintains a substantial fleet of submarines, including several nuclear-powered attack and ballistic missile submarines.[281] China has furthermore established a network of foreign military relationships along critical sea lanes.[282]

China has made significant progress in modernising its air force in recent decades, purchasing Russian fighter jets such as the Sukhoi Su-30, and also manufacturing its own modern fighters, most notably the Chengdu J-10, J-20 and the Shenyang J-11, J-15, J-16, and J-31.[278][283] China is furthermore engaged in developing an indigenous stealth aircraft and numerous combat drones.[284][285][286] Air and Sea denial weaponry advances have increased the regional threat from the perspective of Japan as well as Washington.[287][288] China has also updated its ground forces, replacing its ageing Soviet-derived tank inventory with numerous variants of the modern Type 99 tank, and upgrading its battlefield C3I and C4I systems to enhance its network-centric warfare capabilities.[289] In addition, China has developed or acquired numerous advanced missile systems,[290][291] including anti-satellite missiles,[292] cruise missiles[293] and submarine-launched nuclear ICBMs.[294] According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute's data, China became the world's third largest exporter of major arms in 2010–14, an increase of 143 percent from the period 2005–09.[295] Chinese officials stated that spending on the military will rise to U.S. $173B in 2018. fox

In August 2018, China tested its first hypersonic flight. The China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics (CAAA) claims to have successfully conducted the test with the aircraft Starry Sky-2 that touched a speed of Mach 6 - which is six times the speed of sound.[296]

Economy

China and other major developing economies by GDP per capita at purchasing-power parity, 1990–2013. The rapid economic growth of China (blue) is readily apparent.[297]
The Shanghai Stock Exchange building in Shanghai's Lujiazui financial district. Shanghai has the 25th-largest city GDP in the world, totalling US$304 billion in 2011[298]

China had the largest economy in the world for most of the past two thousand years, during which it has seen cycles of prosperity and decline.[299][300] As of 2014, China has the world's second-largest economy in terms of nominal GDP, totalling approximately US$10.380 trillion according to the International Monetary Fund.[citation needed] In terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) GDP, China's economy is the largest in the world, with a 2014 PPP GDP of US$17.632 trillion.[301] In 2013, its PPP GDP per capita was US$12,880, while its nominal GDP per capita was US$7,589. Both cases put China behind around eighty countries (out of 183 countries on the IMF list) in global GDP per capita rankings.[301]

Economic history and growth

From its founding in 1949 until late 1978, the People's Republic of China was a Soviet-style centrally planned economy. Following Mao's death in 1976 and the consequent end of the Cultural Revolution, Deng Xiaoping and the new Chinese leadership began to reform the economy and move towards a more market-oriented mixed economy under one-party rule. Agricultural collectivization was dismantled and farmlands privatized, while foreign trade became a major new focus, leading to the creation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Inefficient state-owned enterprises (SOEs) were restructured and unprofitable ones were closed outright, resulting in massive job losses. Modern-day China is mainly characterized as having a market economy based on private property ownership,[302] and is one of the leading examples of state capitalism.[303][304] The state still dominates in strategic "pillar" sectors such as energy production and heavy industries, but private enterprise has expanded enormously, with around 30 million private businesses recorded in 2008.[305][306][307][308]

Headquarters of Alibaba Group in Hangzhou

Since economic liberalization began in 1978, China has been among the world's fastest-growing economies,[309] relying largely on investment- and export-led growth.[310][311][312] According to the IMF, China's annual average GDP growth between 2001 and 2010 was 10.5%. Between 2007 and 2011, China's economic growth rate was equivalent to all of the G7 countries' growth combined.[313] According to the Global Growth Generators index announced by Citigroup in February 2011, China has a very high 3G growth rating.[314] Its high productivity, low labor costs and relatively good infrastructure have made it a global leader in manufacturing. However, the Chinese economy is highly energy-intensive and inefficient;[315] China became the world's largest energy consumer in 2010,[316] relies on coal to supply over 70% of its energy needs, and surpassed the US to become the world's largest oil importer in September 2013.[317][318] In the early 2010s, China's economic growth rate began to slow amid domestic credit troubles, weakening international demand for Chinese exports and fragility in the global economy.[319][320][321]

In recent years, government claimed growth numbers have come under increased scrutiny, with both non-Chinese financial and economic observes as well as Chinese government officials claiming the government has been inflating its economic output. Examples include, the provincial government in Liaoning publicly admitted that the government has been cooking the books when publishing it's economic data from 2011 to 2014, making an overclaim of over 20%. Tianjin's trillion yuan GDP claim for 2016, was in fact a third lower, at 665 billion yuan ($103 billion).[322][323][324] Regarding the credibility of official data, china's premier has been quoted as saying the GDP numbers are "man-made" and unreliable and should be used "for reference only".[325] A Wall Street Journal survey of 64 select economists found that 96% of respondents think China's GDP estimates don't "accurately reflect the state of the Chinese economy.",[326] while some analysts claim the Chinese growth rate is overstated by 2-3%.[327]

In the online realm, China's e-commerce industry has grown more slowly than the EU and the US, with a significant period of development occurring from around 2009 onwards. According to Credit Suisse, the total value of online transactions in China grew from an insignificant size in 2008 to around RMB 4 trillion (US$660 billion) in 2012. The Chinese online payment market is dominated by major firms such as Alipay, Tenpay and China UnionPay.[328]

China in the global economy

Share of world GDP (PPP)[329]
Year Share
1980 2.32%
1990 4.11%
2000 7.40%
2010 13.89%
2017 18.23%

China is a member of the WTO and is the world's largest trading power, with a total international trade value of US$3.87 trillion in 2012.[25] Its foreign exchange reserves reached US$2.85 trillion by the end of 2010, an increase of 18.7% over the previous year, making its reserves by far the world's largest.[330][331] In 2012, China was the world's largest recipient of inward foreign direct investment (FDI), attracting $253 billion.[332] In 2014, China's foreign exchange remittances were $US64 billion making it the second largest recipient of remittances in the world.[333] China also invests abroad, with a total outward FDI of $62.4 billion in 2012,[332] and a number of major takeovers of foreign firms by Chinese companies.[334] In 2009, China owned an estimated $1.6 trillion of US securities,[335] and was also the largest foreign holder of US public debt, owning over $1.16 trillion in US Treasury bonds.[336][337] China's undervalued exchange rate has caused friction with other major economies,[225][338][339] and it has also been widely criticized for manufacturing large quantities of counterfeit goods.[340][341] According to consulting firm McKinsey, total outstanding debt in China increased from $7.4 trillion in 2007 to $28.2 trillion in 2014, which reflects 228% of China's GDP.[342] In 2017 the Institute of International Finance reported that China's debt had reached 304% of its GDP.[343]

Graph comparing the 2014 nominal GDPs
of major economies in US$ billions (IMF)[344]

China ranked 29th in the Global Competitiveness Index in 2009,[345] although it is only ranked 136th among the 179 countries measured in the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom.[346] In 2014, Fortune's Global 500 list of the world's largest corporations included 95 Chinese companies, with combined revenues of US$5.8 trillion.[347] The same year, Forbes reported that five of the world's ten largest public companies were Chinese, including the world's largest bank by total assets, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.[348]

Class and income inequality

China's middle-class population (if defined as those with annual income of between US$10,000 and US$60,000) had reached more than 300 million by 2012.[349] More than 75 percent of China's urban consumers are expected to earn between 60.000 and 229.000 RMB per year by 2022.[350] According to the Hurun Report, the number of US dollar billionaires in China increased from 130 in 2009 to 251 in 2012, giving China the world's second-highest number of billionaires.[351][352] China's domestic retail market was worth over 20 trillion yuan (US$3.2 trillion) in 2012[353] and is growing at over 12% annually as of 2013,[354] while the country's luxury goods market has expanded immensely, with 27.5% of the global share.[355] However, in recent years, China's rapid economic growth has contributed to severe consumer inflation,[356][357] leading to increased government regulation.[358] China has a high level of economic inequality,[359] which has increased in the past few decades.[360] In 2012, China's official Gini coefficient was 0.474.[361][362] A study conducted by Southwestern University of Finance and Economics showed that China's Gini coefficient actually had reached 0.61 in 2012, and top 1% Chinese held more than 25% of China's wealth.[363]

Internationalization of the renminbi

Following the 2008 global financial crisis, China realized the dependency on the US Dollar and the weakness of the international monetary system.[364] The RMB Internationalization accelerated in 2009 when China established dim sum bond market and expanded the Cross-Border Trade RMB Settlement Pilot Project, which helps establish pools of offshore RMB liquidity.[365][366] In November 2010, Russia began using the Chinese renminbi in its bilateral trade with China.[367] This was soon followed by Japan,[368] Australia,[369] Singapore,[370] the United Kingdom,[371] and Canada.[372] As a result of the rapid internationalization of the renminbi, it became the eighth-most-traded currency in the world in 2013.[373]

Science and technology

Historical

China was once a world leader in science and technology up until the Ming dynasty. Ancient Chinese discoveries and inventions, such as papermaking, printing, the compass, and gunpowder (the Four Great Inventions), became widespread across East Asia, the Middle East and later to Europe. Chinese mathematicians were the first to use negative numbers.[374][375] By the 17th century, Europe and the Western world surpassed China in scientific and technological advancement.[376] The causes of this early modern Great Divergence continue to be debated by scholars to this day.[377]

After repeated military defeats by the European colonial powers and Japan in the 19th century, Chinese reformers began promoting modern science and technology as part of the Self-Strengthening Movement. After the Communists came to power in 1949, efforts were made to organize science and technology based on the model of the Soviet Union, in which scientific research was part of central planning.[378] After Mao's death in 1976, science and technology was established as one of the Four Modernizations,[379] and the Soviet-inspired academic system was gradually reformed.[380]

Modern era

Since the end of the Cultural Revolution, China has made significant investments in scientific research,[381] with $163 billion spent on scientific research and development in 2012.[382] Science and technology are seen as vital for achieving China's economic and political goals, and are held as a source of national pride to a degree sometimes described as "techno-nationalism".[383] Nonetheless, China's investment in basic and applied scientific research remains behind that of leading technological powers such as the United States and Japan.[381][382] Chinese-born scientists have won the Nobel Prize in Physics four times, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and Physiology or Medicine once respectively, though most of these scientists conducted their Nobel-winning research in western nations.[t]

China is developing its education system with an emphasis on science, mathematics and engineering; in 2009, China graduated over 10,000 Ph.D. engineers, and as many as 500,000 BSc graduates, more than any other country.[389] China is also the world's second-largest publisher of scientific papers, producing 121,500 in 2010 alone, including 5,200 in leading international scientific journals.[390] Chinese technology companies such as Huawei and Lenovo have become world leaders in telecommunications and personal computing,[391][392][393] and Chinese supercomputers are consistently ranked among the world's most powerful.[394][395] China is also expanding its use of industrial robots; from 2008 to 2011, the installation of multi-role robots in Chinese factories rose by 136 percent.[396]

The Chinese space program is one of the world's most active, and is a major source of national pride.[397][398] In 1970, China launched its first satellite, Dong Fang Hong I, becoming the fifth country to do so independently.[399] In 2003, China became the third country to independently send humans into space, with Yang Liwei's spaceflight aboard Shenzhou 5; as of 2015, ten Chinese nationals have journeyed into space, including two women. In 2011, China's first space station module, Tiangong-1, was launched, marking the first step in a project to assemble a large manned station by the early 2020s.[400] In 2013, China successfully landed the Chang'e 3 lander and Yutu rover onto the lunar surface; China plans to collect lunar soil samples by 2017.[401] In 2016, China's 2nd space station module, Tiangong-2, was launched from Jiuquan aboard a Long March 2F rocket on 15 September 2016. Then Shenzhou 11 successfully docked with Tiangong-2 on 19 October 2016.

Infrastructure

Telecommunications

Beidou satellites are mainly launched using Long March 3 rocket family.

China currently has the largest number of active cellphones of any country in the world, with over 1 billion users by February 2012.[402] It also has the world's largest number of internet and broadband users,[403] with over 688 million internet users as of 2016, equivalent to around half of its population.[404] The national average broadband connection speed is 9.46 Mbit/s, ranking China 91st in the world in terms of internet speed.[404] As of July 2013, China accounts for 24% of the world's internet-connected devices.[405] Since 2011 China is the nation with the most installed telecommunication bandwidth in the world. By 2014, China hosts more than twice as much national bandwidth potential than the U.S., the historical leader in terms of installed telecommunication bandwidth (China: 29% versus US:13% of the global total).[406]

China Telecom and China Unicom, the world's two largest broadband providers, accounted for 20% of global broadband subscribers. China Telecom alone serves more than 50 million broadband subscribers, while China Unicom serves more than 40 million.[407] Several Chinese telecommunications companies, most notably Huawei and ZTE, have been accused of spying for the Chinese military.[408]

China is developing its own satellite navigation system, dubbed Beidou, which began offering commercial navigation services across Asia in 2012,[409] and is planned to offer global coverage by 2020.[410]

Transport

Since the late 1990s, China's national road network has been significantly expanded through the creation of a network of national highways and expressways. In 2011 China's highways had reached a total length of 85,000 km (53,000 mi), making it the longest highway system in the world.[411] In 1991, there were only six bridges across the main stretch of the Yangtze River, which bisects the country into northern and southern halves. By October 2014, there were 81 such bridges and tunnels.

China has the world's largest market for automobiles, having surpassed the United States in both auto sales and production. Auto sales in 2009 exceeded 13.6 million[412] and may reach 40 million by 2020.[413] A side-effect of the rapid growth of China's road network has been a significant rise in traffic accidents,[414] with poorly enforced traffic laws cited as a possible cause—in 2011 alone, around 62,000 Chinese died in road accidents.[415] In urban areas, bicycles remain a common mode of transport, despite the increasing prevalence of automobiles – as of 2012, there are approximately 470 million bicycles in China.[416]

Terminal 3 of Beijing Capital International Airport is the 2nd-largest airport terminal in the world

China's railways, which are state-owned, are among the busiest in the world, handling a quarter of the world's rail traffic volume on only 6 percent of the world's tracks in 2006.[417][418] As of 2013, the country had 103,144 km (64,091 mi) of railways, the third longest network in the world.[419] All provinces and regions are connected to the rail network except Macau. The railways strain to meet enormous demand particularly during the Chinese New Year holiday, when the world's largest annual human migration takes place.[418] In 2013, Chinese railways delivered 2.106 billion passenger trips, generating 1,059.56 billion passenger-kilometers and carried 3.967 billion tons of freight, generating 2,917.4 billion cargo tons-kilometers.[419]

China's high-speed rail (HSR) system started construction in the early 2000s. Today it has over 19,000 kilometers (11,806 miles) of dedicated lines alone, a length that exceeds rest of the world's high-speed rail tracks combined,[420] making it the longest HSR network in the world.[421] With an annual ridership of over 1.1 billion passengers in 2015 it is the world's busiest.[422] The network includes the Beijing–Guangzhou–Shenzhen High-Speed Railway, the single longest HSR line in the world, and the Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Railway, which has three of longest railroad bridges in the world.[423] The HSR track network is set to reach approximately 16,000 km (9,900 mi) by 2020.[424] The Shanghai Maglev Train, which reaches 431 km/h (268 mph), is the fastest commercial train service in the world.[425]

Since 2000, the growth of rapid transit systems in Chinese cities has accelerated. As of January 2016, 26 Chinese cities have urban mass transit systems in operation and 39 more have metro systems approved[426] with a dozen more to join them by 2020.[427] The Shanghai Metro, Beijing Subway, Guangzhou Metro, Hong Kong MTR and Shenzhen Metro are among the longest and busiest in the world.

The China Standardized EMU, also known as Fuxing Hao, is an indigenous Chinese bullet train whose maximum operating speed reaches 350 km/h (217 mph)

There were approximately 200 airports in 2015 with around 240 planned by 2020. More than two-thirds of the airports under construction worldwide in 2013 were in China,[428] and Boeing expects that China's fleet of active commercial aircraft in China will grow from 1,910 in 2011 to 5,980 in 2031.[428] With rapid expansion in civil aviation, the largest airports in China have also joined the ranks of the busiest in the world. In 2013, Beijing's Capital Airport ranked second in the world by passenger traffic (it was 26th in 2002). Since 2010, the Hong Kong International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport have ranked first and third in air cargo tonnage.

Some 80% of China's airspace remains restricted for military use, and Chinese airlines made up eight of the 10 worst-performing Asian airlines in terms of delays.[429] China has over 2,000 river and seaports, about 130 of which are open to foreign shipping. In 2012, the Ports of Shanghai, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Ningbo-Zhoushan, Guangzhou, Qingdao, Tianjin, Dalian ranked in the top in the world in container traffic and cargo tonnage.[430]

The Port of Shanghai's deep water harbor on Yangshan Island in the Hangzhou Bay became the world's busiest container port in 2010

Water supply and sanitation

Water supply and sanitation infrastructure in China is facing challenges such as rapid urbanization, as well as water scarcity, contamination, and pollution.[431] According to data presented by the Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply and Sanitation of WHO and UNICEF in 2015, about 36% of the rural population in China still did not have access to improved sanitation.[432] In June 2010, there were 1,519 sewage treatment plants in China and 18 plants were added each week.[433] The ongoing South–North Water Transfer Project intends to abate water shortage in the north.[434]

Demographics

A 2009 population density map of the People's Republic of China and Taiwan. The eastern coastal provinces are much more densely populated than the western interior
Population[13]
Year Million
1950 554.4
2000 1283.2
2016 1403.5

The national census of 2010 recorded the population of the People's Republic of China as approximately 1,370,536,875. About 16.60% of the population were 14 years old or younger, 70.14% were between 15 and 59 years old, and 13.26% were over 60 years old.[435] The population growth rate for 2013 is estimated to be 0.46%.[436]

Although a middle-income country by Western standards, China's rapid growth has pulled hundreds of millions of its people out of poverty since 1978. Today, about 10% of the Chinese population lives below the poverty line of US$1 per day, down from 64% in 1978. In 2014, the urban unemployment rate of China was about 4.1%.[437][438]

Given concerns about population growth, China implemented a two-child limit during the 1970s, and, in 1979, began to advocate for an even stricter limit of one child per family. Beginning in the mid 1980s, however, given the unpopularity of the strict limits, China began to allow some major exemptions, particularly in rural areas, resulting in what was actually a "1.5"-child policy from the mid 1980s to 2015 (ethnic minorities were also exempt from one child limits). The next major loosening of the policy was enacted in December 2013, allowing families to have two children if one parent is an only child.[439] In 2016, the one-child policy was replaced in favor of a two-child policy.[440] Data from the 2010 census implies that the total fertility rate may be around 1.4, although due to underreporting of births it may be closer to 1.5-1.6.[441]

Population of China from 1949 to 2008[needs update]

According to one group of scholars, one-child limits had little effect on population growth[442] or the size of the total population.[443] However, these scholars have been challenged. Their own counterfactual model of fertility decline without such restrictions implies that China averted more than 500 million births between 1970 and 2015, a number which may reach one billion by 2060 given all the lost descendants of births averted during the era of fertility restrictions, with one-child restrictions accounting for the great bulk of that reduction.[444]

The policy, along with traditional preference for boys, may have contributed to an imbalance in the sex ratio at birth.[445][446] According to the 2010 census, the sex ratio at birth was 118.06 boys for every 100 girls,[447] which is beyond the normal range of around 105 boys for every 100 girls.[448] The 2010 census found that males accounted for 51.27 percent of the total population.[447] However, China's sex ratio is more balanced than it was in 1953, when males accounted for 51.82 percent of the total population.[447]

Ethnic groups

A trilingual sign in Sibsongbanna, with Tai Lü language on the top

China officially recognizes 56 distinct ethnic groups, the largest of which are the Han Chinese, who constitute about 91.51% of the total population.[14] The Han Chinese – the world's largest single ethnic group[449] – outnumber other ethnic groups in every provincial-level division except Tibet and Xinjiang.[450] Ethnic minorities account for about 8.49% of the population of China, according to the 2010 census.[14] Compared with the 2000 population census, the Han population increased by 66,537,177 persons, or 5.74%, while the population of the 55 national minorities combined increased by 7,362,627 persons, or 6.92%.[14] The 2010 census recorded a total of 593,832 foreign citizens living in China. The largest such groups were from South Korea (120,750), the United States (71,493) and Japan (66,159).[451]

Languages

1990 map of Chinese ethnolinguistic groups

There are as many as 292 living languages in China.[452] The languages most commonly spoken belong to the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family, which contains Mandarin (spoken by 70% of the population),[453] and other varieties of Chinese language: Yue (including Cantonese and Taishanese), Wu (including Shanghainese and Suzhounese), Min (including Fuzhounese, Hokkien and Teochew), Xiang, Gan and Hakka. Languages of the Tibeto-Burman branch, including Tibetan, Qiang, Naxi and Yi, are spoken across the Tibetan and Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau. Other ethnic minority languages in southwest China include Zhuang, Thai, Dong and Sui of the Tai-Kadai family, Miao and Yao of the Hmong–Mien family, and Wa of the Austroasiatic family. Across northeastern and northwestern China, local ethnic groups speak Altaic languages including Manchu, Mongolian and several Turkic languages: Uyghur, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Salar and Western Yugur. Korean is spoken natively along the border with North Korea. Sarikoli, the language of Tajiks in western Xinjiang, is an Indo-European language. Taiwanese aborigines, including a small population on the mainland, speak Austronesian languages.[454]

Standard Mandarin, a variety of Mandarin based on the Beijing dialect, is the official national language of China and is used as a lingua franca in the country between people of different linguistic backgrounds.[455]

Chinese characters have been used as the written script for the Sinitic languages for thousands of years. They allow speakers of mutually unintelligible Chinese varieties to communicate with each other through writing. In 1956, the government introduced simplified characters, which have supplanted the older traditional characters in mainland China. Chinese characters are romanized using the Pinyin system. Tibetan uses an alphabet based on an Indic script. Uyghur is most commonly written in Persian alphabet based Uyghur Arabic alphabet. The Mongolian script used in China and the Manchu script are both derived from the Old Uyghur alphabet. Zhuang uses both an official Latin alphabet script and a traditional Chinese character script.

Urbanization

Map of the ten largest cities in China (2010)

China has urbanized significantly in recent decades. The percent of the country's population living in urban areas increased from 20% in 1980 to over 55% in 2016.[456][457][458][459] It is estimated that China's urban population will reach one billion by 2030, potentially equivalent to one-eighth of the world population.[457][458] As of 2012, there are more than 262 million migrant workers in China, mostly rural migrants seeking work in cities.[460]

China has over 160 cities with a population of over one million,[461] including the seven megacities (cities with a population of over 10 million) of Chongqing, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Shenzhen, and Wuhan.[462][463][464] By 2025, it is estimated that the country will be home to 221 cities with over a million inhabitants.[457] The figures in the table below are from the 2010 census,[4] and are only estimates of the urban populations within administrative city limits; a different ranking exists when considering the total municipal populations (which includes suburban and rural populations). The large "floating populations" of migrant workers make conducting censuses in urban areas difficult;[465] the figures below include only long-term residents.

Education

Since 1986, compulsory education in China comprises primary and junior secondary school, which together last for nine years.[467] In 2010, about 82.5 percent of students continued their education at a three-year senior secondary school.[468] The Gaokao, China's national university entrance exam, is a prerequisite for entrance into most higher education institutions. In 2010, 27 percent of secondary school graduates are enrolled in higher education.[469] This number increased significantly over the last years, reaching a tertiary school enrollment of 48.4 percent in 2016.[470] Vocational education is available to students at the secondary and tertiary level.[471]

In February 2006, the government pledged to provide completely free nine-year education, including textbooks and fees.[472] Annual education investment went from less than US$50 billion in 2003 to more than US$250 billion in 2011.[473] However, there remains an inequality in education spending. In 2010, the annual education expenditure per secondary school student in Beijing totalled ¥20,023, while in Guizhou, one of the poorest provinces in China, only totalled ¥3,204.[474] Free compulsory education in China consists of primary school and junior secondary school between the ages of 6 and 15. In 2011, around 81.4% of Chinese have received secondary education.[475] By 2007, there were 396,567 primary schools, 94,116 secondary schools, and 2,236 higher education institutions in China.[476]

As of 2010, 94% of the population over age 15 are literate.[477] In 1949, only 20% of the population could read, compared to 65.5% thirty years later.[478] In 2009, Chinese students from Shanghai achieved the world's best results in mathematics, science and literacy, as tested by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a worldwide evaluation of 15-year-old school pupils' scholastic performance.[479] Despite the high results, Chinese education has also faced both native and international criticism for its emphasis on rote memorization and its gap in quality from rural to urban areas.[480]

Health

Chart showing the rise of China's Human Development Index from 1970 to 2010

The National Health and Family Planning Commission, together with its counterparts in the local commissions, oversees the health needs of the Chinese population.[481] An emphasis on public health and preventive medicine has characterized Chinese health policy since the early 1950s. At that time, the Communist Party started the Patriotic Health Campaign, which was aimed at improving sanitation and hygiene, as well as treating and preventing several diseases. Diseases such as cholera, typhoid and scarlet fever, which were previously rife in China, were nearly eradicated by the campaign. After Deng Xiaoping began instituting economic reforms in 1978, the health of the Chinese public improved rapidly because of better nutrition, although many of the free public health services provided in the countryside disappeared along with the People's Communes. Healthcare in China became mostly privatized, and experienced a significant rise in quality. In 2009, the government began a 3-year large-scale healthcare provision initiative worth US$124 billion.[482] By 2011, the campaign resulted in 95% of China's population having basic health insurance coverage.[483] In 2011, China was estimated to be the world's third-largest supplier of pharmaceuticals, but its population has suffered from the development and distribution of counterfeit medications.[484]

As of 2012, the average life expectancy at birth in China is 75 years,[485] and the infant mortality rate is 12 per thousand.[486] Both have improved significantly since the 1950s.[u] Rates of stunting, a condition caused by malnutrition, have declined from 33.1% in 1990 to 9.9% in 2010.[489] Despite significant improvements in health and the construction of advanced medical facilities, China has several emerging public health problems, such as respiratory illnesses caused by widespread air pollution,[490] hundreds of millions of cigarette smokers,[491] and an increase in obesity among urban youths.[492][493] China's large population and densely populated cities have led to serious disease outbreaks in recent years, such as the 2003 outbreak of SARS, although this has since been largely contained.[494] In 2010, air pollution caused 1.2 million premature deaths in China.[495]

Religion

Freedom of religion is guaranteed by China's constitution, although religious organizations that lack official approval can be subject to state persecution.[254][496] The government of the People's Republic of China is officially atheist. Religious affairs and issues in the country are overseen by the State Administration for Religious Affairs.[497]

Over the millennia, Chinese civilization has been influenced by various religious movements. The "three teachings", including Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism (Chinese Buddhism), historically have a significant role in shaping Chinese culture,[498][499] enriching a theological and spiritual framework which harkens back to the early Shang and Zhou dynasty. Chinese popular or folk religion, which is framed by the three teachings and other traditions,[500] consists in allegiance to the shen (神), a character that signifies the "energies of generation", who can be deities of the environment or ancestral principles of human groups, concepts of civility, culture heroes, many of whom feature in Chinese mythology and history.[501] Among the most popular cults are those of Mazu (goddess of the seas),[502] Huangdi (one of the two divine patriarchs of the Chinese race),[502][503] Guandi (god of war and business), Caishen (god of prosperity and richness), Pangu and many others. China is home to many of the world's tallest religious statues, including the tallest of all, the Spring Temple Buddha in Henan.

Clear data on religious affiliation in China is difficult to gather due to varying definitions on "religion" and the unorganized, diffusive nature of Chinese religious traditions. Scholars note that in China there is no clear boundary between three teachings religions, Buddhism, Taoism and local folk religious practice.[498] A 2015 poll conducted by Gallup International found that 61% of Chinese people self-identified as "convinced atheist",[504] though it is worthwhile to note that Chinese religions or some of their strands are definable as non-theistic and humanistic religions, since they do not believe that divine creativity is completely transcendent, but it is inherent in the world and in particular in the human being.[505] According to a 2014 study, approximately 74% are either non-religious or practise Chinese folk belief, 16% are Buddhists, 2% are Christians, 1% are Muslims, and 8% adhere to other religions including Taoists and folk salvationism.[506][507] In addition to Han people's local religious practices, there are also various ethnic minority groups in China who maintain their traditional autochthone religions. The various folk salvationisms today comprise 2–3% of the population, while Confucianism as a religious self-identification is common within the intellectual class. Significant faiths specifically connected to certain ethnic groups include Tibetan Buddhism and the Islamic religion of the Hui people, also of Uyghur, Kazakh, Kyrgyz and other peoples in the Northwest China.

Culture

The Temple of Heaven, a center of heaven worship and an UNESCO World Heritage site, symbolizes the Interactions Between Heaven and Mankind.[509]

Since ancient times, Chinese culture has been heavily influenced by Confucianism and conservative philosophies. For much of the country's dynastic era, opportunities for social advancement could be provided by high performance in the prestigious imperial examinations, which have their origins in the Han dynasty.[510] The literary emphasis of the exams affected the general perception of cultural refinement in China, such as the belief that calligraphy, poetry and painting were higher forms of art than dancing or drama. Chinese culture has long emphasized a sense of deep history and a largely inward-looking national perspective.[29] Examinations and a culture of merit remain greatly valued in China today.[511]

The first leaders of the People's Republic of China were born into the traditional imperial order, but were influenced by the May Fourth Movement and reformist ideals. They sought to change some traditional aspects of Chinese culture, such as rural land tenure, sexism, and the Confucian system of education, while preserving others, such as the family structure and culture of obedience to the state. Some observers see the period following the establishment of the PRC in 1949 as a continuation of traditional Chinese dynastic history, while others claim that the Communist Party's rule has damaged the foundations of Chinese culture, especially through political movements such as the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, where many aspects of traditional culture were destroyed, having been denounced as "regressive and harmful" or "vestiges of feudalism". Many important aspects of traditional Chinese morals and culture, such as Confucianism, art, literature, and performing arts like Peking opera,[512] were altered to conform to government policies and propaganda at the time. Access to foreign media remains heavily restricted.[513]

Today, the Chinese government has accepted numerous elements of traditional Chinese culture as being integral to Chinese society. With the rise of Chinese nationalism and the end of the Cultural Revolution, various forms of traditional Chinese art, literature, music, film, fashion and architecture have seen a vigorous revival,[514][515] and folk and variety art in particular have sparked interest nationally and even worldwide.[516] China is now the third-most-visited country in the world,[517] with 55.7 million inbound international visitors in 2010.[518] It also experiences an enormous volume of domestic tourism; an estimated 740 million Chinese holidaymakers travelled within the country in October 2012 alone.[519]

Literature

The stories in Journey to the West are common themes in Peking opera.

Chinese literature is based on the literature of the Zhou dynasty.[520] Concepts covered within the Chinese classic texts present a wide range of thoughts and subjects including calendar, military, astrology, herbology, geography and many others.[521] Some of the most important early texts include the I Ching and the Shujing within the Four Books and Five Classics which served as the Confucian authoritative books for the state-sponsored curriculum in dynastic era.[522] Inherited from the Classic of Poetry, classical Chinese poetry developed to its floruit during the Tang dynasty. Li Bai and Du Fu opened the forking ways for the poetic circles through romanticism and realism respectively.[523] Chinese historiography began with the Shiji, the overall scope of the historiographical tradition in China is termed the Twenty-Four Histories, which set a vast stage for Chinese fictions along with Chinese mythology and folklore.[524] Pushed by a burgeoning citizen class in the Ming dynasty, Chinese classical fiction rose to a boom of the historical, town and gods and demons fictions as represented by the Four Great Classical Novels which include Water Margin, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Journey to the West and Dream of the Red Chamber.[525] Along with the wuxia fictions of Jin Yong and Liang Yusheng,[526] it remains an enduring source of popular culture in the East Asian cultural sphere.[527]

Bian Lian (Face-Changing) Performer

In the wake of the New Culture Movement after the end of the Qing dynasty, Chinese literature embarked on a new era with written vernacular Chinese for ordinary citizens. Hu Shih and Lu Xun were pioneers in modern literature.[528] Various literary genres, such as misty poetry, scar literature, young adult fiction and the xungen literature, which is influenced by magic realism,[529] emerged following the Cultural Revolution. Mo Yan, a xungen literature author, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012.[530]

Cuisine

Foods from different regional cuisines: laziji from Sichuan cuisine; xiaolongbao from Jiangsu cuisine; rice noodle roll from Cantonese cuisine; and Peking duck from Shandong cuisine[531]

Chinese cuisine is highly diverse, drawing on several millennia of culinary history and geographical variety, in which the most influential are known as the "Eight Major Cuisines", including Sichuan, Cantonese, Jiangsu, Shandong, Fujian, Hunan, Anhui, and Zhejiang cuisines.[532] All of them are featured by the precise skills of shaping, heating, colorway and flavoring.[533] Chinese cuisine is also known for its width of cooking methods and ingredients,[534] as well as food therapy that is emphasized by traditional Chinese medicine.[535] Generally, China's staple food is rice in the south, wheat based breads and noodles in the north. The diet of the common people in pre-modern times was largely grain and simple vegetables, with meat reserved for special occasions. And the bean products, such as tofu and soy milk, remain as a popular source of protein.[536] Pork is now the most popular meat in China, accounting for about three-fourths of the country's total meat consumption.[537] While pork dominates the meat market, there is also pork-free Buddhist cuisine and Chinese Islamic cuisine. Southern cuisine, due to the area's proximity to the ocean and milder climate, has a wide variety of seafood and vegetables; it differs in many respects from the wheat-based diets across dry northern China. Numerous offshoots of Chinese food, such as Hong Kong cuisine and American Chinese food, have emerged in the nations that play host to the Chinese diaspora.

Sports

Dragon boat racing, a popular traditional Chinese sport

China has become a prime sports destination worldwide. The country gained the hosting rights for several major global sports tournaments including the 2008 Summer Olympics, the 2015 World Championships in Athletics, the upcoming 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup and the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics.

China has one of the oldest sporting cultures in the world. There is evidence that archery (shèjiàn) was practiced during the Western Zhou dynasty. Swordplay (jiànshù) and cuju, a sport loosely related to association football[538] date back to China's early dynasties as well.[539]

Xiangqi, or Chinese chess, which, like Western Chess is believed to be descended from the Indian chess game of chaturanga.[540] The earliest indications reveal the game may have been played as early as the third century BCE.

Physical fitness is widely emphasized in Chinese culture, with morning exercises such as qigong and t'ai chi ch'uan widely practiced,[541] and commercial gyms and private fitness clubs are gaining popularity across the country.[542] Basketball is currently the most popular spectator sport in China.[543] The Chinese Basketball Association and the American National Basketball Association have a huge following among the people, with native or ethnic Chinese players such as Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian held in high esteem.[544] China's professional football league, now known as Chinese Super League, was established in 1994, it is the largest football market in Asia.[545] Other popular sports in the country include martial arts, table tennis, badminton, swimming and snooker. Board games such as go (known as wéiqí in Chinese), xiangqi, mahjong, and more recently chess, are also played at a professional level.[546] In addition, China is home to a huge number of cyclists, with an estimated 470 million bicycles as of 2012.[416] Many more traditional sports, such as dragon boat racing, Mongolian-style wrestling and horse racing are also popular.[547]

China has participated in the Olympic Games since 1932, although it has only participated as the PRC since 1952. China hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, where its athletes received 51 gold medals – the highest number of gold medals of any participating nation that year.[548] China also won the most medals of any nation at the 2012 Summer Paralympics, with 231 overall, including 95 gold medals.[549][550] In 2011, Shenzhen in Guangdong, China hosted the 2011 Summer Universiade. China hosted the 2013 East Asian Games in Tianjin and the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics in Nanjing. Beijing and its nearby city Zhangjiakou of Hebei province will also collaboratively host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, which will make Beijing the first city in the world to hold both the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics.[551]

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Romanized as "Peking" prior to the adoption of Pinyin.
  2. ^ Portuguese (Macau only), English (Hong Kong only).
  3. ^ In the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, Traditional Chinese characters are used
  4. ^ Ethnic minorities that are recognized officially.
  5. ^ Xi Jinping holds four concurrent positions: General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (de facto paramount leader), President of the People's Republic of China (de jure head of state), and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (Commander-in-chief) for both state and party.[6]
  6. ^ According to the official Orders of precedence in China (i.e. party comes first), the order of Wang would be inferior to the members of the Standing Committee of Politburo of CPC as he was not appointed office in the 19th Central Committee.
  7. ^ The area given is the official United Nations figure for the mainland and excludes Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.[10] It also excludes the Trans-Karakoram Tract (5,800 km2 or 2,200 sq mi), Aksai Chin (37,244 km2 or 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.[11] For further information, see Territorial changes of the People's Republic of China.
  8. ^ This figure was calculated using data from the CIA World Factbook.[12]
  9. ^ The Hong Kong Dollar is used in Hong Kong and Macau while the Macanese pataca is used in Macau only.
  10. ^ Except Hong Kong and Macau.
  11. ^ The total area ranking relative to the United States depends on the measurement of the total areas of China and the United States. See List of countries and dependencies by area for more information.
  12. ^ "[...] Next vnto this, is found the great China, whose kyng is thought to bee the greatest prince in the worlde, and is named Santoa Raia".[32][33]
  13. ^ "[...] The Very Great Kingdom of China".[34] (Portuguese: ...O Grande Reino da China...).[35]
  14. ^ Eden used the now obsolete form Chinish: "...whence the Chinishe nation haue theyr prouision for shppyng..."[38]
  15. ^ Although this is the present meaning of guó, in Old Chinese (when its pronunciation was something like /*qʷˤək/)[46] it meant the walled city of the Chinese and the areas they could control from them.[47]
  16. ^ Its use is attested from the 6th-century Classic of History, which states "Huangtian bestowed the lands and the peoples of the central state to the ancestors" (皇天既付中國民越厥疆土于先王).[48]
  17. ^ Owing to Qin Shi Huang's earlier policy involving the "burning of books and burying of scholars", the destruction of the confiscated copies at Xianyang was an event similar to the destructions of the Library of Alexandria in the west. Even those texts that did survive had to be painstakingly reconstructed from memory, luck, or forgery.[73] The Old Texts of the Five Classics were said to have been found hidden in a wall at the Kong residence in Qufu. Mei Ze's "rediscovered" edition of the Book of Documents was only shown to be a forgery in the Qing dynasty.
  18. ^ According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, the total area of the United States, at 9,522,055 km2 (3,676,486 sq mi), is slightly smaller than that of China. Meanwhile, the CIA World Factbook states that China's total area was greater than that of the United States until the coastal waters of the Great Lakes was added to the United States' total area in 1996. From 1989 through 1996, the total area of US was listed as 9,372,610 km2 (3,618,780 sq mi) (land area plus inland water only). The listed total area changed to 9,629,091 km2 (3,717,813 sq mi) in 1997 (with the Great Lakes areas and the coastal waters added), to 9,631,418 km2 (3,718,711 sq mi) in 2004, to 9,631,420 km2 (3,718,710 sq mi) in 2006, and to 9,826,630 km2 (3,794,080 sq mi) in 2007 (territorial waters added).
  19. ^ China's border with Pakistan and part of its border with India falls in the disputed region of Kashmir. The area under Pakistani administration is claimed by India, while the area under Indian administration is claimed by Pakistan.
  20. ^ Tsung-Dao Lee,[384] Chen Ning Yang,[384] Daniel C. Tsui,[385] Charles K. Kao,[386] Yuan T. Lee,[387] Tu Youyou[388]
  21. ^ The national life expectancy at birth rose from about 31 years in 1949 to 75 years in 2008,[487] and infant mortality decreased from 300 per thousand in the 1950s to around 33 per thousand in 2001.[488]
  22. ^ The Yellow Emperor (Huangdi 黄帝) is often presented as the ancestor of both Chinese people and Chinese civilization. In Chinese religion, he embodies or grasps the axis mundi (Kunlun Mountain), the hub of creation, identifying with the spring of the universe (天 Tiān).[508]

References

  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 (PDF) on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2011. p. 395
  2. ^ "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. 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. ^ General Information of the People's Republic of China (PRC): Languages, chinatoday.com, retrieved 17 April 2008
  4. ^ a b "Tabulation of the 2010 Census of the People's Republic of China". China Statistics Press.
  5. ^ "Constitution of the People's Republic of China". The National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China. 15 November 2007. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  6. ^ "New man at helm: Xi Jinping elected to lead China". RT.com. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2013.
  7. ^ a b "The Chinese people have stood up". UCLA Center for East Asian Studies. Archived from the original on 18 February 2009. Retrieved 16 April 2006.
  8. ^ a b Peaslee, Amos J. (1956), "Data Regarding the 'People's Republic of China'", Constitutions of Nations, Vol. I, 2nd ed., Dordrecht: Springer, p. 533, ISBN 978-94-017-7125-2
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