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maps of China

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provinces and regions of China
Name Area
(sq mi)
Area
(sq km)
Capital
Provinces      
 Anhui 54,015 139,900 Hefei (Hofei)
 Fujian (Fukien) 47,529 123,100 Fuzhou (Fukien)
 Gansu 137,104 355,100 Lanzhou
 Guangdong 76,100 197,100 Guangzhou (Canton)
 Guizhou (Kweichow) 67,181 174,000 Guiyang
 Hainan 13,200 34,300 Haikou
 Hebei (Hopei) 81,479 211,030 Shijia Zhuang
 Heilongjiang 178,996 463,600 Harbin
 Henan (Honan) 64,479 167,000 Zhengzhou
 Hubei (Hupeh) 72,394 187,500 Wuhan
 Hunan 81,274 210,500 Changsha
 Jiangsu (Kiangsu) 40,927 106,000 Nanjing (Nanking)
 Jiangxi (Kiangsi) 63,629 164,800 Nanchang
 Jilin (Kirin) 72,201 187,000 Changchun
 Liaoning 53,301 138,050 Shenyang
 Qinghai (Chinghai) 278,378 721,000 Xining (Sining)
 Shaanxi (Shensi) 75,598 195,800 Xian (Sian)
 Shandong 59,189 153,300 Jinan (Tsinan)
 Shanxi (Shansi) 60,656 157,100 Taiyuan
 Sichuan (Szechwan) 219,691 569,000 Chengdu
 Yunnan 168,417 436,200 Kunming
 Zhejiang (Chekiang) 39,305 101,800 Hangzhou
Autonomous Regions      
 Guangxi Zhuang 85,096 220,400 Nanning
 Inner Mongolia 454,633 1,177,500 Hohhot (Huhehot)
 Ningxia Hui 30,039 77,800 Yinchuan
 Xinjiang Uygur 635,829 1,646,800 Urumqi (Urumchi)
 Tibet 471,660 1,221,600 Lhasa

map of china provinces

map of china - provinces

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China summary

Country name:
conventional long form: People's Republic of China
conventional short form: China
local long form: Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo
local short form: Zhongguo
abbreviation: PRC
Government type: Communist state
Capital: Beijing
Administrative divisions: 23 provinces (sheng, singular and plural), 5 autonomous regions (zizhiqu, singular and plural), and 4 municipalities (shi, singular and plural)
provinces: Anhui, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang
autonomous regions: Guangxi, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Xinjiang, Xizang (Tibet)
municipalities: Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, Tianjin
Independence:
221 BC (unification under the Qin or Ch'in Dynasty);
1 January 1912 (Manchu Dynasty replaced by a Republic);
1 October 1949 (People's Republic established)
National holiday: Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China, 1 October (1949)
Exchange rates on 1st January 2006;
1 Euro = 9.76 CNY ; 1 CNY = 0.102 Euro
1 Australian Dollar = 5.92 CNY ; 1 CNY = 0.169 Australian Dollar
1 USD = 8.06 CNY ; 1 CNY = 0.124 USD
1 Hong Kong Dollar = 1.04 CNY ; CNY = 0.96 HKD

Time Zone; GMT +8

Economic Indicators
Annual data 2005 Historical averages 2001-05
Population; 1,307,400,000
Population growth; 0.6%
GDP; USD1,911.7 billion
Real GDP growth; 8.7%
GDP [purchasing power parity] USD 8,116.1 billion
Real domestic demand growth; 9.7%
Inflation 1.3%
GDP per head; USD1,462
GDP per head (purchasing power parity) ; USD6,208
Current-account balance (% of GDP) ; 3.6%
Exchange rate Rmb:USD; 8.2
FDI inflows (% of GDP) ; 3.4%

Annual data 2003
Government consumption (% of GDP); 12.90
Budget balance (% of GDP); -2.50
Public debt (% of GDP); 29.60
Labour costs per hour ; USD 0.92
Recorded unemployment; 10.10%
Current-account balance/GDP; 2.20
Foreign-exchange reserves; USD 401,036 million

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China geography

Location: Eastern Asia, bordering the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea, between North Korea and Vietnam
Geographic coordinates: 35 00 N, 105 00 E
Area: total: 9,596,960 sq km
land: 9,326,410 sq km
water: 270,550 sq km
Area - comparative: world's fourth largest country (after Russia, Canada, and US); slightly smaller than the US
Land boundaries: total: 22,117 km
border countries: Afghanistan 76 km, Bhutan 470 km, Burma 2,185 km, India 3,380 km, Kazakhstan 1,533 km, North Korea 1,416 km, Kyrgyzstan 858 km, Laos 423 km, Mongolia 4,677 km, Nepal 1,236 km, Pakistan 523 km, Russia (northeast) 3,605 km, Russia (northwest) 40 km, Tajikistan 414 km, Vietnam 1,281 km
regional borders: Hong Kong 30 km, Macau 0.34 km
Coastline: 14,500 km
Climate: extremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in north
Terrain: mostly mountains, high plateaus, deserts in west; plains, deltas, and hills in east
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Turpan Pendi -154 m
highest point: Tibet - Mount Everest 8,850 m [shared with Nepal]
Natural resources: coal, iron ore, petroleum, natural gas, mercury, tin, tungsten, antimony, manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, magnetite, aluminum, lead, zinc, uranium, hydropower potential (world's largest)
Land use: arable land: 15.4%
permanent crops: 1.25%
other: 83.35% (2001)
Irrigated land: 525,800 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: frequent typhoons (about five per year along southern and eastern coasts); damaging floods; tsunamis; earthquakes; droughts; land subsidence
Environment - current issues: air pollution (greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide particulates) from reliance on coal produces acid rain; water shortages, particularly in the north; water pollution from untreated wastes; deforestation; estimated loss of one-fifth of agricultural land since 1949 to soil erosion and economic development; desertification; trade in endangered species

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China people

Population: 1,306,313,812 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 21.4% (male 148,134,928/female 131,045,415)
15-64 years: 71% (male 477,182,072/female 450,664,933)
65 years and over: 7.6% (male 47,400,282/female 51,886,182) (2005 est.)
Median age: total: 32.26 years
male: 31.87 years
female: 32.67 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.58% (2005 est.)
Birth rate: 13.14 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate: 6.94 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.12 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.13 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.91 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 24.18 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 21.21 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 27.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 72.27 years
male: 70.65 years
female: 74.09 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.72 children born/woman (2005 est.)
Nationality: noun: Chinese (singular and plural)
adjective: Chinese
Ethnic groups: Han Chinese 91.9%, Zhuang, Uygur, Hui, Yi, Tibetan, Miao, Manchu, Mongol, Buyi, Korean, and other nationalities 8.1%
Religions: Daoist (Taoist), Buddhist, Muslim 1%-2%, Christian 3%-4% note: officially atheist (2002 est.)
Languages: Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghaiese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 90.9%
male: 95.1%
female: 86.5% (2002)

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brief history of China

China took shape as a political entity in the first millennium BC, and until the 20th century largely remained a coherent empire governed by scholar-officials after the Confucian vision of a meritocratic, ordered society. Even foreign conquerors such as the Hsiung-nu, Khitai, Jurchen, Tangut, Mongols (1279) and Manchus (1644) did not change the essential character of Chinese society, and became partly Sinicised themselves. The attitude towards outsiders was primarily one of condescension.

Europeans began coming to China in the 16th century: first Jesuit priests, then enterprising traders and diplomats, who in time overpowered the conservative empire. Britain’s victory in two conflicts (1839–42 and 1856–60) forced China to accept open ports, foreign envoys, free movement for Christian missionaries and a British hold on Hong Kong. This foreign presence exposed China to Western ideas, and in 1912, the last Chinese dynasty, the Qing, fell to the nationalists under the charismatic leadership of Sun Yat-sen.

Sun was ousted very shortly after 1912, and in the absence of a strong central government the country split into informal fiefdoms led by warlords. Chiang Kai-shek, one of Sun’s former lieutenants (and husband of one of Sun’s sisters-in-law), joined with the nascent Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to defeat the warlords and re-unify the country. Chiang turned on the communists in 1927, but failed in his efforts to root them out. He was forced to ally with them again against the Japanese, with whom full-fledged war broke out in 1937. After the U.S.A. defeated Japan in WWII, Mao Zedong then turned on Chiang in 1946.

In 1949 the communists forced Chiang and his followers to flee to Taiwan, declared the People’s Republic, and spent the next year solidifying their hold on China. After several years of relatively consensual leadership, Mao grew as tyrannical as any emperor had been, and many of his grand policies backfired.

The Great Leap Forward’s experiment with industrial and agricultural collectives in 1958–60 led to mass famine.

The Cultural Revolution of 1966–76 attempt to re-ignite revolutionary fervour drove the country into political and social chaos. By the time Mao died in 1976, the CCP was ready for new ideas.

Deng Xiaoping, his successor, dismantled collective farming and began gradually freeing China’s economy. But as the bloody suppression of student-led demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in 1989 showed, the Party has embraced economic change more easily than political liberalisation.

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China history

The earliest recorded human settlements in what is today called China were discovered in the Huang He basin and date from about 5000 B.C.

During the Shang dynasty (1500–1000 B.C.), the precursor of modern China's ideographic writing system developed, allowing the emerging feudal states of the era to achieve an advanced stage of civilization. It was following this initial flourishing of civilization, in a period known as the Zhou dynasty (1122–249 B.C.), that Lao Zi [老字], Confucius [孔子 Kong Zi], Mo Ti , and Mencius [孟子 Meng Zi] laid the foundation of Chinese philosophical thought.

The feudal states, often at war with one another, were first united under Emperor Qin Shi Huang Di, during whose reign (246–210 B.C.) work was begun on the Great Wall of China, a monumental bulwark against invasion from the West. Although the Great Wall symbolized China's desire to protect itself from the outside world, under the Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220), the civilization conducted extensive commercial trading with the West.

In the T'ang dynasty (618–907) — often called the golden age of Chinese history — painting, sculpture, and poetry flourished, and woodblock printing, which enabled the mass production of books, made its earliest known appearance. The Mings, last of the native rulers (1368–1644), overthrew the Mongol, or Yuan, dynasty (1271–1368) established by Kublai Khan. The Mings in turn were overthrown in 1644 by invaders from Manchuria in the north, the Manchus.

China remained largely isolated from the rest of the world's civilizations, closely restricting foreign activities. By the end of the 18th century only Canton [Guangzhou] (near modern-day Hong Kong) and the Portuguese port of Macao were open to European merchants. But with the first Anglo-Chinese War in 1839–1842, a long period of instability and concessions to Western colonial powers began. Following the war, several ports were opened up for trading, and Hong Kong was ceded to Britain. Treaties signed after further hostilities (1856–1860) weakened Chinese sovereignty and gave foreigners immunity from Chinese jurisdiction. European powers took advantage of the disastrous Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895 to gain further trading concessions from China. Peking's response, the Boxer Rebellion (1900) in which over 200 Europeans were killed and the consular compounds beseiged, was suppressed by an international force.

The death of Empress Dowager Ci Xi in 1908 and the accession of the infant emperor Hsüan T'ung (Pu-Yi) were followed by a nationwide rebellion led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, who overthrew the Manchus and became the first president of the Provisional Chinese Republic in 1911. Dr. Sun resigned in favor of Yuan Shih-k'ai, who suppressed the Republicans in a bid to consolidate his power. Yuan's death in June 1916 was followed by years of civil war between rival militarists and Dr. Sun's Republicans. Nationalist forces, led by General Chiang Kai-shek and with the advice of Communist experts, soon occupied most of China, setting up the Kuomintang regime in 1928. Internal strife continued, however, and Chiang eventually broke with the Communists.

On September 18, 1931, Japan launched an invasion of Manchuria, capturing the country. Tokyo set up a puppet state dubbed Manchukuo and installed the last Manchu emperor, Pu Yi (Hsüan T'ung), as its nominal leader. Japanese troops moved to seize China's northern provinces in July 1937 but were resisted by Chiang, who had been able to use the Japanese invasion to unite most of China behind him. Within two years, however, Japan had seized most of the nation's eastern ports and railways. The Kuomintang government retreated first to Hankou and then to Chongqing, while the Japanese set up a puppet government at Nanjing, headed by Wang Jingwei.

Japan's surrender to the Western Allies in 1945 touched off civil war between the Kuomintang forces under Chiang and Communists led by Mao Zedong, who had been battling since the 1930s for control of China. Despite U.S. aid, the Kuomintang were overcome by the Soviet-supported Communists, and Chiang and his followers were forced to flee China, establishing a government-in-exile on the island of Formosa (Taiwan). The Mao regime proclaimed the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949, with Beijing as the new capital and Zhou Enlai as premier.

After the Korean War began in June 1950, China led the Communist bloc in supporting North Korea, and on November 26, 1950, the Mao regime sent troops to assist the North in its efforts to capture the South.

In an attempt to restructure China's primarily agrarian economy, Mao undertook the “Great Leap Forward” campaign in 1958, a disastrous program that aimed to combine the establishment of rural communes with a crash program of village industrialization. The Great Leap forced the abandonment of farming activities, leading to widespread famine in which more than 20 million people died of malnutrition.

In 1959, a failed uprising against China's invasion and occupation of Tibet forced Tibetan Buddhism's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and 100,000 of his followers to flee to India. The invasion of Tibet and a perceived rivalry for the leadership of the world Communist movement caused a serious souring of relations between China and the USSR, former allies. In 1965 Tibet was formally made an autonomous region of China. China's harsh religious and cultural persecution of Tibetans, which continues to this day, has spawned growing international protest.

The failure of the Great Leap Forward touched off a power struggle within the Chinese Communist Party between Mao and his supporters and a reformist faction including future premier Deng Xiaoping. Mao moved to Shanghai, and from that base he and his supporters waged what they called the Cultural Revolution. Beginning in the spring of 1966, Mao ordered the closing of schools and the formation of ideologically pure Red Guard units, dominated by youths and students. The Red Guards campaigned against “old ideas, old culture, old habits, and old customs.” Millions died as a series of violent purges were carried out. By early 1967, the Cultural Revolution had succeeded in bolstering Mao's position as China's paramount leader.

Anxious to exploit the Sino-Soviet rift, the Nixon administration made a dramatic announcement in July 1971 that National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger had secretly visited Beijing and reached an agreement whereby Nixon would visit China. The movement toward reconciliation, which signaled the end of the U.S. containment policy toward China, provided momentum for China's admission to the UN. Despite U.S. opposition to expelling Taiwan (Nationalist China), the world body overwhelmingly voted to oust Taiwan in favor of Beijing's Communist government.

President Nixon went to Beijing for a week early in 1972, meeting Mao as well as Zhou. The summit ended with a historic communiqué on February 28, in which both nations promised to work toward improved relations. Full diplomatic relations were barred by China as long as the U.S. continued to recognize the legitimacy of Nationalist China.

Following Zhou's death on January 8, 1976, his successor, Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping, was supplanted within a month by Hua Guofeng, former minister of public security. Hua became permanent premier in April. In October he was named successor to Mao as chairman of the Communist Party. But Mao's death on September 10 unleashed the bitter intraparty rivalries that had been suppressed since the Cultural Revolution. Old opponents of Mao launched a campaign against his widow, Jiang Qing, and three of her “radical” colleagues. The so-called Gang of Four was denounced for having undermined the party, the government, and the economy. They were tried and convicted in 1981. Meanwhile, in 1977, Deng Xiaoping was reinstated as deputy premier, chief of staff of the army, and member of the Central Committee of the Politburo.

Beijing and Washington announced full diplomatic relations on January 1, 1979, and the Carter administration abrogated the Taiwan defense treaty. Deputy Premier Deng sealed the agreement with a visit to the U.S. that coincided with the opening of embassies in both capitals on March 1.

On Deng's return from the U.S., Chinese troops invaded and briefly occupied an area along Vietnam's northern border. The action was seen as a response to Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia and ouster of the Khmer Rouge government, which China had supported.

In 1981, Deng protégé Hu Yaobang replaced Hua Guofeng as party chairman. Deng became chairman of the Central Committee's military commission, giving him control over the army. The body's 215 members concluded the session with a statement holding Mao Zedong responsible for the “grave blunder” of the Cultural Revolution.

Under Deng Xiaoping's leadership, meanwhile, China's Communist ideology went through a massive reinterpretation, and sweeping economic changes were set in motion in the early 1980s. The Chinese scrapped the personality cult that idolized Mao Zedong, muted Mao's old call for class struggle and exportation of the Communist revolution, and imported Western technology and management techniques to replace the Marxist tenets that had slowed modernization. Deng concluded an agreement for the return of Hong Kong following the expiration of Britain's 99-year lease on the territory on July 1, 1997.

The removal of Hu Yaobang as party chairman in January 1987 signaled a hard-line resurgence within the party. Hu — who had become a hero to many reform-minded Chinese — was replaced by former premier Zhao Ziyang. With the death of Hu in April 1989, the ideological struggle spilled into the streets of the capital, as student demonstrators occupied Beijing's Tiananmen Square in May 1989, calling for democratic reforms. Less than a month later, the demonstrations were crushed in a bloody crackdown as troops and tanks moved into the square and fired on protesters, killing an uncertain number up to several thousand.

In annual sessions of the rubber-stamp National People's Congress in 1992 and 1993, the government called for accelerating the drive for economic reform, but the sessions were widely seen as an effort to maintain China's moves toward a market economy while retaining political authoritarianism. At the session in 1993, Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin was elected president, while hard-liner Li Peng was reelected to another five-year term as prime minister. Since 1993, the Chinese economy has continued to grow rapidly.

Deng Xiaoping's death in February 1997 left a younger generation in charge of managing the enormous country. In 1998, Prime Minister Zhu Rongji introduced a sweeping program to privatize state-run businesses and further liberalize the nation's economy, a move lauded by Western economists.

On July 1, 1997, when Britain's lease on the New Territories expired, Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty, and in 1999, the Portuguese colony of Macao also was returned to Chinese rule.

In August 1999, China rounded up thousands of members of the Falun Gong sect, a highly popular religious movement that combines elements of Buddhism, Taoism, and martial arts. China, which has now outlawed the sect, was thought to consider the apolitical spiritual group threatening because its numbers exceeded the membership of the Chinese Communist Party.

China was admitted to the World Trade Organization in November 2001.

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PEOPLE

The largest ethnic group is the Han Chinese, who constitute about 91.9% of the total population. The remaining 8.1% are Zhuang (16 million), Manchu (10 million), Hui (9 million), Miao (8 million), Uygur (7 million), Yi (7 million), Mongolian (5 million), Tibetan (5 million), Buyi (3 million), Korean (2 million), and other ethnic minorities.

Language
There are seven major Chinese languages and many dialects. Mandarin (or Putonghua), the predominant language, is spoken by over 70% of the population. It is taught in all schools and is the medium of government. About two-thirds of the Han ethnic group are native speakers of Mandarin; the rest, concentrated in southwest and southeast China, speak one of the six other major Chinese languages. Non-Chinese languages spoken widely by ethnic minorities include Mongolian, Tibetan, Uygur and other Turkic languages (in Xinjiang), and Korean (in the northeast).

The Pinyin System of Romanization
On January 1, 1979, the Chinese Government officially adopted the pinyin system for spelling Chinese names and places in Roman letters. A system of Romanization invented by the Chinese, pinyin has long been widely used in China on street and commercial signs as well as in elementary Chinese textbooks as an aid in learning Chinese characters. Variations of pinyin also are used as the written forms of several minority languages.

Pinyin has now replaced other conventional spellings in China's English-language publications. The U.S. Government also has adopted the pinyin system for all names and places in China. For example, the capital of China is now generally spelled "Beijing" rather than "Peking."

Religion
Religion plays a significant part in the life of many Chinese. Buddhism is most widely practiced, with an estimated 100 million adherents. Traditional Daoism also is practiced. Official figures indicate there are 20 million Muslims, 5 million Catholics, and 15 million Protestants; unofficial estimates are much higher.

While the Chinese constitution affirms religious toleration, the Chinese Government places restrictions on religious practice outside officially recognized organizations. Only two Christian organizations -- a Catholic church without official ties to Rome and the "Three-Self-Patriotic" Protestant church -- are sanctioned by the Chinese Government. Unauthorized churches have sprung up in many parts of the country and unofficial religious practice is flourishing. In some regions authorities have tried to control activities of these unregistered churches. In other regions, registered and unregistered groups are treated similarly by authorities and congregations worship in both types of churches. Most Chinese Catholic bishops are recognized by the Pope, and official priests have Vatican approval to administer all the sacraments.

Population Policy
With a population officially just over 1.3 billion [but unofficially somewhat higher] and an estimated growth rate of about 0.6%, China is very concerned about its population growth and has attempted with mixed results to implement a strict birth limitation policy. China’s 2002 Population and Family Planning Law and policy permit one child per family, with allowance for a second child under certain circumstances, especially in rural areas, and with guidelines looser for ethnic minorities with small populations. Enforcement varies, and relies partly on "social compensation fees" to discourage extra births. Officially government policy opposes forced abortion or sterilization, but forced abortion still occurs. The government's goal is to stabilize the population in the first half of the 21st century, and current projections are that the population will peak at around 1.6 billion by 2050.

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DETAILED HISTORY of CHINA

China has records dating back about 3,500 years. Successive dynasties developed a system of bureaucratic control that gave the agrarian-based Chinese an advantage over neighboring nomadic and hill cultures. Chinese civilization was further strengthened by the development of a Confucian state ideology and a common written language that bridged the gaps among the country's many local languages and dialects. Whenever China was conquered by nomadic tribes, as ,for example, it was by the Mongols in the 13th century, the conquerors sooner or later adopted the ways of the agrarian Chinese civilization and staffed the bureaucracy with Chinese.

The last dynasty was established in 1644, when the Manchus from Manchuria overthrew the native Ming dynasty and established the Qing (Ch'ing) dynasty with Beijing (Peking) as its capital. At great expense in blood and treasure, the Manchus over the next half century gained control of many border areas, including Xinjiang, Yunnan, Tibet, Mongolia, and Taiwan. The success of the early Qing period was based on the combination of Manchu martial prowess and traditional Chinese bureaucratic skills.

During the 19th century, Qing control weakened, and prosperity diminished. China suffered massive social strife, economic stagnation, explosive population growth, and Western penetration and influence. The Taiping and Nian rebellions, along with a Russian-supported Muslim separatist movement in Xinjiang, drained Chinese resources and almost toppled the dynasty. In the mid 19th century China lost two conflicts with Britain; subsequently, Britain and other Western powers, including the United States, occupied concession areas and gained special commercial privileges. Hong Kong was ceded to Britain in 1842 under the Treaty of Nanking, and in 1898, Britain executed a 99-year lease of the New Territories, significantly expanding the size of the Hong Kong colony.

As time went on, the Western powers, being more advanced, gained more economic and political privileges. Reformist Chinese officials argued for the adoption of Western technology to strengthen the dynasty and counter Western advances, but the Qing court played down both the Western threat and the benefits of Western technology and education.

Early 20th Century China
Frustrated by the Qing court's resistance to reform, young officials, military officers, and students - inspired by the revolutionary ideas of Sun Yat-sen – began to advocate the overthrow of the Qing dynasty and creation of a republic. A revolutionary military uprising on October 10, 1911, led to the abdication of the last Qing emperor. As part of a compromise to overthrow the dynasty without a civil war, the revolutionaries and reformers allowed high Qing officials to retain prominent positions in the new republic. One of these figures, General Yuan Shikai, was chosen as the republic's first president. Before his death in 1916, Yuan named himself emperor. His death left the republican government all but shattered, ushering in the era of the "warlords" during which China was ruled and ravaged by shifting coalitions of competing provincial military leaders.

In the 1920s, Sun Yat-sen established a revolutionary base in south China and set out to unite the fragmented nation. With Soviet assistance, he organized the Kuomintang (KMT or "Chinese Nationalist People's Party") [国民党 Guo Min Dang], and entered into an alliance with the fledgling Chinese Communist Party (CCP). After Sun's death in 1925, one of his protégés, Chiang Kai-shek, seized control of the KMT and succeeded in bringing most of south and central China under its rule. In 1927, Chiang turned on the CCP and executed many of its leaders. The remnants fled into the mountains of eastern China. In 1934, driven out of their mountain bases, the CCP's forces embarked on a "Long March" across some of China's most desolate terrain to the northwestern province of Shaanxi, where they established a guerrilla base at Yan'an.

During the "Long March," the communists reorganized under a new leader, Mao Zedong [毛泽东](Mao Tse-tung). The bitter struggle between the KMT and the CCP continued openly or clandestinely through the 14-year long Japanese invasion (1931-45), even though the two parties nominally formed a united front to oppose the Japanese invaders in 1937. The war between the two parties resumed after the Japanese defeat in 1945 by the Western Powers. By 1949, the CCP occupied most of the country.

Chiang Kai-shek fled with the remnants of his KMT government and military forces to Taiwan, where he proclaimed Taipei to be China's "provisional capital" and vowed to re-conquer China.

The People's Republic of China
In Beijing, on October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.). The new government assumed control of a people exhausted by two generations of war and social conflict, and an economy ravaged by high inflation and disrupted transportation links. A new political and economic order modeled on the Soviet example was quickly installed.

In the early 1950s, China undertook a massive economic and social reconstruction program. The new leaders gained popular support by curbing inflation, restoring the economy, and rebuilding many war-damaged industrial plants. The CCP's authority reached into almost every aspect of Chinese life. Party control was assured by large, politically loyal security and military forces; a government apparatus responsive to party direction; and the placement of party members into leadership positions in labour, women's, and other mass organizations.

The "Great Leap Forward" and the Sino-Soviet Split
In 1958, Mao broke with the Soviet model and announced a new economic program, the "Great Leap Forward," aimed at rapidly raising industrial and agricultural production. Giant cooperatives (communes) were formed, and "backyard factories" dotted the Chinese landscape. The results were disastrous. Normal market mechanisms were disrupted, agricultural production fell behind, and China's people exhausted themselves producing what turned out to be shoddy, un-salable goods. Within a year, starvation appeared even in fertile agricultural areas.

From 1960 to 1961, the combination of poor planning during the Great Leap Forward and bad weather resulted in one of the deadliest famines in human history, with deaths estimated to be over 20 million people.

The already strained Sino-Soviet relationship deteriorated sharply in 1959, when the Soviets started to restrict the flow of scientific and technological information to China. The dispute escalated, and the Soviets withdrew all of their personnel from China in August 1960. In 1960, the Soviets and the Chinese began to have disputes openly in international forums.

The Cultural Revolution
In the early 1960s, State President Liu Shaoqi and his protégé, Party General Secretary Deng Xiaoping, took over direction of the party and adopted pragmatic economic policies at odds with Mao's revolutionary vision. Dissatisfied with China's new direction and his own reduced authority, Party Chairman Mao launched a massive political attack on Liu, Deng, and other pragmatists in the spring of 1966. The new movement, the "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution," was unprecedented in communist history. For the first time, a section of the Chinese communist leadership sought to rally popular opposition against another leadership group. China was set on a course of political and social anarchy that lasted the better part of a decade.

In the early stages of the Cultural Revolution, Mao and his "closest comrade in arms," National Defense Minister Lin Biao, charged Liu, Deng, and other top party leaders with dragging China back toward capitalism. Radical youth organizations, called Red Guards, attacked party and state organizations at all levels, seeking out leaders who would not bend to the radical wind. In reaction to this turmoil, some local People's Liberation Army (PLA) commanders and other officials maneuvered to outwardly back Mao and the radicals while actually taking steps to rein in local radical activity.

Gradually, Red Guard and other radical activity subsided, and the Chinese political situation stabilized along complex factional lines. The leadership conflict came to a head in September 1971, when Party Vice Chairman and Defense Minister Lin Biao reportedly tried to stage a coup against Mao; Lin Biao allegedly later died in a plane crash in Mongolia.

In the aftermath of the Lin Biao incident, many officials criticized and dismissed during 1966-69 were reinstated. Chief among these was Deng Xiaoping, who reemerged in 1973 and was confirmed in 1975 in the concurrent posts of Politburo Standing Committee member, PLA Chief of Staff, and Vice Premier.

The ideological struggle between more pragmatic, veteran party officials and the radicals re-emerged with a vengeance in late 1975. Mao's wife, Jiang Qing, and three close Cultural Revolution associates (later dubbed the "Gang of Four") launched a media campaign against Deng. In January 1976, Premier Zhou Enlai, a popular political figure, died of cancer. On April 5 1976, Beijing citizens staged a spontaneous demonstration in Tiananmen Square in Zhou's memory, with strong political overtones of support for Deng. The authorities forcibly suppressed the demonstration. Deng was blamed for the disorder and stripped of all official positions, although he retained his party membership.

The Post-Mao Era
Mao's death in September 1976 removed a towering figure from Chinese politics and set off a scramble for succession. Former Minister of Public Security Hua Guofeng was quickly confirmed as Party Chairman and Premier. A month after Mao's death, Hua, backed by the PLA, arrested Jiang Qing and other members of the "Gang of Four." After extensive deliberations, the Chinese Communist Party leadership reinstated Deng Xiaoping to all of his previous posts at the 11th Party Congress in August 1977. Deng then led the effort to place government control in the hands of veteran party officials opposed to the radical excesses of the previous two decades.

The new, pragmatic leadership emphasized economic development and renounced mass political movements. At the pivotal December 1978 Third Plenum (of the 11th Party Congress Central Committee), the leadership adopted economic reform policies aimed at expanding rural income and incentives, encouraging experiments in enterprise autonomy, reducing central planning, and attracting foreign direct investment into China. The plenum also decided to accelerate the pace of legal reform, culminating in the passage of several new legal codes by the National People's Congress in June 1979.

After 1979, the Chinese leadership moved toward more pragmatic positions in almost all fields. The party encouraged artists, writers, and journalists to adopt more critical approaches, although open attacks on party authority were not permitted.

In late 1980, Mao's Cultural Revolution was officially proclaimed a catastrophe. Hua Guofeng, a protégé of Mao, was replaced as premier in 1980 by reformist Sichuan party chief Zhao Ziyang and as party General Secretary in 1981 by the even more reformist Communist Youth League chairman Hu Yaobang.

Reform policies brought great improvements in the standard of living, especially for urban workers and for farmers who took advantage of opportunities to diversify crops and establish village industries. Literature and the arts blossomed, and Chinese intellectuals established extensive links with scholars in other countries. At the same time, however, political dissent as well as social problems such as inflation, urban migration, and prostitution emerged. Although students and intellectuals urged greater reforms, some party elders increasingly questioned the pace and the ultimate goals of the reform program.

In December 1986, student demonstrators, taking advantage of the loosening political atmosphere, staged protests against the slow pace of reform, confirming party elders' fear that the current reform program was leading to social instability. Hu Yaobang, a protégé of Deng and a leading advocate of reform, was blamed for the protests and forced to resign as CCP General Secretary in January 1987. Premier Zhao Ziyang was made General Secretary and Li Peng, former Vice Premier and Minister of Electric Power and Water Conservancy, was made Premier.

1989 Student Movement and Tiananmen Square
After Zhao became the party General Secretary, the economic and political reforms he had championed came under increasing attack. His proposal in May 1988 to accelerate price reform led to widespread popular complaints about rampant inflation and gave opponents of rapid reform the opening to call for greater centralization of economic controls and stricter prohibitions against Western influence. This precipitated a political debate, which grew more heated through the winter of 1988-89.

The death of Hu Yaobang on April 15, 1989, coupled with growing economic hardship caused by high inflation, provided the backdrop for a large-scale protest movement by students, intellectuals, and other parts of a disaffected urban population. University students and other citizens camped out in Beijing's Tiananmen Square to mourn Hu's death and to protest against those who would slow reform. Their protests, which grew despite government efforts to contain them, called for an end to official corruption and for defense of freedoms guaranteed by the Chinese constitution. Protests also spread to many other cities, including Shanghai, Chengdu, and Guangzhou.

Martial law was declared on May 20, 1989. Late on June 3 and early on the morning of June 4, military units were brought into Beijing. They used armed force to clear demonstrators from the streets. There are no official estimates of deaths in Beijing, but most observers believe that casualties numbered in the hundreds or more.

After June 4, while foreign governments expressed horror at the brutal suppression of the demonstrators, the central government eliminated remaining sources of organized opposition, detained large numbers of protesters, and required political reeducation not only for students but also for large numbers of party cadre and government officials.

Following the resurgence of conservatives in the aftermath of June 4, economic reform slowed until given new impetus by Deng Xiaoping's dramatic visit to southern China in early 1992. Deng's renewed push for a market-oriented economy received official sanction at the 14th Party Congress later in the year as a number of younger, reform-minded leaders began their rise to top positions. Deng and his supporters argued that managing the economy in a way that increased living standards should be China's primary policy objective, even if "capitalist" measures were adopted. Subsequent to the visit, the Communist Party Politburo publicly issued an endorsement of Deng's policies of economic openness. Though not completely eschewing political reform, China has consistently placed overwhelming priority on the opening of its economy.

Third Generation of Leaders
Deng's health deteriorated in the years prior to his death in 1997. During that time, President Jiang Zemin and other members of his generation gradually assumed control of the day-to-day functions of government. This "third generation" leadership governed collectively with President Jiang at the center.

In March 1998, Jiang was re-elected President during the 9th National People's Congress. Premier Li Peng was constitutionally required to step down from that post. He was elected to the chairmanship of the National People's Congress. Zhu Rongji was selected to replace Li as Premier.

Fourth Generation of Leaders
In November 2002, the 16th Communist Party Congress elected Hu Jintao, who in 1992 was designated by Deng Xiaoping as the "core" of the fourth generation leaders, the new General Secretary. A new Politburo and Politburo Standing Committee was also elected in November.

In March 2003, General Secretary Hu Jintao was elected President at the 10th National People's Congress. Jiang Zemin retained the chairmanship of the Central Military Commission. At the Fourth Party Plenum in September 2004, Jiang Zemin retired from the Central Military Commission, passing the Chairmanship and control of the People's Liberation Army to President Hu Jintao.

China is firmly committed to economic reform and opening to the outside world. The Chinese leadership has identified reform of state industries and the establishment of a social safety network as government priorities. Government strategies for achieving these goals include large-scale privatization of unprofitable state-owned enterprises and development of a pension system for workers. The leadership has also downsized the government bureaucracy. However, there is still much that needs to change in China. Human rights issues remain a concern among members of the world community, as does continuing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) -related materials and technology.

GOVERNMENT

The 66.35 million member CCP, authoritarian in structure and ideology, continues to dominate government. Nevertheless, China's population, geographical vastness, and social diversity frustrate attempts to rule by fiat from Beijing. Central leaders must increasingly build consensus for new policies among party members, local and regional leaders, influential non-party members, and the population at large.

In periods of greater openness, the influence of people and organizations outside the formal party structure has tended to increase, particularly in the economic realm. This phenomenon is most apparent today in the rapidly developing coastal region. Nevertheless, in all important government, economic, and cultural institutions in China, party committees work to see that party and state policy guidance is followed and that non-party members do not create autonomous organizations that could challenge party rule. Party control is tightest in government offices and in urban economic, industrial, and cultural settings; it is considerably looser in the rural areas, where the majority of the people live.

Theoretically, the party's highest body is the Party Congress, which is supposed to meet at least once every 5 years. The primary organs of power in the Communist Party include:

* The Politburo Standing Committee, which currently consists of nine members;
* The Politburo, consisting of 24 full members, including the members of the Politburo Standing Committee;
* The Secretariat, the principal administrative mechanism of the CCP, headed by the General Secretary;
* The Central Military Commission;
* The Discipline Inspection Commission, which is charged with rooting out corruption and malfeasance among party cadres.

State Structure
The Chinese Government has always been subordinate to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP); its role is to implement party policies. The primary organs of state power are the National People's Congress (NPC), the President (the head of state), and the State Council. Members of the State Council include Premier Wen Jiabao (the head of government), a variable number of vice premiers (now four), five state councilors (protocol equivalents of vice premiers but with narrower portfolios), and 22 ministers and four State Council commission directors.

Under the Chinese constitution, the NPC is the highest organ of state power in China. It meets annually for about 2 weeks to review and approve major new policy directions, laws, the budget, and major personnel changes. These initiatives are presented to the NPC for consideration by the State Council after previous endorsement by the Communist Party's Central Committee. Although the NPC generally approves State Council policy and personnel recommendations, various NPC committees hold active debate in closed sessions, and changes may be made to accommodate alternate views.

When the NPC is not in session, its permanent organ, the Standing Committee, exercises state power.

Principal Government and Party Officials;
President - Hu Jintao
Vice President - Zeng Qinghong
Premier, State Council - Wen Jiabao
NPC Chair - Wu Bangguo
Vice Premiers - Huang Ju, Wu Yi, Zeng Peiyan, Hui Liangyu
Politburo Standing Committee - Hu Jintao (General Secretary), Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Zeng Qinghong, Huang Ju, Wu Guanzheng, Li Changchun, Luo Gan
Full Politburo Members - Cao Gangchuan, Chen Liangyu, Guo Boxiong, He Guoqiang, Hui Liangyu, Liu Qi, Liu Yunshan, Wang Lequan, Wang Zhaoguo, Wu Yi, Yu Zhengsheng, Zeng Peiyan, Zhang Dejiang, Zhang Lichang, Zhou Yongkang
Alternate Politburo Members - Wang Gang
Chairman, Central Military Commission - Hu Jintao

Foreign Minister - Li Zhaoxing
Minister of Commerce - Bo Xilai
Minister of Finance - Jin Renqing
Minister of Agricultur - Du Qinglin
Minister of Information Industry - Wang Xudong
Governor, People's Bank of China - Zhou Xiaochuan
Minister, State Development and Reform Commission - Ma Kai
Ambassador to U.S. - Zhou Wenzhong
Ambassador to UN - Wang Guangya

POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The government's efforts to promote rule of law are significant and ongoing. After the Cultural Revolution, China's leaders aimed to develop a legal system to restrain abuses of official authority and revolutionary excesses. In 1982, the National People's Congress adopted a new state constitution that emphasized the rule of law under which even party leaders are theoretically held accountable.

Since 1979, when the drive to establish a functioning legal system began, more than 300 laws and regulations, most of them in the economic area, have been promulgated. The use of mediation committees--informed groups of citizens who resolve about 90% of China's civil disputes and some minor criminal cases at no cost to the parties--is one innovative device. There are more than 800,000 such committees in both rural and urban areas.

Legal reform became a government priority in the 1990s. Legislation designed to modernize and professionalize the nation's lawyers, judges, and prisons was enacted. The 1994 Administrative Procedure Law allows citizens to sue officials for abuse of authority or malfeasance. In addition, the criminal law and the criminal procedures laws were amended to introduce significant reforms. The criminal law amendments abolished the crime of "counter-revolutionary" activity, although many persons are still incarcerated for that crime. Criminal procedures reforms also encouraged establishment of a more transparent, adversarial trial process. The Chinese constitution and laws provide for fundamental human rights, including due process, but these are often ignored in practice. In addition to other judicial reforms, the Constitution was amended in 2004 to include the protection of individual human rights and legally-obtained private property, but it is unclear how those provisions will be implemented.

Human Rights
The State Department’s annual China human rights reports have noted China’s well-documented abuses of human rights in violation of internationally recognized norms, stemming both from the authorities’ intolerance of dissent and the inadequacy of legal safeguards for basic freedoms. Abuses reported have included arbitrary and lengthy incommunicado detention, forced confessions, torture, and mistreatment of prisoners as well as severe restrictions on freedom of speech, the press, assembly, association, religion, privacy, and worker rights.

At the same time, China’s economic growth and reform since 1978 has improved dramatically the lives of hundreds of millions of Chinese, increased social mobility, and expanded the scope of personal freedom. This has meant substantially greater freedom of travel, employment opportunity, educational and cultural pursuits, job and housing choices, and access to information. In recent years, China has also passed new criminal and civil laws that attempt to provide additional safeguards to citizens.

ECONOMY

Since 1979, China has reformed and opened its economy. The Chinese leadership has adopted a more pragmatic perspective on many political and socioeconomic problems, and has reduced the role of ideology in economic policy. China’s ongoing economic transformation has had a profound impact not only on China but on the world. The market-oriented reforms China has implemented over the past two decades have unleashed individual initiative and entrepreneurship. The result has been the largest reduction of poverty and one of the fastest increases in income levels ever seen. China today is the sixth-largest economy in the world. It is the fastest growing economy, and in 2004 its $1.65 trillion economy was about 1/7 the size of the U.S. economy.

In the 1980s, China tried to combine central planning with market-oriented reforms to increase productivity, living standards, and technological quality without exacerbating inflation, unemployment, and budget deficits. China pursued agricultural reforms, dismantling the commune system and introducing a household-based system that provided peasants greater decision-making in agricultural activities. The government also encouraged nonagricultural activities such as village enterprises in rural areas, and promoted more self-management for state-owned enterprises, increased competition in the marketplace, and facilitated direct contact between Chinese and foreign trading enterprises. China also relied more upon foreign financing and imports.

During the 1980s, these reforms led to average annual rates of growth of 10% in agricultural and industrial output. Rural per capita real income doubled. China became self-sufficient in grain production; rural industries accounted for 23% of agricultural output, helping absorb surplus labor in the countryside. The variety of light industrial and consumer goods increased. Reforms began in the fiscal, financial, banking, price-setting, and labor systems.

By the late 1980s, however, the economy had become overheated with increasing rates of inflation. At the end of 1988, in reaction to a surge of inflation caused by accelerated price reforms, the leadership introduced an austerity program.

China's economy regained momentum in the early 1990s. During a visit to southern China in early 1992, China's paramount leader at the time, Deng Xiaoping, made a series of political pronouncements designed to reinvigorate the process of economic reform. The 14th Party Congress later in the year backed Deng's renewed push for market reforms, stating that China's key task in the 1990s was to create a "socialist market economy." The 10-year development plan for the 1990s stressed continuity in the political system with bolder reform of the economic system.

China’s economy grew at an average rate of 10% per year during the period 1990-2004, the highest growth rate in the world. China’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 9.3% in 2003, and even faster, 9.5%, in 2004, despite attempts by the government to cool the economy. China’s total trade in 2004 surpassed $1.1 trillion, making China the world’s third-largest trading nation after the U.S. and Germany.

Nevertheless, serious imbalances exist behind the spectacular trade performance, high investment flows, and high GDP growth. High numbers of non-performing loans weigh down the state-run banking system. Inefficient state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are still a drag on growth, despite announced efforts to sell, merge, or close the vast majority of SOEs.

Social and economic indicators have improved since reforms were launched, but rising inequality is evident between the more highly developed coastal provinces and the less developed, poorer inland regions. According to World Bank estimates, more than 152 million people in China in 2003 - mostly in rural areas of the lagging inland provinces - still live in poverty, on consumption of less than US$1 a day.

Following the Chinese Communist Party’s Third Plenum, held in October 2003, Chinese legislators unveiled several proposed amendments to the state constitution. One of the most significant was a proposal to provide protection for private property rights. Legislators also indicated there would be a new emphasis on certain aspects of overall government economic policy, including efforts to reduce unemployment (now in the 8-10% range in urban areas), to rebalance income distribution between urban and rural regions, and to maintain economic growth while protecting the environment and improving social equity. The National People’s Congress approved the amendments when it met in March 2004.

Agriculture
China is the world’s most populous country and one of the largest producers and consumers of agricultural products. Roughly half of China's labor force is engaged in agriculture, even though only 10% of the land is suitable for cultivation. Its cropland area is only 75% of the U.S. total, but China still produces about 30% more crops and livestock than the U.S. because of intensive cultivation, China is among the world's largest producers of rice, potatoes, sorghum, millet, barley, peanuts, tea, and pork. Major non-food crops include cotton, other fibers, and oilseeds. China hopes to further increase agricultural production through improved plant stocks, fertilizers, and technology. Incomes for Chinese farmers are stagnating, leading to an increasing wealth gap between the cities and countryside. Government policies that continue to emphasize grain self-sufficiency and the fact that farmers do not own - and cannot buy or sell - the land they work have contributed to this situation. In addition, inadequate port facilities and lack of warehousing and cold storage facilities impede both domestic and international agricultural trade.

Industry
Industry and construction account for about 50% of China’s GDP. Major industries are iron, steel, coal, machine building, light industrial products, armaments, textiles, shoes, toys, cement, and chemical fertilizers. China has become a preferred destination for the relocation of global manufacturing facilities. Its strength as an export platform has contributed to incomes and employment in China. The state-owned sector still accounts for about 40% of GDP. In recent years, authorities have been giving greater attention to the management of state assets – both in the financial market as well as among state-owned-enterprises – and progress has been noteworthy.

Energy
In 2003, China surpassed Japan to become the second-largest consumer of primary energy, after the United States. China is also the third-largest energy producer in the world, after the United States and Russia. China’s electricity consumption is expected to grow by over 4% a year through 2030, which will require more than $2 trillion in electricity infrastructure investment to meet the demand. China expects to add approximately 15,000 megawatts of generating capacity a year, with 20% of that coming from foreign suppliers.

Coal makes up the bulk of China’s energy consumption (64% in 2002), and China is the largest producer and consumer of coal in the world. As China’s economy continues to grow, China’s coal demand is projected to rise significantly. Although coal’s share of China’s overall energy consumption will decrease, coal consumption will continue to rise in absolute terms.

Due in large part to environmental concerns, Beijing would like to shift China's current energy mix toward greater reliance on oil, natural gas, renewable energy, and nuclear power. China has abundant hydroelectric resources; the Three Gorges Dam, for example, will have a total capacity of 18 gigawatts when fully on-line (projected for 2009). In addition, the share of electricity generated by nuclear power is projected to grow from 1% in 2000 to 5% in 2030. But while interest in renewable sources of energy is growing, except for hydropower, their contribution to the overall energy mix is unlikely to rise above 1%-2% in the near future.

Since 1993, China has been a net importer of oil. Net imports are expected to rise to 3.5 million barrels per day by 2010. China is interested in diversifying the sources of its oil imports and has invested in oil fields around the world. Beijing also plans to increase China's natural gas production, which currently accounts for only 3% of China’s total energy consumption. Analysts expect China’s consumption of natural gas to more than double by 2010.

Environment
One of the serious negative consequences of China's rapid industrial development has been increased pollution and degradation of natural resources.

A 1998 World Health Organization report on air quality in 272 cities worldwide concluded that seven of the world's 10 most polluted cities were in China.

According to China's own evaluation, two-thirds of the 338 cities for which air-quality data are available are considered polluted - two-thirds of them moderately or severely so. Respiratory and heart diseases related to air pollution are the leading cause of death in China. Almost all of the nation's rivers are considered polluted to some degree, and half of the population lacks access to clean water.

Ninety percent of urban water bodies are severely polluted.

Water scarcity also is an issue; for example, severe water scarcity in Northern China is a serious threat to sustained economic growth and the government has begun working on a project for a large-scale diversion of water from the Yangtze River to northern cities, including Beijing and Tianjin. Acid rain falls on 30% of the country. Various studies estimate pollution costs the Chinese economy 7-10% of GDP each year.

China's leaders are increasingly paying attention to the country's severe environmental problems. In March 1998, the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) was officially upgraded to a ministry-level agency, reflecting the growing importance the Chinese Government places on environmental protection. In recent years, China has strengthened its environmental legislation and made some progress in stemming environmental deterioration. In 1999, China invested more than 1% of GDP in environmental protection, a proportion that will likely increase in coming years. During the 10th Five-Year Plan, China plans to reduce total emissions by 10%. Beijing in particular is investing heavily in pollution control as part of its campaign to host a successful Olympiad in 2008. Some cities have seen improvement in air quality in recent years.

China is an active participant in climate change talks and other multilateral environmental negotiations, taking environmental challenges seriously but pushing for the developed world to help developing countries to a greater extent. It is a signatory to the Basel Convention governing the transport and disposal of hazardous waste and the Montreal Protocol for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, as well as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and other major environmental agreements.

The question of environmental impacts associated with the Three Gorges Dam project has generated controversy among environmentalists inside and outside China. Critics claim that erosion and silting of the Yangtze River threaten several endangered species, while Chinese officials say the dam will help prevent devastating floods and generate clean hydroelectric power that will enable the region to lower its dependence on coal, thus lessening air pollution.

The United States and China have been engaged in an active program of bilateral environmental cooperation since the mid-1990s, with an emphasis on clean energy technology and the design of effective environmental policy. While both governments view this cooperation positively, China has often compared the U.S. program, which lacks a foreign assistance component, with those of Japan and several European Union (EU) countries that include generous levels of aid.

Science and Technology
Science and technology have always preoccupied Chinas leaders; indeed, China's political leadership comes almost exclusively from technical backgrounds and has a high regard for science. Deng called it "the first productive force."

Distortions in the economy and society created by party rule have severely hurt Chinese science, according to some Chinese science policy experts. The Chinese Academy of Sciences, modeled on the Soviet system, puts much of China's greatest scientific talent in a large, under-funded apparatus that remains largely isolated from industry, although the reforms of the past decade have begun to address this problem.

Chinese science strategists see China's greatest opportunities in newly emerging fields such as biotechnology and computers, where there is still a chance for China to become a significant player. Most Chinese students who went abroad have not returned, but they have built a dense network of trans-Pacific contacts that will greatly facilitate U.S.-China scientific cooperation in coming years. The U.S. space program is often held up as the standard of scientific modernity in China. China's small but growing space program, which put an astronaut into orbit in October 2003, is a focus of national pride.

The U.S.-China Science and Technology Agreement remains the framework for bilateral cooperation in this field. A 5-year agreement to extend the Science and Technology Agreement was signed in April 2001. There are currently over 26 active protocols and 60 annexes under the Agreement, covering cooperation in areas such as marine conservation, renewable energy, and health. Biennial Joint Commission Meetings on Science and Technology bring together policymakers from both sides to coordinate joint science and technology cooperation. Executive Secretaries meetings are held biennially to implement specific cooperation programs. Japan and the European Union also have high profile science and technology cooperative relationships with China.

Trade
China's merchandise exports totaled $593 billion and imports totaled $561 billion in 2004. Its global trade surplus was up by about 25%, to $32 billion. China's primary trading partners include Japan, the EU, the United States, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. According to U.S. statistics, China had a trade surplus with the U.S. of $162 billion in 2004.

China has taken important steps to open its foreign trading system and integrate itself into the world trading system. In November 1991, China joined the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group, which promotes free trade and cooperation in the economic, trade, investment, and technology spheres. China served as APEC chair in 2001, and Shanghai hosted the annual APEC leaders meeting in October of that year.

China formally joined the WTO in December 2001. As part of this far-reaching trade liberalization agreement, China agreed to lower tariffs and abolish market impediments. Chinese and foreign businessmen, for example, gained the right to import and export on their own, and to sell their products without going through a government middleman. By 2005, average tariff rates on key U.S. agricultural exports dropped from 31% to 14% and on industrial products from 25% to 9%. The agreement also opens up new opportunities for U.S. providers of services like banking, insurance, and telecommunications. China has made significant progress implementing its WTO commitments, but serious concerns remain, particularly in the realm of intellectual property rights protection.

Export growth continues to be a major component supporting China's rapid economic growth. To increase exports, China has pursued policies such as fostering the rapid development of foreign-invested factories, which assemble imported components into consumer goods for export, and liberalizing trading rights.

The United States is one of China's primary suppliers of power generating equipment, aircraft and parts, computers and industrial machinery, raw materials, and chemical and agricultural products. However, U.S. exporters continue to have concerns about fair market access due to strict testing and standards requirements for some imported products. In addition, a lack of transparency in the regulatory process makes it difficult for businesses to plan for changes in the domestic market structure.

Foreign Investment
China’s investment climate has changed dramatically in 24 years of reform. In the early 1980s, China restricted foreign investments to export-oriented operations and required foreign investors to form joint-venture partnerships with Chinese firms. Foreign direct investment (FDI) grew quickly during the 1980s, but stalled in late 1989 in the aftermath of Tiananmen. In response, the government introduced legislation and regulations designed to encourage foreigners to invest in high-priority sectors and regions. Since the early 1990s, China has allowed foreign investors to manufacture and sell a wide range of goods on the domestic market, and authorized the establishment of wholly foreign-owned enterprises, now the preferred form of FDI. However, the Chinese government’s emphasis on guiding FDI into manufacturing has led to market saturation in some industries, while leaving China’s services sectors underdeveloped. China is now one of the leading recipients of FDI in the world, receiving $64 billion in 2004, for a cumulative total of $563.8 billion.

As part of China’s accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001, China undertook to eliminate certain trade-related investment measures and to open up specified sectors that had previously been closed to foreign investment. New laws, regulations, and administrative measures to implement these commitments are being issued. Major remaining barriers to foreign investment include opaque and inconsistently enforced laws and regulations and the lack of a rules-based legal infrastructure.

Opening to the outside remains central to China's development. Foreign-invested enterprises produce about half of China's exports, and China continues to attract large investment inflows. Foreign exchange reserves totaled $610 billion in 2004.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Since its establishment, the People's Republic has worked vigorously to win international support for its position that it is the sole legitimate government of all China, including Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. In the early 1970s, Beijing was recognized diplomatically by most world powers. Beijing assumed the China seat in the United Nations in 1971 and became increasingly active in multilateral organizations. Japan established diplomatic relations with China in 1972, and the U.S. did so in 1979. The number of countries that have established diplomatic relations with Beijing has risen to 159, while 25 have diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

After the founding of the P.R.C., China's foreign policy initially focused on solidarity with the Soviet Union and other communist countries. In 1950, China sent the People's Liberation Army into North Korea as "volunteers" to help North Korea halt the UN offensive that was approaching the Yalu River. After the conclusion of the Korean conflict, China sought to balance its identification as a member of the Soviet bloc by establishing friendly relations with Pakistan and other Third World countries, particularly in Southeast Asia.

In the 1960s, Beijing competed with Moscow for political influence among communist parties and in the developing world generally. Following the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and clashes in 1969 on the Sino-Soviet border, Chinese competition with the Soviet Union increasingly reflected concern over China's own strategic position. In late 1978, the Chinese also became concerned over Vietnam's efforts to establish open control over Laos and Cambodia.

China fought a brief border war with Vietnam (February-March 1979) in response to the Soviet-backed Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia with the stated purpose of "teaching Vietnam a lesson."

Chinese anxiety about Soviet strategic advances was heightened following the Soviet Union's December 1979 invasion of Afghanistan. Sharp differences between China and the Soviet Union persisted over Soviet support for Vietnam's continued occupation of Cambodia, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and Soviet troops along the Sino-Soviet border and in Mongolia - the so-called "three obstacles" to improved Sino-Soviet relations.

In the 1970s and 1980s China sought to create a secure regional and global environment for itself and to foster good relations with countries that could aid its economic development. To this end, China looked to the West for assistance with its modernization drive and for help in countering Soviet expansionism, which it characterized as the greatest threat to its national security and to world peace.

China maintained its consistent opposition to "superpower hegemony," focusing almost exclusively on the expansionist actions of the Soviet Union and Soviet proxies such as Vietnam and Cuba, but it also placed growing emphasis on a foreign policy independent of both the U.S. and the Soviet Union. While improving ties with the West, China continued to follow closely economic and other positions of the Third World nonaligned movement, although China was not a formal member.

In the immediate aftermath of Tiananmen crackdown in June 1989, many countries reduced their diplomatic contacts with China as well as their economic assistance programs. In response, China worked vigorously to expand its relations with foreign countries, and by late 1990, had reestablished normal relations with almost all nations. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in late 1991, China also opened diplomatic relations with the republics of the former Soviet Union.

In recent years, Chinese leaders have been regular travelers to all parts of the globe, and China has sought a higher profile in the UN through its permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council and other multilateral organizations. Closer to home, China has made efforts to reduce tensions in Asia; it has contributed to stability on the Korean Peninsula through hosting and participating in the Six-Party Talks, cultivated a more cooperative relationship with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Brunei, Burma, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam), and participated in the ASEAN Regional Forum. Its moves to play a greater regional leadership role in Asia and, especially, the success of its "charm offensive" in Southeast Asia are examples of a new, more mature diplomacy that China has begun to evince. China is also working hard to strengthen ties with countries in South Asia, including India. Premier Wen recently made a sweeping tour throughout South Asia. China has likewise improved ties with Russia. President Putin and President Jiang signed a Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation in July 2001 and the two countries plan a joint-military exercise in 2005. The two also joined with the Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan to establish the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in June 2001. The SCO is designed to promote regional stability and cooperate to combat terrorism in the region.

China has a number of border and maritime disputes, including with Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin, with a number of countries in the South China Sea, as well as with Japan and India. Beijing has resolved many of its border and maritime disputes, notably including a November 1997 agreement with Russia that resolved almost all outstanding border issues and a 2000 agreement with Vietnam to resolve some differences over their maritime border, though disagreements remain over islands in the South China Sea. Finally, China’s outreach extends to countries in the Middle East and Africa like Iran and Sudan, which are sources of oil and other resources and welcome China’s involvement in building their infrastructure.

DEFENSE

Establishment of a professional military force equipped with modern weapons and doctrine was the last of the "Four Modernizations" announced by Zhou Enlai and supported by Deng Xiaoping. In keeping with Deng's mandate to reform, the People's Liberation Army (PLA), which includes the strategic nuclear forces, army, navy, and air force, has demobilized millions of men and women since 1978 and introduced modern methods in such areas as recruitment and manpower, strategy, and education and training.

Following the June 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, ideological correctness was temporarily revived as the dominant theme in Chinese military affairs. Reform and modernization appear to have since resumed their position as the PLA's priority objectives, although the armed forces' political loyalty to the CCP remains a leading concern.

The Chinese military is trying to transform itself from a land-based power, centered on a vast ground force, to a smaller, mobile, high-tech military capable of mounting defensive operations beyond its coastal borders.

China's power-projection capability is limited but has grown over recent years. China has acquired some advanced weapons systems, including Sovremmeny destroyers, SU-27 and SU-30 aircraft, and Kilo-class diesel submarines from Russia. However, the mainstay of the air force continues to be the 1960s-vintage F-7, and naval forces still consist primarily of 1960s-era technology.

Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control Policy
Nuclear Weapons. In 1955, Mao Zedong's Chinese Communist Party decided to proceed with a nuclear weapons program; it was developed with Soviet assistance until 1960. After its first nuclear test in October 1964, Beijing deployed a modest but potent ballistic missile force, including land- and sea-based intermediate-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

China became a major international arms exporter during the 1980s. Beijing joined the Middle East arms control talks, which began in July 1991 to establish global guidelines for conventional arms transfers, but announced in September 1992 that it would no longer participate because of the U.S. decision to sell F-16A/B aircraft to Taiwan.

China was the first state to pledge "no first use" of nuclear weapons. It joined the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1984 and pledged to abstain from further atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons in 1986. China acceded to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1992 and supported its indefinite and unconditional extension in 1995. In 1996, it signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and agreed to seek an international ban on the production of fissile nuclear weapons material. To date, China has not ratified the CTBT.

In 1996, China committed not to provide assistance to un-safeguarded nuclear facilities. China attended the May 1997 meeting of the NPT Exporters (Zangger) Committee as an observer and became a full member in October 1997. The Zangger Committee is a group that meets to list items that should be subject to IAEA inspections if exported by countries that have, as China has, signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty. In September 1997, China issued detailed nuclear export control regulations. China began implementing regulations establishing controls over nuclear-related dual-use items in 1998. China also has decided not to engage in new nuclear cooperation with Iran (even under safeguards), and will complete existing cooperation, which is not of proliferation concern, within a relatively short period. In May 2004, with the support of the United States, China became a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Based on significant, tangible progress with China on nuclear nonproliferation, President Clinton in 1998 took steps to bring into force the 1985 U.S.-China Agreement on Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation.

Chemical Weapons. China is not a member of the Australia Group, an informal and voluntary arrangement made in 1985 to monitor developments in the proliferation of dual-use chemicals and to coordinate export controls on key dual-use chemicals and equipment with weapons applications. In April 1997, however, China ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and, in September 1997, promulgated a new chemical weapons export control directive. In October 2002, China promulgated updated regulations on dual-use chemical agents, and now controls all the major items on the Australia Group control list.

Missiles. While not formally joining the regime, in March 1992 China undertook to abide by the guidelines and parameters of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the multinational effort to restrict the proliferation of missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction. China reaffirmed this commitment in 1994, and pledged not to transfer MTCR-class ground-to-ground missiles. In November 2000, China committed not to assist in any way the development by other countries of MTCR-class missiles. On August 29, 2003, the U. S. government imposed missile proliferation sanctions on the Chinese company China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) after determining that it was knowingly involved in the transfer of equipment and technology controlled under Category II of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) Annex that contributed to MTCR-class missiles in a non-MTCR country. The penalties imposed are:

* A 2-year ban on all new individual export licenses for Commerce Department- or State Department-controlled MTCR Annex items, and on all new U.S. Government contracts related to MTCR Annex items.
* In addition, because a Chinese entity engaged in sanctionable activity, U.S. law also requires a 2-year ban on new licenses for State Department-controlled MTCR exports and on new U.S. Government contracts for MTCR items associated with all activities of the Chinese Government involved in the development or production of MTCR Annex items, electronics, space systems or equipment, and military aircraft.

In December 2003, the P.R.C. promulgated comprehensive new export control regulations governing exports of all categories of sensitive technologies.

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History

Origins and Early History

About 20,000 years ago, after the last glacial period, modern humans appeared in the Ordos desert region. The subsequent culture shows marked similarity to that of the higher civilizations of Mesopotamia, and some scholars argue a Western origin for Chinese civilization. However, since the 2nd millennium B.C. a unique and fairly uniform culture has spread over almost all of China.

The substantial linguistic and ethnological diversity of the south and the far west result from their having been infrequently under the control of central government.

China's history is traditionally viewed as a continuous development with certain repetitive tendencies, as described in the following general pattern: The area under political control tends to expand from the eastern Huang He and Chang Jiang (Yangtze) basins, the heart of Chinese culture, and then, under outside military pressure, to shrink back. Conquering barbarians from the north and the west supplant native dynasties, take over Chinese culture, lose their vigor, and are expelled in a surge of national feeling. Following a disordered and anarchic period a new dynasty may arise. Its predecessor, by engaging in excessive warfare, tolerating corruption, and failing to keep up public works, has forfeited the right to rule — in the traditional view, the dynasty has lost “the mandate of Heaven.” The administrators change, central authority is reestablished, public works constructed, taxation modified and equalized, and land redistributed. After a prosperous period disintegration reappears, inviting barbarian intervention or native revolt.

Although traditionally supposed to have been preceded by the semi-legendary Xia dynasty, the Shang dynasty (c.1523–1027 B.C.) is the first in documented Chinese history (see Chinese Dynasties).

During the succeeding, often turbulent, Zhou dynasty (c.1027–256 B.C.), Confucius, Lao Zi, and Mencius lived, and the literature that until recently formed the basis of Chinese education was written. The use of iron was the main material advance.

The semi-barbarous Qin dynasty (221–206 B.C.) first established the centralized imperial system that was to govern China during stable periods. The Great Wall was begun in this period.

The native Han dynasty period (202 B.C.–A.D. 220), traditionally deemed China's imperial age, is notable for long peaceable rule, expansionist policies, and great artistic achievement.

The Three Kingdoms period (A.D. 220–65) opened four centuries of warfare among petty states and of invasions of the north by the barbarian Hsiung-nu (Huns). In this inauspicious time China experienced rapid cultural development. Buddhism, which had earlier entered from India, and Taoism, a native cult, grew and seriously endangered Confucianism. Indian advances in medicine, mathematics, astronomy, and architecture were adopted. Art, particularly figure painting and decoration of Buddhist grottoes, flourished.

Feudalism partly revived under the Tsin dynasty (265–420) with the decay of central authority.

Under the Sui (581–618) and the T'ang (618–907) a vast domain, much of which had first been assimilated to Chinese culture in the preceding period, was unified. The civil service examination system based on the Chinese classics and a renaissance of Confucianism were important developments of this brilliant era. Its fresh and vigorous poetry is especially noted. The end of the T'ang was marked by a withdrawal from conquered border regions to the center of Chinese culture.

The period of the Five Dynasties and the Ten Kingdoms (907–60), which was a time of chaotic social change, was followed by the Song dynasty (960–1279), a time of scholarly studies and artistic progress, marked by authentication of the Confucian literary canon and the improvement of printing techniques through the invention of movable type. The poetry of the Song period was derivative, but a new popular literary form, the novel, appeared at that time. Neo-Confucianism developed systematically. Gunpowder was first used for military purposes in this period.

While the Sung ruled central China, barbarians — the Khitai, the Jurchen, and the Tangut — created northern empires that were swept away by the Mongols under Jenghiz Khan. His grandson Kublai Khan, founder of the Yüan dynasty (1271–1368), retained Chinese institutions. The great realm of Kublai was described in all its richness by one of the most celebrated of all travelers, Marco Polo. Improved roads and canals were the dynasty's main contributions to China.

The Ming dynasty (1368–1644) set out to restore Chinese culture by a study of Sung life. Its initial territorial expansion was largely lost by the early 15th century. European trade and European contact began with Portuguese settlement of Macao in 1557 but immediately ran into official Chinese anti-foreign policy.

Meanwhile the Manchu advanced steadily south from Manchuria in the 16th and the 17th centuries and ended with complete invasion and conquest of China by 1644 and with establishment of the Qing (Manchu) dynasty (1644–1911). Under emperors K'angxi (reigned 1662–1722) and Qianlong (reigned 1735–96), China was perhaps at its greatest territorial extent.

Foreign Intervention in China

The Qing opposition to foreign trade, at first even more severe than that of the Ming, relaxed ultimately, and in 1834, Canton, or Guangzhou, was opened to limited overseas trade. Great Britain, dissatisfied with trade arrangements, obtained commercial concessions, and established extraterritoriality following the 1839–42 conflict. Soon France, Germany, and Russia successfully put forward similar demands. The Qing regime, already weakened by internal problems, was further enfeebled by the devastating Taiping Rebellion of 1848–65, and Japan's military success in 1894–95. Chinese resentment of foreigners grew, and Empress Ci Xi encouraged the Boxer Uprising of 1899-1900 where the killing of Western missionaries and consular staff and the siege of the consular compounds led to a Western-Power intervention in Beijing.

Belated domestic reforms failed to stem a revolution long-plotted, chiefly by Sun Yat-sen, and set off in 1911 after the explosion of a bomb at Wuchang. With relatively few casualties, the Qing dynasty was overthrown and a republic was established. Sun, the first president, resigned early in 1912 in favor of Yüan Shikai, who commanded the military power. Yüan established a repressive rule, which led Sun's followers to revolt sporadically.

Early in World War I, Japan seized the German leasehold in Shandong province and presented China with Twenty-one Demands, designed to make all of China a virtual Japanese protectorate. China was forced to accept a modified version of the Demands, although the treaties were never ratified by the Chinese legislature. China entered World War I on the Allied side in 1917, but at the Versailles peace conference was unable to prevent Japan from being awarded the Shandong territory. Reaction to this provision in the Versailles treaty led to Nationalist flare-ups and the May Fourth Movement of 1919. At the Washington Conference (1921–22), Japan finally agreed to withdraw its troops from Shandong and restore full sovereignty to China. The Nine-Power Treaty, signed at the Conference, guaranteed China's territorial integrity and the Open Door Policy.

Yüan had died in 1916 and China was disintegrating into rival warlord states. Civil war raged between Sun's new revolutionary party, the Kuomintang, which established a government in Guangzhou and received the support of the southern provinces, and the national government in Beijing, supported by warlords (semi-independent military commanders) in the north. As cultural ferment seethed throughout China, intellectuals sought inspiration in Western ideals; Hu Shi, prominent in the burgeoning literary renaissance, began a movement to simplify the Chinese written language. Labour agitation, especially against foreign-owned companies, became more common, and resentment against Western religious ideas grew.

In 1921, the Chinese Communist party was founded. Failing to get assistance from the Western countries, Sun made an alliance with the Communists and sought aid from the USSR. In 1926, Chiang Kai-shek led the army of the Kuomintang northward to victory. Chiang reversed Sun's policy of cooperation with the Communists and executed many of their leaders. Thus began the long civil war between the Kuomintang and the Communists. Chiang established (1928) a government in Nanjing and obtained foreign recognition.

A Communist government was set up in the early 1930s in Jiangxi, but Chiang's continued military campaigns forced (1934) them on the long march to the northwest, where they settled in Shaanxi. Japan, taking advantage of China's dissension, occupied Manchuria in 1931 and established (1932) the puppet state of Manchukuo. While Japan moved southward from Manchuria, Chiang chose to campaign against the Communists. In the “Xi'an Incident” (December, 1936), Chiang was kidnapped by Nationalist troops from Manchuria and held until he agreed to accept Communist cooperation in the fight against Japan.

In July, 1937, the Japanese attacked and invaded China proper. By 1940, North China, the coastal areas, and the Chang Jiang (Yangtze) valley were all under Japanese occupation, administered by the puppet regime of Wang Ching-wei. The Nationalist capital was moved inland to Chongqing. After 1938, Chiang resumed his military harassment of the Communists, who were an effective fighting force against the Japanese. With Japan's attack (1941) on U.S. and British bases and the onset of World War II in Asia, China received U.S. and British aid. The country was much weakened at the war's close.

The end of the Japanese threat and the abolition of extraterritoriality did not bring peace to the country. The hostility between the Chinese Nationalists and the Communists flared into full-scale war as both raced to occupy the territories evacuated by the Japanese. The United States, alarmed at the prospect of a Communist success in China, arranged through ambassadors Patrick J. Hurley and George C. Marshall for conferences between Chiang and the Communist leader Mao Zedong, but these proved unsuccessful.

When the Russians withdrew from Manchuria, which they had occupied in accordance with agreements reached at the Yalta Conference, they turned the Japanese military equipment in that area over to the Chinese Communists, giving them a strong foothold in what was then the industrial core of China. Complete Communist control of Manchuria was realized with the capture of Shenyang (Mukden) in November, 1948. Elsewhere in the country, Chiang's Nationalists, supplied by U.S. arms, were generally successful until 1947, when the Communists gained the upper hand.

Sweeping inflation, increased police repression, and continual famine weakened public confidence in the Nationalist government, and much of the population came to at least passively support the Communists. Beijing fell to the Communists without a fight in January, 1949, followed (April–November, 1949) by the major cities of Nanjing, Hankou, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chongqing. In August, 1949, when little Nationalist resistance remained, the U.S. Dept. of State announced that no further aid would be given to Chiang's government. The Communists, from their capital at Beijing, proclaimed a central people's government on October 1, 1949. The seat of the Nationalist government was moved to Taiwan in December, 1949.

The new Communist government was immediately recognized by the USSR and shortly thereafter by Great Britain, India, and other nations. Recognition was, however, refused by the United States, which maintained close ties with Taiwan. By April 1950, the last pockets of Nationalist resistance were cleaned out, and all of China was secure for the Communists.

China under Mao
Mao Zedong and the Communists brought the soaring inflation under control and effected a more equitable distribution of food. A land-reform program was launched, and police control was tightened. During the first five-year plan (1953–57), agriculture was collectivized and industry was nationalized. With assistance from the USSR, construction of many modern large-scale plants was begun, and railroads were built to link the new industrial complexes of the north and northwest. On the international scene, Chinese Communist troops invaded Tibet in October, 1950. That same month Chinese forces were deployed in the Korean War. Large-scale Chinese participation in the war persisted until the armistice of July 1953, after which China emerged as a diplomatic power in Asia. Zhou Enlai became internationally known through his role at the Geneva Conference of 1954 and at the Bandung Conference of 1955.

The Great Leap Forward, an economic program aimed at making China a major industrial power overnight, was underway by 1958. It featured the expansion of cooperatives into communes, which disrupted family life but offered a maximum use of the labor force. The industrialization program was pushed too fast, resulting in the overproduction of inferior goods and the deterioration of the industrial plant. At the same time, agriculture was neglected.

Many scholars have said that this neglect, rather than poor weather conditions as asserted by the government, caused the three successive crop failures of 1959–61; the widespread famine that resulted was responsible for from 15 million to as many as 55 million deaths.

A severe blow to the economy and political system was the termination of Soviet aid in 1960 and the withdrawal of Soviet technicians and advisers — events that revealed a growing ideological rift between China and the USSR. The rift, which began with the institution of a destalinization policy by the Soviets in 1956, widened considerably after the USSR adopted a more conciliatory approach toward the West in the cold war. There were massive military buildups along the USSR-Chinese border, and border clashes erupted in Manchuria and Xinjiang.

Hostility had continued meanwhile between Communist China and the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek, who pledged himself to the reconquest of China. The Communist government insisted upon its right to Taiwan, but the United States made clear its intention to defend that island against direct attack, having even given (1955) a qualified promise to defend the Nationalist-held offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu as well.

China's relations with other Asian nations, at first cordial, were affected by China's encouragement of Communist activity within their borders, the suppression of a revolt in Tibet (1959–60), and undeclared border wars with India in the 1960s over disputed territory. In the Vietnam War, China provided supplies, armaments, and technical assistance as well as militant verbal support to North Vietnam.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s the emphasis of China's foreign policy changed from revolutionary to diplomatic; new contacts were established, and efforts were made to improve relations with many governments. China continued to strengthen its influence with other underdeveloped nations, extending considerable economic aid to countries in South America, Africa, and Asia. Important steps in Chinese progression toward recognition as a world power were the successful explosions of China's first atomic bomb (1964) and of its first hydrogen bomb (1967), and the launching of its first satellite (1970).

Internal dissension and power struggles were revealed in such domestic crises as the momentous Cultural Revolution (1966–76); the death (1971) in an airplane crash of defense minister Lin Biao while he was allegedly fleeing to the Soviet Union after an abortive attempt to assassinate Mao and establish a military dictatorship; and a major propaganda campaign launched in 1973, which mobilized the masses against such widely ranging objects of attack as Lin Biao, the teachings of Confucius, and cultural exchanges with the West.

Economically, the emphasis in the 1960s and early 1970s was on agriculture. After the Cultural Revolution, economic programs were initiated featuring the establishment of many small factories in the countryside and stressing local self-sufficiency. Both industrial and agricultural production records were set in 1970, and, despite serious droughts in some areas in 1972, output continued to increase steadily.

China in Transition
In 1971 long-standing objections to the admission of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations were set aside by the United States; that October, Communist delegates were seated as the representatives of all China and, despite the opposition of the United States, which favored a “two-China” membership, the Nationalist delegation was expelled. A breakthrough in the hostile relations between the United States and Communist China came with the visit of President Richard M. Nixon to Beijing in February 1972. Although U.S. support of Taiwan remained a sensitive issue, the visit resulted in a joint agreement to work toward peace in Asia and to develop closer economic, cultural, and diplomatic ties.

Although Mao had resigned his position as chairman of the People's Republic during the failures of the Great Leap Forward, as chairman of the central committee of the Communist party he remained the most powerful political figure in China. (Liu Shaoqi, who succeeded Mao as chairman of the Republic in 1959, was deposed during the Cultural Revolution.) By the mid-1970s, political power was balanced between the moderates, led by Deng Xiaoping and Premier Zhou Enlai, and the more radical heirs to the Cultural Revolution, led by the Gang of Four, which included Jiang Qing (Mao's wife), Wang Hongwen, Yao Wenyuan, and Zhang Chunqiao. Mao mediated between the two factions.

With the death of Zhou in January 1976, the Gang of Four convinced Mao that Deng's economic plan, the Four Modernizations, would overturn the legacy of Mao's Cultural Revolution. Deng was purged in April, along with many of his supporters, as the Gang of Four consolidated their power. After Mao's death in September 1976, however, a coalition of political and military leaders purged the Gang of Four, and Hua Guofeng, who had succeeded Zhou as premier, became party chairman. Deng was rehabilitated in 1977 and soon was recognized as the most powerful party member, although he was nominally deputy chairman to Hua. In 1980, Hua stepped down from the premiership in favor of Zhao Ziyang, who was Deng's choice.

From 1977, Deng worked toward his two main objectives, to modernize and strengthen the economy and to forge closer political ties with Western nations. To this end, four coastal cities were named (1979) special economic zones in order to draw foreign investment, trade, and technology. Fourteen more cities were similarly designated in 1984. China also decollectivized its cooperative farms, which led to a dramatic increase in agricultural production. In order to control population growth, the government instituted a law limiting families to one child, but protests and widespread infanticide forced the government to moderate its policy somewhat.

The People's Republic of China reached a political milestone when formal diplomatic relations were established with the United States on January 1 1979. In 1980, the PRC took Taiwan's place in the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. China had a brief border war with Vietnam in 1979 over Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia.

In the early 1980s, China reorganized the structure of the government and the CCP, rehabilitating many people purged in the Cultural Revolution and emphasizing the maintenance of discipline, loyalty, and spiritual purity in the face of increasing international contact.

Declaring a policy of “One Country, Two Systems,” China reached agreements with both Great Britain (1984) and Portugal (1987) to return to Chinese sovereignty the territories of Hong Kong (in 1997) and Macao (in 1999). In 1987, following a series of student demonstrations, Hu Yaobang, a reformist who had been named general secretary in 1980, was replaced by Zhao Ziyang, who was in turn replaced as premier by Li Peng.

The death of Hu in April, 1989, led to the series of protests that culminated in the violent military suppression at Tiananmen Square. The government arrested thousands of suspected dissidents and replaced Zhao as Communist party secretary with Jiang Zemin, who became China's president in 1993. The suppression brought on international economic sanctions, which sent China's economy into decline. International trade gradually resumed during the course of the next year, and in June 1990, after China released several hundred dissidents, the United States renewed China's most-favored-nation trade status.

In the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre, China sought to avoid sharp political conflict with the West, as by supporting the United Nations coalition in the Persian Gulf War, but tensions continued over such issues as Taiwan. In 1995, in reaction to a U.S. visit by Taiwan's president, Lee Teng-hui, Beijing conducted missile tests in the Taiwan Strait, and in early 1996 China conducted military exercises and missile tests close to the shores of Taiwan, in an attempt to inhibit those voting in the Taiwanese presidential election. Although it released some dissidents, the regime continued to clamp down on dissent; examples of its hard line were the long sentences given out to human-rights activist Wei Jingsheng in 1995 and political activists Xu Wenli and Qin Yongmin in 1998. In July 1999, the Chinese government outlawed the Falun Gong (Buddhist Law) spiritual movement after a group of several thousand rallied to urge the sect's official recognition. Official corruption, economic, social, and ethnic inequality, and oppressive rural taxes sparked an increasing number of public protests beginning in the late 1990s.

Economic change continued, with the encouragement of Deng Xiaoping, and in 1993 a revision of China's constitution called for the development of a “socialist market economy” in which the Communist party would retain political power while encouraging a free market economy. Deng died in 1997, and Zhu Rongji replaced Li Peng as prime minister in 1998. Floods inundated the Chang Jiang (Yangtze) River valley in August 1998, killing over 2,000 people and leaving millions homeless. In May 1999, during the Kosovo crisis, the Chinese embassy in Belgrade was mistakenly bombed by NATO, unleashing large anti-American demonstrations in Beijing.

In the same month, China was accused by the United States of stealing nuclear design secrets that enabled it to substantially accelerate its weapons program.

Nonetheless, a trade agreement was signed in November with the United States that led to Chinese membership (2001) in the World Trade Organization. Also in November, China advanced its space program with the test launching of an unmanned space capsule.

Relations with the United States again became tense in April 2001, after a Chinese fighter jet collided with a U.S. turbo-prop surveillance plane in mid-air, killing the Chinese pilot.

Three months later Russia and China signed a friendship and cooperation treaty that seemed in part a response to the G. W. Bush administration's arms sales to Taiwan and push to develop a ballistic missile defense system. Beginning in 2001 the Chinese Commmunist party began yet another transition, both in its membership and leadership. That year, Jiang Zemin urged the party to recruit business people as members, declaring in the doctrine of the “three represents” that the party must represent capitalists in addition to workers and peasants.

The following year, Jiang resigned as party leader and was replaced by Hu Jintao. Hu replaced Jiang as president in 2003, and Wen Jiabao became prime minister. Jiang remained extremely influential, however, in both the party and the government, and retained his chairmanship of the powerful national and party military commissions until September, 2004.

The government's handling in 2003 of an outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) that began in South China harmed the nation's international image when the outbreak went un-reported - and then under-reported - enabling it to spread more readily.

Severe measures instituted subsequently to curb the illness hurt the service sector of the economy, but by the end 2003 China had experienced a robust growth rate of more than 9% and a major urban building boom, resulting in part from the migration of rural inhabitants to the cities (22 cities had more than 2 million residents). In 2003, China and India signed a border pact that represented an incremental improvement in their relations, and two years later a new agreement called for the settlement of border issues between the two nations. Also in 2003 a trade pact giving Hong Kong businesses greater access to China's markets also was signed. In October 2003, China became the third nation to put an astronaut into orbit when Shenzhou 5, carrying Yang Liwei, was launched.

Continuing vigorous economic growth in 2004 led the government to put in place a series of measures designed to slow growth to control inflation and reduce overinvestment. Also in 2004, relations with Taiwan become more strained with the re-election of Chen Shui-bian, who had called for Taiwan to declare formal independence from China, as the island's President. In March 2005, China passed an antisecession law that called for the use of force if peaceful means failed to bring about reunification with Taiwan; the law sparked protests in Taiwan. At the same time, China welcomed visits from Taiwanese opposition leaders, who pledged to follow less confrontational approaches to relations with the mainland.

Early 2005 saw increased tensions with Japan over how Japanese actions during World War II were treated in a Japanese textbook, over the possible appointment of Japan to a permanent UN Security Council seat, and over a disputed exclusive economic zone in the East China Sea. The issues sparked sometimes destructive demonstrations in China.

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Chinese Dynasties

Xia c.1994–c.1523 B.C.
Semi-legendary Emperor Yu built irrigation channels, reclaimed land. Bronze weapons, chariots, domestic animals used. Wheat, millet cultivated. First use of written symbols.

Shang or Yin c.1523–c.1027 B.C.
First historic dynasty. Complex agricultural society with a bureaucracy and defined social classes. Well-developed writing, first Chinese calendar. Great age of bronze casting.

Zhou c.1027–256 B.C.
Classical age (Confucius, Lao Zi, Mencius) despite political disorder. Written laws, money economy. Iron implements and ox-drawn plow in use. Followed by Warring States period, 403–221 B.C.

Qin 221–206 B.C.
Unification of China under harsh rule of Shi Huang Di. Feudalism replaced by pyramidal bureaucratic government. Written language standardized. Roads, canals, much of the Great Wall built.

Han 202 B.C.–A.D. 220
Unification furthered, but harshness lessened and Confucianism made basis for bureaucratic state. Buddhism introduced. Encyclopedic history, dictionary compiled; porcelain produced.

Three Kingdoms A.D. 220–265
Division into three states: Wei, Shu, Wu. Wei gradually dominant. Confucianism eclipsed; increased importance of Daoism and Buddhism. Many scientific advances adopted from India.

Tsin or Chin 265–420
Founded by a Wei general; gradual expansion to the southeast. Series of barbarian dynasties ruled North China. Continued growth of Buddhism.

Sui 581–618
Reunification; centralized government reestablished. Buddhism, Daoism favored. Great Wall refortified; canal system established.

Tang 618–907
Territorial expansion. Buddhism temporarily suppressed. Civil service examinations based on Confucianism. Age of great achievements in poetry (Li Bo, Po Chü-i, Du Fu), sculpture, painting.

Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms 907–960
Period of warfare, official corruption, general hardship. Widespread development of printing; paper money first printed.

Sung 960–1279
Period of great social and intellectual change. Neo-Confucianism attains supremacy over Taoism and Buddhism; central bureaucracy reestablished. Widespread cultivation of tea and cotton; gunpowder first used militarily.

Yüan1271–1368
Mongol dynasty founded by Kublai Khan. Growing contact with West. Confucian ideals discouraged. Great age of Chinese playwriting. Revolts in Mongolia and South China end dynasty.

Ming1368–1644
Mongols expelled. Confucianism, civil service examinations, reinstated. Contact with European traders, missionaries. Porcelain, architecture, the novel and drama flourish.

Qing or Manchu 1644–1912
Established by the Manchus. Territorial expansion but gradual weakening of Chinese power; decline of central authority. Increasing European trade; foreign powers divide China into spheres of influence. Opium War; Hong Kong ceded; Boxer Uprising.

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