China (i//; Chinese: 中国; pinyin: Zhōngguó), officially the People's Republic of China, is a sovereign state located in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population of over 1.35 billion. The PRC is a single-party state governed by the Communist Party, with its seat of government in the capital city of Beijing. It exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), and two mostly self-governing special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macau). The PRC also claims Taiwan – which is controlled by the Republic of China (ROC), a separate political entity – as its 23rd province, a claim controversial due to the complex political status of Taiwan and the unresolved Chinese Civil War.
Covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometres, China is the world's second-largest country by land area, but only the third or fourth-largest by total area, depending on the method of measurement. China's landscape is vast and diverse, ranging from forest steppes and the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts in the arid north to subtropical forests in the wetter south. The Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamir and Tian Shan mountain ranges separate China from South and Central Asia. The Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, the third- and sixth-longest in the world, run from the Tibetan Plateau to the densely populated eastern seaboard. China's coastline along the Pacific Ocean is 14,500 kilometres (9,000 mi) long, and is bounded by the Bohai, Yellow, East and South China Seas.
The ancient Chinese civilization – one of the world's earliest – flourished in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. For millennia, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies, known as dynasties, beginning with the semi-mythological Xia of the Yellow River basin (c. 2000 BCE). Since 221 BCE, when the Qin Dynasty first conquered several states to form a Chinese empire, the country has expanded, fractured and been reformed numerous times. The Republic of China (ROC) overthrew the last dynasty in 1911, and ruled the Chinese mainland until 1949. After the defeat of the Empire of Japan in World War II, the Communist Party defeated the nationalist Kuomintang in mainland China and established the People's Republic of China in Beijing on 1 October 1949, while the Kuomintang relocated the ROC government to its present capital of Taipei.
Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China has become one of the world's fastest-growing major economies. As of 2013, it is the world's second-largest economy by both nominal total GDP and purchasing power parity (PPP), and is also the world's largest exporter and importer of goods. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army, with the second-largest defense budget. The PRC has been a United Nations member since 1971, when it replaced the ROC as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. China is also a member of numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, including the WTO, APEC, BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the BCIM and the G-20. China is a regional power within Asia and has been characterized as a potential superpower by a number of commentators.
The Ming Dynasty was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644. The Ming was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic Han Chinese. Ming rule saw the construction of a vast navy and a standing army of one million troops. There were enormous construction projects, including the restoration of the Grand Canal and the Great Wall (pictured) and the establishment of the Forbidden City in Beijing. Emperor Hongwu's rebuilding of China's agricultural base and strengthening of communication routes through the militarized courier system had the unintended effect of creating a vast agricultural surplus that could be sold at burgeoning markets located along courier routes. By the 16th century, China became involved in a new global trade of goods, plants, animals, and food crops known as the Columbian Exchange. Trade with European powers and the Japanese brought in massive amounts of silver, which then replaced copper and paper banknotes as the common medium of exchange in China. During the last decades of the Ming the flow of silver into China was greatly diminished, thereby undermining the entire Ming economy. The ensuing breakdown of authority and people's livelihoods allowed rebel leaders such as Li Zicheng to challenge Ming authority.
Zhou Tong was the archery teacher and second military arts tutor of famous Song Dynasty general Yue Fei. Information regarding his actual life is largely absent in history records. However, the fact that Zhou was Yue Fei's teacher has led to his popularity in Chinese folklore. Various sources portray him as four distinct people with backgrounds in Military and civilian combat arts. Several of these personas are said to have taught these arts to Lin Chong, Lu Junyi, and Wu Song, three of the "108 outlaws" on whom the Water Margin novel is based. For centuries, Zhou has had an intimate connection with topics related to Yue Fei, including martial arts, film, and literature. Many martial arts styles associated with Yue Fei—Eagle Claw, Chuojiao and Xing Yi—commonly include Zhou Tong within their lineage history. In the folk biography of Yue Fei, Zhou's abilities as a martial artist are described as being "high and strong." However, the oldest historical record that mentions his name only says he taught archery to Yue Fei. Zhou's character appeared in a string of black and white Yue Fei films during the early half of the 20th century. There is even an individual wuxia novel that focuses on Zhou's fictional adventures as a young man.
The General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, officially General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, is the highest ranking official within the Communist Party of China, a standing member of the Politburo and head of the Secretariat.
According to the Constitution, the General Secretary serves as an ex officio member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China's de facto top decision-making body.Since the early 1990s, the holder of the post has been, except for transitional periods, the Chairman of the Central Military Commission making the holder the leader of the People's Republic of China.
Since its founding, the most important position in the PRC has been that of the General Secretary (or Chairman from 1922 to 1925 and 1943 to 1982). As a single party state, the Communist party leader holds ultimate power and authority over state and government.
Wikipedias in languages found in China
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