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For centuries, China was a leader in the world as an advanced civilization, especially in the arts and sciences. In the 19th and 20th centuries, there were a lot of rebellions among the people. There were also famines, military defeats, and foreign occupation. After World War II, the Communists under Mao Zedong created socialist system that, while keeping China under control, placed strict controls over everyday life and cost the lives of tens of millions of people.
After 1978, the leader after Mao (Deng Xiaoping) and other leaders focused on developing the eonomy. For much of the population, living standards have improved dramatically and the room for personal choice has expanded, yet political controls remain tight.

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

1,338,612,968 (July 2009 est.) China has the most people in the world.

Ethnic groups
Han Chinese 91.5%, Zhuang, Manchu, Hui, Miao, Uyghur, Tujia, Yi, Mongol, Tibetan, Buyi, Dong, Yao, Korean, and other nationalities 8.5%

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

Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages (see Ethnic groups entry)

total population: 90.9%

Official Government Name

People's Republic of China

Capital city



Administrative Divisions
23 provinces

221 BCE (please see your teacher for help understanding this), unification of the Qin Dynasty

January 1, 1912, Dynasty replaced by the Republic of China

October 1, 1949, People's Republic of China established


December 4, 1982
18 years of age, universal

Executive Branch
Chief of State President Hu Jintao external image hu-jintao.jpg

Head of Government: Premier Wen Diabo

Elections are held every five years. The Congress votes for the leaders. The citizens do not.
Legislative Branch

The National People's Congress is not divided in two groups. Members are elected by local congresses, and not citizens.

Judicial Branch

Supreme People's Court


China often has problems with Tibet, a Buddhist region in China. The people in Tibet want to be free of China's rule.

Taiwan, a large island, claims that it is independent from China, but China sees it as a province.

Since China is a socialist country, it often is friendly with other socialist countries, such as North Korea, which causes problems with democratic countries because the people in democratic countries don't believe in socialism.

Additional resource: World History - McDougal/Littell -- The Travels of Marco Polo
Social Studies -- World Cultures and Geography --
Houghton / Mifflin