Portal:China

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China (Listeni/ˈnə/; 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.

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Huizong 1102.jpg

The Jin campaigns against the Song Dynasty were a series of wars that took place in the 12th and 13th centuries between the Jurchen Jin Dynasty and the Chinese Song Dynasty. The Jin invaded the Song in 1125 and captured the Song capital of Kaifeng in 1127, imprisoning Emperor Qinzong and Huizong (pictured). The Jin conquered northern China and remnants of the Song retreated to southern China, relocating the capital to Hangzhou. A treaty ended the war in 1142 and settled the boundary along the Huai River. Prince Hailing invaded the Song in 1161, but lost at Caishi and was assassinated shortly after. A Song invasion of the Jin motivated by revanchism in 1206–08 and a Jin invasion of the Song in 1217–24 were both unsuccessful. The Song allied with the Mongols in 1233, and jointly captured the last refuge of the Jin emperor in 1234, the year the Jin collapsed. The wars between the Song and Jin gave rise to an era of technological, cultural, and demographic changes in China. The Jin adopted the political and cultural institutions of past Chinese dynasties, gunpowder weapons like the fire lance were introduced, and the Song resettled and rebuilt their government in southern China.

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Pagodas by Lake Shanhu
Credit: Miguel A. Monjas

Pagodas lit up at night near the Lijiang River, in Guangxi Province.

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Liujiaxia Dam

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Jackie Chan in 2002

Jackie Chan (born 1954) is a Chinese actor, action choreographer, film director, producer, martial artist, comedian, screenwriter, singer and stunt performer from Hong Kong. Chan is one of the best-known names in kung fu and action films worldwide, known for his acrobatic fighting style, comic timing, use of improvised weapons and innovative stunts. He has acted since the 1970s, appearing in over 100 films, and has received stars on the Hong Kong Avenue of Stars and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As a cultural icon, Chan has been referenced in various pop songs, cartoons and video games. Besides acting, Chan is a Cantopop and Mandopop star, having released 20 albums since 1984 and sung many of the theme songs for the films in which he has starred. In 2008, Chan, along with Andy Lau, Liu Huan and Emil Chau, performed the farewell song "Hard to Say Goodbye" at the 2008 Summer Olympics closing ceremony.

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