China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion in 2019. Covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometers (3.7 million mi2), it is the world's third or fourth largest country by area. As a one-party state led by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), it exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.
China emerged as one of the world's first civilizations, in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. For millennia, China's political system was based on absolute hereditary monarchies, or dynasties, beginning with the semi-mythical Xia dynasty in 21st century BCE. Since then, China has expanded, fractured, and re-unified numerous times. In the 3rd century BCE, the Qin reunited core China and established the first Chinese empire. The succeeding Han dynasty, which ruled from 206 BCE until 220 CE, saw some of the most advanced technology at that time, including papermaking and the compass, along with agricultural and medical improvements. The invention of gunpowder and movable type in the Tang dynasty (618–907) and Northern Song (960–1127) completed the Four Great Inventions. Tang culture spread widely in Asia, as the new Silk Route brought traders to as far as Mesopotamia and the Horn of Africa. The Qing Empire, China's final dynasty, suffered heavy losses to foreign colonialism. The Chinese monarchy collapsed in 1912 with the Xinhai Revolution, when the Republic of China (ROC) replaced the Qing dynasty. China was invaded by Imperial Japan during World War II. The Chinese Civil War resulted in a division of territory in 1949, when the CCP established the People's Republic of China on mainland China while the Kuomintang-led ROC government retreated to the island of Taiwan.
China is a unitary one-party socialist republic and is one of the few existing nominally socialist states. Political dissidents and human rights groups have denounced and criticized the Chinese government for widespread human rights abuses, including political repression, suppression of religious and ethnic minorities, censorship, mass surveillance, and their response to protests, notably in 1989.
China is a newly industrialized economy, the world's largest manufacturing economy, the largest economy in the world by PPP since 2014, the world's second-largest economy by nominal GDP since 2010 and the largest economy in Eurasia. Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China's economy has been the world's fastest-growing major economy, with annual growth rates consistently above 10%. China recorded the fastest rise in GDP per capita in the world from 1960 to 2018. China is the world's largest exporter and is home to the largest number of Fortune Global 500 companies in the world and has the world's largest banking sector, with assets of $40 trillion and the world's top 4 largest banks all being in China. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army, the People's Liberation Army, and the second-largest defense budget. The PRC is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since replacing the ROC in 1971. One of the world's foremost infrastructural giants, China has the world's largest bullet train network, the most supertall skyscrapers in the world, and has initiated the largest transcontinental infrastructure investment project in modern history. China is a major great power and has been characterized as an emerging global superpower, mainly because of its large economy, fast infrastructural development, and powerful military. China ranks 14th on the Global Innovation Index and is the only middle-income economy and the only emerging country in the top 30. China hosts the world's largest number of World Heritage Sites (55), and is the 4th most popular tourist destinations in the world (first in Asia). Read more...
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Jiangsu cuisine (simplified Chinese: 苏菜; traditional Chinese: 蘇菜; pinyin: Sū cài), also known as Su cuisine, is one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of Chinese cuisine. It is derived from the native cooking styles of Jiangsu Province. In general, Jiangsu cuisine's texture is characterised as soft, but not to the point of mushy or falling apart. In addition, Jiangsu cuisine also focuses on heating temperature. For example, the meat tastes quite soft but would not separate from the bone when picked up. As the style of Jiangsu cuisine is typically practised near the sea, fish is a very common ingredient in cooking. Other characteristics include the strict selection of ingredients according to the seasons, with emphasis on the matching colour and shape of each dish and using soup to improve flavour. The municipality of Shanghai was formerly a part of Jiangsu thus the great deal of similarity between the two, and Shanghai cuisine is sometimes classified as a part of Jiangsu cuisine. Read more...
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Marco Polo (1254–1324) was an merchant traveler from the Republic of Venice whose travels are recorded in Livres des merveilles du monde, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned the mercantile trade from his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, who traveled through Asia, and apparently met Kublai Khan. In 1269, they returned to Venice to meet Marco for the first time. The three of them embarked on an epic journey to Asia, returning after 24 years to find Venice at war with Genoa; Marco was imprisoned, and dictated his stories to a cellmate. He was released in 1299, became a wealthy merchant, married and had three children. He died in 1324, and was buried in San Lorenzo. His pioneering journey inspired Christopher Columbus and many other travellers. There is a substantial literature based on his writings. Polo influenced European cartography, leading to the introduction of the Fra Mauro map.
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The General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, officially General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, is head of the Communist Party of China and the highest-ranking official within China, a standing member of the Politburo and head of the Secretariat. The officeholder is usually considered the paramount leader of China.
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 Commander-in-chief of the People's Liberation Army.
The current General Secretary is Xi Jinping (picture), who took the office at the 18th National Congress on 15 November 2012.
The President of the Republic of China is the head of state of the Republic of China (ROC).
The Constitution names the president as head of state and commander-in-chief of the Republic of China Armed Forces (formerly known as the National Revolutionary Army). The president is responsible for conducting foreign relations, such as concluding treaties, declaring war, and making peace. The president must promulgate all laws and has no right to veto. Other powers of the president include granting amnesty, pardon or clemency, declaring martial law, and conferring honors and decorations.
The current President is Tsai Ing-wen (picture), since May 20, 2016. The first woman to be elected to the office, Tsai is the seventh president of the Republic of China under the 1947 Constitution and the second president from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
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