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China

 

 Background

For centuries China stood as a leading civilization, outpacing the rest of the world in the arts and sciences, but in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the country was beset by civil unrest, major famines, military defeats, and foreign occupation. After World War II, the Communists under MAO Zedong established an autocratic socialist system that, while ensuring China's sovereignty, imposed strict controls over everyday life and cost the lives of tens of millions of people. After 1978, his successor DENG Xiaoping and other leaders focused on market-oriented economic development and by 2000 output had quadrupled. For much of the population, living standards have improved dramatically and the room for personal choice has expanded, yet political controls remain tight.

 

 

 

 
 Geography

World's fourth largest country (after Russia, Canada, and US); Mount Everest on the border with Nepal is the world's tallest peak.

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

Size comparison: 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
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
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: Mount Everest 8,850 m
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: 14.86%
permanent crops: 1.27%
other: 83.87% (2005)
Irrigated land: 545,960 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards: frequent typhoons (about five per year along southern and eastern coasts); damaging floods; tsunamis; earthquakes; droughts; land subsidence
Current Environment 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
International Environment Agreements: party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
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 People
Population: 1,338,612,968 (July 2009 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 19.8% (male 140,877,745/female 124,290,090)
15-64 years: 72.1% (male 495,724,889/female 469,182,087)
65 years and over: 8.1% (male 51,774,115/female 56,764,042) (2009 est.)
Median age: total: 34.1 years
male: 33.5 years
female: 34.7 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.655% (2009 est.)
Birth rate: 13.71 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 7.03 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.39 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.1 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 (2009 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 20.25 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 18.87 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 21.77 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 73.47 years
male: 71.61 years
female: 75.52 years (2009 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.79 children born/woman (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.1% (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 700,000 (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 39,000 (2007 est.)
Nationality: noun: Chinese (singular and plural)
adjective: Chinese
Ethnic groups: Han Chinese 91.5%, Zhuang, Manchu, Hui, Miao, Uyghur, Tujia, Yi, Mongol, Tibetan, Buyi, Dong, Yao, Korean, and other nationalities 8.5% (2000 census)
Religions: Daoist (Taoist), Buddhist, Christian 3%-4%, Muslim 1%-2%
note: officially atheist (2002 est.)
Languages: 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)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 90.9%
male: 95.1%
female: 86.5% (2000 census)
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 Government
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: name: Beijing
geographic coordinates: 39 55 N, 116 23 E
time difference: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
note: despite its size, all of China falls within one time zone
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; (see note on Taiwan)
autonomous regions: Guangxi, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Xinjiang Uygur, Xizang (Tibet)
municipalities: Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, Tianjin
note: China considers Taiwan its 23rd province; see separate entries for the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau
Independence: 221 BC (unification under the Qin or Ch'in Dynasty); 1 January 1912 (Qing or Ch'ing Dynasty replaced by the Republic of China); 1 October 1949 (People's Republic of China established)
National holiday: Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China, 1 October (1949)
Constitution: most recent promulgation 4 December 1982
Legal system: based on civil law system; derived from Soviet and continental civil code legal principles; legislature retains power to interpret statutes; constitution ambiguous on judicial review of legislation; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President HU Jintao (since 15 March 2003); Vice President XI Jinping (since 15 March 2008)
head of government: Premier WEN Jiabao (since 16 March 2003); Executive Vice Premier LI Keqiang (17 March 2008), Vice Premier HUI Liangyu (since 17 March 2003), Vice Premier ZHANG Deijiang (since 17 March 2008), and Vice Premier WANG Qishan (since 17 March 2008)
cabinet: State Council appointed by National People's Congress (NPC)
elections: president and vice president elected by National People's Congress for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); elections last held 15-17 March 2008 (next to be held in mid-March 2013); premier nominated by president, confirmed by National People's Congress
election results: HU Jintao elected president by National People's Congress with a total of 2,963 votes; XI Jinping elected vice president with a total of 2,919 votes
Legislative branch: unicameral National People's Congress or Quanguo Renmin Daibiao Dahui (2,987 seats; members elected by municipal, regional, and provincial people's congresses, and People's Liberation Army to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held December 2007-February 2008; date of next election - late 2012 to early 2013
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - 2,987
Judicial branch: Supreme People's Court (judges appointed by the National People's Congress); Local People's Courts (comprise higher, intermediate, and basic courts); Special People's Courts (primarily military, maritime, railway transportation, and forestry courts)
Political parties and leaders: Chinese Communist Party or CCP [HU Jintao]; eight registered small parties controlled by CCP
Political pressure groups and leaders: the China Democracy Party; the Falungong spiritual movement
note: no substantial political opposition groups exist, although the government has identified the organizations listed above as subversive groups
International organization participation: ADB, AfDB (nonregional members), APEC, APT, Arctic Council (observer), ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), BIS, CDB, EAS, FAO, G-20, G-24 (observer), G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, MONUC, NAM (observer), NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), SCO, UN, UN Security Council, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNITAR, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNMIT, UNOCI, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador ZHOU Wenzhong
chancery: 2300 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 328-2500
FAX: [1] (202) 328-2582
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires a.i. Dan PICCUTA
embassy: 55 An Jia Lou Lu, 100600 Beijing
mailing address: PSC 461, Box 50, FPO AP 96521-0002
telephone: [86] (10) 8531-3000
FAX: [86] (10) 8531-3300
consulate(s) general: Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenyang, Wuhan
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 Economy

China's economy during the past 30 years has changed from a centrally planned system that was largely closed to international trade to a more market-oriented economy that has a rapidly growing private sector and is a major player in the global economy. Reforms started in the late 1970s with the phasing out of collectivized agriculture, and expanded to include the gradual liberalization of prices, fiscal decentralization, increased autonomy for state enterprises, the foundation of a diversified banking system, the development of stock markets, the rapid growth of the non-state sector, and the opening to foreign trade and investment. China has generally implemented reforms in a gradualist or piecemeal fashion, including the sale of minority shares in four of China's largest state banks to foreign investors and refinements in foreign exchange and bond markets in 2005. After keeping its currency tightly linked to the US dollar for years, China in July 2005 revalued its currency by 2.1% against the US dollar and moved to an exchange rate system that references a basket of currencies. Cumulative appreciation of the renminbi against the US dollar since the end of the dollar peg was more than 20% by late 2008. The restructuring of the economy and resulting efficiency gains have contributed to a more than tenfold increase in GDP since 1978. Measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis that adjusts for price differences, China in 2008 stood as the second-largest economy in the world after the US, although in per capita terms the country is still lower middle-income. Annual inflows of foreign direct investment in 2007 rose to nearly $84 billion. By the end of 2007, nearly 7,000 domestic Chinese enterprises had made an aggregate $118 billion in direct investments in 173 countries and regions around the world. The Chinese government faces numerous economic development challenges, including: (a) sustaining adequate job growth for tens of millions of migrants, new entrants to the work force, and workers laid off from state-owned enterprises; (b) reducing corruption and other economic crimes; and (c) containing environmental damage and social strife related to the economy's rapid transformation. Economic development has been more rapid in coastal provinces than in the interior, and approximately 200 million rural laborers and their dependents have relocated to urban areas to find work. One demographic consequence of the "one child" policy is that China is now one of the most rapidly aging countries in the world. Deterioration in the environment - notably air pollution, soil erosion, and the steady fall of the water table, especially in the north - is another long-term problem. China continues to lose arable land because of erosion and economic development. In 2007 China intensified government efforts to improve environmental conditions, tying the evaluation of local officials to environmental targets, publishing a national climate change policy, and establishing a high level leading group on climate change, headed by Premier WEN Jiabao. The Chinese government seeks to add energy production capacity from sources other than coal and oil. In late 2008, as China commemorated the 30th anniversary of its historic economic reforms, the global economic downturn began to slow foreign demand for Chinese exports for the first time in several years. The government vowed to continue reforming the economy and emphasized the need to increase domestic consumption in order to make China less dependent on foreign exports for GDP growth in the future.

GDP (purchasing power parity): $7.8 trillion (2008 est.) $7.104 trillion (2007) $6.475 trillion (2006)
GDP (official exchange rate): $4.222 trillion (2008 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 9.8% (2008 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $6,000 (2008 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 10.6%
industry: 49.2%
services: 40.2% (2008 est.)
Labor force: 807.7 million (2008 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 43%
industry: 25%
services: 32% (2006 est.)
Unemployment rate: 4% officially in urban areas, but including migrants may be as high as 9%; substantial unemployment and underemployment in rural areas (2008 est.)
Population below poverty line: 8% note: 21.5 million rural population live below the official "absolute poverty" line (approximately $90 per year); and an additional 35.5 million rural population above that but below the official "low income" line (approximately $125 per year) (2006 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.6%
highest 10%: 34.9% (2004)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 47 (2007)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6% (2008 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 40.2% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budget: revenues: $868.6 billion
expenditures: $850.5 billion (2008 est.)
Public debt: 15.7% of GDP (2008 est.)
Agriculture - products: rice, wheat, potatoes, corn, peanuts, tea, millet, barley, apples, cotton, oilseed; pork; fish
Industries:

mining and ore processing, iron, steel, aluminum, and other metals, coal; machine building; armaments; textiles and apparel; petroleum; cement; chemicals; fertilizers; consumer products, including footwear, toys, and electronics; food processing; transportation equipment, including automobiles, rail cars and locomotives, ships, and aircraft; telecommunications equipment, commercial space launch vehicles, satellites

Industrial production growth rate: 10.7% (2008 est.)
Electricity - production: 3.256 trillion kWh (2007)
Electricity - consumption: 3.271 trillion kWh (2007)
Electricity - exports: 14.56 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - imports: 4.251 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Oil - production: 3.725 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - consumption: 7.88 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - exports: 399,000 bbl/day (2007)
Oil - imports: 4.21 million bbl/day (2007)
Oil - proved reserves: 16 billion bbl (1 January 2008 est.)
Natural gas - production: 69.27 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 70.51 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 5.36 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 3.871 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 2.265 trillion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)
Current account balance: $368.2 billion (2008 est.)
Exports: $1.465 trillion f.o.b. (2008 est.)
Exports - commodities: electrical and other machinery, including data processing equipment, apparel, textile, iron and steel, optical and medical equipment
Exports - partners: US 19.1%, Hong Kong 15.1%, Japan 8.4%, South Korea 4.6%, Germany 4% (2007)
Imports: $1.156 trillion f.o.b. (2008 est.)
Imports - commodities: electrical and other machinery, oil and mineral fuels, optical and medical equipment, metal ores, plastics, organic chemicals
Imports - partners: Japan 14%, South Korea 10.9%, Taiwan 10.5%, US 7.3%, Germany 4.7% (2007)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $2.033 trillion (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt - external: $420.8 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $758.9 billion (2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $139.3 billion (2008 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $6.226 trillion (31 December 2007 est.)
Currency (code): Renminbi (RMB); note - also referred to by the unit yuan (CNY)
Exchange rates: Renminbi yuan (RMB) per US dollar - 6.9385 (2008 est.), 7.61 (2007), 7.97 (2006), 8.1943 (2005), 8.2768 (2004)
Fiscal year: calendar year
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 Communications
Telephones in use: 365.4 million (2007)
Cellular Phones in use: 547.286 million (2007)
Telephone system:

general assessment: domestic and international services are increasingly available for private use; unevenly distributed domestic system serves principal cities, industrial centers, and many towns; China continues to develop its telecommunications infrastructure, and is partnering with foreign providers to expand its global reach; China in the summer of 2008 began a major restructuring of its telecommunications industry, resulting in the consolidation of its six telecom service operators to three, China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom, each providing both fixed-line and mobile services
domestic: interprovincial fiber-optic trunk lines and cellular telephone systems have been installed; mobile-cellular subscribership is increasing rapidly; the number of Internet users exceeded 250 million by summer 2008; a domestic satellite system with 55 earth stations is in place
international: country code - 86; a number of submarine cables provide connectivity to Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the US; satellite earth stations - 7 (5 Intelsat - 4 Pacific Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean; 1 Intersputnik - Indian Ocean region; and 1 Inmarsat - Pacific and Indian Ocean regions) (2007)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 369, FM 259, shortwave 45 (1998)
Television broadcast stations: 3,240 (of which 209 are operated by China Central Television, 31 are provincial TV stations, and nearly 3,000 are local city stations) (1997)
Internet country code: .cn
Internet hosts: 14.306 million (2008)
Internet users: 253 million (2008)
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 Transportation
Airports: 467 (2007)
Airports (paved runways): total: 403
over 3,047 m: 58
2,438 to 3,047 m: 128
1,524 to 2,437 m: 130
914 to 1,523 m: 20
under 914 m: 67 (2007)
Airports (unpaved runways): total: 64
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 13
914 to 1,523 m: 17
under 914 m: 26 (2007)
Heliports: 35 (2007)
Pipelines: gas 28,132 km; oil 20,204 km; refined products 9,746 km (2008)
Railways: total: 75,438 km
standard gauge: 75,438 km 1.435-m gauge (20,151 km electrified) (2005)
Roadways: total: 1,930,544 km
paved: 1,575,571 km (includes 41,005 km of expressways)
unpaved: 354,973 km (2005)
Waterways: 110,000 km navigable (2008)
Merchant marine:

total: 1,826
by type: barge carrier 4, bulk carrier 451, cargo 689, carrier 2, chemical tanker 69, combination ore/oil 1, container 162, liquefied gas 44, passenger 8, passenger/cargo 83, petroleum tanker 244, refrigerated cargo 33, roll on/roll off 10, specialized tanker 9, vehicle carrier 17
foreign-owned: 20 (Ecuador 1, Greece 2, Hong Kong 12, Indonesia 1, Japan 2, South Korea 1, Norway 1)
registered in other countries: 1,441 (Bahamas 10, Bangladesh 1, Belize 71, Bermuda 10, Bolivia 1, Cambodia 193, Cyprus 10, France 5, Georgia 10, Germany 2, Honduras 3, Hong Kong 324, India 1, Indonesia 2, Kiribati 15, South Korea 1, Liberia 11, Malta 12, Marshall Islands 7, Mongolia 1, Norway 36, Panama 532, Philippines 4, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 94, Sierra Leone 15, Singapore 14, Thailand 1, Tuvalu 16, unknown 39) (2008)

Ports and terminals: Dalian, Guangzhou, Ningbo, Qingdao, Qinhuangdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin
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 Military
 
Military branches: People's Liberation Army (PLA): Ground Forces, Navy (includes marines and naval aviation), Air Force (includes airborne forces), and Second Artillery Corps (strategic missile force); People's Armed Police (PAP); PLA Reserve Force (2009)
Military service age and obligation: 18-22 years of age for selective compulsory military service, with 24-month service obligation; no minimum age for voluntary service (all officers are volunteers); 18-19 years of age for women high school graduates who meet requirements for specific military jobs (2007)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 375,009,345
females age 16-49: 354,314,328 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 314,459,083
females age 16-49: 296,763,134 (2009 est.)
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