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Geography - People - Economy - Government - Communications - Transportation - Military - Transnational Issues

Country information - China
Country name - conventional long form : People's Republic of China
Country name - conventional short form : China
Country name - local long form : Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo
Country name - local short form : Zhongguo
Government type : Communist state
Capital - name : Beijing
Capital - time difference : UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
National holiday : Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China, 1 October (1949)
Population : 1,330,044,544 (July 2008 est.)
Nationality - noun : Chinese (singular and plural)
Nationality - adjective : Chinese
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)
Currency (code) : Renminbi (RMB); note - also referred to by the unit yuan (CNY)
Currency code : CNY
Major infectious diseases - degree of risk : intermediate
Major infectious diseases - note : highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2008)

China is located Eastern Asia, bordering the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea, between North Korea and Vietnam. The climate is extremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in north. The terrain is mostly mountains, high plateaus, deserts in west; plains, deltas, and hills in east.


This entry usually highlights major historic events and current issues and may include a statement about one or two key future trends.
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.

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