China

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The People's Republic of China (PRC; Simplified Chinese: 中华人民共和国, Traditional Chinese: 中華人民共和國; Pinyin: Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó Template:Audio), commonly referred to as China, is an East Asian country.

The exact meanings of PRC and China vary. In an ongoing dispute, the PRC claims sovereignty over Taiwan and some neighboring islands, whose control was never relinquished by the Republic of China, which also claims to be the legitimate government of all of China. The PRC asserts the Republic of China to be an illegitimate and supplanted entity and administratively categorizes Taiwan as the 23rd province of the PRC. (See China and Political status of Taiwan for more information.) The term "mainland China" is sometimes used to denote the area under the PRC's rule, usually excluding the two Special Administrative Regions, Hong Kong and Macau. The PRC refers to the period of its rule as New China (T: 新中國 / S: 新中国) whenever it contrasts itself with China before 1949. In some contexts, particularly in economics, trade and sports events, China and People's Republic of China is often used to refer to the PRC with Hong Kong and Macau excluded.

Contents

Geography and climate

Main article: Geography of China
The PRC is the largest country in area in East Asia, the fourth largest in the world and the second largest by land area. It borders 14 nations (counted clockwise): Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia and North Korea.
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The Geography of China

The PRC contains a large variety of landscapes. In the east, along the shores of the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea, are found extensive and densely populated alluvial plains; the shore of the South China Sea is more mountainous and southern China is dominated by hill country and lower mountain ranges. In the central-east are found the deltas of China's two major rivers, the Huang He and Yangtze River (Chang Jiang). Other major rivers include the Xijiang River, Mekong, Brahmaputra and Amur.

To the west, major mountain ranges, notably the Himalaya with China's highest point Mount Everest, and high plateaus feature among the more arid landscape of deserts such as the Taklamakan and the Gobi Desert.

Due to a prolonged drought and poor agricultural practices dust storms have become usual in the spring in China. According to China's Environmental Protection Agency, the Gobi Desert has been expanding "like a tsunami" and is a major source of dust storms which affect Mainland China and other parts of northeast Asia such as Taiwan, Korea and Japan. Dust from the northern plains has been tracked to the West Coast of the United States. River management (human waste dumping, factory pollution, and water extraction for irrigation and drinking) and dust erosion are problems affecting other countries that have become recent important concerns for relations between China and its neighboring countries.

History

Main articles: History of ChinaHistory of the People's Republic of China & Timeline of Chinese history
After World War II, the Chinese Civil War between the Communist Party of China and the Kuomintang ended in 1949 with the Communists in control of mainland China and the Kuomintang in control of Taiwan and some outlying islands of Fujian. On October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong emphatically declared the People's Republic of China, establishing a communist state, and proclaiming "the Chinese people have stood up."
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Mao Zedong declares the founding of the PRC in 1949

Supporters of the Maoist Era claim that under Mao, China's unity and sovereignty was assured for the first time in a century, and there was development of infrastructure, industry, healthcare, and education, which raised standard of living for the average Chinese. They also believe that campaigns such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution were essential in jumpstarting China's development and purifying its culture. Supporters may also doubt statistics or accounts given for death tolls or other damages incurred by Mao's campaigns. Some, including Mao at the time, attributed the high death toll to natural disasters; still others doubt this figure entirely, or claim that many more people died due to famine or other consequences of political chaos during the rule of Chiang Kai-Shek.

Critics of Mao's regime assert that Mao's administration imposed strict controls over everyday life, and believe that campaigns such as the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution contributed to or caused millions of deaths, incurred severe economic costs, and damaged China's cultural heritage. The Great Leap Forward in particular preceded a massive famine in China which, according to numbers guessed by credible Western and Eastern sources, 20–30 million people died; most Western and many Chinese analysts attribute this to the Great Leap Forward.

Following the dramatic economic failures of the early 1960s, Mao stepped down from his position as chairman of the People's Republic. The National People's Congress elected Liu Shaoqi as Mao's successor. Mao remained head of the Party but was removed from day to day management of economic affairs which came under the control of a more moderate leadership under the dominant influence of Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping and others who initiated economic reforms.

In 1966, Mao launched the Cultural Revolution, which is viewed by his opponents (including both Western analysts and many Chinese people who were youth at the time) as a strike back at his rivals by mobilizing the youth of the country in support of his thought and purging the moderate leadership, but is viewed by his supporters as an experiment in direct democracy and a genuine attempt at purging Chinese society of corruption and other negative influences. Disorder followed but gradually under the leadership of Zhou Enlai moderate forces regained influence.

After Mao's death, Deng Xiaoping, seen as the leader of the economic reformists, succeeded in winning the power struggle, and Mao's widow, Jiang Qing and her associates, the Gang of Four, who had assumed control of the country, were arrested and put on trial. Since then, the government has gradually and greatly loosened governmental control over people's personal lives, and began transitioning China's planned economy into a mixed economy. Supporters of the economic reforms point to the rapid development of the consumer and export sectors of the economy, the creation of an urban middle class that now constitutes 15% of the population, higher living standards (which is shown via dramatic increases in GDP per capita, consumer spending, life expectancy, literacy rate, and total grain output) and a much wider range of personal rights and freedoms for average Chinese as evidence of the success of the reforms. Critics of the economic reforms claim that the reforms have caused wealth disparity, environmental pollution, rampant corruption, widespread unemployment associated with layoffs at inefficient state-owned enterprises, and has introduced often unwelcome cultural influences. Consequently they believe that China's culture has been corrupted, the poor have been reduced to a hopeless abject underclass, and that the social stability is threatened. They are also of the opinion that various political reforms, such as moves towards popular elections, have been unfairly nipped in the bud. Regardless of either view, today, the public perception of Mao has improved dramatically, and images of Mao and Mao related objects have become fashionable.
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Nanjing Road (南京路), one of the world's busiest shopping streets.

Despite these concessions to capitalism, the Communist Party of China remains in control and has maintained repressive policies against groups which it feels are threats, such as Falun Gong and the separatist movement in Tibet. Supporters of these policies claim that these policies safeguard stability in a society that is torn apart by class differences and rivalries, has no tradition of civil participation, and limited rule of law. Opponents of these policies claim that these policies severely violate norms of human rights that the international community recognizes, and further claim that this results in a police state, which creates an atmosphere of fear and ignorance.

In 1989, the death of pro-reform official Hu Yaobang led to the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, during which students and others held protests in Beijing's Tiananmen Square and elsewhere to campaign for democratic reform and freedom. The protests ended on June 3 - June 4 when PLA troops entered the square, killing hundreds. The event brought worldwide condemnation and sanctions against the PRC government. The PRC government itself has since remained relatively silent on the issue, though it has also defended it by saying that it was necessary for the continued stability of the country.

The People's Republic of China adopted its current constitution on December 4, 1982.

Politics

File:National People's Congress.JPG
The Great Hall of the People, where the National People's Congress (NPC), highest legistlative body, of China convenes.
Main article: Politics of the People's Republic of China

In the technical terminology of political science the PRC was a communist state for much of the 20th century, and is still considered a communist state by many, though not all political scientists. Attempts to characterize the nature of the China's political structure into a single, simple category are typically seen as lacking sufficient depth to be satisfactory. A major reason for this is China's political history: for over two thousand years, prior to 1949, the state had been ruled by some form of centralized imperial monarchy with strong Confucian influences, which have left significant traces on subsequent political and social structures. This was followed by a chaotic succession of largely authoritarian Chinese Nationalist governments as well as warlord-held administration since the first Chinese Revolution of 1912.

The PRC regime has variously been described as authoritarian, communist, socialist and various combinations of those terms. It has also been described as a communist government. This may be called state capitalist by more left-leaning communists. It appears China is slowly becoming capitalist in its economic system. China recently released an official statement on its political structure, upholding the notion that the state should be ruled by democratic means.

The government of the PRC is controlled by the Communist Party of China. There are some other parties in PRC, though they are often closely associated or subparties within the CPC. The effect of the other parties on the government remains minimal. While there have been some moves toward political liberalization, in that contested elections are now held at the village level and legislatures have shown some assertiveness from time to time, the party retains effective control over governmental appointments. While the state uses authoritarian methods to deal with challenges to its rule, it simultaneously attempts to reduce dissent by improving the economy, allowing expression of personal grievances, and giving lenient treatment to persons expressing dissent whom the regime does not believe are organizers.

Censorship of political speech is routine. The Communist Party has a policy of suppressing any protests and organizations that it considers a threat to its power, as was the case after the Tianamen Square protests. However, there are limits to the repression that the Party is willing or able to achieve. The media have become increasingly active in publicizing social problems and exposing corruption and inefficiency at lower levels of government, although recently the PRC has tended to increase crackdowns on reporters. The Party has also been rather unsuccessful at controlling information, and in some cases has had to change policies in response to public outrage. Although organized opposition against the Party is not tolerated, demonstrations over local issues are frequent and increasingly tolerated.

The support that the Communist Party of China has among the Chinese population is unclear, as there are no national elections, and private conversations and anecdotal information often reveals conflicting views. Many in China appear appreciative of the role that the government plays in maintaining social stability, which has allowed the economy to grow without interruption. Political concerns in China include the growing gap between rich and poor in the PRC, and the growing discontent with widespread corruption within the leadership and officials.

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Ongoing debates

The PRC government argues that the notion of human rights should include economic standards of living and measures of health and economic prosperity. In other words, when critiquing its internal situation, it sees the rise in the standard of living of the Chinese people as an indicator of improvement of the human rights situation, and when looking at the situation abroad, often notes the high rate of crime and/or poverty in places reputedly having a high standard of human rights. However, Western governments and NGOs have argued that arbitrary and lengthy incommunicado detention, forced confessions, torture, and mistreatment of prisoners as well as severe restrictions on freedom of speech, the press, assembly, association, religion, privacy, and worker rights are violations of their definition of human rights. They argue the issues stem from the PRC government's intolerance of dissent and the inadequacy of legal safeguards for individual political rights. The issue is covered in article Human rights in the People's Republic of China The PRC describes itself as a multiethnic state providing ethnic autonomy in the form of autonomous administrative entities. PRC policy gives advantages to ethnic minorities in areas such as high school or college admission and government employment. It also officially condemns Han chauvinism. However, it currently faces independence movements in Tibet, and Xinjiang. Independence groups and many foreign observers are critical of the PRC's ethnic policies. They consider practices such as the organization and generous financial encouragement of Han Chinese movement into non-Han Chinese areas, to be chauvinistic and colonial, bent on demographically swamping non-Han Chinese areas and reducing the possibility that any independence movement could succeed. Within China, many people are also critical of the above policies. For example, Han Chinese in Xinjiang tend to be resentful and perceive of themselves as being treated as "second-class citizens" as a result of policies that favour minorities. Many people also consider these policies to have encouraged the formation of separatist movements and to have threatened the territorial integrity of China.

Political divisions

Main article: Political divisions of China

The People's Republic of China has administrative control over 22 provinces (省); the government of the People's Republic of China considers Táiwān (台湾), which is actually controlled by the Republic of China, to be its 23rd province. (See Political status of Taiwan for more information.) Apart from provinces there are 5 autonomous regions (自治区) containing concentrations of several minorities; 4 municipalities (直辖市) for China's largest cities and 2 Special Administrative Regions (SAR) (特别行政区) governed by the PRC.

The 22 provinces, 5 autonomous regions and 4 municipalities can be collectively referred to as "mainland China", a term which usually excludes Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan.

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Province-level divisions of the People's Republic of China

The following are a list of administrative divisions of areas under the control of the People's Republic of China.

Template:Col-begin Template:Col-break Provinces(省)

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Municipalities(直辖市)


Special Administrative Regions(特别行政区)


Claimed by the PRC, but governed by Republic of China


Claimed by the Republic of China, but given up by PRC

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Foreign relations

Main article: Foreign relations of the People's Republic of China

The People's Republic of China maintains diplomatic relations with most countries in the world, but makes acknowledging its claim to Taiwan and severing any official ties with the Republic of China (ROC) government a prerequisite for diplomatic exchanges. It actively opposes foreign travels by current and former political officials of Taiwan, such as Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian, and other persons it sees politically dangerous, such as Tenzin Gyatso (considering Tibet) and Li Hongzhi (considering Falun Gong).

In 1971, the PRC replaced the Republic of China as the sole representative for "China" in the United Nations and as one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council; it is also considered a founding member although the PRC was not in control at the founding of the UN. (See China and the United Nations)

It was for a time a member and leader of the Non-Aligned Movement, but now is an observer. Much of the current foreign policy is based on the concept of China's peaceful rise.

Sino-Japanese relations have been strained several times in the past few decades by Japan's refusal to acknowledge its past war crimes and violations to Chinese satisfaction, most notable among which is the Nanjing Massacre. Recent incidents with the United States include the United States bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during the Kosovo conflict in May 1999, allegedly involved in nuclear secrets espionage reported in the Cox report, as well as the collision of a United States spy aircraft into a Chinese jet fighter near Hainan Island in April 2001.

Some NGOs and Western governments have criticized China for alleged human rights abuses and its foreign relations with many Western Nations suffered following the Tiananmen Square Incident in 1989.

In addition to Taiwan, China is involved in several other territorial disputes. The PRC makes all of these claims on irredentist grounds, while the opposing claimants tend towards viewing irredentism as a baseless ideology or view the PRC as being motivated by resources, military considerations, or nationalism considerations:

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In 2004, Russia agreed to transfer Yinlong Island as well as one half of Heixiazi Island to China, ending a long-standing border dispute between Russia and China. Both islands are found at the confluence of the Amur and Ussuri Rivers, and were until then administered by Russia and claimed by China. The event was meant to foster feelings of reconciliation and cooperation between the two countries by their leaders, but it has also sparked different degrees of discontents on both sides. The transfer has been ratified by both the Chinese National People's Congress and the Russian State Duma but has yet to be carried out to date.

Outside official opinion, it is popular for nationalists to make irredentist claims to Mongolia, Tuva and Outer Manchuria, as well as (less commonly) the Ryukyu Islands, Bhutan, the Hukawng Valley in northern Myanmar, and Central Asia southeast of Lake Balkhash. Template:See also

Military

Main article: People's Liberation Army
File:PLA soldiers.jpg
PLA soldiers march in Beijing

The PRC maintains a military consisting of its army, navy, air force, and strategic nuclear forces. Its 2.25 million strong force makes it the second largest military in the world, in terms of number of troops, just behind the U.S Armed Forces with 2.26 million (including reserves). The People's Liberation Army's official budget for 2005 is $30 billion, possibly excluding foreign weapons purchases, military-related research and development and the paramilitary People's Armed Police and other expenses. Even the highest estimates set the military spending at considerably less than the United States.

The PRC, despite possession of nuclear weapons and delivery systems, is widely seen both within and outside of China as having only limited ability to project military power beyond its borders and is not generally considered to be a true superpower, although it is widely seen as a major regional power. This is due to the limited effectiveness of its navy, such as lacking aircraft carriers, and air-force, which is large but generally considered obsolete by Western standards.

The PRC continues to make efforts to modernize its military. It has purchased state-of-the-art fighter jets from Russia, such as Su-27s and Su-30s, and has produced its own relatively modern fighters. It has also acquired Russian S-300 Surface-to-Air missile systems, which are widely considered to be among the best aircraft-intercepting systems in the world. The PRC's armoured and rapid-reaction forces have been updated with enhanced electronics and targeting capabilities. In recent years, much attention has been focused on building a navy with blue-water capability.

Largest cities

The PRC has dozens of major cities, including 3 of the 55 global cities.

# City City population
estimate[1] (2002),
million people
Region
1. Shanghai 9,0
2. Beijing 7,1
3. Tianjin 4,3
4. Wuhan 4,0
5. Shenyang 3,5
6. Guangzhou 3,4
7. Harbin 2,8
8. Xian 2,7
9. Chongqing 2,3
10. Kowloon 2,3
11. Chengdu 1,9
12. Changchun 1,9
13. Taiyuan 1,8
14. Nanjing 1,8
15. Jinan 1,7
16. Dalian 1,7
17. Qingdao 1,4
18. Lanzhou 1,4
19. Fushun 1,4
20. Zhengzhou 1,3


Economy

File:1 Yuan 1960.jpg
A Yuan note from 1960
Main article: Economy of the People's Republic of China

Beginning in late 1978 the Chinese leadership has been reforming the economy from a Soviet-style centrally planned economy to a more market-oriented economy but still within a rigid political framework of Communist Party control. To this end the authorities have switched to a system of household responsibility in agriculture in place of the old collectivization, increased the authority of local officials and plant managers in industry, permitted a wide variety of small-scale enterprise in services and light manufacturing, and opened the economy to increased foreign trade and investment. Prices controls were also relaxed. This has resulted in mainland China's shift from a command economy to a mixed economy with both communist and capitalist tendencies.

The government has tended to not emphasize equality as when it first began and instead emphasized raising personal income and consumption and introducing new management systems to help increase productivity. The government also has focused on foreign trade as a major vehicle for economic growth, for which purpose it set up 5 Special Economic Zones (SEZ: Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Shantou, Xiamen, Hainan Province) where investment laws are relaxed in order to attract foreign capital. The result has been a quadrupling of GDP since 1978. In 1999, with its 1.25 billion people and a GDP of just $3,800 per capita, the PRC became the sixth largest economy in the world by exchange rate and third largest in the world after the European Union and the U.S. by purchasing power. The average annual income of a Chinese worker is $1,300. Chinese economic development is believed to be among the fastest in the world, about 7-8% per year according to Chinese government statistics. China is now a member of the World Trade Organization.

Mainland China has a reputation as being a low-cost manufacturer, particularly due to its abundant non-unionised inexpensive labor. An unskilled worker at a Chinese factory in the rural area costs a company under $1/hour, however, the prices of goods and services in China are lower than in more developed countries. Furthermore, many Chinese workers do not join trade unions. Employers may find this helpful as labor relations are different in most other parts of the world. A possible reason for this could be work ethics, or it is also conceivable it is driven by a fear that unions will be abused by the Communist Party of China to identify dissidents. (See list of Chinese dissidents.)

Another aspect of the Chinese economy that is often overlooked is the low cost of non labor inputs. This is due in part to an overly competitive environment with many producers and a general tendency towards an oversupply and low prices. There is also the continued existence of price controls and supply guarantees left over from the former Soviet style command economy. As State owned enterprises continue to be dismantled and workers shift to higher productivity sectors, this deflationary effect will continue to put pressure on prices in the economy.

Preferential tax incentives are also given as a direct fiscal incentive to manufacture in China, whether for export or for the local market of 1.3 billion. China is attempting to harmonize the system of taxes and duties it imposes on enterprises, domestic and foreign alike. As a result, preferential tax and duty policies that benefit exporters in special economic zones and coastal cities have been targeted for revision.

China's high growth in the global markets has caused notable disputes, especially the trade inbalance with the United States. The discrepancy is largely attributable to the fact that Chinese corporations can produce many products desired in the US far more cheaply than other parts of Asia or Latin America, and expensive products produced in America are in large part uncompetitive compared to European or Asian goods. Another factor cited by some people was the unfavorable exchange rate between the Chinese yuan and the United States dollar to which it used to be pegged. On July 21, 2005 the People's Bank of China announced that it would move to a floating peg, allowing its currency to move by 0.3% a day. Many high tech American companies have difficulty exporting to China due to federal government restrictions. This may also have contributed to the widening trade gap between the 2 countries. With the elimination of clothing quotas, China stands to take over a large chunk of the worldwide textile industry. [2], [3] Template:China regional economic strategies

In 2003, China's GDP in terms of purchasing power parity reached $6.4 trillion, becoming the second-largest in the world. Using conventional measurements it is ranked 4th in 2005. With its large population this still gives an average GNP per person of only an estimated $5,000, about 1/7th that of the United States. The officially reported growth rate for 2003 was 9.1%.

Due to its size and ancient culture, China has a tradition of being a leading economy in the world. Trying to regain some of that glory is certainly a strong motivation for many Chinese.

The economic regions of Mainland China covered under the strategies promulgated by the central government.

The disparity in wealth between the coastal strip and the remainder of the country remains wide. To counter this potentially destabilizing problem, the government has initiated the China Western Development strategy (2000), the Revitalize Northeast China initiative (2003), and the Rise of Central China policy (2004), which are all aimed at helping the interior of China to catch up.

Transportation

Main articles: Transportation in the People's Republic of ChinaTransportation in Hong Kong & Transportation in Macau

Transportation in the mainland of the People's Republic of China has improved remarkably starting in the late 1990s as part of a government effort to link the entire nation through a series of expressways known as the National Trunk Highway System. Private car ownership is increasing but remains uncommon, in large part due to government policies designed to make car ownership expensive through the use of taxes and toll roads.

Air travel has increased considerably, although remains out of reach for most ordinary mainland Chinese. Long distance transportation for most mainland Chinese is still dominated by the railways and bus systems.

Cities are increasingly building underground or light rail systems, such as in Shanghai. Hong Kong has one of the most modern transport systems in the world.

Society

Demographics

Main articles: Demographics of Mainland ChinaDemographics of Hong Kong & Demographics of Macau

Ethnicity and race

Officially the PRC views itself as a multi-ethnic nation with 56 recognized ethnicities. The majority Han Chinese ethnicity makes up about 92% of the population and is the majority over about half of the area of the PRC. The Han Chinese itself is relatively racially heterogeneous, and can also be conceived as a large category bringing together many diverse ethnic subgroups sharing common cultural and linguistic characteristics.

Language

The majority Han Chinese speak varieties of spoken Chinese, which can be regarded as either one language or a family of languages. The largest subdivision of spoken Chinese is Mandarin Chinese, with more speakers than any other language on Earth. A standardized version of Mandarin based on the Beijing dialect, known as Putonghua, is taught in schools and used as the official language of the entire country.

Issues

The People's Republic of China, in an attempt to limit its population growth, has adopted a policy which limits urban families (ethnic minorities such as Tibetans are an exception) to one child and rural families to two children when the first is female. Because males are considered to be more economically valuable in rural areas, there appears to be a high incidence of sex selective abortion and child abandonment in rural areas to ensure that the second child is male. (See National Geographic's China's Lost Children). This policy only applies to the Han majority. There are numerous orphanages for the children that are abandoned, but approximately 98% of these children are not adopted, and stay in the orphanage until they are an adult. China has instituted a regulated program to permit international adoption, although this only affects a small percentage of the children.

By 2000 this has resulted in a sex ratio at birth of 117 boys being born for every 100 girls which is substantially higher than the natural rate (106 to 100) (but comparable to the ratios in places such as the Caucasus, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea). Although some of this problematic ratio is attributable to sexism, recently, it has been found that it correlates with hepatitis as well. The PRC government is attempting to mitigate this problem by emphasizing the worth of women and has gone so far as to criminalize medical providers from disclosing to parents the sex of an expected baby. The result of the sex ratio bias is that there are now 30–40 million Chinese males who cannot marry Chinese women. Apart from emigration, this may cause an increase in prostitution. In some cases, this has led to kidnappings, where women are abducted from their families, and forcibly sold as wives in distant villages.

Health

Main articles: Public health in mainland China & Environment of China

The PRC has several emerging public health problems: health problems related to air and water pollution, a progressing HIV-AIDS epidemic and hundreds of millions of cigarette smokers. The HIV epidemic, in addition to the usual routes of infection, was exacerbated in the past by unsanitary practices used in the collection of blood in rural areas. The problem with tobacco is complicated by the concentration of most cigarette sales in a government controlled monopoly. The government, dependent on tobacco revenue, seems hesitant in its response to the tobacco compared with other public health problems. Hepatitis B is endemic in mainland China, with a large percentage of the population contracting the disease; about 10% of these are seriously affected. A program initiated in 2002 will attempt over the next 5 years to vaccinate all newborns in mainland China.

In November 2002, the pneumonia-like SARS surfaced in Guangdong province. The epidemic spread into neighboring Hong Kong, Vietnam, and other countries via international travelers. The strains of avian flu outbreaks in recent years among local poultry and birds, along with a number of its citizens. While the virus is currently mainly animal-human transmissible, experts expect an avian flu pandemic that would affect the region, should the virus morph to be human-human transmissible. The recent pig-to-human transmission of Streptococcus suis bacteria, which has led to an unsually high number of deaths in and around Sichuan province.

Education

Main articles: Education in mainland ChinaEducation in Hong Kong & Education in Macau

To provide for its population in mainland China, the PRC has a vast and varied school system. There are preschools, kindergartens, schools for the deaf and blind, key schools (similar to college preparatory schools), primary schools, secondary schools (comprising junior and senior middle schools, secondary agricultural and vocational schools, regular secondary schools, secondary teachers' schools, secondary technical schools, and secondary professional schools), and various institutions of higher learning (consisting of regular colleges and universities, professional colleges, and short-term vocational universities).

Culture

File:Chinese meal.JPG
A Chinese meal in Jiangsu province.
Main article: Culture of China

China's traditional values were derived from the orthodox version of Confucianism/conservatism, which was taught in schools and was even part of imperial civil service examinations. However, the term Confucianism is somewhat problematic in that the system of thought which reached it high-water mark in Qing Dynasty imperial China was in fact composed of several strains of thought, including Legalism, which in many ways departed from the original spirit of Confucianism; indeed by the height of imperial China, the right of the individual ethical conscience and the right to criticise tyrannical governments and demand change had largely been prohibited by "orthodox" thinkers. Currently, there are neo-Confucians who believe that contrary to that line of thought, democratic ideals and human rights are quite compatible with traditional Confucian "Asian values". See [4]

The leaders who directed the efforts to change Chinese society after the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949 were raised in the old society and had been marked with its values. PRC leaders sought to change some traditional aspects, such as rural land tenure, sexism, and Confucian education, while preserving others, such as the family structure. Some observers believe that the Communist period following 1949 is very much in continuity with traditional Chinese history, rather than revolutionary.

On the other hand, some observers believe that the Communist period following 1949 has fundamentally altered or damaged the foundations of Chinese culture. At various times in the history of the PRC, many aspects of traditional Chinese culture were labeled 'regressive and harmful' or 'vestiges of feudalism' by the regime or by prominent movements (e.g. by the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution), such as Confucianism, traditional art, literature, and performing arts; for example, Beijing opera was "reformed" to conform to communist propaganda. The brutality of the Cultural Revolution itself has also been described as destructive to China's traditional moral values. The institution of the Simplified Chinese orthography reform is controversial as well, with some considering it harmless, and others viewing it as an assault on Chinese culture. However, China has since moved away from attempting to reform all of its traditional art forms. As time has progressed, the PRC government has accepted much of traditional Chinese culture as an integral part of Chinese society; current Chinese national policy often lauds these as important achievements of the Chinese civilization and emphasizes them as being integral to the formation of Chinese national identity. The PRC has also promoted feelings of nationalism in recent years, regarded by some observers as an effort to provide legitimacy for its rule. Template:Seealso

Science & Technology

Main article: Science and technology in China

After the Sino-Soviet split, China started to develop its own indigenous nuclear deterrent and delivery systems. A natural outgrowth of this was a satellite launching program. This culminated in 1970 with the launching of Dong Fang Hong I, the first Chinese satellite. This made the PRC the fifth nation to independently launch a satellite.

In 1992 the current "Project 921" manned spaceflight program was authorised. On 19 November 1999, the unmanned Shenzhou 1 was launched, the first test flight of the program. After three more tests, Shenzhou 5 was launched on October 15, 2003, using a Long March 2F rocket and carrying Yang Liwei, making the PRC the third country to put a human being into space through its own endeavors. The second mission, Shenzhou 6 launched 12 October 2005. Some see China's space program as a response to the United States Air Force's efforts to militarize space.

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China is actively developing in fields such as biotechnology, biomedicine, information technology, urban infrastructure and electronics.

Miscellaneous topics

Main article: List of China-related topics

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References

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Further reading

  • Ross Terrill, The New Chinese Empire: And What It Means for the United States, Basic Books, hardcover, 400 pages, ISBN 0465084125
  • Roads Murphey, East Asia: A New History, U. of Michigan Press: 1996.

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af:Volksrepubliek van Sjina als:Volksrepublik China ang:Folces Lēodþing Cīnan ar:صين ast:China be:Кітай bg:Китай ca:República Popular de la Xina cs:Čínská lidová republika da:Folkerepublikken Kina de:Volksrepublik China el:Κίνα eo:Popolrespubliko Cxinio es:República Popular China et:Hiina Rahvavabariik fi:Kiinan kansantasavalta fr:République Populaire de Chine gl:China - 中国 gu:ચીન he:הרפובליקה העממית של סין hr:Kina ia:Republica Popular de China id:Republik Rakyat Tiongkok is:Alþýðulýðveldið Kína it:Repubblica Popolare Cinese ja:中華人民共和国 ka:ჩინეთი ko:중화인민공화국 la:Respublica Populi Sinarum lt:Kinija lv:Ķīna mk:Кина ms:Republik Rakyat China nah:Xina nds:Volksrepubliek China nl:Volksrepubliek China nn:Folkerepublikken Kina no:Folkerepublikken Kina pl:Chińska Republika Ludowa pt:República Popular da China ro:Republica Populară Chineză ru:Китай simple:People's Republic of China sl:Kitajska sr:Народна република Кина sv:Kina th:สาธารณรัฐประชาชนจีน tl:Tsina uk:Китай vi:Cộng hòa Nhân dân Trung Hoa za:Cunghvaz Yinzminz Gunghozgoz zh:中华人民共和国 zh-min-nan:Tiong-hoâ Jîn-bîn Kiōng-hô-kok

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