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The People's Republic of China (PRC), commonly known as China, is the most populous state in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, it is a single-party state governed by the Communist Party of China (CPC). Nikon D200 Digital Camera Battery

The PRC exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, fiveautonomous regions, four directly administered municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), and two highly autonomous special administrative regions (SARs) – Hong Kong and Macau. Its capital city is Beijing. Acer PA-1650-02 Adapter

At about 9.6 million square kilometres (3.7 million square miles), the PRC is the world's third- or fourth-largest country by total area, depending on the definition of what is included in that total, and the second largest by land area. Its landscape is diverse, with forest steppes and deserts (the Gobi and Taklamakan) in the dry north near Mongolia and Russia's Siberia,Sony CYBER-SHOT DSC-T10  Battery

and subtropical forests in the wet south close to Vietnam, Laos, andBurma. The terrain in the west is rugged and elevated, with the Himalayas and the Tian Shan mountain ranges forming China's natural borders withIndia, Nepal and Central Asia.HP Compaq Business Notebook 6715b Battery

In contrast, mainland China's eastern seaboard is low-lying and has a 14,500-kilometre (9,000 mi) long coastline (the11th longest in the world), bounded on the southeast by the South China Sea and on the east by the East China Sea, beyond which lie the Republic of China (Taiwan), Korea, and Japan.Kodak KLIC-7004 Battery

The ancient Chinese civilization—one of the world's earliest—flourished in the fertile basin of the Yellow River which flows through the North China Plain. China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies (also known as dynasties) from time of the Xia (approx. 2000 BC).Acer Aspire 5920G Adapter

However, it was the Qin Dynasty that first unified China in 221 BC. The last dynasty, the Qing, ended in 1911 with the founding of the Republic of China (ROC)by the Kuomintang (KMT), the Chinese Nationalist Party. The first half of the 20th century saw China plunged into a period of disunity and civil warsthat divided the country into two main political camps – the Kuomintang and the communists. Canon Digital IXUS 90 IS   Battery

Major hostilities ended in 1949, when the communists essentially won the civil war and established the People's Republic of China in mainland China. The KMT-led Republic of China relocated their capital to Taipei on Taiwan; its jurisdiction is now limited to Taiwan, Kinmen, Matsu and several outlying islands.HP 2133 Mini-Note PC Adapter

Since then, the People's Republic of China (PRC) has been involved in political disputes with the Republic of China over issues of sovereignty, the political status of Taiwan, and battle for international diplomatic recognition.

Since the introduction of market-based economic reforms in 1978, China has become the world's fastest growing major economy, the world'slargest exporter and second largest importer of goods.Toshiba PA3536U-1BRS Battery

It is the world's second largest economy by both nominal GDP and purchasing power parity (PPP) and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. It is also a member of formal/informal multilateral organizations including the WTO, APEC, BRIC, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and G-20.HP Compaq Business Notebook NX6110 Battery

China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army with the second-largest defense budget. China has been characterized as a potential superpower by a number of academics,[19]military analysts,[20] and public policy and economics analysts.HP Pavilion DV9000 Adapter

History

Major combat in the Chinese Civil War ended in 1949 with the Communist Party of China in control of mainland China, and the Kuomintang (KMT) retreating to Taiwan. On 1 October 1949, Mao Zedong proclaimed the People's Republic of China. "Communist China" and "Red China" were two common names for the PRC. Dell Studio 1537 battery

The economic and social plan known as the Great Leap Forward resulted in an estimated 45 million deaths. In 1966, Mao and his allies launched the Cultural Revolution, which would last until Mao's death a decade later. The Cultural Revolution, motivated by power struggles within the Party and a fear of the Soviet Union, led to a major upheaval in Chinese society. HP PPP009H Adapter

In 1972, at the peak of the Sino-Soviet split, Mao and Zhou Enlai met Richard Nixon in Beijing to establish relations with the United States. In the same year, the PRC was admitted to the United Nations in place of the Republic of China for China's membership of the United Nations, and permanent membership of the Security Council.Sony VGP-BPS8 Battery

After Mao's death in 1976 and the arrest of the Gang of Four, blamed for the excesses of the Cultural Revolution, Deng Xiaoping quickly wrested power from Mao's anointed successor Hua Guofeng. Although he never became the head of the party or state himself, Deng was in fact the Paramount Leader of China at that time, Dell PA-12 Adapter

his influence within the Party led the country to significant economic reforms. The Communist Party subsequently loosened governmental control over citizens' personal lives and thecommunes were disbanded with many peasants receiving multiple land leases, which greatly increased incentives and agricultural production.Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T7/B  Battery

This turn of events marked China's transition from a planned economy to a mixed economy with an increasingly open market environment, a system termed by some[25] "market socialism", and officially by the Communist Party of China "Socialism with Chinese characteristics". The PRC adopted its current constitution on 4 December 1982.Dell LATITUDE M65 Battery

In 1989, the death of pro-reform official Hu Yaobang helped to spark the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, during which students and others campaigned for several months, speaking out against corruption and in favour of greater political reform, including democratic rights and freedom of speech. HP Compaq 6720s Adapter

However, they were eventually put down on 4 June when PLA troops and vehicles entered and forcibly cleared the square, resulting in numerous casualties. This event was widely reported and brought worldwide condemnation and sanctions against the government. The "Tank Man" incident in particular became famous.Acer AS07B41 Battery

CPC General Secretary, President Jiang Zemin and Premier Zhu Rongji, both former mayors of Shanghai, led post-Tiananmen PRC in the 1990s. Under Jiang and Zhu's ten years of administration, the PRC's economic performance pulled an estimated 150 million peasants out of poverty and sustained an average annual gross domestic product growth rate of 11.2%.Dell Vostro 1310 Battery

The country formally joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Although the PRC needs economic growth to spur its development, the government has begun to worry that rapid economic growth has negatively impacted the country's resources and environment. Another concern is that certain sectors of society are not sufficiently benefiting from the PRC's economic development; HP Compaq Business Notebook 6910p Battery

one example of this is the wide gap between urban and rural areas. As a result, under current CPC General Secretary, President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, the PRC has initiated policies to address these issues of equitable distribution of resources, but the outcome remains to be seen.Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ4S Battery

More than 40 million farmers have been displaced from their land, usually for economic development, contributing to the 87,000 demonstrations and riots across China in 2005.For much of the PRC's population, living standards have seen extremely large improvements, and freedom continues to expand, but political controls remain tight and rural areas poor. Dell PA-12 Adapter

Geography

The People's Republic of China is the second largest country in the world by land area and is considered the third or fourth largest in respect to total area. The uncertainty over size is related to (a) the validity of claims by China on territories such asAksai Chin and Trans-Karakoram Tract (both territories also claimed by India), Sony NP-FH100 Battery

and (b) how the total size of the United States is calculated: The World Factbook gives 9,826,630 km2 (3,794,080 sq mi), and the Encyclopædia Britannica gives 9,522,055 km2 (3,676,486 sq mi). The area statistics do not include the 1,000 square kilometres (386.1 sq mi) of territory ceded to the PRC by the Parliament of Tajikistan on 12 January 2011, which ended a centuries-long dispute.Toshiba Equium M50-192 Battery

China borders 14 nations, more than any other country (shared with Russia); counted clockwise from south: Vietnam, Laos, Burma, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia and North Korea. Additionally the border between the PRC and the ROC is located in territorial waters.Apple MacBook Pro Battery

China has a land border of 22,117 km (13,743 mi), the largest in the world.

The territory of China lies between latitudes 18° and 54° N, and longitudes 73° and 135° E. It contains a large variety oflandscapes. In the east, along the shores of the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea, there are extensive and densely populatedalluvial plains, while on the edges of the Inner Mongolian plateau in the north, grasslands can be seen. Apple PowerBook G4 Battery

Southern China is dominated by hill country and low mountain ranges. In the central-east are the deltas of China's two major rivers, the Yellow River and Yangtze River (Chang Jiang). Other major rivers include the Xi, Mekong, Brahmaputra and Amur. Dell Studio 1537 battery

To the west, major mountain ranges, notably the Himalayas, with China's highest point at the eastern half of Mount Everest, and high plateausfeature among the more arid landscapes such as the Taklamakan and the Gobi Desert.

A major issue is the continued expansion of deserts, particularly the Gobi Desert.Acer BATBL50L6 Battery

Although barrier tree lines planted since the 1970s have reduced the frequency of sandstorms, prolonged drought and poor agricultural practices result in dust storms plaguing northern China each spring, which then spread to other parts of East Asia, including Korea and Japan.Canon EOS 450D Digital Camera Battery

According to China's environmental watchdog, Sepa, China is losing a million acres (4,000 km²) per year to desertification.Water, erosion, and pollution control have become important issues in China's relations with other countries. Melting glaciers in the Himalayas could also lead towater shortages for hundreds of millions of people. Acer Travelmate 2400 Battery

China has a climate mainly dominated by dry seasons and wet monsoons, which leads to temperature differences between winter and summer. In winter, northern winds coming from high latitude areas are cold and dry; in summer, southern winds from sea areas at lower latitude are warm and moist.Dell Inspiron 1525 Adapter

The climate in China differs from region to region because of the country's extensive and complex topography.

Biodiversity

One of 17 megadiverse countries, China lies in two of the world's major ecozones, the Palearctic and the Indomalaya. Compaq Presario 2100 Adapter

In the Palearctic zone are found such mammals as the horse, camel, tapir, and jerboa. Among the species found in the Indomalaya region are the Leopard Cat, bamboo rat, treeshrew, and various species of monkeys and apes. Some overlap exists between the two regions because of natural dispersal and migration,Acer Aspire 1362 Battery

and deer or antelope, bears, wolves, pigs, and rodents are found in all of the diverse climatic and geological environments. The famous giant panda is found only in a limited area along the Yangtze. There is a continuing problem with trade in endangered species, although there are now laws to prohibit such activities.Toshiba Equium M50-192 Battery

China contains also a variety of forest types. Both northeast and northwest reaches contain mountains and cold coniferous forests, supporting animal species which include moose and Asiatic black bear, along with some 120 types of birds.Dell XPS M1330 Battery

Moist conifer forests can have thickets of bamboo as an understorey, replaced byrhododendrons in higher montane stands of juniper and yew. Subtropical forests, which dominate central and southern China, support an astounding 146,000 species of flora.Acer Travelmate 2200 Adapter

Tropical rainforest and seasonal rainforests, though confined to Yunnan and Hainan Island, actually contain a quarter of all the plant and animal species found in China.

Environment

China has some relevant environmental regulations: the 1979 Environmental Protection Law, which was largely modeled on US legislation. But the environment continues to deteriorate.HP Compaq 6735b Adapter

While the regulations are fairly stringent, enforcement of them is poor as they are frequently disregarded by local communities or governments while seeking economic development. 12 years after the law, only one Chinese city was making an effort to clean up its water discharges. Dell Vostro 1000 Battery

Part of the price China is paying for increased prosperity is damage to the environment. Leading Chinese environmental campaigner Ma Jun has warned that water pollution is one of the most serious threats facing China. According to the Ministry of Water Resources, roughly 300 million Chinese are drinking unsafe water.HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

This makes the crisis of water shortages more pressing, with 400 out of 600 cities short of water.

Yet, with $34.6 billion invested in clean technology in 2009, China is the world's leading investor in renewable energy technologies.China produces more wind turbines and solar panels each year than any other country.Asus f82 battery

Politics

The PRC is regarded by several political scientists as one of the last five Communist states (along with Vietnam, North Korea, Laos, andCuba), but simple characterizations of PRC's political structure since the 1980s are no longer possible.Dell XPS M1330 Battery

The PRC government has been variously described as communist and socialist, but also as authoritarian, with heavy restrictions remaining in many areas, most notably on the Internet, the press, freedom of assembly, reproductive rights, and freedom of religion.HP Compaq Business Notebook 6910p Battery

Compared to its closed-door policies until the mid-1970s, the liberalization of the PRC has resulted in the administrative climate being less restrictive than before. The PRC is far different from liberal democracy or social democracy that exists in most of Europe or North America, and the National People's Congress (highest state body) has been described as a "rubber stamp" body.Compaq PRESARIO R3000 Battery

The PRC's incumbent President is Hu Jintao who is also the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and his Premier is Wen Jiabao who is also a member of the CPC Politburo Standing Committee.

The country is ruled by the Communist Party of China (CPC), whose power is enshrined in China's constitution.HP Compaq Business Notebook NX6110 Battery

The political system is very decentralized with limited democratic processes internal to the party and at local village levels, although these experiments have been marred by corruption. There are other political parties in the PRC, referred to in China as democratic parties, Dell Latitude D610 Adapter

which participate in the National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

There have been some moves toward political liberalization, in that open contested elections are now held at the village and town levels, and that legislatures have shown some assertiveness from time to time. Asus Eee PC 701 Adapter

However, the Party retains effective control over government appointments: in the absence of meaningful opposition, the CPC wins by default most of the time. Political concerns in the PRC include lessening the growing gap between rich and poor and fighting corruption within the government leadership. HP Compaq Business Notebook NX6325 Battery

The level of support to the government action and the management of the nation is among the highest in the world, with 86% of people who express satisfaction with the way things are going in their country and with their nation's economy according to a 2008 Pew Research Center survey.Dell Studio XPS 16 battery

Administrative divisions

The People's Republic of China has administrative control over 22 provinces and considers Taiwan to be its 23rd province, despite not having control over Taiwan which is currently administered by the Republic of China. The PRC's claim is disputed by the Republic of China.Acer Aspire 5520 Battery

There are also five autonomous regions, each with a designated minority group; four municipalities; and two Special Administrative Regions that enjoy some degree of autonomy. The 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, and four municipalities can be collectively referred to as "mainland China", a term which usually excludes Hong Kong and Macau.Acer TravelMate 5720 Adapter

Foreign relations

China maintains diplomatic relations with most major countries in the world. China has diplomatic relations with 171 countries and maintains embassies in 162.Sweden was the first western country to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic on 9 May 1950.HP Compaq 6735s Adapter

In 1971, the PRC replaced the Republic of China as the sole representative of China in the United Nations and as one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. The PRC was also a former member and leader of the Non-Aligned Movement, and still considers itself an advocate for developing countries.Dell XPS M1330 Battery

Under its interpretation of the One-China policy, the PRC has made it a precondition to establishing diplomatic relations that the other country acknowledges its claim to Taiwan and severs official ties with the Republic of China government; it has protested when any country shows signs of diplomatic overture, or sells armaments to Taiwan.HP Compaq nc6230 Adapter

It also opposes political meetings between foreign government officials and the 14th Dalai Lama.

The PRC has been playing an increasing role in calling for free trade areas and security pacts amongst its Asia-Pacific neighbors. Dell T117C battery

In 2004, the PRC proposed an entirely new East Asia Summit (EAS) framework as a forum for regional security issues that pointedly excluded the United States.The EAS, which includes ASEAN Plus Three, India, Australia and New Zealand, held its inaugural summit in 2005. Asus x5dij-sx039c battery

The PRC is also a founding member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), with Russia and the Central Asian republics.

In 2000 the U.S. Congress approved "permanent normal trade relations" (PNTR) with China, allowing Chinese exports in at the same low tariffs as goods from most other countries.Dell Inspiron 1464 battery

Both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush asserted that free trade would gradually open China to democratic reform. Bush was an advocate of China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO).China has a significant trade surplus with the United States, its most important export market.HP Compaq 6720s Adapter

U.S. politicians have recently argued that the Chinese yuan is undervalued, giving China an unfair trade advantage.

Sinophobic attitudes often target Chinese minorities and nationals living outside of China. Sometimes the anti-Chinese attitudes turn violent, such as the 13 May Incident in Malaysia in 1969 and theJakarta riots of May 1998 in Indonesia,Dell Latitude D630 Adapter

in which more than 2,000 people died. In recent years, a number of anti-Chinese riots and incidents have also occurred in Africa and Oceania. Anti-Chinese sentiment is often rooted in socio-economics.

Much of the current foreign policy is based on the concept of Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence of Zhou Enlai – non-interference in other states' affairs, non-aggression, peaceful coexistence, HP Pavilion dm4 battery

and equality and mutual benefits. China's foreign policy is also driven by the concept of "harmony without uniformity" which encourages diplomatic relations between states despite ideological differences. This has led China to support states that are regarded as dangerous by Western nations, such as Zimbabwe, North Korea, or Iran.Sony NP-FS11 Battery

Conflicts with foreign countries have occurred at times in its recent history, particularly with the United States; for example, the US bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during the Kosovo conflict in May 1999 and the US-China spy plane incident in April 2001. Dell Inspiron 1520 Adapter

Its foreign relations with many Western nations suffered for a time following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, though they have since recovered.

The relationship between China and Japan has been strained at times by Japan's refusal to acknowledge its wartime past to the satisfaction of the PRC;Toshiba PA3399U-1BRS Battery

take for instance revisionist comments made by prominent Japanese officials and in some Japanese history textbooks. Another point of conflict between the two countries is the frequent visits by Japanese government officials to the Yasukuni Shrine. However, Sino-Japanese relations have warmed considerably since Shinzo Abe became the new Japanese Prime Minister in September 2006.Acer Aspire 5920G Adapter

A joint historical study conducted by the PRC and Japan released a report in 2010 which pointed toward a new consensus on the issue of WWII atrocities.

Equally bordering the most countries in the world alongside Russia, China was party to a number of international territorial disputes resulting from the legacy of unequal treaties imposed on China during the historical period of New Imperialism.Acer Aspire 5920 Battery

Since the 1990s, the PRC has been entering negotiations to resolve its disputed land borders, usually by offering concessions and accepting less than half of the disputed territory with each party. The PRC's only remaining land border disputes are a disputed border with India and an undefined border with Bhutan.IBM Thinkpad T40 Adapter

China is a party in multilateral disputes over the ownership of several small islands in the East and South China Seas.

While accompanying a rapid economic rise, the PRC since the 1990s seeks to maintain a policy of quiet diplomacy with its neighbors.Nikon COOLPIX 4300 Digital Camera Battery

It does so by keeping economic growth steady and participating in regional organizations and cultivating bi-lateral relations in order to ease suspicion over China's burgeoning military capabilities. The PRC has started a policy of wooing African nations for trade and bilateral co-operation.Apple MB771 battery

Xinhua, China's official news agency, states that there are no less than 750,000 Chinese nationals working or living in Africa. There are some discussions about whether China will become a new superpower in the 21st century, with certain commentators pointing out its economic progress, Sony DSC-P5 Digital Camera Battery

military might, very large population, and increasing international influence but others noting the dangers posed by the bubbles that exist in the mainland Chinese economy.

Military

With 2.3 million active troops, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is the largest military in the world, commanded by the Central Military Commission(CMC).Dell Inspiron 6400 Adapter

The PLA consists of an army, navy (PLAN), air force, and strategic nuclear force. The official announced budget of the PLA for 2009 was $70 billion. However, the United States claims China does not report its real military spending. The Defense Intelligence Agency estimates that the real Chinese military budget for 2008 could be anywhere from US$105 to US$150 billion.Toshiba PA3534U-1BRS Battery

China, with possession of nuclear weapons and delivery systems, is considered a major military regional power and an emerging military superpower. China is the only member of the UN Security Council to have limited power projection capabilities As a consequence, it has been establishing foreign military relationships that have been compared to a String of Pearls.Sony NP-FP50 Battery

Much progress has been made in the last decade and the PRC continues to make efforts to modernize its military. It has purchased state-of-the-art fighter jets from Russia, such as the Sukhoi Su-30s, and has also produced its own modern fighters, specifically the Chinese J-10s and the J-11s.HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

It has also acquired and improved upon the Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile systems, which are considered to be among the best aircraft-intercepting systems in the world, albeit Russia has since produced the new generation S-400 Triumf, with China reportedly already having spent $500 million on a downgraded export version of it.Dell Latitude D820 Adapter

The PRC's armored 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.

Little information is available regarding the motivations supporting China's military modernization. Toshiba PA3399U-1BRS Battery

A 2007 report by the US Secretary of Defense notes that "China's actions in certain areas increasingly appear inconsistent with its declaratory policies". For its part, China claims it maintains an army purely for defensive purposes.

On March 13, 2011, the PLAN Missile Frigate Xuzhou was spotted off the coast of Libya, Dell Studio XPS 1640 Battery

making it the first time in history a Chinese warship sailed in the Mediterranean. The entrance into the Mediterranean was part of a humanitarian mission to rescue PRC nationals and a few non-Chinese out of Libya, though analysts such as Fareed Zakaria also view this trip as part of the PRC"s attempts to increase its global presence.Dell Latitude D830 Battery

Sociopolitical issues and reform

The Chinese democracy movement, social activists, and certain members of the Communist Party of China have all identified the need to address sociopolitical issues with reform. While economic and social controls have been greatly relaxed in China since the 1970s, political freedom is still tightly restricted. Dell Inspiron E1505 Adapter

The Constitution of the People's Republic of China states that the "fundamental rights" of citizens include freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to a fair trial, freedom of religion, universal suffrage, and property rights. However, these provisions do not afford significant protection in practice against criminal prosecution by the State. Asus Eee PC 1201PN battery

With the Chinese economic reform, tens of millions of rural Chinese who have moved to the cities find themselves treated as second-class citizens by China's obsolescent household registrationsystem that controls state benefits, called hukou. The system of property rights is weak, and eminent domain land seizures has abused peasants.Dell PA-12 Adapter

In 2003/2004, the average farmer had to pay three times more in taxes even though his income was only one sixth that of the average urban dweller. Since then, a number of rural taxes have been reduced or abolished, and additional social services provided to rural dwellers. Asus Eee PC 701 Adapter

Censorship of political speech and information, including on the Internet, is openly and routinely used to silence criticism of government and the ruling Chinese Communist Party. In 2005, Reporters Without Borders ranked the PRC 159 (out of 167 states) in its Annual World Press Freedom Index.Dell XPS M1330 Battery

The government has put down demonstrations from organizations and beliefs that it considers a potential threat to "social stability" and control, as was the case with the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. The Communist Party has had mixed success in controlling information: a very strong media control system faces very strong market forces, an increasingly educated citizenry, and cultural change that are making China more open, especially on environmental issues.fujifilm np95 digital camera battery

However, attempts are still made by the Chinese government to control the information available from the outside world from reaching their populace.

A number of foreign governments and NGOs routinely criticize the PRC, alleging widespread civil rights violations including systematic use of lengthy detention without trial,Asus Eee PC 900 Adapter

forced confessions, torture, mistreatment of prisoners, restrictions of freedom of speech, assembly, association, religion, the press, and labor rights.China executes more people than any other country, accounting for 72% of the world's total in 2009, though it is not the largest executioner per capita.Sony VAIO PCG-713 Battery

The PRC government has responded by arguing that the notion of human rights should take into account a country's present level of economic development, and focus more on the people's rights to subsistence and development in poorer countries.Dell Latitude D830 Adapter

The rise in the standard of living, literacy, and life expectancy for the average Chinese in the last three decades is seen by the government as tangible progress made in human rights. Efforts in the past decade to combat deadly natural disasters, such as the perennial Yangtze River floods, and work-related accidents are also portrayed in China as progress in human rights for a still largely poor country. Dell Studio XPS 1640 battery

The PRC government remains divided over the issue of political reform. Some high ranking members have spoken out in favor reforms, while others remain more conservative. Premier Wen Jiabao states that the PRC needs "to gradually improve the democratic election system so that state power will truly belong to the people and state power will be used to serve the people."Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ4S  Battery

Despite his status, Wen's comments were later censored by the government.

As the social, cultural and political as well as economic consequences of market reform become increasingly manifest, tensions between the conservative and reformists in the party are sharpening. HP Compaq Business Notebook NX6320 Battery

Some Chinese scholars such as Zhou Tianyong, the vice director of research of the Central Party School, argue that gradual political reform as well as repression of those pushing for overly rapid change over the next thirty years will be essential if China is to avoid an overly turbulent transition to a middle class dominated polity.Canon POWERSHOT G2   Battery

Some Chinese look back to the Cultural Revolution and fear chaos if the Communist Party should lose control due to domestic upheavals and so a robust system of monitoring and control is in place to counter the growing pressure for political change.Dell Latitude E6500 battery

Economy

From its founding in 1949 to late 1978, the People's Republic of China was a Soviet-style centrally planned economy. Private businesses and capitalism did not exist. To propel the country towards a modern, industrialized communist society, Mao Zedong instituted the Great Leap Forward. Dell LATITUDE D630 Battery

Following Mao's death and the end of the Cultural Revolution, Deng Xiaoping and the new Chinese leadership began to reform the economy and move to a more market-orientedmixed economy under one-party rule. Collectivization of the agriculture was dismantled and farmlands were privatized to increase productivity.Asus R33030 Adapter

In 1978, China and Japan had normalized diplomatic relations and China had decided to borrow money from Japan in soft loans. Since 1978, Japan has been China's No. 1 foreign donor. China's economy is mainly characterised as a market economy based on private property ownership[122][123] and is one of the leading examples of state capitalism.Dell Mini 1011 battery

A wide variety of small-scale enterprises were encouraged while the government relaxed price controls and promoted foreign investment. Foreign trade was focused upon as a major vehicle of growth, which led to the creation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) first in Shenzhen (near Hong Kong) and then in other Chinese cities.toshiba pa3332u-1brs battery

Inefficient state-owned enterprises (SOEs) were restructured by introducing western-style management system and the unprofitable ones were closed, resulting in massive job losses. By the latter part of 2010, China was reversing some of its economic liberalization initiative whereby state-owned companies were buying up independent businesses in the steel, auto and energy industries.HP Compaq 6710b Adapter

Since economic liberalization began in 1978, the PRC's investment- and export-led economy has grown 90 times bigger and is the fastest growing major economy in the world.According to IMF that PRC's annual average GDP growth for the period of 2001–2010 was 10.5 percent and predicted to grow with 9.5 percent for the period of 2011–2015. HP Compaq nx6325 Adapter

As Global Growth Generators countries announced by Citigroup at February 2011, China has high 3G Index.[130] It now has the world's second largest nominal GDP at 39.8 trillion yuan (US$6.05 trillion), although its per capita income of US$4,300 is still low and puts the PRC behind roughly a hundred countries.Acer Aspire 5720 Adapter

The primary, secondary, and tertiary industries contributed 10.6%, 46.8%, and 42.6% respectively to the total economy in 2009. If PPP is taken into account, the PRC's economy is second only to the US at $10.085 trillion corresponding to $7,518 per capita. Toshiba Equium A110-252 Battery

The inaugural Global Wealth Report by Credit Suisse Research Institute collects data across more than 200 countries in mid-2010 stated China is expected to overtake Japan as the second wealthiest country in the world by 2015 ($35 trillion) on the back of rapid economic growth and strong domestic consumption.Acer Aspire 5052ANWXMi Battery

Ten years ago, China was the seventh largest country in global wealth and China currently holds $16.5 trillion, 35 percent ahead of the wealthiest European country, France.

In November 2010 Japan's government said, output in China, the largest maker of mobile phones, computers and vehicles, surpassed Japan for the second straight quarter in the three months through September 2010.Dell Mini 1011v battery

The Chinese economy overtook the UK as the fourth largest in 2005 and tipped Germany from third place in 2007.

The PRC is the fourth most visited country in the world with 50.9 million inbound international visitors in 2009. HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

It is a member of the WTO and is the world's second largest trading power behind the US with a total international trade of US$2.21 trillion – US$1.20 trillion in exports (#1) and US$1.01 trillion in imports (#2). Its foreign exchange reserves have reached US$2.85 trillion at end of 2010 and it means increased by 18.7 percent from last year, making it by far the world's largest for the last few years.Dell Vostro 1510 Battery

The PRC owns an estimated $1.6 trillion of US securities. The PRC, holding US$1.16 trillion in Treasury bonds, is the largest foreign holder of US public debt. It is the world's third largest recipient of inward FDI by attracting US$92.4 billion in 2008 alone,while the country itself increasingly invests abroad with a total outward FDI of US$52.2 billion in 2008 alone becoming the world's sixth largest outward investor. FDI inward in 2010 was $106 billion rose 16 percent from 2009.Toshiba PA3534U-1BRS Battery

The PRC's success has been primarily due to manufacturing as a low-cost producer. This is attributed to a combination of cheap labor, good infrastructure, relatively high productivity, favorable government policy, and some say, an undervalued exchange rate.Asus M50 battery

The latter has been sometimes blamed for the PRC's bulging trade surplus (US$262.7 billion in 2007) and has become a major source of dispute between the PRC and its major trading partners – the US, EU, and Japan – despite the yuan having been de-pegged and risen in value by 20% against the US$ since 2005. Asus Eee PC 901 Battery

The state still dominates in strategic "pillar" industries (such as energy and heavy industries), but private enterprise (30 million private businesses) now accounts for anywhere between 33% (People's Daily 2005) to 70% (BusinessWeek, 2005) of GDP in 2005, while the OECD estimate is over 50% of China's national output, up from 1% in 1978.Dell Inspiron 6400 Battery

Its stock market in Shanghai (SSE) is raising record amounts of IPOs and its benchmark Shanghai Composite index has doubled since 2005. SSE's market capitalization reached US$3 trillion in 2007 and is the world's fifth largest exchange.

China now ranks 29th in the Global Competitiveness Index and ranked 135th among the 179 countries measured in the Index of Economic Freedom.HP Compaq Business Notebook NC6220 Battery

46 Chinese companies made the list in the 2010 Fortune Global 500 (Beijing alone with 30). Measured using market capitalization, four of the world's top ten most valuable companies are Chinese. Some of these include first-ranked PetroChina (world's most valuable oil company), third-ranked Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (world's most valuable bank),Sony VGP-BPS9 battery

fifth-ranked China Mobile (world's most valuable telecommunications company) and seventh-ranked China Construction Bank.

Although a middle income country by the world's standard, the PRC's rapid growth managed to pull hundreds of millions of its people out of poverty since 1978. Sony VGP-BPS13 battery

Today, about 10% of the Chinese population (down from 64% in 1978) live below the poverty line of US$1 per day (PPP) while life expectancy has dramatically increased to 73 years. More than 93% of the population is literate, compared to 20% in 1950. Urban unemployment declined to 4 percent in China by the end of 2007 (true overall unemployment might be higher at around 10%). HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

Its middle class population (defined as those with annual income of at least US$17,000) has now reached more than 100 million, while the number of super-rich individuals worth more than 10 million yuan (US$1.5 million) is estimated to be 825,000 according to Hurun Report.HP Compaq 2510p Adapter

China's retail market is worth RMB 8.9 trillion (US$1.302 trillion) in 2007 and growing at 16.8% annually. It is also now the world's second biggest consumer of luxury goods behind Japan with 27.5% of the global share.

The PRC's growth has been uneven when comparing different geographic regions and rural and urban areas. Dell Studio PP39L battery

The urban-rural income gap is getting wider in the PRC with a Gini coefficient of 46.9%. Development has also been mainly concentrated in the eastern coastal regions while the remainder of the country are left behind. To counter this, the government has promoted development in thewestern, northeastern, and central regions of China.Nikon COOLPIX 5700  Battery

The economy is also highly energy-intensive and inefficient – it uses 20%–100% more energy than OECD countries for many industrial processes. It has now become the world's largest energy consumer but relies on coal to supply about 70% of its energy needs.Dell Studio XPS 16 battery

Coupled with a lax environmental regulation, this has led to a massive water and air pollution (China has 20 of the world's 30 most polluted cities).Consequently, the government has promised to use more renewable energy with a target of 10% of total energy use by 2010 and 30% by 2050.HP Compaq nx7400 Adapter

In 2010, China became the largest wind energy provider worldwide, with the installed wind power capacity reaching 41.8 GW.[168]On January 1, 2011, Russia said it had begun scheduled oil shipments to China, with the plan to increase the rate up to 300,000 barrels per day in 2011.HP Pavilion DV6500 Adapter

Science and technology

After the Sino-Soviet split, China started to develop its own nuclear weapons and delivery systems, successfully detonating its first surface nuclear test in 1964 at Lop Nur. A natural outgrowth of this was a satellite launching program, which culminated in 1970 with the launching of Dong Fang Hong I, the first Chinese satellite.Dell T117C battery

This made the PRC the fifth nation to independently launch a satellite.

In 1992, the Shenzhou manned spaceflight program was authorized. After four unmanned tests, Shenzhou 5 was launched on 15 October 2003, using a Long March 2F launch vehicle and carrying Chinese astronaut Yang Liwei, making the PRC the third country to put a human being into space through its own endeavors.Acer PA-1650-02 Adapter

China completed its second manned mission with a crew of two, Shenzhou 6 in October 2005. In 2008, China successfully completed the Shenzhou 7mission, making it the third country to have the capability to conduct a spacewalk. In 2007, the PRC successfully sent the Chang'e spacecraft, Acer Aspire 5920G Adapter

named after the ancient Chinese moon goddess, to orbit and explore the moon as part of their Chinese Lunar Exploration Program. China has plans to build a space station in the near future and to achieve a lunar landing in the next decade. There are also plans for a manned mission to planet Mars. Asus S1 Adapter

China has the world's second largest research and development budget, and is expected to invest over $136 billion in 2006 after growing more than 20% in 2005. The Chinese government continues to place heavy emphasis on research and development by creating greater public awareness of innovation, and reforming financial and tax systems to promote growth in cutting-edge industries.HP Pavilion dv6000 Battery

In 2006, Hu Jintao called for China to make the transition from a manufacturing-based economy to an innovation-based one and the National People's Congress have approved large increases in research funding. Stem cell research and gene therapy, which some in the Western world see as controversial, face minimal regulation in China. China has an estimated 926,000 researchers, second only to the 1.3 million in the United States.[174]

China is also actively developing its software, semiconductor and energy industries, including renewable energies such as hydro, wind and solar power. In an effort to re

duce pollution from coal-burning power plants, China has been pioneering the deployment of pebble bed nuclear reactors, which run cooler and safer, and have potential applications for thehydrogen economy. Ibm Thinkpad T30 SERIES Battery

In 2010, China developed Tianhe-IA, the world's fastest supercomputer, currently stored in the National Supercomputing Center of Tianjin. The system is expected to process seismic data for oil exploration, conduct bio-medical computing and help design aerospace vehicles.Dell Studio PP39L battery

Besides China's National SuperComputer Center's Tianhe-1A above, China has the Nebulae which is also among the world's top 10 supercomputers.

Communications

China currently has the most cell phone users in the world with over 800 million users in July 2010.HP Pavilion dv5 Adapter

It also has the largest number of internet and broadband users in the world. At the end of 2010 internet users became 457 million or grew by 19 percent over the previous year, although there are government censors for pornographic and political issues and at the end of March 2011 touch 477 million.Dell NADP-90KB Adapter

Based on China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), China's average internet speed is 100.9 kbps or less than a half of the global average at 212.5 kbps.

China Telecom and China Unicom are two mammoth broadband service providers, accounted for 20% of global broadband subscribers, whereas the ten largest broadband service providers are 39% of the world's broadband customers.HP Compaq Business Notebook NC6400 Battery

China Telecom with more than 55 million broadband subscribers and China Unicom with more than 40 million whereas the third rank is NTT with only less than 18 million. The gaps between the top two operator and the world's remaining broadband service providers will continue to grow rapidly, whereas the other top ten broadband ISPs operate in mature markets, with high levels of broadband penetration and rapidly slowing subscriber growth. HP Compaq 490306-001 laptop battery

Transport

Transportation in the mainland of the People's Republic of China has improved significantly since 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 (NTHS).Compaq Presario CQ35-100 laptop battery

The total length of expressway is 74,000 km (46,000 mi) at the end of 2010, second only to the United States. China has also the world’s longest high-speed rail network with over 4,618 mi (7,432 km) of service routes which 601 mi (967 km) of them has been serving with train with top speed of 220 mph. HP Compaq HSTNN-LB51 laptop battery

Private car ownership is growing rapidly surpassing the United States as the largest automobile market in the world by 2009 with total sales of over 13.6 million.

Domestic air travel has increased significantly, but remains too expensive for most. Long distance transportation is dominated by railways and charter bus systems.HP Pavilion ZE4500 laptop battery

Railways are the vital carrier in China; they are monopolized by the state, divided into various railway bureaus in different regions. At the rates of demand it experiences, the system has historically been subject to overcrowding during travel seasons such as Chunyun during the Chinese New Year.HP G62-100EB laptop battery

The PRC's railway system is increasing in development. The major cities have rapidly expanding networks ofunderground or light rail systems. Hong Kong has one of the most developed transport systems in the world. Shanghai has a Maglev rail line connecting its urban area to its main international airport,Pudong International Airport.HP Pavilion DV6-1211AX laptop battery

Demographics

As of July 2010, there are 1,338,612,968 people in the PRC. About 21% (male 145,461,833; female 128,445,739) are 14 years old or younger, 71% (male 482,439,115; female 455,960,489) are between 15 and 64 years old, and 8% (male 48,562,635; female 53,103,902) are over 65 years old. The population growth rate for 2006 was 0.6%.HP Pavilion DV6-1220SO laptop battery

By end of 2010, the proportion of mainland Chinese people aged 14 or younger was 16.60%, while the number aged 60 or older grew to 13.26%, and totally both 29.86%. This means about 70% of the population is of workable age.

With a population of over 1.3 billion, the PRC is very concerned about its population growth and has attempted,HP EliteBook 6930P laptop battery

with mixed results, to implement a strict family planning policy. The government's goal is one child per family, with exceptions for ethnic minorities and flexibility in rural areas. The government's goal is to stabilize population growth early in the 21st century, though some projections estimate a population of anywhere ranging from 1.4 billion to 1.6 billion by 2025.HP Pavilion DV6-1210SA laptop battery

Hence, the country's family planning minister has indicated that China will maintain its one-child policy until at least the year 2020.

The policy is resisted, particularly in rural areas, because of the need for agricultural labour and a traditional preference for boys (who can later serve as male heirs). Compaq Presario CQ71 laptop battery

Families who breach the policy often lie during the census. Official government policy opposes forced sterilization or abortion, but allegations of coercion continue as local officials, who are faced with penalties for failing to curb population growth, may resort to forced abortion or sterilization, or manipulation of census figures.HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO laptop battery

The decreasing reliability of PRC population statistics since family planning began in the late 1970s has made evaluating the effectiveness of the policy difficult. Estimates by Chinese demographers of the average number of children for a Chinese woman vary from 1.5 to 2.0.HP G6000 laptop battery

The government is particularly concerned with the large imbalance in the sex ratio at birth, apparently the result of a combination of traditional preference for boys and family planning pressure, which led to the ban of using ultrasound devices for the purpose of preventing sex-selective abortion.HP HDX X18-1005EA laptop battery

Another factor is the under-reporting of female children to circumvent the law. On the basis of a 2005 report by China's National Population and Family Planning Commission, there were 118.6 boys born for every 100 girls, and in some rural areas the boy/girl ratio could be as high as 130/100.HP Pavilion DV6-3013SL laptop battery

As this trend of gender imbalance is on the increase, experts warn of increased social instability should this trend continue. Recent studies suggest that over 40 million girls and women are 'missing' in China (Klasen and Wink 2003).

Ethnic groups

The PRC officially recognizes 56 distinct ethnic groups, the largest of which are the Han Chinese, who constitute about 91.9% of the total population.HP Compaq HSTNN-IB62 laptop battery

Large ethnic minorities include the Zhuang(16 million), Manchu (10 million), Hui (9 million), Miao (8 million), Uyghur (7 million), Yi (7 million), Tujia (5.75 million), Mongols (5 million), Tibetans (5 million), Buyei (3 million), and Koreans(2 million).

Urbanization

In the past decade, China's cities expanded at an average rate of 10% annually.HP Pavilion DV6100 laptop battery

The country's urbanization rate increased from 17.4% to 46.8% between 1978 and 2009, a scale unprecedented in human history. Between 150 and 200 million migrant workers work part-time in the major cities and return home to the countryside periodically with their earnings.HP EliteBook 2730P laptop battery

Today, the People's Republic of China has dozens of major cities with one million or more long-term residents, including the three global cities of Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

The figures below are from the 2008 census, and are only estimates of the population within administrative city limits;HP Pavilion DV9000 laptop battery

a different ranking exists when considering the total municipal populations (which includes suburban and rural populations). The large floating populations of migrant workers make conducting censuses in urban areas difficult; the figures below do not include the floating population, only long-term residents.HP Pavilion DV7 laptop battery

Education

In 1986, China set the long-term goal of providing compulsory nine-year basic education to every child. As of 2007, there were 396,567 primary schools, 94,116 secondary schools, and 2,236 higher education institutions in the PRC.HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO laptop battery

In February 2006, the government advanced its basic education goal by pledging to provide completely free nine-year education, including textbooks and fees. Free compulsory education in China consists of elementary school and middle school, which lasts for 9 years (age 6–15); almost all children in urban areas continue with 3 years of high school.HP Compaq Business Notebook 6735S laptop battery

As of 2007, 93.3% of the population over age 15 are literate. China's youth (age 15 to 24) literacy rate was 98.9% (99.2% for males and 98.5% for females) in 2000. In March 2007, China announced the decision of making education a national "strategic priority";HP 540 laptop battery

the central budget of the national scholarships will be tripled in two years and 223.5 billion Yuan (US$28.65 billion) of extra funding will be allocated from the central government in the next 5 years to improve the compulsory education in rural areas.

In 2009, Chinese students from Shanghai achieved the best results in mathematics, science and reading in the test of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a worldwide evaluation of 15-year-old school pupils' scholastic performance. HP Compaq Business NW9440 laptop battery

The quality of Chinese colleges and universities varies considerably across the country. The consistently top-ranked universities in mainland China are:

  • Beijing: Peking University, Tsinghua University, Renmin University of China, Beijing Normal University,HP Compaq Business  TC4400 laptop battery
  • Shanghai: Fudan University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Tongji University, East China Normal University
  • Harbin: Harbin Institute of Technology
  • Tianjin: Nankai University, Tianjin University
  • Xi'an Jiaotong University (Xi'an)
  • Nanjing University (Nanjing)  HP Compaq 491278-001 laptop battery
  • University of Science and Technology of China (Hefei)
  • Zhejiang University (Hangzhou)
  • Wuhan University (Wuhan)
  • Guangzhou: Sun Yat-sen University (aka Zhongshan University)  HP HSTNN-LB31 laptop battery

Many parents are highly committed to their children's education, often investing large portions of the family's income on education. Private lessons and recreational activities, such as in foreign languages or music, are popular among the middle-class families who can afford them.HP Pavilion DV5-1211EM  battery

Health

The Ministry of Health, together with its counterparts in the provincial health bureaux, oversees the health needs of the Chinese population. An emphasis on public health and preventive medicine characterized health policy since the early 1950s. HP Pavilion DV3-4000  battery

At that time, the Communist Party started the Patriotic Health Campaign, which was aimed at improving sanitation and hygiene, as well as attacking several diseases. This has shown major results as diseases like cholera, typhoid, and scarlet fever were nearly eradicated.HP Pavilion TX1000   battery

With economic reform after 1978, the health of the Chinese public improved rapidly because of better nutrition despite the disappearance, along with the People's Communes, of much of the free public health services provided in the countryside. Health care in China became largely private fee-for-service. HP Pavilion DV6-1210SA  battery

The country's life expectancy at birth jumped from about 35 years in 1949 to 73.18 years in 2008, and infant mortality went down from 300 per thousand in the 1950s to about 23 per thousand in 2006. Malnutrition as of 2002 stood at 12% of the population according to United Nations FAO sources.HP 448007-001 battery

Despite significant improvements in health and the introduction of western style medical facilities, China has several emerging public health problems, which include respiratory problems as a result ofwidespread air pollution and hundreds of millions of cigarette smokers, a possible future HIV/AIDS epidemic, and an increase in obesity among urban youths.HP Compaq Business  6530B  battery

China's large population and close living quarters has led to some serious disease outbreaks in recent years, such as the 2003 outbreak of SARS (a pneumonia-like disease) which has since been largely contained.

Estimates of excess deaths in China from environmental pollution (apart from smoking) are placed at 760,000 people per annum from air and water pollution (including indoor air pollution).HP Pavilion DV5-1211EM  battery

In 2007, China has overtaken the United States as the world's biggest producer of carbon dioxide. Some 90% of China's cities suffer from some degree of water pollution,  and nearly 500 million people lack access to safe drinking water. Reports by the World Bank and the New York Times have claimed industrial pollution, particularly of the air,to be significant health hazards in China.HP Pavilion DV5-1015EA  battery

Religion

In mainland China, the government allows a limited degree of religious freedom, however official tolerance is only extended to members of state-approved religious organizations and not to those who worship underground, such ashouse churches. HP Pavilion DV6-1230SB laptop battery

An accurate number of religious adherents is hard to obtain because of a lack of official data, but there is general consensus that religion has been enjoying a resurgence over the past 20 years. A survey by Phil Zuckerman on Adherents.com found that in 1998, 59% (over 700 million) of the population was irreligious.HP Pavilion ZD8181EA  battery

Meanwhile, another survey in 2007 found that there are 300 million (23% of the population) believers as distinct from an official figure of 100 million.

Despite the surveys' varying results, most agree that the traditional religions – Buddhism, Taoism, and Chinese folk religions – are the dominant faiths.HP Pavilion DV9500  battery

According to a number of sources, Buddhism in China accounts for between 660 million (~50%) and over 1 billion (~80%) while Taoists number 400 million (~30%). However, because of the fact that one person may subscribe to two or more of these traditional beliefs simultaneously and the difficulty in clearly differentiating Buddhism,HP Pavilion DV4-1125BR  battery

Taoism, and Chinese folk religions, the number of adherents to these religions can be overlaid. In addition, subscribing to Buddhism and Taoism is not necessarily considered religious by those who follow the philosophies in principle but stop short of subscribing to any kind of divinity.HP Pavilion DV6-1234TX   battery

Most Chinese Buddhists are nominal adherents because only a small proportion of the population (over 8% or over 100 million) may have taken the formal step of going for refuge. Even then, it is still difficult to estimate accurately the number of Buddhists because they do not have congregational memberships and often do not participate in public ceremonies.HP Pavilion DV3-2008TX  battery

Mahayana (??, Dacheng) and its subsets Pure Land (Amidism), Tiantai and Chán(better known in the west by its Japanese pronunciation Zen) are the most widely practiced denominations of Buddhism. Other forms, such as Theravada andTibetan, are practiced largely by ethnic minorities along the geographic fringes of the Chinese mainland.HP Pavilion DV8  battery

Christianity in China was first introduced during the Tang Dynasty in the 7th century with the arrival of Nestorian Christianity in 635 CE. This was followed byFranciscan missionaries in the 13th century, Jesuits in the 16th century, and finally Protestants in the 19th century.HP Pavilion DV6-1215SA  battery

Of the minority religions, Christianity has been particularly noted as one of the fastest-growing. The total number of Christians is difficult to determine, as many belong to unauthorized house churches, but estimates of their number have ranged from 40 million (3%) to 54 million (4%) to as many as 130 million (10%).HP Compaq 490306-001  battery

Official government statistics put the number of Christians at 16 million, but these count only members of officially-sanctioned church bodies. China is believed to now have the world's second-largest evangelical Christian population — behind only the United States — and if current growth rates continue, China will become a global center of evangelical Christianity in coming decades.Compaq Presario CQ50  battery

Islam in China dates to a mission in 651, 18 years after Muhammad's death. Muslims came to China for trade, dominating the import/export industry during the Song Dynasty. They became influential in government circles, including Zheng He, Lan Yu andYeheidie'erding. Nanjing became an important center of Islamic study.HP Pavilion DV6-1223EO  battery

The Qing Dynasty waged war and genocide against Muslims in the Dungan revoltand Panthay rebellion. Statistics are hard to find, and most estimates figures that there are 20 to 30 million Muslims (1.5% to 2% of the population).

There are also followers of minority religions including Hinduism, Dongbaism, Bön, and a number of new religions and sects (particularly Xiantianism). HP Compaq 490306-001  battery

In July 1999, the Falun Gong spiritual practice was officially banned by the authorities, and many international organizations have criticized the government's treatment of Falun Gong that has occurred since then. There are no reliable estimates of the number of Falun Gong practitioners in China. Compaq Presario CQ35-100   battery

Culture

For centuries, opportunity for economic and social advancement in China could be provided by high performance on Imperial examinations. The literary emphasis of the exams affected the general perception of cultural refinement in China, such as the belief that calligraphy and literati painting were higher forms of art than dancing or drama.HP Compaq HSTNN-LB51  battery

China's traditional values were derived from various versions of Confucianism and conservatism.

A number of more authoritarian and rational strains of thought have also been influential, such as Legalism. There was often conflict between the philosophies, such as the individualistic Song Dynasty neo-Confucians, HP Pavilion ZE4500  battery

who believed Legalism departed from the original spirit of Confucianism. Examinations and a culture of merit remain greatly valued in China today. In recent years, a number of New Confucians have advocated that democratic ideals and human rights are quite compatible with traditional Confucian "Asian values." HP G62-100EB  battery

The first leaders of the People's Republic of China were born in the old society but were influenced by the May Fourth Movement and reformist ideals. They sought to change some traditional aspects of Chinese culture, such as rural land tenure, sexism, and a Confucian education, while preserving others, such as the family structure and obedience to the state.HP Pavilion DV6-1211AX  battery

Many observers believe that the period following 1949 is a continuation of traditional Chinese dynastic history, while others say that the CPC's rule has damaged the foundations of Chinese culture, especially through political movements such as the Cultural Revolution, HP EliteBook 6930P   battery

where many aspects of traditional culture were labeled 'regressive and harmful' or 'vestiges of feudalism' by the regime and thus, were destroyed. They further argue that many important aspects of traditional Chinese morals and culture, such as Confucianism,HP Pavilion DV9500  battery

Chinese art, literature, and performing arts like Beijing opera, were altered to conform to government policies and propaganda at the time.

Today, the Chinese government has accepted a great deal of traditional Chinese culture as an integral part of Chinese society,Compaq Evo N610C  battery

lauding it as an important achievement of the Chinese civilization and emphasizing it as vital to a Chinese national identity. Since the Cultural Revolution ended, various forms of traditional Chinese art, literature, music, film, fashion and architecture have seen a vigorous revival,HP Pavilion DM3-1050EO battery

and folk and variety art in particular have gained a new found respectability, and sparked interest nationally and even worldwide.

Chinese culture and the West were linked by the Silk Road. Artifacts from the history of the silk route, as well as from the natural history of the Gobi desert, are displayed in the Silk Route Museum.Compaq Presario 1245  battery

Cuisine

The overwhelmingly large variety of Chinese cuisine comes mainly from the practice of dynastic period emperors hosting banquets with 100 dishes per meal.A countless number of imperial kitchen staff and concubines were involved in the food preparation process.HP G6000  battery

Over time, many dishes became part of the everyday-citizen culture. Some of the highest quality restaurants with recipes close to the dynastic periods include Fangshan restaurant in Beihai Park, Beijing and the Oriole Pavilion.Arguably all branches of Hong Kong eastern style or even American Chinese food are in some ways rooted from the original dynastic cuisines.HP Compaq 451086-661  battery

Sports

China has one of the oldest sporting cultures in the world, spanning the course of several millennia. There is, in fact, evidence that a form of football was played in China in ancient times. Besides football, some of the most popular sports in the country include martial arts, table tennis, badminton, swimming, basketball and snooker. HP Pavilion DV2166EA  battery

Board games such as Go (Weiqi), and Xiangqi (Chinese chess) and recently chess are also commonly played and have organized competitions.

Physical fitness is widely emphasized in Chinese culture. Morning exercises are a common activity and often one can find the elderly practicing qigong andtai chi chuan in parks or students doing stretches on school campuses.HP Compaq 464119-143  battery

Young people are also keen on basketball, especially in urban centers with limited space and grass areas. The NBA has a huge following among Chinese youths, with Yao Ming being the idol of many. Major sporting events were also held in Beijing such as the 1990 Asian Games and the 2008 Summer Olympics.Compaq Presario CQ71  battery

Many traditional sports are also played. The popular Chinese dragon boat racing occurs during the Dragon Boat Festival. In Inner Mongolia, sports such asMongolian-style wrestling and horse racing are popular. In Tibet, archery and equestrianism are a part of traditional festivals. HP Pavilion DV9565EA  battery

China has participated at the olympics since 1952. China finished first in gold medal count at the most recent Summer Olympic Games which were held in Beijing from 8 to 24 August 2008.

The Expressway Network of the People's Republic of China (simplified Chinese: ?????; traditional Chinese: ?????; pinyin:Zh?ngguó g?osùw?ng) is one of the longest in the world. HP Pavilion DV6203TX laptop battery

The network is also known as National Trunk Highway System (NTHS). The total length of China's expressways was 74,000 kilometres (46,000 mi) at the end of 2010, the world's second longest only after the United Statesand slightly longer than the total expressway length in the European Union.HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO  battery

In 2010, 9,816 kilometres (6,099 mi) of expressways were added to the network. The length of China's expressway system is expected to surpass that of the Interstate Highway System in 2011, but will remain shorter than the overall length of America's freeway system when non-Interstate freeways are factored in. HP HSTNN-OB51  battery

Expressways in China are a fairly recent addition to a complex network of roads. China's first expressway was built in 1988. Until 1993, very few expressways existed. One of the earliest expressways nationwide was the Jingshi Expressway between Beijing and Shijiazhuang in Hebeiprovince. HP Pavilion DV7-2185DX  battery

This expressway now forms part of the Jingzhu Expressway, currently one of the longest expressways nationwide at over 2,000 km.

History

Originally, China had been carrying out an ambitious plan to build up a 35,000 kilometer national trunk highway system.HP Compaq Business  6830S  battery

Construction of expressways began in 1988 and the network had been scheduled to be complete in 2020. The scale of the project can be seen by the fact that on January 1, 1989, the PRC had 147 km of freeways, but by January 1, 2008, it had 53,600 km of freeway, about 8,000 km of which were built in 2007.HP PP2200   battery

The main objective of the NTHS was to construct 12 high standard trunk roads: five longitudinal roads and seven latitudinal roads. 70% of the trunk roads are expressways. This project was completed by the end of 2007, 13 years ahead of the original plan. Sony VGP-BPS13B/B Battery

By the end of 2007, there were already 3.57 million km of highways, which includes 53,600 km (33,310 miles) of expressways. Design standards for China's National Trunk Highway System are derived from the standards used on the American Interstate Highway System, with Chinese expressway cross-sections, interchange profiles, and bridge designs closely reflecting their counterparts in the United States.Sony VGN-FW11S Battery

On January 13, 2005, it was announced by Zhang Chunxian, minister of communications, that China would build a network of 85,000 km expressways over the next three decades, connecting all provincial capitals and cities with a population of over 200,000. Of this total length, 68,000 km are trunk roads and 17,000 km are 5 regional ring roads. Hp pavilion dv6000 battery

There are also 2 parallel routes and more than 30 connecting links. 32,000 km of expressway are to be built in central and western regions.

Costs

The total costs of the national expressway network are estimated to be 2 trillion yuan (some 240 billion US dollars). Sony Vaio VGN-FZ31S battery

From 2005 to 2010, the annual investment was planned to run from 140 billion yuan (17 billion US dollars) to 150 billion yuan (18 billion US dollars), while from 2010 to 2020, the annual investment planned is to be around 100 billion yuan (12 billion US dollars).Sony Vaio VGN-FZ31S battery

The construction fund will come from vehicle purchase tax, fees and taxes collected by local governments, state bonds, domestic investment and foreign investment. Unlike other freeway systems, almost all of the roads on the NTHS/"7918 Network" are toll roads that are largely financed by private companies under contract from provincial governments.HP NX8200 battery

The private companies raise money through bond and stock offerings and recover money through tolls.

Efforts to impose a national gasoline tax to finance construction of the tollways met with opposition and it has been very difficult for both the Communist Party of China and the State Council to pass such a tax through the National People's Congress of China.HP NX7400 battery

Expressway nomenclature

Neither officially named "motorway" nor "highway", the PRC used to call these roads "freeways". In this sense, the word "free" means that the traffic is free-flowing; that is, cross traffic is grade separated and the traffic on the freeway is not impeded by traffic control devices like traffic lights and stop signs.HP NW8440 battery

However, many misinterpret "free" as meaning "no cost", and this may be misleading because most of the expressways charge tolls. Sometime in the 1990s, "expressways" became the standardised term.

Note that "highways" refers to China National Highways, which are not expressways at all.HP NW8200 battery

"Express routes" exist too; they are akin to expressways but are mainly inside cities. The "express route" name is a derivation of the Chinese name kuaisu gonglu (compare with expressway, gaosu gonglu). Officially, "expressway" is used for both expressways and express routes, which is also the standard used here.HP NC6400 battery

The names of the individual expressways regularly are composed by two characters representing start and end of expressway, e.g. "Jingcheng" expressway is the expressway between "Jing" (meaning Beijing) and Chengde.HP NC6200 battery

Expressway speed limits

The Road Traffic Safety Law of the People's Republic of China has raised the speed limit nationwide from 110 km/h to 120 km/h (75 mph), effective May 1, 2004. It may still take some time for local expressways to raise the speed limit accordingly.

A minimum speed limit is in force, of 70 km/h. On overtaking lanes, however, this could be as high as 100 km/h to 110 km/h.HP NC6100 battery

Penalties for driving both below and in excess of the prescribed speed limits are in force.

Expressway legislation

Only motor vehicles are allowed to enter expressways. As of May 1, 2004, "new drivers" (i.e., those with a PRC driver's licence for less than a year) are allowed on expressways, something that was prohibited from the mid-1990s.HP NC6000 battery

Overtaking on the right, speeding, and illegal use of the emergency belt (or hard shoulder) cost violators stiff penalties. Surprisingly, the overtaking on the right regulation is flouted with alarming frequency.HP 6710B battery

Expressway signage

Expressways in China are signed in both Simplified Chinese and English (except for parts of the Jingshi Expressway, which relies only onChinese characters, and some provinces, in Inner Mongolia for example signs are in Mongolian and Chinese). This sharply reduces the language barrier; however, very few toll officials at toll gates speak English.HP 6530B battery

The signs on Chinese expressways use white lettering on a green background, like Japanese highways, Swiss autobahns and United Statesfreeways. Newer signage places the exit number in an exit tab to the upper right of the sign, making them very similar in appearance to American freeway signs.HP 6510B battery

Exits are well signed, with signs far ahead of exits. There are frequent signs that announce the next three exits. At each exit, there is a sign with the distance to the next exit. Exit signs are also posted 3000 m, 2000 m, 1000 m, and 500 m ahead of the exit, immediately before the exit, and at the exit itself.HP Pavilion DV6-1020ED Battery

Service areas and refreshment areas are standard on some of the older, more established expressways, and are expanding in number. Gas stations are frequent.

Signs indicate exits, toll gates, service/refreshment areas, intersections, and also warn about keeping a fair distance apart. "Distance checks" are commonplace;Dell Latitude E6400 battery

the idea here is to keep the two second rule (or, as PRC law requires, at least a 100 m distance between cars). Speed checks and speed traps are often signposted (in fact, on the Jingshen Expressway in the Beijing section, even the cameras have a warning sign above them), but some may just be scarecrow signs.HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO laptop battery

Signs urging drivers to slow down, warning about hilly terrain, banning driving in emergency lanes, or about different road surfaces are also present. Also appearing from time to time are signs signaling the overtaking lane (which legally should only be used to pass other cars). Although most English signs are comprehensible, occasionally the English is garbled.Apple A1281 battery

Some, if not most, expressways have digital displays. These displays may advise against speeding, indicate upcoming road construction, warn of traffic jams, or alert drivers to rain. Recommended detours are also signaled. The great majority of messages are only in Chinese.Apple A1280 battery

Expressway exit numbering

Exit numbering has been standard in China from virtually day one, while some other nations are just catching on (e.g. Switzerland only in 2002). Most Chinese expressways, especially those in the national network, use distance-based exit numbering, with the last three numbers before the decimal point taken used as the exit number.Dell LATITUDE D800 battery

Hence, an exit present at km 982.7 would be Exit 982, whereas an exit at km 3,121.2 would be Exit 121.

Mostly regional expressways still use sequential exit numbering, although even here, new signage feature distance-based exit numbering. Before the 2009–2010 numbering switchover, nearly all of China's expressways used sequential numbering, and a few expressways used Chinese names outright.Dell Inspiron 6400 AC Adapter

The exit is written inside an oval in green letters to the immediate right of the Chinese word for exit, "??" (chukou).

Expressway tolls and financing

Nearly all expressways charge tolls. Tolls are roughly around CNY 0.5 per kilometre, and minimum rates (e.g. CNY 5) usually apply regardless of distance. Sony Vaio VGN-CR190E/L Battery

However, some are more expensive (the Jinji Expressway costs around CNY 0.66 per kilometre) and some are less expensive (the Jingshi Expressway in Beijing costs around CNY 0.33 per kilometre). It is noteworthy that cheaper expressways do not necessarily mean poorer roads or a greater risk of traffic congestion.HP 448007-001 battery

Expressway planning is performed by the Ministry of Transportation of the People's Republic of China. Unlike the road networks in most nations, most Chinese expressways are not directly owned by the state, but rather are owned by for-profit corporations (which have varying amounts of public and private ownership) Sony VGP-BPS11 battery

which borrow money from banks or securities markets based on revenue from projected tollways. One reason for this is that Chinese provinces, which are responsible for road building, have extremely limited powers to tax and even fewer powers to borrow.HP Pavilion DV6-1223EO Battery

Expressway construction has also been one of the rare instances in which the Communist Party of China and the State Council has had to back down on a major policy initiative. During the late-1990s, there were proposals to fund public highways by means of a fuel tax, but this was voted down by the National People's Congress.Compaq CQ35-100 battery

Toll methods

Most expressways use a card system. Upon entrance to an expressway (or to a toll portion of the expressway), an entry card is handed over to the driver. The tolls to be paid are determined from the distance traveled when the driver hands the entry card back to the exit toll gate upon leaving the expressway. HP DV9700 battery

A small number of expressways do not use a card system but charge unitary fares. Passage through these expressways is relatively faster but it is economically less advantageous. An example of such an expressway would be the Jingtong Expressway.Sony VGP-BPS13 battery

China is increasingly deploying a system of ETC systems, and in the latest edition of expressway toll gate signage, a new ETC sign is now shown at an increasing number of toll gates. ETC networks based around Beijing  , Shanghai  and Guangdong province all feature either mixed toll passages supporting toll card payment or full-service dedicated ETC lanes. HP Pavilion DV8 battery

Beijing, in particular, has a dedicated ETC lane at almost all toll gates.

City transit cards are not widely used; one of the first experiments with the Beijing Yikatong Card on what is now the Jingzang Expressway (G6)[8] went live for only a year before a new national standard replaced it in early 2008.Compaq CQ50 battery

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