General information
        Political Overview
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Location :
The People's Republic of China is located in the east of the Asian continent, on the western shore of the Pacific Ocean. Border countries include Korea, Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tadzhikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.

Capital : Beijing.

Size : The People's Republic of China has a land area of about 9.6 million sq km, and is the third-largest country in the world, next only to Russia and Canada.

Map
Map
Geography :
Taking a bird's-eye view of China, the terrain gradually descends from west to east like a staircase. Due to the collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau rose continuously to become the top of the four-step "staircase," averaging more than 4,000 m above sea level, and called "the roof of the world." Soaring 8,848 m above sea level on the plateau is Mount Qomolangma (Mount Everest), the world's highest peak and the main peak of the Himalayas. The second step includes the gently sloping Inner Mongolia Plateau, the Loess Plateau, the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, the Tarim Basin, the Junggar Basin and the Sichuan Basin, with an average elevation of between 1,000 m and 2,000 m. The third step, dropping to 500-1,000 m in elevation, begins at a line drawn around the Greater Hinggan, Taihang, Wushan and Xuefeng mountain ranges and extends eastward to the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Here, from north to south, are the Northeast Plain, the North China Plain and the Middle-Lower Yangtze Plain. Interspersed amongst the plains are hills and foothills. To the east, the land extends out into the ocean, in a continental shelf, the fourth step of the staircase.

Climate :
China has a marked continental monsoonal climate characterized by great variety. Northerly winds prevail in winter, while southerly winds reign in summer. The four seasons are quite distinct. The rainy season coincides with the hot season. From September to April the following year, the dry and cold winter monsoons from Siberia and Mongolia in the north gradually become weak as they reach the southern part of the country, resulting in cold and dry winters and great differences in temperature. The summer monsoons last from April to September. The warm and moist summer monsoons from the oceans bring abundant rainfall and high temperatures, with little difference in temperature between the south and the north. China's complex and varied climate results in a great variety of temperature belts, and dry and moist zones. In terms of temperature, the nation can be sectored from south to north into equatorial, tropical, sub-tropical, warm-temperate, temperate, and cold-temperate zones; in terms of moisture, it can be sectored from southeast to northwest into humid (32 percent of land area), semi-humid (15 percent), semi-arid (22 percent) and arid zones (31 percent).

Flag and Meaning :
Red flag with five stars. The red color of the flag symbolizes revolution and the yellow color of the stars the golden brilliant rays radiating from the vast red land. The design of four smaller stars surrounding a bigger one signifies the unity of the Chinese people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC).


National Symbol :
Tiananmen Gatetower under five stars, encircled by ears of grain and with a gear wheel below.


National Day : October 1st.

History :
China is a country with a very early civilization and a long and rich history. Man has lived for a very long time in what is now China, according to archaeological finds. In many parts of the country, fossil remains of primitive ape men have been unearthed. Among them are the fossil remains of the Yuanmou Ape Man who lived in Yunnan Province some 1.7 million years ago. Research findings show that the Peking Man, who lived about 500,000 years ago, was able to make and use simple implements and knew the use of fire. People in China take pride in calling themselves the offspring of Huang Di or Yellow Emperor, a tribal chief who dwelled in the Yellow River Valley more than four millenniums ago. The Xia Dynasty, the first dynasty in China emerged about 4,100 years ago.

Dynasty
Date
Xia  2070-1600 BC  
Shang  1600-1046 BC
Western Zhou  1046-771 BC
Eastern Zhou  
     Spring and Autumn Period  770-476 BC
     Warring States Period  475-221 BC
Qin  221-206 BC
Western Han  206BC-AD25        
Eastern Han  25-220
Three Kingdoms
(Wei, Shu and Wu)            
220-280
Western Jin  265-317
Eastern Jin  317-420
Southern and Northern Dynasties  420-589
Sui  581-618
Tang  618-907
Five Dynasties  907-960
Northern Song  960-1127
Southern Song  1127-1279
Yuan  1271-1368
Ming  1368-1644
Qing  1644-1911

In 1840 the British imperialists launched the Opium War against China. In its wake came invaders from various countries. The foreign powers forced the corrupt and incompetent Qing government to sign a series of unequal treaties. Consequently, China was gradually turned into a semi-feudal and semi-colonial country. The revolution led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen overthrew the Qing Dynasty in 1911 and led to the founding of the Republic of China. After 1931, Japan stepped up its aggression against China. This triggered off the Anti-Japanese War six years later. The war dragged on for eight years until Japan surrendered in August 1945.In 1946, Chiang Kai-shek launched an all-out attack against the resistance forces led by the Chinese Communist Party, which was founded in 1921. Chiang was defeated, and the Kuomintang regime was toppled in 1949. Chiang fled to Taiwan Island with his remnant troops. On Oct. 1, 1949 the People's Republic of China was proclaimed with Mao Zedong as chairman.

Key Natural Resources :
coal, iron ore, copper, aluminum, stibium, molybdenum, manganese, tin, lead, zinc, mercury, petroleum, natural gas, etc.

Population :
China is the most populous country in the world, with 1.25909 billion people at the end of 1999, about 22 percent of the world's total. This figure does not include many Chinese in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Taiwan Province and Macao Special Administrative Region.

China is a united multi-ethnic nation of 56 ethnic groups. According to the fourth national census, taken in 1990, the Han people made up 91.96 percent of the country's total population, and the other 55 ethnic groups, 8.04 percent. As the majority of the population is of the Han ethnic group, China's other ethnic groups are customarily referred to as the national minorities.

China is a country of great religious diversity and freedom of religious belief. It has over 100 million followers of various faiths, more than 100,000 sites for religious activities, about 300,000 religious personnel and over 3,000 religious associations. The main religions are Buddhism, Islam, Roman Catholic and Protestant Christianity, China's indigenous Taoism, Shamanism, Eastern Orthodox Christianity and the Naxi people's Dongba religion. The Hui, Uygur, Kazak, Kirgiz, Tatar, Ozbek, Tajik, Dongxiang, Salar and Bonan peoples adhere to Islam; the Tibetan, Mongolian, Lhoba, Monba, Tu and Uygur, to Tibetan Buddhism (also known as Lamaism), and the Dai, Blang and Deang to Hinayana Buddhism. Large numbers of Miao, Yao and Yi are Catholic or Protestant Christians. Religious Han Chinese tend to practice Buddhism, Christianity, or Taoism.

Language :
Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, and Hakka dialects, as well as minority languages.
The system of people’s congress is an organizational form for the state power in China. The National People’s Congress (NPC) and local people’s congresses are established through democratic elections, responsible to and supervised by the people. The NPC is elected for a term of five years. State administrative, judicial and procuratorial organs are created by, responsible to and supervised by the people’s congresses. The National People’s Congress is the highest organ of state power. Local people’s congresses are local organs of state power.

The multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the Communist Party of China is a basic political system in China. It means that the CPC is the only party in power in the People's Republic of China while under the precondition of accepting the leadership of the CPC, the eight other political parties participate in the discussion and management of state affairs, in cooperation with the CPC. Political consultation takes the organizational form of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

The President of the People's Republic of China is the Head of State, as well as the supreme representative of China both internally and externally. The State presidency is an independent State apparatus and a component part of China's State organization. China's system of the head of state is a system of collective leadership. The president is subordinate to the NPC and directly receives instructions from the supreme organ of State power. H.E. Hu Jintao is the current president.

The State Council, or the Central People's Government, of the People's Republic of China is the executive body of the highest organ of state power and the highest organ of state administration. It exercises unified leadership over local state administrative organs at various levels throughout the country and regulates the specific division of power and function of the state administrative organs at the central level and the provincial, autonomous regional and municipal level. H.E. Wen Jiabao is the current premier of the State Council.
Economic restructure is one of the most crucial elements of China's reform and opening-up policy. For the first 30 years of the PRC, the government practiced a planned economy system, whereby industrial production, agricultural production, and the stocking and selling of goods in commercial departments were all controlled by state plan. The variety, quantity and prices in every sphere of the economy were fixed by state planners. While this contributed to the planned, focused and steady development of China's economy, it also sapped its vitality and limited its growth. Economic reforms began with the rural areas in 1978, and were extended to the cities in 1984. In 1992, after some 10 years of reform in the clear direction of the establishment of a socialist market economy, the government set out the main principles of economic restructuring: encouraging the development of diversified economic elements whilst retaining the dominance of the public sector; creation of a modern enterprise system to meet the requirements of the market economy; a unified and open market system across China, linking domestic and international markets, and promoting the optimization of resources; transformation of government economic management in order to establish a complete macro-control system; encouraging certain lead groups and areas to become rich first, enabling them to help others towards prosperity too; the formulation of a China-appropriate social security system for both urban and rural residents, so as to promote overall economic development and ensure social stability. In 1997, the government stressed the importance of the non-public sector to China's national economy, in which profitability is encouraged for such essential factors of production as capital and technology, so as to further progress economic reforms.

A socialist market economic system has now taken shape, and the basic role played by the market has been improved in the sphere of resource allocation. At the same time, the macro-control system continues to be perfected. The pattern has basically been formed in which the public sector plays the main role alongside non-public sectors such as individual and private companies to achieve common development. According to the plan, China is forecast to have a relatively complete socialist market economy in place by 2010 and this will become comparatively mature by 2020

GDP : 20.94 trillion yuan (2006)
GDP growth rate : 10.7% (2006)
GDP per capita : approx. 1700 US dollars (2005)
Foreign Exchange Reserve : 1066 billion US dollars (Dec. 2006)
Inflation (CPI) : 1.5% (2006)
Fiscal budget : Revenue: 3.87 trillion yuan / Expenditure: 4.02 trillion yuan (2006)
Literature :
The Book of Songs, China's first anthology of poems and earliest literary achievement, was compiled in the 6th century BC. Literature that followed in the long succession of dynasties includes pre-Qin prose in a simple style, magnificent Han Dynasty fu (rhymed prose), and the yuefu (folk songs) of the end of the Han Dynasty. The Tang Dynasty alone can be credited with thousands of poets, including Li Bai, Du Fu and Bai Juyi, who left more than 50,000 enduring poems. The Song Dynasty was known for its ci (lyrics). The most notable achievement of the Yuan Dynasty literature was the zaju (a type of poetic drama set to music). The Ming and Qing dynasties saw the production of four masterpieces of the novel: Three Kingdoms, Outlaws of the Marsh, Journey to the West and A Dream of Red Mansions. They have been celebrated for centuries for their rich historical and cultural connotations and unique styles.

Calligraphy and Painting :
Chinese characters evolved from pictures and signs, and the Chinese art of calligraphy developed naturally from its unique writing system. Every dynasty had its great calligraphers, whose calligraphic styles became symbolic of their times, and the Chinese people's love of calligraphy has been handed down to the present day. Different from Western painting, traditional Chinese painting is characterized by unique forms of expression. Its roots can be traced back to paintings on Neolithic pottery some 6,000 years ago. Since similar tools and lines were used for the earliest painting and writing, painting is said to have the same origin as calligraphy. Chinese paintings also include poetry or calligraphy, thus the three are integrated, giving people a richer aesthetic enjoyment. Figure, landscape, and flower-and-bird paintings are important traditional Chinese painting genres, still highly valued today.

Traditional arts and Crafts :
China boasts a wide variety of arts and crafts renowned for excellent workmanship. Under the protection of the Chinese government, many have been handed down to this very day. Many are sold abroad to an appreciative overseas market. Special arts and crafts, a combination of precious or special materials, elaborate design and process, are elegant and graceful. Jade carving craftsmen, taking advantage of the natural lines, luster and colors of their jadestone raw material, ingeniously match the shape of the craft-piece to that of the jade, fully displaying the glory of nature. Jingtai cloisonné enamel, well known at home and abroad, gets its name from the fine blue glaze variety produced during the Jingtai reign of the Ming Dynasty. Inlaid with copper strip, gilded and silvered, its magnificent products include bottles, bowls, and trophy cups. Varied folk arts and crafts are marked by strong local flavors and ethnic styles. In terms of technique, Chinese folk arts fall into the categories of cutting, bundling, plaiting, knitting, embroidering, carving, molding and painting.

Operas :
Chinese traditional opera, Greek tragedy and comedy, and Indian Sanskrit opera are considered as the world's three ancient operas. China boasts more than 300 kinds of traditional opera, mainly using singing and dancing to express the plot. Peking Opera (evolved from Kunqu Opera, an even more ancient type of drama) is the most popular and influential opera form. It took shape in the early 19th century in Beijing and combines singing, music, chanting, dancing and martial arts. In over 200 years, Peking Opera has developed over a thousand plays of high artistic value, as well as sets of musical modes and stylized performance movements.
China joined ACD in 2002 as a founding member.

China held the third ACD Foreign Minister’s Meeting in Qingdao in June 2004 with the issuance of the Declaration on Asia Cooperation as well as the Qingdao Initiative. H.E. Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of the PRC attended the opening ceremony.

China is currently the prime mover for agricultural cooperation and a co-prime mover for energy cooperation. Following the release of a concept paper on ACD agricultural cooperation in 2003, China organized a series of activities including the Workshop for Agricultural Ministers in May 2004, the Workshop on Asian Rice Development in September 2004, the Agricultural Policies Forum in January 2005, the Training Course on Agricultural Biotechnologies in August 2005 and the Agricultural Officials Seminar in October 2006.

Other regional groupings China joined include:
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation/APEC (1991)
Asean Regional Forum/ARF (1994)
Asia Europe Meeting/ASEM (1996)
Asean Plus China, Japan and Korea /10+3 (1997)
Shanghai Cooperation Organization/SCO(2001)
East Asia Summit/EAS (2005)
The Central People’s Government https://www.gov.cn
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: https://www.mfa.gov.cn
Ministry of Commerce: https://www.mofcom.gov.cn
Ministry of Culture: https://www.mcprc.gov.cn
National Bureau of Statistics https://www.stats.gov.cn
Other information about china can also be found at https://www.china.org.cn

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