People's Republic of China 中华人民共和国
Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó Flag Emblem Anthem:
"March of the Volunteers"
《义勇军进行曲》 (Pinyin: "Yìyǒngjūn Jìnxíngqǔ")
Largest city Shanghai Official language(s) Modern Standard Mandarin
Recognised regional languages Mongolian, Tibetan, Uyghur, Zhuang, and various others Official written language Vernacular Chinese Official script Simplified Chinese Ethnic groups 91.51% Han; 55 recognised minorities
Demonym Chinese Government Single-party state,
nominal communist state[a]
- President (and CPC General Secretary) Hu Jintao - Premier Wen Jiabao - Congress Chairman Wu Bangguo - Conference Chairman Jia Qinglin Legislature National People's Congress Establishment - Unification of China under the Qin Dynasty 221 B.C.E - Republic established 1 January 1912 - People's Republic of China proclaimed 1 October 1949 Area - Total 9,640,821 km2 [b] or 9,671,018 km²[b](3rd/4th)
3,704,427 sq mi
- Water (%) 2.8[c] Population - 2010 census 1,339,724,852 (1st) - Density 139.6/km2 (53rd)
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate - Total $11.316 trillion (2nd) - Per capita $8,394 (91st) GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate - Total $6.988 trillion (2nd) - Per capita $5,184 (90th) Gini (2007) 41.5 HDI (2011) 0.687 (medium) (101st) Currency Chinese yuan (renminbi) (¥) (
Time zone China Standard Time (UTC+8) Date formats yyyy-mm-dd
Drives on the right, except for Hong Kong & Macau ISO 3166 code CN Internet TLD .cn[c] .中國 .中国 Calling code +86[c] a. ^ Simple characterizations of the political structure since the 1980s are no longer possible.
b. ^ 9,598,086 km2 (3,705,842 sq mi) excludes all disputed territories.c. ^ Information for mainland China only. Hong Kong, Macau, and territories under the jurisdiction of the Republic of China (Taiwan) are excluded.
9,640,821 km2 (3,722,342 sq mi) Includes Chinese-administered area (Aksai Chin and Trans-Karakoram Tract, both territories claimed by India), Taiwan is not included.
China i// (Chinese: 中国/中华; pinyin: Zhōngguó/Zhōnghuá; see also Names of China), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres (3.7 million square miles). It is the world's second-largest country by land area, and the third- or fourth-largest in total area, depending on the definition of total area.
The People's Republic of China is a single-party state governed by the Communist Party of China (CPC). The PRC exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four directly controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), and two mostly self-governing special administrative regions (SARs), Hong Kong and Macau. Its capital city is Beijing. The PRC also claims the island of Taiwan, controlled by the government of the Republic of China (ROC), as its 23rd province, a claim controversial due to the complex political status of Taiwan and the unresolved Chinese Civil War.
China’s landscape is vast and diverse, with forest steppes and the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts occupying the arid north and northwest near Mongolia and Central Asia, and subtropical forests being prevalent in the wetter south near Southeast Asia. The terrain of western China is rugged and elevated, with the towering Himalaya, Karakorum, Pamir and Tian Shan mountain separating China from South and Central Asia. The world’s apex, Mt. Everest (8,848 m), and second-highest point, K2 (8,611 m), lie on China's borders, respectively, with Nepal and Pakistan. The country’s lowest and the world’s third-lowest point, Lake Ayding (-154 m), is located in the Turpan Depression. The Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, the third- and sixth-longest in the world, have their sources in the Tibetan Plateau and continue to the densely populated eastern seaboard. China’s coastline along the Pacific Ocean is 14,500 kilometres (9,000 mi) long (the 11th-longest in the world), and is bounded by the Bohai, Yellow, East and South China Seas.
The ancient Chinese civilization—one of the world's earliest—flourished in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies, known as dynasties, beginning with the semi-mythological Xia of the Yellow River basin (approx. 2000 BCE) and ending with the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1912. Since the Qin Dynasty first conquered several states to form China in 221 BCE, the country has fractured and been reformed numerous times. The Republic of China (ROC), founded in 1912 after the overthrow of the Qing, ruled the Chinese mainland until 1949. In the 1946–1949 phase of the Chinese Civil War, the Chinese Communists defeated the Chinese Nationalists (Kuomintang) on the mainland and established the People's Republic of China in Beijing on 1 October 1949. The Kuomintang relocated the ROC government to Taiwan with its capital in Taipei. The ROC's jurisdiction is now limited to Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and several outlying islands. Since then, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China (subsequently became known as "Taiwan") have remained in dispute over the sovereignty of China and the political status of Taiwan, mutually claiming each other's territory and competing for international diplomatic recognition. In 1971, the PRC gained admission to United Nations and took the Chinese seat as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. The PRC is also a member of numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, including the WTO, APEC, BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the G-20. As of September 2011, all but 23 countries have recognized the PRC as the sole legitimate government of China.
Since the introduction of market-based economic reforms in 1978, China has become the world's fastest-growing major economy, and the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods. it is the world's second-largest economy, after the United States, by both nominal GDP and purchasing power parity (PPP). On per capita terms, however, China ranked only 90th by nominal GDP and 91st by GDP (PPP) in 2011, according to the IMF. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army, with the second-largest defense budget. In 2003, China became the third nation in the world, after the Soviet Union and the United States, to independently launch a successful manned space mission. China has been characterized as a potential superpower by a number of academics, military analysts, and public policy and economics analysts.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Politics
- 5 Military
- 6 Economy
- 7 Demographics
- 8 Culture
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
China Chinese name Simplified Chinese: 中国 Traditional Chinese: 中國 Literal meaning: Middle Kingdom Transliterations Gan - Romanization: Tung-koe̍t Kejia - Romanization: Dung24 Gued2 Mandarin - Hanyu Pinyin: Zhōngguó - Wade-Giles: Chung-kuo - Bopomofo ㄓㄨㄥ ㄍㄨㄛˊ Min - Hokkien POJ: Tiong-kok - Min Dong BUC: Dṳ̆ng-guók Wu - Romanization: Tson平 koh入 Yue - Jyutping: Zung1 gwok3 - Yale Romanization: Jūnggwok People's Republic of China Alternative Chinese name Simplified Chinese: 中华人民共和国 Traditional Chinese: 中華人民共和國 Transliterations Gan - Romanization: Chungfa Ninmin Khungfokoet Hakka - Romanization: Dung24 fa11 ngin11 min11 kiung55 fo11 gued2 Mandarin - Hanyu Pinyin: Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó Min - Hokkien POJ: Tiong-hôa jîn-bîn kiōng-hô-kok - Min Dong BUC: Dṳ̆ng-huà Ìng-mìng Gê̤ṳng-huò-guók Wu - Romanization: Tson平 gho平 zin平 min平 gon去 ghu平 koh入 Yue - Jyutping: Zung1 waa4 jan4 man4 gung6 wo4 gwok3 - Yale Romanization: Jūngwàh Yàhnmàhn Guhngwòhgwok Mongolian name Mongolian: Tibetan name Tibetan: ཀྲུང་ཧྭ་མི་དམངས་སྤྱི
Transliterations - Wylie: krung hwa mi dmangs spyi mthun rgyal khab - Zangwen Pinyin: Zhunghua Mimang Jitun Gyalkab Uyghur name Uyghur: Zhuang name Zhuang: Cunghvaz Yinzminz Gunghozgoz
The word "China" is derived from Cin (چین), a Persian name for China popularized in Europe by the account of the 13th-century explorer Marco Polo. The first recorded use in English dates from 1555. The Persian word is, in turn, derived from the Sanskrit word Cīna (चीन), which was used as a name for China as early as AD 150. There are various scholarly theories regarding the origin of this word. The traditional theory, proposed in the 17th century by Martino Martini, is that "China" is derived from "Qin" (秦), the westernmost of the Chinese kingdoms during the Zhou Dynasty, or from the succeeding Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC). In the Hindu scriptures Mahābhārata and Manusmṛti (Laws of Manu), the word Cīna is used to refer to a country located in the Tibetan-Burman borderlands east of India.
In China, common names for the country include Zhōngguó (Chinese: 中国; literally "Middle Kingdom") and Zhōnghuá (Chinese: 中华). The official name of China changed with each dynasty or with each new government. The term Zhongguo appeared various ancient texts such as the Classic of History, and in earlier times the term was used in various senses. In pre-imperial times, it was often as a cultural concept to distinguish the Huaxia from the barbarians. Sometimes Zhongguo, which can be either singular or plural, referring to the group of states in the central plain. The Chinese were not unique in regarding their country as "central", since other civilizations had the same view.
Archaeological evidence suggests that the earliest hominids in China date from 250,000 to 2.24 million years ago. A cave in Zhoukoudian (near present-day Beijing) has fossils dated at somewhere between 300,000 to 780,000 years. The fossils are of Peking Man, an example of Homo erectus who used fire.
The earliest evidence of a fully modern human in China comes from Liujiang County, Guangxi, where a cranium has been found and dated at approximately 67,000 years old. Controversy persists over the dating of the Liujiang remains (a partial skeleton from Minatogawa in Okinawa).
Early dynastic rule
Chinese tradition names the first dynasty Xia, but it was considered mythical until scientific excavations found early Bronze Age sites at Erlitou in Henan Province in 1959. Archaeologists have since uncovered urban sites, bronze implements, and tombs in locations cited as Xia's in ancient historical texts, but it is impossible to verify that these remains are of the Xia without written records from the period.
The first Chinese dynasty that left historical records, the loosely feudal Shang (Yin), settled along the Yellow River in eastern China from the 17th to the 11th century BC. The oracle bone script of the Shang Dynasty represent the oldest forms of Chinese writing found and the direct ancestor of modern Chinese characters used throughout East Asia. The Shang were invaded from the west by the Zhou, who ruled from the 12th to the 5th century BC, until their centralized authority was slowly eroded by feudal warlords. Many independent states eventually emerged out of the weakened Zhou state, and continually waged war with each other in the Spring and Autumn Period, only occasionally deferring to the Zhou king. By the time of the Warring States Period, there were seven powerful sovereign states, each with its own king, ministry and army.
The first unified Chinese state was established by Qin Shi Huang of the Qin state in 221 BC. Qin Shi Huang proclaimed himself the "First Emperor" (始皇帝), and imposed many reforms throughout China, notably the forced standardization of the Chinese language, measurements, length of cart axles, and currency. The Qin Dynasty lasted only fifteen years, falling soon after Qin Shi Huang's death, as its harsh legalist and authoritarian policies led to widespread rebellion.
The subsequent Han Dynasty ruled China between 206 BC and 220 AD, and created a lasting Han cultural identity among its populace that extends to the present day. The Han Dynasty expanded the empire's territory considerably with military campaigns reaching Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia and Central Asia, and also helped establish the Silk Road in Central Asia. China was for a large part of the last two millennia the world's largest economy. However, in the later part of the Qing Dynasty, China's economic development began to slow and Europe's rapid development during and after the Industrial Revolution enabled it to surpass China.
After the collapse of Han, another period of disunion followed, including the highly chivalric period of the Three Kingdoms. Independent Chinese states of this period such as Wu opened diplomatic relations with Japan, introducing the Chinese writing system there. In 580 AD, China was reunited under the Sui. However, the Sui Dynasty was short-lived after a failure in the Goguryeo-Sui Wars (598–614) weakened it.
Under the succeeding Tang and Song dynasties, Chinese technology and culture reached its zenith. The Tang Empire was at its height of power until the middle of the 8th century, when the An Shi Rebellion destroyed the prosperity of the empire. The Song Dynasty was the first government in world history to issue paper money and the first Chinese polity to establish a permanent standing navy. Between the 10th and 11th centuries, the population of China doubled in size. This growth came about through expanded rice cultivation in central and southern China, and the production of abundant food surpluses.
Within its borders, the Northern Song Dynasty had a population of some 100 million people. The Song Dynasty was a culturally rich period for philosophy and the arts. Landscape art and portrait painting were brought to new levels of maturity and complexity after the Tang Dynasty, and social elites gathered to view art, share their own, and trade precious artworks. Philosophers such as Cheng Yi and Chu Hsi reinvigorated Confucianism with new commentary, infused Buddhist ideals, and emphasized a new organization of classic texts that brought about the core doctrine of Neo-Confucianism.
In 1271, the Mongol leader and fifth Khagan of the Mongol Empire Kublai Khan established the Yuan Dynasty, with the last remnant of the Song Dynasty falling to the Yuan in 1279. Before the Mongol invasion, Chinese dynasties reportedly had approximately 120 million inhabitants; after the conquest was completed in 1279, the 1300 census reported roughly 60 million people.
Late dynastic rule
A peasant named Zhu Yuanzhang overthrew the Yuan Dynasty in 1368 and founded the Ming Dynasty. Ming Dynasty thinkers such as Wang Yangming would further critique and expand Neo-Confucianism with ideas of individualism and innate morality that would have tremendous impact on later Japanese thought. Chosun Korea also became a nominal vassal state of Ming China and adopted much of its Neo-Confucian bureaucratic structure.
Under the Ming Dynasty, China had another golden age, with one of the strongest navies in the world, a rich and prosperous economy and a flourishing of the arts and culture. It was during this period that Zheng He led explorations throughout the world, possibly reaching America. During the early Ming Dynasty China's capital was moved from Nanjing to Beijing. In 1644 Beijing was sacked by a coalition of rebel forces led by Li Zicheng, a minor Ming official turned leader of the peasant revolt. The last Ming Chongzhen Emperor committed suicide when the city fell. The Manchu Qing Dynasty then allied with Ming Dynasty general Wu Sangui and overthrew Li's short-lived Shun Dynasty, and subsequently seized control of Beijing, which became the new capital of the Qing Dynasty.
The Qing Dynasty, which lasted until 1912, was the last dynasty in China. In the 19th century the Qing Dynasty adopted a defensive posture towards European imperialism, even though it engaged in imperialistic expansion into Central Asia. At this time China awoke to the significance of the rest of the world, the West in particular. As China opened up to foreign trade and missionary activity, opium produced by British India was forced onto Qing China. Two Opium Wars with Britain weakened the Emperor's control. European imperialism proved to be disastrous for China:
The Arrow War (1856–1860) [2nd Opium War] saw another disastrous defeat for China. The subsequent passing of the humiliating Treaty of Tianjin in 1856 and the Beijing Conventions of 1860 opened up more of the country to foreign penetrations and more ports for their vessels. Hong Kong was ceded over to the British. Thus, the "unequal treaties system" was established. Heavy indemnities had to be paid by China, and more territory and control were taken over by the foreigners.
The weakening of the Qing regime, and the apparent humiliation of the unequal treaties in the eyes of the Chinese people had several consequences. One consequence[according to whom?] was the Taiping Civil War, which lasted from 1851 to 1862. It was led by Hong Xiuquan, who was partly influenced by an idiosyncratic interpretation of Christianity. Hong believed himself to be the son of God and the younger brother of Jesus. Although the Qing forces were eventually victorious, the civil war was one of the bloodiest in human history, costing at least 20 million lives (more than the total number of fatalities in the World War I), with some estimates of up to two hundred million. Other costly rebellions followed the Taiping Rebellion, such as the Punti-Hakka Clan Wars (1855–67), Nien Rebellion (1851–1868), Miao Rebellion (1854–73), Panthay Rebellion (1856–1873) and the Dungan revolt (1862–1877).
These rebellions resulted in an estimated loss of several million lives each and led to disastrous results for the economy and the countryside. The flow of British opium hastened the empire's decline. In the 19th century, the age of colonialism was at its height and the great Chinese Diaspora began. About 35 million overseas Chinese live in Southeast Asia today. The famine in 1876–79 claimed between 9 and 13 million lives in northern China. From 108 BC to 1911 AD, China experienced 1,828 famines, or one per year, somewhere in the empire.
While China was wracked by continuous war, Meiji Japan succeeded in rapidly modernizing its military and set its sights on Korea and Manchuria. At the request of the Korean emperor, the Chinese government sent troops to aid in suppressing the Tonghak Rebellion in 1894. However, Japan also sent troops to Korea, leading to the First Sino-Japanese War, which resulted in Qing China's loss of influence in the Korean Peninsula as well as the cession of Taiwan to Japan.
Following this series of defeats, a reform plan for the empire to become a modern Meiji-style constitutional monarchy was drafted by the Guangxu Emperor in 1898, but was opposed and stopped by the Empress Dowager Cixi, who placed Emperor Guangxu under house arrest in a coup d'état. Further destruction followed the ill-fated 1900 Boxer Rebellion against westerners in Beijing.
By the early 20th century, mass civil disorder had begun, and calls for reform and revolution were heard across the country. The 38-year-old Emperor Guangxu died under house arrest on 14 November 1908, suspiciously just a day before Cixi's own death. With the throne empty, he was succeeded by Cixi's handpicked heir, his two year old nephew Puyi, who became the Xuantong Emperor. Guangxu's consort became the Empress Dowager Longyu. In another coup de'tat, Yuan Shikai overthrew the last Qing emperor, and forced empress Dowager Longyu to sign the abdication decree as regent in 1912, ending two thousand years of imperial rule in China. She died, childless, in 1913.
Republic of China (1912-1949)
On 1 January 1912, the Republic of China was established, heralding the end of the Qing Dynasty. Sun Yat-sen of the Kuomintang (the KMT or Nationalist Party) was proclaimed provisional president of the republic. However, the presidency was later given to Yuan Shikai, a former Qing general, who had ensured the defection of the entire Beiyang Army from the Qing Empire to the revolution. In 1915, Yuan proclaimed himself Emperor of China but was forced to abdicate and return the state to a republic when he realized it was an unpopular move, not only with the population but also with his own Beiyang Army and its commanders.
After Yuan Shikai's death in 1916, China was politically fragmented, with an internationally recognized but virtually powerless national government seated in Beijing. Warlords in various regions exercised actual control over their respective territories. In the late 1920s, the Kuomintang, under Chiang Kai-shek, was able to reunify the country under its own control, moving the nation's capital to Nanjing and implementing "political tutelage", an intermediate stage of political development outlined in Sun Yat-sen's program for transforming China into a modern, democratic state. Effectively, political tutelage meant one-party rule by the Kuomintang.
The Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) (part of World War II) forced an uneasy alliance between the Nationalists and the Communists as well as causing around 20 million Chinese civilian deaths. The Japanese "three-all policy" in north China—"kill all, burn all and destroy all", was one example of wartime atrocities committed on a civilian population. With the surrender of Japan in 1945, China emerged victorious but financially drained. The continued distrust between the Nationalists and the Communists led to the resumption of the Chinese Civil War. In 1947, constitutional rule was established, but because of the ongoing Civil War many provisions of the ROC constitution were never implemented in mainland China.
1949 to present
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, reducing the ROC territory to only Taiwan and surrounding islands. 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.
Mao encouraged population growth and China's population almost doubled from around 550 to over 900 million during the period of his leadership. 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. 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.
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, his influence within the Party led the country to significant economic reforms. The Communist Party subsequently loosened governmental control over citizens' personal lives and the communes were disbanded with many peasants receiving multiple land leases, which greatly increased incentives and agricultural production. 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 "market socialism", and officially by the Communist Party of China "Socialism with Chinese characteristics". The PRC adopted its current constitution on 4 December 1982.
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. 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.
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%. 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; 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. 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.
The People's Republic of China is the second-largest country in the world by land area after Russia and is either the third- or fourth-largest by total area, after Russia, Canada and, depending on the definition of total area, the United States. China's total area is generally stated as approximately 9,600,000 km2 (3,700,000 sq mi). Specific area figures range from 9,572,900 km2 (3,696,100 sq mi) of Encyclopædia Britiannica, to 9,596,961 km2 (3,705,407 sq mi) of U.N. Demographic Yearbook, to 9,596,961 km2 (3,705,407 sq mi) of CIA World Factbook and 9,640,011 km2 (3,722,029 sq mi) that includes Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract, which are controlled by China and claimed by India. None of the aforementioned total area figures includes the 1,000 square kilometres (386.1 sq mi) of territory ceded to the PRC by the Tajikistan following the ratification of a Sino-Tajik border agreement by the Tajik Parliament on January 12, 2011.
According to Encyclopædia Britannica, the total area of the United States, at 9,522,055 km2 (3,676,486 sq mi), is slightly smaller than China. In the CIA Factbook, until the coastal waters of the Great Lakes was added to the United States' total area in 1996, China's total area was also greater than that of the United States.
China has the longest land borders in the world, measuring 22,117 km (13,743 mi) from the mouth of the Yalu River to the Gulf of Tonkin. China borders 14 nations, more than any other country except Russia, which also borders 14. China extends across much of the East Asian continent bordering Vietnam, Laos, and Burma in Southeast Asia; India, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan, in South Asia; Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in Central Asia; a small section of Russian Altai and Mongolia in Inner Asia; and the Russian Far East and North Korea in Northeast Asia.
Additionally, China shares maritime boundaries with South Korea, Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines. The PRC and the Republic of China (Taiwan) make mutual claims over each other's territority and the frontier between areas under their respective control is closest near the islands of Kinmen and Matsu, off the Fujian coast, but otherwise run through the Taiwan Strait. The PRC and ROC assert identical claims over the entirety of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, and the southern-most extent of these claims reach Zengmu Ansha (James Shoal), which would form a maritime frontier with Malaysia.
Landscape and climate
The territory of China lies between latitudes 18° and 54° N, and longitudes 73° and 135° E. The country's vast size gives it a wide variety of landscapes. In the east, along the shores of the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea, there are extensive and densely populated alluvial plains, while on the edges of the Inner Mongolian plateau in the north, broad grasslands are visible. Southern China is dominated by hill country and low mountain ranges, while the central-east hosts the deltas of China's two major rivers, the Yellow River and the Yangtze River. Other major rivers include the Xi, Mekong, Brahmaputra and Amur. To the west, major mountain ranges, most notably the Himalayas, and high plateaus feature among the more arid landscapes of the north, such as the Taklamakan and the Gobi Desert. China's highest point, Mt. Everest (8848m), lies on the Sino-Nepalese border. The country's lowest point is the dried lake bed of Ayding Lake (-154m) in the Turpan Depression.
A major environmental issue in China is the continued expansion of its deserts, particularly the Gobi Desert, which is currently the world's fifth-largest desert. Although barrier tree lines planted since the 1970s have reduced the frequency of sandstorms, prolonged drought and poor agricultural practices have resulted in dust storms plaguing northern China each spring, which then spread to other parts of East Asia, including Korea and Japan. According to China's environmental watchdog, Sepa, China is losing a million acres (4,000 km²) per year to desertification. Water quality, erosion, and pollution control have become important issues in China's relations with other countries. Melting glaciers in the Himalayas could potentially lead to water shortages for hundreds of millions of people.
China's climate is mainly dominated by dry seasons and wet monsoons, which lead to a pronounced temperature differences between winter and summer. In the winter, northern winds coming from high-altitude areas are cold and dry; in summer, southern winds from coastal areas at lower altitudes are warm and moist. The climate in China differs from region to region because of the country's extensive and complex topography.
One of 17 megadiverse countries, China lies in two of the world's major ecozones: the Palearctic and the Indomalaya. In the Palearctic zone, mammals such as the horse, camel, tapir, and jerboa can be found. Among the species found in the Indomalaya region are the Leopard Cat, bamboo rat, treeshrew, and various monkey and ape species. Some overlap exists between the two regions due to natural dispersal and migration; deer, antelope, bears, wolves, pigs, and numerous rodent species can all be found in China's diverse climatic and geological environments. The famous giant panda is found only in a limited area along the Yangtze River. China suffers from a continuing problem with trade in endangered species, although there are now laws to prohibit such activities.
China also hosts a variety of forest types. Cold coniferous forests predominate in the north of the country, supporting animal species such as moose and the Asian black bear, along with over 120 bird species. Moist conifer forests can have thickets of bamboo as an understorey, replaced by rhododendrons in higher montane stands of juniper and yew. Subtropical forests, which dominate central and southern China, support as many as 146,000 species of flora. Tropical and seasonal rainforests, though confined to Yunnan and Hainan Island, contain a quarter of all the plant and animal species found in China.
China suffers from severe environmental deterioration and pollution. While regulations such as the 1979 Environmental Protection Law are fairly stringent, enforcement of them is poor, as they are frequently disregarded by local communities or governments in favour of rapid economic development.
Leading Chinese environmental campaigner Ma Jun has warned of the danger that water pollution poses to Chinese society. According to the Chinese Ministry of Water Resources, roughly 300 million Chinese are drinking unsafe water. According ot Jiao Yong, 40% of China’s rivers are already polluted due to the country’s rapid economic growth. This crisis is compounded by the perennial problem of water shortages, with 400 out of 600 cities reportedly short of drinking water.
However, China is the world's leading investor in renewable energy technologies, with $34.6 billion invested in 2009 alone. China produces more wind turbines and solar panels than any other country, and renewable energy projects, such as solar water heating, are widely pursued at the local level. By 2009, over 17% of China's energy was derived from renewable sources - most notably hydroelectric power plants, of which China has a total installed capacity of 197 GW. Also, in 2011, the Chinese government, in its annual No.1 central document, announced plans to invest four trillion yuan (US$618.55 billion) in water infrastructure projects over a ten-year period and complete construction of a flood prevention and anti-drought system by 2020.
The PRC is regarded by several political scientists as one of the world's five last remaining Communist states (along with Vietnam, North Korea, Laos, and Cuba), but simple characterizations of PRC's political structure since the 1980s are no longer possible. 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. Its current political/economic system has been termed by its leaders as "Communism with Chinese characteristics".
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. 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. 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, 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. 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.
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.
The People's Republic of China has administrative control over 22 provinces, and considers Taiwan to be its 23rd province, although Taiwan is currently governed by the Republic of China, which disputes the PRC's claim. China also has five autonomous regions, each with a designated minority group; four municipalities; and two Special Administrative Regions, which enjoy a degree of political autonomy. These 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, and four municipalities can be collectively referred to as "mainland China", a term which usually excludes the Special Autonomous Regions of Hong Kong and Macau.
Political divisions of the PRC Provinces (省) †Taiwan is claimed by the PRC but governed by the Republic of China Autonomous regions (自治区) Municipalities (直辖市) Special Administrative
The PRC has diplomatic relations with 171 countries and maintains embassies in 162. Its legitimacy is disputed by the Republic of China and a few other countries; it is thus the largest and wealthiest state with limited recognition. Sweden was the first western country to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic on 9 May 1950. 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.
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 government of the Republic of China. PRC officials have protested on numerous occasions when foreign countries have made diplomatic overtures to Taiwan, especially in the matter of armament sales. Political meetings between foreign government officials and the 14th Dalai Lama are also opposed by the PRC, as it considers Tibet to be formally part of China.
Much of China's current foreign policy is reportedly based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence of Zhou Enlai—non-interference in other states' affairs, non-aggression, peaceful coexistence, 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 policy has led China to support states that are regarded as dangerous or repressive by Western nations, such as Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Iran. Conflicts with foreign countries have occurred at times in China's 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. The PRC's foreign relations with many Western nations suffered for a time following the military crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, although in recent years China has improved its diplomatic links with the West.
In recent decades, the PRC has played an increasing role in calling for free trade areas and security pacts amongst its Asia-Pacific neighbors. In 2004, the PRC proposed an entirely new East Asia Summit (EAS) framework as a forum for regional security issues, pointedly excluding the United States. The EAS, which includes ASEAN Plus Three, India, Australia and New Zealand, held its inaugural summit in 2005. The PRC is also a founding member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), along 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. Both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush asserted that free trade would gradually open China to democratic reform. Bush was furthermore 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. In the early 2010s, U.S. politicians argued that the Chinese yuan was significantly undervalued, giving China an unfair trade advantage.
Sinophobic attitudes often target Chinese minorities and nationals living outside of China. Sometimes, such anti-Chinese attitudes turn violent, as occurred during the 13 May Incident in Malaysia in 1969 and the Jakarta riots of May 1998 in Indonesia, 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.
The relationship between China and Japan has been strained at times by Japan's perceived refusal to acknowledge its wartime past to the satisfaction of the PRC. Revisionist comments made by prominent Japanese officials and some Japanese history textbooks regarding the 1937 Rape of Nanking have been a focus of particular controversy. Sino-Japanese relations warmed considerably after Shinzo Abe became the Prime Minister of Japan in September 2006, and 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 World War 2-era atrocities. However, in the early 2010s, relations cooled once more, with Japan accusing China of withholding its reserves of valuable rare earth elements.
China has been involved in a number of international territorial disputes, mostly resulting from the legacy of unequal treaties imposed on China during the historical period of New Imperialism. 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. China is additionally involved in more minor multilateral disputes over the ownership of several small islands in the East and South China Seas.
China and the developing world
China is heavily engaged, both politically and economically, with numerous nations in the developing world. Most notably, the PRC has started a policy of wooing African nations for trade and bilateral co-operation. Xinhua, China's official news agency, states that there are no less than 750,000 Chinese nationals working or living in Africa. China has furthermore strengthened its ties with larger developing economies, becoming the largest trading partner of Brazil and building strategic links with Argentina. Along with Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa, China is a member of the BRICS group of emerging major economies, and hosted the group's third official summit at Sanya in Hainan Province in April 2011.
China is regularly cited as a potential new superpower, with certain commentators pointing out that its rapid economic progress, military might, very large population, and increasing international influence could see it attain a prominent global role in the 21st century. Others, however, warn that economic bubbles and demographic imbalances could slow China's growth as the century progresses.
Sociopolitical issues and reform
The Chinese democracy movement, social activists, and some members of the Communist Party of China have all identified the need for social and political reform. While economic and social controls have been greatly relaxed in China since the 1970s, political freedom is still tightly restricted. 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, in practice, these provisions do not afford significant protection against criminal prosecution by the State.
As the Chinese economy expanded following Deng Xiaoping's 1978 reforms, tens of millions of rural Chinese who have moved to the cities find themselves treated as second-class citizens by China's hukou household registration system, which controls state benefits. Property rights are often poorly protected, and eminent domain land seizures have had a disproportionate effect on poorer peasants. In 2003, the average Chinese farmer paid three times more taxes than the average urban dweller, despite having one-sixth of the annual income. However, a number of rural taxes have since been reduced or abolished, and additional social services provided to rural dwellers.
Censorship of political speech and information, most notably on the Internet, is openly and routinely used in China to silence criticism of the government and the ruling Communist Party. In 2005, Reporters Without Borders ranked the PRC 159th out of 167 states in its Annual World Press Freedom Index, indicating a very low level of perceived press freedom. The government has suppressed demonstrations by organizations that it considers a potential threat to "social stability", as was the case with the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. The Communist Party has had mixed success in controlling information: a powerful and pervasive media control system faces equally strong market forces, an increasingly educated citizenry, and technological and cultural changes that are making China more open to the wider world, especially on environmental issues. However, attempts are still made by the Chinese government to control public access to outside information, with online searches for politically sensitive material being blocked by the so-called Great Firewall.
A number of foreign governments and NGOs routinely criticize the PRC's human rights record, alleging widespread civil rights violations, including systematic use of lengthy detention without trial, forced confessions, torture, mistreatment of prisoners, and 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.
The PRC government has responded to foreign criticism 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. 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.
The PRC government remains divided over the issue of political reform. Some high-ranking politicians have spoken out in favor reforms, while others remain more conservative. In 2010, Premier Wen Jiabao stated 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." Despite his status, Wen's comments were later censored by the government.
As the social, cultural and political consequences of economic growth and reform become increasingly manifest, tensions between the conservatives and reformists in the Communist Party are sharpening. Zhou Tianyong, the vice director of research of the Central Party School, argues 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 democratic, middle-class-dominated polity. Some Chinese look back to the upheavals of the Cultural Revolution, and fear chaos if the Communist Party should lose control of the domestic situation.
With 2.3 million active troops, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is the largest standing military force in the world, commanded by the Central Military Commission (CMC). The PLA consists of the People's Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF), the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), and a strategic nuclear force, the Second Artillery Corps. The official announced budget of the PLA for 2009 was $70 billion. However, the United States government has claimed that China does not report its real level of military spending, which is allegedly much higher than the official budget. The Defense Intelligence Agency estimated that the real Chinese military budget for 2008 was between US$105 billion and US$150 billion. According to SIPRI, China's military expenditure in 2010 totalled US$114.3 billion (808 billion yuan), constituting the world's second-largest military budget.
As a recognised nuclear weapons state, China is considered both a major regional military power and an emerging military superpower. As of August 2011, China's Second Artillery Corps is believed to maintain at least 195 nuclear missiles, including 75 ICBMs. Nonetheless, China is the only member of the UN Security Council to have relatively limited power projection capabilities. To offset this, it has begun developing power projection assets, such as aircraft carriers, and has established a network of foreign military relationships that has been compared to a string of pearls.
The PRC has made significant progress in modernizing its military since the early 2000s. It has purchased state-of-the-art Russian fighter jets, such as the Sukhoi Su-30s, and has also produced its own modern fighters, most notably the Chinese J-10s and the J-11s. China is furthermore engaged in developing an indigenous stealth aircraft, the Chengdu J-20. The PRC's ground forces have also undergone significant modernisations, replacing its ageing Soviet-derived tank inventory with numerous variants of the modern Type 99 tank, and upgrading its battlefield C3I systems to enhance its network-centric warfare capabilities.
China has also acquired and improved upon the Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile system, which is considered to be among the most effective aircraft-intercepting systems in the world. Russia has since produced the next-generation S-400 Triumf system, with China reportedly having spent $500 million on a downgraded export version of it. A number of indigenous missile technologies have also been developed - in 2007, China conducted a successful test of an anti-satellite missile, and its first indigenous land-attack cruise missile, the CJ-10, entered service in 2009. In 2011, the Pentagon reported that China was believed to be testing the JL-2 missile, a new submarine-launched nuclear ICBM with multiple-warhead delivery capabilities.
In recent years, much attention has been focused on enhancing the blue-water capabilities of the People's Liberation Army Navy. In August 2011, China's first aircraft carrier, the refurbished Soviet vessel Varyag, began sea trials. China furthermore maintains a substantial fleet of submarines, including several nuclear-powered attack and ballistic missile submarines. On 13 March 2011, the PLAN missile frigate Xuzhou was spotted off the coast of Libya, marking the first time in history a Chinese warship sailed into the Mediterranean. The ship's entrance into the Mediterranean was officially part of a humanitarian mission to rescue PRC nationals from the 2011 Libyan civil war, though analysts such as Fareed Zakaria viewed the mission as also being an attempt to increase the PRC's global military presence.
Little information is available regarding the motivations supporting China's military modernization. A 2007 report by the US Secretary of Defense noted 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.
From its founding in 1949 until late 1978, the People's Republic of China was a Soviet-style centrally planned economy, without private businesses or capitalism. To propel the country towards a modern, industrialized communist society, Mao Zedong instituted the Great Leap Forward in the early 1960s, although this had decidedly mixed economic results. Following Mao's death in 1976 and the consequent end of the Cultural Revolution, Deng Xiaoping and the new Chinese leadership began to reform the economy and move towards a more market-oriented mixed economy under one-party rule. Collectivization of the agriculture was dismantled and farmlands were privatized to increase productivity. In 1978, China and Japan began normalized diplomatic relations, and China started borrowing money from Japan in soft loans. Since 1978, Japan has been China's most significant foreign donor. Modern-day China is mainly characterised as having a market economy based on private property ownership, and is one of the leading examples of state capitalism.
Under the post-Mao market reforms, a wide variety of small-scale private enterprises were encouraged, while the government relaxed price controls and promoted foreign investment. Foreign trade was focused upon as a major vehicle of growth, leading to the creation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs), first in Shenzhen and then in other Chinese cities. Inefficient state-owned enterprises (SOEs) were restructured by introducing western-style management systems, with unprofitable ones being closed outright, resulting in massive job losses. By the latter part of 2010, China was reversing some of its economic liberalization initiatives, with state-owned companies buying up independent businesses in the steel, auto and energy industries.
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 the IMF, the PRC's annual average GDP growth between 2001 and 2010 was 10.5%, the Chinese economy is predicted to grow at an average annual rate of 9.5% between 2011 and 2015.Between 2007 and 2011, China's economic growth rate was equivalent to all of the G7 countries' growth combined. According to the Global Growth Generators index announced by Citigroup in February 2011, China has a very high 3G growth rating. As of 2010, China has the world's second-largest nominal GDP, at 39.8 trillion yuan (US$6.05 trillion), although its GDP per capita of US$4,300 puts the PRC behind ninety countries(out of 183 countries on the IMF list) in global GDP per capita rankings. China's primary, secondary, and tertiary industries contributed 10.6%, 46.8%, and 42.6% respectively to its total GDP in 2009. If PPP is taken into account, the PRC's economy is again second only to the US, at $10.085 trillion, corresponding to $7,518 per capita.
The PRC is the fourth-most-visited country in the world, with 50.9 million inbound international visitors in 2009. It is a member of the WTO and is the world's second-largest trading power behind the US, with a total international trade value of US$2.21 trillion–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, an increase of 18.7% over the previous year, making its reserves by far the world's largest. The PRC owns an estimated $1.6 trillion of US securities. The PRC, holding US$1.16 trillion in US Treasury bonds, is the largest foreign holder of US public debt. China is the world's third-largest recipient of inward FDI, attracting US$92.4 billion in 2008 alone, and China increasingly invests abroad, with a total outward FDI of US$52.2 billion in 2008 making it the world's sixth-largest outward investor. In 2010, China's inward FDI was $106 billion, marking a 16% increase over 2009.
A graph comparing the 2011 GDPs of major economies, according to IMF data.
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 a possibly undervalued exchange rate. The latter has been sometimes blamed for the PRC's huge 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 having risen in value by 20% against the US dollar since 2005.
The state still dominates in strategic "pillar" industries (such as energy and heavy industries), but private enterprise (composed of around 30 million private businesses) has expanded enormously; in 2005, it accounted for anywhere between 33% to 70% of national GDP, while the OECD estimate for that year was over 50% of China's national output, up from 1% in 1978. Its stock market in Shanghai, the SSE, has raised record amounts of IPOs and its benchmark Shanghai Composite index has doubled since 2005. SSE's market capitalization reached US$3 trillion in 2007, making it the world's fifth-largest stock exchange.
China now ranks 29th in the Global Competitiveness Index, although it is only ranked 135th among the 179 countries measured in the Index of Economic Freedom. 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, third-ranked Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (the world's most valuable bank), fifth-ranked China Mobile (the world's most valuable telecommunications company) and seventh-ranked China Construction Bank.
Although a middle-income country by Western standards, the PRC's rapid growth has pulled hundreds of millions of its people out of poverty since 1978. Today, about 10% of the Chinese population live below the poverty line of US$1 per day (down from 64% in 1978), while life expectancy has increased to 73 years. More than 93% of the population is literate, compared to only 20% in 1950. Urban unemployment in China reportedly declined to 4% by the end of 2007, although true overall unemployment may be as high as 10%.
China's middle-class population (defined as those with annual income of at least US$17,000) has reached more than 100 million as of 2011, 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. Based on the Hurun rich list, the number of US dollar billionaires in China doubled from 130 in 2009 to 271 in 2010, giving China the world's second-highest number of billionaires. China's retail market was worth RMB 8.9 trillion (US$1.302 trillion) in 2007, and is growing at 16.8% annually. China is also now the world's second-largest consumer of luxury goods behind Japan, with 27.5% of the global share.
The PRC's growth has been uneven, with some geographic regions growing faster than others, and a pronounced urban-rural income gap contributing to a national Gini coefficient of 46.9%. Development has been mainly concentrated in the heavily urbanised eastern coastal regions, while the remainder of the country has lagged behind. To counter this, the government has promoted development in the western, northeastern, and central regions of China.
In recent years, China's rapid economic growth has contributed to severe consumer inflation, causing the prices of basic goods to rise steeply. Food prices in China increased by over 21% in the first four months of 2008 alone. To curb inflation and moderate rising property prices, the Chinese government has instituted a number of fiscal regulations and amendments, raising interest rates and imposing limits on bank loans. In September 2011, consumer prices rose by 6.1% compared to a year earlier, marking a reduction in inflation from the peak of 6.5% in July 2011. A side-effect of increased economic regulation was a slowdown in overall growth - China's quarterly GDP growth fell to 9.1% in October 2011, down from 9.5% in the previous quarter.
The Chinese economy is highly energy-intensive and inefficient—on average, industrial processes in China use 20%–100% more energy than similar ones in OECD countries. China became the world's largest energy consumer in 2010, but still relies on coal to supply about 70% of its energy needs. Coupled with lax environmental regulations, this has led to massive water and air pollution, leaving China with 20 of the world's 30 most polluted cities. Consequently, the government has promised to use more renewable energy, planning to make renewables constitute 30% of China's total energy production by 2050. In 2010, China became the largest wind energy provider in the world, with a total installed wind power capacity of 41.8 GW. In January 2011, Russia began scheduled oil shipments to China, pumping 300,000 barrels of oil per day via the Eastern Siberia – Pacific Ocean oil pipeline.
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