About China

China, officially the People's Republic of China (PR China or PRC), is a unitary sovereign state in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometers (3.7 million square miles), it is the world's second-largest state by land area and third- or fourth-largest by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, it exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing) and the Special Administrative Regions Hong Kong and Macau, also claiming sovereignty over Taiwan. China is a great power and a major regional power within Asia, and has been characterized as a potential superpower.

China emerged as one of the world's earliest civilizations in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. For millennia, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies, or dynasties, beginning with the semi-legendary Xia dynasty. Since then, China has expanded, fractured, and re-unified numerous times. In 1912, the Republic of China (ROC) replaced the last dynasty and ruled the Chinese mainland until 1949, when it was defeated by the communist People's Liberation Army in the Chinese Civil War. The Communist Party established the People's Republic of China in Beijing on 1 October 1949, while the ROC government retreated to Taiwan with its present de facto capital in Taipei. Both the ROC and PRC continue to claim to be the legitimate government of all China, though the latter has more recognition in the world and controls more territory.

Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China's economy has been one of the world's fastest-growing. As of 2016, it is the world's second-largest economy by nominal GDP and largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). China is also the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army and second-largest defense budget. The PRC is a member of the United Nations, as it replaced the ROC as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council in 1971. China is also a member of numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, including the WTO, APEC, BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the BCIM and the G20.

Capital Beijing
Largest city Shanghai
Official language and national language Mandarin , Putonghua, Guoyu, Huayu
Area 9,596,961 km2 (3,705,407 sq mi)
Total Water (%) 1.3/td>
Population 1,403,500,365
Currency TRenminbi (yuan) (CNY)
Time zone China Standard Time (UTC+8)
Country Code +86

The Do’s and Don’ts of Traveling to China

DO’s

• Address grownups by an honorific title (family relationship or e.g. 'teacher': laoshi) or by the family name plus Mr. (xiansheng), Ms. (nvshi).

• A handshake is the most common form of non-verbal greeting, or just a nod, though neither is necessary.

• The oldest person is always greeted first as a sign of respect.

• When drinking a toast – tap the table twice, and stand up if it's more formal.

• At a banquet or on formal occasions, it’s polite to sample all the dishes, and at the end of the meal you should leave a little on the plate to demonstrate the generosity of the host.

• Bones and other inedibles: Do not put spit bones in your bowl or elsewhere. Use a tissue or hand to place them in the small plate provided — or observe how others deal with them.

• Chopsticks: Under no circumstances should chopsticks be placed upright in your bowl. This symbolizes death. Nor should you tap your bowl with chopsticks.

• Present and receive things with both hands.

• Chinese people usually do not unwrap gifts when receiving them. It is considered polite in Chinese culture to open the gifts after you leave. When you receive a gift from Chinese people, do not open them unless they insist, or you may simply ask, "Can I open it?"

• When wrapping gifts, avoid using white or black wrapping paper, and avoid wrapping elaborately. Consider red or other festive colors

• Even numbers are considered good luck, with number four being the exception. It is appropriate to send one gift or send them in pairs.

• It is inappropriate to send a clock or things to do with four as a gift, because they associate with funeral and death. Scissors or sharp things are not proper either, since they symbolize severing relations.

• Small items like books, music CDs, perfumes, cigarettes and candies from your country are always well received.

In Mosques:

• Cover your arms to the elbow, and your legs above the knees as a minimum.

• Keep gender separation: Don't shake hands with the opposite gender.

• Wearing a scarf over the head is required for women.

DON’T

• Don't Disrespect Homes or Temples

• Don't Talk About Uncomfortable Topics

• Don't Expect Interpersonal Communications to Be the Same

• Don't Touch People

• Don't Stop Offering Gifts

• Don't Offend with Your Gift

• Don't Tip

• Don't Try To Pay When Hosted by Chinese

• Don't Forget Table Manners

• Don't Get Upset

Demographics

The national census of 2010 recorded the population of the People's Republic of China as approximately 1,370,536,875. About 16.60% of the population was 14 years old or younger, 70.14% were between 15 and 59 years old, and 13.26% were over 60 years old. The population growth rate for 2013 is estimated to be 0.46%.

Although a middle-income country by Western standards, China's rapid growth has pulled hundreds of millions of its people out of poverty since 1978. Today, about 10% of the Chinese population lives below the poverty line of US$1 per day, down from 64% in 1978. In 2014, the urban unemployment rate of China was about 4.1%.

With a population of around 1.4 billion and dwindling natural resources, the government of China is very concerned about its population growth rate and has attempted since 1979, with mixed results, to implement a strict family planning policy, known as the "one-child policy." Before 2013, this policy sought to restrict families to one child each, with exceptions for ethnic minorities and a degree of flexibility in rural areas. A major loosening of the policy was enacted in December 2013, allowing families to have two children if one parent is an only child. In 2016, the one-child policy was replaced in favor of a two-child policy. Data from the 2010 census implies that the total fertility rate may be around 1.4.

The policy, along with traditional preference for boys, may be contributing to an imbalance in the sex ratio at birth. According to the 2010 census, the sex ratio at birth was 118.06 boys for every 100 girls, which is beyond the normal range of around 105 boys for every 100 girls. The 2010 census found that males accounted for 51.27 percent of the total population. However, China's sex ratio is more balanced than it was in 1953, when males accounted for 51.82 percent of the total population.

Largest cities or towns

1. Shanghai 2. Beijing
3. Chongqing 4. Guangzhou
5. Shenzhen 6. Tianjin
7. Wuhan 8. Dongguan
9. Hong Kong 10. Foshan

Languages

There are as many as 292 living languages in China. The languages most commonly spoken belong to the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family, which contains Mandarin (spoken by 70% of the population), and other Chinese varieties: Yue (including Cantonese and Taishanese), Wu (including Shanghainese and Suzhounese), Min (including Fuzhounese, Hokkien and Teochew), Xiang, Gan and Hakka. Languages of the Tibeto-Burman branch, including Tibetan, Qiang, Naxi and Yi, are spoken across the Tibetan and Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau. Other ethnic minority languages in southwest China include Zhuang, Thai, Dong and Sui of the Tai-Kadai family, Miao and Yao of the Hmong–Mien family, and Wa of the Austroasiatic family. Across northeastern and northwestern China, minority ethnic groups speak Altaic languages including Manchu, Mongolian and several Turkic languages: Uyghur, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Salar and Western Yugur. Korean is spoken natively along the border with North Korea. Sarikoli, the language of Tajiks in western Xinjiang, is an Indo-European language. Taiwanese aborigines, including a small population on the mainland, speak Austronesia languages.

Standard Mandarin, a variety of Mandarin based on the Beijing dialect, is the official national language of China and is used as a lingua franca in the country between people of different linguistic backgrounds.

Chinese characters have been used as the written script for the Sinitic languages for thousands of years. They allow speakers of mutually unintelligible Chinese varieties to communicate with each other through writing. In 1956, the government introduced simplified characters, which have supplanted the older traditional characters in mainland China. Chinese characters are Romanized using the Pinyin system. Tibetan uses an alphabet based on an Indic script. Uyghur is most commonly written in a Perseo-Arabic script. The Mongolian script used in China and the Manchu script are both derived from the Old Uyghur alphabet. Zhuang uses both an official Latin alphabet script and a traditional Chinese character script.

Religion

• Chinese folk religion 74 %

• Buddhists (16 %)

• Christian (02 %)

• Muslims (1 %)

• Others (7%)

Culture

Since ancient times, Chinese culture has been heavily influenced by Confucianism and conservative philosophies. For much of the country's dynastic era, opportunities for social advancement could be provided by high performance in the prestigious imperial examinations, which have their origins in the Han Dynasty. The literary emphasis of the exams affected the general perception of cultural refinement in China, such as the belief that calligraphy, poetry and painting were higher forms of art than dancing or drama. Chinese culture has long emphasized a sense of deep history and a largely inward-looking national perspective. Examinations and a culture of merit remain greatly valued in China today.

The first leaders of the People's Republic of China were born into the traditional imperial order, 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 the Confucian system of education, while preserving others, such as the family structure and culture of obedience to the state. Some observers see the period following the establishment of the PRC in 1949 as a continuation of traditional Chinese dynastic history, while others claim that the Communist Party's rule has damaged the foundations of Chinese culture, especially through political movements such as the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, where many aspects of traditional culture were destroyed, having been denounced as "regressive and harmful" or "vestiges of feudalism". Many important aspects of traditional Chinese morals and culture, such as Confucianism, art, literature, and performing arts like Peking opera, were altered to conform to government policies and propaganda at the time. Access to foreign media remains heavily restricted.

Today, the Chinese government has accepted numerous elements of traditional Chinese culture as being integral to Chinese society. With the rise of Chinese nationalism and the end of the Cultural Revolution, various forms of traditional Chinese art, literature, music, film, fashion and architecture have seen a vigorous revival, and folk and variety art in particular have sparked interest nationally and even worldwide. China is now the third-most-visited country in the world, with 55.7 million inbound international visitors in 2010. It also experiences an enormous volume of domestic tourism; an estimated 740 million Chinese holidaymakers travelled within the country in October 2012 alone.

Festivals

Chinese festivals are an integral part of Chinese culture. Most of them are based on the Chinese lunar calendar, as these festivals have some thing to do with the farming life. While some others are connected with modern life based on solar calendar. Below is a list of the major Chinese festivals:

Chinese Spring Festival
Chinese Spring Festival is the grandest and most important festival in China. This traditional festival already has a history of more than 4,000 years. The festival begins on the first day of the first month of the traditional Chinese calendar and ends with Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day of the same month. It is the time for the whole families to get together and enjoy delicious foods and happy times, a similar one like Christmas holiday to the westerners.

Mid-Autumn Festival
Mid-Autumn Festival is a traditional Chinese holiday that originates from the worship of the moon. It falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month and symbolizes harvest and family reunion. Traditionally, it is a time spent with family members, similar to Thanksgiving Day. Family members will get together and enjoy the full moon (auspicious symbol of harmony and luck) and eat delicious mooncakes.

Yuanxiao Festival
The traditional Lantern Festival, or Yuan Xiao Festival, falls on the 15th day of the first lunar month, marking the end of the Chinese Spring Festival. The main activity on the Lantern Festival is to enjoy beautiful lanterns of different sizes and shapes at night, another important part is eating Yuanxiao, small dumpling balls made of glutinous rice flour.

Duanwu Festival
Duanwu Festival, or the Dragon Boat Festival, falls on the fifth day of the fifth Chinese lunar month. This day people will celebrate it through dragon-boat races, especially in China’s southern areas, another important thing is to eat Zong Zi (glutinous rice wrapped with reed leaves).

The National Day of China
The National Day of China is celebrated every year on October 1st. The National Day is celebrated throughout mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau with a variety of government-organized activities including fireworks and concerts. This is also the first day of the 7 days national holiday. Many people will travel during the holiday.

Qingming Festival
Qingming Festival, also known as Tomb Sweeping Day in English, falls on one day between April 4 and 6 each year. This is the most important day for offering sacrifices. Both the Han and minority ethnic groups offer sacrifices to their ancestors and sweep the tombs of the deceased.

Yuandan Festival
The New Year’s Day is a grand festival worldwide, China is no exception. In China they call it Yuandan Festival, “Yuan” means “at the beginning”. “Dan” means “day”, so joined together the words mean “first day of a year.” Chinese celebrate the New Year like people all over the world. All kinds of festive programs are broadcast on TV, many companies and institutions hold parties, bringing everyone into the jubilant atmosphere of the festival.

Chongyang Festival
The Chongyang Festival is celebrated on the ninth day of the ninth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, so it is also called the Double Ninth Festival. During the festival, People will eat Chongyang cake and drink chrysanthemum wine, Some people choose to climb mountains or admire beautiful chrysanthemums.

Labor Day
International Workers’ Day or May Day is a international holiday celebrated in more than 80 countries in the world. It is the common festival for working people around the world. In China the Central People’s Government Council formally designated May 1st as Chinese Labor day on December 1949. This day many forms of entertainment are held in parks, public squares or theaters. In the evening, parties are held by governments at all levels and some model laborers are invited to enjoy programs.

Qixi Festival
Qixi Festival falls on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month on the lunar calendar. Traditionally girls demonstrate their handicrafts and make wishes for a good husband. This traditional holiday has been recently called China’s Valentine’s Day, young lovers prefer to go shopping and boys send flowers to girls.

Climate

China's climate is mainly dominated by dry seasons and wet monsoons, which lead to pronounced temperature differences between winter and summer. In the winter, northern winds coming from high-latitude areas are cold and dry; in summer, southern winds from coastal areas at lower latitudes are warm and moist. The climate in China differs from region to region because of the country's highly complex topography.

A major environmental issue in China is the continued expansion of its deserts, particularly the Gobi 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. China's environmental watchdog, SEPA, stated in 2007 that China is losing 4,000 km2 (1,500 sq mi) 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.

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