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What is the form of government in China?
China, which is technically called the People’s Republic of China, is a one-party Communist state. Its political structure today is unprecedented and quite complex, but most organizations and ways of life in China are generally subject to strict government control. Traditionally, the nation of China was a bureaucratic monarchy ruled by a single emperor, with various dynasties stretching back thousands of years to the dawn of recorded history. After a period of significant unrest and intervention by foreign powers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, China erupted in a civil war that eventually led to the current Communist government. The country is emerging as an economic powerhouse, and there is much speculation that it might gain world dominance in the coming decades.

What is the capital of China?
China’s capital is Beijing. With a population of more than twelve million people, Beijing is China’s second most populated city after Shanghai, which is home to greater than sixteen million people. Beijing is an ancient city, regarded as China’s cultural center, which played host to the Summer Olympics in 2008.

What is the total population of China?
China is home to more than 1.3 billion people, which is the greatest number of citizens out of any country on Earth. China’s population is incredibly ethnically, culturally, and economically diverse. There is a widening gap between the lifestyles of rural Chinese and of urban Chinese, a demographic that is growing to be nearly half of the population.

How big is China?
A huge country, China covers an area of roughly 9.5 million square kilometers (or about 3.67 million square miles), nearly matching the size of the United States in terms of land mass. China is known for having a highly varied and unique topography, along with rich natural beauty, although the latter is increasingly threatened by pollution and development.

What countries border China?
China borders a large number of countries: Afghanistan, Bhutan, Myanmar (Burma), India, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Kyrgyzstan,
Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia (in two places), Tajikistan, and Vietnam. It also borders two semi-autonomous territories, Hong Kong and Macau. Mainland China is also less than a day’s travel from Japan, and the two countries have a lengthy history.

How old is China?
China is home to one of the world’s first human civilizations, one so old that its true age has yet to be determined. The oldest written records date back roughly 4,000 years, but it is likely that there were even earlier societies living in the area. What we now call China became a unified state in 221 B.C. under the so-called First Emperor, Qin Shi Huang, who started the system of dynastic rule that would last all the way up until the twentieth century.

What languages are spoken in China?
China is known for having hundreds of languages, most of which have so much variation that a fluent speaker of one Chinese language might not be able to understand anything in a different one, even if the two languages are closely related. In an effort to promote a common language that can be used for interregional communication, the People’s Republic of China has encouraged all of its citizens to have at least a basic grounding in a standardized form of Mandarin (or Putonghua). Another common form is Cantonese, which is the primary language spoken in Hong Kong. Officially, the People’s Republic of China also encourages the use of less widespread languages in the areas to which they are indigenous (e.g. Tibetan in Tibet, Mongolian in Inner Mongolia, and so on). English is by far the foreign language that is most often learned by Chinese citizens.

What is the national religion in China?
The government of China is officially atheist, and religious practices are generally allowed but often controlled by the state (with some instances of outright oppression). Measuring the number of adherents of any given religion is difficult in China, especially due to the fact that many Chinese ascribe to more than one religious tradition at the same time. The most widespread organized religions, however, are Buddhism and Taoism. Confucianism, which has some religious aspects, also forms the basis of much of their society.

What is Confucianism?
Confucianism refers to a set of ethical beliefs espoused by the famous Chinese philosopher, Confucius, who lived between the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. Confucian thought is very complicated and defies easy explanation, but it is centered around the idea that a person can attain moral perfection through constant introspection and a strong sense of duty towards family and society. The original teachings have been expanded and elaborated on by countless generations of Chinese thinkers, and these ideas infuse their entire culture.