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China Embassies Worldwide Mon - May, 20 2024

Chinese Embassies and Consulates worldwide

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The People's Republic of China (PRC), commonly known as China (pinyin: Zhonghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó), is the largest country in East Asia, with a smaller proportion of its area located in Central Asia. Due to its huge and stable population, its rapidly growing economy, its large research and development investments and military spending, and other capabilities, the PRC is often considered by analysts and commentators as an emerging superpower.

At over 3.7 million square miles (over 9.5 million km²), the PRC is the third or fourth largest country by area. The PRC's landscape is extremely varied with largely desert on the north and humid and mountainous on the east and largely dry and arid on the western part of the country. It is also the world's most populous nation, with over 1.3 billion citizens. The present-day location of PRC was the birthplace of the Chinese civilization that dates back to at least 18th century BC. The PRC was officially founded as a state on October 1, 1949 in Beijing, its capital, during the closing stages of the Chinese Civil War.

The PRC is currently the world's fourth largest economy and second largest at purchasing power parity, third largest exporter and importer, consumes a third of the world's steel and almost half of the world's concrete, and represents China as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and APEC. China is the largest trading partner of every country in East Asia.

Around the time it was officially founded, the Republic of China (ROC), retreated to the island of Taiwan, where it currently remains. Since then, the People's Republic of China (PRC) has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan and some nearby islands, which are administered by the ROC, and asserts that the PRC has supplanted the ROC in its legitimacy to govern all of China. The ROC rejects these claims, and administers itself as a sovereign country with a democratically elected government and president. Until 1991, the ROC also claimed to be the sole leader of all of China, as well as Mongolia. The term "mainland China" is sometimes used to denote the area under PRC rule, but usually excludes the two Special Administrative Regions: Hong Kong and Macau. The Communist Party of China (CPC) has led the PRC under a one-party system since the country's establishment in 1949. Despite this, nearly half of the PRC's economy has been privatized in the past three decades under "Socialism with Chinese characteristics."

Market-based economic reforms started since 1978 helped lift millions of people out of poverty, bringing the poverty rate down from 53% of population in 1981 to 8% by 2001. Today, China is the world's largest producer of steel and concrete, and consumes a third of the world's steel, over half of the world's concrete, and is the second largest importer and consumer of world oil.

However, due to this mixing of market and planned economies, the PRC is faced with a number of problems associated with each, including unemployment and an increasing rural/urban income gap. Despite these shortcomings, greater prosperity has led to growing Chinese influence in global, economic, political, military, scientific, technological, and cultural affairs.

Geography and climate

China is composed of a vast variety of highly different landscapes, with mostly plateaus and mountains in the west, and lower lands in the east. Principal rivers flow from west to east, including the Yangtze (central), the Huang He (Yellow river, north-central), and the Amur (northeast), and sometimes toward the south (including the Pearl River, Mekong River, and Brahmaputra), with most Chinese rivers emptying into the Pacific Ocean.

In the east, along the shores of the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea there are extensive and densely populated alluvial plains. On the edges of the Inner Mongolian plateau in the north, grasslands can be seen. Southern China is dominated by hills and low mountain ranges. In the central-east are the deltas of China's two major rivers, the Huang He and Yangtze River (Chang Jiang). Most of China's arable lands lie along these rivers; they were the centers of China's major ancient civilizations. Other major rivers include the Pearl River, Mekong, Brahmaputra and Amur. Yunnan Province is considered a part of the Greater Mekong Subregion, which also includes Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

In the west, the north has a great alluvial plain, and the south has a vast calcareous tableland traversed by hill ranges of moderate elevation, and the Himalayas, containing Earth's highest point, Mount Everest. The northwest also has high plateaus with more arid desert landscapes such as the Takla-Makan and the Gobi Desert, which has been expanding. During many dynasties, the southwestern border of China has been the high mountains and deep valleys of Yunnan, which separate modern China from Burma, Laos and Vietnam.

The Paleozoic formations of China, excepting only the upper part of the Carboniferous system, are marine, while the Mesozoic and Tertiary deposits are estuarine and freshwater or else of terrestrial origin. Groups of volcanic cones occur in the Great Plain of north China. In the Liaodong and Shandong Peninsulas, there are basaltic plateaus.

The climate of China varies greatly. The northern zone (containing Beijing) has summer daytime temperatures of more 30 degrees and winters of Arctic severity. The central zone (containing Shanghai) has a temperate continental climate with very hot summers and cold winters. The southern zone (containing Guangzhou) has a subtropical climate with very hot summers and mild winters.

Due to a prolonged drought and poor agricultural practices, dust storms have become usual in the spring in China. Dust has blown to southern China and Taiwan, and has even reached the West Coast of the United States. Water, erosion, and pollution control have become important issues in China's relations with other countries.

Info from http://en.wikipedia.org/

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