China is made of a large part of East Asia. The country shares its border with 14 different countries; they are Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Vietnam.
Recognised as the oldest major civilisation on the planet, China was regarded as the most advanced society in the sciences and arts up until the industrial revolution of the 19th century. During this period, and up until the late 20th century China declined as Civil War, famine and imperialism struck a blow to the countries progression.
First records of civilisation in China reach back to the Bronze ages with the Xia dynasty. From 2000 BC to 1911, the state was under dynastic rule. The longest ruling dynasties included the Shang, Zhou, Tang, Ming, and Qing. In 1912 China turned from its steep history to become a republic. Unrest soon followed and the country found itself in Civil War.
The Chinese Civil War or the "War of Liberation" as it is more regularly known hampered the advancements of the state while the rest of the world took huge leaps forward in technology and economics. Declared in 1927 the war was between the Kuomintang (KMT, Chinese National Party) and the Communist Party of China (CPC). Violent combat died down in 1949 after two separate states emerged, "The Peoples Republic of China" which controlled the mainland of China and "The Republic of China" (today known as Taiwan) which controlled many of the outer islands.
Since mainland China became "The Peoples Republic of China" in 1949 under the leadership of Mao Zedong the country was turned into a communist state. "The Great Leap Forward", a scheme which aimed to turn China into a modern communist society when Mao took power failed to change the country for the better. It is said that the process caused up to 36 million deaths by the time it ended in the 1970's. China went through major reform in 1978 with Mao's successor Deng Xiaoping focusing China on developing the economy and industry. By the year 2000 China had increased its economy by four times.
Today China still stands as a communist state but also now is one of the world's major super powers commanding one of the world's greatest economies, and manufacturing industries. The country also has the world's largest population with an estimated 1.33 billion people residing within the borders.
The most common language spoken in China is Mandarin. With English it is the most commonly spoken dialect in the world. Other languages spoken are Cantonese, Fuzhou, Shanghainese, and Hokken-Taiwanese.
Geographically China is a mixed bag with high plateaus, mountains and deserts in the western regions, while in the Eastern regions the landscape is more of plains, hills and deltas. Most of the country's major rivers flow from West to East an empty in the Pacific Ocean.
Due to the vast size of the China weather and climate conditions are different depending on the area. In the northern zones during the summer temperatures can reach around 30's degrees Celsius, while in the winter temperatures can hit extreme lows of arctic proportion. Central China has less extreme winters yet hotter summers, while the South has tropical summers and mild winters.
The country has large reserves of iron ore, petroleum, natural gas, coal, tin, mercury, tungsten, antimony, manganese, molybdenum, magnetite, vanadium, aluminium, lead, zinc, uranium and has Earth's greatest hydropower potential.
Latest China News
Rome - Former Italian national squad coach Marcello Lippi has denied a report he had signed a contract with China champions Guangzhou Evergrande.
Phnom Penh - The 10 members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) remained divided Tuesday over how best to deal with a long-running dispute with Beijing over parts of the South China Sea.
Sydney - Australian officials Wednesday defended a decision to bar Chinese telecommunications company Huawei Technologies Co Ltd from bidding on national broadband network contracts.
Beijing - International envoy Kofi Annan welcomed Syria's 'positive' response Tuesday to his six-point plan to end conflict in the country, after Damascus said it accepted his proposal.
Beijing - Syria's government has told international envoy Kofi Annan that it accepts his six-point plan to end conflict in the country, Annan's spokesman said during talks in Beijing on Tuesday.
New York - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may have to leave 'in the end' as part of a settlement of the year-old conflict in the country, the United Nations-Arab League envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan, said Monday in Moscow.
New Delhi - A Tibetan exile set fire to himself in New Delhi during a protest Monday against Chinese President Hu Jintao's upcoming visit, officials said.
Hong Kong - Hackers have attacked a university computer system to stop people voting in a mock election for Hong Kong's next chief executive, organizers of the poll said Friday.
Hong Kong - Beijing has begun lobbying for candidate Leung Chun-ying ahead of the election for Hong Kong's next leader, politicians said Wednesday.
Beijing/Brussels/Washington - The European Union, United States and Japan on Tuesday filed a new challenge before the World Trade Organization (WTO) over China's restrictions on trade in the rare earth elements key to the production of electronic and other goods.
New Delhi - The hardline policies of the Chinese government were responsible for the spate of self-immolations in Tibet, Lobsang Sangay, head of the Tibetan government-in-exile, said Saturday.
Hong Kong - Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang Tuesday insisted he had the 'wholehearted support' of China's leaders after admitting taking trips of luxury yachts and private planes with tycoons.
Beijing - Chinese President Hu Jintao congratulated Vladimir Putin on his victory in the Russian presidential election, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
New Delhi - India and China Thursday held talks that centred on an upcoming summit of five major developing nations as well as contentious bilateral issues, officials said.
New Delhi - Tibetan exiles Thursday staged a protest outside the venue of the ministerial talks between India and China in New Delhi.
Hanoi - Vietnam on Thursday accused China of assaulting and robbing its fishermen near the contested Paracel Islands.
New York - China on Wednesday voiced support Wednesday for international efforts to settle the year-old conflict in Syria as Western powers discussed a new draft resolution providing relief assistance to Syrians caught in the violence.
Taipei - Taiwan's defence ministry said Wednesday that it had detained an air force captain on suspicion of spying for China.
Kathmandu - Trafficking of turtles to China from Nepal is on the rise, media reports said Tuesday.
New Delhi - India's Defence Minister AK Antony Monday reacted sharply to Chinese objections to his visit to a disputed Himalayan border region, triggering new tensions between the Asian powers over their contentious borders.
Beijing - China wants any new funds for the European Union debt crisis to be channeled mainly through the International Monetary Fund, an IMF official said before this weekend's meeting of finance ministers in Mexico City.
San Francisco - Apple's trademark troubles over the iPad name have spread from China to the United States.
New York - China should find a humanitarian solution to assist the group of 25 North Koreans it arrested this month and not deport them back to their country, the UN refugee agency said Friday.
Hong Kong - A group of angry passengers from Shanghai staged a four-hour sit-in on a plane after it landed in Hong Kong 18 hours late, the South China Morning Post said Friday.
Vientiane - Chinese investment in Laos reached 731.5 million dollars last year, making China the leading investor in the communist country, a state-run newspaper said Thursday.
Sofia - Chinese carmaker Great Wall Motor on Tuesday inaugurated a production plant in Bulgaria, where it aims to produce some 4,000 cars annually.
Taipei - Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group said Tuesday that its decision to increase wages for factory workers in China was made before auditors arrived to observe manufacturing and labour practices.
Hong Kong - New mother Mrs Jiang has just made one of the biggest single investments of her life so far.
Stockholm - Chinese group Youngman has placed a revised bid for bankrupt Swedish carmaker Saab, according to daily Svenska Dagbladet Monday.
Los Angeles - He was hosted at the White House, got a 19-gun salute at the Pentagon and sealed a massive soybean deal in Iowa.
Los Angeles - Dreamworks Animation, the studio behind Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and other animated blockbusters, announced a 330-million-dollar joint venture Friday with three Chinese media companies aimed at producing original Chinese animated and live action content.
New Delhi - Tibetan exiles were detained by police Thursday during a protest outside the Chinese embassy in New Delhi, officials said.
Washington - Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping met early Wednesday with top lawmakers in the US Congress and was due to head to the Midwestern state of Iowa, where he spent time more than 25 years ago on an exchange programme as a low-level official.
Hong Kong - A bank was urged to apologize Wednesday for the chaos created in Hong Kong as people scrambled to buy commemorative bank notes that have changed hands for up to 10 times their value.
Wellington - A New Zealand judge on Wednesday ordered government ministers to reconsider their approval of the sale of 16 farms to a Chinese conglomerate.
Washington - Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping spent Valentine's Day at the White House, but the visit was likely far from a love fest despite each sides' effort to woo the other.
Washington - US exports to China grew from 19 billion dollars in 2001 to 92 billion dollars in 2010. US imports from China grew from 102 billion dollars in 2001 to 365 billion dollars in 2010.
Washington - US President Barack Obama stressed the need for Beijing to follow the same trade rules as the rest of the world as he welcomed Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping to the White House Tuesday.
Washington - Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping began a series of meetings with US officials in Washington Tuesday with talks with US Vice President Joe Biden at the White House.
Hong Kong - Police in Macau arrested 16 people over an elaborate scam in which gamblers lost millions of dollars in bogus casinos set up in luxury hotel suites, a news report said Tuesday.
Hong Kong - A woman was jailed for 10 months for helping so-called maternity tourists from mainland China cross the border to give birth in Hong Kong, the government said Tuesday.
Washington - Tibet activists climbed a major bridge in the US capital to unfurl a protest banner the day China's future president arrived in Washington on a week-long jaunt through the United States.
San Francisco/Beijing - Shares of Apple crossed the 500-dollar barrier for the first time Monday as the company launched a probe of reported labour exploitation at its factories in China.
Tehran - Iran is ready to hold nuclear talks with world powers but will not tolerate undue pressure from them, Iran's chief negotiator said Monday after holding talks with China's deputy foreign minister, Ma Zhaoxu.
Hong Kong - More than 7,000 people were Monday backing an online campaign against a scheme which will allow 50 mainland Chinese cars a day to cross the border and drive on Hong Kong roads.
Tehran - Iranian officials on Sunday started talks with a visiting Chinese envoy over Tehran's nuclear dispute with the West, ISNA news agency reported.
Beijing - China plans to send an envoy to Iran next week to promote multilateral talks on Iran's nuclear programme, the Foreign Ministry said Friday.
New York - China and Russia have continued to transfer arms and munitions to Sudan, fueling the ethnic conflict in Darfur and violating the UN arms embargo against the country, Amnesty International said Thursday.
Beijing - China was planning a diplomatic offensive to address the crisis in Syria, the government said Tuesday, one day after it defended its veto of a UN Security Council resolution.
Beijing - Sudanese rebels have released 29 Chinese workers who were kidnapped on January 28 in the South Kordofan area, Chinese state media said on Tuesday.
Beijing - Sudanese rebels have released 29 Chinese workers who were kidnapped on January 28 in Sudan's South Kordofan area, Chinese state media said on Tuesday.
Beijing - China on Tuesday confirmed the death of a worker missing since an attack by Sudanese rebels and said 29 other kidnapped Chinese citizens remained in captivity.
Hong Kong - Chinese mothers who travel to Hong Kong to give birth to a second child are being fined on their return for breaching Beijing's one-child policy, a radio report said Tuesday.
Beijing - China on Monday defended its decision to join Russia in vetoing a UN Security Council resolution on Syria, a move that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called a 'travesty.'
Beijing - State media on Monday defended China's decision to join Russia in vetoing a United Nations Security Council resolution on Syria, a move that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called a 'travesty.'
Kampala - Uganda gave a long-awaited go ahead to Anglo-Irish concern Tullow on Friday, allowing the company to sell 2.9 billion dollars in assets to France's Total and China's CNOOC.
Bangkok - Thailand is to buy 900,000 tablet computers worth 2 billion baht (64.5 million dollars) from China for its primary school students, a news report said Friday.
Hanover, Germany - Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao is to visit Germany in April to jointly open the annual Hanover Fair with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the organizers of the trade expo said Thursday.
Brussels - Four Chinese shoe manufacturers won an appeal Thursday against European Union import duties on their products, allowing them to claim back the money paid over the past five years.
Hong Kong - A group of Hong Kong residents Wednesday took out a newspaper advertisement calling mainland Chinese visitors 'locusts' in an escalating cross-border war of words.
Beijing - Egyptian Bedouin have freed 25 Chinese workers who were taken hostage in the central Sinai peninsula, Chinese state media quoted Chinese embassy officials as saying on Wednesday.
Geneva/Beijing - Western countries have just won a trade dispute over Chinese export restrictions on industrial raw materials, but they have already set their sights on a new goal: prying open Beijing's restrictive policies on rare earths.
Moscow/Beijing - The packaging is different but the message is the same: the Russian bear and the Chinese dragon have little appetite for use of force in Syria - and any United Nations Security Council resolution to that effect will be vetoed.
Al-Arish, Egypt - Around 25 Chinese workers were taken hostage Tuesday in central Sinai by Egyptian Bedouins who were demanding the release of their relatives from prison, witnesses told dpa.
Berlin - The Federation of German Industries (BDI) urged China on Tuesday to promptly lift restrictions on the export of important raw materials after losing a case before the World Trade Organization (WTO).
San Francisco - Faux news anchor Jon Stewart was having a spot of modern existential angst on a recent episode.
Geneva - China lost a dispute over its export restrictions on key raw materials at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Monday, as the body upheld a ruling that could give other countries greater access to rare commodities.
Geneva - China lost a dispute over its export restrictions on key raw materials at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on Monday, as the body upheld its ruling overall, effectively telling Beijing to allow more shipments to supply European and North American industries.
Johannesburg - Sudanese troops have freed 14 of 29 Chinese workers taken hostage by a rebel group over the weekend in the volatile state of South Kordofan, a top official announced on Monday.
Beijing - Rebels in Sudan's South Kordofan area have seized more than 20 Chinese employees of a road construction company, China's Foreign Ministry and state media reported Sunday.
Wellington - The New Zealand government announced Friday that it had approved the controversial sale of 16 farms to a Chinese conglomerate, Shanghai Pengxin Group Ltd, which has pledged a multi-million dollar investment to develop dairy products for exports to China.
Washington - US President Barack Obama on Tuesday said his administration would create a Trade Enforcement Unit to investigate unfair practices by countries like China.
Cairo - Freedom of expression, association, religion and other human rights suffered in China in 2011, even as the country enjoyed strong economic growth and modernization, stated Human Rights Watch in its annual World Report Sunday.
Sydney- Security agencies are increasingly wary of Chinese investors in Australia and possible risks to national security, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Saturday.
Hanoi - Vietnam on Friday protested an annual fishing ban announced by China last week, claiming the move threatens the country's territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Ruili, China - Representatives from the Myanmar government and ethnic Kachin rebels failed to reach a peace agreement Thursday, but both sides vowed to pursue further negotiations.
Ruili, China - 'Tough' talks aimed at bringing peace between the Myanmar military and ethnic Kachin rebels entered a second day Thursday.
Ruili, China - 'Tough' talks aimed at bringing peace between the Myanmar military and ethnic Kachin rebels entered a second day Thursday.
Ruili, China - The Myanmar government began peace talks Wednesday seeking to end several months of military clashes with ethnic Kachin rebels in the northern part of the country.