Across China- Across Asia
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China -  A diverse land, with a diverse people and a diverse history.

For centuries China stood as a leading civilization, outpacing the rest of the world in the arts and sciences. But in the 19th and early 20th centuries, China was beset by civil unrest, major famines, military defeats, and foreign occupation. After World War II, the Communists under MAO Zedong established a dictatorship that, while ensuring China's sovereignty, imposed strict controls over everyday life and cost the lives of tens of millions of people.

General Info:  After 1978, his successor DENG Xiaoping gradually introduced market-oriented reforms and decentralized economic decision making. Output quadrupled by 2000. Political controls remain tight while economic controls continue to be relaxed.


land: 9,326,410 sq km .   slightly smaller than the US

extremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in north
Population: China flag

1,298,847,624 (July 2004 est.)

Age Structure:

0-14 years: 22.3% (male 153,401,051; female 135,812,993)
15-64 years: 70.3% (male 469,328,664; female 443,248,860)
65 years and over: 7.5% (male 46,308,923; female 50,747,133) (2004 est.)

Religious affiliation:

Daoist (Taoist), Buddhist, Muslim 1%-2%, Christian 3%-4%
note: officially atheist (2002 est.)

Ethnic Groups:China map

Han Chinese 91.9%,

Zhuang, Uygur, Hui, Yi, Tibetan, Miao, Manchu, Mongol, Buyi, Korean, and other nationalities 8.1%


Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghaiese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages (see Ethnic groups entry)

In late 1978 the Chinese leadership began moving the economy from a sluggish, inefficient, Soviet-style centrally planned economy to a more market-oriented system. Whereas the system operates within a political framework of strict Communist control, the economic influence of non-state organizations and individual citizens has been steadily increasing. The authorities switched to a system of household and village responsibility in agriculture in place of the old collectivization, increased the authority of local officials and plant managers in industry, permitted a wide variety of small-scale enterprises in services and light manufacturing, and opened the economy to increased foreign trade and investment. The result has been a quadrupling of GDP since 1978.

Measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis, China in 2003 stood as the second-largest economy in the world after the US, although in per capita terms the country is still poor. Agriculture and industry have posted major gains especially in coastal areas near Hong Kong, opposite Taiwan, and in Shanghai, where foreign investment has helped spur output of both domestic and export goods. The leadership, however, often has experienced - as a result of its hybrid system - the worst results of socialism (bureaucracy and lassitude) and of capitalism (growing income disparities and rising unemployment).
China thus has periodically backtracked, retightening central controls at intervals.

The government has struggled to (a) sustain adequate jobs growth for tens of millions of workers laid off from state-owned enterprises, migrants, and new entrants to the work force; (b) reduce corruption and other economic crimes; and (c) keep afloat the large state-owned enterprises, many of which had been shielded from competition by subsidies and had been losing the ability to pay full wages and pensions. From 80 to 120 million surplus rural workers are adrift between the villages and the cities, many subsisting through part-time, low-paying jobs. Popular resistance, changes in central policy, and loss of authority by rural cadres have weakened China's population control program, which is essential to maintaining long-term growth in living standards.

Another long-term threat to growth is the deterioration in the environment, notably air pollution, soil erosion, and the steady fall of the water table especially in the north. China continues to lose arable land because of erosion and economic development. Beijing says it will intensify efforts to stimulate growth through spending on infrastructure - such as water supply and power grids - and poverty relief and through rural tax reform.

Accession to the World Trade Organization helps strengthen its ability to maintain strong growth rates but at the same time puts additional pressure on the hybrid system of strong political controls and growing market influences. China has benefited from a huge expansion in computer internet use. Foreign investment remains a strong element in China's remarkable economic growth. Growing shortages of electric power and raw materials will hold back the expansion of industrial output.

Labor force by occupation:
agriculture 50%, industry 22%, services 28% (2001 est.)
iron and steel, coal, machine building, armaments, textiles and apparel, petroleum, cement, chemical fertilizers, footwear, toys, food processing, automobiles, consumer electronics, telecommunications
Natural Hazzards:
frequent typhoons (about five per year along southern and eastern coasts); damaging floods; tsunamis; earthquakes; droughts; land subsidence
Natural Resources:
coal, iron ore, petroleum, natural gas, mercury, tin, tungsten, antimony, manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, magnetite, aluminum, lead, zinc, uranium, hydropower potential (world's largest)
Environmental Issues:

air pollution (greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide particulates) from reliance on coal produces acid rain; water shortages, particularly in the north; water pollution from untreated wastes; deforestation; estimated loss of one-fifth of agricultural land since 1949 to soil erosion and economic development; desertification; trade in endangered species

Export Partners:

US 21.1%, Hong Kong 17.4%, Japan 13.6%, South Korea 4.6%, Germany 4% (2003)


People living with AIDS:  840,000 (2003 est.)

Primary Source: World Fact Book
See also: China Update 2005


Important China Internet Resources:

Academic Info - China studies, links to information on history, language linguistics, religion and culture
Acupuncture | The New Mexico Aids Info Net

AIDS in China
Asia's Best Universities 2000 -
Asiaweek ranks, including a section on China
Bibliography of Modern Chinese Literature, Film and Culture
Bike China Adventures
Bridge to Asia -
sharing knowledge between East and West
Browser, Viewing Chinese on your Browser
Buddhist and Confucian Traditions

Children from China - resources for families adopting children from China
China Business Direcotry
China Business Market - Info for business professionals investing, or marketing products on the Chinese market.
China Education Resources on the Internet - compiled by Centre of  R.on C., University of Hong Kong
China Facts & Figures
China Government Directory

CND - China News Digest
China Government

China Labour Bulletin
China Law
China News Media - Institute of Chinese Studies, University of Heidelberg
China Online - business news, informationa and analysis from third party sources
China Property Rights
China Sports
China Sources -
directory of products, suppliers and buyers from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and beyond
China the Beautiful - collections of Chinese arts, poetry, philosophy, history...
China - the Internet Travel Guide
China Trade Directory

China Travel Guide
China Virtual Tours

Chinese Civil Law Forum - CCLAW.NET
Chinese Inventions @ The Franklin Institute
Chinese Language information and links
Chinese Medicine
, - history of traditional - lots of links to
Chinese Military Power - compiled by the Commonwealth Institute
Chinese New Year

Chinese Non-Profit Organizations
Chinese Religions
Chinese Philosophy
Chinese Popular Culture
Chinese Surnames -
Chinese family names and genealogies information
Churches in China - and Chinese churches in other countries
Communist Party of China
Condensed China
- Chinese history for beginners
Embassy Listings for China
- directory of foreign embassies and consulates in China and some Chinese embassies in other countries
Expats in China -
reviews, experiences and facts about expatriates living in China.
Forums - index of Chinese forums websites
Gateway2China DE site voor Nederlandstalige informatie over China

Health Information for Travelers to China
Human Rights Watch: Asia : China

ICXO Digest - business news in Chinese
Inside China - News, commentaries... in English from the European Internet Network
Library of China, the National

Maps of China
People's Daily - news, resources and special reports from the official China media
Radio Free China

Railways in China - bulletin board about traveling by train in China
Sinopolis - China Briefs

Study in China
Taoism Information Page
Teach in China
Teaching English in China
Tibet Information Network

US-China Business Council
Weather and Climate Information

Xin Yu Si - Chinese literary magazine, Chinese classics and electronic books

bird fly

Chinese Christian Churches
Chinese Christian Ministries
Chinese Christian Schools

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