China (Chinese: 中国; pinyin: Zhōngguó; literally: 'Central State' or 'Middle Kingdom'), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia and is the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.428 billion in 2017. Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third largest or the fourth largest country by area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.
China emerged as one of the world's first 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-mythical Xia dynasty in 21st century BCE. Since then, China has expanded, fractured, and re-unified numerous times. In the 3rd century BCE, the Qin reunited core China and established the first Chinese empire. The succeeding Han dynasty, which ruled from 206 BCE until 220 CE, saw some of the most advanced technology at that time, including papermaking and the compass, along with agricultural and medical improvements. The invention of gunpowder and movable type in the Tang dynasty (618–907) and Northern Song (960–1127) completed the Four Great Inventions. Tang culture spread widely in Asia, as the new Silk Route brought traders to as far as Mesopotamia and the Horn of Africa. Dynastic rule ended in 1912 with the Xinhai Revolution, when the Republic of China (ROC) replaced the Qing dynasty. China as a whole was ravaged by feudal warlordism and Japan during World War II. The subsequent Chinese Civil War resulted in a division of territory in 1949 when the Communist Party of China led by Mao Zedong established the People's Republic of China on mainland China while the Kuomintang-led nationalist government retreated to the island of Taiwan where it governed until 1996 when Taiwan transitioned to democracy. The political status of Taiwan remains disputed to this day.
China is a unitary one-party socialist republic and is one of the few existing Communist states. Political dissidents and human rights groups have denounced and criticized the Chinese government for human rights abuses, suppression of religious and ethnic minorities, censorship and mass surveillance, and cracking down on protests such as in 1989. The Chinese government says that the right to subsistence and economic development is a prerequisite to other types of human rights, and that the notion of human rights should take into account a country's present economic level.
Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China's economy has been one of the world's fastest-growing with annual growth rates consistently above 6 percent. According to the World Bank, China's GDP grew from $150 billion in 1978 to $12.24 trillion by 2017. According to official data, China's GDP in 2018 was 90 trillion Yuan ($13.5 trillion). Since 2010, China has been the world's second-largest economy by nominal GDP, and since 2014, the largest economy in the world by purchasing power parity. 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, the People's Liberation Army, and second-largest defense budget. The PRC is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as it replaced the ROC in 1971, as well as an active global partner of ASEAN Plus mechanism. China is also a leading member of numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), WTO, APEC, BRICS, the BCIM, and the G20. China is one of the world's most technologically advanced nations and is home to some of the world's largest tech giants such as Huawei, Baidu, Tencent, and Alibaba. Since 2019, China has the highest number of rich people in the world. China has been characterized as a potential superpower, mainly because of its massive population, economy, and military. Read more...
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A cannon is a type of artillery, usually large and tubular, that uses gunpowder or other explosive-based propellants to launch a projectile over a distance. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees, depending on their intended use on the battlefield. First used in China, cannon were among the earliest forms of gunpowder artillery, and over time replaced siege engines—among other forms of aging weaponry—on the battlefield. The first cannon in Europe were probably used in Iberia, during the Islamic wars against Spain. During the Middle Ages, cannon became standardized, and more effective in both the anti-infantry and siege roles. After the Middle Ages, most large cannon were abandoned, in favor of greater numbers of lighter, more maneuverable pieces. In addition, new technologies and tactics were developed, making most defenses obsolete; this led to the construction of star forts, specifically designed to withstand bombardment from artillery. Cannon also transformed naval warfare: the Royal Navy, in particular, took advantage of their firepower. As rifling became more commonplace, the accuracy of cannon was significantly improved, and they became deadlier than ever, especially to infantry. In World War I, a considerable majority of all deaths were caused by cannon; they were also used widely in World War II. Most modern cannon are similar to those used in the Second World War—including autocannon—with the exception of naval guns, which are now significantly smaller in caliber.
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Deng Xiaoping (22 August 1904 – 19 February 1997) was a Chinese politician and reformist leader of the People's Republic of China who, after Mao Zedong's death, led his country towards a market economy. While Deng never held office as the head of state, head of government or General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (de jure leader of the Communist Party of China), he nonetheless was the "paramount leader" of the People's Republic of China from 1978 to 1992. Born into a peasant background in Guang'an, Sichuan, Deng studied and worked in France in the 1920s, where he was influenced by Marxism-Leninism. Deng was instrumental in China's economic reconstruction following the Great Leap Forward in the early 1960s. His economic policies, however, were at odds with the political ideologies of chairman Mao Zedong.He is considered "the architect" of a new brand of socialist thinking, having developed "socialism with Chinese characteristics" and led Chinese economic reform through a synthesis of theories that became known as the "socialist market economy".
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The General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, officially General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, is head of the Communist Party of China and the highest-ranking official within China, a standing member of the Politburo and head of the Secretariat. The officeholder is usually considered the paramount leader of China.
According to the Constitution, the General Secretary serves as an ex officio member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China's de facto top decision-making body. Since the early 1990s, the holder of the post has been, except for transitional periods, the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, making the holder the Commander-in-chief of the People's Liberation Army.
The current General Secretary is Xi Jinping (picture), who took the office at the 18th National Congress on 15 November 2012.
The President of the Republic of China is the head of state of the Republic of China (ROC).
The Constitution names the president as head of state and commander-in-chief of the Republic of China Armed Forces (formerly known as the National Revolutionary Army). The president is responsible for conducting foreign relations, such as concluding treaties, declaring war, and making peace. The president must promulgate all laws and has no right to veto. Other powers of the president include granting amnesty, pardon or clemency, declaring martial law, and conferring honors and decorations.
The current President is Tsai Ing-wen (picture), since May 20, 2016. The first woman to be elected to the office, Tsai is the seventh president of the Republic of China under the 1947 Constitution and the second president from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
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