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China ( i / ˈ tʃ aɪ n ə / ; Chinese : 中国 ; pinyin : Zhōngguó ; see also Names of China ), officially the People's Republic of China ( PRC ), is a sovereign state located in East Asia . It is the world's most populous country , with a population of over 1.35 billion .
Approximate territories occupied by different dynasties as well as modern political states throughout the history of China Chinese civilization originated in various regional centers along both the Yellow River and the Yangtze River valleys in the Neolithic era, but the Yellow River is said to be the cradle of Chinese civilization. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest civilizations . [ 1 ] The written history of China can be found as early as the Shang Dynasty (c. 1700–1046 BC), [ 2 ] although ancient historical texts such as the Records of the Grand Historian (ca. 100 BC) and Bamboo Annals assert the existence of a Xia Dynasty before the Shang. [ 2 ] [ 3 ] Much of Chinese culture , literature and philosophy further developed during the Zhou Dynasty (1045–256 BC).
The Tang Dynasty ( Chinese : 唐朝 ; pinyin : Táng Cháo ; IPA: [tʰɑ̌ŋ tʂʰɑ̌ʊ] ; Middle Chinese : Dâng) (June 18, 618 – June 1, 907) was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period . It was founded by the Li (李) family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire. The dynasty was interrupted briefly by the Second Zhou Dynasty (October 8, 690 – March 3, 705) when Empress Wu Zetian seized the throne, becoming the only Chinese empress regnant to rule in her own right. The Tang Dynasty, with its capital at Chang'an (present-day Xi'an ), which at the time was the most populous city in the world, is generally regarded as a high point in Chinese civilization—equal to, or surpassing that of, the earlier Han Dynasty —a golden age of cosmopolitan culture. Its territory, acquired through the military campaigns of its early rulers, rivaled that of the Han Dynasty .
The Qing Dynasty , also Empire of the Great Qing or Great Qing , was the last imperial dynasty of China , ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China . The dynasty was founded by the Jurchen Aisin Gioro clan in contemporary Northeastern China . The Aisin Gioro leader, Nurhachi , who was originally a vassal of the Ming emperors , began unifying the Jurchen clans in the late sixteenth century. By 1635, Nurhachi's son Hong Taiji could claim they constituted a single and united Manchu people and began forcing the Ming out of Liaoning in southern Manchuria .
The Yuan Dynasty ( Chinese : 元 朝 , p , Yuán Cháo , j , jyun 4 ciu 4 ; Classical Mongolian : Dai Ön Yeke Mongghul Ulus ; Modern Mongolian : Их Юань улс [ 1 ] ) was the empire established by Kublai Khan , leader of the Mongolian Borjigin clan, after he conquered Southern Song dynasties in China . Although the Mongols had ruled territories, which included today's northern China for decades, it was not until 1271 that Kublai Khan officially proclaimed the dynasty in the traditional Chinese style. [ 2 ] His realm – the Great Yuan Empire ( t 大 元 帝國 , s 大 元 帝国 , p Dà Yuán Dìguó ) – was by this point isolated from the other khanates and controlled only most of present-day China and its surrounding areas including modern Mongolia . [ 3 ] It was the first foreign dynasty to rule all of China and lasted until 1368, after which its remnants in Mongolia were known as the Northern Yuan .
The Zhou Dynasty (c. 1046–256 BC; Chinese : 周朝 ; pinyin : Zhōu Cháo ; Wade–Giles : Chou 1 Ch'ao 2 [tʂóʊ tʂʰɑ̌ʊ] ) was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang Dynasty and preceded the Qin Dynasty . Although the Zhou Dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history , the actual political and military control of China by the Ji ( Chinese : 姬 ) family lasted only until 771 BC, a period known as the Western Zhou. During the Zhou Dynasty, the use of iron was introduced to China, [ 1 ] though this period of Chinese history produced what many consider the zenith of Chinese bronze -ware making. The dynasty also spans the period in which the written script evolved into its modern form with the use of an archaic clerical script that emerged during the late Warring States period .
The Ming Dynasty , also Empire of the Great Ming , was the ruling dynasty of China for 276 years (1368–1644) following the collapse of the Mongol -led Yuan Dynasty . The Ming, described by some as "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", [ 5 ] was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic Han Chinese . Although the primary capital of Beijing fell in 1644 to a rebellion led by Li Zicheng (who established the Shun Dynasty , soon replaced by the Manchu -led Qing Dynasty ), regimes loyal to the Ming throne – collectively called the Southern Ming – survived until 1662.
The Chinese Civil War (1927–1950) was a civil war in China fought between forces loyal to the government of the Republic of China led by the Kuomintang (KMT) and forces of the Communist Party of China (CPC). [ 6 ] The war began in April 1927, amidst the Northern Expedition , [ 7 ] and essentially ended when major active battles ceased in 1950. The conflict eventually resulted in two de facto states , the Republic of China (ROC) in Taiwan and the People's Republic of China (PRC) in mainland China , both claiming to be the legitimate government of China. The war represented an ideological split (Left vs. Right) between the Communist CPC, and the KMT's brand of Nationalism . In mainland China today, the last three years of the war (1947–1949) are more commonly known as the War of Liberation , or alternatively the Third Internal Revolutionary War (第三次国内革命战争).
The Communist Party of China ( CPC ), also known as the Chinese Communist Party ( CCP ), is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Although nominally it exists alongside the United Front , [ 2 ] a coalition of governing political parties, in practice, the CPC is the only party in the PRC, [ 3 ] maintaining a unitary government and centralizing the state, military, and media. [ 4 ] The legal power of the Communist Party is guaranteed by the national constitution , though due to the Party's Leninist roots, it stands above the law. [ 4 ] [ 5 ] The current party leader is Xi Jinping , [ 1 ] who holds the title of General Secretary of the Central Committee .
Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung ( simplified Chinese : 《毛主席语录》 ; traditional Chinese : 《毛主席語錄》 ; pinyin : Máo zhǔxí yǔlù ), is a book of selected statements from speeches and writings by Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung), the former leader of Chinese Communist Party, published from 1964 to about 1976 and widely distributed during the Cultural Revolution . The most popular versions were printed in small sizes that could be easily carried and were bound in bright red covers, becoming commonly known in the West as the Little Red Book . It is one of the most printed books in history. [ 1 ] [ edit ] Publication process Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung was originally compiled by an office of the PLA Daily (People's Liberation Army Daily) as an inspirational political and military document.
Zhou Enlai ( pinyin : Zhōu Ēnlái; Wade-Giles : Chou En-lai; IPA : [tʂóʊ ə́nlǎɪ] ; 5 March 1898 – 8 January 1976) was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China , serving from October 1949 until his death in January 1976. Zhou served under Mao Zedong and was instrumental in consolidating the control of the Communist Party's rise to power, forming foreign policy, and developing the Chinese economy . A skilled and able diplomat, Zhou served as the Chinese foreign minister from 1949 to 1958. Advocating peaceful coexistence with the West after the stalemated Korean War , he participated in the 1954 Geneva Conference and helped orchestrate Richard Nixon's 1972 visit to China .
Deng Xiaoping ( Pinyin : Dèng Xiǎopíng , [tɤŋ˥˩ ɕjɑʊ˩ pʰiŋ˧˥] ( listen ) ; 22 August 1904 – 19 February 1997) was a politician and reformist leader of the Communist Party of China who led China 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 (the highest position in Communist China ), he nonetheless served as the " paramount leader " of the People's Republic of China from 1978 to 1992. As the core of the second generation leaders Deng shared his power with several powerful older politicans commonly know as the Eight Elders .
Jiang Zemin (born 17 August 1926) is a retired Chinese politician who served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1989 to 2002, as President of the People's Republic of China from 1993 to 2003, and as Chairman of the Central Military Commission from 1989 to 2005. His long career and political prominence have led to him being described as the "core of the third generation " of Communist Party leaders. Jiang Zemin came to power following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 , replacing Zhao Ziyang as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China . With the waning influence of Deng Xiaoping and the other members of Eight Elders due to old age — and with the help of old and powerful party and state leaders, former President Li Xiannian and Chen Yun — Jiang effectively became the " Paramount Leader " in the 1990s.
Hu Jintao ( pinyin : Hú Jǐntāo , pronounced [xǔ tɕìntʰɑ́ʊ] ; born 21 December 1942) is a former leader of the fourth generation of leadership of the Communist Party of China . He was General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 2002 to 2012, Chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission from 2004 to 2012 and President of the People's Republic of China from 2003 to 2013. Hu has been involved in the Communist party bureaucracy for most of his adult life, notably as Party secretary for Guizhou province and the Tibet Autonomous Region , and then later First secretary of the Party Central Secretariat and Vice-President under former leader Jiang Zemin. Hu is the first leader of the Communist Party without any significant revolutionary credentials.