China ( i/ˈtʃaɪnə/; Chinese: 中国; pinyin: Zhōngguó), 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.
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. The written history of China can be found as early as the Shang Dynasty (c. 1700–1046 BC), 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. Much of Chinese culture, literature and philosophy further developed during the Zhou Dynasty (1045–256 BC). The Zhou Dynasty began to bow to external and internal pressures in the 8th century BC, and the kingdom eventually broke apart into smaller states, beginning in the Spring and Autumn Period and reaching full expression in the Warring States period.
Tang Dynasty History Establishment Administration and politics Initial reforms
The dynasty was founded by the Jurchen Aisin Gioro clan in Northeastern China, historically known as Manchuria. In the late sixteenth century, Nurhachi, originally a Ming vassal, began organizing Jurchen clans into "Banners," military-social units and forming a Manchu people. By 1636, his son Hong Taiji began driving Ming forces out of southern Manchuria and declared a new dynasty, the Qing. In 1644, peasant rebels led by Li Zicheng conquered the Ming capital Beijing. Rather than serve them, Ming general Wu Sangui made an alliance with the Manchus and opened the Shanhai Pass to the Banner Armies led by Prince Dorgon, who defeated the rebels and seized Beijing. The conquest of China proper was not completed until 1683 under the Kangxi Emperor (r. 1661–1722). Qing Dynasty
The Yuan dynasty (Chinese: 元朝, Modern Yuán Cháo; Mongolian: Dai Ön Yeke Mongghul Ulus, Их Юань улс, Ikh Yuanʹ Üls) also Mongol dynasty, was the empire established by Kublai Khan, leader of the Mongolian Borjigin clan, after he conquered the Southern Song dynasty 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. 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. 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. Yuan Dynasty
Zhou Dynasty During the Zhou dynasty, the use of iron was introduced to China, 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. History Foundation Western Zhou
Ming Dynasty 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", 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.
Chinese Civil War The war represented an ideological split (Left vs. Right) between the Communist CPC, and the KMT's brand of Nationalism. The civil war continued intermittently until late 1937, when the two parties formed a Second United Front to counter a Japanese invasion. China's full-scale civil war resumed in 1946, a year after the end of hostilities with Japan. After four more years, 1950 saw the cessation of major military hostilities—with the newly founded People's Republic of China controlling mainland China (including Hainan), and the Republic of China's jurisdiction being restricted to Taiwan, Penghu, Quemoy, Matsu and several outlying islands. Historian Odd Arne Westad says the Communists won the Civil War because they made fewer military mistakes than Chiang Kai-shek, and because in his search for a powerful centralized government, Chiang antagonized too many interest groups in China.
While the CPC is still committed to communist thought, mainstream foreign opinion believes the party to be non-ideological. According to the party constitution the CPC adheres to Marxism–Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, socialism with Chinese characteristics, Deng Xiaoping Theory, Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development. The official explanation for China's economic reforms is that the country is in the primary stage of socialism, a developmental stage similar to the capitalist mode of production. The planned economy established under Mao Zedong was replaced by the socialist market economy, the current economic system, on the basis that "Practice is the Sole Criterion for the Truth" (i.e. the planned economy was deemed inefficient). Communist Party of China
Quotations from Chairman Mao 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 the 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 considered to be one the books with the largest number published in history.
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. Mao dominated any gathering; Zhou suffused it. Mao's passion strove to overwhelm opposition; Zhou's intellect would seek to persuade or outmaneuver it. Zhou Enlai
Deng Xiaoping Deng Xiaoping (Pinyin: Dèng Xiǎopíng, [tɤŋ˥˩ ɕjɑʊ˩ pʰiŋ˧˥] ( ); 22 August 1904 – 19 February 1997) was a politician and reformist leader of the People's Republic of China who, after Mao'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 (the highest position in Communist China), he nonetheless was 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 politicians commonly known 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 2004. 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, elder Chen Yun and former President Li Xiannian — Jiang effectively became the "paramount leader" in the 1990s. Jiang Zemin
During his term in office, Hu reintroduced state control in some sectors of the economy that were relaxed by the previous administration, and has been conservative with political reforms. Along with his colleague, Premier Wen Jiabao, Hu presided over nearly a decade of consistent economic growth and development that cemented China as a major world power. He sought to improve socio-economic equality domestically through the Scientific Development Concept, which aimed to build a "Harmonious Socialist Society" that was prosperous and free of social conflict. Meanwhile, Hu kept a tight lid on China politically, cracking down on social disturbances, ethnic minority protests, and dissident figures. In foreign policy, Hu advocated for "China's peaceful development", pursuing soft power in international relations and a business-oriented approach to diplomacy. Through Hu's tenure, China's influence in Africa, Latin America, and other developing regions has increased. Hu Jintao