China Facts

China Facts and History


China – country in the middle

The People’s Republic of China or the Middle Kingdom (Zhōngguó) is the most populous country on earth with around 1.4 billion residents, ahead of India. At the same time, it is East Asia’s largest country in terms of area and the fourth largest country in the world after Russia, Canada and the USA. According to ZHENGSOURCING, People’s Republic of China is the second largest in the world after the USA.

The People’s Republic became particularly conscious of the world when it hosted the 29th Summer Olympics from August 8 to August 24, 2008.

China’s civilization and the country’s high culture are among the oldest in human history, with the Han Chinese in particular appearing as bearers of this culture. Today they make up more than 91% of the total population of the People’s Republic of China.

The first written records of Chinese culture go back more than 3,500 years, although the myth tells of the three great emperors Fuxi, Shennong and Huang Di, who even lived 5,000 or 6,000 years ago and are said to have been the actual creators of China. 16 earthly and numerous heavenly emperors preceded the historically but not verifiable emperors. It is certain that the Chinese Empire in 221 BC. Was established by the then emperor Qín Shǐhuáng. In total, until the proclamation of the Chinese Republic in 1912, it existed for 2,133 years before it perished with the last emperor Pǔ Yí. Yuán Shìkǎi, the first president of the new Chinese republic, declared himself emperor in 1915, but his rule lasted just a year.

The People’s Republic of China was finally proclaimed on October 1, 1949, and what began was a story of gigantomanism, death and destruction, but also of revolution, experiment and upswing. The first 30 years of the People’s Republic were shaped primarily by a man who will remain associated with the name China more than any other person: We are of course talking about Máo Zédōng, the most important Chinese politician of the 20th century. While for some he was one of the great and venerable personalities of a bloody century, he is little more than an egomaniacal demagogue who was able to manipulate people and who first seduced their idealism, then exploited it and finally broke it. Under his influence, between 20 and 40 million people died during the so-called “Great Leap Forward” and the cruel “Cultural Revolution”. Above all, the blind destruction of cultural assets, history and people, which between 1966 and 1976 exterminated everything that did not appear proletarian in the context of communist purity, makes it a more than grotesque process when the Beijing visitor enters the Forbidden City the Gate of Heavenly Peace steps, on which a giant portrait of the mass murderer Mao hangs.

The gigantic empire of China, which is sometimes still classified here and there as a developing country, whose “Great Wall” can supposedly be seen from the moon, but is lost from sight from the plane, has been growing ever since the economic “opening” after the devastating “Cultural Revolution” “Developed further and faster into a great power that has to be taken seriously in the economic and political arena.

However, the massacre on Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989 against students demonstrating is still fondly remembered.

But there are also rays of hope in this so diverse China: On March 14, 2004, the Chinese National People’s Congress passed an amendment to the Chinese constitution, in which respect for human rights and private property is to be included for the first time since 1949. “The state respects and protects human rights,” it says there, among other things. That sounds like a mockery at the moment, but it will hopefully prevail in the future of the country, because China has arrived in the 21st century and world politics and the world economy cannot be imagined without it.

There are 65 cities with a million residents in China, 17 in the EU and four in Germany. Of the local people, around 51.9% are men and 48.1% are women. The annual per capita income for the whole country was the equivalent of 300 US dollars in 1990, in 2020 it was already 10,000 US dollars and in large metropolises such as Shanghai or Shenzen a lot more. In 2019, over 150 million Chinese people traveled abroad. In 2020 there were 31,000 km of track for high-speed trains.

Founded in 1921, the Chinese Communist Party had around 90 million members in 2020.

Name of the country Zhonghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó (People’s Republic of China)
Form of government People’s Socialist Republic
Geographical location East Asia
National anthem The national anthem of the People’s Republic of China is entitled “March of the Volunteers”
Population around 1.4 billion, of which 51.9% are men and 48.1% women (Credit: Countryaah: China Population)
Surface 9,597,995 km²
Ethnicities Han Chinese, Zhuang, Hui, Manchu, Miao, Mongols, Koreans, Turkic peoples, Tibetans; around 55 national minorities
Religions Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Confucianism; an estimated 6.5% are Christians
Languages Standard Chinese (Mandarin), also known as Standard Chinese, various Chinese dialects, 55 languages of the national minorities (including Tibetan, Uighur, Mongolian) and English
Capital Beijing (Peking)
Highest mountains Mount Everest 8,848 m, Ch’aio-ko-li Feng (K2) 8,611 m, Kamet 7,756 m, Namjagbarwa Feng 7,755 m
Longest river the 6,300-kilometer Changjiang (Yangtze) is China’s longest river. It is the third longest river in the world (after the Nile and the Amazon)
Largest lake The Qinghai Lake is the largest salt lake in China – with an area of 5,694 km²
International license plate CN/CHN
National currency 1 ¥ uan (Ren Min Bi ¥ uan) = 10 Jiao = 100 Fen
Difference to CET + 7h
International phone code 0086
Mains voltage, frequency nationwide 220 volts. (Depending on the region, however, adapters for double or triple flat connectors are required.), 50 Hz.
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .cn

China: history

Until around the year 1000

First evidence of an early, loose settlement of China in the area between today’s Luoyang and Xi’an comes from the Shang dynasty (around 1700 – 1025 BC).

According to Abbreviationfinder website, the following Zhou dynasty (1025-256 BC) was a feudal state whose supreme institution was ‘tian’, heaven. It was the ruler’s task as the ‘son of heaven’ to mediate between him and his subjects. During the Zhou Dynasty, in the 6th century BC. Many philosophical schools emerged in the 4th century BC, including Confucianism and Daoism. The Zhou dynasty disintegrated into battles from which the first central state of Qin emerged under Prince Qin.

221 BC After a 10-year campaign and the submission of other principalities, the prince of Qin proclaimed himself the first emperor of China, Qin Shihuangdi. During his reign, wall systems were connected to form the Great Wall. Dimensions, weights and writing were massively standardized and a centralized administration was implemented in the unified territory. His tomb, in which the army of the clay soldiers was, is located around 40 km northeast of Xi`an, the provincial capital of Shaanxi.

From the year 65 AD, Buddhism came to China via the Silk Road.

After the Han dynasty, other dynastic rule followed. In 618 AD, Li Klan proclaimed the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The cultural heyday began. The contacts of the empire extended to India and Persia. A connection to the Tibetan court was established.

Around 960, the center of China shifted south. Kaifeng became the capital of the Song Dynasty (960-1279). The north of China was conquered by nomadic horsemen. They established a capital not far from what is now Beijing.

From the year 1000 to the 17th century

Between 1279 and 1368 a total of ten Mongol emperors conquered and united the empire of China. Their successful campaign of conquest to the west and south began in 1206 after the Mongols had agreed on Genghis as Great Khan. For the first time, Genghis’ grandson Kublai, a non-Chinese, ruled over the empire in which Khanbaliq, today’s Beijing, became the capital. Numerous foreign administrators such as Marco Polo were in Kublai’s service. After the death of the Mongol emperor in 1294, the power of the Mongols disintegrated.

Between 1368 and 1644, after the fall of Mongol rule, the Chinese emperors of the Ming dynasty (a total of 20 emperors) ruled China. The founder of the Ming dynasty was Hongwuh (1328-1398), emperor from 1368 to 1398. He was succeeded by Jianwen (1377-1402). his successor, the third emperor, Yongle (1360-1424), chose Beijing as the capital of his empire and had the imperial palace and other buildings built. The Great Wall was also rebuilt in greater length and in a new shape under his rule.

From 1405 to 1435, on behalf of his emperor Yongle, Admiral Zheng He sailed the coasts of Asia and Arabia with an armada of huge ships that were said to have been up to 100 m long, and even reached East Africa.

The death of Emperor Yongle in 1424 led to the end of the previous naval policy under his successor, Emperor Hongxi (1378-1425), and the fleet was decommissioned. But after his death in 1425 his son, the Xuande Emperor (1399-1435), ascended the imperial throne. He had the Fotte reactivated and around 1430 gave the order to make another trip. To this end, Zheng He was reinstated as an admiral. This naval policy then came to an end under his successor, Emperor Zhengtong (1427-1464), the sixth emperor of the Ming dynasty. The emperor shut down the entire fleet and it was forbidden to build ships with more than one mast, even on the death penalty. One of the reasons for this rigorous policy was the huge cost of the fleet, another was the policy of total isolation of the country from the outside world.

From 1644 the Manchurians conquered Beijing and new territories in the west. The era of the Quing Dynasty with its 11 emperors began and lasted de facto until 1911, the year of his abdication, and officially until January 1, 1912, when the Republic of China was proclaimed.

The first emperor of the Quing dynasty was Shunzhi (1638-1661), emperor from October 30, 1644 to 1661. He was the son of the Manchurian prince Huang Tai Ji (Abahai) and became after the conquest of China by the Manchus – the indigenous people of the today’s Manchuria in northeast China – at the age of 6 the first emperor of the newly established Qing dynasty.

In the 18th and 19th centuries

In 1842 the Europeans tried to intensify trade with China, mainly by force. The British waged war over opium as a commodity. The Opium Wars and the resulting treaties of Nanjing led to the opening of the Chinese ports and the seizure of Hong Kong by the colonial power Great Britain. Other colonial countries followed.

Between 1850 and 1864, the Taiping uprising in southern and central China shook the empire. It was directed against the conservative central power in Beijing and was violently suppressed.

The defeat in the war against Japan (1894-1895) forced China to recognize the independence of Korea and cede Taiwan to Japan. China had already lost territory to Russia, France and Great Britain in several so-called unequal treaties. In 1898 the young emperor Guangxu’s attempts at modernization were prevented by the imperial widow Cixi and the conservatives.

20th century until today

In Beijing the so-called boxers occupied the legation quarters from July to August 1900 in order to combat the advance of the European powers. The occupation was dissolved by the Allied troops, with parts of the city being devastated.

In 1911, an opposition movement that had formed in the south of the country forced the emperor to abdicate. 1905 Revolutionary Union doctor and founder Sun Yatsen was declared President of the Provisional Republican Government on December 29, 1911. On January 1, 1912, Sun Yatsen proclaimed the Republic of China. He was ousted by the imperial military leader Yuan Shikai, who became China’s first president on October 6, 1913. After the death of the dictatorial general (1916), the Middle Kingdom split into many centers of power. The ruling warlords fought each other. The Versailles Treaty made the former German colonies in China subject to Japan. The treatment of China in the Versailles Treaty resulted in

In 1921, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was founded in Shanghai.

In 1925, after Sun Yatsen’s death, Chiang Kaishek took over the leadership of the nationalist Guomindang (GMD).

In 1928 he restored the unity of China and became head of government.

In 1931, the last emperor of China, Puyi, was installed in a puppet regime founded by the Japanese. The conquest of the Japanese forces continued south from Manchuria. In 1934/35 the communists, under their future party leader Mao Zedong, withdrew in the “Long March” over 12,000 km to Yan’an. In 1937 northeast China, the cities of Shanghai, Beijing and Nanking were occupied by Japan under horrific conditions for the Chinese population. At the end of 1941, China declared war on Germany. After the Japanese surrender in 1945, civil war broke out in China, which the Chinese Communist Party won in 1949 with the help of Soviet support. As a result, the Chiang Kaishek government fled to Taiwan under nationalist Guomindang.

On October 1, 1949, Mao proclaimed the People’s Republic of China. The ruling party became the Chinese Communist Party. She introduced Prime Minister Zhou Enlai. In 1950 the friendship treaty with the Soviet Union was concluded and Tibet was occupied. In the same year the Korean War begins, in which China supports North Korea in the war against the South and the USA. Almost a million Chinese are killed. In 1954, Mao became President of China through the adoption of the Constitution. After his “Hundred Flower Movement”, an apparently public debate about Communist Party rule in China, he mercilessly persecuted his critics in a further campaign (“Campaign against deviants”). Between 1958 and 1960 the forced industrialization program (“Big leap forward”) promoted collectivization. The union of the farmers in people’s communes ended in an economic disaster that resulted in 40 million deaths from starvation.

In 1959 the Dalai Lama fled with thousands of followers into exile in northern India. A year later, after a dispute over the leadership role in the socialist camp, the ideological break with Moscow took place. There was no economic aid from the USSR.

In 1964, China detonated the first atomic bomb.

With the so-called “Great Cultural Revolution” of 1966, Mao Zedong directed himself against his internal party opponents and everything civil and foreign. A number of cultural assets are destroyed by the Red Guard, a schoolchildren and student movement in the spirit of Mao. Millions of counter-revolutionaries are put in so-called “re-education camps”. After 1969 there was a calming of the political situation, a political opening of China through the entry into the UN (1971) and the recognition of China by the West. Relations with the USA relaxed. The deaths of Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong (September 1976) sparked political power struggles between the dogmatic left wing of the Communist Party and the Chinese military. The successor to Mao was Hua Goufeng. He became the party leader of the CPC. The 3rd In 1977, the plenary session of the X Central Committee elected Deng Xiaoping as Prime Minister. He wanted to modernize the PRC and implemented reforms in the economy, but not in politics. With the amendment of the constitution and the party mares in 1982, the office of party chairman was abolished and replaced by the office of general secretary. Hua Goufeng was stripped of all leadership positions. As a result of the modernization around Deng Xiaoping, the People’s Congress passed a company law in 1988 that gave state-owned companies more freedom. With the amendment of the constitution and the party mares in 1982, the office of party chairman was abolished and replaced by the office of general secretary. Hua Goufeng was stripped of all leadership positions. As a result of the modernization around Deng Xiaoping, the People’s Congress passed a company law in 1988, which gave state-owned companies more freedom. With the amendment of the constitution and the party mares in 1982, the office of party chairman was abolished and replaced by the office of general secretary. Hua Goufeng was stripped of all leadership positions. As a result of the modernization around Deng Xiaoping, the People’s Congress passed a company law in 1988, which gave state-owned companies more freedom.

In 1989, former General Secretary Hu Yaobang, who was disempowered in 1987, died. His death in April 1989 set a nationwide democracy movement in motion, which culminated in a demonstration by hundreds of thousands (mostly students and workers) against the corrupt rule of the Communist Party. By imposing martial law on the Chinese party leadership, the Chinese military forcibly evacuated Tian’anmen Square in Beijing on June 4, 1989 after a week-long occupation. The imposition of martial law resulted in thousands of deaths and nationwide persecutions and executions. The political opening to the West through the economic reform course was declared a national goal by the 14th Party Congress of the CCP in October 1992. A “socialist market economy” should emerge in the PRC. In 1996, 6,000 death sentences were promulgated, mostly in show trials and rapid deterrent proceedings, of which at least 3,500 were carried out. The CCP (still) regards the observance of human rights as an internal matter of the People’s Republic.

Deng Xiaoping died in February 1997; Jiang Zemin took over the political legacy as his successor. The former British crown colony Hong Kong returned to China after 100 years. Their autonomous status within China was retained. It is a special administrative region. In December 1999, Macau returned to China from Portugal. At the beginning of March 2000, China’s leadership began to actively fight corruption within its own ranks: a high-ranking official was executed for bribery in Nanchang. Presumably the population should be pacified with it. In 2001, after 15 years of effort, China was admitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO). This recording was another success for the modernization of China. China’s approval of Taiwan to join the WTO was a prerequisite for admission. In the same year, the decision to award the 2008 Olympic Games to China was made, which was received with great cheers in the country. A few months before the start of the Olympics, unrest in Tibet overshadowed this great event.

Xi Jinping (born June 15, 1953 in Beijing) has been General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, and President of the People’s Republic since 2013.

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