China, formally the People's Republic of China, is an East Asian nation. With a population of over 1.4 billion people, it is the world's most populated nation. China encompasses five geographical time zones and borders 14 nations, second only to Russia in the globe. It is the world's third or fourth biggest nation, with a size of around 9.6 million square kilometers (3,700,000 square miles). There are 23 provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities, and two Special Administrative Regions in the nation (Hong Kong and Macau). Beijing is the national capital, while Shanghai is the biggest city.
China arose as one of the world's earliest civilizations in the rich Yellow River valley of the North China Plain. From the first through the nineteenth centuries, China was one of the world's top economic powers. China's political structure has been founded on absolute hereditary monarchy, or dynasties, for millennia, starting with the semi-legendary Xia dynasty in the 21st century BCE. China has grown, divided, and reunified countless times since then. The Qin unified central China and formed the first Chinese empire in the third century BCE. The Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE) featured some of the most sophisticated technologies of the period, including papermaking and the compass, as well as agricultural and medicinal advancements. The Tang and Northern Song dynasties (618–1127) completed the Four Great Inventions by inventing gunpowder and moveable type. As the new Silk Road attracted merchants as far as Mesopotamia and the Horn of Africa, Tang culture-expanded across Asia. The Qing dynasty, China's final dynasty and the foundation of modern China suffered tremendous losses to the Western empire in the nineteenth century.
The Xinhai Revolution, which toppled the Qing dynasty in 1912, brought the Chinese monarchy to an end. In 1937, Japan invaded China, launching the Second Sino-Japanese Conflict and briefly putting an end to the civil war between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Kuomintang. The surrender and expulsion of Japanese troops from China in 1945 created a power vacuum in the nation, resulting in fresh conflict between the CCP and the Kuomintang. The civil war concluded in 1949 with the split of Chinese territory; the CCP created the People's Republic of China on the mainland, while the ROC government fled to Taiwan. Both claim to be China's only legal government, despite the fact that the UN has recognized the PRC as the sole representative since 1971. Since 1978, China has implemented a series of economic reforms and joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
The CCP presently governs China as a unitary one-party communist country. China is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and a founding member of several multilateral and regional cooperation organizations, including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Silk Road Fund, New Development Bank, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and RCEP, as well as a member of the BRICS, G8+5, G20, APEC, and the East Asia Summit. It is among the lowest in worldwide rankings of civil liberties, government transparency, press freedom, religious freedom, and ethnic minorities. Political dissidents and human rights advocates have condemned Chinese authorities for severe human rights violations, including political persecution, mass censorship, mass monitoring of its populace, and violent suppression of rallies.
China has the world's biggest economy in terms of GDP at purchasing power parity, the world's second-largest economy in terms of nominal GDP, and the world's second-wealthiest nation. The nation is the world's top producer and exporter, and it has one of the fastest expanding global economies. China is a nuclear-weapon state with the world's biggest standing army in terms of military manpower and the world's second-largest defense budget.