Saturday, September 18, 2021

China | Introduction

AsiaChinaChina | Introduction

China, formally the People’s Republic of China (PRC), is a sovereign country located in East Asia. With more than 1.381 billion population, it is the most populous country of the world. It is governed by the Communist Party of China headquartered in the national capital Beijing and has jurisdiction over 22 provinces, 5 self-governing regions, 4 directly supervised municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Chongqing) as well as 2 generally independent special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macao) while claiming sovereignty over Taiwan. The country’s main urban areas are Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Tianjin and Hong Kong.

With a total area of around 9.6 million km2, China is the 2nd largest country in the world by land area as well as the 3rd or 4th by total area, dependent on the method of measurement. The landscape of China is large and very diverse, ranging from forest-steppe and Gobi and Taklamakan deserts in the more arid north to sub-tropical forests in the more humid south. The Himalayan, Karakoram, Pamir and Tian Shan mountain ranges divide China from large areas of South and Central Asia. The Yangtze and the Yellow River, the world’ s third and sixth largest rivers, stretch from the Tibetan plateau to the highly populated east coast. The Chinese coast along the Pacific Ocean is 14,500 km long which is bordered by the seas Bohai, Yellow, East China and South China.

As one of the cradles of civilization, China’s famous history starts with an ancient civilization, one of the world’ s oldest, which thrived in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. Over thousands of years, the Chinese political establishment has relied on hereditary empires known as dynasties. When the Qin Dynasty first conquered several states to form a Chinese empire, the state has expanded, collapsed and reformed more than once. The Republic of China (ROC) in 1912 replaced the last dynasty and ruled mainland China until 1949, when the Chinese Communist Party defeated them in the Chinese Civil War. The Communist Party founded the People’s Republic of China in Beijing on October 1, 1949, while the government of the Republic of China relocated to Taiwan with the present temporary capital in Taipei.

Following the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China became one of the fastest growing major economies in the world. From 2014, it is the second largest economy in the world by nominal GDP and the largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). It is also the largest exporter and 2nd largest importer worldwide.. Being a recognized nuclear weapons state, China has the world’ s largest standing army and also has the 2nd largest national defense budget. The People’s Republic of China is a member of the United Nations, after succeeding the Republic of China in 1971 as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. The People Republic of China also participates in numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, such as WTO, APEC and BRICS , Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), BCIM and G-20.

People and customs in China


China is a very diverse place with great differences in culture, language, customs and economic level. The economic landscape is particularly diverse. The big cities like Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai are modern and comparatively prosperous. However, about 50% of the Chinese still live in rural areas, although only 10% of the Chinese land is arable land. Hundreds of millions of rural dwellers still cultivate manual labor or draught animals. Around 200 to 300 million former farmers have emigrated to townships and cities in search of work. According to government estimates for 2005, 90 million people were living on less than USD 924 per year and 26 million below the official poverty line of USD 668 per year. At the other end of the spectrum, the rich continue to indulge in luxury goods and real estate at an unprecedented rate. In general, the southern and eastern coastal regions are more affluent, while the interior, the far west and north, and the southwest are much less developed.

The cultural landscape is not surprisingly diverse given the size of the country and its population. China has 56 officially recognized ethnic groups; by far the largest is the Han, which makes up over 90 % of the population. The other 55 groups enjoy positive measures for university admission and exemption from the one-child policy. However, the Han are far from homogeneous and speak a variety of incomprehensible local “dialects”; most linguists actually classify them as different languages by using more or less the same set of Chinese characters. Most ethnic minorities naturally also have their very own languages. Contrary to popular belief, there is no unified Han Chinese culture, and although they share certain common elements such as Confucian and Taoist beliefs, the regional differences in culture within the Han ethnic group are actually very different. There are many customs and deities that are specific to specific regions and in some cases even villages. The celebration of the new lunar year and other national festivals varies drastically from region to region. Specific customs related to the celebration of important occasions such as weddings, funerals and births also vary greatly. In general, contemporary urban Chinese society tends to be secular and traditional culture is more of a basic trend in daily life. Among the ethnic minorities, the Zhuang, Manchu, Hui and Miao are the largest. Some other notable ethnic minorities are: Koreans, Tibetans, Mongols, Uighurs, Kyrgyz and even Russians. In China, the largest Korean population lives outside of Korea and there are also more ethnic Mongols than in the Republic of Mongolia. Many minorities have been assimilated to varying degrees with the loss of their language and customs or a fusion with Han traditions. An exception to this trend is the current situation of the Tibetans and Uighurs in China, who fiercely defend their cultures to the death.

On the whole, however, the Chinese love a good laugh, and because there are so many ethnic groups and outsiders from other regions, they are used to and agree with different approaches. In fact, the Chinese often talk to strangers by discussing differences in accent or dialect. They are very used to using sign language and are quick to see a non-verbal joke or pun wherever they can recognize one. (A laugh does not necessarily mean contempt, just pleasure, and the Chinese like a “collective good laugh”, often at times or circumstances that Westerners consider rude). The Chinese love and adore children, allowing them a lot of freedom and a lot of attention to them.

Geography of China


China has a large number of areas with many mountain ranges in the interior, plateaus and deserts in the center and far west. Plains, deltas and hills dominate the east. The Pearl River Delta region around Guangzhou and Hong Kong and the Yangtze Delta around Shanghai are important power plants of the world economy, as well as the North China Plain around Beijing and the Yellow River. At the border between Tibet (the Autonomous Region of Tibet) and the nation of Nepal, Mount Everest is the highest point on earth at 8,850 m. The Turpan Depression in Xinjiang in northwest China is the lowest point in China at 154 m below sea level. This is one of the lowest points in the world after the Dead Sea.

Units of Measure in China


China’s official measurement system is metric, but sometimes you hear the traditional Chinese measurement system used in colloquial speech. The one you are most likely to encounter in everyday use is Jin (斤), a unit of measurement for mass. Most Chinese give their weight in Jin on request, and food prices in the markets are often quoted per Jin. For practical reasons, one Jin corresponds to approximately 0.5 kg

Biodiversity in China


China is one of 17 megadiverse countries and is located in two of the most important environmental zones in the world: the Palearctic and Indomalaya. It has over 34,687 animal and vascular plants varieties, which makes China the 3rd most biodiverse country in the world after Brazil and Colombia. The country signed the Rio de Janeiro Convention on Biological Diversity on June 11, 1992 and became a party to the Convention on January 5, 1993. It later developed a national strategy and action plan for biological diversity, the revision of which was received by the Convention on September 21, 2010.

In China there are a least 551 species of mammals (the 3rd highest in the world), 1,221 bird species ( 8th), as well as 424 species of reptiles ( 7th) and up to 333 types of amphibians ( 7th). China is the country with the greatest biodiversity in every category outside the tropics. China’s wildlife shares habitat with the world’s largest population of Homo sapiens and is under acute pressure. More than 840 animal species are endangered, or threatened by local extinction in China, primarily due to various human activities like habitat destruction, contamination and poaching for food, fur and other ingredients for traditional Chinese medicine. Compromised wildlife is under the protection of law. As of 2005, the country has more than 2,349 nature reserves with a total area of 149.95 million hectares, representing 15 percent of China’s total land area.

China has more than 32,000 types of vascular plants and is host to a wide variety of forest types. In the north of the country, cold coniferous forests are predominant and are also home to animal species including moose and Asian black bear and over 120 bird species. The undergrowth of moist coniferous forests can contain bamboo thickets. In higher montane populations of juniper and yew, bamboo is replaced by rhododendrons. Subtropical forests, which predominate in central and southern China, are home to up to 146,000 plant species. Although tropical and seasonal rainforests are limited to Yunnan and Hainan Island, these areas contain a quarter of all plant and animal species found in China. Over 10,000 species of fungi are known in China, of which almost 6,000 are higher fungi.

Demographics of China


The population of the People’s Republic of China was reported as approximately 1,370,536,875 in the 2010 census. Nearly 16.60% of the population was 14 years or younger, while 70.14% were between 15 and 59 years old and 13.26% were above 60 years old. The population increase for 2013 is assumed to be 0.46%.

While China is a mid-income economy by Western standards, China’s rapid economic growth since 1978 raised a hundred million of its population from poverty. Nowadays approximately 10% of the Chinese population are living below the poverty level of just under $1 per day, in contrast to $64% from 1978. In the year 2014, China’s urban unemployment level was around 4.1%.

With a population of over 1.3 billion people and dwindling natural resources, the Chinese government is very concerned about population growth and since 1979 has tried, with mixed results, to apply a strict family planning policy commonly known as the “one child policy”. Before 2013, the government’s policy was to limit families, except for ethnic minorities, to only have one child at a time, with some flexibility in rural areas. In December 2013, a substantial relaxation of the policy was adopted, allowing families to have two children if one parent is an only child. Now the Government is abandoning the one-child policy in favor of a two-child policy. Data from the 2010 census suggest that the total fertility rate could now be around 1.4.

The policy, together with the traditional preference for boys, may contribute to an imbalance in the gender ratio at birth. According to the 2010 census, the gender ratio at birth was 118.06 boys per 100 girls, which is above the normal range of about 105 boys per 100 girls. The 2010 census found that men made up 51.27 percent of the total population. However, China’s gender ratio is more balanced than in 1953, when men made up 51.82 percent of the total population.

Ethnic groups in China


China officially recognizes 56 different ethnic groups, of which the largest are Han Chinese, who make up about 91.51% of the total population. Han Chinese, the largest ethnic group in the world, are more numerous than other ethnic groups in all provincial-level divisions except Tibet and Xinjiang. According to the 2010 census, ethnic minorities make up about 8.49% of the Chinese population. In comparison with the 2000 census, the Han population has increased by 66,537,177 people or 5.74%, while the combined population of the 55 national ethnic minorities has been increased by 7,362,627 people or 6.92%. In the 2010 census, a total of 593,832 foreigners living in China were counted. The largest groups of this type came from South Korea (120,750), the United States (71,493) and Japan (66,159).

Religion in China


For thousands of years, Chinese civilization has been influenced by various religious movements. The “three teachings”, including Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism (Chinese Buddhism), have historically played an important role in shaping Chinese culture, each of which plays a role in the common Chinese (or popular) religion. . ). Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Chinese constitution, although religious organizations that do not have official authorization may be subject to state persecution.

Demographically, the most widespread religious tradition is the “Chinese religion,” which includes Confucian and Taoist modalities and consists of loyalty to Shen (神), a character that means “energies of generation” that can be deities. by nature. . Environmental or ancestral principles of human groups, concepts of politeness, cultural heroes, many of which appear in Chinese mythology and history. Some of the most famous cults are those of Mazu ( Goddess of the sea ), Huangdi (one of the two divine patriarchs of Chinese race), Guandi ( God of War and Business ), Caishen ( God of Wealth and prosperity) ), Pangu and several others. China is home to several of the highest religious statues in the world, including the highest of all, the Buddha in the spring temple in Henan.

The government of the People’s Republic of China is officially an atheist. The religious affairs and affairs of the country are supervised by the State Administration for Religious Affairs. A 2015 Gallup International survey found that 61% of Chinese identified themselves as “convinced atheists”. However, this result may be due to the survey’s Western criteria for defining a “religion”. The researchers found that there is no clear boundary between religions in China, particularly between Buddhism, Taoism and local popular religious practice. Leading sinologist John Lagerwey clearly defines China as a “religious state”.

According to recent demographic analyses, an average of 80% of the Chinese population practices some form of Chinese popular religion, Taoism and Confucianism. About 10-16% are Buddhists, 2-4% are Christians and 1-2% are Muslims. In addition to the local Han religious practices, there are several ethnic minorities in China that retain their traditional indigenous religions. Various sects of indigenous origin make up between 2% and 3% of the population, while Confucianism is popular among intellectuals as a religious self-designation. Important religions that are specifically related to certain ethnic groups are Tibetan Buddhism and the Islamic religion of the Hui and Uighurs.

Economy of China


From 2014 onwards, China will have the world’s second largest economy in terms of nominal GDP and, according to the International Monetary Fund, will amount to around USD 10.380 trillion. In terms of purchasing power parity (PPP), China’s economy is the largest in the world with a PPP GDP of USD 17.617 billion in 2014. In 2013, GDP per capita in PPP was USD 12,880, while nominal GDP per capita was USD 7,589. In both cases, China was behind some 80 countries (out of 183 countries on the IMF list) in the global GDP per capita ranking.

Economic history and growth

Since its foundation in 1949 until the end of 1978, the People’s Republic of China was a centrally planned economy in the Soviet style. After Mao’s death in 1976 and the subsequent end of the Cultural Revolution, Deng Xiaoping and the new Chinese leadership began to reform the economy and move toward a more market-oriented mixed economy under a one-party regime. Collectivization of agriculture was dismantled and arable land privatized, while foreign trade became an important new priority, leading to the creation of special economic zones. Inefficient public enterprises (SOEs) were restructured and unprofitable enterprises were closed, resulting in massive job losses. Modern China is characterized above all by a market economy based on private property and is one of the prime examples of state capitalism. The state still dominates in strategic “pillars” sectors such as power generation and heavy industry, but private enterprise has grown considerably, with some 30 million registered private companies in 2008.

Since economic liberalization began in 1978, China has been one of the world’s fastest growing economies, heavily dependent on growth driven by investment and exports. According to the IMF, China’s average annual GDP growth between 2001 and 2010 was 10.5%. Between 2007 and 2011, China’s economic growth was equal to the growth of all G7 countries combined. According to the Global Growth Drivers Index announced by Citigroup in February 2011, China has a very high 3G growth rate. Its high productivity, low labor costs and relatively good infrastructure have made it a world leader. However, the Chinese economy is energy intensive and inefficient. China became the world’s largest energy consumer in 2010, relying on coal to meet over 70% of its energy needs and overtaking the US to become the world’s largest oil importer in September 2013. Early September In the 2010s, China’s economic growth began to slow in the face of domestic credit problems, weakening international demand for Chinese exports and the fragility of the global economy.

In the online sector, China’s e-commerce industry grew more slowly than the EU and the US. A significant phase of development will begin in 2009. According to Credit Suisse, the total value of China’s online transactions increased from a negligible size in 2008 to around 4 trillion RMB (660 billion U.S. dollars) in 2012. China’s online payment market is dominated by large companies. such as Alipay, Tenpay and China. UnionPay.

China in the global economy

Being a member of the WTO, China is the world’s leading trading power with a total value of international trade of $3.87 trillion in 2012 and its foreign exchange reserves have reached $2.85 trillion. At the end of 2010, this represents an increase of 18.7% over the previous year. year, which makes its reserves among the largest in the world. In 2012, China was the world’s largest recipient of foreign direct investment with a turnover of $253 billion. In 2014, China’s foreign exchange remittances totaled 64 billion US dollars. This makes China the second largest recipient of remittances worldwide. China also invests abroad with a total volume of foreign direct investment of US$62.4 billion in 2012 and a number of significant acquisitions of foreign companies by Chinese companies. In 2009, China held U.S. securities valued at approximately $1.6 trillion and was also the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasury Bonds, with more than $1.16 trillion in U.S. Treasury bills. China’s undervalued exchange rate has led to friction with other major economies, and it has also been widely criticized for producing large quantities of counterfeit goods. According to consulting firm McKinsey, China’s total debt rose from $7.4 trillion in 2007 to $28.2 trillion in 2014, equivalent to 228 percent of China’s GDP, a higher percentage than some other countries in the world. G20.

In 2009, China was ranked 29th in the Global Competitiveness Index, despite being ranked 136th out of 179 countries in the Index of Economic Freedom in 2011. 2014 the Fortune Global 500 list of the largest global companies It included 95 Chinese companies with total sales of $5.8 trillion. That same year, Forbes also reported that 5 of the top 10 state-owned enterprises in the world were Chinese, which included the world’s largest bank in terms of total assets, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

Class and income equality

China’s bourgeois population (if defined as those with an annual income between $10,000 and $60,000) had reached over 300 million in 2012. According to the Hurun report, the number of billionaires in US dollars in China declined from 130 in 2009 to 251 in 2012. This makes China the second highest number of billionaires in the world. China’s domestic retail market was worth more than 20 trillion yuan ($3.2 trillion) in 2012 and will grow by more than 12% per year from 2013, while the country’s luxury goods market has grown significantly, accounting for 27.5% of the global market share. In recent years, however, China’s rapid economic growth has contributed to high consumer inflation, which has led to increased government regulation. China has a high level of economic inequality, which has increased in recent decades. In 2012 the Chinese Gini coefficient was 0.474.