- Country name : China
- Official name : People's Republic of China.
- System of government : Communist state.
- National anthem :
- Area : 9, 596, 960 km².
- Capital : Beijing.
- Border countries : Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, South Korea, Tajikistan, Vietnam.
- Population : 1,286 million (2003)
- Language(s) : Chinese (Mandarin), local dialects.
- Religions : officially atheist, Taoist, Buddhist, Muslim, Christian.
>China has experienced tremendous economic growth since the late 1970s. The Chinese leadership began moving from a centrally planned economy to a more market-oriented system. The reforms have gradually encouraged foreign investment ; however the state-owned sectors remains the backbone of China's "socialist market economy".
>The country has decollectivized agriculture, yielding tremendous gains in production. China is the world's largest producer of rice and wheat.
>China is one of the world's major mineral-producing countries (coal, petroleum, iron, tungsten...).
>Major industrial products are textiles, chemicals, fertilizers, machinery, processed foods, iron and steel, building materials and electronics. Industrial activity contributes the largest percentage of the country's GDP.
>The earliest recorded human settlements in what is today called China date from about 5000 B.C.
>During the Chou dynasty (c.1122-249 B.C.), Confucius, Lao Tzu and Mencius gave the basis of China's philosophical and religious thought.
>The feudal states, often at war with one another, were first united under Emperor Ch'in Shih Huang Ti (246-210 B.C.), during whose reign work was begun on the Great Wall of China, against invasion from the West.
>13th cent. : The Mongols, under Kublai Khan, Jenghis Khan's grandson, were the first to establish a foreign dynasty in China.
>Invading China from the north, the Manchus established the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), with complete conquest of China by 1644.
>With the first Anglo-Chinese War in 1839-42, a long period of instability and concessions to Western colonial powers began.
>1911 : Chinese revolutionaries overthrew China's last dynasty, the Qing. A republic was established. But in the decades that followed, civil wars and a war against Japanese occupation stifled economic growth and development.
>In 1949, the Chinese Communist Party came to power and founded the People's Republic of China.
>1986-90 : China's "Open-door policy" opens the country to foreign investment and encourages development of a market economy and private sector.
>2001 : China is admitted as member of the World Trade Organisation.