Geographic and Governmental Profile of China

Background
For centuries China stood as a leading civilization, outpacing the rest of the world in the arts and sciences, but in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the country was beset by civil unrest, major famines, military defeats, and foreign occupation. After World War II, the Communists under MAO Zedong established an autocratic socialist system that, while ensuring China's sovereignty, imposed strict controls over everyday life and cost the lives of tens of millions of people. After 1978, MAO's successor DENG Xiaoping and other leaders focused on market-oriented economic development and by 2000 output had quadrupled. For much of the population, living standards have improved dramatically and the room for personal choice has expanded, yet political controls remain tight. China since the early 1990s has increased its global outreach and participation in international organizations.
Location
Eastern Asia, bordering the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea, between North Korea and Vietnam
Geographic coordinates
35 00 N, 105 00 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Asia
Area
total:
9,596,961 sq km
rank:
4
land:
9,569,901 sq km
water:
27,060 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than the US
Land boundaries
total:
22,117 km
border countries:
Afghanistan 76 km, Bhutan 470 km, Burma 2,185 km, India 3,380 km, Kazakhstan 1,533 km, North Korea 1,416 km, Kyrgyzstan 858 km, Laos 423 km, Mongolia 4,677 km, Nepal 1,236 km, Pakistan 523 km, Russia (northeast) 3,605 km, Russia (northwest) 40 km, Tajikistan 414 km, Vietnam 1,281 km
regional borders:
Hong Kong 30 km, Macau 0.34 km
Coastline
14,500 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
contiguous zone:
24 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
continental shelf:
200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate
extremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in north
Terrain
mostly mountains, high plateaus, deserts in west; plains, deltas, and hills in east
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Turpan Pendi -154 m
highest point:
Mount Everest 8,850 m
Natural resources
coal, iron ore, petroleum, natural gas, mercury, tin, tungsten, antimony, manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, magnetite, aluminum, lead, zinc, rare earth elements, uranium, hydropower potential (world's largest)
Land use
arable land:
14.86%
permanent crops:
1.27%
other:
83.87% (2005)
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Irrigated land
641,410 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
2,829.6 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
549.76 cu km/yr (7%/26%/68%)
per capita:
415 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
frequent typhoons (about five per year along southern and eastern coasts); damaging floods; tsunamis; earthquakes; droughts; land subsidence
volcanism:
China contains some historically active volcanoes including Changbaishan (also known as Baitoushan, Baegdu, or P'aektu-san), Hainan Dao, and Kunlun although most have been relatively inactive in recent centuries
Environment - current issues
air pollution (greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide particulates) from reliance on coal produces acid rain; water shortages, particularly in the north; water pollution from untreated wastes; deforestation; estimated loss of one-fifth of agricultural land since 1949 to soil erosion and economic development; desertification; trade in endangered species
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
world's fourth largest country (after Russia, Canada, and US); Mount Everest on the border with Nepal is the world's tallest peak
Country name
conventional long form:
People's Republic of China
conventional short form:
China
local long form:
Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo
local short form:
Zhongguo
abbreviation:
PRC
Government type
Communist state
Capital
name:
Beijing
geographic coordinates:
39 55 N, 116 23 E
time difference:
UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
despite its size, all of China falls within one time zone; many people in Xinjiang Province observe an unofficial "Xinjiang time zone" of UTC+6, two hours behind Beijing
Administrative divisions
23 provinces (sheng, singular and plural), 5 autonomous regions (zizhiqu, singular and plural), and 4 municipalities (shi, singular and plural)
provinces:
Anhui, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang; (see note on Taiwan)
autonomous regions:
Guangxi, Nei Mongol (Inner Mongolia), Ningxia, Xinjiang Uygur, Xizang (Tibet)
municipalities:
Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, Tianjin
China considers Taiwan its 23rd province; see separate entries for the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau
Independence
1 October 1949 (People's Republic of China established); notable earlier dates: 221 BC (unification under the Qin Dynasty); 1 January 1912 (Qing Dynasty replaced by the Republic of China)
National holiday
Anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, 1 October (1949)
Constitution
most recent promulgation 4 December 1982; amended several times
Legal system
civil law influenced by Soviet and continental European civil law systems; legislature retains power to interpret statutes; note - criminal procedure law revised in early 2012
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President HU Jintao (since 15 March 2003); Vice President XI Jinping (since 15 March 2008)
head of government:
Premier WEN Jiabao (since 16 March 2003); Executive Vice Premier LI Keqiang (17 March 2008), Vice Premier HUI Liangyu (since 17 March 2003), Vice Premier ZHANG Dejiang (since 17 March 2008), and Vice Premier WANG Qishan (since 17 March 2008)
cabinet:
State Council appointed by National People's Congress
elections:
president and vice president elected by National People's Congress for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); elections last held on 15-17 March 2008 (next to be held in mid-March 2013); premier nominated by president, confirmed by National People's Congress
election results:
HU Jintao elected president by National People's Congress with a total of 2,963 votes; XI Jinping elected vice president with a total of 2,919 votes
Legislative branch
unicameral National People's Congress or Quanguo Renmin Daibiao Dahui (2,987 seats; members elected by municipal, regional, and provincial people's congresses, and People's Liberation Army to serve five-year terms)
elections:
last held in December 2007-February 2008 (next to be held in late 2012 to early 2013)
election results:
percent of vote - NA; seats - 2,987
in practice, only members of the CCP, its eight allied parties, and CCP-approved independent candidates are elected
Judicial branch
Supreme People's Court (judges appointed by the National People's Congress); Local People's Courts (comprise higher, intermediate, and basic courts); Special People's Courts (primarily military, maritime, railway transportation, and forestry courts)
Political parties and leaders
Chinese Communist Party or CCP [HU Jintao]; eight nominally independent small parties ultimately controlled by the CCP
Political pressure groups and leaders
no substantial political opposition groups exist
International organization participation
ADB, AfDB (nonregional member), APEC, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), BIS, CDB, CICA, EAS, FAO, FATF, G-20, G-24 (observer), G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, MONUSCO, NAM (observer), NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), SCO, SICA (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNISFA, UNITAR, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNMIT, UNOCI, UNSC (permanent), UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador ZHANG Yesui
chancery:
3505 International Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone:
[1] (202) 495-2266
FAX:
[1] (202) 495-2190
consulate(s) general:
Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Gary LOCKE
embassy:
55 An Jia Lou Lu, 100600 Beijing
mailing address:
PSC 461, Box 50, FPO AP 96521-0002
telephone:
[86] (10) 8531-3000
FAX:
[86] (10) 8531-3300
consulate(s) general:
Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenyang, Wuhan
Flag description
red with a large yellow five-pointed star and four smaller yellow five-pointed stars (arranged in a vertical arc toward the middle of the flag) in the upper hoist-side corner; the color red represents revolution, while the stars symbolize the four social classes - the working class, the peasantry, the urban petty bourgeoisie, and the national bourgeoisie (capitalists) - united under the Communist Party of China
National symbol(s)
dragon
National anthem
name:
"Yiyongjun Jinxingqu" (The March of the Volunteers)
lyrics/music:
TIAN Han/NIE Er
adopted 1949; the anthem, though banned during the Cultural Revolution, is more commonly known as "Zhongguo Guoge" (Chinese National Song); it was originally the theme song to the 1935 Chinese movie, "Sons and Daughters in a Time of Storm"
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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