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China (Chinese: 中国; pinyin: Zhōngguó), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; Chinese: 中华人民共和国; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion in 2019. Covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometers (3.7 million mi2), it is the world's third or fourth-largest country by area. As a one-party state led by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the country officially divides itself into 23 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

China emerged as one of the world's first civilizations, in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. China was one of the world's foremost economic powers for most of the two millennia from the 1st until the 19th century. For millennia, China's political system was based on absolute hereditary monarchies, or dynasties, beginning with the Xia dynasty in 21st century BCE. Since then, China has expanded, fractured, and re-unified numerous times. In the 3rd century BCE, the Qin reunited core China and established the first Chinese empire. The succeeding Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE) saw some of the most advanced technology at that time, including papermaking and the compass, along with agricultural and medical improvements. The invention of gunpowder and movable type in the Tang dynasty (618–907) and Northern Song (960–1127) completed the Four Great Inventions. Tang culture spread widely in Asia, as the new Silk Route brought traders to as far as Mesopotamia and the Horn of Africa. The Qing Empire, China's last dynasty, suffered heavy losses to foreign imperialism. The Chinese monarchy collapsed in 1912 with the Xinhai Revolution, when the Republic of China (ROC) replaced the Qing dynasty. China was invaded by the Empire of Japan during World War II. The Chinese Civil War resulted in a division of territory in 1949 when the CCP led by Mao Zedong established the People's Republic of China on mainland China while the Kuomintang-led ROC government retreated to the island of Taiwan.

Since economic reforms in 1978, and its entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001, China's economy grew to the largest in the world by PPP in 2014, and became the second-largest country by nominal GDP in 2010. China is the world's fastest-growing major economy, the second-wealthiest nation in the world, and the world's largest manufacturer and exporter. China has lifted 850 million people out of poverty, and has the highest number of people in the top 10% of the wealthiest individuals in the world.

China is a unitary one-party socialist republic and is one of the few nominally socialist states. The Chinese government has been denounced by political dissidents and human rights activists for widespread human rights abuses, including political repression, suppression of religious and ethnic minorities, censorship, mass surveillance, and their response to protests, notably the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. The country is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army, the People's Liberation Army, and the second-largest defense budget. The PRC is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since replacing the ROC in 1971. China has been characterized as an emerging superpower due to its large economy and powerful military.

China Media

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Footbridges and Elaborate Commercial Building, S. China

Footbridges and Elaborate Commercial Building, S. China

Attributed to Felice A. Beato (Italy, 1825-1908) Italy, 1860 Photographs Albumen silver print. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Philip Feldman (M.83.302.54)

A woman wearing a headdress

A woman wearing a headdress

Format: Hand painted lantern slides...Rights Info: No known restrictions on publication...Part Of: Powerhouse Museum Collection..General information about the Powerhouse Museum Collection is available at (... More

The wall of Tuan Cheng (Circular City) in Beihai Park

The wall of Tuan Cheng (Circular City) in Beihai Park

Format: Hand painted lantern slides...Rights Info: No known restrictions on publication...Part Of: Powerhouse Museum Collection..General information about the Powerhouse Museum Collection is available at (... More

Chinese Girdle ornament, Han Dynasty

Chinese Girdle ornament, Han Dynasty

Accession Number: 11.190.117 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Chinese Jar, Eastern Zhou dynasty

Chinese Jar, Eastern Zhou dynasty

Accession Number: 1972.275.2 Eastern Zhou dynasty (770–256 B.C.)

Chinese Snuff Bottle, bronze, China

Chinese Snuff Bottle, bronze, China

Accession Number: 21.175.328a, b Modern

Plaque in the Form of a Demon

Plaque in the Form of a Demon

Accession Number: 1985.214.52 Eastern Han dynasty (25–220)

Chinese Jar

Chinese Jar

late Western Han (206 B.C.–A.D. 9)–Eastern Han (25–220) dynasty

Mirror with scalloped edge, four birds and arabesques

Mirror with scalloped edge, four birds and arabesques

In het middenveld vier vogels, gecombineerd met zwierige arabesken; geschulpte rand. Het patina is lichtgroen en loodkleurig.

Tripod Vessel (Li Ding), bronze

Tripod Vessel (Li Ding), bronze

Accession Number: 66.182.5 Shang dynasty (ca. 1600–1046 B.C.)

Axe, China
Chinese Chisel, Han Dynasty

Chinese Chisel, Han Dynasty

Accession Number: 16.144.11 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Chinese Implement to loosen knots

Chinese Implement to loosen knots

Accession Number: 13.40.151 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Chinese Ladle, Han Dynasty

Chinese Ladle, Han Dynasty

Accession Number: 13.100.18 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Rituele lepel, Chinese Ceramics, Rijksmuseum.

Rituele lepel, Chinese Ceramics, Rijksmuseum.

Bekervormig voorwerp met platte steel en aan de voorkant een staande vogel, een lepel(?), van zwart aardewerk. De 'beker' loopt van onderen smal toe om daarna weer wijder uit te lopen. De vogel steekt de kop bo... More

Tiger: emblem of the West

Tiger: emblem of the West

Accession Number: 11.190.28 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Chinese Girdle pendant, Han Dynasty

Chinese Girdle pendant, Han Dynasty

Accession Number: 11.190.277 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Chinese Tile

Chinese Tile

Accession Number: 10.202.8 Qin–Han dynasty (221 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Chinese Knife Coin, bronze, China

Chinese Knife Coin, bronze, China

Accession Number: 24.13.10 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Upper Part of a Dagger

Upper Part of a Dagger

Accession Number: 24.51.2 Zhou dynasty (1046–256 B.C.)

Gordelhaak in de vorm van een vogel

Gordelhaak in de vorm van een vogel

Gordelhaak in de vorm van een vogel, waarvan het haakvormig gedeelte bestaat uit de kop van een vogel. Met lichtgroene doffe patina.

Chinese Vase, Han Dynasty

Chinese Vase, Han Dynasty

Accession Number: 29.100.171 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Chinese Girdle pendant, Han Dynasty

Chinese Girdle pendant, Han Dynasty

Accession Number: 11.190.106 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Chinese Tile

Chinese Tile

Accession Number: 10.202.28 Qin–Han dynasty (221 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Chinese Wine Beaker, bronze, China

Chinese Wine Beaker, bronze, China

Accession Number: 1978.264.4 Shang dynasty (ca. 1600–1046 B.C.)

Chinese Vase, bronze, China

Chinese Vase, bronze, China

Accession Number: 2014.449 Yuan dynasty (1271–1368)

Chinese Tube: Emblem of Earth

Chinese Tube: Emblem of Earth

Accession Number: 16.144.37 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Chinese Oracle bone fragment

Chinese Oracle bone fragment

Accession Number: 18.56.76 Shang dynasty (ca. 1600–1046 B.C.)

Chinese Sword, bronze, China, Europe

Chinese Sword, bronze, China, Europe

Accession Number: 24.172.2 Zhou dynasty (1046–256 B.C.)

Ear Pick in the Shape of an Alligator

Ear Pick in the Shape of an Alligator

Shang dynasty (ca. 1600–1046 B.C.)

Mirror, bronze, China, Qin Dynasty

Mirror, bronze, China, Qin Dynasty

Accession Number: 21.117.2 Qin dynasty (221–206 B.C.)

Mirror, bronze, China, six dynasties

Mirror, bronze, China, six dynasties

Accession Number: 25.20.1 Six Dynasties (220–589)

Chinese Vase, Han Dynasty

Chinese Vase, Han Dynasty

Accession Number: 13.220.144 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Chinese Vase (Hu)

Chinese Vase (Hu)

Shang dynasty (ca. 1600–1046 B.C.)

Food Serving Vessel (Gui), bronze

Food Serving Vessel (Gui), bronze

Shang dynasty (ca. 1600–1046 B.C.)

Chinese Grain Jar, Han Dynasty

Chinese Grain Jar, Han Dynasty

Accession Number: 93.1.248 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Squared Jar with Cover (Fanghu)

Squared Jar with Cover (Fanghu)

Accession Number: 2000.662.6a, b Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Pole Base in the Form of a Tiger

Pole Base in the Form of a Tiger

Accession Number: 2001.264 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Chinese Belt Hook, bronze, China

Chinese Belt Hook, bronze, China

Accession Number: 51.134.7 late Eastern Zhou dynasty (770–256 B.C.)

Chinese Button, Han Dynasty

Chinese Button, Han Dynasty

Accession Number: 13.40.149 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Chinese Brick, Han Dynasty

Chinese Brick, Han Dynasty

Accession Number: 51.127.1 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Chinese Bead, Han Dynasty

Chinese Bead, Han Dynasty

Accession Number: 11.190.164 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Axe, China
Bell (Zhun or Dui), bronze

Bell (Zhun or Dui), bronze

Accession Number: 13.220.87 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Chinese Belt Hook, bronze, China

Chinese Belt Hook, bronze, China

Accession Number: 51.134.4 late Eastern Zhou dynasty (770–256 B.C.)

Chinese Belt Hook, bronze, China

Chinese Belt Hook, bronze, China

Accession Number: 51.134.1 late Eastern Zhou dynasty (770–256 B.C.)

Chinese Seal, Han Dynasty

Chinese Seal, Han Dynasty

Accession Number: 13.40.99 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Wine Jar (Yü), bronze, China

Wine Jar (Yü), bronze, China

Accession Number: 22.32.7 Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 220)

Chariot Axle Cap with Pin

Chariot Axle Cap with Pin

Accession Number: 49.137.12a, b late Eastern Zhou dynasty (770–256 B.C.)

Chinese Belt Hook, bronze, China, Eastern Zhou dynasty

Chinese Belt Hook, bronze, China, Eastern Zhou dynasty

Eastern Zhou dynasty, Warring States period (475–221 B.C.)

Knife with Ram's Head

Knife with Ram's Head

Shang dynasty (ca. 1600–1046 B.C.)

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