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, his 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 is located in Eastern Asia, bordering the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea, between North Korea and Vietnam. Its natural resources are coal, iron ore, petroleum, natural gas, mercury, tin, tungsten, antimony, manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, magnetite, aluminum, lead, zinc, uranium, hydropower potential (world's largest).
The terrain is mostly mountains, high plateaus, deserts in west; plains, deltas, and hills in east. The climate is extremely diverse tropical in south to subarctic in north.
China's population is at an outstanding amount of 1,306,313,812 major forms of religion that developed within China include ancestor worship, Chinese folk religion, shamanism, Taoism and the veneration of localized deities. Most Chinese have a conception of heaven and yin and yang. The Chinese have also believed in such practices as astrology, Feng Shui, and geomancy.
Historically, the emperor was regarded as the Son of Heaven, and he typically led the imperial court in performing elaborate annual rituals. He was not believed to be a deity, but rather someone who mediated between the forces of heaven and earth. A central...