Tuesday, February 9, 2010

China - The Middle Kingdom

China - The Middle Kingdom

China the most populous country of the world, is officially known as the People's Republic of China (with the exception of the other state known as the Republic of China which currently governs the island of Taiwan). In economic or business contexts, "the Greater China region" informally means Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. The region has been home to a long-standing civilization comprising successive states and cultures dating back more than 6,000 years. Imperial China was one of the world's most technologically advanced civilizations for centuries. It is home to the four greatest inventions of the human civilization— paper, compass, gunpowder and printing — which eventually spread to the rest of the world.

Until the 20th century, China largely remained a coherent empire governed by scholar-officials. In 1912, the last Chinese dynasty, the Qing, fell to the nationalists under the charismatic leadership of Sun Yat-sen. In 1949 the communists declared the People’s Republic.

China's overall population exceeds 1.3 billion, which is more than a fifth of the world’s population. Officially 56 ethnic groups exist in China, of which the largest is the Han Chinese. The speakers of the various spoken varieties of Chinese all use a common written standard, "Vernacular Chinese" or "baihua", which is based on Standard Mandarin, the standard spoken language. Other than Standard Mandarin, Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghaiese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka, minority languages spoken variants are usually not written; the exception is Standard Cantonese, which is sometimes written as written Cantonese in informal contexts.

Although the People's Republic of China is officially secular and atheist, it allows personal religion or supervised religious organization. The major religions of China are: Confucianism [majority], Taoism and ancestor worship [majority], Buddhism [8 to 15%], Islam - Approximately 150 Million adherents(6% - 8%), Christianity - 5% to 8%.

China is composed of a vast variety of highly different landscapes. Principal rivers flow from west to east, since plateaus and mountains lie in the west, and lower lands on the east. The prominent rivers include Yangtze, the Huang He, and the Amur, Pearl River, Mekong River, and Brahmaputra. most Chinese rivers empty into the Pacific Ocean.

In the east, along the shores of the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea are found alluvial plains. The shore of the South China Sea is more mountainous which part is dominated by hill country and lower mountain ranges. To the west, the north has a great alluvial plain, and the south has a vast calcareous tableland traversed by hill ranges of moderate elevation, with the Himalayas, containing the highest point Mount Everest. The northwest also has high plateaus such as the Takla-Makan and the Gobi Desert. During many dynasties, the southwestern border of China has been the high mountains and deep valleys of Yunnan, which separate modern China from Burma, Laos and Vietnam.

The climate of China varies greatly. The northern zone (which includes Beijing) has a climate with winters of Arctic severity. The central zone (which includes Shanghai) has a generally temperate climate. The southern zone (which includes Guangzhou and other southern provinces) has a generally subtropical climate.

The culture of China is one of the world's oldest and most complex. China boasts a history rich in over 5,000 years of artistic, philosophical, and political advancement. Though regional differences provide a sense of diversity, commonalities in language and religion connect a culture distinguished by such universally significant contributions as Confucianism and Taoism. The mastery of Confucian texts provided the primary criterion for entry into the imperial bureaucracy.

Plan a visit to China and explore the culture. For communication needs, there are Several prepaid calling card and phone card companies are available to call both to and from China.

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