China, officially the People's Republic of China, is a unitary sovereign state in East Asia.
A sovereign state is, in international law, a nonphysical juridical entity that is represented by one centralised government that has sovereignty over a geographic area.
East Asia is the eastern subregion of the Asian continent, which can be defined in either geographical or ethno-cultural terms.
With a population of over 1.381 billion, it is the world's most populous country.
The state is governed by the Communist Party of China, and its capital is Beijing.
It exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities, and two mostly self-governing special administrative regions, and claims sovereignty over Taiwan.
Jurisdiction is the practical authority granted to a legal body to administer justice within a defined field of responsibility, e.g., Michigan tax law.
Special administrative region is a designation for types of administrative territorial entities in China, North Korea and Indonesia.
The country's major urban areas include Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Tianjin and Hong Kong.
Tianjin, formerly romanized as Tientsin, is a coastal metropolis in northern China and one of the nine national central cities of the People's Republic of China, with a total population of 15,621,200 as of 2016 estimation.
Shenzhen is a major city in Guangdong Province, China; it forms part of the Pearl River Delta megalopolis, bordering Hong Kong to the south, Huizhou to the northeast, and Dongguan to the northwest.
Shanghai is one of the four direct-controlled municipalities of China and the most populous city proper in the world, with a population of more than 24 million as of 2014.
China is a great power and a major regional power within Asia, and has been characterized as a potential superpower.
A great power is a sovereign state that is recognized as having the ability and expertise to exert its influence on a global scale.
Covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometres, China is the world's second largest state by land area, and either the third or fourth-largest by total area, depending on the method of measurement.
China's landscape is vast and diverse, ranging from forest steppes and the Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts in the arid north to subtropical forests in the wetter south.
The subtropics are geographic and climate zones located roughly between the tropic circle of latitude at 23.5 latitude and temperate latitudes.
The Taklamakan Desert, also spelled "Taklimakan" and "Teklimakan", is a desert in southwest Xinjiang in Northwest China.
The Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamir and Tian Shan mountain ranges separate China from much of South and Central Asia.
Central Asia or Middle Asia is the core region of the Asian continent and stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east and from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north.
The Karakoram or Karakorum is a large mountain range spanning the borders of Pakistan, India, and China, with the northwest extremity of the range extending to Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
The Tian Shan, also known as the Tengri Tagh, meaning the Mountains of Heaven or the Heavenly Mountain, is a large system of mountain ranges located in Central Asia.
The Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, the third and sixth longest in the world, respectively, run from the Tibetan Plateau to the densely populated eastern seaboard.
The Tibetan Plateau, also known in China as the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau or the Qing–Zang Plateau or Himalayan Plateau, is a vast elevated plateau in Central Asia and East Asia, covering most of the Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai in western China, as well as part of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, India.
The Yellow River or Huang He is the second longest river in China, after the Yangtze River, and the sixth longest river system in the world at the estimated length of 5,464 km.
China's coastline along the Pacific Ocean is 14,500 kilometers long, and is bounded by the Bohai, Yellow, East China, and South China seas.
China emerged as one of the world's earliest civilizations in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain.
For millennia, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies known as dynasties, beginning with the Xia dynasty.
Since 221 BCE, when the Qin dynasty conquered the other largest six states to form the first unified Chinese empire, China has then expanded, fractured and re-unified numerous times in the following millennia.
In 1912, The Republic of China replaced the last dynasty, and ruled the Chinese mainland until 1949, when it was defeated by the communist People's Liberation Army in the Chinese Civil War.
The Chinese Civil War was a civil war in China fought between forces loyal to the Kuomintang -led government of the Republic of China, and forces loyal to the Communist Party of China.
The Communist Party established the People's Republic of China in Beijing on 1 October 1949, while the ROC government relocated to Taiwan with its present de facto temporary capital in Taipei.
Both the ROC and PRC continue to claim to be the legitimate government of all China, though the latter has more recognition in the world and controls more territory.
Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China has become one of the world's fastest-growing major economies.
As of 2016, it is the world's second-largest economy by nominal GDP and largest by purchasing power parity.
Theories that invoke purchasing power parity assume that in some circumstances it would cost exactly the same number of, for example, US dollars to buy euros and then to use the proceeds to buy a market basket of goods as it would cost to use those dollars directly in purchasing the market basket of goods.
China is also the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods.