Fact Sheet

People's Republic of China
Land area 9.6 million sq km - (USA 9.8 million sq km)

23 Provinces, 6 Autonomous Regions, 4 Municipalities

Population 1.35 billion 92 % Han Chinese, 8% minorities

Labor force 799 million - 35% Agriculture - 30% Industry

GDP US$ 8.2 trillion – GDP per capita US$9,300 (2012)

Agriculture 10.1% - Industry 45.3% - Services 44.6%

Exports US$2.1 trillion – machinery, electronics, textiles

To US 17%, Hong Kong 16%, Japan 7%, Sth. Korea 4%

Imports $1.7 trillion – machinery, fuels, metals, vehicles

From Japan 10%, Sth. Korea 9%, USA 7%, Germany 5%

China #1 in electricity production and consumption, telephones (main line and cellular) and internet users

Data Sources: CIA World Fact Book – US Dept. of State Background Note
China is the oldest continuous major world civilization, with records dating back 3,500 years. Successive dynasties developed a system of bureaucratic control and a common written language that gave the agrarian-based Chinese an advantage over neighboring nomadic and hill cultures. The last dynasty was established in 1644, when the Manchus overthrew the native Ming dynasty and established the Qing dynasty with Beijing as its capital; over the next half century they gained control of Xinjuang, Yunnan, Tibet, Mongolia, and Taiwan. During the 19th century, Qing control weakened, China suffered social strife, economic stagnation, and western penetration. Hong Kong was ceded to Britain in 1842 and in 1898 Britain executed a 99 year lease of the New Territories.

The next 50 years were ones of major turmoil and political change. The Qing dynasty fell in 1911 and a republic was formed; in 1916 on the death of the first president, the republican government fell apart, ushering in the era of “warlords” during which China was ruled and ravaged by shifting coalitions of competing provincial military leaders. In the 1920’s Sun Yat-sen established a revolutionary base in south China, organized the Kuomintang (KMT “Chinese Nationalist People’s Party”) and entered into an alliance with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). After Sun’s death in 1925 Chiang Kai-shek seized control of the KMT and in 1927 turned on the CCP and executed many of its leaders. The remnants fled to the mountains of Eastern China; in 1934, driven out of their mountain bases, the CCP’s force embarked on a “Long March” during which they reorganized under a new leader Mao Zedong. The struggle between the KMT and the CCP continued through the 14 year long Japanese invasion (1931-45); outright war between the two parties resumed after the Japanese defeat in 1945 and by 1949 the CCP occupied most of the country. Chang Kai-shek fled with the remnants of his MKT Government to Taiwan

In 1949 Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C) and established a soviet style centrally planned economy, which stayed very much in place during Mao’s lifetime. After his death in 1978, his successor Deng Xiaoping and other later 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 significantly. Over the past 25 years, China has had the fastest-growing major economy, with an annual growth of more than 10% per year. Industry and agriculture are the largest sectors, producing more than 60% of China’s GDP, and employing over 70% of the work force. On November 15th 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled the most striking plans for reform in two decades, announcing that market forces would henceforth play a ”decisive” role in shaping the economy; it called also for an “acceleration” of moves to let the market determine interest rates. The announcement also called for China to make its currency, the yuan, fully convertible.


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