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Satellite image of China

China (Simplified Chinese: , Traditional Chinese: , literally "the Middle Kingdom") is a cultural region, a civilisation, and a geographical area in East Asia, that is home to just over one-fifth of the world's population.

China is the world's oldest continuous civilization, consisting of states and cultures dating back more than 5,000 years. Its history has been largely characterized by repeated divisions and reunifications amid alternating periods of peace and war, and violent imperial dynastic change. The country's territory expanded outwards from a core area in the North China Plain, and varied according to its changing fortunes to include regions of East, Northeast, and Central Asia. For centuries, Imperial China was also one of the world's most technologically advanced civilizations, and East Asia's dominant cultural influence, with Chinese religion, customs, and writing systems being adopted to varying degrees by neighbors such as Japan, Korea and Vietnam, and having an impact lasting to the present day.

China also has the world's longest continuously used written language system, the Chinese language, and is the source of many major inventions, such as the Four Great Inventions of Ancient China: paper, the compass, gunpowder, and the printing press. Its landscape is diverse with forest steppes and deserts in the dry north near Mongolia and Russia's Siberia, and subtropical forests in the south close to Vietnam, Laos, and Burma. The terrain in the west is rugged and high altitude, with the Himalayas and the Tian Shan mountain ranges forming China's natural borders with India and Central Asia, while in contrast, China's eastern seaboard is low-lying and has a 14,500-kilometre long coastline bounded on the southeast by the South China Sea, and on the east by the East China Sea.

Since 1949, and as a result of the stalemate of the Chinese Civil War, two political entities have been using the name "China": the People's Republic of China, which is often what is meant by the term China, and the Republic of China, which is more commonly known as Taiwan.

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A scene in Chinese New Year celebration

Chinese New Year (simplified Chinese: 春节traditional Chinese: 春節pinyin: Chūn jié), or Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year (simplified Chinese: 农历新年traditional Chinese: 農曆新年pinyin: Nóng lì xīn nián), is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is an important holiday in East Asia. The festival proper begins on the first day of the first lunar month (Chinese: 正月pinyin: zhēng yuè) in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th; this day is called the Lantern Festival (simplified Chinese: 元宵traditional Chinese: 元宵pinyin: yuánxiāojié).

Chinese New Year's Eve is known as Chúxì (除夕). Chu literally means "change" and xi means "Eve".

Celebrated in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese, Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had a strong influence on the new year celebrations of its neighbours. These include Koreans, Mongolians, Nepalese, Bhutanese, Vietnamese, and formerly the Japanese before 1873.

In countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, The Philippines, Thailand, and other countries with significant Chinese populations, the Lunar New Year is also celebrated, largely by ethnic Chinese, but it is not part of the traditional cultures of these countries. In Thailand, for example, the true New Year celebration of the ethnic Thais is Songkran, which is totally different and is celebrated in April. (More...)

Selected biography

Sun Yat-sen (November 12, 1866March 12, 1925) was a Chinese revolutionary and political leader who had a significant role in the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty. A founder of the Kuomintang (KMT), Sun was the first provisional president when the Republic of China was founded in 1912. He developed a political philosophy known as the Three Principles of the People which still heavily influences Chinese government today. "Father of the Nation" (Guófù, 國父) is the title officially given to Sun Yat-sen in the Republic of China on Taiwan. It also unofficially refers to Sun Yat-sen the People's Republic of China on mainland China.

Sun was a uniting figure in post-imperial China, and remains unique among 20th century Chinese politicians for being widely revered in both mainland China and Taiwan. In Taiwan, he is known by the posthumous name National Father, Mr. Sun Chungshan (國父 孫中山先生). On the mainland, Sun is also seen as a Chinese nationalist, and is highly regarded as the "Forerunner of the Revolution" (革命先行者) and "the Father of Modern China".

Although Sun is considered one of the greatest leaders of modern China, his life was one of constant struggle and frequent exile. He quickly fell out of power in the newly-founded Republic of China, and led successive revolutionary governments as a challenge to the warlords who controlled much of the nation. Unfortunately, Sun did not live to see his party bring about consolidation of power over the country. Although his fragile political alliance with the Communist Party of China fell apart after his death, Sun grew in stature to become a greatly revered figure among Nationalists and Communists alike.

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The Pearl Shoal Waterfall
The Pearl Shoal Waterfall in Jiuzhaigou Valley, western Sichuan Province.

Photo credit: Noé Lecocq

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  • Wikipedia:WikiProject China/Chinese cities workgroup
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China WikiProjects

Main WikiProject: WikiProject China

Geography: WikiProject Chinese cities • WikiProject Chinese provinces • WikiProject Hong Kong • WikiProject Macau • WikiProject Taiwan • WikiProject Tibet

History: WikiProject Chinese history • Chinese military history task force • WikiProject Three Kingdoms

Language: WikiProject Chinese surnames • CJKV taskforce

Politics: WikiProject Chinese politics

Images: WikiProject Chinese maps

Miscellaneous: Christianity in China work group • WikiProject Chinese cinema • WikiProject Taoism • WikiProject Transportation in China • WikiProject Uyghurs of Western China


For topics about the two political entities that make up modern-day China, see Portal:People's Republic of China and Portal:Republic of China.


Wikipedias in languages found in China

粵語 / 廣東話 (Cantonese)           古文 / 文言文 (Classical Chinese)           贛語 (Gan)           Hak-kâ-fa (Hakka)           قازاق تىلى (Kazakh)           中文 / 普通話 (Mandarin)           閩東語 (Min Dong)           閩南語 (Min-nan)           བོད་ཡིག (Tibetan)           ئۇيغۇرچە (Uyghur)           吳語 / 吳儂軟語 (Wu)           Sawcuengh (Zhuang)

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China on Wikinews  China on Wikiquote  China on Wikibooks  China on Wikisource  China on Wiktionary  China on Wikiversity  China on Commons
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