Useful country information
Capital: Beijing, 21.89 million
Beijing: Capital City Profile
Other large cities: Shanghai 20.208 million; Guangzhou 10.849 million; Shenzhen 10.63 million; Chongqing 9.977 million; Wuhan 9.158 million (2011)
National Holiday: Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China, October 1.
Population: 1.412 billion (July 2022 est.)
Life Expectancy: 75.8 years
Nationality/Demonym: Chinese (Zh?nggurn)
Languages: Standard Chinese or Mandarin (official; Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages (see Ethnic groups entry)
Note: Zhuang is official in Guangxi Zhuang, Yue is official in Guangdong, Mongolian is official in Nei Mongol, Uighur is official in Xinjiang Uygur,
Kyrgyz is official in Xinjiang Uyghur, and Tibetan is official in Xizang (Tibet)
Ethnicity/race: Han Chinese 91.6%, Zhuang 1.3%, other (includes Hui, Manchu, Uighur, Miao, Yi, Tujia, Tibetan, Mongol, Dong, Buyei, Yao, Bai, Korean, Hani, Li, Kazakh, Dai and other nationalities) 7.1% note: the Chinese government officially recognizes 56 ethnic groups (2010 est.)
Religions: Buddhist 18.2%, Christian 5.1%, Muslim 1.8%, folk religion 21.9%, Hindu < 0.1%, Jewish < 0.1%, other 0.7% (includes Daoist (Taoist)), unaffiliated 52.2% (2010 est.)
Note: A majority of Chinese people are non-practicing or are not members of any religion, largely as a result of suppression of religion in the mid-twentieth century. The country is officially atheist. China recognizes the legal practice of five religions: Buddhism, Catholicism, Daoism, Islam, and Protestantism. All of these religions have long histories in China. Not included are the various folk religions and local beliefs around the country, which are usually tolerated.
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For centuries China has stood as a leading civilization, outpacing the rest of the world in the arts and sciences.
But in the first half of the 20th century, China was beset by major famines, civil unrest, military defeats, and foreign occupation. After World War II, the Communists under MAO Zedong established a dictatorship that, while ensuring China's sovereignty, imposed strict controls over everyday life and cost the lives of tens of millions of people.
After 1978, Mao's successor DENG Xiaoping gradually introduced market-oriented reforms and decentralized economic decision making. Output quadrupled in the next 20 years and China now has the world's second largest GDP. Political controls remain tight even while economic controls continue to weaken.
(Source: CIA - The World Factbook)
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