Located in East Asia, the People's Republic of China shares land boundaries with 14 neighbouring countries. It's wide expanse extends from the Siberian land mass in the North to the Yellow Sea and South China Sea in the East, across to Central Asia in the West and down to Indochina in the South. Major geographical features include the Yangtzi River, the Quingzang Plateau, the Himalaya Mountains, Turpan Pendi (the second lowest inland point in the world after the Dead Sea) and the man-made Great Wall of China.
Buddhism, Taoism and Confucius teaching form the basis of traditional Chinese culture and popular world views. Throughout the dynasties, much emphasis has been placed on introversion and self-reflection for personal betterment. Since the end of the Cultural Revolution, there has been a distinct revival of traditional art, literature, music, film and fashion simultaneous to the rising influence of the West.
For centuries, China has been the world's most populous country despite currently having one of the lowest population growth rates in the world (0.44%) due to family planning policies in place since the 1970's. These restrictions have also lead to the slightly skewed sex ratio of 1.06 males/ females because of a common cultural preference favouring sons over daughters.
Urbanisation has been a significant outcome of fast-paced economic development throughout the reform era as large 'floating populations' migrate away from traditional farmland in the west toward urban metropolises. This mass-scale movement has generated much political concern over rising population densities in receiving towns and cities beyond the limits of sustainability.
China has had a strong history of political domination within a powerful sphere of influence. It outpaced the rest of the world in science and the arts throughout the dynastic-era until severe famine, military conquest and civil unrest struck in the 19th century. Chairman Mao established an exclusively autocratic communist system which insisted tight lifestyle restrictions over the people of China and saw the deaths of many thousands. His successor, Deng Xiaoping shifted the focus toward market-led growth which caused national living standards to rise dramatically along with newfound political freedom.
China still stands as a socialist state, headed by the Chinese Communist Party. It is a rising power in international political and economic realms and holds much sway over issues of global magnitude.
After the Mao era, market liberalisation has manifested in private sector growth, stock market development, modern banking, foreign investment and the removal of price restrictions. Since 1978 these reforms have caused the GDP to rise more than tenfold. In 2014, the Chinese economy was deemed to be the largest in the world when adjusted for price differences (on a purchasing power parity basis) having surpassed USA. Though when distributed amoungst its large population, income per capita is paradoxically still below the global average.
The labour force is fairly evenly dispersed across agriculture (34%), industry (30%) and services (36%). China is a leading manufacturer of garments, footwear, toys, cement, chemicals and electronics, and has a rich store of mineral resources including iron, aluminum, zinc, petroleum, natural gas and tungsten.
- Health – Access to affordable health services remains difficult for isolated and poor communities where medical facilities are rudimentary and essential medications are unaffordable. Strengthening is required in terms of public health governance, systems coordination and insurance coverage. Reliance on traditional remedies can be adverse for some conditions however this is not to undermine the certain potential for further research into scientific applications within pharmacology.
- Early and primary education - The government has made some effort to address issues of educational disadvantage for remote minority children but have generally lacked organisational solidarity to become sustainable. There is a disconnect between the different levels of government agencies which must unify their services in order to implement a smooth path of educational transition, particularly throughout early years of childhood development.
CIA WorldFact Book - https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/in.html
UNDP - http://www.cn.undp.org/content/china/en/home/countryinfo/
Library of Congress - http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/profiles/China.pdf