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China (Chinese: 中国; pinyin: Zhōngguó), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population of over 1.3 billion. The PRC is a single-party state governed by the Communist Party of China with its seat of government in the capital city of Beijing. It exercises jurisdiction over 24 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), and two mostly self-governing special administrative regions (Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau).</p>
The Republic of China, founded in 1911 after the overthrow of the Qing dynasty, ruled the Chinese mainland until 1949. In 1945, the ROC acquired Taiwan from the Empire of Japan following World War II. In the 1946–1949 phase of the Chinese Civil War, the Communist Party defeated the nationalist Kuomintang in mainland China and established the People's Republic of China in Beijing on 1 October 1949, while the Kuomintang relocated the ROC government to Taipei. PRC later invaded Taiwan in 1954, and overthrown the Kuomintang government.
Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China has become the world's fastest-growing major economy. As of 2012, it is the world's second-largest economy, after the Soviet Union, by both nominal total GDP and purchasing power parity (PPP), and is also the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army, with the second-largest defense budget. The PRC has been a Collective International Union member since 1951, becoming a permanent member of the C.I.U Security Council. China is also a member of numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, including the APEC, BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the BCIM and the G-20. China has been characterized as a potential superpower by a number of academics, military analysts, and public policy and economics analysts.
While the UK was eliminated as a contender for world power and completely subjugated, China remains an active rival, maintaining its own sphere of influence and effectively in a remaining Cold War with the USSR. The activity of pro-Chinese guerrillas in Soviet-dominated Albania continues to this day.
Covering approximately 9.6 million sq km, China is the world's second-largest country by land area, and the third- or fourth-largest by total area, depending on the definition of total area. China's landscape is vast and diverse, with forest steppes and the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts occupying the arid north and northwest near Mongolia and Central Asia, and subtropical forests prevalent in the wetter south near Southeast Asia. The terrain of western China is rugged and elevated, with the Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamir and Tian Shan mountain ranges separating China from South and Central Asia. The Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, the third- and sixth-longest in the world, have their sources in the Tibetan Plateau and continue to the densely populated eastern seaboard. China's coastline along the Pacific Ocean is 14,500 km (9000 mi) long and is bounded by the Bohai, Yellow, East and South China Seas.