The People's Republic of China (PRC), commonly known as China, is the most populous state in the world with over 1.3 billion people. Located in East Asia, China is governed by the Communist Party of China (CPC) under a single-party system. The PRC exercises jurisdiction over 24 provinces, four autonomous regions, four directly administered municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing) Its capital city is Beijing.
At about 8.16 million sq km, the PRC is the world's fourth-largest country by total area and the second largest by land area. Its landscape is diverse, with forest steppes and deserts (Gobi) in the dry north near the Soviet Union's Siberia and Uyghuristan, and subtropical forests in the wet south close to Vietnam, Laos, and Burma. The terrain in the west is rugged and at high altitude, with the Himalayas and the Tian Shan mountain ranges forming China's natural borders with India and Central Asia. In contrast, mainland China's eastern seaboard is low-lying and has a 14,500-km long coastline bounded on the southeast by the South China Sea and on the east by the East China Sea beyond which lies Korea and Japan.
The People's Republic of China, or the PRC for short, was created in December of 1932, following the war between Soviet and Nationalist Chinese forces. China had lost Xinjiang (Uyghuristan) to the Soviets, while Japan had taken Manchuria and was in possession of Taiwan. British and Portuguese forces controlled Hong Kong and Macau, while Tibet did not acknowledge Chinese rule.
The PRC initially depended upon Soviet aid, but would soon start rebuilding its infrastructure and even industrialize a wide area around its coast. The first sign of a more independent China came after a swift occupation of Tibet in mid-1935, which the Soviet leadership praised at the time.
The rule of Mao Zedong
After the previous leader had died in a car crash, Mao had quickly risen to prominence within the Chinese government, arguing openly that China could follow its own path to a communist utopia, with or without the USSR as its ally. This was perceived as dangerous, but no action was taken by the Soviet sympathizers in the PRC's government.
None could argue that with Mao's rule new victories could be achieved. In 1937, the communist leader openly threatened the United Kingdom and Portugal, demanding that they give him power over their colonies, as well as give protectorship over Nepal and Bhutan directly to the PRC. Although his demands were viewed with alarm in the Comintern, Neville Chamberlain, the prime minister of the UK, signed an agreement with Mao, giving in to his demands. More and more people believed that this new, strong leader would usher in an era of prosperity for China. Mao would soon suffer the same fate as his predecessor, dying under mysterious circumstances due to a car crash in May of 1938.
Zhang Wentian, a Soviet sympathiser, would soon replace the great leader.
War with Japan
The PRC would actively help its ally, the USSR, in its war against the Japanese Empire, as they held vital territory that once belonged to the country. Striking Manchuria from the south and Taiwan in an amphibious assault, the Chinese military gave numerous lives to push the Japanese of the Asian mainland. Although the Soviet Union was given credit for the victory, the Chinese had significant victories of their own, as Chinese units were first to enter both Port Arthur and Pyongyang.
As agreed upon before the war, China got to keep Taiwan and the Soviets relinquished all claims to Manchuria, which was promptly given to the Chinese. Korea became its own state and together the three allies would look to expand the socialist revolution, despite a belligerent Europe and the United States.
Chinese intervention in Indochina
Alongside its allies, the Chinese frequently supplied the Viet Minh movement in Vietnam and border skirmishes happened frequently between the PRC and French, soon to be EDI, forces. Victory for Vietnam came in 1952, when North Vietnam was created, effectively dividing the nation in half. The peace would not last long and Comintern forces, China especially, would be responsible for helping North Vietnam in its war with the South, after war erupted only fiver years later in 1957. This would prove to be successful, as communist forces quickly took over both Laos and Cambodia and even eventually took over South Vietnam in 1970.
The Nuclear Age
Realising the awesome power of the atom, the PRC leadership started their own nuclear program in the late 1950s. This program was overseen by the USSR, which even gave several nuclear warheads for Chinese scientists to replicate. The program was quickly successful in creating a Chinese nuclear bomb, detonating it in August, 1966. From then on, the Chinese military would build up to 500 nuclear bombs and there are currently 300 missiles ready for deployment.
It would also emulate another aspect of the Cold War its ally, the USSR, fought with the West: the Space Race. The Chinese Space Commission (CSC) was founded in 1963, with its first successful launch being named the DF-1, which reached lower Earth orbit. Later launches would build on this success, helped by Soviet technicians. The first living being launched by the CSC was a hamster and two rats, launched on the DF-5 in 1965, while the first Chinese man to be launched not on a Soviet mission was launched in 1973, making China the fourth entity in the world to launch a man into space.
These victories for China would lead to it being recognized as a great power, with huge potential in the future, which would elevate it in the World Council of Nations to the fourth member capable of vetoing decisions of the WCN. This would sometimes put it at odds with the USSR, but nothing serious would happen until Mikhail Gorbachev became leader.
Icy Sino-Soviet relations
As soon as Mikhail Gorbachev started to make radical reforms in the Soviet Union, the Chinese were appalled by what they perceived as deviating from the path of socialism. Things would further worsen as Soviet and PRC representatives in the Comintern clashed at the 21. Comintern conference in Havana, 1988. The conference would end when the Chinese delegates abruptly left stating that the USSR was "killing socialism". This would eventually lead to the end of the Comintern, as this was the last summit to be held, as some delegates agreed with the Chinese.
Just a year later, the Soviet Union started to fall apart in the west, which the PRC saw as their own victory. A bold statement was issued, demanding the return of lost territories from the Soviet Union, which would indicate the all time low of the relationship between the two communist giants.
Relations would improve during the nineties and even more so after Gorbachev left his office, but are still not as close as before. Talks of restarting the Comintern have not produced anything as of yet, although informal meetings between communist states, especially after the 5/11 attacks of 2003 have prompted closer cooperation. China was also affected by the attack, with Bejing, Shanghai and Hong Kong being targeted by IJA dirty bombs and other terrorist attacks.
The economy of the People's Republic of China is the third largest in the world, after the United States and Japan with a nominal GDP of $4.99 trillion in 2009. It is the second largest after the U.S. with an economy worth $8.77 trillion when measured in purchasing power parity. China is the world's fastest-growing major economy, with an average growth rate of 10% for the past 30 years. The country's per capita income is at $3,677 (nominal, 97th), and $6,567 (PPP, 98th). China is the second largest trading nation in the world and the largest exporter and second largest importer of goods.
The two most important sectors of the economy have traditionally been agriculture and industry, which together employ more than 70 percent of the labor force and produce more than 60 percent of GDP. The two sectors have differed in many respects. Technology, labor productivity, and incomes have advanced much more rapidly in industry than in agriculture. Agricultural output has been vulnerable to the effects of weather, while industry has been more directly influenced by the government. The disparities between the two sectors have combined to form an economic-cultural-social gap between the rural and urban areas, which is a major division in Chinese society. China is the world's largest producer of rice and is among the principal sources of wheat, corn (maize), tobacco, soybeans, peanuts (groundnuts), and cotton. The country is one of the world's largest producers of a number of industrial and mineral products, including cotton cloth, tungsten, and antimony, and is an important producer of cotton yarn, coal, crude oil, and a number of other products. Its mineral resources are probably among the richest in the world but are only partially developed.
The People's Liberation Army (PLA) (simplified Chinese: 人民解放军; traditional Chinese: 人民解放軍; pinyin: Rénmín Jiěfàngjūn) is the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLA was established on August 1, 1927 — celebrated annually as "PLA Day" — as the military arm of the Communist Party of China (CCP). It consists of the PLA Ground Forces, PLA Navy, PLA Air Force, Second Artillery Corps and the People's Armed Police.
The People's Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) (中国人民解放军陆军) is the land-based service branch of the People's Liberation Army, and deploys 7,500 main battle tanks, 5,500 armoured personnel carriers, 2,200 infantry fighting vehicles and 25,000 artillery pieces. Its regular forces consist of 1.7 million personnel, with an additional 800,000 personnel in reserve, making it the largest active standing army in the world, and second largest in terms of army personnel. Currently 40% of the ground force divisions and brigades are either armoured or mechanized to deal with potential threats.
The People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN or PLA Navy) (simplified Chinese: 中国人民解放军海军; traditional Chinese: 中國人民解放軍海軍; pinyin: Zhōngguó Rénmín Jiěfàngjūn Hǎijūn) is the naval branch of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), the military of the People's Republic of China. Until the early 1980s, the navy performed a subordinate role to the PLA Land Forces. Since then, it has undergone rapid modernisation. It is currently the third largest naval service in the world after the United States Navy and the Soviet Navy. With a personnel strength of over 250,000, the PLAN also includes the 35,000 strong Coastal Defense Force and the 56,000 man Naval infantry/Marines, plus a 56,000 PLAN Aviation naval air arm operating several hundred land-based aircraft and ship-based helicopters. As part of its overall program of naval modernization, the PLAN has a plan of developing a blue-water navy.
The People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) (simplified Chinese: 中国人民解放军空军; traditional Chinese: 中國人民解放軍空軍; pinyin: Zhōngguó Rénmín Jiěfàngjūn Kōngjūn) is the aviation branch of the People's Liberation Army, the military of the People's Republic of China. According to Sinodefence it currently consists of approximately 400,000 personnel and about 1,510 combat aircraft,making the PLAAF the largest air force in Asia, and the third largest in the world behind the Soviet Air Force and the United States Air Force.
The Second Artillery Corps (SAC) (simplified Chinese: 第二炮兵部队; traditional Chinese: 第二砲兵部隊; pinyin: Dì èr pàobīng bùduì) is the strategic missile forces of the People's Republic of China. The SAC is the component of the People's Liberation Army that controls China's nuclear ballistic and conventional missiles. China's total nuclear arsenal size is estimated to be between 100 and 400 nuclear weapons in total, with about 180 of them actively deployed. The SAC comprises approximately 90,000-120,000 personnel and six ballistic missile brigades. The six brigades are independently deployed in different military regions throughout the country. The Second Artillery Corps was established on 1 July 1966. The headquarters for operations is located at Qinghe. Second Artillery Corps is under the direct command of the Chinese Central Military Commission.
The People's Armed Police Force (Abbreviation: PAP or CAPF; Simplified Chinese: 中国人民武装警察部队, Traditional Chinese: 中國人民武裝警察部隊; pinyin: Zhōngguó Rénmín Wǔzhuāng Jǐngchá Bùduì) is a paramilitary or gendarmerie force primarily responsible for civilian policing and fire rescue duties in the People's Republic of China, as well as provide support to PLA during wartime.
As a great power and emerging superpower, China's foreign policy and strategic thinking is highly influential. China officially states it "unswervingly pursues an independent foreign policy of peace. The fundamental goals of this policy are to preserve China's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, create a favorable international environment for China's reform and opening up and modernization construction, maintain world peace and propel common development."
China is a member of many international organizations; holding key positions such as a being a member with veto power in the World Council of Nations and is a leader in many areas such as non-proliferation, peacekeeping and resolving regional conflicts.