“China is an innovative, stong and large nation, its people are proud and never lose hope. It has the ability to absorb and assimilate any foreign influence which makes it one of the greatest civilizations in our history.”
The Empire of China is a large nation situated in East Asia, one of the leading powers in the world and a superpower.
China's full ceremonial name is: "The Great Celestial Empire of China, the Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace". China is the most used name, followed by Empire of China, Chinese Empire, Zhou Dynasty, and Shenglong Dynasty...
Wu Zetian was born in 624 in Lizhou, during the Tang Dynasty as the daughter of a rich nobleman and noblewoman. She was well known in the city for her beauty. She was educated until the age of 13 when Emperor Taizong took her as a concubine when he visited the city. Wu Zetian was unhappy and missed her parents much in the palace, and she did not have any children with Taizong. When he died Consort Wu was forced to become a Buddhist nun, and it would have been the end of the story. Li Zhi ascended the throne as Emperor Gaozong, but he spent more and more time with Consort Xiao, making Empress Wang jealous. She had a plan to make her again the center of the emperor's attention. She brought Wu Zetian back to the palace and Emperor Gaozong immediately recognized her as that pretty girl that he saw in the palace when he was young. Empress Wang's plan succeeded, but not for long... Consort Wu gained more and more influence in the court and was eventually made Empress in 655. Empress Wang saw that her plan backfired and she accused Empress Wu of witchcraft and treachery. When she was almost arrested, she grabbed a sword and single-handedly defeated all the guards. She then arrested Empress Wang and informed the Emperor that Empress Wang and Consort Xiao were evil witches. They were banished from China, but Empress Wu secretly executed them without telling the emperor. Nothing would stand in her way, and she was determined to change her destiny. In 660 Emperor Gaozong died under "mysterious circumstances", it was rumored that Empress Wu poisoned him, but in fact she didn't. Now with the throne vacant, Empress Wu's sons could not succeed the emperor because due to their age. It was not allowed for women to ascend to throne of China by the law. Wu Zetian changed the law and declared herself "Empress Regnant of China", founding her own dynasty, the Second Zhou Dynasty and becoming the first empress regnant in history of China. She said that anyone who dared to oppose her would be punished by execution.
Empress Wu Zetian
After claiming to Mandate of Heaven, Empress Wu retook parts of the Empire. She began the construction of the enormous Weiyang Palace in a record time,it was completed in 670. She favored Buddhism, even claiming that she was Buddha. She constructed many pagodas and the largest of them all: the Shenglong Pagoda. She was a great ruler and brought the Empire to its Golden Age. She accomplished many things in her life, but was never truly happy. At its height the empire covered China Proper, Tarim Basin, Mongolia, Vietnam and much of Central Asia. The Chinese Empire would never be so large again. In 705, seriously ill, she died, leaving the throne to her daughter, Princess Taiping.
Period of Decline and Prosperity
In this period the empire sometimes prospered and sometimes declined. There were some great leaders, but particularly weak and incapable leaders. In 1220 Genghis Khan destroyed the declining empire and conquered China.
Dark Ages, Ming and Qing Dynasties
After the Empire was conquered by the Mongols, the Imperial family fled to the Khmer Empire to escape the Mongol Empire and their execution. Many ages passed and new dynasties were founded: the Ming and the Qing. It was during the Ming Dynasty that China rivaled the Tang Dynasty in both power and influence. In 1421, under the reign of the Yongle Emperor, Admiral Zheng He's fleet were the first Eurasians to set foot on the American continent since the Vikings. A colony was established in the West Coast of North America, and the Ming Empire made contact with the Aztecs and Inca. They traded and the colony grew until it was finally abandoned in the 16th century, when the Chinese Emperors began to isolate China from the world. In 1644, the Ming Dynasty was politically corrupt and instable and the Machu people invaded the empire, conquering China. In 1912 the Qing collapsed and the Republic of China arose and later the People's Republic of China. When Mao Zedong invaded Tibet, the UN responded by dropping atomic bombs on Beijing and Shanghai. Mao Zedong was killed, more then a million people died and the Forbidden City and many buildings were largely destroyed. The PRC collapsed into civil war one year later. Ten years passed before China was reunified in 1961 by Shao Zhou, a descendant of Empress Wu Zetian.
He remade the ancient dynasty and restored the empire, but promised that it would not be an absolute monarchy, but a democratic monarchy. He reorganized the economy and started major reforms. The Empire began to become rich again. He abdicated in 2001 in favor of his daughter Wu. Wu was crowned Empress Regnant and she continued the policy of her father. Today China is one the world's rising powers and slowly regains its position as the dominant nation on Earth, the empire has now a GDP growth rate of 20% and if the growth remains constant, it will become the largest economy in the world by 2020.
The economy of China has a GDP value of 7,800,000,000,000 USD with a growth rate of 20%. It is currently the 5th largest economy of the world. If the growth rate continues to be constant and does not go under 10%, then China will surpass the USA as the largest economy on Earth by 2020 or even earlier. China's main export products are electrical and other machinery, including data processing equipment, apparel, textiles, iron and steel, optical and medical equipment. It's main import products are electrical and other machinery, oil and mineral fuels, optical and medical equipment, metal ores, plastics and organic chemicals. Tourism is an important factor of the economy contributing to 10% of the GDP. China's main trading partners are the United States of America, Japan and many countries of Europe.
China is a constitutional democratic monarchy. The emperor/empress is responsible for all political and military affairs. The parliament with its head, the Prime Minister is responsible for all other affairs. Once in the 4 years a new parliament and/or Prime Minister are chosen by the people. China was formerly an absolute monarchy until the Mongol conquest of China.
China has an enormous standing army comprising of infantry, tanks, submarines, helicopters, destroyers, carriers and atomic weapons. The constitution expresses that none of these weapons may be used for offensive purposes, only for defending the nation or with the approval of the United Nations. China has a large military budget of 1,000,000,000,000 USD. China is, by military power, currently the second largest, only after the United States of America.
China is the most populous nation on Earth with more than 1,350,000,000 people residing within its borders. The population growth rate is currently 0,5%. The main languages that are spoken are Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese and other Chinese dialects; Tibetan and Mongolian are also spoken to a lesser extent. Buddhism is the state religion. However, people are allowed to practice the religion they prefer. Religious division in China: Buddhism 75%, Shenism (Confucianism, Taoism...) 15%, Islam 2%, Christianity 1%, others and Atheism 7%.
Chinese architecture has existed since the dawn of Chinese civilization. There are certain features common to Chinese architecture, regardless of specific region or use. The most important is its emphasis on width, as the wide halls of the Forbidden City serve as an example. In contrast, Western architecture emphasize on height, though there are exceptions such as pagodas.
Another important feature is symmetry, which connotes a sense of grandeur as it applies to everything from palaces to farmhouses. One notable exception is in the design of gardens, which tends to be as asymmetrical as possible. Like Chinese scroll paintings, the principle underlying the garden's composition is to create enduring flow, to let the patron wander and enjoy the garden without prescription, as in nature herself. Feng shui has played an important part in structural development. Examples of Chinese architecture are the Weiyang Palace, Forbidden City, Shenglong Pagoda, the Great Wall of China and many others.
The overwhelmingly large variety of Chinese cuisine comes mainly from the practice of dynastic period, when emperors would host banquets with 100 dishes per meal. A countless number of imperial kitchen staff and concubines were involved in the food preparation process. Over time, many dishes became part of the everyday-citizen culture. Some of the highest quality restaurants with recipes close to the dynastic periods include Fangshan restaurant in Beihai Park Beijing and the Oriole Pavilion. Arguably all branches of Hong Kong eastern style are in some ways rooted from the original dynastic cuisines.
The music of China dates back to the dawn of Chinese civilization with documents and artifacts providing evidence of a well-developed musical culture as early as the Zhou Dynasty (1122 BCE - 256 BCE). Some of the oldest written music dates back to Confucius's time. The first major well-documented flowering of Chinese music was for the qin during the Tang Dynasty, although the instrument is known to have played a major part before the Han Dynasty.
There are many musical instruments that are integral to Chinese culture, such as the zheng (zither with movable bridges), qin (bridgeless zither), sheng and xiao (vertical flute), the erhu (alto fiddle or bowed lute), pipa (pear-shaped plucked lute), and many others.
China is one of the main birth places of Eastern martial arts. Chinese martial arts are collectively given the name Kung Fu (gong) "achievement" or "merit", and (fu) "man", thus "human achievement") or (previously and in some modern contexts) Wushu ("martial arts" or "military arts"). China also includes the home to the well-respected Shaolin Monastery and Wudang Mountains. The first generation of art started more for the purpose of survival and warfare than art. Over time, some art forms have branched off, while others have retained a distinct Chinese flavor. Regardless, China has produced some of the most renowned martial artists including Wong Fei Hung and many others. The arts have also co-existed with a variety of weapons including the more standard 18 arms. Legendary and controversial moves like Dim Mak are also praised and talked about within the culture.