The Qing Empire (QE), commonly known as China, is the most populous state in the world with over 1.4 billion people. Located in East Asia, it is a single-party state governed by the Imperial Government of the Qing Prince (IGQP). The QE exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four directly administered municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), Its capital city is Beijing.
At about 9.7 million sq km (3.8 million sq mi), the Qing Empire is the world's third- or fourth-largest country by total area, depending on the definition of what is included in that total, and the second largest by land area. Its landscape is diverse, with forest steppes and deserts (the Gobi and Taklamakan) in the dry north near Mongolia and Russia's Siberia, and subtropical forests in the wet south close to Dai Nam, Laos, and Burma. The terrain in the west is rugged and elevated, with the Himalayas and the Tian Shan mountain ranges forming Qing's natural borders with Bengal, Nepal and Central Asia. In contrast, mainland China's eastern seaboard is low-lying and has a 14,500-km (9000 mi) long coastline bounded on the southeast by the South China Sea and on the east by the East China Sea, beyond which lie Korea and Japan.
The ancient Chinese civilization was one of the world's earliest, flourished in the fertile basin of the Yellow River which flows through the North China Plain. For more than 6000 years, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies (also known as dynasties). The first of these dynasties was the Xia (approx. 2000 BC) but it was the later Qin Dynasty that first unified China in 221 BC. After modest modernization in the late 19th century, the early 20th century saw almost forty years of sustained conflict in China, with the Yellow Sea War, the Chinese Civil War from 1908-1919, the Pacific War and the Second Sino-Japanese War all occurring within quick succession. The second half of the 20th century saw China modernize and become a manufacturing base for foreign companies, mainly Japanese ones, as it became the backbone of the Asian Sphere of Prosperity. China was the hardest hit country in the 2002 Asian financial crisis and is regarded as a "recovering nation" as opposed to a developed or developing country.
See also: History of Qing China