The Great Qing Empire of China, or just China or Qing China, is a sovereign state located in eastern Asia. China is a unitary state bordered by Russia to the north, Turkestan to the west, Korea to the southeast, and Nepal, Bhutan, Bengal, Thailand, Burma, Vietnam, and Laos to the south.
Even since prehistoric times, China has been ruled and conquered by countless dynasties. The first dynasty established in China was the Xia dynasty, although the era is poorly understood and there is little archaeological evidence of the dynasty. Following the Xia were the Shang and Zhou. The fall of the Zhou dynasty marked the beginning of the Spring and Autumn Period, followed by the Warring States Period.
The Warring States Period ended when the Qin dynasty emerged victorious, marking the start of Imperial China. Probably one of the most successful and prosperous dynasties was the Han dynasty, lasting about 400 years. By the end of the Han dynasty, the Three Kingdoms had emerged, then afterward was the Early Jin dynasty. The Northern and Southern Dynasties followed the Early Jin, before the country was unified for 29 years under the short-lived Sui dynasty. The Tang dynasty succeeded the Sui until 907, until China was again plunged into disunity. The Song and late Jin were two dynasties toward the end of the disunity; the Late Jin dynasty was home to the House of Aisin Gioro, the ruling royal house of Qing China today. The next prominent dynasty to arise was the Yuan dynasty, founded by the Mongol Kublai Khan. The Yuan's successor was the Ming dynasty, established in 1368.
The Ming dynasty would be overthrown, then conquered by the Manchu-led Qing dynasty. The Qing dynasty was established in 1644, to become arguably the most successful dynasty to have ruled China. It managed to survive the threats of Western powers, and survived Japanese invasion during the Pacific War. The Qing have since then adopted democracy into their regime, and became the China we know today.
China today is a developed country with a strong economy, ranking well in standard of living. It is a prominent regional power and is widely considered a great power. It has a strong military force and believed to possess nuclear weapons.
Main article: Ancient China
Pre-Qing Imperial China
Main article: Imperial China
See also: Qing dynasty
The Qing dynasty was founded by the Manchus. The Manchus were formerly known as Jurchens, residing in the northeastern part of the Ming territory outside the Great Wall. They emerged as the major threat to the late Ming dynasty after Nurhaci united all Jurchen tribes and established an independent state. When the Ming dynasty was overthrown, the Qing conquered China over a period from 1618 to 1683. The Qing became the second conquest dynasty to rule the entire territory of China and its people.
Over time, by the end of the Qianlong Emperor's rule, Qing China came to rule over one-third of the world's population at the time, had the world's largest economy, and was one of the largest empires by area in history.
There were many threats from Western powers, and there were some minor internal rebellions such as the Taiping Rebellion. There was the growing concern of Japan: the First Sino-Japanese War broke out between Japan and China over control of Korea. Thankfully, the Qing dynasty managed to survive these threats for the most part.
Modern Qing China
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War broke out between China and Japan, part of the larger Pacific War. Japan won major battles in the war early on, and established puppet states in occupied lands such as Manchukuo. The Pacific War raged on with Japan fighting European powers for control of the Pacific, namely the Netherlands, France, and Spain. However, the Pacific War eventually ended in a Japanese defeat, restorign Qing rule over China once more.
Since the end of the Pacific War, China has made diplomatic moves to grow closer to the West, a change from the isolationist policy first installed by the Ming dynasty centuries prior. Despite Japan's warming of diplomatic relations in the decades following the war, China and Japan still occasionally find themselves at odds.
Although present in China since the late 1800s, calls for a more republican form of government rose to prominence following the Pacific War. The Xuantong Emperor attempted to meet these demands with a series of democratic reforms, modeled after European constitutional monarchies. The position of Prime Minister was created, which gradually gained more powers that previously were vested in the Emperor. Also, a parliament was established, with the first elections in 1956.
Government and Politics
The current role of the Emperor is to act as the head of state and commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. However, executive authority and making decisions on the use of the armed forces are de facto vested in the Prime Minister and Minister of Defense. The Emperor also represents an authority figure of China, appearing at important ceremonial functions, often considered to represent China as a whole during these times.
China is a unitary state composed of 20 provinces, four municipalities, four autonomous regions, and two special administrative regions. China claims sovereignty over the territory administered by the People's Democratic Republic of Manchuria, claiming it partitioned as the provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning; part of the province of Hebei; and part of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region.