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Chinese Empire
中國帝國
Timeline: Alternate Asia

OTL equivalent: People's Republic of China
Flag of the City of Harbin Republic of China Beiyang Government National Emblem
Flag Emblem
Chinese Empire Map
Location of China in Red

Location within the AU in Purple

Motto
Xiūxí Shí, Cáifù, Hépíng (Pinyin Mandarin Chinese)
("Rest, Wealth, Peace")

Anthem "Gǔcūn

The Middle Kingdom"

Capital Peking
Largest city Shanghai
Language
  official
 
Pinyin Mandarin Chinese
  others Cantonese, English, Russian
Religion None (Atheism)
Ethnic Group 93% Han

55 Minorities

Demonym Chinese
Government Unitary Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy
Empress Xiùyīng
Premier Xí Jìnpíng
Area
  main
 
3,290,879 sq mi
  water (%) Generally considered 2.4
Population 1,132,843,111 
Established 25th December 1991
Currency Tael (¥)
Internet TLD .cn
Calling Code +86
Nominal GDP £8.021 Trillion

£7,080 (per capita)

The Chinese Empire (Pinyin: Zhōngguó dìguó), or China is a sovereign state in East Asia. It is the world's second most populous country, with over 1.132 billion recognized citizens and millions more without citizenship. China is a constitutional monarchy with the Emperor/Empress as the Head of State, with the democratically elected Premier having de facto power over the nation. The seat of the Empire and Parliament is in Peking. The country rules over 22 provinces, four autonomous regions, five direct-controlled municipalities (Peking, Tientsin, Shanghai, Chungking and Canton) and two home-ruled colonies Hong Kong and Macau. China also claims Taiwan, seat of the People's Republic of China, as a 23rd Province, and this is recognized as such by the majority of nations around the world.

China's landscape is vast and diverse, ranging from forest steppes and the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts in the arid north to subtropical forests in the wetter south. The Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamir and Tian Shan mountain ranges separate China from South and Central Asia. The Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, the third- and sixth-longest in the world, run from the Tibetan Plateau 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. 

The ancient Chinese civilization – one of the world's earliest – flourished in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. For millennia, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies, known as dynasties, beginning with the semi-mythological Xia of the Yellow River basin (c. 2000 BCE). Since 221 BCE, when the Qin Dynasty first conquered several states to form a Chinese empire, the country has expanded, fractured and been reformed numerous times. The Qing dynasty was overthrown in 1911, and the Republic of China was set up. North China was occupied by Japanese forces until 1945, and communists led by Mao Zedong fought against the government before, during and after WWII, until 1946 where they were expelled to Taiwan. China was ruled as a multiparty state until 1953, then as a dictatorship until 1980 under Chiang Kai-Shek and the Guomindang. In the months after his death chaos ensued, until the UN divided the nation into four states (similar to OTL East and West Germany) under the control of Britain, Russia, North Korea and Lao (with administrative help from Cambodia). In the next ten years the four countries rebuilt the infrastructure and stability of the nation, reintroduced the Monarchy as the head of state and setup political parties. The four states were unified under one flag on Christmas Day, 1991; creating the Chinese Empire under Empress Wang Li, child of the deposed emperor Puyí and concubine Wenxiu. She was suffering from incurable lung cancer and died a year later, so her daughter Zhang Li took over and ruled until 2011, until she abdicated in favour of her (11 year old) daughter Xiùyīng.

When the states unified and the elections took place, the political parities all agreed to use Russian spending plans. These reforms skyrocketed the economy, and now China is considered a middle income country. Generally considered a middle power militarily, China produces the second largest economy in the world, mainly of cheap factory made goods. The rich in China are often seen in Jaguars and Savile Row suits. China has been characterized as a potential superpower by the UN, and a few nations (such as Lao, UKS and Vietnam) have recognized China as a third superpower.

Etymology

The word "China" is derived from Persian Cin (چین), which is from Sanskrit Cīna (चीन). It is first recorded in 1516 in the journal of the Portuguese explorer Duarte Barbosa. It first appears in English in a translation published by Richard Eden in 1555. It is commonly thought that the word is derived from the name of the Qin () Dynasty. In China, common names for the present country include Zhōngguó and Zhōnghuá, although the country's official name has been changed numerous times by successive dynasties and modern governments. The term Zhongguo appeared in various ancient texts, such as the Classic of History of the 6th century BCE, and in pre-imperial times it was often used as a cultural concept to distinguish the Huaxia tribes from perceived "barbarians". The term, which can be either singular or plural, referred to the group of states or provinces in the central plain, but was not used as a name for the country as a whole until the nineteenth century. The Chinese were not unique in regarding their country as "central", since other civilizations had the same view of themselves.

History

Prehistory

220px-Jade deer

Jade deer ornament dating from the Shang Dynasty (17th–11th centuries BCE)

Archaeological evidence suggests that early
 hominids inhabited China between 250,000 and 2.24 million years ago. A cave in Zhoukoudian (near present-day Beijing) exhibits fossils dated at between 300,000 and 780,000 BCE. The fossils are of Peking Man, an example of Homo erectus who used fire. The Peking Man site has also yielded remains of Homo sapiens dating back to 18,000–11,000 BCE. Some scholars assert that a form of proto-writing existed in China as early as 3000 BCE.

According to Chinese tradition, the first imperial dynasty was the Xia, who emerged around 2000 BCE. However, the dynasty was considered mythical by historians until scientific excavations found early Bronze Age sites at Erlitou, Henan in 1959. Archaeologists have since uncovered urban sites, bronze implements, and tombs in locations cited as Xia in ancient historical texts, but it is impossible to verify that these remains are of the Xia without written records from the period.

Early Dynastic Rule

800px-Terracotta pmorgan

Jade deer ornament dating from the Shang Dynasty (17th–11th centuries BCE)

The first Chinese dynasty that left historical records, the loosely feudal 
Shang (Yin), settled along the Yellow River in eastern China from the 17th to the 11th century BCE. The oracle bone script of the Shang Dynasty represents the oldest form of Chinese writing yet found, and is a direct ancestor of modern Chinese characters. The Shang were conquered by the Zhou, who ruled between the 12th and 5th centuries BCE, until its centralized authority was slowly eroded by feudal warlords. Many independent states eventually emerged from the weakened Zhou state, and continually waged war with each other in the 300-year-long Spring and Autumn Period, only occasionally deferring to the Zhou king. By the time of the Warring States period of the 5th–3rd centuries BCE, there were seven powerful sovereign states in what is now China, each with its own king, ministry and army.

Imperial China

The Warring States period ended in 221 BCE, after the state of Qin conquered the other six kingdoms and established the first unified Chinese state.Qin Shi Huang, the emperor of Qin, proclaimed himself the "First Emperor" (始皇帝), and imposed many reforms throughout China, notably the forced standardization of the Chinese language, measurements, length of cart axles, and currency. The Qin Dynasty lasted only fifteen years, falling soon after Qin Shi Huang's death, as its harsh legalist and authoritarian policies led to widespread rebellion.

800px-Chinesische-mauer

The Great Wall of China was built by several dynasties over two thousand years to protect the sedentary agricultural regions of the Chinese interior from incursions by nomadic pastoralists of the northern steppes.

The subsequent
 Han Dynasty ruled China between 206 BCE and 220 CE, and created a lasting Han cultural identity among its populace that has endured to the present day. The Han Dynasty expanded the empire's territory considerably with military campaigns reaching Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia and Central Asia, and also helped establish the Silk Road in Central Asia. Han China gradually became the largest economy of the ancient world. The Han Dynasty adopted Confucianism, a philosophy developed in the Spring and Autumn period, as its official state ideology. Despite the Han's official abandonment of Legalism, the official ideology of the Qin, Legalist institutions and policies remained and formed the basis of the Han government.

After the collapse of Han, a period of disunion known as the period of the Three Kingdoms followed. Independent Chinese states of this period such as Wu opened diplomatic relations with Japan, introducing the Chinese writing system there. In 580 CE, China was reunited under the Sui. However, the Sui Dynasty declined following its defeat in the Goguryeo–Sui War (598–614).

Under the succeeding Tang and Song dynasties, Chinese technology and culture entered a golden age. The Tang Empire was at its height of power until the middle of the 8th century, when the An Shi Rebellion destroyed the prosperity of the empire. The Song Dynasty was the first government in world history to issue paper money and the first Chinese polity to establish a permanent standing navy. Between the 10th and 11th centuries, the population of China doubled in size to around 100 million people, mostly due to the expansion of rice cultivation in central and southern China, and the production of abundant food surpluses. The Song Dynasty also saw a flourishing of philosophy and the arts, as landscape art and portrait painting were brought to new levels of maturity and complexity, and social elites gathered to view art, share their own and trade precious artworks. Philosophers such as Cheng Yi and Chu Hsi reinvigorated Confucianism with new commentary, infused Buddhist ideals, and emphasized a new organization of classic texts that brought about the core doctrine of Neo-Confucianism.

In 1271, the Mongol leader Kublai Khan established the Yuan Dynasty; the Yuan conquered the last remnant of the Song Dynasty in 1279. Before the Mongol invasion, Song China reportedly had approximately 120 million citizens; the 1300 census which followed the invasion reported roughly 60 million people.

800px-Along the River During the Qingming Festival (detail of original)

Detail from Along the River During the Qingming Festival, a 12th-century painting showing everyday life in the Song Dynasty's capital city, Bianjing (today's Kaifeng).

A peasant named Zhu Yuanzhang overthrew the Yuan Dynasty in 1368 and founded the Ming Dynasty. Under the Ming Dynasty, China enjoyed another golden age, developing one of the strongest navies in the world and a rich and prosperous economy amid a flourishing of art and culture. It was during this period that Zheng He led explorations throughout the world, reaching as far as Africa. In the early years of the Ming Dynasty, China's capital was moved from Nanking to Peking.

During the Ming Dynasty, thinkers such as Wang Yangming further critiqued and expanded Neo-Confucianism with concepts of individualism and innate morality that would have tremendous impact on later Japanese thought. Chosun Korea also became a nominal vassal state of Ming China, and adopted much of its Neo-Confucian bureaucratic structure.

In 1644, Peking was sacked by a coalition of rebel forces led by Li Zicheng, a minor Ming official who led the peasant revolt. The last Ming Chongzhen Emperor committed suicide when the city fell. The Manchu Qing Dynasty then allied with Ming Dynasty general Wu Sangui and overthrew Li's short-lived Shun Dynasty, and subsequently seized congtrol of Peking, which became the new capital of the Qing Dynasty. In total, the Manchu conquest of China cost as many as 25 million lives.

End of Dynastic Rule

Regaining the Provincial Capital of Ruizhou

A 19th-century painting depicting the Taiping Rebellion of 1850–1864

The Qing Dynasty, which lasted from 1644 until 1912, was the last imperial dynasty of China. In the 19th century, the Qing Dynasty experienced Western imperialism following two Opium Wars with Britain. China was forced to sign unequal treaties, pay compensation, allow extraterritoriality for foreign nationals, and cede Hong Kong to the British.

The weakening of the Qing regime led to increasing domestic disorder. In late 1850, southern China erupted in the Taiping Rebellion, a violent civil war which lasted until 1864. The rebellion was led by Hong Xiuquan, who was partly influenced by an idiosyncratic interpretation of Christianity. Although the Qing regime was eventually victorious, the civil war was one of the bloodiest in human history, costing at least 20 million lives, with some estimates of up to 40 million. Other costly rebellions followed the Taiping Rebellion, such as the Punti–Hakka Clan Wars (1855–67), Nien Rebellion (1851–1868), Miao Rebellion (1854–73), Panthay Rebellion (1856–1873) and the Dungan revolt (1862–1877).

These rebellions each resulted in an estimated loss of several million lives, and had a devastating impact on the fragile economy. In the 19th century, the age of colonialism was at its height and the great Chinese Diaspora began; today, over 40 million Chinese live abroad. Emigration rates were strengthened by domestic catastrophes such as the Northern Chinese Famine of 1876–1879, which claimed between 9 and 13 million lives in northern China.

800px-Great Rear Attack by Our Second Army at Weihaiwei

An 1895 painting depicting a battle in the First Sino-Japanese War

At the request of the Korean emperor, the Qing government sent troops to aid in suppressing the Tonghak Rebellion in 1894. However, Japan, which had rapidly modernized its military, also sent forces to Korea. This led to the First Sino-Japanese War, which resulted in Qing China's loss of influence in the Korean Peninsula, as well as the cession of Taiwan (including the Pescadores) to Japan in 1895. Following this series of defeats, the Guangxu Emperor drafted a a reform plan to establish a modern constitutional monarchy in 1898, but he was overthrown by the Empress Dowager Cixi in a coup d'état. The ill-fated anti-Western Boxer Rebellion of 1897–1901 resulted in as many as 115,000 deaths.

By the early 20th century, mass civil disorder had begun, and advocates for reform and revolution emerged across the country. The Guangxu Emperor died under house arrest on 14 November 1908, and was succeeded by Cixi's handpicked heir Pu Yi, who became the Xuantong Emperor. Guangxu's consort became the Empress Dowager Longyu, who signed Pu Yi's abdication in 1911.

Republic of China

Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek

Sun Yat-sen, the father of modern China (seated on right), and Chiang Kai-shek, later Democratic Popular Chinese Leader of the Revolution

On 1 January 1912, the Republic of China was established, heralding the end of Imperial China. Sun Yat-sen of the Guomindang (the GMD or Nationalist Party) was proclaimed provisional president of the republic. Elections were held a year later and the Guomindang won a landslide victory. Sun Yat-sen ruled as President individually and crafted China into a modern, westernized state. Pouring funding into the fractured military, China was briefly a military superpower, until the start of the Chinese Civil War. The Pekingese government ended the rule of the Warlords in China and granted Tibet independence (whilst Guomindang supporters today state this was Sun showing democratic, liberal peace, it is generally considered this was out of desperation; as the Chinese Army was although large, still recovering from the Sino-Japanese War and it couldn't handle the large amount of warlords that fled to Tibet after the end of the empire). After 1928, the republic was altered to have two joint leaders (at popular vote by the party), and again by popular vote General Chiang Kai-Shek. However the people were not supportive of Chiang; he was considered old-fashioned. Sun often disagreed with him, and soon one of the rival political parties, the Sino-Marxist Party, started an armed rebellion, kickstarting the Chinese Civil War in 1932.</p>

Chinese Civil War and Second Sino-Japanese War

China, Mao (2)

Mao Tse-tung proclaiming the GMD/SM Alliance

Japan started their invasion of China in 1936, due to the weakened position of the Guomindang. Japan quickly captured Heilongjiang, Jilin, Inner Mongolia and Jiangsu provinces. Most famously the Japanese invaded the city of Nanking and massacred its residents, slaughtering the men and raping and enslaving the women and children. Nanking has been a difficult topic between the Chinese and Japanese, but recently the Japanese government has decided to officially recognize the war crimes committed. The Communists and the Guomindang fought on many fronts, with Chiang generally having the upper hand. There were two huge groups of the
Flag of the Republic of China

Flag of the Republic of China and the Democratic Popular Republic of China.

Communists: the Hangzhou Communists led by Zhao Enlai, based in Hangzhou until 1936 (when Hangzhou was bombed) and then Nanking, originally fighting then working with the Guomindang against the Japanese. The other, larger group, that garnered Soviet funding, troops and support was the Xining Communists, under Mao Tse-tung, who originally were based Guiyang, Guizhou province, until Chiang forced them to flee the Long March, where several thousand troops died of starvation. The Xining troops were the most effective, having to contend less with the Japanese, and the Guomindang's position in Qinghai was much weaker than in Eastern China.   Sun and Chiang were in a perilous position, and in desperation created an official unification between the Chinese
Japanese Occupation 1938

The height of Japanese Occupation of China (circa 1937)

army, which had all but been massacred despite predictions, with as many as 38 thousand soldiers killed by a platoon of Japanese Expedition Forces numbering no more than 800, and the Communist rebels. Sun then promised to negotiate with the Communists once the Japanese were dealt with. The united force, joint lead by Chiang and the Mao, managed to push the Japanese out of the major cities, until the Battle of Changchun, where the majority of the JEF fled to. The battle lasted from 1943 until three days before the end of the war, the bloodiest battle in history, with over 1.5 million Chinese military personnel, 1 million JEF and 7 million civilians of Korean, Chinese or Japanese descent. It was a descisive victory of Chinese (and after VE Day in Europe, Russian and Mongol) military might, and all three men, Sun, Chiang and Mao were regarded as heroes, saviours and preservers of democracy and freedom.

Death of Sun Yat-sen, Xining Massacre and the Democratic Popular Republic of China

<p class="MsoNormal">
SunYatSenFuneral

Main GMD and SM generals paying respects at Sun Yat-sen's funeral.

After the war had ended, negotiations between the Guomindang and the Sino-Marxists were to take place on June 8th, 1946. However three months earlier, Sun Yat-sen died. The results of his autopsy were secretive, but during his final years other world leaders noticed fatigue, age and slurred speech from Sun. Stalin believed him to have suffered from a stroke, and both Khrushchev and Trueman noticed gargled voice patterns, hypothesizing a sort of throat cancer. His death was marked by a week of mouring by both the Guomindang and the Marxists. At his funeral many other world leaders, Nikita Khrushchev, Winston Churchill, the new Khan of Mongolia, Mönkhbat, Harry S. Trueman, Sisavong of Lao, Charles de Gaulle and even Francisco Franco were present to mourn the man. Sun Yat-sen is considered the father of the Chinese Empire and the People's Republic of China. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">
Thamzing of Tibetan woman circa 1958

Mao Tse-tung's daughter, Ty-li held by GMD. She was executed on national television, along with Zhao Enlai and Deng Xiaoping's grandmother.

Sun had declared Chiang as acting President in the event of his death. Chiang took power with a thrust of death, betraying the Communists at the meeting in Xining on the 9th April, where several Communist officials were publically executed under the ruse of the negotiations. Zhao Enlai was killed here, and afterward the Communist party, under Mao with aid from Deng Xiaoping, was expelled to Taiwan two months later, on the date of the planned Guomindang/Marxist Peace talks. Chiang clung to power, banning elections and putting Peking, Nanking and Canton under Martial Law. After he had total control over China, he redeclared the nation the Democratic Popular Republic of China in 1953, declaring himself 'Democratic Popular Chinese Leader of the Revolution'. Mao and the exiled communists set up the People's Republic of China on Taiwan, which still claims control over all provinces except Peking and Shanghai as well as the Mongol Khanate, the Korean Peninsula and Io To island.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Chiang reassimilated Tibet into China a year later, before moving to the running of his nation. He encouraged
Chiang Kai shek by Hermit cz

General Chiang Kai-shek declaring the Democratic Popular Republic of China.

population growth, with an estimate double in size of population up to one billion people by the time of his death. His reforms, such as the Popular Industrious Movement (OTL Great Leap Forward) and the Popular Despotic Reeducation (OTL Cultural Revolution) have taken nearly 100 million Chinese lives, and smashed the already weak economy. He extorted millions from the treasury and was known to take shopping trips to Lao or Mongolia with frequency in his private jet. The damage he caused is thought to have delayed China's development by 30 or 40 years, and the GDP per capita at the time of his death was less than £64.</p>

Four States Period

In early 1980, Chiang Kai-Shek died. Many conspiracy theories have sprung up around the mysteriousness of his death, including assassination at Mao's orders, internal instability to even alien invaders.

In the months following, China descended into chaos. Inner Mongolia ceded, with aid from Lev Kravchenko of
Four States China

The Federal Quaterite Commonwealth of China in 1981. Blue is under the control of the United Korean States, Yellow is under joint control by the Lan Xang Kingdom and Cambodia (Lan Xang handling military and infrastructure, Cambodia handling politics and economics), Red is part of the British Empire and Black is part of the New Russian Empire.

Russia, Maggie Thatcher of the UK and Mönkhbat Khan and the Inner Circle of Mongolia, into Outer Mongolia forming the United Mongol Commonwealth, changing to the Mongol State in 1997. Many rebellions took place and were forcibly put down by the military. It is predicted that 30 thousand people died in clashes, in a period of three months. Soon the United Nations intervened, and the weakened Guomindang government was disbanded and China was reorganized into the 'Federal Quaterite Commonwealth of China', with four states being drawn up to prevent more bloodshed. Korea, Lao (Lan Xang) and Cambodia, Britain and Russia divided the nation separately in an attempt to redevelop and revitalize the nation. These four were chosen due to their similar ideological standing and laissez-faire view toward economics. In this time the nations introduced political parties from their homeland (hence why the Conservative party is the largest party in China, and the biggest 'home-grown' Chinese party gains only 4-8% of the votes on average). Foreign investement boomed due to these nations being safe investments, and by the time of reunification economic growth had skyrocketed, already with several Chinese millionaire entrepeneurs.

Britain ruled the 'British Federal Sector' through a Governor-General, Lao and Cambodia gave direct power over the 'Golden Elephant Sector' to their monarchs, supported by a group of politicians, the UKS held a Roman styled senate in control of the 'Joseon Sector', but Russia ruled directly through Kravchenko, helping develop a relationship between the nations that still exists today. Kravchenko is regarded within China as the prime benefactor to China in this period; it was his (and Khrushchev's) idea to reintroduce a ceremonial monarch as Head of State. Wang Li, daughter of Pu Yi, who had been allowed to live her youth under Sun Yat-sen, until Chiang expelled her at the age of ten. She lived in British Burma until 1987, when Kravchenko invited her to China to negotiate her coronation.

New Chinese Empire

At 1990, China had improved massively. Rule of law, safety and respect had been rebuilt, everyone had at least one meal a day and the economy was developing. The nations formally combined the federal sectors and crowned Wang Li as Empress of China. Elections were declared and after three months the race was a dead heat between the Chinese Capitalist Party (spin-off from the Russian Capitalist Party) and the Conservative Party (based off the eponymous British party), leading to a coalition. Interestingly this coalition has survived ever since, and though the Tories have more seats the people like the coalition, with Kim Jong-un of Korea calling it a 'match of Aphrodite and Venus'.

SSS Painting

Royal Painting of Wang Li

China has had three successive Empresses since its reunification: Wang Li who died a year after coronation of lung cancer at the age of 48, Zhang Li who ruled until 2011 as she wanted to pass the mantle on to her daughter, somewhat controversially as Empress Xiuying was only 11 at the time of the coronation. The royal family is quite private, but it was recently announced that Xiuying was looking for a husband.

Geography

Political Geography

<p style="color:rgb(0,0,0);font-family:sans-serif;">The People's Republic of China is the third-largest country in the world by land area after Russia and is either
China 100.78713E 35.63718N

A composite satellite image showing the topography of China.

the third- or fourth-largest by total area, after Russia, Canada and, depending on the definition of total area, the United States. China's total area is generally stated as being approximately 9,600,000 sq km (3.7 million sq mi). Specific area figures range from 9,572,900 sq km (3,696,100 sq mi) according to the Encyclopædia Britannica, 9,596,961 sq km (3,705,407 sq mi) according to the UN Demographic Yearbook, to 9,596,961 sq km (3,705,407 sq mi) according to the CIA World Factbook, and 9,640,011 sq km (3,722,029 sq mi) including Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract, which are controlled by China and claimed by India. None of these figures include the 1000 sq km (386.1 sq mi) of territory ceded to China by Tajikistan following the ratification of a Sino-Tajik border agreement in January 2011.</p> <p style="margin-top:0.4em;margin-bottom:0.5em;line-height:19.1875px;color:rgb(0,0,0);font-family:sans-serif;">China has the longest combined land border in the world, measuring 22,117 km (13,743 mi) from the mouth of
Longji terrace - 03

Longsheng Rice Terrace in Guangxi.

the Yalu River to the Gulf of Tonkin. China borders 13 nations, more than any other country except Russia, which also borders 14. China extends across much of East Asia, bordering VietnamLaos , and British Burma in Southeast Asia; India , Bhutan and Nepal  in South Asia; Afghanistan , Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in Central Asia; a small section of Russian Altai and Mongolia in Inner Asia; and the Russian Far East and North Korea in Northeast Asia.</p>

<p style="margin-top:0.4em;margin-bottom:0.5em;line-height:19.1875px;color:rgb(0,0,0);font-family:sans-serif;">Additionally, China shares maritime boundaries with South Korea, Japan , Vietnam , the Philippines and Taiwan . The Chinese Empire and the PRC (Taiwan) make mutual claims over each other's territory and the frontier between areas under their respective control is closest near the islands of Kinmen and Matsu, off the Fujian coast, but otherwise run through the Taiwan Strait. The PRC asserts claims over the entirety of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, and the southernmost extent of these claims reaches James Shoal, which would form a maritime frontier with Malaysia.</p>

Landscape and Climate

<p style="line-height:19.1875px;color:rgb(0,0,0);font-family:sans-serif;">
Sanya Sun Photo by Dale Preston

The South China Sea coast at Hainan.

China's landscapes vary significantly across its vast width. In the east, along the shores of the Yellow Sea and
漓江山水

The Li River in Guangxi.

the East China Sea, there are extensive and densely populated alluvial plains, while on the edges of the Inner Mongolian plateau in the north, broad grasslands predominate. Southern China is dominated by hills and low mountain ranges, while the central-east hosts the deltas of China's two major rivers, the Yellow River and the Yangtze River. Other major rivers include the Xi, Mekong, Brahmaputra and Amur. To the west, major mountain ranges, most notably the Himalayas, and high plateaus feature among the more arid landscapes of the north, such as the Taklamakan Desert. The world's highest point, Mount Everest (8,848m), lies on the Sino-Nepalese border. The country's lowest point, and the world's fourth-lowest, is the dried lake bed of Ayding Lake(−154m) in the Turpan Depression.</p>

<p style="margin-top:0.4em;margin-bottom:0.5em;line-height:19.1875px;color:rgb(0,0,0);font-family:sans-serif;">A major environmental issue in China is the continued expansion of its deserts, particularly the Gobi Desert, which is currently the world's fifth-largest desert. Although barrier tree lines planted since the 1970s have reduced the frequency of sandstorms, prolonged drought and poor agricultural practices have resulted in dust storms plaguing northern China each spring, which then spread to other parts of East Asia, including Korea and Japan. According to China's environmental watchdog, Sepa, China is losing a million acres (4,000 km²) per year to desertification. Water quality, erosion, and pollution control have become important issues in China's relations with other countries. Melting glaciers in the Himalayas could potentially lead to water shortages for hundreds of millions of people.</p>

<p style="margin-top:0.4em;margin-bottom:0.5em;line-height:19.1875px;color:rgb(0,0,0);font-family:sans-serif;">China's climate is mainly dominated by dry seasons and wet monsoons, which lead to pronounced temperature differences between winter and summer. In the winter, northern winds coming from high-latitude areas are cold and dry; in summer, southern winds from coastal areas at lower latitudes are warm and moist. The climate in China differs from region to region because of the country's highly complex topography.</p>

Biodiversity

<p style="line-height:19.1875px;color:rgb(0,0,0);font-family:sans-serif;">China is one of 17 megadiverse countries, lying in two of the world's major ecozones: the Palearctic and
Panda Cub from Wolong, Sichuan, China

A giant panda, China's most famous endangered and endemic species, at the Wolong National Nature Reserve in Sichuan.

the Indomalaya. By one measure, China has over 34,687 species of animals and vascular plants, making it the third-most biodiverse country in the world, after Brazil and Colombia. The country signed the Rio de Janeiro Convention on Biological Diversity on 11 June 1996, and became a party to the convention on 5 January 1993. It later produced a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, with one revision which was received by the convention on 21 September 2010.</p>

<p style="margin-top:0.4em;margin-bottom:0.5em;line-height:19.1875px;color:rgb(0,0,0);font-family:sans-serif;">China is home to at least 551 species of mammals (the third-highest such number in the world), 1,221 species of birds (eighth), 424 species of reptiles (seventh) and 333 species of amphibians (seventh). China is the most biodiverse country in each category outside of the tropics. Wildlife in China share habitat with and bear acute pressure from the world's largest population of homo sapiens. At least 840 animal species are threatened, vulnerable or in danger of local extinction in China, due mainly to human activity such as habitat destruction, pollution and poaching for food, fur and ingredients for traditional Chinese medicine. Endangered wildlife is protected by law and the country has over 360 nature reserves.</p>

<p style="margin-top:0.4em;margin-bottom:0.5em;line-height:19.1875px;color:rgb(0,0,0);font-family:sans-serif;">China has over 32,000 species of vascular plants and is home to a variety of forest types. Cold coniferous forests predominate in the north of the country, supporting animal species such as moose and the Asian black bear, along with over 120 bird species. Moist conifer forests can have thickets of bamboo as an understorey, replaced by rhododendrons in higher montane stands of juniper and yew. Subtropical forests, which dominate central and southern China, support as many as 146,000 species of flora. Tropical and seasonal rainforests, though confined to Yunnan and Hainan Island, contain a quarter of all the animal and plant species found in China.</p>

<p style="margin-top:0.4em;margin-bottom:0.5em;color:rgb(0,0,0);font-family:sans-serif;">The number of species of fungi recorded in China, including lichen-forming species, is not known with precision, but probably exceeds 10,000. More than 2,400 species were listed by the mycologist S.C. Teng in the first modern treatment of Chinese fungi in the English language, which was published in 1996. More than 5,000 species of "higher fungi" – mainly basidiomycetes with some ascomycetes – were reported in 2001 for tropical China alone, and nearly 4,000 species of fungi were reported in 2005 for northwestern China. The issue of fungal conservation, long overlooked in China, was first addressed in the early 2010s, with pioneer publications evaluating the conservation status of individual species.</p>

Politics

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Official painting of the current Empress Xiuying

China is ran based on the Westminster system, with the Empress as the head
Arms of the Qing Dynasty (fictitious)

Seal of the Prime Minister.

of state. Since the reunification, the government has made civil and political rights as a priority, and has celebrated its official ranking as 'free' by Freedom House this year. The empress has direct control over the military and the NIF (
Nèibù Fúwù Jīgòu, Internal Service Agency), however she is supported by a tribunal of generals in running the former.

The parliament is centred in Peking, with an identical system to the British form of government, with a House of Commons and a House of Lords. The Premier is the head of government and holds power in the nation, with aid from the appointed ministers. The main political parties are the Conservative Party followed by the Capitalist Party. At the start of the reunification, many political parties from the four nations of the republic, however these have generally assimilated into the main parties or died out.

Elections are held on a local, provincial and national level. Local politicians tend to operate within their local level without any authorization from the central government, in some cases leading to corruption and scandal. Xi Jinping has promised to combat these corrupt officials, and has had success in villages on the Sino/Mongol border.

Administrative Divisions

China regions

Chinese regions as of 2013.

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