Mostly mountains, high plateaus, deserts in west; plains, deltas, and hills in east
Extremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in north
Nationality: Chinese (singular and plural)
Population: 1,349,585,838 (July 2013 est.)
Languages: Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan Hakka dialects
People & Populations (1:15)
Daoist (Taoist), Buddhist, Christian 3%-4%, Muslim 1%-2%; Note: officially atheist (2002 est.)
Since the late 1970s China has moved from a closed, centrally planned system to a more market-oriented one that plays a major global role - in 2010 China became the world's largest exporter. Reforms began with the phasing out of collectivized agriculture, and expanded to include the gradual liberalization of prices, fiscal decentralization, increased autonomy for state enterprises, creation of a diversified banking system, development of stock markets and rapid growth of the private sector.
Economic & Environmental Issues (:57)
GROWTH IN ENERGY DEMANDS (:51)
ENERGY NEEDS & AIR POLLUTION (1:20)
From the 1950s to the late 1970s, many ancient structures were torn down and replaced by newer buildings. The isolation of China's national minorities has kept their traditional buildings from being destroyed. In the country, many apartment buildings built after 1949 have been replaced by modern two-story houses. There are still housing shortages in growing cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, and Guangzhou.
Communism & the Economy (:46)
US Military Presence/Support
The United States supports programs in China that seek to protect the environment, advance the rule of law, enhance human rights, help the people of Tibet, and reduce the spread of pandemic diseases. China is the third largest export market for the U.S.