Saturday, January 19, 2008

About China

Thanks, Wikipedia.

China or Zhongguo (Middle Country or Kingdom in Beijing Chinese) is a region which was formerly a great empire ruled by the Han people (Chinese people). Today it is divided into the People’s Republic of China (PRC) centred in Beijing and covering the mainland and the Republic of China (ROC) centred in Taipei and covering the island of Taiwan.

It is one of the world’s oldest civilisations besides India and the Arab World.

China’s Han people forged their kingdom with the help of the Miao (Hmong) people who were their close friends. The Han and the Miao emerged from present-day Tibet.

From 1271 to 1616, China was conquered by the Mongolians.

The Manchurians ruled it from the 17th century until 1911. During this period, European powers traded with and annexed some ports in China, most notably British-annexed Hong Kong.

China became a republic in 1911. It was invaded by Japan in 1894 and again during World War 2.

China’s progressive and socialistic first president Dr. Sun Yat-Sen was killed by the American-backed thug General Chiang Kai-Shek in 1925. Chiang decimated Sun’s supporters and ruled China brutally from 1925-1949.

In 1949, the Communist Party of China led by Mao Zedong ousted Chiang from power. Chiang, with American help, set up the Republic of China (Taiwan) (ROC) in Taipei, the capital of the island province of Taiwan.

Mao declared the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in Beijing and his territory covered the mainland portion of China.

Mao ruled mainland China harshly, murdering more than a million people. After his death in 1976, Deng Xiaoping took over the leadership of mainland China and greatly reduced repression against dissidents.

Deng also reopened mainland China’s doors to foreign investment after 3 decades of isolationism by Mao.

Chiang ruled Taiwan brutally until his death in 1975. After his death, his successors liberalised and democratised the island republic.

In 1997, the British-ruled port of Hong Kong was returned to China after 999 years of foreign rule. Macau, a Portuguese colony, returned in 1999.

Dr Sun gave independence to Tibet and Xinjiang when he was president, but his infamous successors Chiang and Mao invaded and annexed the two former colonies of the Chinese empire.

China ranges from mostly plateaus and mountains in the west to lower lands in the east. Principal rivers flow from west to east, including the Yangzi (central), the Huang He (Yellow River, north), the Amur (northeast) and the Pearl River (south).

The climate of China varies greatly. The northern zone (containing Beijing) has summer daytime temperatures of more than 30 degrees Celsius and winters of Arctic severity.

The central zone (containing Shanghai) has a temperate continental climate with very hot summers and cold winters. The southern zone (containing Guangzhou) has a subtropical climate with very hot summers and mild winters.

Most Chinese speak Chinese also known as Mandarin or Beijing Chinese.

Buddhism is the country’s main faith, followed by Christianity and Islam.

The People’s Republic of China has become a sports power, especially in Asia. It has finished first in medal counts in each of the Asian Games since 1982.

The People’s Republic of China is hosting the Olympics this year.

The PRC, it is widely believed will be the world’s most developed and powerful country, replacing the United States, within the next 20 years.

Many people, Chinese and non-Chinese, believe China is destined to be the Middle Kingdom as philosophised by the great Emperor Qin Shihuangdi who built the famous Great Wall north of Beijing to fend off Mongolian invaders.

During its heydays, China was the world’s centre of science and technology. However, not every invention which originated in China was the handiwork of the Han majority. The Miao aborigines are believed to have invented more than half of them.

Most Chinese are Han. There is a large number of Native Malaysian minorities such as Tibetans (Burmese) and Hmongs (Miaos).