China, officially the People’s Republic of China (PRC), is a sovereign state in East Asia. With a population of over 1.381 billion, it is the world’s most populous state. The state is governed by the Communist Party of China based in the capital of Beijing. It exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), two mostly self-governing special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macau), and claims sovereignty over Taiwan. The country’s major urban areas include Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Tianjin and Hong Kong. China is a great power and a major regional power within Asia, and has been characterized as a potential superpower.
Covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometers, China is the world’s second largest state by land area, and either the third or fourth-largest by total area, depending on the method of measurement. 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 Shanmountain ranges separate China from much of South and Central Asia. The Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, the third and sixth longest in the world, respectively, run from the Tibetan Plateau to the densely populated eastern seaboard. China’s coastline along the Pacific Ocean is 14,500 kilometers (9,000 mi) long, and is bounded by the Bohai, Yellow, East China, and South China seas.
China is one of the cradles of civilization, with its known history beginning with an ancient civilization – one of the world’s earliest – that 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. Since 221 bc, when the Qin Dynasty first conquered several states to form a Chinese empire, the state has expanded, fractured and reformed numerous times. The Republic of China (ROC) replaced the last dynasty in 1912, and ruled the Chinese mainland until 1949, when it was defeated by the Communist Party of China in the Chinese Civil War. The Communist Party established the People’s Republic of China in Beijing on 1 October 1949, while the ROC government relocated to Taiwan with its present de facto temporary capital in Taipei. Both the ROC and PRC continue to claim to be the legitimate government of all China.
China had the largest economy in the world for much of the last 500 years, during which it has seen cycles of prosperity and decline. Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China has become one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies. As of 2014, it is the world’s second-largest economy bynominal GDP and largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). China is also the world’s largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world’s largest standing army and second-largest defense budget. The PRC is a member of the United Nations, as it replaced the ROC as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council in 1971. China is also a member of numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, including the WTO, APEC, BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the BCIM and the G-20.
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John Postill (@JohnPostill) tweeted at 5:11 PM – 21 Oct 2016 :
#China’s divided netizens by @Yangguobin https://t.co/3Pi1pKMMPn cc @Liberationtech #netfreedom #politics (http://twitter.com/JohnPostill/status/789605122837913601?s=17)
Since 2013, however, the luster of “netizens” has dimmed. Southern Metropolis Daily can no longer hail China’s netizens as it did in 2008 with the same confidence. This is because netizens have splintered into many types and the sense of an online collectivity has weakened.
The result is not pluralism in China’s online sphere, but the suppression and weakening of critical and liberal voices.
New party policies are partly responsible for these changes. A campaign to crack down on internet rumors in the summer of 2013 undermined the influence of big V’s on Sina Weibo. The Chinese Supreme People’s Court and Supreme People’s Procuratorate issued a judicial interpretation, stipulating that people who post false information on the internet may face up to three years in prison if the posting is viewed more than 5,000 times or retweeted 500 times.
A notable feature of these government campaigns to contain cyberspace is to mobilize citizens against fellow citizens
If China’s internet is more divided than before, it is not just the result of a top-down strategy of divide and rule. ….. But a divided internet does not have to be a controlled internet, just as a divided society does not have to be a controlled society. It could be seized as an opportunity for netizens of different ideological persuasions to negotiate common visions for the future. China needs such common visions as much as the world.
People & Cities (@GeorgeFergusonx) tweeted at 2:30 AM – 6 Dec 2016 :
Animated map of #urban explosion in #China. People flock to the #cities as #urbanization rate moves towards 70% https://t.co/FHSINVjbnQ (http://twitter.com/GeorgeFergusonx/status/806068319220617216?s=17)
Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) tweeted at 3:50 AM – 13 Oct 2017 :
China’s efforts to prop up the economy through the housing market is loading alarming amounts of debt onto cities https://t.co/iECLsGqaqx (http://twitter.com/WSJ/status/918775833938071552?s=17)
World Economic Forum (@wef) tweeted at 7:45 AM – 17 Jan 2018 :
#China is planting new forests covering an area the size of Ireland https://t.co/SzcstlHwnL #environment https://t.co/r9hNthuzrE(http://twitter.com/wef/status/953639300750565376?s=17)
British Museum (@britishmuseum) tweeted at 12:08 PM – 17 Jan 2018 :
Explore a beautiful Chinese scroll through this immersive video! The painting depicts the forest near Mount Baiyue (now Mount Qiyun) in eastern China, and was made in 1623 by Xiang Shengmo https://t.co/ErosrZrrgW (http://twitter.com/britishmuseum/status/953705519063158785?s=17)
Yuan Yang (@YuanfenYang) tweeted at 4:00 AM – 27 Feb 2018 :
Friend: *sighs, looking at her smartphone* I’ve been “blank-screened.”
Me: You’ve been what?
Friend: It’s the word for when all the people you’re following on Weibo (China’s Twitter) have their accounts censored so your live feed is now a blank screen.
Censors block phrases ‘I disagree’, ‘migration’ and ‘boarding a plane’ on Weibo
A beautiful thread: https://t.co/8QZOoGi6yq
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/soledadobrien/status/1030798985571663872
Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) tweeted at 5:50 AM – 25 Oct 2018 :
China’s Government Has Ordered a Million Citizens to Occupy Uighur Homes. Here’s What They Think They’re Doing. https://t.co/RFMe6Pj3TW via @chinafile (http://twitter.com/NickKristof/status/1055426457437134848?s=17)
TikTok blocks the teen who made the eyelash curl/Uighur concentration camp video… and claims they’re doing so because a previous satirical video praised Bin Laden… https://t.co/LEFGcGJBLW
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/EthanZ/status/1199715504258273282
Feroza Aziz started her TikTok video like a typical makeup tutorial, telling viewers she would show them how to get long eyelashes. Then the 17-year-old stopped abruptly, calling instead on viewers to start researching the harrowing conditions facing Muslims in China’s detention camps.
Aziz, who said she is a high school junior in New Jersey, told The Post she never got any explanation about TikTok’s penalties on her account. The video TikTok referred to, she said, was an obvious bit of dark humor, and involved her singing in front of a series of a men that she suggested were attractive. A copy she shared with The Post shows bin Laden’s face appearing, for less than a second, as the surprise punchline.
“As Muslims, we’re ridiculed every day, so that was me making a joke to cope with the racism we face on a daily basis,” she said. “I’ve been told to go marry a terrorist, go marry bin Laden, so I thought: ‘Let me make a joke about this. We shouldn’t let these things get to us.’”
The Guardian (@guardian) tweeted at 3:41 AM – 28 Nov 2019 :
TikTok sorry for blocking teenager who disguised Xinjiang video as make-up tutorial https://t.co/puodDO4OXt(http://twitter.com/guardian/status/1200001861467684864?s=17)
CNN (@CNN) tweeted at 5:42 AM – 31 Jan 2020 :
China may have to cut taxes, boost spending and slash interest rates to prevent the coronavirus outbreak wreaking havoc on an already fragile economy. https://t.co/p0BQKsNTUK (http://twitter.com/CNN/status/1223224941983694856?s=17)
Satellite imagery confirms China has built 260 new structures since 2017 in its concentration camp network to imprison Uighurs. We said ‘never again’ after the holocaust, but it’s happening right now before our eyes https://t.co/icJn8wOdmt
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/Billbrowder/status/1299231372297592832
It was scalding”: A Uighur under lockdown in Xinjiang recalls stripping naked and being hosed down with acidic disinfectant until her skin peeled – one of a number of draconian measures to combat coronavirus in China’s far west Xinjiang region. https://t.co/k11yfxmWxh
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/AP/status/1300287698213711873
In what experts call a breach of medical ethics, some residents are being coerced into swallowing traditional Chinese medicine in China’s far northwest Xinjiang region https://t.co/0rrfTZaaAZ
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/TIME/status/1300350501121388544
Suzhou – a Chinese city near Shanghai – launched a “civility code” in early September to rank citizens’ civility. As negative comments flooded in, the city called an end to the testing.
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/globalvoices/status/1307268205824495616