China: Location, History, Size, Population, & Government

About the location, history, size, population, and government in the country of China.



Location--Largest Asian country, running 3,000 mi. from Mongolia and Soviet Siberia in the north to the south where it borders the South China Sea, North Vietnam, Laos, Burma, India, Bhutan, Sikkim, Nepal, and Pakistan; and 3,000 mi. from Afghanistan and the U.S.S.R. in the west to the Yellow and East China seas in the east.

How Created--Spanning 4,000 years of history, China has the longest continuous tradition of national identity, historically consisting of 2 distinct regions: China proper, with an inner core of Han Chinese settlement, culture, and political administration; and an outer ring of buffer territories, originally inhabited by non-Han peoples, but controlled by China proper.

European powers forced China to establish fixed boundaries in the 19th century, to China's disadvantage. Since the 1949 Revolution, China has reestablished authority over former outlying territories, sparking current border disputes with India and the U.S.S.R.

Size--3,691,500 sq. mi. (9,560,900 sq. km.). Slightly larger than the U.S.

Population--Over 900 million: Han, 94%; 53 other groups including Chuang, Uighur, Hui, Yi, Tibetan, and Miao, 6%. Religion is discouraged by the Government, but Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Islam still have a strong influence.

Who Rules--People's Congress of 3,040 members elected for 4-year terms: Provinces elect one deputy for each 800,000 inhabitants; municipalities one for every 100,000; ethnic minorities have 150 deputies; armed forces 120; overseas Chinese 30. Congress elects Chairman and Vice-Chairman of country; but no elections since 1964, no convention since 1965, and no head of state since Liu Shao-ch'i was deposed in 1968.

Executive is the State Council, which controls the state through various ministries.

Who REALLY Rules--Struggling factions within the Chinese Communist party, particularly the faction headed by Premier Chou Enlai and other military leaders and elder statesmen.

The party selects the people's deputies, although the people do not ordinarily know who their deputies are, and the deputies may not represent the interests of the people. According to Chairman Mao, the political system of China is that of a people's democratic dictatorship. Although the constitution declares that the Government is responsible to the democratically constituted National People's Congress, in actuality the Government's policies are all decided by the party.

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