Did you know that China has the world’s fastest growing economy …… or that it is the world’s most populated country – there are 1.42 billion people living there…..
China is also leading the way in new technology and innovation and has its own space programme and hopes to have a space station by 2020. Indeed many things we take for granted today actually originated in China – paper and paper money and the compass which we have all used at some stage for directions…..
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) was established in 1949 after the Communist Party defeated the nationalist Kuomintang in a civil war. The Kuomintang retreated to Taiwan, creating two rival Chinese states – the PRC and the Republic of China in Taiwan. The Chinese capital Beijing claims that Taiwan should be part of the mainland again which has led to ill feeling but now the two countries seem to share a more co-operative approach to the issue.
The President is elected for five years – the current President is Xi Jinping who was elected in 2013.
China has a strict Communist regime and any form of opposition is dealt with swiftly and harshly for example by being sent to a labour camp. Labour camps incorporate re-education through hard labour.
As previously mentioned, China’s economy is growing at a rapid rate and is an attractive proposition for foreign investment. China in turn is investing heavily abroad.
There is still a disparity in the standard of living between China’s big cities and its rural areas, many Chinese have moved to the cities for a better quality of life and now for the first time, there are proportionately more people living in the cities than in rural areas. A negative aspect of more inhabitants in the cities is the environmental effect which has been publicised in the world’s media – many Chinese have to cope with the polluted air known as “smog” this can make going about their daily business in the big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Harbin extremely hard. The Chinese government is allocating vast amounts of money to try to alleviate this problem.
Another major issue in China is human rights – there are still executions and torture is common for those who dare to challenge the authorities and show dissent of any kind. Often those with drug problems and prostitutes are sent to labour camps rather than providing them with programmes of rehabilitation.
Another contentious issue in China has been the “one child policy” which was introduced in 1979 – couples in urban areas are only allowed one child – in rural areas two children are allowed but only if the first child is a girl. This issue has led controversially to abortions and the murder of baby girls – China has a traditional preference for boys. This law will cause major problems in the future due to the vast imbalance created by the law – millions of Chinese men will find that they cannot find a wife and have a family. Towards the end of 2013, the law was seen to be relaxed a little – now couples will be able to have two children if one of the couple is an only child. In October 2015, it was announced that the Law would be phased out and all families will be able to have two children if so desired.
As for tourism, China is the third most visited country in the world – between 1949 and 1974 only selected foreign visitors were allowed and it wasn’t until the late 1970’s that the country was opened up for tourism – in 1985 there were just over 1 million visitors to China and in 2018 for example, there were around 141 million visitors – a massive increase, bringing huge revenue to the country.
At a Glance Facts
- Population – 1,415,045,928 (2018)
- International Dialling Code – 86
- Time difference – China is 8 hours ahead of the UK
- Language – official language – Mandarin