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China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Chongqing), and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

China emerged as one of the world's earliest civilizations, in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. For millennia, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies, or dynasties, beginning with the semi-legendary Xia dynasty in 21st century BCE. Since then, China has expanded, fractured, and re-unified numerous times. In the 3rd century BCE, the Qin reunited core China and established the first Chinese empire. The succeeding Han dynasty, which ruled from 206 BC until 220 AD, saw some of the most advanced technology at that time, including papermaking and the compass, along with agricultural and medical improvements. The invention of gunpowder and movable type in the Tang dynasty (618–907) and Northern Song (960–1127) completed the Four Great Inventions. Tang culture spread widely in Asia, as the new Silk Route brought traders to as far as Mesopotamia and Horn of Africa. Dynastic rule ended in 1912 with the Xinhai Revolution, when a republic replaced the Qing dynasty. The Chinese Civil War resulted in a division of territory in 1949, when the Communist Party of China established the People's Republic of China, a unitary one-party sovereign state on Mainland China, while the Kuomintang-led government retreated to the island of Taiwan. The political status of Taiwan remains disputed.

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In the news

31 January 2019 –
Italy's economy falls into recession for the third time in a decade after declining GDP growth in late 2018. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte blames the recession on external factors, including trade tensions between the United States and China. (The Guardian)
28 January 2019 –
The United States Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Commerce and Federal Bureau of Investigation announces 23 criminal charges against China's telecom Huawei and its chief financial officer Wanzhou Meng, which include banking and financial fraud, money laundering, wire fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, theft of trade secret technology, provided bonus to workers who stole confidential information from companies around the world, obstruction of justice and sanctions violations.(BBC)
26 January 2019 –
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fires Canada's ambassador to China, John McCallum, following McCallum's remarks about the extradition of Huawei's CFO, Meng Wanzhou. (BBC)
21 January 2019 – Lulu and Nana controversy
China confirms the 2018 birth of the world's first genetically edited babies, Lulu and Nana, saying He Jiankui forged ethical review papers and organised a project team with foreign staff, which intentionally avoided surveillance, and that He and his staff will be punished according to laws and regulations. The Guangdong government will keep the twins under medical observation with the support of the national departments. (South China Morning Post)
14 January 2019 –
Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, a Canadian in China, is sentenced to death after a one-day retrial for attempting to smuggle over 222 kilograms (489.4 pounds) of methamphetamine through the country. Schellenberg's new sentence comes amid increasing tensions between Canada and China. (CNN) (Fox News)
12 January 2019 –
At least 21 miners die after a roof collapses in a coal mine in Shenmu, China. (BBC)



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