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Territory in eastern Asia, ruled since 1949 by the Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó

China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. With a population exceeding 1.4 billion, it is the world's second-most populous country after India and contains 17.4% of the world population. China spans the equivalent of five time zones and borders fourteen countries by land. With an area of nearly 9.6 million square kilometers, it is the third-largest country by total land area. The country is divided into 33 province-level divisions: 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities, and two semi-autonomous special administrative regions. Beijing is the country's capital, while Shanghai is its most populous city by urban area and largest financial center.

Geographical type: Territory

Latitude: 35° N — Longitude: 103° E

Area: 9,572,900 km²

ISO 3166-2 code: CN

Featured Places

  • Hong Kong - Territory in southeast China, formerly a British Crown colony, ruled since 1997 as a Special Administrative Region of China

Measures of Freedom

China: Freedom in the World 2024 Country Report, Freedom in the World 2024
2024: Status: Not Free, Aggregate Score: 9/100, Political Rights: -2/40, Civil Liberties: 11/60
China's authoritarian regime has become increasingly repressive in recent years. The ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) maintains tight control over all aspects of life and governance, including the state bureaucracy, the media, online speech, religious practice, universities, businesses, and civil society. CCP general secretary Xi Jinping has consolidated personal power to a degree not seen in China for decades. Following a multiyear crackdown on political dissent, independent nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and human rights defenders, China's civil society has been largely decimated.
Economic Freedom Summary Index, Economic Freedom of the World, 19 Sep 2023
2021: 6.18, Rank: 111
Human Freedom Index [PDF], The Human Freedom Index 2023: A Global Measurement of Personal, Civil, and Economic Freedom
2021: 5.15, Rank: 149, Personal freedom: 4.42, Economic freedom: 6.18


Along Pennsylvania Avenue, by Aubrey Herbert, Faith and Freedom, Sep 1954
Discusses the United Nations, whether it is a "worthy and useful organization" and conventional vs. valid reasons for the United States government to leave the UN
[W]hy should advocates of the UN balk at the admission of Communist China? The UN Charter says the Chinese government is one of the permanent members of the Security Council. And like it or not, the Communist regime is the Chinese government. It would be only simple recognition of reality for the UN to replace Chiang with the Mao government. To state this is not to be pro-Communist but to be pro-common sense; if the positions were reversed and Chiang were once more triumphantly established in Nanking, then the same principle would of course apply and his representatives would be seated again.
Related Topic: Socialism
Along Pennsylvania Avenue, by Aubrey Herbert, Faith and Freedom, Mar 1955
Discusses alternatives to dealing with the 1955 Taiwan Strait crisis and the response in the U.S. Congress and by General MacArthur, the Wolf Ladejinsky case and Federal Government budget estimates
To protect the Pescadores, we must defend Quemoy, an island three miles off the Chinese mainland. To protect Quemoy we must equip Chiang's troops for an invasion of the mainland ... The trouble with this doctrine is that it doesn't work one way. Red China can operate on the same theory, and the inevitable result is war ... If the Chinese Communists fear that we'll start the preventive war which many Americans advocate, then the "defensive" strategy which tells us to occupy Quemoy would tell the Chinese Communists to occupy Catalina Island, 22 miles off the California Coast.
Related Topics: Dwight D. Eisenhower, Taiwan, War
The Ancient Roots of Chinese Liberalism, by Liu Junning, The Wall Street Journal, 6 Jul 2011
Discusses the "Beijing model" as an alternative to Western economic liberalism in the future of China and reminds the reader of several Chinese scholars (Laozi, Mencius and the 17th century Huang Zongxi) who advocated liberal principles before John Locke
This view fundamentally misunderstands the country's growth progress. China has indeed made great strides since 1978's "Reform and Opening" in alleviating poverty, opening up to the world, and making slow steps down the road of legal reform. Yet on closer inspection, the most significant transformations from the perspective of boosting prosperity have involved loosening of control over the people, not some alchemy of power and Marxism.
Related Topics: Lǎozǐ, Freedom of Speech
Bush as Fake Free-Trader, by Sheldon Richman, 28 Nov 2003
Comments on George W. Bush's claim to being a free-trader while at the same time imposing quotas and tariffs on products from China
Listen to how people talk about China. You'd think we were living in the midst of a new Yellow Peril. This "threat" is not the result of its army or authoritarian political system. It's the result of its economic growth. The Chinese are getting too good at making things we want ... The Chinese "threat" looks less formidable when you realize that the jobs being done in China would be done in other developing countries ... As the Economist writes, "The rich world's scapegoat of choice is China." Don't be fooled. The anti-China talk is coming from vested economic interests ...
Related Topics: George W. Bush, Free trade
China: From Brutal Oppressor to Terrorist Victim, by James Bovard, Freedom Daily, Dec 2003
Describes how both the U.S. and Chinese governments changed their policies with respect to certain "terrorist" groups, in particular, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) in China, to suit their own ends
[On October 19, 2001], China was exploiting the war on terrorism to crush Uighur Muslims in its western provinces (where the Silk Road passed through), arbitrarily arresting and sentencing thousands of people guilty of nothing more than practicing their religion. Uighurs are Turkic-speaking Muslims (roughly eight million people) who were conquered by the Chinese communist government in 1949. A month after 9/11 Chinese government security forces razed a mosque and arrested 180 people who protested ... [T]he U.S. terrorist designation of ETIM shielded China against international criticism.
Related Topics: George W. Bush, Iraq War, Terrorism
China's Legacy: The Thoughts of Lao Tzu, by James A. Dorn, South China Morning Post, 4 Sep 2007
Contrasts the teachings of Laozi with respect to government intervention with the lingering effects of Mao Zedong's legacy
Mao's disregard for private property and human rights still haunts China. Conflicts between developers and farmers over land-use rights are causing social turmoil today ... [Lao's] advice to China's early rulers is pertinent today: "Governing a large country is like frying a small fish. You spoil it with too much poking" ... China's present leaders are calling for a "harmonious society", but this is impossible without widespread freedom and a rule of law that limits the power of government to the protection of people and property. They could learn much from the teachings of Lao Tzu ...
Related Topics: Dào Dé Jīng, Government, Lǎozǐ
China: Wealth but Not Freedom, by James A. Dorn, 21 Apr 2011
Contrasts China's recent economic growth and statements of government officials with the reality of the rights afforded to its citizens, in particular to Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, co-author of Charter 08
China can be proud of the rapid economic progress it has made since 1978, when it was still a centrally planned economy with little foreign trade. Today, as the world's second-largest economy, the People's Republic (PRC) has gained wealth but not freedom. The Chinese people have a vastly wider range of economic and social opportunities than under the dictatorship of Mao Zedong, but their basic human rights continue to be denied by a ruling party determined to maintain its monopoly on power.
Related Topics: Lǎozǐ, Freedom of Speech
Fear Not China, by Sheldon Richman, 8 Jun 2005
Counsels Americans not to be afraid of China's economic activities, debunking concerns over "job losses" and the trade deficit
China. Why has that word for so long struck fear in the hearts of Americans? ... Much has changed ... Yet we remain in fear. But now it is an economic fear: China will buy up all the beef ... China will make all the textiles and clothing and take our jobs ... Economically, the Chinese are freer than they used to be. Chinese entrepreneurs can raise capital, and foreigners can invest their money, to create productive enterprises. Chinese workers have far more choices than they used to have. The result has been stunning economic growth and an export boom fueled by low-priced high-quality products.
Related Topics: Free trade, Labor
A Free-Market Constitution for Hong Kong: A Blueprint for China [PDF], by Alvin Rabushka, Cato Journal, 1989
Discusses the draft of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), expected to be promulgated in 1990 (actually adopted 4 April 1990 and went into effect 1 July 1997), as a "free-market constitution"
The standard of living of the four dragons—Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan—has caught and surpassed a number of European countries ... China itself would no doubt like to become the fifth dragon and has taken a series of bold measures to that end. Careful study and application of the economic institutions and policies that propelled the four dragons from third-world to first-world status provide a clear set of measures that can assist China in its effort to modernize.
Hong Kong's Legacy, by James A. Dorn, The Journal of Commerce, 1 Jul 1999
Discusses the potential results of Hong Kong moving away from "its policy of laissez-faire capitalism" such as intervening in support of stock prices versus the effects of Hong Kong influencing mainland China towards a freer and more prosperous economy
If mainland China is to become more like Hong Kong, rather than the reverse, the private market must rule, not some mixed system of "market socialism" or "state capitalism." ... Will creeping socialism destroy Hong Kong's institutions and take it back to the conditions of 1844? Or will the ethos of liberty prevail, and infuse Hong Kong's institutions with a new vitality for the 21st century, a vitality that will spill over to the mainland and bring about greater freedom and prosperity for all of China?
Related Topics: Democracy, Hong Kong, Rule of Law
How Much More Harm Can Bush Do?, by Paul Craig Roberts, 7 Mar 2006
Discusses the casualties resulting from the 2003 Iraq invasion, the changed world opinion of the United States and the lobbies that benefit from the continuation of hostilities
Japan, Canada, the EU, France, China, and India are all regarded as more positive influences on the world than the United States ... Far from making Americans safe by attacking a country that posed no threat to the U.S., Bush and Cheney have alarmed the Russians and the Chinese ... China has announced a 17.8 percent increase in its military budget for 2007. China is America's most important banker. How long will China fund America's wars and trade deficit when it finds itself so threatened by America's "leaders" that it has to accelerate its military spending?
Imperial Chinese Welfare State, by M. Huc, Ideas on Liberty, May 1955
Recounts the socialist reforms of Wang Anshi in 11th century China, opposed by Sima Guang, and compares them to proposed socialist reforms in mid-19th century France; extract from The Chinese Empire (1855), Volume II, Chapter II
In the 11th century of our era, the Chinese nation, under the dynasty of Song, presented a spectacle nearly analogous to that seen in Europe ... The reformer, or chief of the Socialist party, was the famous Wang-ngan-ché, a man of remarkable talent, who kept all classes of the empire in excitement during the reign of several emperors ... The Emperor Chen-tsoung, persuaded by the arguments of Wang-ngan-ché, placed entire authority in his hands, and the social revolution began. Sse-ma-kouang, who had struggled long and fruitlessly against the reformer, determined to make a last effort ...
Related Topic: Socialism
The Iraq War Crash, by Justin Raimondo, 2 Mar 2007
Discusses a 9% drop in the Shanghai Stock Exchange on 27 Feb 2007, which also affected other markets, in the context of the Iraq War and a potential conflict with Iran
China's booming stock market–a monument to the victory of China's "capitalist-roaders" over the last remnants of Maoism–doubled last year ... The Shanghai Exchange was about due for a big correction when it dropped by 9 percent the other day ... China is hugely dependent on Iran for its energy needs, or else the rapid industrialization and modernization envisioned by the Chinese elite will come to a sputtering halt. U.S. war moves against Iran threaten China's lifeblood. Stock markets ... pick up on rumors of war very quickly and the Shanghai Stock Exchange acted accordingly.
It Came From Washington, by Paul Craig Roberts, CounterPunch, 29 Jun 2012
Examines U.S. government adversarial actions towards Russia and China through NATO, in the Middle East and in the Pacific
The evidence is simply overwhelming that Washington–both parties–have Russia and China targeted ... It has proved to be more difficult ... to interfere in China's internal affairs, although discord has been sowed in some provinces. Several years from now, the Chinese economy is expected to exceed in size the US economy, with an Asian power displacing a Western one as the world's most powerful economy. Washington is deeply disturbed by this ... As the US economy sinks, the Chinese economy rises ... The Chinese are not stupid. They understand that Washington is attempting to corral China.
Lao Tzu (c. 600 BC), by James A. Dorn, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical essay focusing on Laozi's teachings
Mao's destructive policies during the "Great Leap Forward," which abolished private property, imposed central planning, and led to the imposition of crippling taxes on farmers in the form of compulsory grain deliveries, caused mass starvation between 1958 and 1962. The "Great Helmsman's" disregard for private property and human rights still haunts China. Conflicts between developers and farmers over land-use rights are the cause of much social turmoil in present-day China ... The internal passport (hukou) system also interferes with individual freedom and leads to economic inefficiency.
Related Topics: Lǎozǐ, Dào Dé Jīng, Government
Liberty in the Ancient World, by Roderick Long, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Surveys the ancient civilizations in Sumeria, Hebrew Palestine, China, Greece and the Roman Republic and Empire, and their thoughts and practices about liberty
In China, the effective collapse of the Chou dynasty in the 8th century B.C. fragmented the region into many smaller independent states, inaugurating five centuries of decentralization. Scholars, deprived of their former positions in the administrative hierarchy, competed vigorously for posts as political advisors to these states' parvenu rulers. This intellectual competition stimulated a flourishing and diverse culture of political thought, much of it favorable to liberty ... Decentralization ended in 221 B.C. when the Ch'in dynasty gained supremacy over China.
North Korea's Nukes: Why Now?, by Justin Raimondo, 11 Oct 2006
Comments on the first North Korean nuclear test and the political prospects for the Korean peninsula, considering also China and the United States
The Chinese have been increasingly at odds with their troublesome allies ... [S]tatements by Chinese officials that some sort of punitive action is necessary in response to North Korea's nuclear test is merely the culmination of a long divorce proceeding ... [T]he Chinese, grown impatient with the antics of their orthodox Communist neighbors, have largely abandoned support for Pyongyang ... This is what the Chinese fear most: the collapse of the regime and a flood of refugees in their millions, who will pour into China without resources or anything to lose.
Searching for America's Next Enemy, by Doug Bandow, Mises Daily, 17 Jul 2006
Discusses attempts by some U.S. conservatives to find a new enemy nation and focuses on China as a "threat"
[C]onservative hostility towards China never disappeared. Some critics focused on trade issues. Anger over human rights violations plays a role. Fears have been rising over China's rising influence in Asia. Now Beijing's critics point to its military build-up ... China today is more prosperous, accessible, and responsible than ever before. Although Beijing is not a close ally, it is not hostile either ... The idea that Beijing's modest (after inflation) increases in military outlays are preparing it for a global or even regional war of conquest is simply silly.
Related Topics: East Asia, Militarism
The Spanish-American War: The Leap into Overseas Empire: Part 2, by Joseph R. Stromberg, Freedom Daily, Jan 1999
Discusses the Philippine-American War, that followed the Spanish-American War, and the actions and writings of the Anti-Imperialist League, William Graham Sumner and other opposed to the war and colonialism
In pursuit of the mistaken or self-interested political engrossment of overseas markets, American policymakers committed themselves to an "open door" in China and to the protection of the territorial integrity of China. This sounded good on paper but was not exactly self-enforcing. If other powers stood in the way of U.S. entry into–and eventual dominance of–the fabled China market, only war could sustain the policy. To make matters worse, Teddy Roosevelt, who viewed tzarist Russia as the chief threat to U.S. China policy, deliberately favored the rising power of Japan as a counterweight.
Synchronized Boom, Synchronized Bust, by Marc Faber, The Wall Street Journal, 18 Feb 2009
Examines how the 2008 boom/bust cycle came into being and the allegations that it was a "free market" failure
When American consumption began to boom ..., the explosion of imports into the U.S. were largely provided by China and other Asian countries. Rising exports from China led to that country's strong domestic industrial production, income and consumption gains, as well as very high capital spending as capacities needed to be expanded in order to meet the export demand. An economic boom in China drove the demand for oil and other commodities up ... In 2008, a collapse in all asset prices ... caused plunging exports, lower industrial production, and less capital spending in China.
Taoism in Ancient China, by Murray N. Rothbard, Economic Thought Before Adam Smith, 1995
Chapter 1, section 1.10; discusses the three schools of political philosophy and then concentrates on the Daoists, covering Lǎozǐ (Lao Tzu), Zhuāng Zhōu (Chuang Tzu), Bào (Pao) Jìngyán and the historian Sīmǎ Qiān (Ch'ien)
The three main schools of political thought: the Legalists, the Taoists, and the Confucians, were established from the sixth to the fourth centuries BC. Roughly, the Legalists ... believed in maximal power to the state, and advised rulers how to increase that power. The Taoists ... believed in virtually no interference by the state in economy or society, and the Confucians were middle-of-the-roaders on this critical issue ... In practice, though far more idealistic, ... Confucianism was largely dedicated to installing an educated philosophically minded bureaucracy to rule in China.
What Beijing needs to learn from Hong Kong, by James A. Dorn, South China Morning Post, 26 Sep 2003
Discusses China's recent progress in economic liberalization and the need for further reform, particularly in protecting private property
Commenting on the principle of non-intervention, or wu wei, a young Chinese liberal recently wrote: "If our government had understood the importance of non-interference, it would be good news for both the Chinese economy and the world." The Communist Party's decision to fire upon innocent students during the Tiananmen Square demonstrations in 1989 was a huge step backwards. But today, as a result of further economic liberalisation, China is much freer than it was during the pre-reform era when Mao Zedong ruled with an iron fist.
Related Topics: Hong Kong, Property Rights


Book Review: Red Flag Over Hong Kong, by Richard M. Ebeling, Freedom Daily, Jan 1997
Revew of Red Flag Over Hong Kong (1996) by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, David Newman and Alvin Rabushka, which discusses the then potential effects of the handover of Hong Kong to China
Under the old monarchy, before 1911, the royal power was absolute, favoritism and corruption were rampant, and commerce and trade were controlled and manipulated by the state ... After the triumph of Mao Zedong and the communists in 1949, China suffered under totalitarian rule, central planning, and a reign of terror that culminated in the Great Cultural Revolution. Since Mao's death in 1976, China has opened itself up to the West, including ... limited small and medium-size private enterprise. But as the report ... shows, individuals still have neither rights nor any legal protections ...
Related Topics: Communism, Hong Kong

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "China" as of 21 Jun 2024, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.