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Hanyu Pinyin is a cultural region and ancient
civilization in East Asia. China is one of the
world's oldest civilizations, consisting of states
and cultures dating back more than six millennia.
The stalemate of the last Chinese Civil War following
World War II has resulted in two political entities
using the name China: the People's Republic of
China (PRC), administering mainland China, Hong
Kong, and Macau;
and the Republic of China (ROC), administering
Taiwan and its surrounding islands.
has the world's longest continuously used written
language system. China is also the source of many
of the world's great inventions, including the Four
Great Inventions of ancient China: paper, the compass,
gunpowder, and printing.
is called Zhongguo in Mandarin Chinese. The first
character zhong means "middle" or "central,"
while guó means "country" or "state".
The term can be literally translated as "Middle
Kingdom" or "Central Kingdom." In ancient
times the term referred to the "Central States"
along the Yellow River valley.
and many other languages use various forms of
the name "China" and the prefix "Sino-"
or "Sin-". These forms are thought to
be probably derived from the name of the Qin Dynasty
that first unified the country (221-206 BCE).
The Qin Dynasty unified the written language in
China and gave the supreme ruler of China the
title of "Emperor" instead of "King,"
thus the subsequent Silk Road traders might have
identified themselves by that name.
History of China and Timeline of Chinese history
Ancient China was one of the earliest centers
of human civilization. Chinese civilization was
also one of the few to invent writing independently,
the others being ancient Mesopotamia (Sumerians),
Ancient India (Indus Valley Civilization), Maya
Civilization, Ancient Greece (Minoan Civilization),
and Ancient Egypt.
Archaeological evidence suggests that the earliest
occupants in China date to 2.24 million to 250,000
years ago. A cave in Zhoukoudian (near current-day
Beijing) has fossilized evidence dated at somewhere
between 300,000 to 550,000 years.
earliest evidence of fully modern humans in China
comes from Liujiang County, Guangxi, where a cranium
has been found and dated to approximately 67,000
years ago. Although much controversy persists
over the dating of the Liujiang remains, there
is a partial skeleton from Minatogawa in Okinawa,
Japan that has been dated to 18,250 ± 650
to 16,600 ± 300 years ago, which implies
that modern humans must have reached China before
The Shang dynasty (Yin) and contemporaneous advanced
societies in 1350 BCE Han Empire, in the year
2 CEThe first dynasty according to Chinese sources
was the Xia Dynasty, but it was believed to be
mythical until scientific excavations were made
at early bronze-age sites at Erlitou in Henan
Province. Since then, archaeologists have uncovered
urban sites, bronze implements, and tombs that
point to the possible existence of the Xia dynasty
at the same locations cited in ancient Chinese
historical texts, but without written records,
it is impossible to verify that these remains
are of the Xia.
first reliable historical dynasty is the Shang (Yin),
which settled along the Yellow River in eastern China
from the 18th to the 12th century BCE. The loosely
feudal Shang were invaded from the west by the Zhou
who ruled from the 12th to the 5th century BCE. The
centralized authority of the Zhou was slowly eroded
by warlords. In the Spring and Autumn period there
were many strong, independent states continually warring
with each other, who only occasionally formally deferred
to the Zhou king.
first unified Chinese state was established by the
Qin Dynasty in 221 BCE, when the office of the Emperor
was set up and the Chinese language was standardized.
This state did not last long, as its legalist approach
to control soon led to widespread rebellion.
subsequent Han Dynasty ruled China between 206 BCE
and 220 CE, and created a lasting Han cultural identity
among its populace that would last to the present
day. The Han Dynasty expanded China's territory considerably
with military campaigns reaching Korea, Vietnam, Mongolia
and Central Asia, and also established official contacts
with the Roman Empire via the Silk Road that the dynasty
begun in Central Asia.
Han's collapse, another period of disunion followed,
including the highly chivalric period of the Three
Kingdoms. Independent Chinese states of this period
also opened diplomatic relations with Japan,
introducing the Chinese writing system there.
In 580 CE, China was reunited under the Sui. However,
the Sui Dynasty was shortlived after a failure
in the Goguryeo-Sui Wars (598-614) weakened it.
the succeeding Tang and Song dynasties, Chinese
technology and culture reached its zenith. Between
the 7th and 14th centuries, China was one of the
most advanced civilizations in the world in technology,
literature, and art. In 1271, Mongol leader Kublai
Khan established the Yuan Dynasty, with the last
remnant of the Song Dynasty falling to the Yuan
in 1279. A peasant named Zhu Yuanzhang overthrew
the Mongols in 1368 and founded the Ming Dynasty,
which lasted until 1644. The Manchu-founded Qing
Dynasty, which lasted until 1912, was the last
dynasty in China.
change was often violent and the new ruling class
usually needed to take special measures to ensure
the loyalty of the overthrown dynasty. For example,
after the Manchus conquered China, the Manchu rulers
put into effect measures aimed at subduing the Han
Chinese identity, such as the requirement for the
Han Chinese to wear the Manchu hairstyle, the queue.
the 19th century the Qing Dynasty adopted a defensive
posture towards European imperialism, even though
it engaged in imperialistic expansion into Central
Asia itself. At this time China awoke to the significance
of the rest of the world, in particular the West.
As China opened up to foreign trade and missionary
activity, opium produced by British India was forced
onto Qing China. Two Opium Wars with Britain weakened
the Emperor's control.
result was the Taiping Civil War which lasted from
1851 to 1862. It was lead by Hong Xiuquan, who was
partly influenced by a misinterpretation of Christianity.
Hong believed himself to be the son of God and the
younger brother of Jesus. Although the Qing forces
were eventually victorious, the civil war was one
of the bloodiest in human history, costing at least
twenty million lives (more than the total number of
fatalities in the First World War), with some estimates
up to two-hundred million. The flow of British opium
led to more decline.
China was torn by continuous war, Meiji Japan succeeded
in rapidly modernizing its military with its sights
on Qing's Korea and Manchuria. Maneuvered by Imperial
Japan, the Qing tributary state of Korea declared
independence from Qing China in 1894, leading to the
First Sino-Japanese War, which resulted in China's
humiliating secession of both Korea and Taiwan to
Japan. Following these series of defeats, a reform
plan for Qing China to become a modern Meiji-style
constitutional monarchy was drafted by the Emperor
Guangxu in 1898, but was opposed and stopped by the
Empress Dowager Cixi, who placed Emperor Guangxu under
house arrest in a coup d'état. Further destruction
followed the ill-fated 1900 Boxer Rebellion against
westerners in Beijing. By the early 20th century,
mass civil disorder had begun, and calls for reform
and revolution were heard across the country. The
38 year old Emperor Guangxu died under house arrest
on November 14, 1908, suspiciously just a day before
Cixi. With the throne empty, he was succeeded by Cixi's
handpicked heir, his two year old nephew Puyi, who
became the Xuantong Emperor, the last Chinese emperor.
Guangxu's consort, who became the Empress Dowager
Longyu, signed the abdication decree as regent in
1912, ending two thousand years of imperial rule in
China. She died, childless, in 1913.
Dynasties in Chinese history and Chinese sovereign
At the 1924 inauguration of the Whampoa Military Academy,
Sun Yat-sen delivered a speech that would later become
the lyrics of the ROC's national Anthem.On January
1, 1912, the Republic of China was established, ending
the Qing Dynasty. Sun Yat-sen of the Kuomintang (KMT
or Nationalist Party), was proclaimed provisional
president of the republic. However, Yuan Shikai, a
former Qing general who had defected to the revolutionary
cause, soon forced Sun to step aside and took the
presidency for himself. Yuan then attempted to have
himself proclaimed emperor of a new dynasty; however,
he died of natural causes before fully taking power
over all of the Chinese empire.
Yuan Shikai's death, China was politically fragmented,
with an internationally-recognized, but virtually
powerless, national government seated in Beijing.
Warlords in various regions exercised actual control
over their respective territories. In the late 1920s,
the Kuomintang, under Chiang Kai-shek, was able to
reunify the country under its own control, moving
the nation's capital to Nanjing (Nanking) and implementing
"political tutelage", an intermediate stage
of political development outlined in Sun Yat-sen's
program for transforming China into a modern, democratic
state. Effectively, political tutelage meant one-party
rule by the Kuomintang.
Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945 (part of World War
II) forced an uneasy alliance between the Nationalists
and the Communists. With the surrender of Japan in
1945, China emerged victorious but financially drained.
The continued distrust between the Nationalists and
the Communists led to the resumption of the Chinese
Civil War. In 1947, constitutional rule was established,
but because of the ongoing Civil War many provisions
of the ROC constitution were never implemented on
History of the Republic of China
People's Republic of China and the Republic of China
After its victory in the Chinese Civil War, the Communist
Party of China, led by Mao Zedong, controlled most
of Mainland China. On October 1, 1949, they established
the People's Republic of China, laying claim as the
successor state of the ROC. The central government
of the ROC was forced to retreat to the island of
Taiwan. Major armed hostilities ceased in 1950 but
both sides are technically still at war.
in the late 1970s, the Republic of China began the
implementation of full, multi-party, representative
democracy in the territories still under its control
(Taiwan Province, Taipei, Kaohsiung and some offshore
islands of Fujian province). Today, the ROC has active
political participation by all sectors of society.
The main cleavage in ROC politics is the issue of
eventual unification with China vs. formal independence.
reforms on the mainland have led to some relaxation
of control over many areas of society. However, the
Chinese government still has absolute control over
politics, and it continually seeks to eradicate threats
to the stability of the country. Examples include
the fight against terrorism, jailing of political
opponents and journalists, custody regulation of the
press, regulation of religions, and suppression of
independence/secessionist movements. In 1989, the
student protests at Tiananmen Square were violently
put to an end by the Chinese military after 15 days
of martial law.
1997 Hong Kong was returned to the PRC by the United
Kingdom and in 1999 Macao was returned by Portugal.
also: History of Hong Kong, History of Macau, and
History of the People's Republic of China
Today, the Republic of China continues to exist on
Taiwan, while the People's Republic of China controls
the Chinese mainland. The PRC continues to be dominated
by the Communist Party, but the ROC has moved towards
democracy. Both states are still officially claiming
to be the sole legitimate ruler of all of "China".
The ROC had more international support immediately
after 1949, but most international diplomatic recognitions
have shifted to the PRC. The ROC representative to
the United Nations was replaced by the PRC representative
ROC has not formally renounced its claim to all of
China, or changed its official maps on which its territories
include the mainland and Mongolia, but it has moved
away from this identity and increasingly identifies
itself as "Taiwan". Presently, the ROC does
not pursue any of its claims. The PRC claims to have
succeeded the ROC as the legitimate governing authority
of all of China including Taiwan. The PRC has used
diplomatic and economic pressure to prevent official
recognition of the ROC by world organizations such
as the World Health Organization and the International
Olympic Committee. Today, there are 24 U.N. member
states that maintain official diplomatic relations
with the ROC.
History of the political divisions of China
Top-level political divisions of China have altered
as administrations changed. Top levels included circuits
and provinces. Below that, there have been prefectures,
subprefectures, departments, commanderies, districts,
and counties. Recent divisions also include prefecture-level
cities, county-level cities, towns and townships.
Chinese dynasties were based in the historical heartlands
of China, known as China proper. Various dynasties
also expanded into peripheral territories like Inner
Mongolia, Manchuria, Xinjiang, and Tibet. The Manchu-established
Qing Dynasty and its successors, the ROC and the PRC,
incorporated these territories into China. China proper
is generally thought to be bounded by the Great Wall
and the edge of the Tibetan Plateau. Manchuria and
Inner Mongolia are found to the north of the Great
Wall of China, and the boundary between them can either
be taken as the present border between Inner Mongolia
and the northeast Chinese provinces, or the more historic
border of the World War II-era puppet state of Manchukuo.
Xinjiang's borders correspond to today's administrative
Xinjiang. Historic Tibet occupies all of the Tibetan
Plateau. China is traditionally divided into the boundary
being the Huai River and Qinling Mountains.
Geography and climate
Geography of China
The precipitation in different regions of ChinaChina
ranges from mostly plateaus and mountains in the west
to lower lands in the east. Principal rivers flow
from west to east, including the Yangtze (central),
the Huang He (Yellow river, north-central), and the
Amur (northeast), and sometimes toward the south (including
the Pearl River, Mekong River, and Brahmaputra), with
most Chinese rivers emptying into the Pacific Ocean.
the east, along the shores of the Yellow Sea and the
East China Sea there are extensive and densely populated
alluvial plains. On the edges of the Inner Mongolian
plateau in the north, grasslands can be seen. Southern
China is dominated by hills and low mountain ranges.
In the central-east are the deltas of China's two
major rivers, the Huang He and Yangtze River. Most
of China's arable lands lie along these rivers; they
were the centers of China's major ancient civilizations.
Other major rivers include the Pearl River, Mekong,
Brahmaputra and Amur. Yunnan Province is considered
a part of the Greater Mekong Subregion, which also
includes Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
the west, the north has a great alluvial plain, and
the south has a vast calcareous tableland traversed
by hill ranges of moderate elevation, and the Himalayas,
containing Earth's highest point, Mount Everest. The
northwest also has high plateaus with more arid desert
landscapes such as the Takla-Makan and the Gobi Desert,
which has been expanding. During many dynasties, the
southwestern border of China has been the high mountains
and deep valleys of Yunnan, which separate modern
China from Burma, Laos and Vietnam.
Paleozoic formations of China, excepting only the
upper part of the Carboniferous system, are marine,
while the Mesozoic and Tertiary deposits are estuarine
and freshwater or else of terrestrial origin. Groups
of volcanic cones occur in the Great Plain of north
China. In the Liaodong and Shandong Peninsulas, there
are basaltic plateaus.
climate of China varies greatly. The northern zone
(containing Beijing) has summer daytime temperatures
of more than 30 degrees Celsius and winters of Arctic
severity. The central zone (containing Shanghai) has
a temperate continental climate with very hot summers
and cold winters. The southern zone (containing Guangzhou)
has a subtropical climate with very hot summers and
to a prolonged drought and poor agricultural practices,
dust storms have become usual in the spring in China.
Dust has blown to southern China and Taiwan, and has
even reached the West Coast of the United States.
Water, erosion, and pollution control have become
important issues in China's relations with other countries.
Environment of China
Main articles: Ethnic groups in Chinese history, Ethnic
minorities in China, and Demographics of China
China's overall population exceeds 1.3 billion, about
one-fifth of the world's population, making it the
most populous nation. While over a hundred ethnic
groups have existed in China, the government of the
People's Republic of China officially recognizes a
total of 56. The largest ethnic group in China by
far is the Han. This group is diverse in itself and
can be divided into smaller ethnic groups that share
the last three millennia, many previously distinct
ethnic groups in China have been Sinicized into a
Han identity, which over time dramatically expanded
the size of the Han population. However, these assimilations
were usually incomplete and vestiges of indigenous
language and culture often are still retained in different
regions of China. Because of this, many within the
Han identity have maintained distinct linguistic and
cultural traditions, though still identifying as Han.
Several ethnicities have also dramatically shaped
Han language and culture, e.g. the Manchurian clothing
called the qipao became the new "Chinese"
fashion after the 17th century, replacing earlier
Han styles of clothing such as the Hanfu (that are
still found in various forms in Japan and Korea).
The term Chinese nation (Zhonghua Minzu) is usually
used to describe a notion of a Chinese nationality
that transcends ethnic divisions.
Languages of China
Bilingual Chinese and Korean street signs in the city
of Yanji, Jilin province.Most languages in China belong
to the Sino-Tibetan language family, spoken by 29
ethnicities. There are also several major "dialects"
within the Chinese language itself. The most spoken
dialects are Mandarin (spoken by over 70% of the population),
Wu (Shanghainese), Yue (Cantonese), Min, Xiang, Gan,
and Hakka. Non-Sinitic languages spoken widely by
ethnic minorities include Zhuang (Thai), Mongolian,
Tibetan, Uyghur (Turkic), Hmong and Korean.
(Standard Mandarin, literally Common Speech) is
the official language and is based on the Beijing
dialect of the Mandarin group of dialects spoken
in northern and southwestern China. Standard Mandarin
is the medium of instruction in education and
is taught in all schools. It is the language used
in the media, for formal purposes, and by the
government. Non-Sinitic languages are co-official
in some autonomic minority regions. Road signs
in major Chinese cities are typically bilingual
in Chinese and English.
Chinese" or "baihua" is the written
standard based on the Mandarin dialect which has been
in use since the early 20th century. An older written
standard, Classical Chinese, was used by literati
for thousands of years before the 20th century. Classical
Chinese is still a part of the high school curriculum
and is thus intelligible to some degree to many Chinese.
Spoken variants other than Standard Mandarin are usually
not written, except for Standard Cantonese (see Written
Cantonese) which is sometimes used in informal contexts.
banknotes are multilingual and contain written scripts
for Standard Mandarin (Chinese characters and Hanyu
Pinyin), Zhuang (Roman alphabet), Tibetan (Tibetan
alphabet), Uyghur (Arabic alphabet) and Mongolian
(traditional Mongolian alphabet).
Religion in China
Monk lighting incense in Beijing temple. Mahayana
Buddhism remains the largest organized religion in
China since its introduction in the 1st century CE.The
People's Republic of China is officially secular and
atheist but it does allow personal religion or supervised
religious organization. Buddhism (Chinese: ??; pinyin:
Fójiào) and Taoism (Chinese: ??; pinyin:
Dàojiào), along with an underlying Confucian
morality, have been the dominant religions of Chinese
society for almost two millennia. Personal religion
is more widely tolerated in the PRC today, so there
has been a resurrection of interest in Buddhism, Islam,
and Taoism. The main tradition of Buddhism practiced
by the Chinese is Mahayana Buddhism (Chinese: ??;
pinyin: Dàshèng). Its subsets Pure Land
(Chinese: ???; pinyin: jìng tu zong) and Chan
(Simplified Chinese: ??; Traditional Chinese: ??;
pinyin: Chánzong) are the most common. Among
the younger, urban secular population, spiritual ideas
of Feng Shui have become popular in recent years,
spawning a large home decoration market in China.
The Central Intelligence Agency of the United States
reports that in addition to unknown numbers of adherents
of Taoism and Buddhism,
Chinese from the PRC are adherents of Christianity
1%-2% Chinese from the PRC are adherents of Islam.
In recent years Falun Gong, developed in the 1990s,
has attracted great controversy after the government
labeled it a malicious cult and attempted to eradicate
it. Falun Gong itself denies that it is a cult or
a religion, but a qigong practice. Falun Gong claims
approximately 70-100 million practitioners, a number
which is contested by the Chinese government but supported
by some reports; though exact numbers are unknown.
and ancient Chinese traditions are widely tolerated
in the Republic of China, and play a big role in the
daily lives of modern Taiwanese people. According
to the official figures released by the CIA:
of Taiwanese are adherents of a combination of Buddhism,
Confucianism, and Taoism.
4.5% of Taiwanese are adherents of Christianity, this
group includes a combination of Protestants, Catholics,
Mormons, and other non-denominational Christian groups.
2.5% of Taiwanese are adherents of other religions,
such as Islam, Judaism, the Bahá'í Faith
See also: Catholicism in China, Chinese folk religion,
Chinese mythology, Islam in China, Protestantism in
China, and Way of Former Heaven
Culture of China
Zhuozheng Garden in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, one
of the largest gardens in China.Confucianism was the
official philosophy throughout most of Imperial China's
history, and mastery of Confucian texts was the primary
criterion for entry into the imperial bureaucracy.
The literary emphasis of the exams affected the general
perception of cultural refinement in China, e.g. the
view that calligraphy was a higher art form than painting
or drama. China's traditional values were derived
from various versions of Confucianism and conservatism.
A number of more authoritarian strains of thought
have also been influential, such as Legalism. There
was often conflict between the philosophies, e.g.
the individualistic Song Dynasty neo-Confucians believed
Legalism departed from the original spirit of Confucianism.
Examinations and a culture of merit remain greatly
valued in China today. In recent years, a number of
New Confucians have advocated that democratic ideals
and human rights are quite compatible with traditional
Confucian "Asian values".
the rise of Western economic and military power beginning
in the mid-19th century, non-Chinese systems of social
and political organization gained adherents in China.
Some of these would-be reformers totally rejected
China's cultural legacy, while others sought to combine
the strengths of Chinese and Western cultures. In
essence, the history of 20th century China is one
of experimentation with new systems of social, political,
and economic organization that would allow for the
reintegration of the nation in the wake of dynastic
first leaders of the PRC were born in the old society
but were influenced by the May Fourth Movement and
reformist ideals. They sought to change some traditional
aspects of Chinese culture, such as rural land tenure,
sexism, and Confucian education, while preserving
others, such as the family structure and obedience
to the state. Many observers believe that the period
following 1949 is a continuation of traditional Chinese
dynastic history. Others say that the CPC's rule and
the Cultural Revolution have damaged the foundations
of Chinese culture, asserting that many important
aspects of traditional Chinese morals and culture,
such as Confucianism, Chinese art, literature, and
performing arts like Beijing opera were altered to
conform to government policies and communist propaganda.
The institution of the Simplified Chinese orthography
reform is controversial as well.
the PRC government has accepted much of traditional
Chinese culture as an integral part of Chinese society,
calling it an important achievement of the Chinese
civilization and vital to the formation of a Chinese
also: Chinese law and Chinese philosophy
scholarship, and literature
Chinese calligraphy by Mifu, Song Dynasty, ca. 1100
CEChinese characters have had many variants and styles
throughout Chinese history. Tens of thousands of ancient
written documents are still extant, from Oracle bones
to Qing edicts. Calligraphy is a major art form in
China, more highly regarded than painting and music.
Manuscripts of the Classics and religious texts (mainly
Confucian, Taoist, and Buddhist) were handwritten
by ink brush. Calligraphy later became commercialized,
and works by famous artists became prized possessions.
was developed during the Song Dynasty. Academies of
scholars sponsored by the empire were formed to comment
on the classics in both printed and handwritten form.
Royalty frequently participated in these discussions.
centuries, economic and social advancement in China
could be provided by high performance on the imperial
examinations. This led to a meritocracy, although
it was available only to males who could afford test
preparation. Imperial examinations required applicants
to write essays and demonstrate mastery of the Confucian
classics. Those who passed the highest level of the
exam became elite scholar-officials known as jinshi,
a highly esteemed socio-economic position.
philosophers, writers, and poets were highly respected,
and played key roles in preserving and promoting the
culture of the empire. Some classical scholars, however,
were noted for their daring depictions of the lives
of the common people, often to the displeasure of
Chinese invented numerous musical instruments,
such as the zheng (Simplified Chinese: ?; Traditional
Chinese: ?; pinyin: zheng; zither with movable
bridges), qin (Chinese: ?; pinyin: qín;
bridgeless zither), sheng (Chinese: ?; pinyin:
sheng; pandean pipe or free reed), xiao (Simplified
Chinese: ?; Traditional Chinese: ?; pinyin: xiao;
end blown flute) and adopted and developed others
such the erhu (Chinese: ??; pinyin: èrhú;
alto fiddle or bowed lute) and pipa (Chinese:
??; pinyin: pípa; plucked lute), many of
which have later spread throughout East Asia and
Southeast Asia, particularly to Japan, Korea and
Sports in China
Dragon boat racing, a popular traditional Chinese
sport.There is evidence that a form of football
(i.e. soccer) was first played in China around
1000 CE, leading many historians to believe that
it originated there.. Besides football, the most
popular sports are martial arts, table tennis,
badminton and more recently, golf. Basketball
is especially popular with the young, in urban
centers where space is limited.
are also many traditional sports. Chinese dragon boat
racing occurs during the Duan Wu festival. In Inner
Mongolia, Mongolian-style wrestling and horse racing
are popular. In Tibet, archery and equestrian sports
are part of traditional festivals.
has become a sports power in the Asian region
and around the world. China finished first in
medal counts in each of the Asian Games since
1982, and in the top four in medal counts in each
of the Summer Olympic Games since 1992. The 2008
Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games
of the XXIX Olympiad, will be held in Beijing,
fitness is highly regarded. It is common for the elderly
to practice qigong in parks.
games such as International Chess, Go (Weiqi), and
Xiangqi (Chinese chess) are also common and have organized
Science and technology
Remains of an ancient Chinese handheld crossbow, 2nd
century BC.Main article: Science and technology in
Among the scientific accomplishments of ancient China
were paper (not papyrus), printing, the compass, gunpowder,
early seismological detectors, matches, dry docks,
sliding calipers, the double-action piston pump, cast
iron, the iron plough, the multi-tube seed drill,
the wheelbarrow, the suspension bridge, the parachute,
natural gas as fuel, the magnetic compass, the raised-relief
map, the propeller, the crossbow and the cannon. Chinese
astronomers were among the first to record observations
of a supernova. Chinese mathematics evolved independently
of Greek mathematics and is therefore of great interest
in the history of mathematics.
science and technology fell behind that of Europe
by the 17th Century. Political, social and cultural
reasons have been used to explain for this, while
recent historians focus more on the economic causes
to this decline, such as the high level equilibrium
trap. Since China's market reforms in the last two
decades, China has become better connected to the
global economy and is placing greater emphasis on
science and technology. This has led to large increases
in funding, an improved scientific structure, and
more available money for research purposes. These
combined factors have led to advancements in numerous
fields, including agriculture, nanotechnology, medicine,
genetics, and global change. China currently is the
world's second largest spender of research and development
(R&D), behind only the United States
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Great Walk to Beijing 2008