Photos of China

A walkway on top of the Great Wall leading to a fortification at Juyongguan Pass.



China's historical civilization dates to at least the 13th century B.C., first under the Shang (to 1046 B.C.) and then the Zhou (1046-221 B.C.) dynasties. The imperial era of China began in 221 B.C. under the Qin Dynasty and lasted until the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1912. During this period, China alternated between periods of unity and disunity under a succession of imperial dynasties. In the 19th century, the Qing Dynasty suffered heavily from overextension by territorial conquest, insolvency, civil war, imperialism, military defeats, and foreign expropriation of ports and infrastructure. It collapsed following the Revolution of 1911, and China became a republic under SUN Yat-sen of the Kuomintang (KMT or Nationalist) Party. However, the republic was beset by division, warlordism, and continued foreign intervention. In the late 1920s, a civil war erupted between the ruling KMT-controlled government, led by CHIANG Kai-shek, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Japan occupied much of northeastern China in the early 1930s, and then launched a full-scale invasion of the country in 1937. The resulting eight years of warfare devastated the country and cost up to 20 million Chinese lives by the time of Japan’s defeat in 1945. The Nationalist-Communist civil war continued with renewed intensity after the end of World War II and culminated with a CCP victory in 1949, under the leadership of MAO Zedong.

MAO and the CCP established an autocratic socialist system that, while ensuring the PRC's sovereignty, imposed strict controls over everyday life and launched agricultural, economic, political, and social policies -- such as the Great Leap Forward (1958-1962) and the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) -- that cost the lives of millions of people. MAO died in 1976. Beginning in 1978, leaders DENG Xiaoping, JIANG Zemin, and HU Jintao focused on market-oriented economic development and opening up the country to foreign trade, while maintaining the rule of the CCP. Since the change, China has been among the world’s fastest growing economies, with real gross domestic product averaging over 9% growth annually through 2021, lifting an estimated 800 million people out of poverty and dramatically improving overall living standards. By 2011, the PRC’s economy was the second largest in the world. Current leader XI Jinping has continued these policies but has also maintained tight political controls. Over the past decade, China has increased its global outreach, including military deployments, participation in international organizations, and a global connectivity plan in 2013 called the "Belt and Road Initiative" (BRI). Many nations have signed on to BRI agreements to attract PRC investment, but others have expressed concerns about such issues as the opaque nature of the projects, financing, and potentially unsustainable debt obligations. XI Jinping assumed the positions of General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and Chairman of the Central Military Commission in 2012 and President in 2013. In 2018, the PRC’s National People’s Congress passed an amendment abolishing presidential term limits, which allowed XI to gain a third five-year term in 2023. 


Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



Eastern Asia, bordering the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea, between North Korea and Vietnam

Geographic coordinates

35 00 N, 105 00 E


total: 9,596,960 sq km

land: 9,326,410 sq km

water: 270,550 sq km

comparison ranking: total 5

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than the US

Area comparison map:
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 22,457 km

border countries (14): Afghanistan 91 km; Bhutan 477 km; Burma 2,129 km; India 2,659 km; Kazakhstan 1,765 km; North Korea 1,352 km; Kyrgyzstan 1,063 km; Laos 475 km; Mongolia 4,630 km; Nepal 1,389 km; Pakistan 438 km; Russia (northeast) 4,133 km and Russia (northwest) 46 km; Tajikistan 477 km; Vietnam 1,297 km


14,500 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin


extremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in north


mostly mountains, high plateaus, deserts in west; plains, deltas, and hills in east


highest point: Mount Everest (highest peak in Asia and highest point on earth above sea level) 8,849 m

lowest point: Turpan Pendi (Turfan Depression) -154 m

mean elevation: 1,840 m

Natural resources

coal, iron ore, helium, petroleum, natural gas, arsenic, bismuth, cobalt, cadmium, ferrosilicon, gallium, germanium, hafnium, indium, lithium, mercury, tantalum, tellurium, tin, titanium, tungsten, antimony, manganese, magnesium, molybdenum, selenium, strontium, vanadium, magnetite, aluminum, lead, zinc, rare earth elements, uranium, hydropower potential (world's largest), arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 54.7% (2018 est.)

arable land: 11.3% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 41.8% (2018 est.)

forest: 22.3% (2018 est.)

other: 23% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

690,070 sq km (2012)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Dongting Hu - 3,100 sq km; Poyang Hu - 3,350 sq km; Hongze Hu - 2,700 sq km; Tai Hu - 2,210 sq km; Hulun Nur - 1,590

salt water lake(s): Quinghai Hu - 4,460 sq km; Nam Co - 2,500 sq km; Siling Co - 1,860 sq km; Tangra Yumco - 1,400 sq km; Bosten Hu 1,380 sq km

Major rivers (by length in km)

Yangtze - 6,300 km; Huang He - 5,464 km; Amur river source (shared with Mongolia and Russia [m]) - 4,444 km; Lancang Jiang (Mekong) river source (shared with Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam [m]) - 4,350 km; Yarlung Zangbo Jiang (Brahmaputra) river source (shared with India and Bangladesh [m]) - 3,969 km; Yin-tu Ho (Indus) river source (shared with India and Pakistan [m]) - 3,610 km; Nu Jiang (Salween) river source (shared with Thailand and Burma [m]) - 3,060 km; Irrawaddy river source (shared with Burma [m]) - 2,809 km; Zhu Jiang (Pearl) (shared with Vietnam [s]) - 2,200 km; Yuan Jiang (Red river) source (shared with Vietnam [m]) - 1,149 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Pacific Ocean drainage: Amur (1,929,955 sq km), Huang He (944,970 sq km), Mekong (805,604 sq km), Yangtze (1,722,193 sq km)
Indian Ocean drainage: Brahmaputra (651,335 sq km), Ganges (1,016,124 sq km), Indus (1,081,718 sq km), Irrawaddy (413,710 sq km), Salween (271,914 sq km)
Arctic Ocean drainage: Ob (2,972,493 sq km)
Internal (endorheic basin) drainage: Tarim Basin (1,152,448 sq km), Amu Darya (534,739 sq km), Syr Darya (782,617 sq km), Lake Balkash (510,015 sq km)

Major aquifers

North China Aquifer System (Huang Huai Hai Plain), Song-Liao Plain, Tarim Basin

Population distribution

overwhelming majority of the population is found in the eastern half of the country; the west, with its vast mountainous and desert areas, remains sparsely populated; though ranked first in the world in total population, overall density is less than that of many other countries in Asia and Europe; high population density is found along the Yangtze and Yellow River valleys, the Xi Jiang River delta, the Sichuan Basin (around Chengdu), in and around Beijing, and the industrial area around Shenyang

Natural hazards

frequent typhoons (about five per year along southern and eastern coasts); damaging floods; tsunamis; earthquakes; droughts; land subsidence

volcanism: China contains some historically active volcanoes including Changbaishan (also known as Baitoushan, Baegdu, or P'aektu-san), Hainan Dao, and Kunlun although most have been relatively inactive in recent centuries

Geography - note

note 1: world's fourth largest country (after Russia, Canada, and US) and largest country situated entirely in Asia; Mount Everest on the border with Nepal is the world's tallest peak above sea level

note 2: the largest cave chamber in the world is the Miao Room, in the Gebihe cave system at China's Ziyun Getu He Chuandong National Park, which encloses some 10.78 million cu m (380.7 million cu ft) of volume; the world's largest sinkhole is the Xiaoxhai Tiankeng sinkhole in Chongqing Municipality, which is 660 m deep, with a volume of 130 million cu m

note 3: China appears to have been the center of domestication for two of the world's leading cereal crops: millet in the north along the Yellow River and rice in the south along the lower or middle Yangtze River

People and Society


total: 1,416,043,270

male: 722,201,504

female: 693,841,766 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 1; male 2; total 1


noun: Chinese (singular and plural)

adjective: Chinese

Ethnic groups

Han Chinese 91.1%, ethnic minorities 8.9% (includes Zhang, Hui, Manchu, Uighur, Miao, Yi, Tujia, Tibetan, Mongol, Dong, Buyei, Yao, Bai, Korean, Hani, Li, Kazakh, Dai, and other nationalities) (2021 est.)

note: the PRC officially recognizes 56 ethnic groups


Standard Chinese or Mandarin (official; Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages (see Ethnic groups entry); note - Zhuang is official in Guangxi Zhuang, Yue is official in Guangdong, Mongolian is official in Nei Mongol, Uyghur is official in Xinjiang Uygur, Kyrgyz is official in Xinjiang Uyghur, and Tibetan is official in Xizang (Tibet)

major-language sample(s):
世界概況  –  不可缺少的基本消息來源 (Standard Chinese)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Mandarin audio sample:


folk religion 21.9%, Buddhist 18.2%, Christian 5.1%, Muslim 1.8%, Hindu < 0.1%, Jewish < 0.1%, other 0.7% (includes Daoist (Taoist)), unaffiliated 52.1% (2021 est.)

note: officially atheist

Age structure

0-14 years: 16.3% (male 122,644,111/female 107,926,176)

15-64 years: 69.3% (male 505,412,555/female 476,599,793)

65 years and over: 14.4% (2024 est.) (male 94,144,838/female 109,315,797)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 44.5

youth dependency ratio: 25.5

elderly dependency ratio: 19

potential support ratio: 5.3 (2021 est.)

note: data do not include Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan

Median age

total: 40.2 years (2024 est.)

male: 39 years

female: 41.5 years

comparison ranking: total 61

Population growth rate

0.23% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 172

Birth rate

10.2 births/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 183

Death rate

7.7 deaths/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 95

Net migration rate

-0.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 100

Population distribution

overwhelming majority of the population is found in the eastern half of the country; the west, with its vast mountainous and desert areas, remains sparsely populated; though ranked first in the world in total population, overall density is less than that of many other countries in Asia and Europe; high population density is found along the Yangtze and Yellow River valleys, the Xi Jiang River delta, the Sichuan Basin (around Chengdu), in and around Beijing, and the industrial area around Shenyang


urban population: 64.6% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.78% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

note: data do not include Hong Kong and Macau

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

29.211 million Shanghai, 21.766 million BEIJING (capital), 17.341 million Chongqing, 14.284 million Guangzhou, 14.239 million Tianjin, 13.073 million Shenzhen (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.09 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.14 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female

total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

23 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 117

Infant mortality rate

total: 6.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 6.7 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 5.7 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 167

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 78.7 years (2024 est.)

male: 76 years

female: 81.7 years

comparison ranking: total population 75

Total fertility rate

1.55 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 193

Gross reproduction rate

0.74 (2024 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 97.3% of population

rural: 91.5% of population

total: 95.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.7% of population

rural: 8.5% of population

total: 4.9% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

5.6% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

2.23 physicians/1,000 population (2019)

Hospital bed density

4.3 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 97.6% of population

rural: 90.6% of population

total: 94.9% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.4% of population

rural: 9.4% of population

total: 5.1% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, severe fever thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS)

soil contact diseases: hantaviral hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

6.2% (2016)

comparison ranking: 169

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 4.48 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 1.66 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.18 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 2.63 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 89

Tobacco use

total: 25.6% (2020 est.)

male: 49.4% (2020 est.)

female: 1.7% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 44

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 0.1%

women married by age 18: 2.8%

men married by age 18: 0.7% (2020 est.)

Education expenditures

3.6% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 133


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 96.8%

male: 98.5%

female: 95.2% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 14 years

male: 14 years

female: 14 years (2015)

People - note

in October 2015, the Chinese Government announced that it would change its rules to allow all couples to have two children, loosening a 1979 mandate that restricted many couples to one child; the new policy was implemented on 1 January 2016 to address China’s rapidly aging population and future economic needs


Environment - current issues

air pollution (greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide particulates) from reliance on coal produces acid rain; China is the world's largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels; water shortages, particularly in the north; water pollution from untreated wastes; coastal destruction due to land reclamation, industrial development, and aquaculture; deforestation and habitat destruction; poor land management leads to soil erosion, landslides, floods, droughts, dust storms, and desertification; trade in endangered species

Environment - international agreements

party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protection, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Marine Dumping-London Protocol, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban


extremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in north

Land use

agricultural land: 54.7% (2018 est.)

arable land: 11.3% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 41.8% (2018 est.)

forest: 22.3% (2018 est.)

other: 23% (2018 est.)


urban population: 64.6% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 1.78% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

note: data do not include Hong Kong and Macau

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

0.08% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 117

Revenue from coal

0.57% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 9

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 38.15 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 9,893.04 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 1,490.24 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 210 million tons (2015 est.)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Dongting Hu - 3,100 sq km; Poyang Hu - 3,350 sq km; Hongze Hu - 2,700 sq km; Tai Hu - 2,210 sq km; Hulun Nur - 1,590

salt water lake(s): Quinghai Hu - 4,460 sq km; Nam Co - 2,500 sq km; Siling Co - 1,860 sq km; Tangra Yumco - 1,400 sq km; Bosten Hu 1,380 sq km

Major rivers (by length in km)

Yangtze - 6,300 km; Huang He - 5,464 km; Amur river source (shared with Mongolia and Russia [m]) - 4,444 km; Lancang Jiang (Mekong) river source (shared with Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam [m]) - 4,350 km; Yarlung Zangbo Jiang (Brahmaputra) river source (shared with India and Bangladesh [m]) - 3,969 km; Yin-tu Ho (Indus) river source (shared with India and Pakistan [m]) - 3,610 km; Nu Jiang (Salween) river source (shared with Thailand and Burma [m]) - 3,060 km; Irrawaddy river source (shared with Burma [m]) - 2,809 km; Zhu Jiang (Pearl) (shared with Vietnam [s]) - 2,200 km; Yuan Jiang (Red river) source (shared with Vietnam [m]) - 1,149 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Pacific Ocean drainage: Amur (1,929,955 sq km), Huang He (944,970 sq km), Mekong (805,604 sq km), Yangtze (1,722,193 sq km)
Indian Ocean drainage: Brahmaputra (651,335 sq km), Ganges (1,016,124 sq km), Indus (1,081,718 sq km), Irrawaddy (413,710 sq km), Salween (271,914 sq km)
Arctic Ocean drainage: Ob (2,972,493 sq km)
Internal (endorheic basin) drainage: Tarim Basin (1,152,448 sq km), Amu Darya (534,739 sq km), Syr Darya (782,617 sq km), Lake Balkash (510,015 sq km)

Major aquifers

North China Aquifer System (Huang Huai Hai Plain), Song-Liao Plain, Tarim Basin

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 117.01 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 103.04 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 361.24 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

2.84 trillion cubic meters (2020 est.)


total global geoparks and regional networks: 47 (2024)

global geoparks and regional networks: Alxa; Arxan; Dali-Cangshan; Danxiashan; Dunhuang; Enshi Grand Canyon-Tenglongdong; Fangshan; Funiushan; Guangwushan-Noushuihe; Hexigten; Hong Kong; Huanggang Dabieshan; Huangshan; Jingpohu; Jiuhuashan; Keketuohai; Leiqiong; Leye Fengshan; Linxia; Longhushan; Longyan; Lushan; Mount Changbaishan; Mount Kunlun; Ningde; Qinling Zhongnanshan; Sanqingshan; Shennongjia; Shilin; Songshan; Taining; Taishan; Tianzhushan; Wangwushan-Daimeishan; Wudalianchi; Wugongshan; Xiangxi; Xingwen; Yingyi; Yandangshan; Yanqing; Yimengshan; Yuntaishan; Zhangjlajle; Zhangye; Zhijingdong Cave; Zigong (2024)


Country name

conventional long form: People's Republic of China

conventional short form: China

local long form: Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo

local short form: Zhongguo

abbreviation: PRC

etymology: English name derives from the Qin (Chin) rulers of the 3rd century B.C., who comprised the first imperial dynasty of ancient China; the Chinese name Zhongguo translates as "Central Nation" or "Middle Kingdom"

Government type

communist party-led state


name: Beijing

geographic coordinates: 39 55 N, 116 23 E

time difference: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

time zone note: China is the largest country (in terms of area) with just one time zone; before 1949 it was divided into five

etymology: the Chinese meaning is "Northern Capital"

Administrative divisions

23 provinces (sheng, singular and plural), 5 autonomous regions (zizhiqu, singular and plural), 4 municipalities (shi, singular and plural), and two special administrative regions (tebie xingzhengqu, singular and plural)

provinces: Anhui, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Zhejiang; (see note on Taiwan)

autonomous regions: Guangxi, Nei Mongol (Inner Mongolia), Ningxia, Xinjiang Uyghur, Xizang (Tibet)

municipalities: Beijing, Chongqing, Shanghai, Tianjin

special administrative regions: Hong Kong, Macau

note: China considers Taiwan its 23rd province; see separate entries for the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau


1 October 1949 (People's Republic of China established); notable earlier dates: 221 B.C. (unification under the Qin Dynasty); 1 January 1912 (Qing Dynasty replaced by the Republic of China)

National holiday

National Day (anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China), 1 October (1949)


history: several previous; latest promulgated 4 December 1982

amendments: proposed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress or supported by more than one fifth of the National People’s Congress membership; passage requires more than two-thirds majority vote of the Congress membership; amended several times, last in 2018

Legal system

civil law influenced by Soviet and continental European civil law systems; legislature retains power to interpret statutes; note - on 28 May 2020, the National People's Congress adopted the PRC Civil Code, which codifies personal relations and property relations

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: least one parent must be a citizen of China

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: while naturalization is theoretically possible, in practical terms it is extremely difficult; residency is required but not specified


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President XI Jinping (since 14 March 2013)

head of government: Premier LI Qiang (since 11 March 2023)

cabinet: State Council appointed by National People's Congress

elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected by National People's Congress; election last held on 10 March 2023 (next to be held in March 2028); premier nominated by president, confirmed by National People's Congress

election results:
XI Jinping reelected president; National People's Congress vote - 2,952 (unanimously); HAN Zheng
elected vice president with 2,952 votes

: XI Jinping reelected president; National People's Congress vote - 2,970 (unanimously); WANG Qishan elected vice president with 2,969 votes

note: ultimate authority rests with the Communist Party Central Committee’s 25-member Political Bureau (Politburo) and its seven-member Standing Committee; XI Jinping holds the three most powerful positions as party general secretary, state president, and chairman of the Central Military Commission

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National People's Congress (NPC) or Quanguo Renmin Daibiao Dahui (maximum of 3,000 seats; members indirectly elected by municipal, regional, and provincial people's congresses, and the People's Liberation Army; members serve 5-year terms); note - in practice, only members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), its 8 allied independent parties, and CCP-approved independent candidates are elected

elections: the 14th NPC convened on 5 March 2023; the 15th NPC will convene in March 2028

election results: percent of vote - NA; seats by party - NA; the 14th NPC consists of 2,977 delegates; 2,187 men, 790 women, percentage women 26.5%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme People's Court (consists of over 340 judges, including the chief justice and 13 grand justices organized into a civil committee and tribunals for civil, economic, administrative, complaint and appeal, and communication and transportation cases)

judge selection and term of office: chief justice appointed by the People's National Congress (NPC); limited to 2 consecutive 5-year-terms; other justices and judges nominated by the chief justice and appointed by the Standing Committee of the NPC; term of other justices and judges determined by the NPC

subordinate courts: Higher People's Courts; Intermediate People's Courts; District and County People's Courts; Autonomous Region People's Courts; International Commercial Courts; Special People's Courts for military, maritime, transportation, and forestry issues

Political parties and leaders

Chinese Communist Party or CCP [XI Jinping]

note: China has 8 nominally independent small parties controlled by the CCP

International organization participation

ADB, AfDB (nonregional member), APEC, Arctic Council (observer), ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), BIS, BRICS, CDB, CICA, EAS, FAO, FATF, G-20, G-24 (observer), G-5, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MINURSO, MONUSCO, NAM (observer), NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, Pacific Alliance (observer), PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), SCO, SICA (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNHRC, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNISFA, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNOOSA, UN Security Council (permanent), UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador XIE Feng (since 30 June 2023)

chancery: 3505 International Place NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 495-2266

FAX: [1] (202) 495-2138

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco; note - the US ordered closure of the Houston consulate in late July 2020

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Nicholas BURNS (since 2 April 2022)

embassy: 55 An Jia Lou Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100600

mailing address: 7300 Beijing Place, Washington DC  20521-7300

telephone: [86] (10) 8531-3000

FAX: [86] (10) 8531-4200

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenyang, Wuhan; note - the Chinese Government ordered closure of the US consulate in Chengdu in late July 2020

Flag description

red with a large yellow five-pointed star and four smaller yellow five-pointed stars (arranged in a vertical arc toward the middle of the flag) in the upper hoist-side corner; the color red represents revolution, while the stars symbolize the four social classes - the working class, the peasantry, the urban petty bourgeoisie, and the national bourgeoisie (capitalists) - united under the Communist Party of China

National symbol(s)

dragon, giant panda; national colors: red, yellow

National anthem

name: "Yiyongjun Jinxingqu" (The March of the Volunteers)

lyrics/music: TIAN Han/NIE Er

note: adopted 1949; the anthem, though banned during the Cultural Revolution, is more commonly known as "Zhongguo Guoge" (Chinese National Song); it was originally the theme song to the 1935 Chinese movie, "Sons and Daughters in a Time of Storm"

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 57 (39 cultural, 14 natural, 4 mixed)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties (c); Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor (c); The Great Wall (c); Summer Palace (c); Jiuzhaigou Valley (n); Potala Palace (c); Ancient Pingyao (c); Historic Macau (c); Dengfeng (c); Grand Canal (c); Mount Huangshan (m)

Government - note

in 2018, the Beijing established an investigatory National Supervisory Commission to oversee all state employees


Economic overview

one of the world’s top two economies; sustained growth due to export relations, its manufacturing sector, and low-wage workers; only major economy to avoid COVID-19 economic decline; recovery efforts slowing due to longstanding poverty imbalances and other institutional issues; state-sponsored economic controls

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$25.684 trillion (2022 est.)
$24.939 trillion (2021 est.)
$22.996 trillion (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 1

Real GDP growth rate

2.99% (2022 est.)
8.45% (2021 est.)
2.24% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 136

Real GDP per capita

$18,200 (2022 est.)
$17,700 (2021 est.)
$16,300 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 98

GDP (official exchange rate)

$17.963 trillion (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.97% (2022 est.)
0.98% (2021 est.)
2.42% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 30

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: A+ (2007)

Moody's rating: A1 (2017)

Standard & Poors rating: A+ (2017)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 7.9% (2017 est.)

industry: 40.5% (2017 est.)

services: 51.6% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 171; industry 28; agriculture 101

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 39.1% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 14.5% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 42.7% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 1.7% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 20.4% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -18.4% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

maize, rice, vegetables, wheat, sugarcane, potatoes, cucumbers/gherkins, tomatoes, watermelons, pork (2022)

note: top ten agricultural products based on tonnage


world leader in gross value of industrial output; mining and ore processing, iron, steel, aluminum, and other metals, coal; machine building; armaments; textiles and apparel; petroleum; cement; chemicals; fertilizer; consumer products (including footwear, toys, and electronics); food processing; transportation equipment, including automobiles, railcars and locomotives, ships, aircraft; telecommunications equipment, commercial space launch vehicles, satellites

Industrial production growth rate

3.76% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 102

Labor force

781.808 million (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 1

Unemployment rate

4.98% (2022 est.)
4.55% (2021 est.)
5% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 99

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 11.4% (2021 est.)

male: 12.1%

female: 10.4%

comparison ranking: total 142

Population below poverty line

0% (2020 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

37.1 (2020 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

comparison ranking: 79

Average household expenditures

on food: 20% of household expenditures (2021 est.)

on alcohol and tobacco: 2.9% of household expenditures (2021 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 3.1%

highest 10%: 29.4% (2020 est.)

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population


0.15% of GDP (2022 est.)
0.13% of GDP (2021 est.)
0.13% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities


revenues: $3.983 trillion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $4.893 trillion (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-3.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 152

Public debt

47% of GDP (2017 est.)
44.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: official data; data cover both central and local government debt, including debt officially recognized by China's National Audit Office report in 2011; data exclude policy bank bonds, Ministry of Railway debt, and China Asset Management Company debt

comparison ranking: 116

Taxes and other revenues

7.97% (of GDP) (2021 est.)

note: central government tax revenue as a % of GDP

comparison ranking: 199

Current account balance

$401.855 billion (2022 est.)
$352.886 billion (2021 est.)
$248.836 billion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 1


$3.716 trillion (2022 est.)
$3.555 trillion (2021 est.)
$2.739 trillion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 1

Exports - partners

US 15%, Hong Kong 7%, Japan 5%, Germany 4%, South Korea 4% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

broadcasting equipment, integrated circuits, computers, garments, machine parts (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars


$3.139 trillion (2022 est.)
$3.094 trillion (2021 est.)
$2.38 trillion (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 2

Imports - partners

US 7%, South Korea 7%, Japan 6%, Australia 6%, China 6% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

crude petroleum, integrated circuits, iron ore, natural gas, gold (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$3.307 trillion (2022 est.)
$3.428 trillion (2021 est.)
$3.357 trillion (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 1

Debt - external

$2,027,950,000,000 (2019 est.)
$1,935,206,000,000 (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 13

Exchange rates

Renminbi yuan (RMB) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
6.737 (2022 est.)
6.449 (2021 est.)
6.901 (2020 est.)
6.908 (2019 est.)
6.616 (2018 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2021)


installed generating capacity: 2,217,925,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 6,875,088,640,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 21.655 billion kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 4.858 billion kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 333.01 billion kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 1; transmission/distribution losses 213; imports 41; exports 12; consumption 1

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 66% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 4.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 3.5% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 6.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 17.8% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 1.6% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Nuclear energy

Number of operational nuclear reactors: 55 (2023)

Number of nuclear reactors under construction: 21

Net capacity of operational nuclear reactors: 53.18GW (2021)

Percent of total electricity production: 5.02% (2021)

Percent of total energy produced: 3% (2021)

Number of nuclear reactors permanently shut down: 0


production: 4,314,681,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 4,506,387,000 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 6.652 million metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 307.047 million metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 141.595 billion metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 4,712,200 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 14,007,500 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 52,500 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 9,238,100 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 26,022,600,000 barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

11.51 million bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 2

Refined petroleum products - exports

848,400 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 9

Refined petroleum products - imports

1.16 million bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 4

Natural gas

production: 179,317,495,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

consumption: 306,576,649,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 3,548,831,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

imports: 131,608,161,000 cubic meters (2019 est.)

proven reserves: 6,654,250,000,000 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

10,773,248,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 8,652,419,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 1,520,552,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 600.276 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 1

Energy consumption per capita

105.687 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 54


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 179.414 million (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 13 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 1

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 1.781 billion (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 125 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 1

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: China has the largest Internet market in the world with almost all subscribers accessing Internet through mobile devices; market is driven through government-allied investment; fast-developing data center market; government aims to provide universal and affordable broadband coverage through market competition and private investment in state-controlled enterprises; 3G and LTE subscribers will migrate to 5G aiming for 2 million 5G base stations by the end of 2022; government strengthens IoT policies to boost economic growth; China is pushing development of smart cities beyond Beijing; Beijing residents carry virtual card integrating identity, social security, health, and education documents; government controls gateways to global Internet through censorship, surveillance, and shut-downs; major exporter of broadcasting equipment world-wide (2022)

domestic: nearly 13 per 100 fixed line and 122 per 100 mobile-cellular (2021)

international: country code - 86; landing points for the RJCN, EAC-C2C, TPE, APCN-2, APG, NCP, TEA, SeaMeWe-3, SJC2, Taiwan Strait Express-1, AAE-1, APCN-2, AAG, FEA, FLAG and TSE submarine cables providing connectivity to Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the US; satellite earth stations - 7 (5 Intelsat - 4 Pacific Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean; 1 Intersputnik - Indian Ocean region; and 1 Inmarsat - Pacific and Indian Ocean regions) (2019)

Broadcast media

all broadcast media are owned by, or affiliated with, the Chinese Communisty Party (CCP) or a government agency; no privately owned TV or radio stations; state-run Chinese Central TV, provincial, and municipal stations offer more than 2,000 channels; the Central Propaganda Department as well as local (provincial, municipal) sends directives to all domestic media outlets to guide its reporting with the government maintaining authority to approve all programming; foreign-made TV programs must be approved/censored prior to broadcast; increasingly, PRC nationals turn to online platforms (Bilibili, Tencent Video, iQiyi, etc) to access PRC and international films and television shows.  Video platforms have to abide by regulations issued by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), which align with censorship policies from CCP propaganda authorities. (2022)

Internet users

total: 1.022 billion (2021 est.)

percent of population: 73% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 1

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 483,549,500 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 34 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 1


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 56 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 2,890

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 436,183,969 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 611,439,830 (2018) mt-km


531 (2024)

comparison ranking: 15


104 (2024)


76,000 km gas, 30,400 km crude oil, 27,700 km refined petroleum products, 797,000 km water (2018)


total: 150,000 km (2021) 1.435-m gauge (100,000 km electrified); 104,0000 traditional, 40,000 high-speed

comparison ranking: total 2


total: 5.2 million km (2020)

paved: 4.578 million km (2020) (includes 168000 km of expressways)

unpaved: 622,000 km (2017)

comparison ranking: total 3


27,700 km (2020) (navigable waterways)

comparison ranking: 6

Merchant marine

total: 8,314 (2023)

by type: bulk carrier 1,831, container ship 419, general cargo 1,392, oil tanker 1,196, other 3,476

comparison ranking: total 2


total ports: 66 (2024)

large: 5

medium: 9

small: 25

very small: 27

ports with oil terminals: 48

key ports: Chaozhou, Dalian, Fang-Cheng, Guangzhou, Hankow, Lon Shui Terminal, Qingdao Gang, Qinhuangdao, Shanghai, Shekou, Tianjin Xin Gang, Weihai, Wenzhou, Xiamen

Transportation - note

seven of the world’s ten largest container ports are in China

Military and Security

Military and security forces

People's Liberation Army (PLA): Ground Forces, Navy (PLAN, includes naval aviation), Navy Marine Corps (PLANMC), Air Force (PLAAF, includes airborne forces), Rocket Force (strategic missile force), Aerospace Force, Cyberspace Force, Information Support Force, Joint Logistics Support Force, People's Armed Police (PAP, includes Coast Guard, Border Defense Force, Internal Security Forces); PLA Reserve Force (2024)

note 1: the PAP is a paramilitary police component of China’s armed forces that is under the dual authority of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the Central Military Commission and charged with internal security, law enforcement, counterterrorism, and maritime rights protection

note 2: in 2018, the Coast Guard was moved from the State Oceanic Administration to the PAP; in 2013, China merged four of its five major maritime law enforcement agencies – the China Marine Surveillance (CMS), Maritime Police, Fishery Law Enforcement (FLE), and Anti-Smuggling Police – into a unified coast guard

Military expenditures

1.5% of GDP (2023 est.)
1.5% of GDP (2022 est.)
1.5% of GDP (2021 est.)
1.7% of GDP (2020 est.)
1.7% of GDP (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 89

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 2 million active-duty troops (approximately 1 million Ground; 250,000 Navy/Marines; 350-400,000 Air Force; 120,000 Rocket Forces; 150-175,000 Strategic Support Forces); estimated 600-650,000 People’s Armed Police (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the PLA has a mix of some older and an increasing amount of modern, largely domestically produced systems heavily influenced by technology derived from other countries; Russia has been the top supplier of foreign military equipment in recent years; China has one of the world's largest defense-industrial sectors and is capable of producing advanced weapons systems across all military domains (2024)

note: the PLA is in the midst of a decades-long modernization effort; in 2017, President XI set three developmental goals for the force - becoming a mechanized force with increased information and strategic capabilities by 2020, a fully modernized force by 2035, and a world-class military by mid-century

Military service age and obligation

18-22 years of age for men for selective compulsory military service, with a 2-year service obligation; women 18-19 years of age who are high school graduates and meet requirements for specific military jobs are subject to conscription (2024)

note: the PLA’s conscription system functions as a levy; the PLA establishes the number of enlistees needed, which produces quotas for the provinces; each province provides a set number of soldiers or sailors; if the number of volunteers fails to meet quotas, the local governments may compel individuals to enter military service

Military deployments

400 Lebanon (UNIFIL); 1,030 South Sudan (UNMISS); 150 Sudan/South Sudan (UNISFA); up to 2,000 Djibouti (2024)

Military - note

established in 1927, the PLA is the military arm of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which oversees the PLA through its Central Military Commission; the Central Military Commission is China’s top military decision making body

the PLA is the World’s largest military; its primary responsibility is external security but it also has some domestic security duties; China’s stated defense policy includes safeguarding sovereignty, security, and development interests while emphasizing a greater global role for the PLA; the PLA conducts air, counterspace, cyber, electronic warfare, joint, land, maritime, missile, nuclear, and space operations; it trains regularly, including multinational and multiservice exercises, deploys overseas, and participates in international peacekeeping missions 

the majority of the Ground Forces are organized into 13 group armies with approximately 80 subordinate combined arms brigades--some of which are amphibious units--that serve as the primary ground maneuver forces; each group army also controls artillery, air defense, aviation/air assault, special operations, engineer, and logistics brigades; there are also a several independent mechanized and motorized infantry divisions 

the Navy is numerically the largest in the World with an overall battle force of some 380 ships and submarines; it also has a large naval aviation force, as well as a growing Marine Corps comprised of several amphibious brigades supplemented by aviation and special operations forces
the combined aviation forces of the Air Force and Navy are the largest in the region and third largest in the World with nearly 3,000 total aircraft, of which more than 2,200 are combat aircraft, including fighter, bomber, ground attack, and multipurpose fighter aircraft; the Air Force also has an airborne/rapid reaction corps with a mix of airborne, air assault, special operations, and aviation brigades; the PLA's ground-based air defense forces operate surface-to-air missiles, air defense artillery, jammers, and a variety of sensors; the PLA Rocket Force manages the PRC’s land-based conventional and nuclear missile units

the PRC's internal security forces consist primarily of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), the Ministry of State Security (MSS), the People’s Armed Police (PAP), and the militia; the PLA support the internal security forces as necessary:

--the MPS controls the civilian national police, which serves as the first-line force for public order; its primary mission is domestic law enforcement and maintaining order, including anti-rioting and anti-terrorism

--the MSS is the PRC’s main civilian intelligence and counterintelligence service

--the PAP is a paramilitary component (or adjunct) of the PLA; its primary missions include internal security, maintaining public order, maritime security, and assisting the PLA in times of war; it is under the command of the Central Military Commission; the China Coast Guard (CCG) administratively falls under the PAP; the CCG has a variety of missions, such as maritime sovereignty enforcement, surveillance, resource protection, anti-smuggling, and general law enforcement; it is the largest maritime law enforcement fleet in the world with approximately 150 large patrol craft

--the militia is an armed reserve of civilians which serves as an auxiliary and reserve force for the PLA upon mobilization, although it is distinct from the PLA’s reserve forces; militia units are organized around towns, villages, urban sub-districts, and enterprises, and vary widely in composition and mission; they have dual civilian-military command structures; a key component of the militia are the local maritime forces, commonly referred to as the People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia (PAFMM); the PAFMM consists of mariners (and their vessels) who receive training, equipment, and other forms of support from the Navy and CCG (although the PAFMM remains separate from both) to perform tasks such as maritime patrolling, surveillance and reconnaissance, emergency/disaster response, transportation, search and rescue, and auxiliary tasks in support of naval operations in wartime; the PAFMM’s tasks are often conducted in conjunction or coordination with the Navy and the CCG; it has been used to assert Beijing's maritime claims in the Sea of Japan and South China Sea (2023)


Space agency/agencies

China National Space Administration (CNSA; established in 1993); Administration for Science, Technology, and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND; subordinate to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology); People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Aerospace Force (in 2024, the PLA created the Aerospace Force from the former Strategic Support Force, which had included the Space Systems Department and the China Manned Space Engineering Office or CMSEO) (2024)

Space launch site(s)

Jiuquan Launch Center (Inner Mongolia), Xichang Launch Center (Sichuan), Wenchang Launch Center (Hainan; Wenchang includes a commercial launch pad, the Hainan Commercial Space Launch Site, which was scheduled to be completed in 2024), Taiyuan Launch Center (Shanxi), Eastern Spaceport (Shandong; a coastal spaceport designed to facilitate maritime launches); note - China also has a ship capable of conducting space launches (2024)

Space program overview

has a large, comprehensive, and ambitious space program and is considered one of the World’s leading space powers; capable of manufacturing and operating the full spectrum of space launch vehicles (SLVs) and spacecraft, including human crewed, satellite launchers, lunar/inter-planetary/asteroid probes, satellites (communications, remote sensing, navigational, scientific, etc.), space stations, and re-usable space transportation systems, such as orbital space planes/shuttles; trains astronauts (taikonauts); researches and develops a range of other space-related capabilities, including advanced telecommunications, optics, spacecraft components, satellite payloads, etc.; participates in international space programs, such as the Square Kilometer Array Project radio telescope project and co-leads (with Australian and Japan) the Global Earth Observation System of Systems; has signed space cooperation agreements with more than 30 countries, including Brazil, Canada, France, and Russia, as well as the European Space Agency (note – the US NASA is barred by a 2011 law from cooperating with the Chinese bilaterally in space unless approved by the US Congress; the US also objected to China’s participation in the International Space Station program); has a space industry dominated by two state-owned aerospace enterprises but since announcing in 2014 that it would allow private investment into the traditionally state-dominated space industry has developed a substantial commercial space sector, including space launch services (2024)

note: further details about the key activities, programs, and milestones of the country’s space program, as well as government spending estimates on the space sector, appear in Appendix S

Transnational Issues

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 303,107 (Vietnam), undetermined (North Korea) (mid-year 2021)

IDPs: undetermined (2021)

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 3 — China does not fully meet the minimum standards for elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so, therefore, China remained on Tier 3; the government took some steps to address trafficking, including adopting a Women’s Rights and Interests Protection Law, cooperating with foreign law enforcement to extradite Chinese nationals suspected of human trafficking abroad, and awarding restitution to a trafficking victim; however, the government continued its policy or pattern of widespread forced labor, including ongoing mass arbitrary detention of Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, ethnic Kyrgyz, and members of other ethnic and religious minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region; the government also implemented similar policies against other religious minorities and Tibetans in other provinces; Chinese nationals reportedly suffered forced labor in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East hosting Belt and Road Initiative projects; for the sixth consecutive year, the government did not report complete law enforcement data, nor did it identify any trafficking victims or refer them to protection services (2023)

trafficking profile: human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in China, as well as Chinese nationals abroad; state-sponsored forced labor persists under the government’s mass detention and political indoctrination campaign against Muslim and Turkic minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region; a small number of ethnic Han and members of other religious minority groups reportedly are detained in the same system; authorities in some localities subject families, including some older children, of men arbitrarily detained in Xinjiang to forced labor; traffickers target adults and children with developmental disabilities and children whose parents have left them with relatives – estimated at 6.4 million – and subject them to forced labor and begging; highly organized criminal syndicates and local gangs subject Chinese women and girls to sex trafficking within China and abroad; crime syndicates also subject Chinese and foreign victims into forced criminal activities in cyber scam operations in Burma, Cambodia, and Laos; traffickers use China as a transit point to subject foreigners to trafficking in other countries throughout Asia and in the international maritime industry; Chinese men, women, and children are victims of forced labor and sex trafficking in more than 80 countries; some Chinese nationals, host country nationals, and other migrants are subjected to conditions indicative of forced labor at Chinese Government Belt and Road Initiative or other China-affiliated construction projects, mining, and factories in African, Asian and Pacific, Caribbean, European, Latin American, and Middle Eastern countries; women and girls from South Asia, Southeast Asia, and several countries in Africa experience forced labor in domestic service, forced concubinage leading to childbearing, and sex trafficking via forced and fraudulent marriage to Chinese men; African and Asian men reportedly experience conditions indicative of forced labor aboard Chinese-flagged fishing vessels; many North Korean refugees and asylum-seekers living in China illegally are particularly vulnerable to trafficking, while some North Korean women are forced into commercial sex, forced marriage, or forced labor; North Korea exploits some of its citizens in forced labor in China as part of its system for financing weapons development programs (2023)

Illicit drugs

a major source of precursor chemicals for narcotics such as fentanyl and methamphetamine, new psychoactive substances (NPS), and synthetic drugs; is a destination and transit country for methamphetamine and heroin produced in South east and Southwest Asia;  China remains a major source of precursor chemicals sold in North America via the internet and shipped to overseas customers; domestic use of synthetic drugs is prevalent; chemical alterations of drugs circumvent laws and hamper efforts to stem the flow of these