The southern side of the Meridian Gate in the Forbidden City, Beijing.
Country Flag
Country Map
Special Country Products
Locator Map

Introduction

Background

China's historical civilization dates to at least 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 following 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, subsequent 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. The growth, however, has created considerable social displacement, adversely affected the country’s environment, and reduced the country’s natural resources. Current leader XI Jinping has continued these policies, but also has maintained tight political controls. Over the past decade, China has also increased its global outreach, including military deployments, participation in international organizations, and initiating a global connectivity initiative in 2013 called the "Belt and Road Initiative" (BRI). While many nations have signed on to BRI agreements to attract PRC investment, others have balked at the opaque lending behavior; weak environment, social, and governance (ESG) standards; and other practices that undermine local governance and foster corruption associated with some BRI-linked projects. 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 March 2018, the PRC’s National People’s Congress passed an amendment abolishing presidential term limits, opening the door for XI to seek a third five-year term in 2023.

 

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

Geography

Location

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

Area

total: 9,596,960 sq km

land: 9,326,410 sq km

water: 270,550 sq km

country comparison to the world: 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

Coastline

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

Climate

extremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in north

Terrain

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

Elevation

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; Mekong river source (shared with Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam [m]) - 4,350 km; Brahmaputra river source (shared with India and Bangladesh [m]) - 3,969 km; Indus river source (shared with India and Pakistan [m]) - 3,610 km; Salween river source (shared with Thailand and Burma [m]) - 3,060 km; Irrawaddy river source (shared with Burma [m]) - 2,809 km; Pearl (shared with Vietnam [s]) - 2,200 km; 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

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

Map description

China map showing major cities as well as the many bordering East Asian countries and neighboring seas.

People and Society

Nationality

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

Languages

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, Uighur is official in Xinjiang Uygur, Kyrgyz is official in Xinjiang Uygur, 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:

Religions

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: 17.29% (male 129,296,339/female 111,782,427)

15-24 years: 11.48% (male 86,129,841/female 73,876,148)

25-54 years: 46.81% (male 333,789,731/female 318,711,557)

55-64 years: 12.08% (male 84,827,645/female 83,557,507)

65 years and over: 12.34% (2020 est.) (male 81,586,490/female 90,458,292)

2022 population pyramid
2022 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 42.2

youth dependency ratio: 25.2

elderly dependency ratio: 17

potential support ratio: 5.9 (2020 est.)

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

Median age

total: 38.4 years

male: 37.5 years

female: 39.4 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 62

Birth rate

9.93 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 189

Death rate

7.9 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 97

Net migration rate

-0.11 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 104

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

Urbanization

urban population: 63.6% of total population (2022)

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

note: data do not include Hong Kong and Macau

Major urban areas - population

28.517 million Shanghai, 21.333 million BEIJING (capital), 16.875 million Chongqing, 14.012 million Tianjin, 13.965 million Guangzhou, 12.831 million Shenzhen (2022)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.1 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.15 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.16 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female

total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2022 est.)

Maternal mortality ratio

29 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 111

Infant mortality rate

total: 6.76 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 7.19 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 6.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 160

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 77.72 years

male: 75 years

female: 80.7 years (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 85

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.)

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 (2020)

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

vectorborne diseases: Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, Japanese encephalitis

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

note: a new coronavirus is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness (COVID-19) in China; illness with this virus has ranged from mild to severe with fatalities reported; the US Department of State has issued a do not travel advisory for China due to COVID-19; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also recommended against travel to China and published additional guidance at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/novel-coronavirus-china; the US Department of Homeland Security has issued instructions requiring US passengers who have been in China to travel through select airports where the US Government has implemented enhanced screening procedures; as of 6 June 2022, China has reported a total of 3,392,315 cases of COVID-19 or 230.57 cumulative cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population with a total of 17,551 cumulative deaths or a rate 1.19 cumulative deaths per 100,000 population; as of 1 June 2022, 89.36% of the population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Tobacco use

total: 25.6% (2020 est.)

male: 49.4% (2020 est.)

female: 1.7% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 44

Literacy

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

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

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 49.16 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

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

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

Climate

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.)

Urbanization

urban population: 63.6% of total population (2022)

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

note: data do not include Hong Kong and Macau

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0.57% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 9

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2020)

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

vectorborne diseases: Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, Japanese encephalitis

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

note: a new coronavirus is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness (COVID-19) in China; illness with this virus has ranged from mild to severe with fatalities reported; the US Department of State has issued a do not travel advisory for China due to COVID-19; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also recommended against travel to China and published additional guidance at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/novel-coronavirus-china; the US Department of Homeland Security has issued instructions requiring US passengers who have been in China to travel through select airports where the US Government has implemented enhanced screening procedures; as of 6 June 2022, China has reported a total of 3,392,315 cases of COVID-19 or 230.57 cumulative cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population with a total of 17,551 cumulative deaths or a rate 1.19 cumulative deaths per 100,000 population; as of 1 June 2022, 89.36% of the population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine

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; Mekong river source (shared with Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam [m]) - 4,350 km; Brahmaputra river source (shared with India and Bangladesh [m]) - 3,969 km; Indus river source (shared with India and Pakistan [m]) - 3,610 km; Salween river source (shared with Thailand and Burma [m]) - 3,060 km; Irrawaddy river source (shared with Burma [m]) - 2,809 km; Pearl (shared with Vietnam [s]) - 2,200 km; 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: 79.4 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 133.5 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 385.2 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

2,840,220,000,000 cubic meters (2017 est.)

Government

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

Capital

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

Independence

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)

Constitution

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

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

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President XI Jinping (since 14 March 2013); Vice President WANG Qishan (since 17 March 2018)

head of government: Premier LI Keqiang (since 16 March 2013); Executive Vice Premiers HAN Zheng (since 19 March 2018), SUN Chunlan (since 19 March 2018), LIU He (since 19 March 2018), HU Chunhua (since 19 March 2018)

cabinet: State Council appointed by National People's Congress

elections/appointments: president and vice president indirectly elected by National People's Congress (no term limits); election last held on 17 March 2018 (next to be held in March 2023); premier nominated by president, confirmed by National People's Congress

election results: 2018: XI Jinping reelected president; National People's Congress vote - 2,970 (unanimously); WANG Qishan elected vice president with 2,969 votes

2013: XI Jinping elected president; National People's Congress vote - 2,952; LI Yuanchao elected vice president with 2,839 votes

note - in March 2018, the PRC’s National People’s Congress passed an amendment abolishing presidential term limits, opening the door for XI to seek a third five-year term in 2023

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National People's Congress 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: last held in December 2017-February 2018 (next to be held in late 2022 to early 2023)

election results: percent of vote - NA; seats by party - NA; composition - men 2,238, women 742, percent of women 24.9%

Judicial branch

highest courts: 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, MINUSMA, MONUSCO, NAM (observer), NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, Pacific Alliance (observer), PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), SCO, SICA (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNISFA, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UN Security Council (permanent), UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador QIN Gang (since 15 Sep 2021)

chancery: 3505 International Place NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 495-2266

FAX: [1] (202) 495-2138

email address and website:
chinaemppress_us@mfa.gov.cn

http://www.china-embassy.org/eng/

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:
BeijingACS@state.gov

https://china.usembassy-china.org.cn/

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: 56 (14 natural, 38 cultural, 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

Economy

Economic overview

Since the late 1970s, China has moved from a closed, centrally planned system to a more market-oriented one that plays a major global role. China has implemented reforms in a gradualist fashion, resulting in efficiency gains that have contributed to a more than tenfold increase in GDP since 1978. Reforms began with the phaseout of collectivized agriculture, and expanded to include the gradual liberalization of prices, fiscal decentralization, increased autonomy for state enterprises, growth of the private sector, development of stock markets and a modern banking system, and opening to foreign trade and investment. China continues to pursue an industrial policy, state support of key sectors, and a restrictive investment regime. From 2013 to 2017, China had one of the fastest growing economies in the world, averaging slightly more than 7% real growth per year. Measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis that adjusts for price differences, China in 2017 stood as the largest economy in the world, surpassing the US in 2014 for the first time in modern history. China became the world's largest exporter in 2010, and the largest trading nation in 2013. Still, China's per capita income is below the world average.

 

In July 2005 moved to an exchange rate system that references a basket of currencies. From mid-2005 to late 2008, the renminbi (RMB) appreciated more than 20% against the US dollar, but the exchange rate remained virtually pegged to the dollar from the onset of the global financial crisis until June 2010, when Beijing announced it would resume a gradual appreciation. From 2013 until early 2015, the renminbi held steady against the dollar, but it depreciated 13% from mid-2015 until end-2016 amid strong capital outflows; in 2017 the RMB resumed appreciating against the dollar – roughly 7% from end-of-2016 to end-of-2017. In 2015, the People’s Bank of China announced it would continue to carefully push for full convertibility of the renminbi, after the currency was accepted as part of the IMF’s special drawing rights basket. However, since late 2015 Beijing has strengthened capital controls and oversight of overseas investments to better manage the exchange rate and maintain financial stability.

 

Beijing faces numerous economic challenges including: (a) reducing its high domestic savings rate and correspondingly low domestic household consumption; (b) managing its high corporate debt burden to maintain financial stability; (c) controlling off-balance sheet local government debt used to finance infrastructure stimulus; (d) facilitating higher-wage job opportunities for the aspiring middle class, including rural migrants and college graduates, while maintaining competitiveness; (e) dampening speculative investment in the real estate sector without sharply slowing the economy; (f) reducing industrial overcapacity; and (g) raising productivity growth rates through the more efficient allocation of capital and state-support for innovation. Economic development has progressed further in coastal provinces than in the interior, and by 2016 more than 169.3 million migrant workers and their dependents had relocated to urban areas to find work. One consequence of China’s population control policy known as the "one-child policy" - which was relaxed in 2016 to permit all families to have two children - is that China is now one of the most rapidly aging countries in the world. Deterioration in the environment - notably air pollution, soil erosion, and the steady fall of the water table, especially in the North - is another long-term problem. China continues to lose arable land because of erosion and urbanization. Beijing is seeking to add energy production capacity from sources other than coal and oil, focusing on natural gas, nuclear, and clean energy development. In 2016, China ratified the Paris Agreement, a multilateral agreement to combat climate change, and committed to peak its carbon dioxide emissions between 2025 and 2030.

 

The government's 13th Five-Year Plan, unveiled in March 2016, emphasizes the need to increase innovation and boost domestic consumption to make the economy less dependent on government investment, exports, and heavy industry. However, China has made more progress on subsidizing innovation than rebalancing the economy. Beijing has committed to giving the market a more decisive role in allocating resources, but its policies continue to favor state-owned enterprises and emphasize stability. Beijing in 2010 pledged to double China’s GDP by 2020, and the 13th Five Year Plan includes annual economic growth targets of at least 6.5% through 2020 to achieve that goal. In recent years, China has renewed its support for state-owned enterprises in sectors considered important to "economic security," explicitly looking to foster globally competitive industries. Beijing also has undermined some market-oriented reforms by reaffirming the "dominant" role of the state in the economy, a stance that threatens to discourage private initiative and make the economy less efficient over time. The slight acceleration in economic growth in 2017—the first such uptick since 2010—gives Beijing more latitude to pursue its economic reforms, focusing on financial sector deleveraging and its Supply-Side Structural Reform agenda, first announced in late 2015.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$23,009,780,000,000 (2020 est.)

$22,492,450,000,000 (2019 est.)

$21,229,360,000,000 (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 1

Real GDP growth rate

6.14% (2019 est.)

6.75% (2018 est.)

6.92% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 26

Real GDP per capita

$16,400 (2020 est.)

$16,100 (2019 est.)

$15,200 (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 102

GDP (official exchange rate)

$14,327,359,000,000 (2019 est.)

note: because China's exchange rate is determined by fiat rather than by market forces, the official exchange rate measure of GDP is not an accurate measure of China's output; GDP at the official exchange rate substantially understates the actual level of China's output vis-a-vis the rest of the world; in China's situation, GDP at purchasing power parity provides the best measure for comparing output across countries

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

2.8% (2019 est.)

2% (2018 est.)

1.5% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 138

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: A+ (2007)

Moody's rating: A1 (2017)

Standard & Poors rating: A+ (2017)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 7.9% (2017 est.)

industry: 40.5% (2017 est.)

services: 51.6% (2017 est.)

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, sugar cane, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelons, sweet potatoes

Industries

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

Labor force

774.71 million (2019 est.)

note: by the end of 2012, China's working age population (15-64 years) was 1.004 billion

country comparison to the world: 1

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 27.7%

industry: 28.8%

services: 43.5% (2016 est.)

Unemployment rate

3.64% (2019 est.)

3.84% (2018 est.)

note: data are for registered urban unemployment, which excludes private enterprises and migrants

country comparison to the world: 52

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.1%

highest 10%: 31.4% (2012)

note: data are for urban households only

Budget

revenues: 2.553 trillion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 3.008 trillion (2017 est.)

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

country comparison to the world: 111

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

$141.335 billion (2019 est.)

$25.499 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 3

Exports

$2,732,370,000,000 (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$2.631 trillion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$2,651,010,000,000 (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 1

Exports - partners

United States 17%, Hong Kong 10%, Japan 6% (2019)

Exports - commodities

broadcasting equipment, computers, integrated circuits, office machinery and parts, telephones (2019)

Imports

$2,362,690,000,000 (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$2,499,150,000,000 (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$2,563,100,000,000 (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 2

Imports - partners

South Korea 9%, Japan 8%, Australia 7%, Germany 7%, US 7%, Taiwan 6% (2019)

Imports - commodities

crude petroleum, integrated circuits, iron, natural gas, cars, gold (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$3.236 trillion (31 December 2017 est.)

$3.098 trillion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 1

Debt - external

$2,027,950,000,000 (2019 est.)

$1,935,206,000,000 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 13

Exchange rates

Renminbi yuan (RMB) per US dollar -

6.5374 (2020 est.)

7.0403 (2019 est.)

6.8798 (2018 est.)

6.1434 (2014 est.)

6.1958 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 100% (2020)

Electricity

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.)

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.)

Coal

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.)

Petroleum

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 barrels/day (2018 est.)

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

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

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.)

country comparison to the world: 1

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 181.908 million (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 13 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 1

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 1.72 billion (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 119 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 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 118 per 100 mobile-cellular; a domestic satellite system with several earth stations has been in place since 2018 (2020)

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)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced a downturn, particularly in mobile device production; progress towards 5G implementation has resumed, as well as upgrades to infrastructure; consumer spending on telecom services has increased due to the surge in demand for capacity and bandwidth; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home is still evident, and the spike in this area has seen growth opportunities for development of new tools and increased services

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: 987 million (2020 est.)

percent of population: 70% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 1

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

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

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 34 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 1

Transportation

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

Airports - with paved runways

total: 510

over 3,047 m: 87

2,438 to 3,047 m: 187

1,524 to 2,437 m: 109

914 to 1,523 m: 43

under 914 m: 84 (2021)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 23

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 0

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 7

under 914 m: 13 (2021)

Heliports

39 (2021)

Pipelines

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

Railways

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

country comparison to the world: 2

Roadways

total: 5.2 million km (2020)

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

unpaved: 622,000 km (2017)

country comparison to the world: 3

Waterways

27,700 km (2020) (navigable waterways)

country comparison to the world: 6

Merchant marine

total: 6,662

by type: bulk carrier 1,558, container ship 341, general cargo 957, oil tanker 1,061, other 2,745 (2021)

country comparison to the world: 3

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Dalian, Ningbo, Qingdao, Qinhuangdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin

container port(s) (TEUs): Dalian (8,760,000), Guangzhou (23,236,200), Ningbo (27,530,000), Qingdao (21,010,000), Shanghai (43,303,000), Shenzhen (25,770,000), Tianjin (17,264,000) (2019)

LNG terminal(s) (import): Fujian, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shandong, Shanghai, Tangshan, Zhejiang

river port(s): Guangzhou (Pearl)

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 marines and naval aviation), Air Force (PLAAF, includes airborne forces), Rocket Force (strategic missile force), and Strategic Support Force (information, electronic, and cyber warfare, as well as space forces); People's Armed Police (PAP, includes Coast Guard, Border Defense Force, Internal Security Forces); PLA Reserve Force (2022)

note 1: the Strategic Support Force includes the Space Systems Department, which is responsible for nearly all PLA space operations, including space launch and support, space surveillance, space information support, space telemetry, tracking, and control, and space warfare

note 2: the PAP is a paramilitary police component of China’s armed forces that is under the command of the Central Military Commission (CMC) and charged with internal security, law enforcement, counterterrorism, and maritime rights protection

note 3: 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 (2021 est.)

1.7% of GDP (2020 est.)

1.7% of GDP (2019) (approximately $290 billion)

1.7% of GDP (2018) (approximately $265 billion)

1.8% of GDP (2017) (approximately $260 billion)

country comparison to the world: 88

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 (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the PLA is outfitted primarily with a wide mix of older and modern domestically-produced systems heavily influenced by technology derived from other countries; Russia is the top supplier of foreign military equipment since 2010; China's defense-industrial sector is large and capable of producing advanced weapons systems across all military domains (2022)

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 selective compulsory military service, with a 2-year service obligation; no minimum age for voluntary service (all officers are volunteers); 18-19 years of age for women high school graduates who meet requirements for specific military jobs (2022)

Military deployments

425 Mali (MINUSMA); 225 Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO); 420 Lebanon (UNIFIL); 1,050 South Sudan (UNMISS); up to 2,000 Djibouti (May 2022)

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 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 (CMC); 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

the militia is an armed reserve of civilians which serves as an auxiliary and reserve force for the PLA upon mobilization; 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 East and South China seas

(2022)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

China and India continue their security and foreign policy dialogue started in 2005 related to a number of boundary disputes across the 2,000 mile shared border; India does not recognize Pakistan's 1964 ceding to China of the Aksai Chin, a territory designated as part of the princely state of Kashmir by the British Survey of India in 1865; China claims most of the Indian state Arunachal Pradesh to the base of the Himalayas, but the US recognizes the state of Arunachal Pradesh as Indian territory; Bhutan and China continue negotiations to establish a common boundary alignment to resolve territorial disputes arising from substantial cartographic discrepancies, the most contentious of which lie in Bhutan's west along China's Chumbi salient; Chinese maps show an international boundary symbol (the so-called “nine-dash line”) off the coasts of the littoral states of the South China Sea, where China has interrupted Vietnamese hydrocarbon exploration; China asserts sovereignty over Scarborough Reef along with the Philippines and Taiwan, and over the Spratly Islands together with Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Brunei; the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea eased tensions in the Spratlys, and in 2017 China and ASEAN began confidential negotiations for an updated Code of Conduct for the South China Sea designed not to settle territorial disputes but establish rules and norms in the region; this still is not the legally binding code of conduct sought by some parties; Vietnam and China continue to expand construction of facilities in the Spratlys and in early 2018 China began deploying advanced military systems to disputed Spratly outposts; China occupies some of the Paracel Islands also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan; the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands are also claimed by China and Taiwan; certain islands in the Yalu and Tumen Rivers are in dispute with North Korea; North Korea and China seek to stem illegal migration to China by North Koreans, fleeing privation and oppression; China and Russia have demarcated the once disputed islands at the Amur and Ussuri confluence and in the Argun River in accordance with their 2004 Agreement; China and Tajikistan have begun demarcating the revised boundary agreed to in the delimitation of 2002; the decade-long demarcation of the China-Vietnam land boundary was completed in 2009; citing environmental, cultural, and social concerns, China has reconsidered construction of 13 dams on the Salween River, but energy-starved Burma, with backing from Thailand, continues to consider building five hydro-electric dams downstream despite regional and international protests

Refugees and internally displaced persons

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

IDPs: undetermined (2021)

Trafficking in persons

current situation: human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in China and Chinese people abroad; Chinese men, women, and children are victims of forced labor and sex trafficking in at least 60 countries; traffickers also use China as a transit point to subject foreign individuals to trafficking in other countries throughout Asia and in international maritime industries; state-sponsored forced labor is intensifying under the government’s mass detention and political indoctrination campaign against Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region; well-organized criminal syndicates and local gangs subject Chinese women and girls to sex trafficking within China; women and girls from South Asia, Southeast Asia, and several countries in Africa experience forced labor in domestic service, forced concubinism leading to forced 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

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; the government prosecuted and convicted some traffickers and continued to cooperate with international authorities to address forced and fraudulent marriages in China; however, there was a government policy or pattern of widespread forced labor, including the continued mass arbitrary detention of more than one million Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, ethnic Kyrgyz, and other Muslims in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region; the government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of law enforcement officials allegedly complicit despite continued reports of officials benefiting from, permitting, or directly facilitating sex trafficking; authorities did not report identifying any trafficking victims or referring them to protective services; it is likely that law enforcement arrested and detained unidentified trafficking victims for crimes traffickers compelled them to commit; for the third consecutive year, the government did not report the extent to which it funded anti-trafficking activities in furtherance of the 2013-2020 National Action Plan on Combating Human Trafficking (2020)

Illicit drugs

a major source of precursor chemicals, new psychoactive substances (NPS), and synthetic drugs, including fentanyl precursors and methamphetamine;  PRC criminal organizations, transnational crime, and organizations from Mexico and Southeast Asia traffic licit precursor chemical components and illicit finished drugs within the PRC as well as to international markets; significant illicit drug consumption of methamphetamine and ketamine; a major destination and transit country for heroin produced in neighboring countries; the PRC remains a major source of NPS sold in North America and Europe  

 

(2021)