They say that the 21st century is called the “Asian Century.” Still, other historians and analysts are more specific in calling the 21st century as the “Chinese Century.”
This geopolitical event is very interesting because for the first time since the 1500’s, geoplotical power has shifted from the west towards the east.
Today, you are about to find out ten things that you need to know about the People’s Republic of China.
10. It is the world’s most populous nation
The mainland Chinese population is currently at 1.39 billion people as of mid 2015. This means that roughly 1in every 5 people in the world is Chinese. This number only applies to the population of mainland China, and does not include its other territories like Hong Kong, Macau, or the neighboring island of Taiwan – which is historically part of China.
9. It is the 4th largest country in the world in terms of land area
China occupies a vast portion of continental Asia, with almost all geographical landforms thrown in the mix. It is the world’s largest nation next to Russia – its northern neighbor, Canada and the United States – both in North America.
8. It is the world’ s oldest civilization still existing
China boasts of having the oldest CONTINUING civilization in the world. While India has also laid claim to this title, it can be said that very few countries in the world can state that Chinese civilization NEVER reached their shores. Indeed, all of the world’s nations had been influenced by China at one point.
7. It has the world’s largest standing army
China’s army is around 3.5 million strong. This includes some 2.3 million active military troops, 510,000 reserved men, 660,000 paramilitary men, and several thousand more currently under training. China is also one of the world’s few nations with nuclear weapon technology and capability.
6. The Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure that can be seen from outer space
The Great Wall of China was constructed 2,000 years ago to prevent the entry of violent nomadic peoples who could potentially wreak havoc once they get to enter China. It was continuously built for many more centuries and upon completion, is the only man-made structure that astronauts can actually see and view from outer space.
5. Deng Xiaoping is considered as the “father of modern China”
China as a nation has gone through repeated cycles of growth, domination, expansion, and decline. After the 1949 revolution wherein the communism prevailed, much of China remained backward and impoverished. This changed when Deng Xiaoping opened the nation to a market economy with his “One party, two systems”ideology. This enabled China to rise from the ashes of poverty.
4. China is deemed to be the world’s next superpower
If you have read the paper or watched the news lately, you can very well tell that China has been flexing its muscle as it prepares to become the world’s “next great empire.” Growing at such breakneck speed for the last 35 years, China has also laid claim to the whole of the South China Sea, and has caused the world’s powerful nations to really take notice.
3. It is the world’s second largest economy
A few years back, China had already overtaken Japan to become the largest economy in Asia and the second largest in the world next to the United States. China has also earned the monicker “the factory of the world” as it virtually manufactures everything under the sun.
2. China has the longest high speed rail network in the world
China’s transportation sector has greatly improved in the last 20 years. Home to more than a billion people and having a large land area, China had devised a long and complex network of roads and railways- including the world’s longest running high-speed rail network which stretches thousands of kilometers from the capital city of Beijing to its lesser known areas.
1. China has 8 major types of cuisine
To say that one wants to have some Chinese food for dinner is to put it in a very simplistic manner. China actually has 8 distinct types of cuisines – depending on which part of China you are. The 8 types are Sichuan (spicy), Cantonese (dimsums and dumplings), Jiangsu (lots of fish), Shandong, Fujian, Hunan, Anhui, and Zhejiang.