- a country in East Asia, the third largest and most populous in the world; population 1,338,613,000 (est. 2009); language, Chinese (of which Mandarin is the official form); capital, Beijing. Official name People's Republic of China.
Chinese civilization stretches back until at least the 3rd millennium bc, the country being ruled by a series of dynasties until the Qing (or Manchu) dynasty was overthrown by Sun Yat-sen in 1911; China was proclaimed a republic the following year. After the Second World War the Kuomintang government of Chiang Kai-shek was overthrown by the communists under Mao Zedong, the People’s Republic of China being declared in 1949. Market-oriented reforms were introduced in the last quarter of the twentieth century