Musings of a Political Scientist

People’s Republic of China

Peoples Republic of China by Bryan Brandenburg

People’s Republic of China

The People’s Republic of China (PRC), commonly known as China (Simplified Chinese: 中华人民共和国; Traditional Chinese: 中華人民共和國; pinyin: Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó is a country in East Asia and Central Asia. With over 1.35 billion people (2013), it is the most populous country in the world. At over 9.5 million km² (3.7 million square miles), it is the world’s third or fourth largest country in terms of land-and-sea area.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) has led the PRC under a one-party system since the state’s establishment in 1949. Nearly half of the PRC’s economy has been privatized in the past three decades under “Socialism with Chinese characteristics.” Today, over 90% of Chinese workers are employed by nonstate enterprises.

The PRC is involved in a long-running dispute over the political status of Taiwan. The CPC’s rival, the Kuomintang (KMT) , retreated to Taiwan and surrounding islands after its civil war defeat in 1949, and continues to claim legitimacy over China and Mongolia as the Republic of China (ROC). The PRC regards the ROC claims as illegitimate. The term “Mainland China” is sometimes used to denote the areas under PRC rule, but usually excludes its two Special Administrative Regions: Hong Kong and Macau.

Due to its vast population, its rapidly growing economy, its large research and development investments and military spending, and other capabilities, the PRC is often considered by commentators as an emerging superpower. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world’s largest standing army. As of 2013, it is currently the world’s second largest economy and second largest at purchasing power parity, the largest exporter and importer, and represents China as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and APEC. Combined with Chinese living world-wide, it is the largest economy in the world.

China’s fatal weakness in the 21st Century is an aging population that will be supported by the limited “one child” workforce. Additionally, the country has limited natural oil resources and a currency that is not backed by gold.