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Overview of Shanghai & China


China summary

Country name:

Government type: Communist state

Capital: Beijing

Administrative divisions:


National holiday: Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China, 1 October (1949)

Exchange rate on 1st January 2006;

Time Zone; GMT +8

Economic Indicators [ Annual data 2005  Historical averages 2001-05 ]

Annual data 2003


China people



The largest ethnic group is the Han, who constitute about 91.9% of the total population.

The remaining 8.1% are Zhuang (16 million), Manchu (10 million), Hui (9 million), Miao (8 million), Uygur (7 million), Yi (7 million), Mongolian (5 million), Tibetan (5 million), Buyi (3 million), Korean (2 million), and other ethnic minorities.


There are seven major Chinese languages, with many dialects, and several non-Chinese languages.

Mandarin Chinese (or Putonghua), the predominant language, is spoken by over 50% of the population. It is taught in most of the schools and is the medium of government. About two-thirds of the Han ethnic group are native speakers of Mandarin; the rest, concentrated in southwest and southeast China, speak one of six other major languages.

Non-Chinese languages spoken widely by ethnic minorities include Mongolian, Tibetan, Uygur and other Turkic languages (in Xinjiang), and Korean (in the northeast).

The Pinyin System of Romanization

On January 1, 1979, the Chinese Government officially adopted the pinyin system for spelling Chinese names and places in Roman letters. A system of Romanization invented by the Chinese, pinyin has long been widely used in China on street and commercial signs as well as in elementary Chinese textbooks as an aid in learning Chinese characters. Variations of pinyin also are used as the written forms of several minority languages.

Pinyin has now replaced other conventional spellings in China's English-language publications. The U.S. Government also has adopted the pinyin system for all names and places in China. For example, the capital of China is now generally spelled "Beijing" rather than "Peking."


Religion plays a significant part in the life of many Chinese. Buddhism is most widely practiced, with an estimated 100 million adherents. Traditional Daoism also is practiced. Official figures indicate there are 20 million Muslims, 5 million Catholics, and 15 million Protestants; unofficial estimates are much higher. While the Chinese constitution affirms religious toleration, the Chinese Government places restrictions on religious practice outside officially recognized organizations. Only two Christian organizations - a Catholic church without official ties to Rome and the "Three-Self-Patriotic" Protestant church - are sanctioned by the Chinese Government. Unauthorized churches have sprung up in many parts of the country and unofficial religious practice is flourishing. In some regions authorities have tried to control activities of these unregistered churches. In other regions, registered and unregistered groups are treated similarly by authorities and congregations worship in both types of churches. Most Chinese Catholic bishops are recognized by the Pope, and official priests have Vatican approval to administer all the sacraments.

Population Policy

With a population officially just over 1.3 billion [but unofficially somewhat higher] and an estimated growth rate of about 0.6%, China is very concerned about its population growth and has attempted with mixed results to implement a strict birth limitation policy. China’s 2002 Population and Family Planning Law and policy permit one child per family, with allowance for a second child under certain circumstances, especially in rural areas, and with guidelines looser for ethnic minorities with small populations. Enforcement varies, and relies partly on "social compensation fees" to discourage extra births.

Officially government policy opposes forced abortion or sterilization, but forced abortion still occurs.

The government's goal is to stabilize the population in the first half of the 21st century, and current projections are that the population will peak at around 1.6 billion by 2050.