Area 3,705,405 sq. mi. population 1,388,613.000 capital beijing (pop. 1,741,000) literacy 91 % life expectancy 74 currency yuan (also referred to as the renminbi) gop per capita $6,000 economy ind: iron & steel, coal, machine building, armaments, textiles & apparel, petroleum, cement, agr: rice, wheat, potatoes, sorghum, pork, fish, exp: machinery & equipment, textiles & clothing, footwear, toys & sporting goods, mineral fuels.
China’s geography is highly diverse, with hills, plains, and river deltas in the east and deserts, high plateaus, and mountains in the west. China has reformed its economy and allowed competition, and today has the world’s highest rate of growth. Politically it still maintains strict control over its people. Chinese rule over tibet remains controversial, and political issues with taiwan remain unresolved. China regained hong kong from britain in 1997 and macau from portugal in 1999. In 2003 china became only the third nation (after russia and the u.s.) to launch a manned spaceflight. The sichuan province suffered extensive damages and casualties from a severe earthquake in may 2008, only months before beijing hosted the summer olympics.