China is a name currently claimed by two nations. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is the world’s second most populous nation and comprises a territory of 9.6 million square kilometers in mainland East Asia. The Republic of China (ROC) rules the island of Taiwan as well as other smaller islands in the South China Sea. Both nations claim to be the sole legitimate government for all China. In practice, the PRC, due to its larger population and occupation of the traditional Chinese homeland, is often referred to simply as “China” in popular discourse, while the ROC is called “Taiwan.”

China is one of the world’s oldest continuously existing civilizations. It began in the Yellow River Valley basin in approximately 2000 bce. Rule was organized ...

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