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People’s Republic of China

Profile

Area: 9.6 million sq km.

Location: The People’s Republic of China is located in East Asia and borders on 14 countries, including the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam. The country’s land border is 22,800 km long. Its continental section is washed by the Yellow, East China and South China seas, and its shoreline is over 18,000 km long.

Capital: Beijing

Largest cities: Chongqing (30 million), Shanghai (24 million), Beijing (21 million), Tianjin (15 million) and Guangzhou (13 million).

Population: 1.395 billion people (excluding the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao, as well as Taiwan). The 2018 urbanisation levels totalled 59.58%.

Main religious denominations: Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, the Roman Catholic Church and Protestantism. All other denominations, including Orthodox Christianity, also have legal status but are listed as local denominations because of their small membership.

Official language: Chinese

National Day: The establishment of the PRC is celebrated on 1-3 October. Other public holidays include New Year’s Day (1 January), the Spring Festival (Lunar New Year) lasting three to seven days, Qingming Festival or Tomb Sweeping Day (5 April), the Day of the Working People’s International Solidarity (1 May), the Dragon Boat Festival (early June) and Mid-Autumn Day (September).

Currency: Yuan (6.99 yuan for $1 as of 30 December 2019)

Government

The People’s Republic of China is a unitary state. The Han ethnic group accounts for 91.5 percent of the population. In all, 55 ethnic minorities enjoy limited cultural autonomy. Most of them live in the country’s northern, western and southern border regions, including national autonomous areas that cover over 60% of China’s territory.

Administrative system. China’s administrative system has three levels: provinces, prefectures and counties. China has four cities with a central affiliation that have the same status as provinces (Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Chongqing), 23 provinces, including Taiwan, five autonomous (national) areas and two special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macao). Today, the central Chinese government does not control the island province of Taiwan, which most countries recognise as an inalienable part of China. After losing the Civil War to the Communists in 1949, the Kuomintang regime evacuated to Taiwan and preserved the title, constitution and state symbols of the Republic of China, which was the country’s official name in 1912-1949.

The legislative body. The National People’s Congress, whose members are elected for a period of five years. Its sessions are usually convened in March and last for 11-15 days. The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress has legislative rights and exercises its powers in between the sessions. The deputies are elected directly only at the level of prefectures and counties, and members of people’s congresses at other levels are elected by lower people’s congresses.

Representative authorities form all other state bodies at their administrative levels, including governments and courts, which are responsible and subordinate to them. The National People’s Congress elects the President and Vice President of the People’s Republic of China, chairs of the Central Military Council of the People’s Republic of China (the central state body for the national Armed Forces), the National Supervisory Commission, the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate. Its members also approve the candidacies of the Premier of the State Council, the highest executive agency, vice premiers, State Council members and ministers, as well as the Auditor-General.

President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping

Premier of the State Council Li Keqiang

Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Li Zhanshu.