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China is the world's largest country by population, with a rapidly growing economy. With thousands of years of continuous traditions, in three decades it has dramatically changed itself from a poor backward nation to a world power, and is one of the world's top economies. It has emerged as a major regional power in East Asia, averaging over 9% economic growth per year since 1978 when it introduced a market-based economic system with many elements of capitalism, to replace its old socialism. Foreign businesses have flocked to invest in China, Americans and others rush to buy its cheap factory output, Chinese exports flooded the world. It has vast reserves of dollar holdings. China is modernizing its military, has joined numerous regional and international institutions, and plays an increasingly visible role in international politics.

The nation is under control from the Chinese Communist Party, which encompasses mainland China, albeit with many border disputes. The Beijing claims Taiwan as a province, but the Taipei maintains its sovereignty.

Hong Kong was transferred back to Chinese control by the United Kingdom in 1997, and Macau was handed over by Portugal in 1999. Both territories are now Special Administrative Regions and have autonomy over local affairs. Since the 1950s China has increasingly asserted brutal control over Tibet.

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