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China ( Chinese  中國  /  中国 , Pinyin Zhōngguó , Jyutping Zung 1 gwok 3 ; standard pronunciation in Germany: [ˈçiːna] ; Austria and southern Germany: [ˈkiːna] ; German-speaking part of Switzerland: [ˈxiːna] ; northern and western German usage standard : [ˈʃiːna] ) is a cultural area in East Asia that emerged over 3500 years ago and politically and geographically as the Empire of China from 221 BC. Existed until 1912. The Republic of China was founded in 1912, and was largely overrun by the communists in the Chinese Civil War after World War II . In 1949 they founded the People's Republic of China on the Chinese mainland . The government of the Republic of China withdrew to the island of Taiwan and continued the Republic of China there. This Republic of China in Taiwan is often referred to simply as “Taiwan” in today's parlance, while “China” often only refers to the People's Republic or only mainland China .


The word China is derived from the Sanskrit word cīna चीन , which in turn goes back to the Chinese name of the state of Qin (778–207 BC) or the state of Jin (11th century – 349 BC). In the Middle Ages (around Marco Polo's times ), China was not known in the west as a unified cultural area. A distinction was made between northern China, which was called Cathaia, Kitaia, Khitai, Catai or Kitai . This expression is derived from the name given by the Kitan , who established the Liao dynasty in northern China in the 10th to 12th centuries . At that time, southern China was rarely known under the term Mánzǐ Mangi ( 蠻子  /  蛮子 ), which goes back to the derogatory Chinese term for the southern Chinese peoples - roughly comparable to the expression “ barbarian ” in the Graeco-Romanic culture.

The self-designation Zhōng guó ( 中國  /  中国  - "literally. Middle Kingdom") has been around since the 1st millennium BC. In use. It describes the original royal rule in the north Chinese central plain ( 中原 , Zhōng yuán ), which geographically represents the core area of ​​China and the cradle of Chinese culture .

Historical development of the cultural area

During the Qin dynasty of the first emperor Qin Shihuangdi , many things were unified and the foundations of a common cultural identity were created, including the Chinese script consisting of thousands of Chinese characters , which is considered to be the oldest writing system in use in the world.

According to the myth, the history of China already covers 5000 years, in which the Chinese culture and science, especially the Chinese languages , the Chinese names , the Chinese philosophy , the Chinese cuisine , the Chinese folk belief and the traditional Chinese medicine have developed.

To style typical Chinese art include mainly the Chinese music , the Chinese literature , the Chinese painting , the Chinese architecture , Chinese garden art and the Chinese martial arts .

As a scientific discipline, Sinology (also: Chinese Studies) deals with China.

Geographical description

At 9.5 million square kilometers, mainland China is about the same size as the United States or all of Europe as far as the Urals . The north-south extension of China is 4500 kilometers; the east-west extension 4200 kilometers. The longest river in China is the Yangtze , at around 6,400 kilometers . With a total length of 22,133 kilometers, the People's Republic of China has the longest land border of any country in the world. The mountains in China cover two thirds of the country, the highest mountain is Mount Everest and at the same time the highest peak on earth.

The Han Chinese are by far the largest ethnic group among the peoples of China . The largest ethnic minorities in China are the Zhuang , Hui , Manju , Uighurs and Miao .

The climate in China is more or less influenced by the monsoons (summer rains ), but the northwest half of the region is already quite strictly continental , and extends from the high-level summit region of the Himalayas to desert climates to the tropical and subtropical coasts.

See also

Portal: People's Republic of China  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the topic of People's Republic of China
Portal: China  - Overview of Wikipedia content on China


  • Helwig Schmidt-Glintzer: China. Multi-ethnic and unitary state . CH Beck, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-406-42348-5 .
  • Brunhild Staiger, Stefan Friedrich, Hans W. Schütte (Hrsg.): The great China Lexicon. History, geography, society, politics, economy, education, science, culture . Primus, Darmstadt 2008, ISBN 978-3-89678-633-3 (first edition: 2003).
  • World heritage sites in China , illustrated book, 1st ed., Beijing: China Intercontinental Press, 2003, ISBN 7-5085-0226-4 .
  • Martin Jacques: When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order . Penguin Press HC, 2009, ISBN 978-1-59420-185-1 .
  • What do we know about China? In: Wolfgang Mielke (Ed.): Perinique. Culture magazine Berlin . No. 5 . Perinique, August 2008, ISSN  1869-9952 , DNB  1000901297 , ZDB -ID 2544795-6 (40-page special issue ).

Web links

Commons : China  album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: China  - Sources and Full Texts
Wikiquote: China  - Quotes

Coordinates: 35 °  N , 105 °  E

Individual evidence

  1. Ulrich Ammon et al. (2004): German dictionary of variants. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / New York, ISBN 3-11-016574-0 , p. LVIII.
  2. ^ A b Dieter Kuhn : East Asia until 1800 . S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2014, ISBN 978-3-10-010843-2 , pp. 20th f .