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People's Republic of China
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Total area: 9,596,960 sq. km. (about 3.7 million sq. mi.).
Capital--Beijing. Other major cities--Shanghai, Tianjin, Shenyang,
Wuhan, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Harbin, Chengdu.
Terrain: Plains, deltas, and
hills in east; mountains, high plateaus, deserts in west.
in south to subarctic in north.
Noun and adjective--Chinese (singular and plural).
est.): 1.3 billion.
Population growth rate (2003 est.): 0.6%.
est.): Infant mortality rate--25.26/1,000. Life expectancy--72.22
years (overall); 70.33 years for males, 74.28 years for females.
Han Chinese--91.9%; Zhuang, Manchu, Hui, Miao, Uygur, Yi, Mongolian,
Tibetan, Buyi, Korean, and other nationalities--8.1%.
atheist; Taoism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity.
Language: Mandarin (Putonghua),
plus many local dialects.
Education: Years compulsory--9. Literacy--86%.
force (2001 est., 711 million): Agriculture and forestry--50%; industry
and commerce--23%; other--27%.
Communist party-led state.
Constitution: December 4, 1982.
Unification under the Qin (Ch'in) Dynasty 221 BC; Qing (Ch'ing or Manchu) Dynasty
replaced by a republic on February 12, 1912; People's Republic established October
Branches: Executive--president, vice president, State Council,
premier. Legislative--unicameral National People's Congress. Judicial--Supreme
Administrative divisions: 23 provinces (the P.R.C. considers
Taiwan to be its 23rd province); 5 autonomous regions, including Tibet; 4 municipalities
directly under the State Council.
Political parties: Chinese Communist Party,
66.35 million members; 8 minor parties under communist supervision.
Universal at 18.
(2004): $1.65 trillion (exchange rate based).
Per capita GDP (2004): $1,200
(exchange rate based).
GDP real growth rate (2004 est.): 9.5%.
Coal, iron ore, crude oil, mercury, tin, tungsten, antimony, manganese, molybdenum,
vanadium, magnetite, aluminum, lead, zinc, uranium, hydropower potential (world's
Agriculture: Products--Among the world's largest producers
of rice, potatoes, sorghum, peanuts, tea, millet, barley; commercial crops include
cotton, other fibers, oilseeds, pork and fish; produces variety of livestock products.
Industry: Types--iron, steel, coal, machinery, light industrial products,
textiles and apparel, armaments, petroleum, cement, chemical fertilizers, footwear,
toys, automobiles, consumer electronics and telecommunications.
Exports--$593 billion: mainly electrical machinery and equipment, power
generation equipment, apparel, toys, footwear. Main partners--U.S., Hong
Kong, Japan, EU, South Korea, Singapore. Imports--$561 billion: mainly
electrical equipment, power generation equipment, petroleum products, chemicals,
steel. Main partners--Japan, EU, Taiwan, South Korea, U.S., Hong Kong.
The largest ethnic group is the Han Chinese, who constitute
about 91.9% of the total population. The remaining 8.1% are Zhuang (16 million),
Manchu (10 million), Hui (9 million), Miao (8 million), Uygur (7 million), Yi
(7 million), Mongolian (5 million), Tibetan (5 million), Buyi (3 million), Korean
(2 million), and other ethnic minorities.
are seven major Chinese dialects and many subdialects. Mandarin (or Putonghua),
the predominant dialect, is spoken by over 70% of the population. It is taught
in all schools and is the medium of government. About two-thirds of the Han ethnic
group are native speakers of Mandarin; the rest, concentrated in southwest and
southeast China, speak one of the six other major Chinese dialects. Non-Chinese
languages spoken widely by ethnic minorities include Mongolian, Tibetan, Uygur
and other Turkic languages (in Xinjiang), and Korean (in the northeast).
Pinyin System of Romanization
On January 1, 1979, the Chinese Government
officially adopted the pinyin system for spelling Chinese names and places in
Roman letters. A system of Romanization invented by the Chinese, pinyin has long
been widely used in China on street and commercial signs as well as in elementary
Chinese textbooks as an aid in learning Chinese characters. Variations of pinyin
also are used as the written forms of several minority languages.
has now replaced other conventional spellings in China's English-language publications.
The U.S. Government also has adopted the pinyin system for all names and places
in China. For example, the capital of China is now spelled "Beijing" rather than
plays a significant part in the life of many Chinese. Buddhism is most widely
practiced, with an estimated 100 million adherents. Traditional Taoism also is
practiced. Official figures indicate there are 20 million Muslims, 5 million Catholics,
and 15 million Protestants; unofficial estimates are much higher.
the Chinese constitution affirms religious toleration, the Chinese Government
places restrictions on religious practice outside officially recognized organizations.
Only two Christian organizations--a Catholic church without official ties to Rome
and the "Three-Self-Patriotic" Protestant church--are sanctioned by the Chinese
Government. Unauthorized churches have sprung up in many parts of the country
and unofficial religious practice is flourishing. In some regions authorities
have tried to control activities of these unregistered churches. In other regions,
registered and unregistered groups are treated similarly by authorities and congregations
worship in both types of churches. Most Chinese Catholic bishops are recognized
by the Pope, and official priests have Vatican approval to administer all the
a population officially just over 1.3 billion and an estimated growth rate of
about 0.6%, China is very concerned about its population growth and has attempted
with mixed results to implement a strict birth limitation policy. China’s 2002
Population and Family Planning Law and policy permit one child per family, with
allowance for a second child under certain circumstances, especially in rural
areas, and with guidelines looser for ethnic minorities with small populations.
Enforcement varies, and relies largely on "social compensation fees" to discourage
extra births. Official government policy opposes forced abortion or sterilization,
but in some localities there are instances of forced abortion. The government's
goal is to stabilize the population in the first half of the 21st century, and
current projections are that the population will peak at around 1.6 billion by
China is the oldest continuous major world civilization, with
records dating back about 3,500 years. Successive dynasties developed a system
of bureaucratic control that gave the agrarian-based Chinese an advantage over
neighboring nomadic and hill cultures. Chinese civilization was further strengthened
by the development of a Confucian state ideology and a common written language
that bridged the gaps among the country's many local languages and dialects. Whenever
China was conquered by nomadic tribes, as it was by the Mongols in the 13th century,
the conquerors sooner or later adopted the ways of the "higher" Chinese civilization
and staffed the bureaucracy with Chinese.
last dynasty was established in 1644, when the Manchus overthrew the native Ming
dynasty and established the Qing (Ch'ing) dynasty with Beijing as its capital.
At great expense in blood and treasure, the Manchus over the next half century
gained control of many border areas, including Xinjiang, Yunnan, Tibet, Mongolia,
and Taiwan. The success of the early Qing period was based on the combination
of Manchu martial prowess and traditional Chinese bureaucratic skills.
the 19th century, Qing control weakened, and prosperity diminished. China suffered
massive social strife, economic stagnation, explosive population growth, and Western
penetration and influence. The Taiping and Nian rebellions, along with a Russian-supported
Muslim separatist movement in Xinjiang, drained Chinese resources and almost toppled
the dynasty. Britain's desire to continue its illegal opium trade with China collided
with imperial edicts prohibiting the addictive drug, and the First Opium War erupted
in 1840. China lost the war; subsequently, Britain and other Western powers, including
the United States, forcibly occupied "concessions" and gained special commercial
privileges. Hong Kong was ceded to Britain in 1842 under the Treaty of Nanking,
and in 1898, when the Opium Wars finally ended, Britain executed a 99-year lease
of the New Territories, significantly expanding the size of the Hong Kong colony.
As time went on, the Western powers,
wielding superior military technology, gained more economic and political privileges.
Reformist Chinese officials argued for the adoption of Western technology to strengthen
the dynasty and counter Western advances, but the Qing court played down both
the Western threat and the benefits of Western technology.
20th Century China
Frustrated by the Qing court's resistance to reform,
young officials, military officers, and students--inspired by the revolutionary
ideas of Sun Yat-sen–began to advocate the overthrow of the Qing dynasty and creation
of a republic. A revolutionary military uprising on October 10, 1911, led to the
abdication of the last Qing monarch. As part of a compromise to overthrow the
dynasty without a civil war, the revolutionaries and reformers allowed high Qing
officials to retain prominent positions in the new republic. One of these figures,
Gen. Yuan Shikai, was chosen as the republic's first president. Before his death
in 1916, Yuan unsuccessfully attempted to name himself emperor. His death left
the republican government all but shattered, ushering in the era of the "warlords"
during which China was ruled and ravaged by shifting coalitions of competing provincial
In the 1920s, Sun
Yat-sen established a revolutionary base in south China and set out to unite the
fragmented nation. With Soviet assistance, he organized the Kuomintang (KMT or
"Chinese Nationalist People's Party"), and entered into an alliance with the fledgling
Chinese Communist Party (CCP). After Sun's death in 1925, one of his protégés,
Chiang Kai-shek, seized control of the KMT and succeeded in bringing most of south
and central China under its rule. In 1927, Chiang turned on the CCP and executed
many of its leaders. The remnants fled into the mountains of eastern China. In
1934, driven out of their mountain bases, the CCP's forces embarked on a "Long
March" across some of China's most desolate terrain to the northwestern province
of Shaanxi, where they established a guerrilla base at Yan'an.
the "Long March," the communists reorganized under a new leader, Mao Zedong (Mao
Tse-tung). The bitter struggle between the KMT and the CCP continued openly or
clandestinely through the 14-year long Japanese invasion (1931-45), even though
the two parties nominally formed a united front to oppose the Japanese invaders
in 1937. The war between the two parties resumed after the Japanese defeat in
1945. By 1949, the CCP occupied most of the country.
Kai-shek fled with the remnants of his KMT government and military forces to Taiwan,
where he proclaimed Taipei to be China's "provisional capital" and vowed to re-conquer
the Chinese mainland. The KMT authorities on Taiwan still call themselves the
"Republic of China."
Republic of China
In Beijing, on October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong proclaimed
the founding of the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.). The new government assumed
control of a people exhausted by two generations of war and social conflict, and
an economy ravaged by high inflation and disrupted transportation links. A new
political and economic order modeled on the Soviet example was quickly installed.
In the early 1950s, China undertook
a massive economic and social reconstruction program. The new leaders gained popular
support by curbing inflation, restoring the economy, and rebuilding many war-damaged
industrial plants. The CCP's authority reached into almost every aspect of Chinese
life. Party control was assured by large, politically loyal security and military
forces; a government apparatus responsive to party direction; and the placement
of party members into leadership positions in labor, women's, and other mass organizations.
The "Great Leap Forward" and
the Sino-Soviet Split
In 1958, Mao broke with the Soviet model and
announced a new economic program, the "Great Leap Forward," aimed at rapidly raising
industrial and agricultural production. Giant cooperatives (communes) were formed,
and "backyard factories" dotted the Chinese landscape. The results were disastrous.
Normal market mechanisms were disrupted, agricultural production fell behind,
and China's people exhausted themselves producing what turned out to be shoddy,
un-salable goods. Within a year, starvation appeared even in fertile agricultural
areas. From 1960 to 1961, the combination of poor planning during the Great Leap
Forward and bad weather resulted in one of the deadliest famines in human history.
The already strained Sino-Soviet relationship
deteriorated sharply in 1959, when the Soviets started to restrict the flow of
scientific and technological information to China. The dispute escalated, and
the Soviets withdrew all of their personnel from China in August 1960. In 1960,
the Soviets and the Chinese began to have disputes openly in international forums.
The Cultural Revolution
the early 1960s, State President Liu Shaoqi and his protégé, Party General Secretary
Deng Xiaoping, took over direction of the party and adopted pragmatic economic
policies at odds with Mao's revolutionary vision. Dissatisfied with China's new
direction and his own reduced authority, Party Chairman Mao launched a massive
political attack on Liu, Deng, and other pragmatists in the spring of 1966. The
new movement, the "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution," was unprecedented in
communist history. For the first time, a section of the Chinese communist leadership
sought to rally popular opposition against another leadership group. China was
set on a course of political and social anarchy that lasted the better part of
In the early stages of the
Cultural Revolution, Mao and his "closest comrade in arms," National Defense Minister
Lin Biao, charged Liu, Deng, and other top party leaders with dragging China back
toward capitalism. Radical youth organizations, called Red Guards, attacked party
and state organizations at all levels, seeking out leaders who would not bend
to the radical wind. In reaction to this turmoil, some local People's Liberation
Army (PLA) commanders and other officials maneuvered to outwardly back Mao and
the radicals while actually taking steps to rein in local radical activity.
Red Guard and other radical activity subsided, and the Chinese political situation
stabilized along complex factional lines. The leadership conflict came to a head
in September 1971, when Party Vice Chairman and Defense Minister Lin Biao reportedly
tried to stage a coup against Mao; Lin Biao allegedly later died in a plane crash
In the aftermath of the
Lin Biao incident, many officials criticized and dismissed during 1966-69 were
reinstated. Chief among these was Deng Xiaoping, who reemerged in 1973 and was
confirmed in 1975 in the concurrent posts of Politburo Standing Committee member,
PLA Chief of Staff, and Vice Premier.
ideological struggle between more pragmatic, veteran party officials and the radicals
re-emerged with a vengeance in late 1975. Mao's wife, Jiang Qing, and three close
Cultural Revolution associates (later dubbed the "Gang of Four") launched a media
campaign against Deng. In January 1976, Premier Zhou Enlai, a popular political
figure, died of cancer. On April 5, Beijing citizens staged a spontaneous demonstration
in Tiananmen Square in Zhou's memory, with strong political overtones of support
for Deng. The authorities forcibly suppressed the demonstration. Deng was blamed
for the disorder and stripped of all official positions, although he retained
his party membership.
Mao's death in September 1976 removed a towering figure from Chinese
politics and set off a scramble for succession. Former Minister of Public Security
Hua Guofeng was quickly confirmed as Party Chairman and Premier. A month after
Mao's death, Hua, backed by the PLA, arrested Jiang Qing and other members of
the "Gang of Four." After extensive deliberations, the Chinese Communist Party
leadership reinstated Deng Xiaoping to all of his previous posts at the 11th Party
Congress in August 1977. Deng then led the effort to place government control
in the hands of veteran party officials opposed to the radical excesses of the
previous two decades.
The new, pragmatic
leadership emphasized economic development and renounced mass political movements.
At the pivotal December 1978 Third Plenum (of the 11th Party Congress Central
Committee), the leadership adopted economic reform policies aimed at expanding
rural income and incentives, encouraging experiments in enterprise autonomy, reducing
central planning, and attracting foreign direct investment into China. The plenum
also decided to accelerate the pace of legal reform, culminating in the passage
of several new legal codes by the National People's Congress in June 1979.
1979, the Chinese leadership moved toward more pragmatic positions in almost all
fields. The party encouraged artists, writers, and journalists to adopt more critical
approaches, although open attacks on party authority were not permitted. In late
1980, Mao's Cultural Revolution was officially proclaimed a catastrophe. Hua Guofeng,
a protégé of Mao, was replaced as premier in 1980 by reformist Sichuan party chief
Zhao Ziyang and as party General Secretary in 1981 by the even more reformist
Communist Youth League chairman Hu Yaobang.
policies brought great improvements in the standard of living, especially for
urban workers and for farmers who took advantage of opportunities to diversify
crops and establish village industries. Literature and the arts blossomed, and
Chinese intellectuals established extensive links with scholars in other countries.
At the same time, however, political
dissent as well as social problems such as inflation, urban migration, and prostitution
emerged. Although students and intellectuals urged greater reforms, some party
elders increasingly questioned the pace and the ultimate goals of the reform program.
In December 1986, student demonstrators, taking advantage of the loosening political
atmosphere, staged protests against the slow pace of reform, confirming party
elders' fear that the current reform program was leading to social instability.
Hu Yaobang, a protégé of Deng and a leading advocate of reform, was blamed for
the protests and forced to resign as CCP General Secretary in January 1987. Premier
Zhao Ziyang was made General Secretary and Li Peng, former Vice Premier and Minister
of Electric Power and Water Conservancy, was made Premier.
Student Movement and Tiananmen Square
After Zhao became the party
General Secretary, the economic and political reforms he had championed came under
increasing attack. His proposal in May 1988 to accelerate price reform led to
widespread popular complaints about rampant inflation and gave opponents of rapid
reform the opening to call for greater centralization of economic controls and
stricter prohibitions against Western influence. This precipitated a political
debate, which grew more heated through the winter of 1988-89.
death of Hu Yaobang on April 15, 1989, coupled with growing economic hardship
caused by high inflation, provided the backdrop for a large-scale protest movement
by students, intellectuals, and other parts of a disaffected urban population.
University students and other citizens camped out in Beijing's Tiananmen Square
to mourn Hu's death and to protest against those who would slow reform. Their
protests, which grew despite government efforts to contain them, called for an
end to official corruption and for defense of freedoms guaranteed by the Chinese
constitution. Protests also spread to many other cities, including Shanghai, Chengdu,
Martial law was declared
on May 20, 1989. Late on June 3 and early on the morning of June 4, military units
were brought into Beijing. They used armed force to clear demonstrators from the
streets. There are no official estimates of deaths in Beijing, but most observers
believe that casualties numbered in the hundreds.
June 4, while foreign governments expressed horror at the brutal suppression of
the demonstrators, the central government eliminated remaining sources of organized
opposition, detained large numbers of protesters, and required political reeducation
not only for students but also for large numbers of party cadre and government
Following the resurgence
of conservatives in the aftermath of June 4, economic reform slowed until given
new impetus by Deng Xiaoping's dramatic visit to southern China in early 1992.
Deng's renewed push for a market-oriented economy received official sanction at
the 14th Party Congress later in the year as a number of younger, reform-minded
leaders began their rise to top positions. Deng and his supporters argued that
managing the economy in a way that increased living standards should be China's
primary policy objective, even if "capitalist" measures were adopted. Subsequent
to the visit, the Communist Party Politburo publicly issued an endorsement of
Deng's policies of economic openness. Though not completely eschewing political
reform, China has consistently placed overwhelming priority on the opening of
Deng's health deteriorated in the years prior to his death
in 1997. During that time, President Jiang Zemin and other members of his generation
gradually assumed control of the day-to-day functions of government. This "third
generation" leadership governed collectively with President Jiang at the center.
In March 1998, Jiang was re-elected
President during the 9th National People's Congress. Premier Li Peng was constitutionally
required to step down from that post. He was elected to the chairmanship of the
National People's Congress. Zhu Rongji was selected to replace Li as Premier.
Fourth Generation of Leaders
November 2002, the 16th Communist Party Congress elected Hu Jintao, who in 1992
was designated by Deng Xiaoping as the "core" of the fourth generation leaders,
the new General Secretary. A new Politburo and Politburo Standing Committee was
also elected in November.
In March 2003,
General Secretary Hu Jintao was elected President at the 10th National People's
Congress. Jiang Zemin retained the chairmanship of the Central Military Commission.
At the Fourth Party Plenum in September 2004, Jiang Zemin retired from the Central
Military Commission, passing the Chairmanship and control of the People's Liberation
Army to President Hu Jintao.
firmly committed to economic reform and opening to the outside world. The Chinese
leadership has identified reform of state industries and the establishment of
a social safety network as government priorities. Government strategies for achieving
these goals include large-scale privatization of unprofitable state-owned enterprises
and development of a pension system for workers. The leadership has also downsized
the government bureaucracy.
Next 5 Years
The next 5 years represent a critical period in China's
existence. To investors and firms, especially following China’s accession to the
World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, China represents a vast market that has
yet to be fully tapped and a low-cost base for export-oriented production. Educationally,
China is forging ahead as partnerships and exchanges with foreign universities
have helped create new research opportunities for its students. The new leadership
is also committed to generating greater economic development in the interior and
providing more services to those who do not live in China’s coastal areas. However,
there is still much that needs to change in China. Human rights issues remain
a concern among members of the world community, as does continuing proliferation
of weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-related materials and technology.
Chinese Communist Party
66.35 million member CCP, authoritarian in structure and ideology, continues to
dominate government. Nevertheless, China's population, geographical vastness,
and social diversity frustrate attempts to rule by fiat from Beijing. Central
leaders must increasingly build consensus for new policies among party members,
local and regional leaders, influential non-party members, and the population
In periods of greater openness,
the influence of people and organizations outside the formal party structure has
tended to increase, particularly in the economic realm. This phenomenon is most
apparent today in the rapidly developing coastal region. Nevertheless, in all
important government, economic, and cultural institutions in China, party committees
work to see that party and state policy guidance is followed and that non-party
members do not create autonomous organizations that could challenge party rule.
Party control is tightest in government offices and in urban economic, industrial,
and cultural settings; it is considerably looser in the rural areas, where the
majority of the people live.
the party's highest body is the Party Congress, which is supposed to meet at least
once every 5 years. The primary organs of power in the Communist Party include:
- The Politburo Standing Committee,
which currently consists of nine members;
Politburo, consisting of 24 full members, including the members of the Politburo
- The Secretariat, the
principal administrative mechanism of the CCP, headed by the General Secretary;
- The Central Military Commission;
Discipline Inspection Commission, which is charged with rooting out corruption
and malfeasance among party cadres.
The Chinese Government has always been subordinate to the
Chinese Communist Party (CCP); its role is to implement party policies. The primary
organs of state power are the National People's Congress (NPC), the President
(the head of state), and the State Council. Members of the State Council include
Premier Wen Jiabao (the head of government), a variable number of vice premiers
(now four), five state councilors (protocol equivalents of vice premiers but with
narrower portfolios), and 22 ministers and four State Council commission directors.
Under the Chinese constitution, the
NPC is the highest organ of state power in China. It meets annually for about
2 weeks to review and approve major new policy directions, laws, the budget, and
major personnel changes. These initiatives are presented to the NPC for consideration
by the State Council after previous endorsement by the Communist Party's Central
Committee. Although the NPC generally approves State Council policy and personnel
recommendations, various NPC committees hold active debate in closed sessions,
and changes may be made to accommodate alternate views.
the NPC is not in session, its permanent organ, the Standing Committee, exercises
and Party Officials
Vice President--Zeng Qinghong
State Council--Wen Jiabao
NPC Chair--Wu Bangguo
Vice Premiers--Huang Ju,
Wu Yi, Zeng Peiyan, Hui Liangyu
Politburo Standing Committee--Hu Jintao (General
Secretary), Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Zeng Qinghong, Huang Ju, Wu Guanzheng,
Li Changchun, Luo Gan
Full Politburo Members--Cao Gangchuan, Chen Liangyu,
Guo Boxiong, He Guoqiang, Hui Liangyu, Liu Qi, Liu Yunshan, Wang Lequan, Wang
Zhaoguo, Wu Yi, Yu Zhengsheng, Zeng Peiyan, Zhang Dejiang, Zhang Lichang, Zhou
Alternate Politburo Members--Wang Gang
Chairman, Central Military
Minister of Commerce--Bo Xilai
Minister of Finance--Jin Renqing
of Agriculture--Du Qinglin
Minister of Information Industry--Wang Xudong
People's Bank of China--Zhou Xiaochuan
Minister, State Development and Reform
Ambassador to U.S.--Zhou Wenzhong
Ambassador to UN--Wang
government's efforts to promote rule of law are significant and ongoing. After
the Cultural Revolution, China's leaders aimed to develop a legal system to restrain
abuses of official authority and revolutionary excesses. In 1982, the National
People's Congress adopted a new state constitution that emphasized the rule of
law under which even party leaders are theoretically held accountable.
1979, when the drive to establish a functioning legal system began, more than
300 laws and regulations, most of them in the economic area, have been promulgated.
The use of mediation committees--informed groups of citizens who resolve about
90% of China's civil disputes and some minor criminal cases at no cost to the
parties--is one innovative device. There are more than 800,000 such committees
in both rural and urban areas.
reform became a government priority in the 1990s. Legislation designed to modernize
and professionalize the nation's lawyers, judges, and prisons was enacted. The
1994 Administrative Procedure Law allows citizens to sue officials for abuse of
authority or malfeasance. In addition, the criminal law and the criminal procedures
laws were amended to introduce significant reforms. The criminal law amendments
abolished the crime of "counter-revolutionary" activity, although many persons
are still incarcerated for that crime. Criminal procedures reforms also encouraged
establishment of a more transparent, adversarial trial process. The Chinese constitution
and laws provide for fundamental human rights, including due process, but these
are often ignored in practice. In addition to other judicial reforms, the Constitution
was amended in 2004 to include the protection of individual human rights and legally-obtained
private property, but it is unclear how those provisions will be implemented.
State Department’s annual China human rights reports have noted China’s well-documented
abuses of human rights in violation of internationally recognized norms, stemming
both from the authorities’ intolerance of dissent and the inadequacy of legal
safeguards for basic freedoms. Abuses reported have included arbitrary and lengthy
incommunicado detention, forced confessions, torture, and mistreatment of prisoners
as well as severe restrictions on freedom of speech, the press, assembly, association,
religion, privacy, and worker rights.
the same time, China’s economic growth and reform since 1978 has improved dramatically
the lives of hundreds of millions of Chinese, increased social mobility, and expanded
the scope of personal freedom. This has meant substantially greater freedom of
travel, employment opportunity, educational and cultural pursuits, job and housing
choices, and access to information. In recent years, China has also passed new
criminal and civil laws that provide additional safeguards to citizens. Village
elections have been carried out in over 90% of China’s one million villages.
1979, China has reformed and opened its economy. The Chinese leadership has adopted
a more pragmatic perspective on many political and socioeconomic problems, and
has reduced the role of ideology in economic policy. China’s ongoing economic
transformation has had a profound impact not only on China but on the world. The
market-oriented reforms China has implemented over the past two decades have unleashed
individual initiative and entrepreneurship. The result has been the largest reduction
of poverty and one of the fastest increases in income levels ever seen. China
today is the sixth-largest economy in the world. It is the fastest growing economy,
and in 2004 its $1.65 trillion economy was about 1/7 the size of the U.S. economy.
In the 1980s, China tried to combine
central planning with market-oriented reforms to increase productivity, living
standards, and technological quality without exacerbating inflation, unemployment,
and budget deficits. China pursued agricultural reforms, dismantling the commune
system and introducing a household-based system that provided peasants greater
decision-making in agricultural activities. The government also encouraged nonagricultural
activities such as village enterprises in rural areas, and promoted more self-management
for state-owned enterprises, increased competition in the marketplace, and facilitated
direct contact between Chinese and foreign trading enterprises. China also relied
more upon foreign financing and imports.
the 1980s, these reforms led to average annual rates of growth of 10% in agricultural
and industrial output. Rural per capita real income doubled. China became self-sufficient
in grain production; rural industries accounted for 23% of agricultural output,
helping absorb surplus labor in the countryside. The variety of light industrial
and consumer goods increased. Reforms began in the fiscal, financial, banking,
price-setting, and labor systems.
the late 1980s, however, the economy had become overheated with increasing rates
of inflation. At the end of 1988, in reaction to a surge of inflation caused by
accelerated price reforms, the leadership introduced an austerity program.
economy regained momentum in the early 1990s. During a visit to southern China
in early 1992, China's paramount leader at the time, Deng Xiaoping, made a series
of political pronouncements designed to reinvigorate the process of economic reform.
The 14th Party Congress later in the year backed Deng's renewed push for market
reforms, stating that China's key task in the 1990s was to create a "socialist
market economy." The 10-year development plan for the 1990s stressed continuity
in the political system with bolder reform of the economic system.
economy grew at an average rate of 10% per year during the period 1990-2004, the
highest growth rate in the world. China’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 9.3%
in 2003, and even faster, 9.5%, in 2004, despite attempts by the government to
cool the economy. China’s total trade in 2004 surpassed $1.1 trillion, making
China the world’s third-largest trading nation after the U.S. and Germany.
serious imbalances exist behind the spectacular trade performance, high investment
flows, and high GDP growth. High numbers of non-performing loans weigh down the
state-run banking system. Inefficient state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are still
a drag on growth, despite announced efforts to sell, merge, or close the vast
majority of SOEs.
Social and economic
indicators have improved since reforms were launched, but rising inequality is
evident between the more highly developed coastal provinces and the less developed,
poorer inland regions. According to World Bank estimates, more than 152 million
people in China in 2003 - mostly in rural areas of the lagging inland provinces
- still live in poverty, on consumption of less than US$1 a day.
the Chinese Communist Party’s Third Plenum, held in October 2003, Chinese legislators
unveiled several proposed amendments to the state constitution. One of the most
significant was a proposal to provide protection for private property rights.
Legislators also indicated there would be a new emphasis on certain aspects of
overall government economic policy, including efforts to reduce unemployment (now
in the 8-10% range in urban areas), to rebalance income distribution between urban
and rural regions, and to maintain economic growth while protecting the environment
and improving social equity. The National People’s Congress approved the amendments
when it met in March 2004.
is the world’s most populous country and one of the largest producers and consumers
of agricultural products. Roughly half of China's labor force is engaged in agriculture,
even though only 10% of the land is suitable for cultivation. Its cropland area
is only 75% of the U.S. total, but China still produces about 30% more crops and
livestock than the U.S. because of intensive cultivation, China is among the world's
largest producers of rice, potatoes, sorghum, millet, barley, peanuts, tea, and
pork. Major non-food crops include cotton, other fibers, and oilseeds. China hopes
to further increase agricultural production through improved plant stocks, fertilizers,
and technology. Incomes for Chinese farmers are stagnating, leading to an increasing
wealth gap between the cities and countryside. Government policies that continue
to emphasize grain self-sufficiency and the fact that farmers do not own--and
cannot buy or sell--the land they work have contributed to this situation. In
addition, inadequate port facilities and lack of warehousing and cold storage
facilities impede both domestic and international agricultural trade.
and construction account for about 50% of China’s GDP. Major industries are iron,
steel, coal, machine building, light industrial products, armaments, textiles,
shoes, toys, cement, and chemical fertilizers. China has become a preferred destination
for the relocation of global manufacturing facilities. Its strength as an export
platform has contributed to incomes and employment in China. The state-owned sector
still accounts for about 40% of GDP. In recent years, authorities have been giving
greater attention to the management of state assets – both in the financial market
as well as among state-owned-enterprises – and progress has been noteworthy.
2003, China surpassed Japan to become the second-largest consumer of primary energy,
after the United States. China is also the third-largest energy producer in the
world, after the United States and Russia. China’s electricity consumption is
expected to grow by over 4% a year through 2030, which will require more than
$2 trillion in electricity infrastructure investment to meet the demand. China
expects to add approximately 15,000 megawatts of generating capacity a year, with
20% of that coming from foreign suppliers.
makes up the bulk of China’s energy consumption (64% in 2002), and China is the
largest producer and consumer of coal in the world. As China’s economy continues
to grow, China’s coal demand is projected to rise significantly. Although coal’s
share of China’s overall energy consumption will decrease, coal consumption will
continue to rise in absolute terms.
in large part to environmental concerns, Beijing would like to shift China's current
energy mix toward greater reliance on oil, natural gas, renewable energy, and
nuclear power. China has abundant hydroelectric resources; the Three Gorges Dam,
for example, will have a total capacity of 18 gigawatts when fully on-line (projected
for 2009). In addition, the share of electricity generated by nuclear power is
projected to grow from 1% in 2000 to 5% in 2030. But while interest in renewable
sources of energy is growing, except for hydropower, their contribution to the
overall energy mix is unlikely to rise above 1%-2% in the near future.
1993, China has been a net importer of oil. Net imports are expected to rise to
3.5 million barrels per day by 2010. China is interested in diversifying the sources
of its oil imports and has invested in oil fields around the world. Beijing also
plans to increase China's natural gas production, which currently accounts for
only 3% of China’s total energy consumption. Analysts expect China’s consumption
of natural gas to more than double by 2010.
of the serious negative consequences of China's rapid industrial development has
been increased pollution and degradation of natural resources. A 1998 World Health
Organization report on air quality in 272 cities worldwide concluded that seven
of the world's 10 most polluted cities were in China. According to China's own
evaluation, two-thirds of the 338 cities for which air-quality data are available
are considered polluted--two-thirds of them moderately or severely so. Respiratory
and heart diseases related to air pollution are the leading cause of death in
China. Almost all of the nation's rivers are considered polluted to some degree,
and half of the population lacks access to clean water. Ninety percent of urban
water bodies are severely polluted. Water scarcity also is an issue; for example,
severe water scarcity in Northern China is a serious threat to sustained economic
growth and the government has begun working on a project for a large-scale diversion
of water from the Yangtze River to northern cities, including Beijing and Tianjin.
Acid rain falls on 30% of the country. Various studies estimate pollution costs
the Chinese economy 7-10% of GDP each year.
leaders are increasingly paying attention to the country's severe environmental
problems. In March 1998, the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA)
was officially upgraded to a ministry-level agency, reflecting the growing importance
the Chinese Government places on environmental protection. In recent years, China
has strengthened its environmental legislation and made some progress in stemming
environmental deterioration. In 1999, China invested more than 1% of GDP in environmental
protection, a proportion that will likely increase in coming years. During the
10th Five-Year Plan, China plans to reduce total emissions by 10%. Beijing in
particular is investing heavily in pollution control as part of its campaign to
host a successful Olympiad in 2008. Some cities have seen improvement in air quality
in recent years.
China is an active
participant in climate change talks and other multilateral environmental negotiations,
taking environmental challenges seriously but pushing for the developed world
to help developing countries to a greater extent. It is a signatory to the Basel
Convention governing the transport and disposal of hazardous waste and the Montreal
Protocol for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, as well as the Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species and other major environmental agreements.
question of environmental impacts associated with the Three Gorges Dam project
has generated controversy among environmentalists inside and outside China. Critics
claim that erosion and silting of the Yangtze River threaten several endangered
species, while Chinese officials say the dam will help prevent devastating floods
and generate clean hydroelectric power that will enable the region to lower its
dependence on coal, thus lessening air pollution.
United States and China have been engaged in an active program of bilateral environmental
cooperation since the mid-1990s, with an emphasis on clean energy technology and
the design of effective environmental policy. While both governments view this
cooperation positively, China has often compared the U.S. program, which lacks
a foreign assistance component, with those of Japan and several European Union
(EU) countries that include generous levels of aid.
Science and technology have always preoccupied Chinas
leaders; indeed, China's political leadership comes almost exclusively from technical
backgrounds and has a high regard for science. Deng called it "the first productive
force." Distortions in the economy and society created by party rule have severely
hurt Chinese science, according to some Chinese science policy experts. The Chinese
Academy of Sciences, modeled on the Soviet system, puts much of China's greatest
scientific talent in a large, under-funded apparatus that remains largely isolated
from industry, although the reforms of the past decade have begun to address this
Chinese science strategists
see China's greatest opportunities in newly emerging fields such as biotechnology
and computers, where there is still a chance for China to become a significant
player. Most Chinese students who went abroad have not returned, but they have
built a dense network of trans-Pacific contacts that will greatly facilitate U.S.-China
scientific cooperation in coming years. The U.S. space program is often held up
as the standard of scientific modernity in China. China's small but growing space
program, which put an astronaut into orbit in October 2003, is a focus of national
The U.S.-China Science and Technology
Agreement remains the framework for bilateral cooperation in this field. A 5-year
agreement to extend the Science and Technology Agreement was signed in April 2001.
There are currently over 26 active protocols and 60 annexes under the Agreement,
covering cooperation in areas such as marine conservation, renewable energy, and
health. Biennial Joint Commission Meetings on Science and Technology bring together
policymakers from both sides to coordinate joint science and technology cooperation.
Executive Secretaries meetings are held biennially to implement specific cooperation
programs. Japan and the European Union also have high profile science and technology
cooperative relationships with China.
merchandise exports totaled $593 billion and imports totaled $561 billion in 2004.
Its global trade surplus was up by about 25%, to $32 billion. China's primary
trading partners include Japan, the EU, the United States, South Korea, Hong Kong,
and Taiwan. According to U.S. statistics, China had a trade surplus with the U.S.
of $162 billion in 2004.
China has taken
important steps to open its foreign trading system and integrate itself into the
world trading system. In November 1991, China joined the Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC) group, which promotes free trade and cooperation in the economic,
trade, investment, and technology spheres. China served as APEC chair in 2001,
and Shanghai hosted the annual APEC leaders meeting in October of that year.
formally joined the WTO in December 2001. As part of this far-reaching trade liberalization
agreement, China agreed to lower tariffs and abolish market impediments. Chinese
and foreign businessmen, for example, gained the right to import and export on
their own, and to sell their products without going through a government middleman.
By 2005, average tariff rates on key U.S. agricultural exports dropped from 31%
to 14% and on industrial products from 25% to 9%. The agreement also opens up
new opportunities for U.S. providers of services like banking, insurance, and
telecommunications. China has made significant progress implementing its WTO commitments,
but serious concerns remain, particularly in the realm of intellectual property
Export growth continues
to be a major component supporting China's rapid economic growth. To increase
exports, China has pursued policies such as fostering the rapid development of
foreign-invested factories, which assemble imported components into consumer goods
for export, and liberalizing trading rights.
United States is one of China's primary suppliers of power generating equipment,
aircraft and parts, computers and industrial machinery, raw materials, and chemical
and agricultural products. However, U.S. exporters continue to have concerns about
fair market access due to strict testing and standards requirements for some imported
products. In addition, a lack of transparency in the regulatory process makes
it difficult for businesses to plan for changes in the domestic market structure.
investment climate has changed dramatically in 24 years of reform. In the early
1980s, China restricted foreign investments to export-oriented operations and
required foreign investors to form joint-venture partnerships with Chinese firms.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) grew quickly during the 1980s, but stalled in
late 1989 in the aftermath of Tiananmen. In response, the government introduced
legislation and regulations designed to encourage foreigners to invest in high-priority
sectors and regions. Since the early 1990s, China has allowed foreign investors
to manufacture and sell a wide range of goods on the domestic market, and authorized
the establishment of wholly foreign-owned enterprises, now the preferred form
of FDI. However, the Chinese government’s emphasis on guiding FDI into manufacturing
has led to market saturation in some industries, while leaving China’s services
sectors underdeveloped. China is now one of the leading recipients of FDI in the
world, receiving $64 billion in 2004, for a cumulative total of $563.8 billion.
As part of China’s accession to the
World Trade Organization in 2001, China undertook to eliminate certain trade-related
investment measures and to open up specified sectors that had previously been
closed to foreign investment. New laws, regulations, and administrative measures
to implement these commitments are being issued. Major remaining barriers to foreign
investment include opaque and inconsistently enforced laws and regulations and
the lack of a rules-based legal infrastructure.
to the outside remains central to China's development. Foreign-invested enterprises
produce about half of China's exports, and China continues to attract large investment
inflows. Foreign exchange reserves totaled $610 billion in 2004.
Since its establishment, the People's Republic has worked
vigorously to win international support for its position that it is the sole legitimate
government of all China, including Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. In the early
1970s, Beijing was recognized diplomatically by most world powers. Beijing assumed
the China seat in the United Nations in 1971 and became increasingly active in
multilateral organizations. Japan established diplomatic relations with China
in 1972, and the U.S. did so in 1979. The number of countries that have established
diplomatic relations with Beijing has risen to 159, while 25 have diplomatic relations
After the founding of the
P.R.C., China's foreign policy initially focused on solidarity with the Soviet
Union and other communist countries. In 1950, China sent the People's Liberation
Army into North Korea as "volunteers" to help North Korea halt the UN offensive
that was approaching the Yalu River. After the conclusion of the Korean conflict,
China sought to balance its identification as a member of the Soviet bloc by establishing
friendly relations with Pakistan and other Third World countries, particularly
in Southeast Asia.
In the 1960s, Beijing
competed with Moscow for political influence among communist parties and in the
developing world generally. Following the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia
and clashes in 1969 on the Sino-Soviet border, Chinese competition with the Soviet
Union increasingly reflected concern over China's own strategic position.
late 1978, the Chinese also became concerned over Vietnam's efforts to establish
open control over Laos and Cambodia. In response to the Soviet-backed Vietnamese
invasion of Cambodia, China fought a brief border war with Vietnam (February-March
1979) with the stated purpose of "teaching Vietnam a lesson."
anxiety about Soviet strategic advances was heightened following the Soviet Union's
December 1979 invasion of Afghanistan. Sharp differences between China and the
Soviet Union persisted over Soviet support for Vietnam's continued occupation
of Cambodia, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and Soviet troops along the Sino-Soviet
border and in Mongolia--the so-called "three obstacles" to improved Sino-Soviet
In the 1970s and 1980s China
sought to create a secure regional and global environment for itself and to foster
good relations with countries that could aid its economic development. To this
end, China looked to the West for assistance with its modernization drive and
for help in countering Soviet expansionism, which it characterized as the greatest
threat to its national security and to world peace.
maintained its consistent opposition to "superpower hegemony," focusing almost
exclusively on the expansionist actions of the Soviet Union and Soviet proxies
such as Vietnam and Cuba, but it also placed growing emphasis on a foreign policy
independent of both the U.S. and the Soviet Union. While improving ties with the
West, China continued to follow closely economic and other positions of the Third
World nonaligned movement, although China was not a formal member.
the immediate aftermath of Tiananmen crackdown in June 1989, many countries reduced
their diplomatic contacts with China as well as their economic assistance programs.
In response, China worked vigorously to expand its relations with foreign countries,
and by late 1990, had reestablished normal relations with almost all nations.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in late 1991, China also opened diplomatic
relations with the republics of the former Soviet Union.
recent years, Chinese leaders have been regular travelers to all parts of the
globe, and China has sought a higher profile in the UN through its permanent seat
on the United Nations Security Council and other multilateral organizations. Closer
to home, China has made efforts to reduce tensions in Asia; it has contributed
to stability on the Korean Peninsula through hosting and participating in the
Six-Party Talks, cultivated a more cooperative relationship with members of the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Brunei, Burma, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia,
Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam), and participated in the ASEAN Regional
Forum. Its moves to play a greater regional leadership role in Asia and, especially,
the success of its "charm offensive" in Southeast Asia are examples of a new,
more mature diplomacy that China has begun to evince. China is also working hard
to strengthen ties with countries in South Asia, including India. Premier Wen
recently made a sweeping tour throughout South Asia. China has likewise improved
ties with Russia. President Putin and President Jiang signed a Treaty of Friendship
and Cooperation in July 2001 and the two countries plan a joint-military exercise
in 2005. The two also joined with the Central Asian nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan to establish the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
(SCO) in June 2001. The SCO is designed to promote regional stability and cooperate
to combat terrorism in the region. China has a number of border and maritime disputes,
including with Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin, with a number of countries in the
South China Sea, as well as with Japan and India. Beijing has resolved many of
its border and maritime disputes, notably including a November 1997 agreement
with Russia that resolved almost all outstanding border issues and a 2000 agreement
with Vietnam to resolve some differences over their maritime border, though disagreements
remain over islands in the South China Sea. Finally, China’s outreach extends
to countries in the Middle East and Africa like Iran and Sudan, which are sources
of oil and other resources and welcome China’s involvement in building their infrastructure.
Establishment of a professional military force equipped with
modern weapons and doctrine was the last of the "Four Modernizations" announced
by Zhou Enlai and supported by Deng Xiaoping. In keeping with Deng's mandate to
reform, the People's Liberation Army (PLA), which includes the strategic nuclear
forces, army, navy, and air force, has demobilized millions of men and women since
1978 and introduced modern methods in such areas as recruitment and manpower,
strategy, and education and training.
the June 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, ideological correctness was temporarily revived
as the dominant theme in Chinese military affairs. Reform and modernization appear
to have since resumed their position as the PLA's priority objectives, although
the armed forces' political loyalty to the CCP remains a leading concern.
Chinese military is trying to transform itself from a land-based power, centered
on a vast ground force, to a smaller, mobile, high-tech military capable of mounting
defensive operations beyond its coastal borders.
power-projection capability is limited but has grown over recent years. China
has acquired some advanced weapons systems, including Sovremmeny destroyers, SU-27
and SU-30 aircraft, and Kilo-class diesel submarines from Russia. However, the
mainstay of the air force continues to be the 1960s-vintage F-7, and naval forces
still consist primarily of 1960s-era technology.
Weapons and Arms Control Policy
In 1955, Mao Zedong's Chinese Communist Party decided to proceed with a nuclear
weapons program; it was developed with Soviet assistance until 1960. After its
first nuclear test in October 1964, Beijing deployed a modest but potent ballistic
missile force, including land- and sea-based intermediate-range and intercontinental
China became a major
international arms exporter during the 1980s. Beijing joined the Middle East arms
control talks, which began in July 1991 to establish global guidelines for conventional
arms transfers, but announced in September 1992 that it would no longer participate
because of the U.S. decision to sell F-16A/B aircraft to Taiwan.
was the first state to pledge "no first use" of nuclear weapons. It joined the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1984 and pledged to abstain from
further atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons in 1986. China acceded to the nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1992 and supported its indefinite and unconditional
extension in 1995. In 1996, it signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)
and agreed to seek an international ban on the production of fissile nuclear weapons
material. To date, China has not ratified the CTBT.
1996, China committed not to provide assistance to un-safeguarded nuclear facilities.
China attended the May 1997 meeting of the NPT Exporters (Zangger) Committee as
an observer and became a full member in October 1997. The Zangger Committee is
a group that meets to list items that should be subject to IAEA inspections if
exported by countries that have, as China has, signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
In September 1997, China issued detailed nuclear export control regulations. China
began implementing regulations establishing controls over nuclear-related dual-use
items in 1998. China also has decided not to engage in new nuclear cooperation
with Iran (even under safeguards), and will complete existing cooperation, which
is not of proliferation concern, within a relatively short period. In May 2004,
with the support of the United States, China became a member of the Nuclear Suppliers
Based on significant, tangible
progress with China on nuclear nonproliferation, President Clinton in 1998 took
steps to bring into force the 1985 U.S.-China Agreement on Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation.
Chemical Weapons. China
is not a member of the Australia Group, an informal and voluntary arrangement
made in 1985 to monitor developments in the proliferation of dual-use chemicals
and to coordinate export controls on key dual-use chemicals and equipment with
weapons applications. In April 1997, however, China ratified the Chemical Weapons
Convention (CWC) and, in September 1997, promulgated a new chemical weapons export
control directive. In October 2002, China promulgated updated regulations on dual-use
chemical agents, and now controls all the major items on the Australia Group control
not formally joining the regime, in March 1992 China undertook to abide by the
guidelines and parameters of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the
multinational effort to restrict the proliferation of missiles capable of delivering
weapons of mass destruction. China reaffirmed this commitment in 1994, and pledged
not to transfer MTCR-class ground-to-ground missiles. In November 2000, China
committed not to assist in any way the development by other countries of MTCR-class
missiles. On August 29, 2003, the U. S. government imposed missile proliferation
sanctions on the Chinese company China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO)
after determining that it was knowingly involved in the transfer of equipment
and technology controlled under Category II of the Missile Technology Control
Regime (MTCR) Annex that contributed to MTCR-class missiles in a non-MTCR country.
The penalties imposed are:
- A 2-year
ban on all new individual export licenses for Commerce Department- or State Department-controlled
MTCR Annex items, and on all new U.S. Government contracts related to MTCR Annex
- In addition, because a Chinese entity
engaged in sanctionable activity, U.S. law also requires a 2-year ban on new licenses
for State Department-controlled MTCR exports and on new U.S. Government contracts
for MTCR items associated with all activities of the Chinese Government involved
in the development or production of MTCR Annex items, electronics, space systems
or equipment, and military aircraft.
December 2003, the P.R.C. promulgated comprehensive new export control regulations
governing exports of all categories of sensitive technologies.
to the Shanghai Communiqué
As the PLA armies moved south to complete
the communist conquest of China in 1949, the American Embassy followed the Nationalist
government headed by Chiang Kai-shek, finally moving to Taipei later that year.
U.S. consular officials remained in mainland China. The new P.R.C. Government
was hostile to this official American presence, and all U.S. personnel were withdrawn
from the mainland in early 1950. Any remaining hope of normalizing relations ended
when U.S. and Chinese communist forces fought on opposing sides in the Korean
Beginning in 1954 and continuing
until 1970, the United States and China held 136 meetings at the ambassadorial
level, first at Geneva and later at Warsaw. In the late 1960s, U.S. and Chinese
political leaders decided that improved bilateral relations were in their common
interest. In 1969, the United States initiated measures to relax trade restrictions
and other impediments to bilateral contact. On July 15, 1971, President Nixon
announced that his Assistant for National Security Affairs, Dr. Henry Kissinger,
had made a secret trip to Beijing to initiate direct contact with the Chinese
leadership and that he, the President, had been invited to visit China.
February 1972, President Nixon traveled to Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shanghai. At
the conclusion of his trip, the U.S. and Chinese Governments issued the "Shanghai
Communiqué," a statement of their foreign policy views. (For the complete text
of the Shanghai Communiqué, see the Department of State Bulletin, March 20, 1972).
In the Communiqué, both nations pledged
to work toward the full normalization of diplomatic relations. The U.S. acknowledged
the Chinese position that all Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait maintain
that there is only one China and that Taiwan is part of China. The statement enabled
the U.S. and China to temporarily set aside the "crucial question obstructing
the normalization of relations"--Taiwan--and to open trade and other contacts.
Liaison Office, 1973-78
May 1973, in an effort to build toward the establishment of formal diplomatic
relations, the U.S. and China established the United States Liaison Office (USLO)
in Beijing and a counterpart Chinese office in Washington, DC. In the years between
1973 and 1978, such distinguished Americans as David Bruce, George H.W. Bush,
Thomas Gates, and Leonard Woodcock served as chiefs of the USLO with the personal
rank of Ambassador.
President Ford visited
China in 1975 and reaffirmed the U.S. interest in normalizing relations with Beijing.
Shortly after taking office in 1977, President Carter again reaffirmed the interest
expressed in the Shanghai Communiqué. The United States and China announced on
December 15, 1978, that the two governments would establish diplomatic relations
on January 1, 1979.
the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations dated January
1, 1979, the United States transferred diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.
The U.S. reiterated the Shanghai Communiqué's acknowledgment of the Chinese position
that there is only one China and that Taiwan is a part of China; Beijing acknowledged
that the American people would continue to carry on commercial, cultural, and
other unofficial contacts with the people of Taiwan. The Taiwan Relations Act
made the necessary changes in U.S. domestic law to permit such unofficial relations
with Taiwan to flourish.
Relations Since Normalization
Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping's January
1979 visit to Washington, DC, initiated a series of important, high-level exchanges,
which continued until the spring of 1989. This resulted in many bilateral agreements--especially
in the fields of scientific, technological, and cultural interchange and trade
relations. Since early 1979, the United States and China have initiated hundreds
of joint research projects and cooperative programs under the Agreement on Cooperation
in Science and Technology, the largest bilateral program.
March 1, 1979, the United States and China formally established embassies in Beijing
and Washington, DC. During 1979, outstanding private claims were resolved, and
a bilateral trade agreement was concluded. Vice President Walter Mondale reciprocated
Vice Premier Deng's visit with an August 1979 trip to China. This visit led to
agreements in September 1980 on maritime affairs, civil aviation links, and textile
matters, as well as a bilateral consular convention.
a consequence of high-level and working-level contacts initiated in 1980, U.S.
dialogue with China broadened to cover a wide range of issues, including global
and regional strategic problems, political-military questions, including arms
control, UN and other multilateral organization affairs, and international narcotics
The expanding relationship
that followed normalization was threatened in 1981 by Chinese objections to the
level of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. Secretary of State Alexander Haig visited
China in June 1981 in an effort to resolve Chinese questions about America's unofficial
relations with Taiwan. Eight months of negotiations produced the U.S.-China joint
communiqué of August 17, 1982. In this third communiqué, the U.S. stated its intention
to reduce gradually the level of arms sales to Taiwan, and the Chinese described
as a fundamental policy their effort to strive for a peaceful resolution to the
Taiwan question. Meanwhile, Vice President Bush visited China in May 1982.
exchanges continued to be a significant means for developing U.S.-China relations
in the 1980s. President Reagan and Premier Zhao Ziyang made reciprocal visits
in 1984. In July 1985, President Li Xiannian traveled to the United States, the
first such visit by a Chinese head of state. Vice President Bush visited China
in October 1985 and opened the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu, the U.S.'s fourth
consular post in China. Further exchanges of cabinet-level officials occurred
between 1985-89, capped by President Bush's visit to Beijing in February 1989.
In the period before the June 3-4, 1989
crackdown, a large and growing number of cultural exchange activities undertaken
at all levels gave the American and Chinese peoples broad exposure to each other's
cultural, artistic, and educational achievements. Numerous Chinese professional
and official delegations visited the United States each month. Many of these exchanges
continued after Tiananmen.
Relations After Tiananmen
Following the Chinese authorities' brutal
suppression of demonstrators in June 1989, the U.S. and other governments enacted
a number of measures to express their condemnation of China's blatant violation
of the basic human rights of its citizens. The U.S. suspended high-level official
exchanges with China and weapons exports from the U.S. to China. The U.S. also
imposed a number of economic sanctions. In the summer of 1990, at the G-7 Houston
summit, Western nations called for renewed political and economic reforms in China,
particularly in the field of human rights.
disrupted the U.S.-China trade relationship, and U.S. investors' interest in China
dropped dramatically. The U.S. Government also responded to the political repression
by suspending certain trade and investment programs on June 5 and 20, 1989. Some
sanctions were legislated; others were executive actions. Examples include:
- The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (TDA)--new
activities in China were suspended from June 1989 until January 2001, when then-President
Clinton lifted this suspension.
Private Insurance Corporation (OPIC)--new activities suspended since June 1989.
- Development Bank Lending/IMF Credits--the
United States does not support development bank lending and will not support IMF
credits to China except for projects that address basic human needs.
List Exports--subject to certain exceptions, no licenses may be issued for the
export of any defense article on the U.S. Munitions List. This restriction may
be waived upon a presidential national interest determination.
Imports--import of defense articles from China was banned after the imposition
of the ban on arms exports to China. The import ban was subsequently waived by
the Administration and re-imposed on May 26, 1994. It covers all items on the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives' Munitions Import List.
1996, the P.R.C. conducted military exercises in waters close to Taiwan in an
apparent effort at intimidation. The United States dispatched two aircraft carrier
battle groups to the region. Subsequently, tensions in the Taiwan Strait diminished,
and relations between the U.S. and China have improved, with increased high-level
exchanges and progress on numerous bilateral issues, including human rights, nonproliferation,
and trade. Former Chinese president Jiang Zemin visited the United States in the
fall of 1997, the first state visit to the U.S. by a Chinese president since 1985.
In connection with that visit, the two sides reached agreement on implementation
of their 1985 agreement on peaceful nuclear cooperation, as well as a number of
other issues. Former President Clinton visited China in June 1998. He traveled
extensively in China, and direct interaction with the Chinese people included
live speeches and a radio show, allowing the President to convey first-hand to
the Chinese people a sense of American ideals and values.
between the U.S. and China were severely strained by the tragic accidental bombing
of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in May 1999. By the end of 1999, relations
began to gradually improve. In October 1999, the two sides reached agreement on
humanitarian payments for families of those who died and those who were injured
as well as payments for damages to respective diplomatic properties in Belgrade
In April 2001, a Chinese
F-8 fighter collided with a U.S. EP-3 reconnaissance aircraft flying over international
waters south of China. The EP-3 was able to make an emergency landing on China's
Hainan Island despite extensive damage; the P.R.C. aircraft crashed with the loss
of its pilot. Following extensive negotiations, the crew of the EP-3 was allowed
to leave China 11 days later, but the U.S. aircraft was not permitted to depart
for another 3 months. Subsequently, the relationship, which had cooled following
the incident, gradually improved.
the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks (9-11) in New York City and Washington,
DC, China offered strong public support for the war on terrorism and has been
an important partner in U.S. counterterrorism efforts. China voted in favor of
UN Security Council Resolution 1373, publicly supported the coalition campaign
in Afghanistan, and contributed $150 million of bilateral assistance to Afghan
reconstruction following the defeat of the Taliban. China also pledged $25 million
to the reconstruction of Iraq. Shortly after 9-11, the U.S. and China also commenced
a counterterrorism dialogue. The fourth round of that dialogue was held in Washington
in June 2004.
China and the U.S. have
also been working closely on regional issues, especially North Korea. It has played
a vital role in hosting and actively participating in the Six-Party Talks. We
have told China that it has unique influence over the D.P.R.K. and asked it to
use its leverage to help bring it back to the table and agree to abandon all of
its nuclear programs.
are sometimes complicated by events in Taiwan and Hong Kong. At various points
in the past several years, China has expressed concern about the U.S. making statements
on the political evolution of Hong Kong and has stressed that political stability
there is paramount for economic growth. The NPC’s passage of an Anti-Secession
law in March 2005 was viewed as unhelpful to the cause of promoting cross-Strait
and regional stability by the U.S. and precipitated critical high-level statements
by both sides.
U.S. direct investment in China covers a wide range of manufacturing
sectors, several large hotel projects, restaurant chains, and petrochemicals.
U.S. companies have entered agreements establishing more than 20,000 equity joint
ventures, contractual joint ventures, and wholly foreign-owned enterprises in
China. More than 100 U.S.-based multinationals have projects in China, some with
multiple investments. Cumulative U.S. investment in China is valued at $48 billion.
Total two-way trade between China and
the U.S. grew from $33 billion in 1992 to over $230 billion in 2004. The United
States is China’s second-largest trading partner, and China is now the third-largest
trading partner for the United States (after Canada and Mexico). U.S. exports
to China have been growing more rapidly than to any other market (up 28.4% in
2003 and 20% in 2004). U.S. imports from China grew 29%, with the U.S. trade deficit
with China exceeding $162 billion in 2004. Some of the factors that influence
the U.S. trade deficit with China include:
shift of low-end assembly industries to China from the newly industrialized economies
(NIEs) in Asia. China has increasingly become the last link in a long chain of
value-added production. Because U.S. trade data attributes the full value of a
product to the final assembler, Chinese value-added gets over-counted.
demand for labor-intensive goods exceeds domestic output.
restrictive trade practices, which have included an array of barriers to foreign
goods and services, often aimed at protecting state-owned enterprises. Under its
WTO accession agreement, China is reducing tariffs and eliminating import licensing
requirements, as well as addressing other trade barriers.
U.S. approach to its economic relations with China has two main elements:
the United States seeks to fully integrate China into the global, rules-based
economic and trading system. China's participation in the global economy will
nurture the process of economic reform and increase China's stake in the stability
and prosperity of East Asia.
the United States seeks to expand U.S. exporters' and investors' access to the
Chinese market. As China grows and develops, its needs for imported goods and
services will grow even more rapidly. The U.S. government will continue to work
with China's leadership to ensure conformity with China’s WTO commitments, in
order to increase U.S. exports of goods, agricultural products, and services to
Representation in the U.S.
addition to China's embassy in Washington,
DC, there are Chinese Consulates General in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New
York, and San Francisco.
the People's Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Tel.: (202) 328-2500
General of the People's Republic of China-New York
520 12th Avenue
Tel.: (212) 868-7752
General of the People's Republic of China-San Francisco
1450 Laguna Street
Francisco, California 94115
Tel.: (415) 563-4885
General of the People's Republic of China-Houston
3417 Montrose Blvd.
Tel.: (713) 524-4311
General of the People's Republic of China-Chicago
100 West Erie St.
Tel.: (312) 803-0098
General of the People's Republic of China-Los Angeles
502 Shatto Place, Suite
Los Angeles, California 90020
Tel.: (213) 807-8088
Diplomatic Representation in China
In addition to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing,
there are U.S. Consulates General in Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Shenyang.
American Embassy Beijing
Bei Jie 3
People's Republic of China
Tel.: (86) (10)
6532-3831, FAX: (86) (10) 6532-3178
AND BUSINESS INFORMATION
The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information
Program provides Consular Information Sheets, Travel Warnings, and Public Announcements.
Consular Information Sheets exist for all countries and include information
on entry requirements, currency regulations, health conditions, areas of instability,
crime and security, political disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S. posts
in the country. Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department recommends
that Americans avoid travel to a certain country. Public Announcements
are issued as a means to disseminate information quickly about terrorist threats
and other relatively short-term conditions overseas that pose significant risks
to the security of American travelers. Free copies of this information are available
by calling the Bureau of Consular Affairs at 202-647-5225 or via the fax-on-demand
system: 202-647-3000. Consular Information Sheets and Travel Warnings also are
available on the Consular Affairs Internet home page: http://travel.state.gov/. Consular
Affairs Tips for Travelers publication series, which contain information on obtaining
passports and planning a safe trip abroad, are on the Internet and hard copies
can be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing
Office, telephone: 202-512-1800; fax 202-512-2250.
information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be obtained from the Office
of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-5225. For after-hours emergencies,
Sundays and holidays, call 202-647-4000.
National Passport Information Center (NPIC) is the U.S. Department of State's
single, centralized public contact center for U.S. passport information. Telephone:
1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778). Customer service representatives and operators
for TDD/TTY are available Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time,
excluding federal holidays.
can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at 877-FYI-TRIP (877-394-8747) and
a web site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/index.htm
give the most recent health advisories, immunization recommendations or requirements,
and advice on food and drinking water safety for regions and countries. A booklet
entitled Health Information for International Travel (HHS publication number CDC-95-8280)
is available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, tel.
Information on travel
conditions, visa requirements, currency and customs regulations, legal holidays,
and other items of interest to travelers also may be obtained before your departure
from a country's embassy and/or consulates in the U.S. (for this country, see
"Principal Government Officials" listing in this publication).
citizens who are long-term visitors or traveling in dangerous areas are encouraged
their travel via the State Department’s travel registration web site at https://travelregistration.state.gov/
or at the Consular section of the U.S. embassy upon arrival in a country by filling
out a short form and sending in a copy of their passports. This may help family
members contact you in case of an emergency.
Department of State Web Site. Available on
the Internet at http://www.state.gov/, the Department
of State web site provides timely, global access to official U.S. foreign policy
information, including Background Notes and
daily press briefings
along with the directory of key officers
of Foreign Service posts and more.
provides a portal to all export-related assistance and market information offered
by the federal government and provides trade leads, free export counseling, help
with the export process, and more.
a service of the U.S. Department of Commerce, provides authoritative economic,
business, and international trade information from the Federal government. The
site includes current and historical trade-related releases, international market
research, trade opportunities, and country analysis and provides access to the
National Trade Data Bank.
US State Department