China is one of the world's oldest continuous civilizations, consisting of states
and cultures dating back more than six millennia. It has the world's longest
continuously used written language systems, and the source of some of the world's
greatest inventions, including paper, the compass, gunpowder and printing.
China's archeological sites and existing diverse regions and peoples are a living
testimony of its rich and fascinating history and culture.
For centuries China stood as a leading civilization, outpacing
the rest of the world in the arts and sciences, but in the 19th
and early 20th centuries, the country was beset by civil unrest,
major famines, military defeats, and foreign occupation. After
World War II, the Communists under MAO Zedong established an
autocratic socialist system. After 1978, his successor DENG
Xiaoping and other leaders focused on market-oriented economic
development and by 2000 GDP output had quadrupled. For much of
the population, living standards have improved dramatically and
the room for personal choice has expanded.
As the capital of the People's Republic of China, Beijing is the nation's
center of government, economy, culture, and international activities, as well
as serving as a transportation hub to the entire country. With a
population of 19.6 people million as of 2010, the municipality contains many districts
and counties covering an area of 6,900 square miles.
Beijing is also known as a tourist city for its many places of
interest, including ancient architecture, royal gardens,
mansions, towers, temples, palaces, and modern structures. It is
a gathering place of artists and other talented people.
Beijing City is located in the northeastern part of China at an elevation of 143
feet above sea level and has a continental climate. January
is the coldest month with an average temperature of 24 degrees
Fahrenheit. At an average temperature of 79 degrees Fahrenheit,
July is the warmest.
Beijing has a long history. As early as 500,000 years ago, ancient "Peking Man"
lived at Zhoukoudian 30 miles southwest of Beijing. King Wu was the first to
declare Beijing the capital city in 1057 B.C. Established in 1045 B.C., Beijing
is an ancient cultural city, serving for 800 years as the capital of the Liao,
Jin, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties.
Beijing was also known as Peking by the Western world before
1949. In the early nineteen twenties, Beijing became the cradle
of China's new democratic revolution. The May Fourth Movement
against imperialism and feudalism began in 1919. On October 1st,
1949, Chairman Mao announced to the world the founding of the
People's Republic of China.