China is the home of one of the world's oldest civilizations, but it has only recently become a ``modern`` nation. In the last 20 years, China has changed faster than any other country in the world. Chinese history is divided into dynasties, each of which marks the period when a line of emperors ruled. The first empire was the Qin dynasty and began in 221 B.C. The last emperor was overthrown in 1912, and China became a republic. The communist government began its rule in 1949 following a civil war with the Chinese Nationalists. Ancient China was a land of invention. For centuries, China was way ahead of most other countries in science and technology, astronomy, and math. The Chinese invented paper, the magnetic compass, printing, porcelain, silk, and gunpowder, among other things.
With a population of 1.4 billion, China has more people than any other country on Earth. About a third of the population lives in cities. The rest of the people live in the country.
Arts and crafts have a long history in China. Thousands of years ago the Chinese were some of the first people to use silk, jade, bronze, wood, and paper to make art. The artistic writing called calligraphy was invented in China.
Much of China’s modern beliefs and philosophies are based on the teachings of a government official who lived nearly 3,000 years ago. Kongfuzi, also known as Confucius, taught people the value of such things as morality, kindness, and education.
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China is known for its architectural wonders such as the Great Wall and Forbidden City, its staggering variety of delicious food, its martial arts, and its long history of invention. More than just tea and temples, China is a fast-changing mix of the ultra-modern and the very ancient
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