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Understanding China

Understanding China

China is a huge and complex country which in the past three decades has developed at a staggering pace, never before seen in history. This growth has allowed many people and regions to grow wealthy, while rural areas lag far behind. Ever higher living standards in big cities continue to rise, while not far away many people still live in extreme poverty in the countryside. In and around cities, old villages and neighborhoods are everywhere being torn down and replaced with high-rise buildings and apartment complexes. Although much of China has enjoyed economic success, many problems still remain.

The Need for Social Services

The benefits of China’s economic growth have not reached all members of society, and new problems have arisen in the past few decades. Much infrastructure is inadequate to withstand natural disasters, and help is needed to recover. Many elderly persons do not have family who are able to adequately care for them. Many infants are still abandoned or have lost parents to AIDS. Children from rural areas do not have adequate education or resources. Jinde responds to these and more needs, recognizing the dignity of each person.

People

China is the third largest country in the world in terms of area but it is the world's largest based on population, with over 1.3 billion people.
China officially recognizes 56 distinct ethnic groups, the largest of which are the Han Chinese, who constitute about 91% of the total population.Ethnic minorities account for about 9% of the population of China. They include groups such as the Zhuang, Hui, Manchu, Tibetan, Miao, Uyghur, and many others. Each group has its own customs, clothing, and language.

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Geography

China is located in Eastern Asia with its borders along several countries and the East China Sea, Korea Bay, the Yellow Sea, and the South China Sea. China is divided into three geographic regions: the mountains to the west, the various deserts and basins in the northeast and the low lying valleys and plains in the east. Most of China however consists of mountains and plateaus such as the Tibetan Plateau which leads into the Himalayan Mountains and Mount Everest.

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Economy

Since economic liberalization began in 1978, China's investment- and export-led economy has grown almost a hundredfold and is the fastest-growing major economy in the world. According to the IMF, China's annual average GDP growth between 2001 and 2010 was 10.5%, and the Chinese economy is predicted to grow at an average annual rate of 9.5% between 2011 and 2015. Between 2007 and 2011, China's economic growth rate was equivalent to all of the G7 countries' growth combined.

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Government

The country is ruled by the Communist Party of China (CPC), whose power is enshrined in China's constitution. The political system is partly decentralized, with limited elections internal to the party and at village levels, although these experiments have been marred by corruption. There are other political parties in China, however, the Party retains control over government appointments. Political concerns include lessening the growing gap between rich and poor and fighting corruption within the government leadership.

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