1 For many centuries China was a leading civilization, outpacing other countries in terms of economic power and cultural and scientific development. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, China was afflicted by civil wars, famine, military defeat, and foreign occupation. The last Chinese civil war resulted in two political entities using the name China (Chinese: Zhongguo, meaning ‘Middle Kingdom’): the People’s Republic of China (‘PRC’) and the Republic of China (‘ROC’; see Divided States). The PRC administers mainland China and, since 1997 and 1999 respectively,...
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