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The People's Republic of China , commonly known as China, is the largest country in East Asia and the most populous in the world with over 1.3 billion people, approximately a fifth of the world's population. It is a socialist republic ruled by the Communist Party of China under a single-party system, and according to the Constitution, is a people's democratic dictatorship of socialist state, and has jurisdiction over twenty-two provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities, and two largely self-governing Special Administrative Regions. China's capital is Beijing.


At 9.6 million square kilometres, the People's Republic of China is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area, and the second largest by land area. Its landscape is diverse with forest steppes and deserts (the Gobi and Taklamakan) in the dry north near Mongolia and Russia's Siberia, and subtropical forests in the wet south close to Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar. The terrain in the west is rugged and high altitude, with the Himalayas and the Tian Shan mountain ranges forming China's natural borders with India and Central Asia. In contrast, China's eastern seaboard is low-lying and has a 14,500-kilometre long coastline bounded on the southeast by the South China Sea and on the east by the East China Sea beyond which lies Korea and Japan.


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Taken on May 19, 2008