The World Factbook (1982)/China

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The World Factbook (1982)
by the Central Intelligence Agency


(See reference map VIII)


9.6 million km2; 11% cultivated, sown area extended by multicropping, 78% desert, waste, or urban (32% of this area consists largely of denuded wasteland, plains, rolling hills, and basins from which about 3% could be reclaimed), 8% forested; 2%-3% inland water

Land boundaries: 24,000 km


Limits of territorial waters (claimed): 12 nm

Coastline: 14,500 km


Population: 1,055,304,000 (July 1982), average annual growth rate 1.3%

Nationality: noun—Chinese (sing., pl.); adjective—Chinese

Ethnic divisions: 94% Han Chinese; 6% Chuang, Uighur, Hui, Yi, Tibetan, Miao, Manchu, Mongol, Pu-I, Korean, and numerous lesser nationalities

Religion: most people, even before 1949, have been pragmatic and eclectic, not seriously religious; most important elements of religion are Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, ancestor worship; about 2%-3% Muslim, 1% Christian

Language: Chinese (Mandarin mainly; also Cantonese, Wu, Fukienese, Amoy, Hsiang, Kan, Hakka dialects), and minority languages (see ethnic divisions above)

Literacy: at least 25%

Labor force: est. 400 million (mid-1979); 75% agriculture, 25% other; shortage of skilled labor (managerial, technical, mechanics, etc.); surplus of unskilled labor


Official name: People's Republic of China

Type: Communist state; real authority lies with Communist Party's Political Bureau; the National People's Congress, in theory the highest organ of government, usually ratifies the party's programs; the State Council actually directs the government

Capital: Beijing (Peking)

Political subdivisions: 21 provinces, 3 centrally governed municipalities, and 5 autonomous regions

Legal system: before 1966, a complex amalgam of custom and statute, largely criminal; little ostensible development of uniform code of administrative and civil law; highest judicial organ is Supreme People's Court, which reviews lower court decisions; laws and legal procedure subordinate to priorities of party policy; whole system largely suspended during Cultural Revolution but has been revived as part of the current regime's efforts to rationalize the state and to reintroduce socialist legality; regime has attempted to write civil and Communist codes; new legal codes in effect 1 January 1980

National holiday: National Day, 1 October

Branches: before 1966 control was exercised by Chinese Communist Party, through State Council, which supervised more than 60 ministries, commissions, bureaus, etc., all technically under the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress; this system broke down under Cultural Revolution pressures but has been largely restored

Government leader: Premier of State Council ZHAO Ziyang; head of state, Chairman of NPC Standing Committee, YE Jianying; government subordinate to Central Committee of CCP

Suffrage: universal over age 18

Elections: elections held for People's Congress representatives at county level

Political parties and leaders: Chinese Communist Party (CCP), headed by Hu Yaobang; Hu is Chairman of Central Committee and was elected at the party's 6th plenum in June 1981; Central Committee was formed at the 11th Party Congress, held in August 1977

Communists: about 39 million party members in 1981

Other political or pressure groups: the People's Liberation Army (PLA) remains a major force, although many military officers who acquired a wide range of civil political-administrative duties during the Cultural Revolution have been either returned to primarily military positions or removed; many veteran civilian officials, in eclipse since the Cultural Revolution, have been reinstated; mass organizations, such as the trade unions and the youth league, have been rebuilt

Member of: FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IHO, ILO, IMCO, IMF, ITU, Red Cross, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, other international bodies


GNP: $552 billion (1980), $538 per capita

Agriculture: main crops—rice, corn, wheat, miscellaneous grains, oilseed, cotton; agriculture mainly subsistence; grain imports 13.7 million metric tons in 1980

Major industries: iron and steel, coal, machine building, armaments, textiles, petroleum

Shortages: complex machinery and equipment, highly skilled scientists and technicians, electricity

Crude steel: 34.48 million metric tons produced, 30 kg per capita (1979)

Electric power: 66,000,000 kW capacity (1980); 301.0 billion kWh produced (1980), 290 kWh per capita

Exports: $13.8 billion (f.o.b., 1979); agricultural products, oil, minerals and metals, manufactured goods

Imports: $14.5 billion (c.i.f., 1979); grain, chemical fertilizer, steel, industrial raw materials, machinery and equipment

Major trade partners: Japan, Hong Kong, US, West Germany, Romania, Australia, Canada, UK, France, USSR (1979)

Monetary conversion rate: as of 9 September 1980, about 1.46 yuan=US$1 (arbitrarily established)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: networks total about 52,500 route km common-carrier lines; about 600 km meter gauge (1.00 m); rest standard gauge (1.435 m); all single track except 9,345 km double track on standard gauge lines; approximately 1,520 km electrified; about 10,000 km industrial lines (gauges range from 0.762 to 1.435 m)

Highways: about 890,000 km all types roads; almost half (about 350,000 km) unimproved natural earth roads and tracks; about 280,000 km improved earth roads about 2- to 5-meters wide and in poor to fair condition; remainder (about 260,000 km) includes majority of principal roads

Inland waterways: 169,000 km; 40,200 km navigable by modern motorized craft

Ports: 21 major, approximately 180 minor

Airfields: 372 total; 270 with permanent-surface runways; 10 with runways 3,500 m and over; 66 with runways 2,500 to 3,499 m; 230 with runways 1,200 to 2,499 m; 62 with runways less than 1,200 m; 2 seaplane stations; 4 airfields under construction


Military manpower: males 15-49, 274,548,000; 153,482,000 fit for military service; 11,372,000 reach military age (18) annually