The World Factbook (1990)/China

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The World Factbook (1990)
United States Central Intelligence Agency

pages 62–64

(also see separate Taiwan entry)

World Factbook (1990) China.jpg

 See regional map VIII


Total area: 9,596,960 km²; land area: 9,326,410 km²

Comparative area: slightly larger than the US

Land boundaries: 23,213.34 km total; Afghanistan 76 km, Bhutan 470 km, Burma 2,185 km, Hong Kong 30 km, India 3,380 km, North Korea 1,416 km, Laos 423 km, Macau 0.34 km, Mongolia 4,673 km, Nepal 1,236 km, Pakistan 523 km, USSR 7,520 km, Vietnam 1,281 km

Coastline: 14,500 km

Maritime claims:

Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: boundary with India; bilateral negotiations are under way to resolve four disputed sections of the boundary with the USSR (Pamir, Argun, Amur, and Khabarovsk areas); a short section of the boundary with North Korea is indefinite; Hong Kong is scheduled to become a Special Administrative Region in 1997; Portuguese territory of Macau is scheduled to become a Special Administrative Region in 1999; sporadic border clashes with Vietnam; involved in a complex dispute over the Spratly Islands with Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam; maritime boundary dispute with Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin; Paracel Islands occupied by China, but claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan; claims Japanese-administered Senkaku-shotō (Senkaku Islands)

Climate: extremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in north

Terrain: mostly mountains, high plateaus, deserts in west; plains, deltas, and hills in east

Natural resources: coal, iron ore, crude oil, mercury, tin, tungsten, antimony, manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, magnetite, aluminum, lead, zinc, uranium, world's largest hydropower potential

Land use: 10% arable land; NEGL% permanent crops; 31% meadows and pastures; 14% forest and woodland; 45% other; includes 5% irrigated

Environment: frequent typhoons (about five times per year along southern and eastern coasts), damaging floods, tsunamis, earthquakes; deforestation; soil erosion; industrial pollution; water pollution; desertification

Note: world's third-largest country (after USSR and Canada)


Population: 1,118,162,727 (July 1990), growth rate 1.4% (1990)

Birth rate: 22 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 7 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 0 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 34 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 67 years male, 69 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 2.3 children born/woman (1990)

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

Ethnic divisions: 93.3% Han Chinese; 6.7% Zhuang, Uygur, Hui, Yi, Tibetan, Miao, Manchu, Mongol, Buyi, Korean, and other nationalities

Religion: officially atheist, but traditionally pragmatic and eclectic; most important elements of religion are Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism; about 2-3% Muslim, 1% Christian

Language: Standard Chinese (Putonghua) or Mandarin (based on the Beijing dialect); also Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, and minority languages (see ethnic divisions)

Literacy: over 75%

Labor force: 513,000,000; 61.1% agriculture and forestry, 25.2% industry and commerce, 4.6% construction and mining, 4.5% social services, 4.6% other (1986 est.)

Organized labor: All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) follows the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party; membership over 80 million or about 65% of the urban work force (1985)


Long-form name: People's Republic of China; abbreviated PRC

Type: Communist Party-led state

Capital: Beijing

Administrative divisions: 23 provinces (sheng, singular and plural), 5 autonomous regions* (zizhiqu, singular and plural), and 3 municipalities** (shi, singular and plural); Anhui, Beijing**, Fujian, Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi*, Guizhou, Hainan, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol*, Ningxia*, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanghai**, Shanxi, Sichuan, Tianjin**, Xinjiang*, Xizang*, Yunnan, Zhejiang; note—China considers Taiwan its 23rd province

Independence: unification under the Qin (Ch'in) Dynasty 221 BC, Qing (Ch'ing or Manchu) Dynasty replaced by the Republic on 12 February 1912, People's Republic established 1 October 1949

Constitution: 4 December 1982

Legal system: a complex amalgam of custom and statute, largely criminal law; rudimentary civil code in effect since 1 January 1987; new legal codes in effect since 1 January 1980; continuing efforts are being made to improve civil, administrative, criminal, and commercial law

National holiday: National Day, 1 October (1949)

Executive branch: president, vice president, premier, three vice premiers, State Council, Central Military Commission (de facto)

Legislative branch: unicameral National People's Congress (Quanguo Renmin Daibiao Dahui)

Judicial branch: Supreme People's Court

Leaders: Chief of State and Head of Government (de facto)—DENG Xiaoping (since mid- 1977);

Chief of State—President YANG Shangkun (since 8 April 1988); Vice President WANG Zhen (since 8 April 1988);

Head of Government—Premier LI Peng (Acting Premier since 24 November 1987, Premier since 9 April 1988); Vice Premier YAO Yilin (since 2 July 1979); Vice Premier TIAN Jiyun (since 20 June 1983); Vice Premier WU Xueqian (since 12 April 1988)

Political parties and leaders: only party Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Jiang Zemin, general secretary of the Central Committee

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: President—last held 8 April 1988 (next to be held March 1993); Yang Shangkun was elected by the Seventh National People's Congress;

National People's Congress—last held NA March 1988 (next to be held March 1993); results—CCP is the only party; seats—(2,970 total) CCP 2,970 (indirectly elected)

Communists: about 45,000,000 party members (1986)

Other political or pressure groups: such meaningful opposition as exists consists of loose coalitions, usually within the party and government organization, that vary by issue


Diplomatic representation: Ambassador ZHU Qizhen; Chancery at 2300 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 328-2500 through 2502; there are Chinese Consulates General in Chicago, Houston, New York, and San Francisco; US—Ambassador James R. LILLEY; Embassy at Xiu Shui Bei Jie 3, Beijing (mailing address is FPO San Francisco 96655); telephone [86](1) 532-3831; there are US Consulates General in Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Shenyang

Flag: red with a large yellow five-pointed star and four smaller yellow five-pointed stars (arranged in a vertical arc toward the middle of the flag) in the upper hoist-side corner


Overview: Beginning in late 1978 the Chinese leadership has been trying to move the economy from the sluggish Soviet-style centrally planned economy to a more productive and flexible economy with market elements but still within the framework of monolithic Communist control. To this end the authorities have switched to a system of household responsibility in agriculture in place of the old collectivization, increased the authority of local officials and plant managers in industry, permitted a wide variety of small-scale enterprise in services and light manufacturing, and opened the foreign economic sector to increased trade and joint ventures. The most gratifying result has been a strong spurt in production, particularly in agriculture in the early 1980s. Otherwise, the leadership has often experienced in its hybrid system the worst results of socialism (bureaucracy, lassitude, corruption) and of capitalism (windfall gains and stepped-up inflation). Beijing thus has periodically backtracked, retightening central controls at intervals and thereby undermining the credibility of the reform process. Open inflation and excess demand continue to plague the economy, and political repression, following the crackdown at Tiananmen in mid-1989, has curtailed tourism, foreign aid, and new investment by foreign firms. Popular resistance and changes in central policy have weakened China's population control program, which is essential to the nation's long-term economic viability.

GNP: $NA, per capita $NA; real growth rate 4% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 19.5% (1989)

Unemployment rate: 3.0% in urban areas (1989)

Budget: revenues $NA; expenditures $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA

Exports: $52.5 billion (f.o.b., 1989); commodities—manufactured goods, agricultural products, oilseeds, grain (rice and corn), oil, minerals; partners—Hong Kong, US, Japan, USSR, Singapore, FRG (1989)

Imports: $59.1 billion (c.i.f., 1989); commodities—grain (mostly wheat), chemical fertilizer, steel, industrial raw materials, machinery, equipment; partners—Hong Kong, Japan, US, FRG, USSR (1989)

External debt: $51 billion (1989 est.)

Industrial production: growth rate 8.0% (1989)

Electricity: 110,000,000 kW capacity; 560,000 million kWh produced, 500 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: iron, steel, coal, machine building, armaments, textiles, petroleum

Agriculture: accounts for 26% of GNP; among the world's largest producers of rice, potatoes, sorghum, peanuts, tea, millet, barley, and pork; commercial crops include cotton, other fibers, and oilseeds; produces variety of livestock products; basically self-sufficient in food; fish catch of 8 million metric tons in 1986

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-87), $220.7 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $11.1 billion

Currency: yuan (plural—yuan); 1 yuan (¥) = 10 jiao

Exchange rates: yuan (¥) per US$1—4.7221 (January 1990), 3.7651 (1989), 3.7221 (1988), 3.7221 (1987), 3.4528 (1986), 2.9367 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: total about 54,000 km common carrier lines; 53,400 km 1.435-meter standard gauge; 600 km 1.000-meter gauge; all single track except 11,200 km double track on standard-gauge lines; 6,500 km electrified; 10,000 km industrial lines (gauges range from 0.762 to 1.067 meters)

Highways: about 980,000 km all types roads; 162,000 km paved roads, 617,200 km gravel/improved earth roads, 200,800 km unimproved natural earth roads and tracks

Inland waterways: 138,600 km; about 109,800 km navigable

Pipelines: crude, 6,500 km; refined products, 1,100 km; natural gas, 6,200 km

Ports: Dalian, Guangzhou, Huangpu, Qingdao, Qinhuangdao, Shanghai, Xingang, Zhanjiang, Ningbo

Merchant marine: 1,373 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 13,303,685 GRT/20,092,833 DWT; includes 25 passenger, 41 short-sea passenger, 17 passenger-cargo, 7 cargo/training, 766 cargo, 10 refrigerated cargo, 65 container, 17 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 3 multifunction barge carriers, 173 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 9 chemical tanker, 237 bulk, 2 vehicle carrier, 1 liquefied gas; note—China beneficially owns an additional 175 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling approximately 5,380,415 DWT that operate under the registry of Panama, UK, Hong Kong, Liberia, and Malta

Airports: 330 total, 330 usable; 260 with permanent-surface runways; fewer than 10 with runways over 3,500 m; 90 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 200 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: domestic and international services are increasingly available for private use; unevenly distributed internal system serves principal cities, industrial centers, and most townships; 11,000,000 telephones (December 1989); stations—274 AM, unknown FM, 202 (2,050 relays) TV; more than 215 million radio receivers; 75 million TVs; satellite earth stations—4 Pacific Ocean INTELSAT, 1 Indian Ocean INTELSAT, and 55 domestic

Defense Forces

Branches: Chinese People's Liberation Army (CPLA), CPLA Navy (including Marines), CPLA Air Force

Military manpower: males 15-49, 330,353,665; 184,515,412 fit for military service; 11,594,366 reach military age (18) annually

Defense expenditures: $5.28 billion (1988)