Introduction to China, from a Citizen’s Point of View

This is an post intended for those who is not familiar to China, both People’s Republic and Republic. This is written in the point of view of a citizen living in Municipality of Shanghai. If you find this uninteresting, please not read.

I am no pro in history or politics or law – in fact I am an engineer. This is my personal POV.


China is one of the oldest countries in the world, and one most populous as well. It is effectively separated into four parts:

  • Mainland China, the biggest of the four, controlled by People’s Republic;
  • Hong Kong, an SAR [1. Special Administration Region, in which most laws of the People’s Republic does not apply, essentially a different jurisdiction] of the People’s Republic which was a colony of UK;
  • Macau, another SAR which was a colony of Portugal; and
  • Taiwan which is controlled by Republic of China which is not widely recognized politically but have its impact economically.

The four parts are distinct from each other in their unique ways.

Overall, China have a population over 1.35 billion and GDP (PPP, 2013) of US$13.395 trillion or US$9,844 per capita. The biggest city of the four parts are Shanghai, Hong Kong (itself is a single city), Macau (also a single city) and Taipei. In contrast to lots of people’s belief Peking is not the biggest city of Mainland China, despite being the capital.

History (and reason of this separation)

China is one of the oldest countries in the world, with a history dates back to 21st century BC.

Before that, there was neolithic clans, the oldest dates back to 85th century BC, that scattered all over the territory and some of them even flourished into major forces which unified into one country which was known as Xia dynasty. Across the years the country has been split and unified for multiple times.

China used to have peaked twice in the history: Han dynasty (206 BC – AD 220) and Tang dynasty (618 – 907). In fact, before Industrial Revolution struck Europe, China was always the biggest country in the world, with the highest GDP.

The downfall of China began in 1839 when Britain attacked and Qing dynasty failed to defend due to citizens taking up Opium. That is when Honk Kong got split from Mainland. (Macau was split even earlier during Ming dynasty.) In 1937 Japan attacked which is the earliest war involved in WWII It took a combined force of mostly China, some US and a little USSR 8 years to finish the battle with a victory. Immediately after that China fell into civil war and when ROC failed to hold onto the main land, it backed to Taiwan and split away (effectively, both ROC and PRC claim each other’s territory)

Economy and Development

Mainland China

Mainland China is a developing country with some parts of it well developed and some else really underdeveloped. Generally speaking, provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions that lays by the coastline gets better development, and the east part of the country developed better than the west part.

There are three major megapolises in Mainland China:

  • Bohai Megapolis starring municipalities Peking, Tianjin & City of Tangshan (part of Hebei Province, the city which is shaken in a magnitude 7.8 earthquake);
  • Yangtze-Delta Megapolis starring Municipality of Shanghai (biggest city in China in which I live) and provinces Jiangsu and Zhejiang, and
  • Zhujiang-Delta Megapolis starring cities of Guangdong Province, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Shantou, as well as SAR’s HK and Macau.

Other major cities include Chongqing Megapolis cities Municipality of Chongqing and City of Chengdu (capital of Province of Sichuan), Changsha Megapolis cities Changsha, Zhuzhou and Xiangtan (all cities of Province of Hunan, Changsha is the capital), Northeastern Traditional Heavy Industry area with provinces Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang.

Shanghai is the single richest provincial region of the country, contributing almost 1/3 of the country’s taxes with a population 20 million (HK and Macau do not pay taxes to PRC government as they are different jurisdiction,)

Peking (or Beijing) is the capital of the country. Being the 3rd biggest city of the country after Shanghai and HK, it has the two best universities of the country, Peking University and Tsinghua University, and is a major attraction of high-tech companies.

Shenzhen, being one of the new cities built in the Revolution and Opening movement and have special economical policies, are one of the new engines of development of the country. It is known to be a creative city and iPhones are manufactured there, but it also have major counterfeiting problems.

HK and Macau

HK and Macau are well-developed regions. Being core cities of Zhujiang-Delta Megapolis, both cities attracts major work oppertunities.

I have not been there so I cannot write too much about it.


Taiwan is also well developed. I have not been there as well so that is pretty much it.

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