China officially recognizes56 distinct ethnic groups,the largest of which are theHan Chinese, whoconstitute about 91.51% ofthe total population. TheHan Chinese – the worldslargest single ethnic group –outnumber other ethnicgroups in every province,municipality andautonomous region exceptTibet and Xinjiang, and aredescended from ancientHuaxia tribes living alongthe Yellow River.
LanguageThe languages of China are collectively known as Zhongyu(simplified Chinese: 中语; traditional Chinese: 中語;pinyin: Zhōngyǔ), and their study is considered a distinctacademic discipline in China. The languages most studiedand supported by the state include Chinese, Mongolian,Tibetan, Uyghur and Zhuang. China has 292 livinglanguages and 1 extinct language (Jurchen) according toEthnologue.Standard Chinese (known in China as Putonghua) is theofficial national spoken language for the mainland.Several other autonomous regions have additionalofficial languages
ReligionBuddhismBuddhism was introduced to China around the first centuryA.D. Since the fourth century A.D, it was widely spread andgradually became the most influential religion in China.Buddhism in China is divided into three branches according tovaried language families, namely, Chinese Buddhism, TibetanBuddhism and Pali Buddhism and there are about 200thousand Buddhist monks and nuns under these threebranches. At present, there are more than 13 thousandBuddhist temples that are open to the public, 33 Buddhistcolleges and nearly 50 types of Buddhist publications inChina.
TaoismTaoism is a typically traditional religion inChina with a history of more than 18 hundredyears since the second century A.D. Itadvocates the worship of natural objects andancestors as was practiced since timeimmemorial and had various factions in thehistory; later, it evolved into two majorfactions, namely, Quanzhen and ZhengyiTaoism, and was fairly influential among Hanpeople.
IslamIslam was introduced to China in the seventhcentury A.D with nearly 18 million believers fromHui, Uygur, Tartar, Kirgiz, Kazakh, Ozbek,Dongxiang, Sala and Baoan nationalities. Most ofthe Muslims in China live in compactcommunities in Xinjiang Uygur AutonomousRegion, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Gansu,Qinghai and Yunnan Provinces; besides, someMuslims in small groups live in other provinces orcities in China. At present, there are more than 30thousand mosques in China with over 40thousand imams or ahungs.
CatholicismCatholicism was first introduced to China in the seventh century andwidely spread across the country after the Opium War in 1840. Atpresent, Chinese Catholic Church boasts one hundred parishes, somefive million believers, nearly five thousand cathedrals and places forreligious activities and twelve theological seminaries.ChristianityChristianity was introduced to China in early 19th century andwidely spread after 1840s. In 1950, the church called on its believersto shake off the vestige of foreign imperialist influence and upholdpatriotism in order to achieve self-administration, self-supporting andself-propagation, which are the cardinal principle of ChineseChristianity. At present, there are about ten million Christianbelievers, 18 thousand priests and 12 churches or religious sites inChina.
Education in the Peoples Republic of China is astate-run system of public education run bythe Ministry of Education. All citizens must attendschool for at least nine years. The governmentprovides primary education for six to nine years,starting at age six or seven, followed by six yearsof secondary education for ages 12 to 18. Someprovinces may have five years of primary school butfour years for middle school. There are three years ofmiddle school and three years of high school. TheMinistry of Education reported a 99 percentattendance rate for primary school and an 80 percentrate for both primary and middle schools. In 1985, thegovernment abolished tax-funded higher education,requiring university applicants to competefor scholarships based on academic ability. In the early1980s the government allowed the establishment ofthe first private schools.
The Socialist market economy of PeoplesRepublic of China (PRC) is the worldssecond largest economy by nominalGDP and by purchasing power parity afterthe United States. It is the worlds fastest-growing major economy, with growth ratesaveraging 10% over the past 30 years. Chinais also the largest exporter and secondlargest importer of goods in the world.Currency: Renminbi ; Unit: YuanFiscal Year: (1 January to 31 December)