part of the western Pacific Ocean bordering the Asian mainland on the east-southeast. The China Sea consists of two parts, the South China Sea (Wade-Giles and Pinyin, Nan Hai) and the East China Sea (Wade-Giles, Tung Hai; Pinyin, Dong Hai), which connect through the shallow Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and mainland China. The South China Sea is bounded on the west by the Asian mainland, on the south by a rise in the seabed between Sumatra and Borneo, and on the east by Borneo, the Philippines, and Taiwan. The sea's northern boundary extends from the northernmost point of Taiwan to the coast of Fukien province, China. As the largest marginal sea of the western Pacific, it covers an area of about 1,423,000 square miles (3,685,000 square km) and has a mean depth of 3,478 feet (1,060 m). The major topographic feature of the South China Sea is a deep, rhombus-shaped basin in the eastern portion, with reef-studded shoal areas rising up steeply within the basin to the south and northwest. The deepest section, called the China Sea Basin, has a maximum depth of 16,457 feet (5,016 m). A broad, shallow shelf extends up to 150 miles (240 km) in width between the mainland and the northwestern side of the basin and includes the Gulf of Tonkin and Taiwan Strait. To the south, off southern Vietnam, the shelf narrows and connects with the Sundra Shelf, which is one of the largest sea shelves in the world. The Sundra Shelf covers the area between Borneo, Sumatra, and Malaysia, including the southern portion of the South China Sea. The major rivers draining into the sea are the tributaries forming the Pearl River delta between Hong Kong and Macau, the Hsi River, which enters near Macau, and the Red and Mekong rivers, which enter in Vietnam. Weather in the region is tropical and largely controlled by monsoon winds. Annual rainfall varies from about 80 inches (2,000 mm) to as much as 160 inches around the southern basin; summer typhoons are frequent. Monsoons also control the sea-surface currents as well as the exchange of water between the South China Sea and adjacent bodies of water. The East China Sea extends northeastward from the South China Sea and is bounded on the west by the Asian mainland and on the east by the Ryukyu Islands chain, Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu, and Cheju Island, off South Korea. An imaginary east-west line connecting Cheju Island with the mainland of China separates the East China Sea from the Yellow Sea to its north. The East China Sea, with an area of 290,000 square miles (751,100 square km), is generally shallow, having an average depth of only 1,145 feet (349 m). The Okinawa Trough, its deepest section, extends alongside the Ryukyu Island chain and has a maximum depth of 8,912 feet (2,717 m). The western edge of the sea is a continuation of the shelf that extends from the South China Sea north to the Yellow Sea. The weather of the East China Sea is also dominated by the monsoon wind system. Warm, moist winds from the western Pacific bring a rainy summer season accompanied by typhoons, but in the winter the monsoons reverse and bring cold, dry air from the Asian continent in the northwest. The winds influence the water circulation of the Kuroshio (Japan Current), a northward-flowing branch of the warm North Equatorial Current that flows near Taiwan. Both seas are heavily fished; tuna, mackerel, croaker, anchovy, shrimp, and shellfish constitute the main catch. Fish from the South China Sea provide as much as 50 percent of the animal protein consumed along the densely populated coast of Southeast Asia. Both seas also serve as major shipping routes. The South China Sea, with the Strait of Malacca, forms the main transport route between the Pacific and Indian oceans, and the East China Sea serves as the main shipping route from the South China Sea to Japanese and other North Pacific ports. The economy Despite China's size, the wealth of its resources, and the fact that more than 20 percent of the world's population lives within its borders, its role in the world economy traditionally has been relatively small. Since the late 1970s, however, when China decided to increase its interaction with the international economy, its role in world trade has steadily grown and its importance to the international economy has also increased apace. China's foreign trade has since grown faster than its gross national product (GNP). The government's decision to permit China to be used by Western firms as an export platform may eventually make the country a competitive threat to its neighbours South Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia. The Chinese economy thus has been in a state of transition since the late 1970s as the country has moved away from a Soviet-type economic system. Agriculture has been decollectivized, the small nonagricultural private sector has grown rapidly, and government priorities have shifted toward light, rather than heavy, industry. Nevertheless, key bottlenecks continue to constrain growth. Available energy is sufficient to run less than 80 percent of installed industrial capacity, the transport system is inadequate to move sufficient quantities of such critical items as coal, and the communications system cannot meet the needs of a centrally planned economy of China's size and complexity. China's underdeveloped transport system-combined with important differences in the availability of natural and human resources and in industrial infrastructure-has produced significant variations in the regional economies of China. The three wealthiest regions are along the southeast coast, centred on the Pearl River Delta; along the east coast, centred on the Lower Yangtze River; and near the Po Hai (Gulf of Chihli), in the Peking-Tientsin-Liaoning region. It is the rapid development of these areas that is expected to have the most significant effect on the Asian regional economy as a whole, and Chinese government policy is designed to remove the obstacles to accelerated growth in these wealthier regions. China is the world's largest producer of rice and is among the principal sources of wheat, corn (maize), tobacco, soybeans, peanuts (groundnuts), and cotton. The country is one of the world's largest producers of a number of industrial and mineral products-including cotton cloth, tungsten, and antimony-and is an important producer of cotton yarn, coal, crude oil, and a number of other products. Its mineral resources are probably among the richest in the world but are only partially developed. Although China has acquired some highly sophisticated production facilities through trade with Western countries-and also has built a number of advanced engineering plants capable of manufacturing an increasing range of sophisticated equipment, including nuclear weapons and Earth satellites-most of its industrial output still comes from relatively backward and ill-equipped factories. The technological level and quality standards of its industry as a whole are still fairly low. Other major problems concern the labour force and the pricing system. There is large-scale underemployment in both urban and rural areas, and the fear of the disruptive effects of major, explicit unemployment is strong. The prices of key commodities, especially of industrial raw materials and major industrial products, are determined by the state. In most cases, basic price ratios were set in the 1950s and are often irrational in terms of current production capabilities and demands. China's increasing contact with the international economy and its growing efforts to use market forces to govern the domestic allocation of goods have exacerbated this problem. Over the years, large subsidies were built into the price structure, and these subsidies grew substantially in the late 1970s and '80s. Resources Mineral resources China is well endowed with mineral resources, the most important of which is coal. Although deposits are widely scattered (some coal is found in every province), most of the total is located in the northern part of the country. The province of Shansi, in fact, is thought to contain about half of the total; other important coal-bearing provinces include Heilungkiang, Liaoning, Kirin, Hopeh, and Shantung. Apart from these northern provinces, significant quantities of coal are present in Szechwan, and there are some deposits of importance in Kwangtung, Kwangsi, Yunnan, and Kweichow. A large part of the country's reserves consists of good bituminous coal, but there are also large deposits of lignite. Anthracite is present in several places (especially Liaoning, Kweichow, and Honan), but overall it is not very significant. In order to ensure a more even distribution of coal supplies and to reduce the strain on the less than adequate transport network, the authorities have pressed for the development of a large number of small, locally run mines throughout the country. This campaign was energetically pursued after the 1960s, with the result that thousands of small pits have been established, and they produce more than half the country's coal. This output, however, is typically expensive and is used for local consumption. China's onshore oil resources are located in the Northeast and in Sinkiang, Kansu, Tsinghai, Szechwan, Shantung, and Honan provinces. Shale oil is found in a number of places, especially at Fu-shun in Liaoning, where the deposits overlie the coal reserves, as well as in Kwangtung. Light oil of high quality has been found in the Pearl River estuary of the South China Sea, the Tsaidam Basin in Tsinghai, and the Tarim Basin in Sinkiang. China contracted with Western oil companies to jointly explore and develop oil deposits in the China Sea, the Yellow Sea, the Gulf of Tonkin, and the Po Hai. The country consumes most of its oil output but does export some crude oil and oil products. The extent of China's natural gas reserves is unknown, as relatively little exploration for natural gas has been done. Szechwan Province accounts for almost half of the known natural gas reserves and production. Most of the rest of China's natural gas is associated gas produced in the Northeast's major oil fields, especially Ta-ch'ing. Other gas deposits have been found in the Tsaidam Basin, Hopeh, Kiangsu, Shanghai, and Chekiang, and offshore to the southwest of Hai-nan Island. Iron ore is found in most provinces, and there are reserves on Hai-nan Island. Kansu, Kweichow, southern Szechwan, and Kwangtung provinces have rich deposits. The largest mined reserves are located north of the Yangtze River and supply neighbouring iron and steel enterprises. With the exception of nickel, chromium, and cobalt, China is well supplied with ferroalloys and manganese. Reserves of tungsten are also known to be fairly large. Copper resources are moderate, and high-quality ore is present only in a few deposits. Discoveries have been reported from the Hui Autonomous Region of Ningsia. Lead and zinc are available, and bauxite resources are thought to be plentiful. China's antimony reserves are the largest in the world. Tin resources are plentiful, and there are fairly rich deposits of gold. There are important deposits of phosphate rock in a number of areas. Pyrites occur in several places; Liaoning, Hopeh, Shantung, and Shansi have the most important deposits. China also has large resources of fluorite (fluorspar), gypsum, asbestos, and cement. China also produces a fairly wide range of nonmetallic minerals. One of the most important of these is salt, which is derived from coastal evaporation sites in Kiangsu, Hopeh, Shantung, and Liaoning, as well as from extensive salt fields in Szechwan, Ningsia, and the Tsaidam Basin. The people Ethnic and linguistic groups A father and son dine in a restaurant, Shanghai, China. In 1979 the first steps were taken to 1/4 General ethnic composition of China. China is a multinational country, with a population composed of a large number of ethnic and linguistic groups. Thus, the basic classification of the population is not so much ethnic as linguistic. The Han (Chinese), the largest group, outnumber the minority groups or minority nationalities in every province or autonomous region except Tibet and Sinkiang. The Han, therefore, form the great homogeneous mass of the Chinese people, sharing the same culture, the same traditions, and the same written language. Some 55 minority groups are spread over approximately three-fifths of the total area of the country. Where these minority groups are found in large numbers, they have been given some semblance of autonomy and self-government; autonomous regions of several types have been established on the basis of the geographic distribution of nationalities. The government takes great credit for its treatment of these minorities, including care for their economic well-being, the raising of their living standards, the provision of educational facilities, the promotion of their national languages and cultures, and the raising of their levels of literacy, as well as for the introduction of a written language where none existed previously. It must be noted, however, that some minorities, Tibetans in particular, have been subject to varying degrees of repression. Still, of the 50-odd minority languages, only 20 had written forms before the coming of the Communists; and only relatively few written languages-for example, Mongolian, Tibetan, Uighur, Kazak, Thai, and Korean-were in everyday use. Other written languages were used chiefly for religious purposes and by a limited number of persons. Educational institutions for national minorities are a feature of many large cities, notably Peking, Wu-han, Ch'eng-tu, and Lan-chou. Four major language families are represented in China: the Sino-Tibetan, Altaic, Indo-European, and Austroasiatic. The Sino-Tibetan family, both numerically and in the extent of its distribution, is the most important; within this family, Han Chinese is the most widely spoken language. Although unified by their tradition, the written characters of their language, and many cultural traits, the Han speak several mutually unintelligible dialects and display marked regional differences. By far the most important Chinese tongue is the Mandarin, or p'u-t'ung hua, meaning "ordinary language" or "common language." There are three variants of Mandarin. The first of these is the northern variant, of which the Peking dialect, or Peking hua, is typical and which is spoken to the north of the Tsinling Mountains-Huai River line; as the most widespread Chinese tongue, it has officially been adopted as the basis for a national language. The second is the western variant, also known as the Ch'eng-tu or Upper Yangtze variant; this is spoken in the Szechwan Basin and in adjoining parts of southwestern China. The third is the southern variant, also known as the Nanking or Lower Yangtze variant, which is spoken in northern Kiangsu and in southern and central Anhwei. Related to Mandarin are the Hunan, or Hsiang, dialect, spoken by people in central and southern Hunan, and the Kan dialect. The Hui-chou dialect, spoken in southern Anhwei, forms an enclave within the southern Mandarin area. Less intelligible to Mandarin speakers are the dialects of the southeast coastal region, stretching from Shanghai to Canton. The most important of these is the Wu dialect, spoken in southern Kiangsu and in Chekiang. This is followed, to the south, by the Fu-chou, or Northern Min, dialect of northern and central Fukien and by the Amoy-Swatow, or Southern Min, dialect of southern Fukien and easternmost Kwangtung. The Hakka dialect of southernmost Kiangsi and northeastern Kwangtung has a rather scattered pattern of distribution. Probably the best known of these southern dialects is Yeh, particularly Cantonese, which is spoken in central and western Kwangtung, Hong Kong, and in southern Kwangsi-a dialect area in which a large proportion of overseas Chinese originated. In addition to the Han, the Manchu and the Hui (Chinese Muslims) also speak Mandarin and use Chinese characters. The Hui are descendants of Chinese who adopted Islam when it penetrated into China in the 7th century. They are intermingled with the Han throughout much of the country and are distinguished as Hui only in the area of their heaviest concentration, the Hui Autonomous Region of Ningsia. Other Hui communities are organized as autonomous prefectures (tzu-chih-chou) in Sinkiang and as autonomous counties (tzu-chih-hsien) in Tsinghai, Hopeh, Kweichow, and Yunnan. Increasingly, the Hui have been moving from their scattered settlements into the area of major concentration, possibly, as firm adherents of Islam, in order to facilitate intermarriage with other Muslims. The Manchu declare themselves to be descendants of the Manchu warriors who invaded China in the 17th century and founded the Ch'ing dynasty (1644-1911/12). Ancient Manchu is virtually a dead language, and the Manchu have been completely assimilated into Han Chinese culture. They are found mainly in North China and the Northeast, but they form no separate autonomous areas above the commune level. Some say the Koreans of the Northeast, who form an autonomous prefecture in eastern Kirin, cannot be assigned with certainty to any of the standard language classifications. The Chuang (Chuang-chia) are China's largest minority group. Most of them live in the Chuang Autonomous Region of Kwangsi. They are also represented in national autonomous areas in neighbouring Yunnan and Kwangtung. They depend mainly on the cultivation of rice for their livelihood. In religion they are animists, worshiping particularly the spirits of their ancestors. The Puyi (Chung-chia) group are concentrated in southern Kweichow, where they share an autonomous prefecture with the Miao (Hmong) group. The T'ung group are settled in small communities in Kwangsi and Kweichow; they share with the Miao group an autonomous prefecture set up in southeast Kweichow in 1956. The Tai speakers are concentrated in southern Yunnan and were established in two autonomous prefectures-one whose population is related most closely to the Tai of northern Thailand and another whose Tai are related to the Shan people of Myanmar (Burma). The Li of Hai-nan Island form a separate group of the Chinese-Tai language branch. They share with the Miao people a district in southern Hai-nan. Tibetans are distributed over the entire Tsinghai-Tibetan plateau. Outside Tibet, Tibetan minorities constitute autonomous prefectures and autonomous counties. There are five Tibetan autonomous prefectures in Tsinghai, two in Szechwan, and one each in Yunnan and Kansu. The Tibetans still keep their tribal characteristics, but few of them are nomadic. Though essentially farmers, they also raise livestock and, as with other tribal peoples in the Chinese far west, also hunt to supplement their food supply. The major religion of Tibet has been Tibetan Buddhism since about the 17th century; before 1959 the social and political institutions of this region were still based largely on this faith. Many of the Yi (Lolo) were concentrated in two autonomous prefectures-one in southern Szechwan and another in northern Yunnan. They raise crops and sometimes keep flocks and herds. The Miao-Yao (Hmong-Mien) branch, with their major concentration in Kweichow, are distributed throughout the central south and southwestern provinces and are found also in some small areas in eastern China. They are subdivided into many rather distinct groupings. Most of them have now lost their traditional tribal traits through the influence of the Han, and it is only their language that serves to distinguish them as tribal peoples. Two-thirds of the Miao are settled in Kweichow, where they share two autonomous prefectures with the T'ung and Puyi groups. The Yao people are concentrated in the Kwangsi-Kwangtung-Hunan border area. In some areas of China, especially in the southwest, there are many different ethnic groups that are geographically intermixed. Because of language barriers and different economic structures, these peoples all maintain their own cultural traits and live in relative isolation from one another. In some places the Han are active in the towns and in the fertile river valleys, while the minority peoples depend for their livelihood on more primitive forms of agriculture or on grazing their livestock on hillsides and mountains. The vertical distribution of these peoples is in zones-usually the higher they live, the less complex their way of life. In former times they did not mix well with one another, but now, with highways penetrating deep into their settlements, they have better opportunities to communicate with other groups and are also enjoying better living conditions. While the minorities of the Sino-Tibetan language family are thus concentrated in the south and southwest, the second major language family-the Altaic-is represented entirely by minorities in northwestern and northern China. The Altaic family falls into three branches: Turkic, Mongolian, and Manchu-Tungus. The Turkic language branch is by far the most numerous of the three Altaic branches. The Uighur, who are Muslims, form the largest Turkic minority. They are distributed over chains of oases in the Tarim Basin and in the Dzungarian Basin of Sinkiang. They mainly depend on irrigation agriculture for a livelihood. Other Turkic minorities in Sinkiang are splinter groups of nationalities living in neighbouring nations of Central Asia, including the Kazaks and Kyrgyz. All these groups are adherents of Islam. The Kazaks and Kyrgyz are pastoral nomadic peoples, still showing traces of tribal organization. The Kazaks live mainly in northwestern and northeastern Sinkiang as herders, retiring to their camps in the valleys when winter comes; they are established in the I-li-ha-sa-k'o (Ili Kazak) Autonomous Prefecture. The Kyrgyz are high-mountain pastoralists and are concentrated mainly in the westernmost part of Sinkiang. The Mongolians, who are by nature a nomadic people, are the most widely dispersed of the minority nationalities of China. Most of them are inhabitants of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Small Mongolian and Mongolian-related groups of people are scattered throughout the vast area from Sinkiang through Tsinghai and Kansu and into the provinces of the Northeast (Kirin, Heilungkiang, and Liaoning). In addition to the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, the Mongolians are established in two autonomous prefectures in Sinkiang, a joint autonomous prefecture with Tibetans and Kazaks in Tsinghai, and several autonomous counties in the western area of the Northeast. Some of them retain their tribal divisions and are pastoralists, but large numbers of Mongolians engage in sedentary agriculture, and some of them combine the growing of crops with herding. The tribes, who are dependent upon animal husbandry, travel each year around the pastureland-grazing sheep, goats, horses, cattle, and camels-and then return to their point of departure. A few take up hunting and fur trapping in order to supplement their income. The Mongolian language consists of several dialects, but in religion it is a unifying force; most Mongolians are believers in Tibetan Buddhism. A few linguistic minorities in China belong to neither the Sino-Tibetan nor the Altaic language family. The Tajik of westernmost Sinkiang are related to the population of Tajikistan and belong to the Iranian branch of the Indo-European family. The Kawa people of the China-Burma border area belong to the Mon-Khmer branch of the Austro-Asiatic family. Population growth Historical records show that, as long ago as 800 BC, in the early years of the Chou dynasty, China was already inhabited by about 13,700,000 people. Until the last years of the Hsi (Western) Han dynasty, about AD 2, comparatively accurate and complete registers of population were kept, and the total population in that year was given as 59,600,000. This first Chinese census was intended mainly as a preparatory step toward the levy of a poll tax. Many members of the population, aware that a census might work to their disadvantage, managed to avoid reporting; this explains why all subsequent population figures were unreliable until 1712. In that year the Emperor declared that an increased population would not be subject to tax; population figures thereafter gradually became more accurate. During the later years of the Pei (Northern) Sung dynasty, in the early 12th century, when China was already in the heyday of its economic and cultural development, the total population began to exceed 100,000,000. Later, uninterrupted and large-scale invasions from the north reduced the country's population. When national unification returned with the advent of the Ming dynasty, the census was at first strictly conducted. The population of China, according to a registration compiled in 1381, was quite close to the one registered in AD 2. From the 15th century onward, the population increased steadily; this increase was interrupted by wars and natural disasters in the mid-17th century and slowed by the internal strife and foreign invasions in the century that preceded the Communist takeover in 1949. During the 18th century China enjoyed a lengthy period of peace and prosperity, characterized by continual territorial expansion and an accelerating population increase. In 1762 China had a population of more than 200,000,000, and by 1834 the population had doubled. It should be noted that during this period there was no concomitant increase in the amount of cultivable land; from this time on, land hunger became a growing problem. After 1949 sanitation and medical care greatly improved, epidemics were brought under control, and the younger generation became much healthier. Public hygiene also improved, resulting in a death rate that declined faster than the birth rate and a rate of population growth that speeded up again. Population reached 1,000,000,000 in the early 1980s. The continually growing population poses major problems for the government. Faced with difficulties in obtaining an adequate food supply and in combating the generally low standard of living, the authorities sponsored a drive for birth control in 1955-58. A second attempt at population control began in 1962, when advocacy of late marriages and the use of contraceptives became prominent parts of the program. The outbreak of the Cultural Revolution interrupted this second family-planning drive, but in 1970 a third and much stricter program was initiated. This program attempted to make late marriage and family limitation obligatory, and it culminated in 1979 in efforts to implement a policy of one child per family. Other developments affected the rate of population growth more than the first two official family-planning campaigns. For example, although family planning had been rejected by Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung) in 1958, the Great Leap Forward that he initiated in that year (see below The economy) caused a massive famine that resulted in more deaths than births and a reduction of population in 1960. By 1963 recovery from the famine produced the highest rate of population increase since 1949, at more than 3 percent, although the second birth-control campaign had already begun. Since the initiation of the third family-planning program in 1970, however, state efforts have been much more effective. China's population growth rate is now unusually low for a developing country, although the huge size of its population still results in a large annual net population growth.
Meaning of CHINA SEA in English
Britannica English vocabulary. Английский словарь Британика. 2012