The Chinese call their own country “Zhongguo”, the “Middle Kingdom”. The rest of the world knows it as the “People’s Republic of China”, or “China” for short. Covering an area of 9.597.985 square kilometers, China is about the same size as the USA. With a population of around 1.4 billion, it is the world’s most populous country.
China belongs to the world’s earliest advanced civilizations, with the first written records dating back more than 3.500 years. The Chinese Empire, built in 221 BC, lasted for more than 2000 years. During that time, China was rarely a unified country. Several empires fought over supremacy of the region, and peoples such as the Tibetans, Uyghurs, and Taiwanese have been incorporated only in the late Chinese regency. Among the reasons for the end of the Empire was the occupation of several regions by the European colonial powers. On 1 January 1912, Sun Yat-sen proclaimed the establishment of the “Republic of China”. The Second Japanese-Chinese War and the resurgence of the civil war between the Nationalist Kuomintang and the Communists under Mao Zedong shaped the 20th century. Following their defeat, the Kuomintang government retreated to Taiwan. On 1 October 1949, Mao proclaimed the “People’s Republic of China” in mainland China, which was admitted to the United Nations as the legitimate Chinese representative in place of the Republic of China.
According to its constitution, China is reigned by the people’s democratic dictatorship. It is thus a socialist one-party state. In 2018, the term limits for the presidency have been removed. Hinting at the growing centralization of his power, President Xi Jinping has repeatedly been called China’s new emperor.
China’s enormous cultural and religious variety combined with the state’s growing influence on people’s lives make China a highly interesting destination for an internship abroad – precisely due to its complexity.