A Guide to China

China has one of the world's oldest people and continuous civilizations, consisting of states and cultures dating back more than six millennia. It has the world's longest continuously used written language system, and is the source of many major inventions, such as what the British scholar and biochemist Joseph Needham called the "four great inventions of Ancient China": paper, the compass, gunpowder, and printing. Historically, China's cultural sphere has extended across East Asia as a whole, with Chinese religion, customs, and writing systems being adopted to varying degrees by its neighbors Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.

The last Chinese Civil War has resulted in two political entities using the name China: the People's Republic of China (PRC), commonly known as China, which controls mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau; and the Republic of China (ROC), commonly known as Taiwan, which controls the island of Taiwan and some nearby islands.

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