China the People's Republic of China, is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering 9,600,000 square kilometers, it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities, the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. China emerged as one of the world's earliest civilizations, in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. For millennia, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies, or dynasties, beginning with the semi-legendary Xia dynasty in 21st century BCE. Since China has expanded, re-unified numerous times. In the 3rd century BCE, the Qin established the first Chinese empire; the succeeding Han dynasty, which ruled from 206 BC until 220 AD, saw some of the most advanced technology at that time, including papermaking and the compass, along with agricultural and medical improvements.
The invention of gunpowder and movable type in the Tang dynasty and Northern Song completed the Four Great Inventions. Tang culture spread in Asia, as the new Silk Route brought traders to as far as Mesopotamia and Horn of Africa. Dynastic rule ended in 1912 with the Xinhai Revolution; the Chinese Civil War resulted in a division of territory in 1949, when the Communist Party of China established the People's Republic of China, a unitary one-party sovereign state on Mainland China, while the Kuomintang-led government retreated to the island of Taiwan. The political status of Taiwan remains disputed. Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China's economy has been one of the world's fastest-growing with annual growth rates above 6 percent. According to the World Bank, China's GDP grew from $150 billion in 1978 to $12.24 trillion by 2017. Since 2010, China has been the world's second-largest economy by nominal GDP and since 2014, the largest economy in the world by purchasing power parity.
China is the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army and second-largest defense budget; the PRC is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as it replaced the ROC in 1971, as well as an active global partner of ASEAN Plus mechanism. China is a leading member of numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, WTO, APEC, BRICS, the BCIM, the G20. In recent times, scholars have argued that it will soon be a world superpower, rivaling the United States; the word "China" has been used in English since the 16th century. It is not a word used by the Chinese themselves, it has been traced through Portuguese and Persian back to the Sanskrit word Cīna, used in ancient India."China" appears in Richard Eden's 1555 translation of the 1516 journal of the Portuguese explorer Duarte Barbosa. Barbosa's usage was derived from Persian Chīn, in turn derived from Sanskrit Cīna.
Cīna was first used including the Mahābhārata and the Laws of Manu. In 1655, Martino Martini suggested that the word China is derived from the name of the Qin dynasty. Although this derivation is still given in various sources, it is complicated by the fact that the Sanskrit word appears in pre-Qin literature; the word may have referred to a state such as Yelang. The meaning transferred to China as a whole; the origin of the Sanskrit word is still a matter of debate, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The official name of the modern state is the "People's Republic of China"; the shorter form is "China" Zhōngguó, from zhōng and guó, a term which developed under the Western Zhou dynasty in reference to its royal demesne. It was applied to the area around Luoyi during the Eastern Zhou and to China's Central Plain before being used as an occasional synonym for the state under the Qing, it was used as a cultural concept to distinguish the Huaxia people from perceived "barbarians". The name Zhongguo is translated as "Middle Kingdom" in English.
Archaeological evidence suggests that early hominids inhabited China between 2.24 million and 250,000 years ago. The hominid fossils of Peking Man, a Homo erectus who used fire, were discovered in a cave at Zhoukoudian near Beijing; the fossilized teeth of Homo sapiens have been discovered in Fuyan Cave in Hunan. Chinese proto-writing existed in Jiahu around 7000 BCE, Damaidi around 6000 BCE, Dadiwan from 5800–5400 BCE, Banpo dating from the 5th millennium BCE; some scholars have suggested. According to Chinese tradition, the first dynasty was the Xia, which emerged around 2100 BCE; the dynasty was considered mythical by historians until scientific excavations found early Bronze Age sites at Erlitou, Henan in 1959. It remains unclear whether these sites are the remains of the Xia dynasty or of another culture from the same period; the succeeding Shang dynasty is the earliest to be confirmed by contemporary records. The Shang ruled the plain of the Yellow River in eastern China from the 17th to the 11th century BCE.
Their oracle bone script
Grand chancellor (China)
The grand chancellor translated as counselor-in-chief, chief councillor, chief minister, imperial chancellor, lieutenant chancellor and prime minister, was the highest-ranking executive official in the imperial Chinese government. The term was known by many different names throughout Chinese history, the exact extent of the powers associated with the position fluctuated even during a particular dynasty. In the Spring and Autumn period, Guan Zhong was the first chancellor in China, who became chancellor under the state of Qi in 685 BC. In Qin, during the Warring States period, the chancellor was established as "the head of all civil service officials." There were sometimes two chancellors, differentiated as being "of the left" and "of the right". After emperor Qin Shi Huang ended the Warring States period by establishing the Qin dynasty, the chancellor, together with the imperial secretary, the grand commandant, were the most important officials in the imperial government referred as the Three Lords.
In 1 BC, during the Emperor Ai, the title was changed to da si tu. In the Eastern Han dynasty, the chancellor post was replaced by the Three Excellencies: Grand Commandant, Minister over the Masses and Minister of Works. In 190, Dong Zhuo claimed the title "Chancellor of State" under the powerless Emperor Xian of Han, placing himself above the Three Excellencies. After Dong Zhuo's death in 192, the post was vacant until Cao Cao restored the position as "imperial chancellor" and abolished the Three Excellencies in 208. From until March 15, 220, the power of chancellor was greater than that of the emperor; this happened when a dynasty became weak some decades before the fall of a dynasty. During the Sui dynasty, the executive officials of the three highest departments of the empire were called "chancellors" together. In the Tang dynasty, the government was divided into three departments: the Department of State Affairs, the Secretariat, the Chancellery; the head of each department was referred to as the chancellor.
In the Song dynasty, the post of chancellor was known as the "Tongpingzhangshi", in accordance with late-Tang terminology, while the vice-chancellor was known as the jijunsi. Some years the post of chancellor was changed to "prime minister" and the post of vice-chancellor was changed to "second minister". In the late Southern Song dynasty, the system changed back to the Tang naming conventions. During the Mongol-founded Yuan dynasty, the chancellor was not the head of the Secretariat, but the Crown Prince was. After the establishment of the Ming dynasty, the post became the head of the Zhongshu Sheng again; the post was abolished after the execution of Hu Weiyong, accused of treason. Still, appointments of the people who held the highest post in the government were called "appointment of prime minister" until 1644. Jiang Ziya Duke of Zhou Duke Huan of Zheng Duke Zhuang of Zheng Guan Zhong of Qi state Bao Shuya of Qi state Yan Ying of Qi state Fan Li of Qi State and Yue state Wu Zixu of Wu state Bo Pi of Wu state Cheng Dechen of Chu state Sunshu Ao of Chu state Wu Qi of Chu state Lord Chunshen of Chu state Lord Mengchang of Qi state Tian Dan of Qi state Li Kui of Wei state Hui Shi of Wei State Lin Xiangru of Zhao state Su Qin of Yan state Yue Yi of Yan state Baili Xi of Qin state Shang Yang of Qin State Zhang Yi of Qin State Fan Ju Lü Buwei Lord Changping Kui Zhuang Wang Guan Li Si Feng Quji Zhao Gao Xiao He.
Shandong is a coastal province of the People's Republic of China, is part of the East China region. Shandong has played a major role in Chinese history since the beginning of Chinese civilization along the lower reaches of the Yellow River, it has served as a pivotal cultural and religious center for Taoism, Chinese Buddhism, Confucianism. Shandong's Mount Tai is the most revered mountain of Taoism and one of the world's sites with the longest history of continuous religious worship; the Buddhist temples in the mountains to the south of the provincial capital of Jinan were once among the foremost Buddhist sites in China. The city of Qufu is the birthplace of Confucius, was established as the center of Confucianism. Shandong's location at the intersection of ancient as well as modern north–south and east–west trading routes have helped to establish it as an economic center. After a period of political instability and economic hardship that began in the late 19th century, Shandong has emerged as one of the most populous and most affluent provinces in the People's Republic of China with a GDP of CNY¥5.942 trillion in 2014, or USD$967 billion, making it China's third wealthiest province.
Individually, the two Chinese characters in the name "Shandong" mean "mountain" and "east". Shandong could hence be translated as "east of the mountains" and refers to the province's location to the east of the Taihang Mountains. A common nickname for Shandong is Qílǔ, after the States of Qi and Lu that existed in the area during the Spring and Autumn period. Whereas the State of Qi was a major power of its era, the State of Lu played only a minor role in the politics of its time. Lu, became renowned for being the home of Confucius and hence its cultural influence came to eclipse that of the State of Qi; the cultural dominance of the State of Lu heritage is reflected in the official abbreviation for Shandong, "鲁". English speakers in the 19th century called the province Shan-tung; the province is on the eastern edge of the North China Plain and in the lower reaches of the Yellow River, extends out to sea as the Shandong Peninsula. Shandong borders the Bohai Sea to the north, Hebei to the northwest, Henan to the west, Jiangsu to the south, the Yellow Sea to the southeast.
With its location on the eastern edge of the North China Plain, Shandong was home to a succession of Neolithic cultures for millennia, including the Houli culture, the Beixin culture, the Dawenkou culture, the Longshan culture, the Yueshi culture. The earliest dynasties exerted varying degrees of control over western Shandong, while eastern Shandong was inhabited by the Dongyi peoples who were considered "barbarians". Over subsequent centuries, the Dongyi were sinicized. During the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period, regional states became powerful. At this time, Shandong was home to two major states: the state of Qi at Linzi and the state of Lu at Qufu. Lu is noted for being the home of Confucius; the state was, comparatively small, succumbed to the larger state of Chu from the south. The state of Qi, on the other hand, was a major power throughout the period. Cities it ruled included Jimo and Ju; the Qin dynasty conquered Qi and founded the first centralized Chinese state in 221 BCE.
The Han dynasty that followed created a number of commanderies supervised by two regions in what is now modern Shandong: Qingzhou in the north and Yanzhou in the south. During the division of the Three Kingdoms, Shandong belonged to the Cao Wei, which ruled over northern China. After the Three Kingdoms period, a brief period of unity under the Western Jin dynasty gave way to invasions by nomadic peoples from the north. Northern China, including Shandong, was overrun. Over the next century or so Shandong changed hands several times, falling to the Later Zhao Former Yan Former Qin Later Yan Southern Yan the Liu Song dynasty, the Northern Wei dynasty, the first of the Northern dynasties during the Northern and Southern dynasties Period. Shandong stayed with the Northern dynasties for the rest of this period. In 412 CE, the Chinese Buddhist monk Faxian landed at Laoshan, on the southern edge of the Shandong peninsula, proceeded to Qingzhou to edit and translate the scriptures he had brought back from India.
The Sui dynasty reestablished unity in 589, the Tang dynasty presided over the next golden age of China. For the earlier part of this period Shandong was ruled as part of Henan Circuit, one of the circuits. On China splintered into warlord factions, resulting in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. Shandong was part of all based in the north; the Song dynasty reunified China in the late tenth century. The classic novel Water Margin was based on folk tales of outlaw bands active in Shandong during the Song dynasty. In 1996, the discovery of over two hundred buried Buddhist statues at Qingzhou was hailed as a major archaeological find; the statues included early examples of painted figures, are thought to have been buried due to Emperor Huizong's repression of Buddhism. The Song dynasty was forced to cede northern China to the Jurchen Jin dynasty in 1142. Shandong was administered by the Jin as Shandong East Circuit and Shandong West Circuit – the first use of its current name; the modern provinc
Jiang Ziya known by several other names, was a Chinese noble who helped kings Wen and Wu of Zhou overthrow the Shang in ancient China. Following their victory at Muye, he continued to serve as a Zhou minister, he remained loyal to the regent Duke of Zhou during the Rebellion of the Three Guards. He established his seat at Yingqiu; the first marquis of Qi bore the given name Shang. The nobility of ancient China bore an ancestral name and a clan name, his were Lü, respectively. He had two courtesy names and Ziya, which were used for respectful address by his peers; the names Jiang Shang and Jiang Ziya became the most common after their use in the popular Ming-era novel Fengshen Bang, written over 2,500 years after his death. Following the elevation of Qi to a duchy, his posthumous name became the Great Duke of Qi mistakenly translated as if it were a name, it is under this name. He is less known as "Grand Duke Jiang", the "Hopeful Great Duke", the "Hopeful Lü"; the last ruler of the Shang dynasty, King Zhou of Shang was a tyrannical and debauched slave owner who spent his days carousing with his favourite concubine Daji and mercilessly executing or punishing upright officials and all others who objected to his ways.
After faithfully serving the Shang court for twenty years, Jiang came to find King Zhou insufferable, feigned madness in order to escape court life and the ruler's power. Jiang was an expert in military affairs and hoped that someday someone would call on him to help overthrow the king. Jiang disappeared, only to resurface in the Zhou countryside at the apocryphal age of seventy-two, when he was recruited by King Wen of Zhou and became instrumental in Zhou affairs, it is said that, while in exile, he continued to wait placidly, fishing in a tributary of the Wei River using a barbless hook or no hook at all, on the theory that the fish would come to him of their own volition when they were ready. King Wen of Zhou, found Jiang Ziya fishing. King Wen, following the advice of his father and grandfather before him, was in search of talented people. In fact, he had been told by his grandfather, the Grand Duke of Zhou, that one day a sage would appear to help rule the Zhou state; the first meeting between King Wen and Jiang Ziya is recorded in the book that records Jiang's teachings to King Wen and King Wu, the Six Secret Teachings.
The meeting was recorded as being characterized by a mythic aura common to meetings between great historical figures in ancient China. Before going hunting, King Wen consulted his chief scribe to perform divination in order to discover if the king would be successful; the divinations revealed that, "'While hunting on the north bank of the Wei river you will get a great catch. It will not be a tiger or great bear. According to the signs, you will find a duke or marquis there whom Heaven has sent to be your teacher. If employed as your assistant, you will flourish and the benefits will extend to three generations of Zhou Kings.'" Recognizing that the result of this divination was similar to the result of divinations given to his eldest ancestor, King Wen observed a vegetarian diet for three days in order to spiritually purify himself for the meeting. While on the hunt, King Wen encountered Jiang fishing on a grass mat, courteously began a conversation with him concerning military tactics and statecraft.
The subsequent conversation between Jiang Ziya and King Wen forms the basis of the text in the Six Secret Teachings. When King Wen met Jiang Ziya, at first sight he felt that this was an unusual old man, began to converse with him, he discovered that this white-haired fisherman was an astute political thinker and military strategist. This, must be the man his grandfather was waiting for, he took Jiang Ziya in his coach to the court and appointed him prime minister and gave him the title Jiang Taigong Wang in reference to a prophetic dream Danfu, grandfather of Wenwang, had had many years before. This was shortened to Jiang Taigong. King Wu married Jiang Ziya's daughter Yi Jiang. After King Wen died, his son King Wu, who inherited the throne, decided to send troops to overthrow the King of Shang, but Jiang Taigong stopped him, saying: "While I was fishing at Panxi, I realised one truth – if you want to succeed you need to be patient. We must wait for the appropriate opportunity to eliminate the King of Shang".
Soon it was reported. King Wu and Jiang Taigong decided this was the time to attack, for the people had lost faith in the ruler; the bloody Battle of Muye ensued some 35 kilometres from the Shang capital Yin. Jiang Taigong charged at the head of the troops, beat the battle drums and with 100 of his men drew the Shang troops to the southwest. King Wu's troops moved and surrounded the capital; the Shang King had sent untrained slaves to fight. This, plus the fact that many surrendered or revolted, enabled Zhou to take the capital. King Zhou set fire to his palace and perished in it, King Wu and his successors as the Zhou dynasty established rule over all of China; as for Daji, one version has it that she was captured and executed by the order of Jiang Taigong himself, another that she took her own life, another that she was killed by King Zhou. Jiang Tai
Qi was a state of the Zhou dynasty-era in ancient China, variously reckoned as a march and independent kingdom. Its capital was Yingqiu, located within present-day Linzi in Shandong. Qi was founded shortly after the Zhou overthrow of Shang in the 11th century BC, its first marquis was minister of King Wen and a legendary figure in Chinese culture. His family ruled Qi for several centuries before it was replaced by the Tian family in 386 BC. In 221 BC, Qi was the final major state annexed by Qin during its unification of China. During the Zhou conquest of Shang, Jiang Ziya served as the chief minister to King Wu. After Wu's death, Jiang remained loyal to the Duke of Zhou during the Three Guards' failed rebellion against his regency; the Shang prince Wu Geng had joined the revolt along with the Dongyi states of Yan, Xu, Pugu. These were suppressed by 1039 BC and Jiang was given the Pugu lands in what is now western Shandong as the march of Qi. Little information survives from this period, but the Bamboo Annals suggest that the native people of Pugu continued to revolt for about another decade before being destroyed a second time c. 1026.
In the mid-9th century BC, King Yi boiled Duke Ai to death. Under the reign of King Xuan, there was a local succession struggle. During this time, many of the native Dongyi peoples were absorbed into the Qi state. In 706 BC, Qi was attacked by the Shan Rong. Qi rose to prominence under Duke Huan of Qi, he and his minister Guan Zhong strengthened the state by centralizing it. He brought others into submission. In 667 BC, Duke Huan met with the rulers of Lu, Song and Zheng and was elected leader. Subsequently, King Hui of Zhou made him the first Hegemon, he intervened in the affairs of Lu. In 664 BC, he protected Yan from the Rong. In 659 BC, he protected Xing and in 660, from the Red Di. In 656 he blocked the northward expansion of Chu. After his death, a war of succession broke out among his sons weakening Qi; the hegemony passed to Jin. In 632 BC, Qi helped Jin defeat Chu at the Battle of Chengpu. In 589 BC, Qi was defeated by Jin. In 579 BC, the four great powers of Qin, Chu and Qi met to declare a truce and limit their military strength.
In 546 BC, a similar four-power conference recognized several smaller states as satellites of Qi, Jin and Qin. Early in the period, Qi annexed a number of smaller states. Qi was one of the first states to patronize scholars. In 532 BC, the Tian clan came to dominate the state. In 485 BC, the Tian fought several rival clans. In 481 BC, the Tian chief killed a puppet duke, most of the ruler's family, a number of rival chiefs, he took control of most of the state and left the Duke with only the capital of Linzi and the area around Mount Tai. In 386 BC, the House of Tian replaced the House of Jiang as rulers of Qi. In 221 BC, Qi was the last of the warring states to be conquered by Qin, thereby putting an end to the wars and uniting China under the Qin Dynasty. Before Qin unified China, each state had its own customs and culture. According to the Yu Gong or Tribute of Yu, composed in the 4th or 5th century BC and included in the Book of Documents, there were nine distinct cultural regions of China, which are described in detail in this book.
The work focuses on the travels of Yu the Great, throughout each of the regions. Other texts, predominantly military discussed these cultural variations. One of these texts was The Book of Master Wu, written in response to a query by Marquis Wu of Wei on how to cope with the other states. Wu Qi, the author of the work, declared that the government and nature of the people were reflective of the terrain of the environment in which they inhabited. Of Qi, he said: Although Qi's troops are numerous, their organization is unstable... The people of Qi are by nature unyielding and their country prosperous, but the ruler and officials are arrogant and care nothing for the people; the state's policies are not uniform and not enforced. Salaries and wages are unfair and unevenly distributed, causing disunity. Qi's army is arrayed with their heaviest hitters at the front while the rest follow behind, so that when their forces appear mighty, they are in reality fragile. To defeat them, we should divide our army into three columns and have two attack the left and right flanks of Qi's army.
Once their battle formations are thrown into disarray, the central column should be in position to attack and victory will follow. While visiting Qi, Confucius was impressed with perfection of performance of Shao music 韶 therein. During the Warring States period, Qi was famous for its capital's academy Jixia, renowned scholars of the era from all over China visited the academy; the state of Qi was known for having well organized cities that were nearly rectangular in shape, with roads that were neatly knit into a grid-like pattern. The palace was strategically positioned facing the south. To the left of the palace resided the ancestral temple, to its right the temple of the gods, both one hundred paces away; this ensured. In front of the palace was the court one hundred paces away and to the back of the palace was the city; this type of layout influenced the way cities were designed in subsequent generations. Smaller cities known as chengyi were abundant throughout Qi, they stretched 450 meters from south to north and 395 meters from east to west.
The perimeter was surrounded by a wall with the living headquarters situated within and a near
Standard Chinese known as Modern Standard Mandarin, Standard Mandarin, Modern Standard Mandarin Chinese, or Mandarin, is a standard variety of Chinese, the sole official language of China, the de facto official language of Taiwan and one of the four official languages of Singapore. Its pronunciation is based on the Beijing dialect, its vocabulary on the Mandarin dialects, its grammar is based on written vernacular Chinese. Like other varieties of Chinese, Standard Chinese is a tonal language with topic-prominent organization and subject–verb–object word order, it has more initial consonants but final consonants and tones than southern varieties. Standard Chinese is an analytic language, though with many compound words. There are two standardised forms of the language, namely Putonghua in Mainland China and Guoyu in Taiwan. Aside from a number of differences in pronunciation and vocabulary, Putonghua is written using simplified Chinese characters, Guoyu is written using traditional Chinese characters.
Many characters are identical between the two systems. In Chinese, the standard variety is known as: 普通话 in the People's Republic of China, as well as Hong Kong and Macau. Standard Chinese is commonly referred to by generic names for "Chinese", notably 中文. In total, there have been known over 20 various names for the language; the term Guoyu had been used by non-Han rulers of China to refer to their languages, but in 1909 the Qing education ministry applied it to Mandarin, a lingua franca based on northern Chinese varieties, proclaiming it as the new "national language". The name Putonghua has a long, albeit unofficial, history, it was used as early as 1906 in writings by Zhu Wenxiong to differentiate a modern, standard Chinese from classical Chinese and other varieties of Chinese. For some linguists of the early 20th century, the Putonghua, or "common tongue/speech", was conceptually different from the Guoyu, or "national language"; the former was a national prestige variety. Based on common understandings of the time, the two were, in fact, different.
Guoyu was understood as formal vernacular Chinese, close to classical Chinese. By contrast, Putonghua was called "the common speech of the modern man", the spoken language adopted as a national lingua franca by conventional usage; the use of the term Putonghua by left-leaning intellectuals such as Qu Qiubai and Lu Xun influenced the People's Republic of China government to adopt that term to describe Mandarin in 1956. Prior to this, the government used both terms interchangeably. In Taiwan, Guoyu continues to be the official term for Standard Chinese; the term Guoyu however, is less used in the PRC, because declaring a Beijing dialect-based standard to be the national language would be deemed unfair to speakers of other varieties and to the ethnic minorities. The term Putonghua, on the contrary, implies nothing more than the notion of a lingua franca. During the government of a pro-Taiwan independence coalition, Taiwan officials promoted a different reading of Guoyu as all of the "national languages", meaning Hokkien and Formosan as well as Standard Chinese.
Huayu, or "language of the Chinese nation" simply meant "Chinese language", was used in overseas communities to contrast Chinese with foreign languages. Over time, the desire to standardise the variety of Chinese spoken in these communities led to the adoption of the name "Huayu" to refer to Mandarin; this name avoids choosing a side between the alternative names of Putonghua and Guoyu, which came to have political significance after their usages diverged along political lines between the PRC and the ROC. It incorporates the notion that Mandarin is not the national or common language of the areas in which overseas Chinese live. Hanyu, or "language of the Han people", is another umbrella term used for Chinese. However, it has confusingly two different meanings: Standard Chinese; this term, as well as Hànzú, is a modern concept. A related concept is Hànzì; the term "Mandarin" is a translation of Guānhuà, which referred to the lingua franca of the late Chinese empire. The Chinese term is obsolete as a name for the standard language, but is used by linguists to refer to the major group of Mandarin dialects spoken natively across most of northern and southwestern China.
In English, "Mandarin" may refer to the standard language, the dialect group as a whole, or to historic forms such as the late Imperial lingua franca. The name "Modern Standard Mandarin" is sometimes used by linguists who wish to distinguish the current state of the shared language from other northern and historic dialects; the Chinese have different languages in different provinces, to such an extent
Simplified Chinese characters
Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters prescribed in the Table of General Standard Chinese Characters for use in mainland China. Along with traditional Chinese characters, they are one of the two standard character sets of the contemporary Chinese written language; the government of the People's Republic of China in mainland China has promoted them for use in printing since the 1950s and 1960s to encourage literacy. They are used in the People's Republic of China and Singapore. Traditional Chinese characters are used in Hong Kong and the Republic of China. While traditional characters can still be read and understood by many mainland Chinese and the Chinese community in Malaysia and Singapore, these groups retain their use of simplified characters. Overseas Chinese communities tend to use traditional characters. Simplified Chinese characters may be referred to by their official name colloquially; the latter refers to simplifications of character "structure" or "body", character forms that have existed for thousands of years alongside regular, more complicated forms.
On the other hand, the official name refers to the modern systematically simplified character set, which includes not only structural simplification but substantial reduction in the total number of standardized Chinese characters. Simplified character forms were created by reducing the number of strokes and simplifying the forms of a sizable proportion of Chinese characters; some simplifications were based on popular cursive forms embodying graphic or phonetic simplifications of the traditional forms. Some characters were simplified by applying regular rules, for example, by replacing all occurrences of a certain component with a simplified version of the component. Variant characters with the same pronunciation and identical meaning were reduced to a single standardized character the simplest amongst all variants in form. Many characters were left untouched by simplification, are thus identical between the traditional and simplified Chinese orthographies; some simplified characters are dissimilar to and unpredictably different from traditional characters in those where a component is replaced by a simple symbol.
This has led some opponents of simplification to complain that the'overall process' of character simplification is arbitrary. Proponents counter that the system of simplification is internally consistent. Proponents have emphasized a some particular simplified characters as innovative and useful improvements, although many of these have existed for centuries as longstanding and widespread variants. A second round of simplifications was promulgated in 1977, but was retracted in 1986 for a variety of reasons due to the confusion caused and the unpopularity of the second round simplifications. However, the Chinese government never dropped its goal of further simplification in the future. In August 2009, the PRC began collecting public comments for a modified list of simplified characters; the new Table of General Standard Chinese Characters consisting of 8,105 characters was implemented for use by the State Council of the People's Republic of China on June 5, 2013. Although most of the simplified Chinese characters in use today are the result of the works moderated by the government of the People's Republic of China in the 1950s and 60s, character simplification predates the PRC's formation in 1949.
Cursive written text always includes character simplification. Simplified forms used in print are attested as early as the Qin dynasty. One of the earliest proponents of character simplification was Lufei Kui, who proposed in 1909 that simplified characters should be used in education. In the years following the May Fourth Movement in 1919, many anti-imperialist Chinese intellectuals sought ways to modernise China. Traditional culture and values such as Confucianism were challenged. Soon, people in the Movement started to cite the traditional Chinese writing system as an obstacle in modernising China and therefore proposed that a reform be initiated, it was suggested that the Chinese writing system should be either simplified or abolished. Lu Xun, a renowned Chinese author in the 20th century, stated that, "If Chinese characters are not destroyed China will die". Recent commentators have claimed that Chinese characters were blamed for the economic problems in China during that time. In the 1930s and 1940s, discussions on character simplification took place within the Kuomintang government, a large number of Chinese intellectuals and writers maintained that character simplification would help boost literacy in China.
In 1935, 324 simplified characters collected by Qian Xuantong were introduced as the table of first batch of simplified characters, but they were suspended in 1936. The PRC issued its first round of official character simplifications in two documents, the first in 1956 and the second in 1964. Within the PRC, further character simplification became associated with the leftists of the Cultural Revolution, culminating with the second-round simplified characters, which were promulgated in 1977. In part due to the shock and unease felt in the wake of the Cultural Revolution and Mao's death, the second-round of simplifications was poorly received. In 1986 the authorities retracted the second round completely. In the same year, the authorities promulgated a final list of simplifications, identical to the 1964 list except for six changes (including the restoration of three characters, simplified in the First Round: 叠, 覆, 像.