The Meiji period, or Meiji era, is an era of Japanese history which extended from October 23, 1868 to July 30, 1912. This era represents the first half of the Empire of Japan, during which period the Japanese people moved from being an isolated feudal society at risk of colonisation by European powers to the new paradigm of a modern, industrialised nationstate and emergent great power, influenced by Western scientific, philosophical, political and aesthetic ideas; as a result of such wholesale adoption of radically-different ideas, the changes to Japan were profound, affected its social structure, internal politics, economy and foreign relations. The period corresponded to the reign of Emperor Meiji and was succeeded upon the accession of Emperor Taishō by the Taishō period. On February 3, 1867, the 14-year-old Prince Mutsuhito succeeded his father, Emperor Kōmei, to the Chrysanthemum Throne as the 122nd emperor. On November 9, 1867, then-shōgun Tokugawa Yoshinobu tendered his resignation to the Emperor, formally stepped down ten days later.
Imperial restoration occurred the next year on January 3, 1868, with the formation of the new government. The fall of Edo in the summer of 1868 marked the end of the Tokugawa shogunate, a new era, was proclaimed; the first reform was the promulgation of the Five Charter Oath in 1868, a general statement of the aims of the Meiji leaders to boost morale and win financial support for the new government. Its five provisions consisted of: Establishment of deliberative assemblies. Implicit in the Charter Oath was an end to exclusive political rule by the bakufu, a move toward more democratic participation in government. To implement the Charter Oath, a rather short-lived constitution with eleven articles was drawn up in June 1868. Besides providing for a new Council of State, legislative bodies, systems of ranks for nobles and officials, it limited office tenure to four years, allowed public balloting, provided for a new taxation system, ordered new local administrative rules; the Meiji government assured the foreign powers that it would follow the old treaties negotiated by the bakufu and announced that it would act in accordance with international law.
Mutsuhito, to reign until 1912, selected a new reign title—Meiji, or Enlightened Rule—to mark the beginning of a new era in Japanese history. To further dramatize the new order, the capital was relocated from Kyoto, where it had been situated since 794, to Tokyo, the new name for Edo. In a move critical for the consolidation of the new regime, most daimyōs voluntarily surrendered their land and census records to the Emperor in the abolition of the Han system, symbolizing that the land and people were under the Emperor's jurisdiction. Confirmed in their hereditary positions, the daimyo became governors, the central government assumed their administrative expenses and paid samurai stipends; the han were replaced with prefectures in 1871, authority continued to flow to the national government. Officials from the favored former han, such as Satsuma, Chōshū, Hizen staffed the new ministries. Old court nobles, lower-ranking but more radical samurai, replaced bakufu appointees and daimyo as a new ruling class appeared.
In as much as the Meiji Restoration had sought to return the Emperor to a preeminent position, efforts were made to establish a Shinto-oriented state much like it was 1,000 years earlier. Since Shinto and Buddhism had molded into a syncretic belief in the prior one-thousand years and Buddhism had been connected with the shogunate, this involved the separation of Shinto and Buddhism and the associated destruction of various Buddhist temples and related violence. Furthermore, a new State Shinto had to be constructed for the purpose. In 1871, the Office of Shinto Worship was established, ranking above the Council of State in importance; the kokutai ideas of the Mito school were embraced, the divine ancestry of the Imperial House was emphasized. The government supported a small but important move. Although the Office of Shinto Worship was demoted in 1872, by 1877 the Home Ministry controlled all Shinto shrines and certain Shinto sects were given state recognition. Shinto was released from Buddhist administration and its properties restored.
Although Buddhism suffered from state sponsorship of Shinto, it had its own resurgence. Christianity was legalized, Confucianism remained an important ethical doctrine. However, Japanese thinkers identified with Western ideology and methods. A major proponent of representative government was Itagaki Taisuke, a powerful Tosa leader who had resigned from the Council of State over the Korean affair in 1873. Itagaki sought peaceful, rather than rebellious, he started a school and a movement aimed at establishing a constitutional monarchy and a legislative assembly. Such movements were called People's Rights Movement. Itagaki and others wrote the Tosa Memorial in 1874, criticizing the unbridled power of the oligarchy and calling for the immediate establishment of representative government. Between 1871 and 1873, a series of land and tax laws were enacted as the basis for modern fiscal policy. Private ownership was legalized, deeds were issued, lands were assessed at fair market value with taxes paid in cash rather than in k
The four occupations or "four categories of the people" was an occupation classification used in ancient China by either Confucian or Legalist scholars as far back as the late Zhou dynasty and is considered a central part of the fengjian social structure. These were the shi, the nong, the gong, the shang; the four occupations were not always arranged in this order. The four categories were not socioeconomic classes; the system did not factor in all social groups present in premodern Chinese society, its broad categories were more an idealization than a practical reality. The commercialization of Chinese society in the Song and Ming periods further blurred the lines between these four occupations; the definition of the identity of the shi class changed over time—from warriors, to aristocratic scholars, to scholar-bureaucrats. There was a gradual fusion of the wealthy merchant and landholding gentry classes, culminating in the late Ming Dynasty. In some manner this system of social order was adopted throughout the Chinese cultural sphere.
In Japanese it is called mibunsei and is sometimes stated as "Shi, nō, kō, shō", although in Japan it became a hereditary caste system. In Korean as "Sa, gong, sang", in Vietnamese as "Sĩ, nông, công, thương; the main difference in adaptation was the definition of the shi. From existing literary evidence, commoner categories in China were employed for the first time during the Warring States period. Despite this, Eastern-Han historian Ban Gu asserted in his Book of Han that the four occupations for commoners had existed in the Western Zhou era, which he considered a golden age. However, it is now known that the classification of four occupations as Ban Gu understood it did not exist until the 2nd century BC. Ban explained the social hierarchy of each group in descending order: Scholars, farmers and merchants; those who studied in order to occupy positions of rank were called the shi. Those who cultivated the soil and propagated grains were called nong; those who manifested skill and made utensils were called gong.
Those who transported valuable articles and sold commodities were called shang. The Rites of Zhou described the four groups in a different order, with merchants before farmers; the Han-era text Guliang Zhuan placed merchants second after scholars, the Warring States-era Xunzi placed farmers before scholars. The Shuo Yuan mentioned a quotation. Anthony J. Barbieri-Low, Professor of Early Chinese History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, writes that the classification of "four occupations" can be viewed as a mere rhetorical device that had no effect on government policy. However, he notes that although no statute in the Qin or Han law codes mentions the four occupations, some laws did treat these broadly classified social groups as separate units with different levels of legal privilege; the categorisation was sorted according to the principle of economic usefulness to state and society, that those who used mind rather than muscle were placed first, with farmers, seen as the primary creators of wealth, placed next, followed by artisans, merchants who were seen as a social disturbance for excessive accumulation of wealth or erratic fluctuation of prices.
Beneath the four occupations were the "mean people", outcasts from "humilitating" occupations such as entertainers and prostitutes. The four occupations were not a hereditary system; the four occupations system differed from those of European feudalism in that people were not born into the specific classes, such that, for example, a son born to a gong craftsman was able to become a part of the shang merchant class, so on. Theoretically, any man could become an official through the Imperial examinations. From the fourth century B. C. the shi and some wealthy merchants wore long flowing silken robes, while the working class wore trousers. During the ancient Shang and Early Zhou dynasties, the shi were regarded as a knightly social order of low-level aristocratic lineage compared to dukes and marquises; this social class was distinguished by their right to ride in chariots and command battles from mobile chariots, while they served civil functions. Rising to power through controlling the new technology of bronzeworking, from 1300 B.
C. the shi transitioned from foot knights to being chariot archers, fighting with composite recurved bow, a double-edged sword known as the jian, armour. The shi had a strict code of chivalry. In the battle of Zheqiu, 420 B. C. the shi Hua Bao shot at and missed another shi Gongzi Cheng, just as he was about to shoot again, Gongzi Cheng said that it was unchivalrous to shoot twice without allowing him to return a shot. Hua Bao was subsequently shot dead. In 624 B. C. a disgraced shi from the State of Jin led a suicidal charge of chariots to redeem his reputation, turning the tide of the battle. In the Battle of Bi, 597 B. C. the routing chariot forces of Jin were bogged down in mud, but pursuing enemy troops stopped to help them get dislodged and allowed them to escape. As chariot warfare became eclipsed by mounted cavalry and infantry units with effective crossbowmen in the Warring States period, the participation of the shi in battl
Urbanization refers to the population shift from rural areas to urban areas, the gradual increase in the proportion of people living in urban areas, the ways in which each society adapts to this change. It is predominantly the process by which towns and cities are formed and become larger as more people begin living and working in central areas. Although the two concepts are sometimes used interchangeably, urbanization should be distinguished from urban growth: urbanization is "the proportion of the total national population living in areas classed as urban", while urban growth refers to "the absolute number of people living in areas classed as urban"; the United Nations projected that half of the world's population would live in urban areas at the end of 2008. It is predicted that by 2050 about 64% of the developing world and 86% of the developed world will be urbanized; that is equivalent to 3 billion urbanites by 2050, much of which will occur in Africa and Asia. Notably, the United Nations has recently projected that nearly all global population growth from 2017 to 2030 will be by cities, about 1.1 billion new urbanites over the next 13 years.
Urbanization is relevant to a range of disciplines, including urban planning, sociology, architecture and public health. The phenomenon has been linked to modernization, industrialization, the sociological process of rationalization. Urbanization can be seen as a specific condition at a set time, or as an increase in that condition over time. So urbanization can be quantified either in terms of, the level of urban development relative to the overall population, or as the rate at which the urban proportion of the population is increasing. Urbanization creates enormous social and environmental changes, which provide an opportunity for sustainability with the “potential to use resources more efficiently, to create more sustainable land use and to protect the biodiversity of natural ecosystems.”Urbanization is not a modern phenomenon, but a rapid and historic transformation of human social roots on a global scale, whereby predominantly rural culture is being replaced by predominantly urban culture.
The first major change in settlement patterns was the accumulation of hunter-gatherers into villages many thousand years ago. Village culture is characterized by common bloodlines, intimate relationships, communal behavior, whereas urban culture is characterized by distant bloodlines, unfamiliar relations, competitive behavior; this unprecedented movement of people is forecast to continue and intensify during the next few decades, mushrooming cities to sizes unthinkable only a century ago. As a result, the world urban population growth curve has up till followed a quadratic-hyperbolic pattern. Today, in Asia the urban agglomerations of Osaka, Jakarta, Shanghai, Manila and Beijing are each home to over 20 million people, while Delhi and Tokyo are forecast to approach or exceed 40 million people. Cities such as Tehran, Mexico City, São Paulo, New York City and Cairo are, or soon will be, home to over 10 million people each. From the development of the earliest cities in Mesopotamia and Egypt until the 18th century, an equilibrium existed between the vast majority of the population who engaged in subsistence agriculture in a rural context, small centres of populations in the towns where economic activity consisted of trade at markets and manufactures on a small scale.
Due to the primitive and stagnant state of agriculture throughout this period, the ratio of rural to urban population remained at a fixed equilibrium. However, a significant increase in the percentage of the global urban population can be traced in the 1st millennium BCE. Another significant increase can be traced to Mughal India, where 15% of its population lived in urban centers during the 16th–17th centuries, higher than in Europe at the time. In comparison, the percentage of the European population living in cities was 8–13% in 1800. With the onset of the British agricultural and industrial revolution in the late 18th century, this relationship was broken and an unprecedented growth in urban population took place over the course of the 19th century, both through continued migration from the countryside and due to the tremendous demographic expansion that occurred at that time. In England and Wales, the proportion of the population living in cities with more than 20,000 people jumped from 17% in 1801 to 54% in 1891.
Moreover, adopting a broader definition of urbanization, we can say that while the urbanized population in England and Wales represented 72% of the total in 1891, for other countries the figure was 37% in France, 41% in Prussia and 28% in the United States. As labourers were freed up from working the land due to higher agricultural productivity they converged on the new industrial cities like Manchester and Birmingham which were experiencing a boom in commerce and industry. Growing trade around the world allowed cereals to be imported from North America and refrigerated meat from Australasia and South America. Spatially, cities expanded due to the development of public transport systems, which facilitated commutes of longer distances to the city centre for the working class. Urbanization spread across the Western world and, since the 1950s, it has begun to take hold in the developing world as well. At the turn of the 20th century, just 15% of the world population lived in cities. According to the UN, the year 2007 witnessed the turning point when more than 50% of the world population were living in cities, for the first time in human history.
Yale University in June 2016 published urbanization
Samurai were the military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan. In Japanese, they are referred to as bushi or buke. According to translator William Scott Wilson: "In Chinese, the character 侍 was a verb meaning'to wait upon','accompany persons' in the upper ranks of society, this is true of the original term in Japanese, saburau. In both countries the terms were nominalized to mean'those who serve in close attendance to the nobility', the Japanese term saburai being the nominal form of the verb." According to Wilson, an early reference to the word samurai appears in the Kokin Wakashū, the first imperial anthology of poems, completed in the first part of the 10th century. By the end of the 12th century, samurai became entirely synonymous with bushi, the word was associated with the middle and upper echelons of the warrior class; the samurai were associated with a clan and their lord, were trained as officers in military tactics and grand strategy. While the samurai numbered less than 10% of Japan's population, their teachings can still be found today in both everyday life and in modern Japanese martial arts.
Following the Battle of Hakusukinoe against Tang China and Silla in 663 AD which led to a retreat from Korean affairs, Japan underwent widespread reform. One of the most important was that of the Taika Reform, issued by Prince Naka-no-Ōe in 646 AD; this edict allowed the Japanese aristocracy to adopt the Tang dynasty political structure, culture and philosophy. As part of the Taihō Code of 702 AD, the Yōrō Code, the population was required to report for the census, a precursor for national conscription. With an understanding of how the population was distributed, Emperor Monmu introduced a law whereby 1 in 3–4 adult males were drafted into the national military; these soldiers were required to supply their own weapons, in return were exempted from duties and taxes. This was one of the first attempts by the Imperial government to form an organized army modeled after the Chinese system, it was called "Gundan-Sei" by historians and is believed to have been short-lived. The Taihō Code classified most of the Imperial bureaucrats into 12 ranks, each divided into two sub-ranks, 1st rank being the highest adviser to the Emperor.
Those of 6th rank and below were dealt with day-to-day affairs. Although these "samurai" were civilian public servants, the modern word is believed to have derived from this term. Military men, would not be referred to as "samurai" for many more centuries. In the early Heian period, during the late 8th and early 9th centuries, Emperor Kanmu sought to consolidate and expand his rule in northern Honshū, sent military campaigns against the Emishi, who resisted the governance of the Kyoto-based imperial court. Emperor Kanmu introduced the title of sei'i-taishōgun, or shōgun, began to rely on the powerful regional clans to conquer the Emishi. Skilled in mounted combat and archery, these clan warriors became the Emperor's preferred tool for putting down rebellions. Though this is the first known use of the title shōgun, it was a temporary title and was not imbued with political power until the 13th century. At this time, the Imperial Court officials considered them to be a military section under the control of the Imperial Court.
Emperor Kanmu disbanded his army. From this time, the emperor's power declined. While the emperor was still the ruler, powerful clans around Kyoto assumed positions as ministers, their relatives bought positions as magistrates. To amass wealth and repay their debts, magistrates imposed heavy taxes, resulting in many farmers becoming landless. Through protective agreements and political marriages, the aristocrats accumulated political power surpassing the traditional aristocracy; some clans were formed by farmers who had taken up arms to protect themselves from the Imperial magistrates sent to govern their lands and collect taxes. These clans formed alliances to protect themselves against more powerful clans, by the mid-Heian period, they had adopted characteristic Japanese armor and weapons; the Emperor and non-warrior nobility employed these warrior nobles. In time they amassed enough manpower and political backing, in the form of alliances with one another, to establish the first samurai-dominated government.
As the power of these regional clans grew, their chief was a distant relative of the Emperor and a lesser member of either the Fujiwara, Minamoto, or Taira clans. Though sent to provincial areas for fixed four-year terms as magistrates, the toryo declined to return to the capital when their terms ended, their sons inherited their positions and continued to lead the clans in putting down rebellions throughout Japan during the middle- and later-Heian period; because of their rising military and economic power, the warriors became a new force in the politics of the Imperial court. Their involvement in the Hōgen Rebellion in the late Heian period consolidated their power, which pitted the rivalry of Minamoto and Taira clans against each other in the Heiji Rebellion of 1160; the victor, Taira no Kiyomori, became an imperial advisor and was the first warrior to attain such a position. He seized control of the central government, establishing the first samurai-dominated government and relegating the Emperor to figurehead status.
However, the Taira clan was still conservative when compared to its eventual successor, the Minamoto, instead of expanding or stre
Sankin-kōtai was a policy of the Tokugawa shogunate during most of the Edo period of Japanese history. The purpose was to strengthen central control over the daimyōs, it required feudal lords, daimyō, to alternate living for a year in their domain and in Edo, the capital. Toyotomi Hideyoshi had earlier established a similar practice of requiring his feudal lords to keep their wives and heirs at Osaka Castle or the nearby vicinity as hostages to ensure their loyalty. Following the Battle of Sekigahara and the establishment of the Tokugawa Shogunate, this practice was continued at the new capital of Edo as a matter of custom, it was made compulsory for the tozama daimyōs in 1635, for the fudai daimyōs from 1642. Aside from an eight-year period under the rule of Tokugawa Yoshimune, the law remained in force until 1862; the details changed throughout the 26 decades of Tokugawa rule, but the requirement was that the daimyōs of every han move periodically between Edo and his fief spending alternate years in each place.
His wife and heir were required to remain in Edo as hostages. The expenditures necessary to maintain lavish residences in both places, for the procession to and from Edo, placed financial strains on the daimyo, making them unable to wage war; the frequent travel of the daimyo encouraged road building and the construction of inns and facilities along the routes, generating economic activity. There were a number of exceptions for certain fudai daimyōs in the vicinity of Edo, who were allowed to alternate their attendance in Edo every six months instead. Temporary exceptional dispensations were occasionally granted due to illness or extreme extenuating circumstances. In principle, the sankin-kōtai was a military service to the shōgun; each daimyō was required to furnish a number of soldiers in accordance with the kokudaka assessment of his domain. These soldiers accompanied the daimyō on the processions to and from Edo. With hundreds of daimyōs entering or leaving Edo each year, processions were daily occurrences in the shogunal capital.
The main routes to the provinces were the kaidō. Special lodgings, the honjin, were available to daimyōs during their travels; the sankin-kōtai figures prominently in some Edo-period ukiyo-e woodblock prints, as well as in popular theater such as kabuki and bunraku. King Louis XIV of France instituted a similar practice upon the completion of his palace at Versailles, requiring the French nobility the ancient Noblesse d'épée to spend six months of each year at the palace, for reasons similar to those of the Japanese shōguns; the nobles were expected to assist the king in his daily duties and state and personal functions, including meals, and, for the privileged, rising from and getting into bed and going to church. Jansen, Marius B.. The Making of Modern Japan. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674003347. Tour of Duty: Samurai, Military Service in Edo, the Culture of Early Modern Japan. Univ of Hawaii. ISBN 978-0824834708 Media related to Sankin kōtai at Wikimedia Commons
Ethnic issues in Japan
According to census statistics, 98.5% of the population of Japan are Japanese, with the remainder being foreign nationals residing in Japan. However, these statistics measure citizenship, not ethnicity, with all domestic minorities such as the Ainu and Burakumin being counted as "Japanese." The Japanese government since the late Meiji period has claimed to not and did not admit nor publicly disclose collecting data on the ethnic identities of its citizens, claiming that there are no issues of race relations among Japanese citizens as they are all of the same race. However, in earlier times differences were most notably among the Emishi. About 1.6% of Japan's total legal resident population are foreign citizens. Of these, according to 2012 data from the Japanese government, the principal groups are as follows. * Japan does not recognize North Korean nationality/citizenship The above statistics do not include the 30,000 U. S. military stationed in Japan, nor do they account for illegal immigrants.
The statistics do not take into account minority groups who are Japanese citizens such as the Ainu, the Ryukyuans, naturalized citizens from backgrounds including but not limited to Korean and Chinese, citizen descendants of immigrants. The total legal resident population of 2012 is estimated at 127.6 million. The nine largest minority groups residing in Japan are: North and South Korean, Brazilian, Taiwanese, the Ainu indigenous to Hokkaido and the Ryukyuans indigenous to Okinawa and other islands between Kyushu and Taiwan; the Burakumin, an outcast group at the bottom of Japan's feudal order, are sometimes included. There are a number of smaller ethnic communities in Japan with a much shorter history. According to the United Nations' 2008 Diène report, communities most affected by racism and xenophobia in Japan include: the national minorities of Ainu and people of Okinawa and descendants of people from neighboring countries and the new immigrants from other Asian, South American and Middle Eastern countries.
Zainichi Koreans are permanent residents of Japan registered as South Korean nationality. Joseon was annexed by Japan in 1910, therefore Zainichi Koreans with Joseon citizenship are de facto stateless. After World War II, 2 million Koreans living in Japan were granted a temporary Joseon nationality under the US military government. However, the meaning of Joseon nationality became vague as Korea was divided by the United States and the Soviet Union, in 1948 North and South Korea each established their own government; some obtained South Korean citizenship but others who opposed the division of Korea or sympathized with North Korea maintained their Joseon nationality because people are not allowed to register North Korean nationality. Most Zainichi came to Japan from Korea under Japanese rule between 1910 and 1945. A large proportion of this immigration is said to be the result of Korean landowners and workers losing their land and livelihood due to Japanese land and production confiscation initiatives and migrating to Japan for work.
According to the calculation of Rudolph Rummel, a total of 5.4 million Koreans were conscripted into forced labor and shipped throughout the Japanese Empire. Of these, 210,000 to 870,000 Koreans died during forced labor in places such as Manchuria and Sakhalin. During the occupation of Korea by Japan, the Japanese government enforced a policy of forced assimilation. Korean culture was oppressed. However, Koreans resisted this and by the end of the 1940s it was completely undone. Ethnic Koreans in Japan were massacred as scapegoats in the chaos of the Great Kanto earthquake in 1923. Many Korean refugees came to the country during the Jeju uprising in the First Republic of South Korea. Though most migrants returned to Korea, GHQ estimates in 1946 indicated that 650,000 Koreans remained in Japan. After World War II, the Korean community in Japan was split between allegiance to South Korea and North Korea. Zainichi who identify themselves with Chongryon are an important money source for North Korea.
One estimate suggests that the total annual transfers from Japan to North Korea may exceed US$200 million. Japanese law does not allow dual citizenship for adults over 22 and until the 1980s required adoption of a Japanese name for citizenship. For this reason, many Zainichi did not obtain Japanese citizenship as they saw the process as humiliating. Although more Zainichi are becoming Japanese citizens, issues of identity remain complicated; those who do not choose to become Japanese citizens use Japanese names to avoid discrimination, live their lives as if they were Japanese. This is in contrast with the Chinese living in Japan, who use their Chinese names and form Chinatown communities. An increase in tensions between Japan and North Korea in the late 1990s led to a surge of attacks against Chongryon, the pro-North residents organisation, including a pattern of assaults against Korean schoolgirls in Japan. For a long time, Chongryon enjoyed unofficial immunity from searches and investigations, although it has long been suspected of a variety of criminal acts on behalf of North Korea, such as illegal transfer of funds to North Korea and espionage.
The Japanese authorities have started to crack down on Chongryon with investigations and arrest
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