Population: China is big — it’s the worlds most populous country on earth, with over 1.35 billion citizens. 

Geography: It’s also one of the largest countries by land mass, larger than the USA and roughly the same size as Canada. China is incredibly diverse, geographically, ethnically, linguistically and culturally. 

Language & Culture: China’s official national language is Mandarin, but there are nearly 300 other living languages, dialects, and topolects spoken throughout the county’s many regions. Although the Han Chinese ethnicity makes up 90% of the population, China officially recognizes 56 distinct ethnic groups. China governs several autonomous regions like Tibet, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, as well as two special administrative regions: Hong Kong and Macao. 

History: The first historical records of China's Xia dynasty trace back to 2000 BCE, the first in a long succession of dynasties. In the early 20th century, the Republic of China overthrew the last emperor and governed until 1949, when the Communist Party took power.  

Politics: China is officially the People’s Republic of China, ruled by one party, the Communist Party. In 1978, economic reforms started to to allow for foreign trade and became one of the fasted growing economies in the world.

Economy: China is the world's second largest economy by GDP. The currency is the renminbi (abbreviated RMB) also known as the Chinese yuan

Food: What's thought of as "Chinese Food" in the west can be very different from styles of cooking in China. There are actually eight traditionally distinct regional cuisines, and many more regional specialities.  

Time: China only has one timezone, UTC+08:00, despite the fact that it could span five different ones, geographically.

China is of course much more than any of these quick facts, so we encourage you to dig deeper! China Residencies' Resources section will a good starting point to prepare for an upcoming artist residency, or simply to start to learn more about China.

Further reading: