China stood as a leading civilization, outpacing the rest of the world in the arts and sciences for centuries. For much of the population, living standards have improved dramatically and the room for personal choice has expanded, yet political controls remain tight. Since the early 1990s, China has increased its global outreach and participation in international organizations.
China’s estimated population by July 2015 is 1,367,485,388. Because China’s population is so enormous, the population density of the country is also often thought to be uniformly high, but vast areas of China are either uninhabited or sparsely populated.
It is known especially as the birthplace of the religio-philosophical schools of Confucianism and Daoism (Taoism), belief systems that formed the basis of Chinese society and governance for centuries.
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