China is a cultural region and ancient civilization in East Asia. China refers to a one of the world's oldest civilization comprising successive states and cultures dating back more than 6,000 years. Due to the stalemate of the last Chinese Civil War following World War II, China currently looks like two separate countries: the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Republic of China (ROC). The PRC administers and governs mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau, while the ROC administers and governs Taiwan and its surrounding islands. Each government used to claim that it was the only official government of China. However, PRC is nowadays widely accepted in the world as the only offical government.
- The Chinese said of themselves several thousand years ago: "China is a sea that salts all the waters that flow into it". There's another Chinese saying about their country which is much more modern—it dates only from the fourth century. This is the saying: "The tail of China is large and will not be wagged". I like that one. The British democracy approves the principles of movable party heads and unwaggable national tails. It is due to the working of these important forces that I have the honour to be addressing you at this moment.
- Winston Churchill, address to a joint session of Congress, Washington, D.C. (January 17, 1952); reported in Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches, 1897–1963, ed. Robert Rhodes James (1974), vol. 8, p. 8326.
- No victory of arms, or tyranny of alien finance, can long suppress a nation so rich in resources and vitality. The invader will lose funds or patience before the loins of China will lose virility; within a century China will have absorbed and civilized her conquerors, and will have learned all the technique of what transiently bears the name of modern industry; roads and communications will give her unity, economy and thrift will give her funds, and a strong government will give her order and peace.
- The Chinese are less a nation than a fusion of peoples united by a common culture, and the history of China is the record of an expanding culture.
- Charles Patrick Fitzgerald, China: A Short Cultural History, 1965.
- One of the greatest untold secrets of history is that the 'modern world' in which we live is a unique synthesis of Chinese and Western ingredients. Possibly more than half of the basic inventions and discoveries upon which the 'modern world' rests come from China. And yet few people know this. Why?
The Chinese themselves are as ignorant of this fact as Westerners. From the seventeenth century onwards, the Chinese became increasingly dazzled by European technological expertise, having experienced a period of amnesia regarding their own achievements. When the Chinese were shown a mechanical clock by Jesuit missionaries, they were awestruck. They had forgotten that it was they who had invented mechanical clocks in the first place!
- Robert Temple - The Genius of China: 3,000 Years of Science, Discovery and Invention, 1986