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Word Count: 290
China is the worlds oldest continuous major civilization with written records dating back about 3500 years and with 5000 years being commonly used by Chinese as the age of their civilization Successive dynasties developed systems of bureaucratic control which gave the agrarian-based Chinese an advantage over neighbouring nomadic and mountain dwelling cultures The development of a state ideology based on Confucianism 100 BC and a common system of writing 200 BC both strengthened Chinese civilization Politically China alternated between periods of political union and disunion and was often conquered by external ethnicities of which many were eventually assimilated into the Chinese identity These cultural and political influences from many parts of Asia as well as successive waves of immigration and emigration merged to create the familiar image of Chinese culture and people today Since around 1000 BC China consisted of many small kingdoms All of these were unified under one emperor in 221 BC by the Qin state ushering in the Qin Dynasty Over the course of centuries China underwent periods of unity and disunity order and disorder In the 18th century China achieved a decisive technological advantage over the peoples of Central Asia while simultaneously falling behind Europe technologically This set the stage for the 19th century in which China adopted a defensive posture against European imperialism while simultaneously extending control into Central Asia In the early 20th century the institution of the Emperor of China disappeared and China entered a period of disunion started by the Chinese Civil War There are now two nations which lay formal claim to the title of China the Peoples Republic of China also called Mainland China and the pre-revolution government of the Republic of China which administers Taiwan and several small islands of Fujian
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