China is a cultural region, an ancient civilization, and, depending on perspective, a national or multinational entity occupying a large portion of land in East Asia.
China has one of the world's oldest people and continuous civilizations, consisting of states and cultures dating back more than six millennia. It has the world's longest continuously used written language system, and is the source of such major inventions as what the British scholar and biochemist Joseph Needham called the "four great inventions of Ancient China": paper, the compass, gunpowder, and printing. Historically China's cultural sphere has been very influential in East Asia as a whole, with Chinese religion, customs, and writing system being adopted, to varying degrees, by its neighbors Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.
The last Chinese Civil War has resulted in two political entities using the name China: the People's Republic of China (PRC), commonly known as China, which controls mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau; and the Republic of China (ROC), commonly known as Taiwan, which controls the island of Taiwan and some nearby islands.
History and politics aside, China is a land of superlatives, encompassing the Yangtze River, the Silk Road, the bamboo forests of the giant panda and misty peaks immortalised in traditional ink paintings. China has 33 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Chinese food ranks among the world's great cuisines. From acrobatics to martial arts, calligraphy to Chinese opera, the vibrant, distinctive culture of this great land is everywhere to be seen. China rewards visitors with memories to treasure for a lifetime.